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elkroeger

Used, or rebuilt motor?

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elkroeger

It's time to replace the engine in my car. Specifically, I've got a VW van, with a bad head gasket. I'm probably going to take it up the road to a place that specializes in converting them to subaru power. The options I'm looking at are two motors, basically the same thing, same year etc.: One is rebuilt, zero miles on the rebuild. One is used with 30K miles. The rebuilt is a little more money, but not enough to worry about. I haven't looked at a new crate motor. Perhaps I should.

 

Which one? Low mile used, or rebuilt?

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ltljohn

Does the rebuilt one have a warranty? What about the used one?

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realshelby

How many miles were on the rebuilt engine when the work was done? A fairly low mileage used engine is still factory specs and most engines today can run 100+ thousand miles without a second thought. A rebuilt engine could be great. Or rebuilt to a low standard. Like just new piston rings and not new pistons. Crankshaft bearings? What work was done to the cylinder head? New valves? I think there are some great rebuilds, but I want to know they are done right.

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

I'd probably fabricate some % factor to reflect the risk I'd be willing to assume for the rebuild. Then see if that magically makes your decision for you. Yes, I realize you already know the difference. Another factor though is what might have caused the rebuild?

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elkroeger

Warranty is the same for both motors. 1 year.

 

Good questions on the rebuild. Thanks, I'll have to ask. They said they did it themselves, which I'm inclined to believe it was well done. Dunno about the previous mileage on the rebuilt.

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Dennis Andress

As long as there is no evidence of oil seepage, and it hasn't sat for more than a few months, I'd go for the engine with 30K.

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scout6

The head gasket issue is not repairable? We did a crap load of these when I worked at a Pontiac dealer in the 80s.

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elkroeger
The head gasket issue is not repairable? We did a crap load of these when I worked at a Pontiac dealer in the 80s.

 

Oh, well, of course. And really, it's the cheapest thing to do. But there are some good arguments to move in a different direction. Those VW motors had some problems right from the start, and I'd like to get away from that. Just sick of the trip failures, and the unexplained coughing and sputtering that clears up for no apparent reason.

 

And double the horsepower isn't anything to sneeze at. Loaded up, the stock 95 hp can get me up most mountain passes at 45 mph. I can overtake only the heaviest, and slowest of the semis.... :-(

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szurszewski

I can’t remember - is it a vanagon? My mom is still hanging on to her ‘79 transporter and every once in awhile I think of having a more modern engine put into it so I’d like to hear about this. Is there still a shop I tacoma that does the Subaru conversions?

 

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elkroeger

smallcar.com

 

There are perhaps several other shops around that do these sorts of things. I haven't made up my mind yet. Anything you do, along these lines is not gonna be cheap. Yeah - mine's a vanagon.

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Twisties

We bought a truck with a rebuilt motor 0-miles on it. It made it 150 miles. Your deal has a one year warranty. So I would think any issues would become apparent before then. How much do you trust the warranty.

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Bill_Walker
smallcar.com

 

There are perhaps several other shops around that do these sorts of things. I haven't made up my mind yet. Anything you do, along these lines is not gonna be cheap. Yeah - mine's a vanagon.

 

Hopefully it's already a water-cooled one. I didn't see pictures for air-cooled vanagons, but the placement of the radiators under the chassis on the Type 2s looks awfully susceptible to road damage to me. It sure looks like they do nice work otherwise, though, and that was probably the only space they could use.

 

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scout6

Okay. I did not realize there were other issues with that motor. Enjoy!

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elkroeger

brief update - I got a auto mechanic around the corner that I've come to trust. I've been talking with them, about my vanagon, they're all excited to do the work: Buy the conversion kit from a reputable outfit in Colorado, and a Jasper brand remanufactured subaru engine with a 3 year, 100K mile warranty. Haven't got the estimate yet, but jeez, that sounds more sensible than spending a pile of dough on a junk yard motor.

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realshelby

If you want to keep the VW, it sounds like the conversion not only brings reliability but a much better operating vehicle. Jasper engines seem to be as good as any. Let us know how it does when you drive it!

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Ken S

The engine suggestions above are pretty thoughtful. I noticed this Vanagon shop between SeaTac and Seattle on the Light Rail recently. Sounds like they've done a number of these conversions, and have some very good info about them on their website. They also say that they have some vans with converted engines that they'll let you test drive.

 

My wife has an 88 Vanagon and a friend is looking for one in good shape to buy. (I saw that GoWesty did a complete rebuild/conversion and it sold for over $100K recently.) We're considering the Subaru conversion also, but not quite ready yet. We'd like to hear how it goes.

Edited by Ken S

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elkroeger

Peace Vans is a good shop. They've done stuff for me in the past. I've spoken with them a little bit about this project, and I need to do some follow up. They're still in the race.

 

Jeez, $100k for a box on 4 wheels with a sink, stove and mattress. Prolly didn't even have any furry dice!

 

The economical thing to do is just sell the thing and get a trailer. Or several. Shoot, you can buy a decent house in some places for that kind of dough.

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bwpsg42

A friend of mine down here bought a kit and a used ford 4 cylinder engine of some type and installed it all himself in his 4wd vanagon and has had nothing but good things to say and I know he is a road-aholic. He picked the ford conversion because he says the conversion was less expensive.

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