Monday, January 12, 2009

The Conversion is Coming!

Totoro's engine, the 1.9l WBX, has always been a bit underpowered. My solution to that and the cooling issues and oil consumption issues is to swap the 1.9 out for an EJ22, a 2.2l Subaru engine likely from 1991-1994 with a few less miles that Totoro. The EJ22 fits perfectly in the engine bay and bolts up to the transaxle by way of an adapter plate and new flywheel.

The most difficult part of the install by far is paring down the Subaru wiring harness to 40 or so essential wires. Kennedy Engineered Products, KEP, has a 6 foot schematic and instructions on how to do it, as well as most of the other conversion parts.

The other hard part is routing the cooling system hoses and fitting them to the new engine. The stock coolant manifold on the EJ22 needs a bit of reworking to work more efficiently in the Vanagon. SmallCar Performance has a reversed manifold that makes this quite easy.

So a rough draft of the first bits I'll do with the WBX in place and running/driving are:

-Acquire a lower mileage, good condition EJ22 with ECU, Harness and assorted other bits.
-Modify the harness with KEP instructions.
-Perform any maintenance/detailing needed on the EJ22.
-Install SCP reversed coolant manifold.
-Install KEP crossmember engine mount.
-Install KEP flywheel and adapter plate.
-Install KEP header.
-Work out hose routing/expansion tank/heater hoses on paper.
-Work out throttle linkage and fuel lines/filter.

Then with all that in place and ready I'll block out a couple weekends in a row and set to work removing the WBX, it comes out quite easily. Then after removing any components specific to the WBX that I don't need, I'll detail the engine bay. After deatiling I'll move the expansion tank, hoses, fuel lines, and throttle cable as needed before then mounting the EJ22. Then comes mounting and routing the ECU and harness, making connections to the Vanagon harness and mounting the engine. After that its a matter of finalizing the cooling system connections, electrical connections, hooking up the fuel lines, then adding oil and coolant. Bleeding the cooling system is never graet fun on the Vanagon, but I've done it a few times by myself and I've got it down.

Well, more to come on the conversion later with pictures ad links to parts and prices!



Anonymous said...

My hat is off to you! I have often thought about doing an engine conversion in Mellow Yellow, but I am not an auto mechanic by trade, education, or inclination. In short: the job looks way too hard! But keep us posted on the progress, with plenty of pictures.

Jack Elliott (aka Rocket J Squirrel)

Erin said...

Congratulations, Brendan, Sommer, Boston, Sydney, and Eliot! And welcome, Juniper!! Hope everyone is doing well! We'll call tomorrow evening when you'll likely be home... How cool to be an Inauguration Day baby!