VW Syncro Westfalia - Build Log with Pics

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Hodakaguy, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    For years I've wanted a Syncro Westy and a few months ago I was lucky enough to pick up a clean low mile (47K) one owner 90 Syncro :clap My father and I split ownership on the Syncro and decided to build it up to be our camping vehicle.

    I'll add photo's of the process as I start modifying and doing maint on the Westy. We decided on a list of items that we wanted to add/change to fit our plans.

    Engine: I changed the fuel lines, fuel reg, plugs and wires and the stock engine runs like a champ...But. Looking for reliability and a little more HP for high elevation travel we decided to do a engine swap. After doing quite a bit of research we settled on the Subaru 2.5L. My wife drives a forester with this engine so I'm well familiar with it (rebuilt the heads etc a couple months ago).

    Conversion Kit: I decided to go with the Rocky Mountain Westy kit. I like the design of the engine mount, exhaust system, etc. Can't wait to start the installation process...more to follow soon.

    Other Items: Install a Propex heater, Upgrade the cooling lines, Upgrade suspension and shocks, install a SA Grill, Bumpers/Tire Carriers and other small misc items.


    Here's a couple pictures of the Westy in stock form.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    A couple weeks ago I picked up the first of the big parts, a 2006 Subaru 2.5L with all the needed parts. The engine has 60K miles on it, I will go ahead and install a new timing belt, water pump, idlers etc while the engine is on the stand. Yikes! 41lbs of wiring!!

    [​IMG]


    More goodies arriving. Received the Fox Shocks and new 16" wheels/BFG's.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    6-22-12 I'm suppose to be working on a couple house projects today...but I woke up early and was able to sneak in a little Syncro play :-) Decided to get the new tires installed to see what they looked like, I won't be driving it much till the engine/suspension gets installed so the larger tires shouldn't be a problem for now.

    [​IMG]


    The original owner had the vehicle undercoated when they bought it, it really did a decent job in keeping corrosion at bay under the bus. It did spend quite a bit of time in Alaska on gravel roads so there is some rock chip damage along the bottom rocker panels, I'll be addressing that after we get all the upgrades installed.

    [​IMG]


    Nice little lip forming on the rotor, looks like new rotors will be in the works. I'd like to do a big brake upgrade, might just re-build stock for now and do that down the road.

    [​IMG]


    Not Bad...can't wait to see it with the new suspension bits installed!

    [​IMG]


    Power Windows. I'm not a huge power window fan in older vehicles, when we purchased the Syncro the passenger side window wasn't working, although the drivers side was working great. Fast forward a month and both windows were inoperable. To make matters worse the AC is out of charge and I don't want to spend time fixing it till after the Subaru swap. Eventually I'm going to replace the power windows with manual units...now it's in the 90's and something needs to be done!

    I decided to remove the drivers side regulator and have a look at what's going on.

    [​IMG]


    Door Panel removed.

    [​IMG]


    Plastic removed. There are some good threads on regulator removal/repair on Samba...Thanks!

    [​IMG]


    All the plastic parts look to be in excellent cond.

    [​IMG]


    And here's the problem. The rivet broke that holds the black plastic guide on the bottom of the regulator. The plastic piece is in great shape...this might be a easy fix!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    All good here.

    [​IMG]


    And here's the problem. When the rivet broke it allowed the tension on the cable to relax...allowing the cable to turn itself into a rats nest! The cable is shot. All the plastic parts in the gear box seem to be in great shape.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I took the assy to a couple bike shops today to see if they could make another cable for it but they couldn't....after doing a little looking at some industrial supply shops I think I might be able to make up my own cable. All the cable that I found was slightly smaller than the OEM cable, and I couldn't find any cable ends/crimps that were small enough. I'll try and fabricate my own ends and solder them to the cables.

    More work tomorrow.

    Hodakaguy
    #1
  2. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    Picked up a permanent fix to my power windows :-)

    [​IMG]

    Installed the drivers side manual window regulator yesterday. Cleaned the regulators then packed them with Sil-Glyde and they are operating as smooth as butter :-).

    Regulator installed in the door

    [​IMG]


    I was going to mark/cut the hole for the manual regulator but it looks like VW already did it for me :D . Just remove the tape on the back of the panel and instant hole.

    [​IMG]


    Here's a picture showing the location of the manual regulator hole (located with finger) compared to the electric switch hole. I was going to cover the electric hole with a fold down cup holder...but they are pretty close and it looks like the window crank will hit the cup holder if I went that route. Going to have to scratch the head on this one for a bit and see what I come up with to cover the hole...want it to look professional and not a afterthought.

    [​IMG]


    More to come...need to get back to driveway work :(

    Hodakaguy
    #2
  3. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I am so jealous... I envy the dent free body... :D
    #3
  4. A-Bone

    A-Bone Indubitably

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    12,889
    Location:
    Cow Hampsha, (NH, USA)
    I can't believe you didn't want to put that 6 cylinder in it if it is a Syncro???
    #4
  5. dman

    dman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    661
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Looking forward to seeing more! I owned a 2wd H2O Westy for a few years but always wanted a Syncro. Vanagons, Westy's, Eurovans and even Syncro's are quite common in my town. Saw/heard a smooth running Diesel Syncro last week, presumably a TDI conversion.

    I won't ask what you paid but around here a clean Syncro is usually over $20K .... running or not.

    -dman
    #5
  6. Ricardo Kuhn

    Ricardo Kuhn a.k.a. Mr Rico Suave

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2001
    Oddometer:
    12,568
    Location:
    Salt lake city, Utah

    I also wonder why.. the H6 is such a much better engine, but i'm sure you have your reasons

    Ps: I also dream about a Syncro for many years, way before I even learn how to drive.

    PsII: Mothion pro sell kits to make your own cables.
    #6
  7. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    The H6 is a great engine, love the Timing chain, no head gasket issues and a boat load of HP/torque....but

    The H6 is a lot of power for the stock drive train and will eventually cause problems if you dont spend some money beafing up the trans, the vanagons gearing is also poorly suited to the H6....more money on a re-gear. My friend has a H6 powered Westfalia, on a recent 400 mile road trip he averaged 13.5MPG...Yikes! The H6 is also more expensive to install (you need a $2k link ECU) and your very limited on exhaust choices etc.

    The 2.5L will almost double the Hp of the stock engine (90hp to 170hp), with a 16" tire upgrade it's well matched to the stock transmission ratios and doesn't put the stress on the drive train that the H6 will. With the 2.5L you'll get 19-20MPG All around the 2.5L is hard to beat.

    My friend with the H6 is going to remove his and install a 2.5L or a TDI in the future.

    Hoakaguy
    #7
  8. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I'm working on a deal to pick up a 1982 Vanagon Westfalia 1.6naD that is in non running state. Hoping to Z-TECH that puppy, and have a backup Vanagon. :D Syncro is on my short list.. Do you want to trade R1200GSA for it?
    #8
  9. A-Bone

    A-Bone Indubitably

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    12,889
    Location:
    Cow Hampsha, (NH, USA)
    :thumb

    Cool... thanks..

    I was thinking the tranny might be the cause...

    But the other stuff on top of that makes it sound like it was an easy choice...

    Looking forward to reading more...

    On TDI: A guy I bought some MKIII parts off of was planning on dropping the TDI in his Vanagon (non-westy)... He seemed like he was a little crazy... which you might just have to be... :lol3

    Should make similar tq to what you are talking about given it was an older TDI
    #9
  10. P B G

    P B G Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,001
    Location:
    Greater Chicago
    Cheers on the build, when I was a kid my dad bought a bunch of vanagons, one a syncro.

    Some good things, some bad. He successfully battled VW on two engines (goop in the cap nuts). But quite a few road trips were had that the VW did something catastrophic, I can see why you'd want a different plant.

    From the passenger's perspective however, these things are a bit of a death trap. Examples. Roof mounted AC channel fell off and smacked the brother in the head while traveling down a flat relatively smooth highway.

    Rearward facing seats decided to dislodge randomly. Battery burnt in its tray.

    Rear heater vent duct on middle person's feet causing extreme discomfort while others are comfortable warm.

    VOMITING DUE TO WIND BUFFETTING. Might just be me, but I have been car sick in more VW Vans than any other vehicle by atleast a 10 or 15 to 1 ratio. No issues before we got the van, nor since we got rid of it. But I have had trips with 11 vomits. I never experienced this while driving however, so my lesson is, no Passangers are to be allowed to ride in the back on windy days unless dosed w/ dramamine.
    #10
  11. Superhawk

    Superhawk Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    684
    Location:
    Flatlands of NJ
    Looking forward to the build !! Post lots o pics !!
    #11
  12. mud

    mud I just wander.....

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,852
    Location:
    Roseville, MN
    SO jealous....

    I will be watching this one.
    #12
  13. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,942
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #13
  14. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    How many GS's? LOL. The Z-tech is another popular option...it doesn't have the torque curve though that the Subaru has and feels more stockish when driving it compared to the subaru conversions. I love the completeness of the Bostig kit but there are several places that offer pretty complete kits for the Subaru's now as well (Rocky Mountain Westy, Small Car Performance etc).

    I'll be updating the thread as progress happens...need to get the driveway poured then I can jump in head first!

    Hodakaguy
    #14
  15. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    #15
  16. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Eastern WA State

    Yeah some suspension modifications, new shocks and larger wheels go a long way in creating a better ride.

    I have quite a few modifications planned both inside and outside. Can't wait to get going!

    Hodakaguy
    #16
  17. Mr. Vintage

    Mr. Vintage Family Dude

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    867
    Location:
    The Palouse
    Cool, I'm tuned in. I have a '85 2WD Weekender with an EJ22 and I love it. Where in EastWa are you? I could come and offer unsolicited advice on your swap.... :D
    #17
  18. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Eastern WA State

    I'm in Tri-cities Wa. Shoot me a message if your down this way :-)

    Hodakaguy
    #18
  19. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,845
    Location:
    on Walkabout
    It's a great story, but it makes me wonder why in the world anyone would want one of these things. :eek1

    Talk about glutton for punishment.

    I'll be following your build. :D

    Jamie
    #19
  20. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    987
    Location:
    Hotlanta
    Being a dreamer and always having a special place in my heart for Westys - its a packaging thing. These buggers are just ingenious. Think about it - how many vehicles do you know that are the same size as an medium sedan and can sleep up to 4. You still get the 'tent camping' feel with the pop top but in a somewhat more civilized way. Plus a fridge, burner, and sink. I think they're prohibitively expensive these days but if I could ever find a deal on one....man the fun to be had!
    #20