'89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:20 am

I've got the stainless coolant pipes and silicon heater hoses installed. Everything gets bundled up tight to clear the fuel tank.

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Tank is back in and finished up the rear coolant pipes and heater hose install.

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Mounted up the header and return pipe from rad to thermostat. Still need to weld an air bleed fitting to the high point in the T-stat pipe.

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Replaced the rollover valves and grommets, once the breather tanks go back in the fuel system will be completely done.

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I went with a conversion kit from Rocky Mountain Westy for the steering hoses. All plumbed up nicely. Time will tell how noisy this setup is...fingers crossed.

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I decided to add VDO oil temperature and pressure gauges. The stock oil switch gets replaced with a brass 'T' and in goes the sensors. Pretty snug fit below the Alternator but ended up pretty clean I think. I have to run a longer belt than stock to clear the oil sender, but it wraps the alternator pulley ever so slightly more. Belt wear is a problem on these engines due to the manual tensioning design (belts stretch) and lack of belt wrap on the Alt pulley (poor traction, belt slips and wears).

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:53 pm

With the coolant bottles installed, I ended up having to reroute the steering pressure hose a little bit. It's been 8 or 9 months since I've done one of these swaps and I forgot how tight things get around the coolant bottle. Most places that do engine conversions end up relocating the pressurized coolant bottle, plus they usually reverse the coolant manifold on these Subaru engine swaps. Both will give a little more clearance for a few things, but neither are necessary if you're careful.

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I decided to add a mount for the engine bay coolant pipe that allows a bit of movement while supporting the pipe. The engine tends to wiggle a little bit due to the design of the rear engine mount adapter brackets flexing (I'll probably end up designing my own engine mount bar that uses the factory Subaru engine mounts). Rather than mounting the coolant pipe directly to the stock Vanagon air filter bracket, this exhaust hanger should do the job and allow plenty of wiggle room.

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I added an air bleed to the high point on the Thermostat return pipe.

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The cooling system is fully plumbed now, ready for almost 5 gallons of coolant!!

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Heat/splash shields are back in place. The rear shield needs a little work due to the relocated mustache bar. The 3 "fingers" of the heat shield that reach down to protect the crank pulley and the engine mounts need to be modified and remounted.

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And the wire harness is almost ready to start laying in place for a test fire. Once it's up and running w/out any DTCs setting, I'll give the harness a full wrap and contour it where it needs to be.

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Leatherneck » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:06 pm

5 gallons, time to hit the desert in the summer Karl. I was in a buggy shop today, they had a Suby engine with dual Turbos on it, thought of you and what you could do with that, bit large for the engine compartment though as it was set up.

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Piledriver » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:54 pm

I'm sure I'm seeing things bit it appears the power steering reservoir is plumbed into the intake?
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:53 pm

Piledriver wrote:I'm sure I'm seeing things bit it appears the power steering reservoir is plumbed into the intake?
:lol: I see what you're looking at.
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Piledriver » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:23 pm

The acres of cast aluminum do sort of blur together, had to zoom in to see the flanged bit at the end!
Nice work!
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:27 am

Piledriver wrote:The acres of cast aluminum do sort of blur together, had to zoom in to see the flanged bit at the end!
Nice work!
Thanks!

That picture is misleading alright. Looks like the bolt is on the intake flange even. I've got to admit, my picture quality has been lacking recently. I used to use our nice Canon, now I just use my old Samsung S4. Just quick and easy, but poor quality...I'm overdue for a new phone.

Here's a better angle.

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:15 pm

I finished modifying the heat shields and mounted them over the engine mounts and behind the crank balancer. The plastic timing cover will probably thank me too.

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The exhaust went together smooth. First time using a V-band clamp, I like 'em! I welded the clamp right onto the header collector and used a short piece of tubing between it and the flexible section. Every piece got cut, fit, cleaned and tacked into place on the Van. Then the assembly came off as one piece and all 6 seams got fully welded. Back on the Van it went with a new Oxygen sensor just upstream of the cat.

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:26 pm

Once the harness was completely wired, it got installed loose to check its function. All the fluids got filled and after cranking for oil pressure, I fired the engine and checked all the vitals while it warmed up. So far so good, no codes, no leaks and everything seems to be functional.

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The harness got bundled securely in position, then wrapped. Once fitted in place its hardly noticeable in the engine bay. ECU, relays and OBD2 connector all get sealed inside a box and tucked away in front of the left taillamp housing.

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I shortened the MAF sensor housing to allow for a flexible section to be added between it and the air filter. This will prevent the filter housing from flexing the sheetmetal it's mounted to with engine movement. Also, I shortened the factory intake snorkel slightly so it could be connected to the filter housing with a simple 3" coupling.

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Mechanically, at this point it's ready to drive. Still have most of the glass out of the Van, and the majority of the interior trim and seats to install before it's ready for a trip. We have a wedding in California to attend in a little over 4 months...goal is to drive the Van down, and back :lol:
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by panel » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:10 pm

Nice work!

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:02 am

Thanks Panel!

Just finishing up a few electrical bits before we move onto some interior paint work and sealing some of the body seams, etc. With the AC and rear heater deleted I had 2 switch panels to do something with. So I trimmed and covered their faces with some .010" aluminum sheet so I could repurpose them. The smaller panel now has a switch for some front driving lights and radio "key-on" power signal. The larger panel houses switches for both front seat heaters and the "Check Engine" light for the Subaru ECU.

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Everything mounted up and functional. The 3-gauge cluster has engine oil pressure and temp as well as trans gear oil temp. Plenty of clearance to stir the shifter around. Radio is prewired, still need to source a head unit.

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Next, out with the leaky front window, and on to more rust treatment and paint work.

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:28 am

It was time to do something about the way some PO "modified" the front wheel wells. I've heard that the area above the front upper control arms can get smashed up if you JUMP your Van and bottom out hard. But to pound the sheet metal in just to clear the arms so you can slam the Van's ride height seems pretty silly. The seams were all stretched and split apart, and of course they weren't sealed up, so yet another water leak into the Van, and a little rust to deal with. I pounded things back into place and cleaned, sealed, prepped and painted both sides as well as the battery box.

Before:

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After a good beating:

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Prepped and painted:

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As far as I know, this Van got painted and quickly "reassembled" before getting parked outside on the curb at the shop I bought it from. It sat for a few months before I started working there, and It's been well over a year since then. So roughly a year and a half since the Van has been washed at least...It's pretty dirty. After pulling the leaking windshield out I decided to clean some grime off the roof. We've named the Van "Blueberry" :D

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:47 pm

The windshield sealing area had some surface rust creaping around. Got it all cleaned up and painted and installed old glass with new seal.

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I had to remove the factory sound deadening material from my engine cover, it was beat up and soaked with oil and dirt. So I made a new liner that cleared the suby intake plenum and MAF sensor housing, wired and taped it to the lid.

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The slider jam and gasket channel needed some work, so it got cleaned up and sealed/painted.

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The door steps had some light rust also, big surprise. So I got thosr cleaned up and painted as well.

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Then the whole dang thing got masked and we sprayed the interior. 2 coats of black primer sealer, then 3 coats of trunk splatter paint, followed by 3 coats of clear to seal it all up.

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We glued in some headliner sound deadening foam as well.

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Roped in the rear windows and slider.

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Getting ready to hang the front doors, I had to repair multiple broken and some "repaired" wires in both door harnesses. Hoping the power locks start working.

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Decided to replace the cluster harness and illumination bulbs.

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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:09 am

The dash is all back together finally.

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The wing window frames were in pretty rough shape. So they got disassembled, media blasted and rebuilt. I made a couple of punches to cut out new seals/grommets for the wing pivot mounts.

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Been working on replacing the weather stripping for the front doors before remounting them on the Van. The rear hatch and sliding door gaskets got replaced as well. So every door seal and almost every glass seal are new.

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I made a short drive around the neighborhood last week to feel out the new engine and trans combo. It drives and shifts great, but had some cooling issues. After an extended idle I noticed the temp gauge reading above normal and no cooling fan opperation. This was the first chance I had to test the cooling fan control switch in the radiator with everything up to temp, and it failed. So I replaced the switch and topped off the coolant. Testing the new switch and this time comparing the subaru ECU coolant temp sensor readings with the dash gauge, I discovered the stock dash gauge reads a little above normal with the system maintaining 185-190F temps. Maybe I can find a way to adjust the stock temp gauge dispaly a bit.

With the doors going back on and together, this thing is almost ready to start driving. I need to put as many miles on it as possible to shake it down before we take off on our West Coast Tour in just over 1 month :shock: :shock:
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Clonebug » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:42 am

Very Nice Karl!!!!
Top Notch work on your part.

Are You going to have it ready for SpringMeet in three weeks??????

That would make it worth a drive to see your new obsession...... :P :lol: 8)

Saturday May 6th in case you didn't keep up....... :D :wink:
Stripped66 wrote:The point wasn't to argue air temps with the current world record holder, but to dispel the claim that the K03 is wrapped up at 150 HP. It's not.

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