I was sent a heads up about this thread, good attention being paid to various points, let me see if I can't hit a few more from our POV.
|Quote, originally posted by rs4-380 »|
fair enough. Biggest reason the zetec conversion was ruled out when I was looking is because bostig makes it non-diy compatible.
The main reason we started with turnkeys was two-fold. In order to develop something as potentially complicated as an entire engine conversion which encompasses everything from mechanicals to engine management, to documentation, it is important to not allow to many variants. This is one of the primary problems with the DIY efforts. Despite being around for 12+ years, the subie guys regularly experience the same problems as guys that did conversions years ago. Some of it can be avoided by paying close attention to the info online, but even the best of us are hard pressed to not fall into some of the traps that information gaps provide. This re-discovery and re-learning both burden the DIYer, which is something that most guys(esp guys that are trying to do something like this for the very first time) in retrospect wish they could have avoided.
In any case, by starting our development with a turnkey, we were able to both jumpstart sales because no other such turnkey existed before us, and by the same method, tightly control both development, and monitor the results. Much like software development, or any other engineering, your progress will only be as good as your utilization and control of information, as well as your ability to affect changes quickly and effectively.
We are about to release the V2.0 version of the Bostig Conversion, the entire mounting setup, flywheel, exhaust, harness, cradle etc has all been revised based on what we were able to do with the V1.0 version. Similarly again to software we can also offer an upgrade path to first gen customers, since parts were developed to be backward compatible, and not need to be replaced en mass to upgrade to the new mounting setup etc.
Additionally, since the conversion(and us as a company) have matured to this new level... NOW we are able to offer a DIY kit version of the conversion and really gain advantage on every aspect of the zetec. The guys that said they were unimpressed with the zetec in their focii... well I have to say I don't blame you. But you have to keep in mind that the entire implementation dramatically affects everything from perceived performance up through NVH and drivability. Drive a zetec in a caterham, a formula ford car, or indeed one of our conversions and see what you think.. it's a different ballgame. If you look at the reliability indices for the focus, the engine is the best part of the car hands down. It was one of ford's first world engine programs and they produced some 3.5 million of them.. which is more than the sum total of all FHI/subaru engine production from 1990 to 2005 across all engine families and displacements. Now production numbers alone aren't an indicator of a good program or product, but the engines are exceptional. Truly exceptional, both in their simplicity, but also in their design and manufacture.
Ford dumped the zetec in 2004-2005 in favor of the Mazda AJ based duratec.. Cheaper to produce, and less durable, which helps in hitting their warranty marks. Keep in mind that just as sewing machine makers in the early 20th century figured out quickly, you need to design them to both last long enough... but not too long.. or you hurt yourself in sales.
Of 40+ turnkeys we've shipped, the average price paid for an engine is $450 shipped to our door, and not one of those engines exceeded 10k miles. This could not have been achieved using any other powerplant that will fit in a vanagon.
Basing the conversion around an engine with such massive economies of scale in both the parts infrastructure, the aftermarket, and salvage markets, it is a very low risk proposition to drive and maintain a zetec converted van. Worst case scenario is an engine failure out of warranty, which for one of our conversions is several hundred dollars for another low mileage engine, vs a couple thousand for a high mileage anything else. The lowest cost engine we bought was $160 shipped to us from a yard about an hour away, with 8k miles. It boggles my mind to think it was even worth their time to pull it and drive it to me, but I won't argue.
It's been quite interesting developing the conversion. At first, when I first got involved, it was clear that most of the attention was paid to engine selection alone. Comparing the good/bad points of the engines usually sparked semi-religious flame wars in VW and vanagon forums far and wide... it seemed apparent though that this was not the only part of the picture. You need good engine mechanicals AND good engine management. Your only as strong as your weakest link... and this was always a very weak link in vanagons. It was also a weak link in all of the other conversion available when I first started looking at it. So we decided to address this aspect with just as much intensity as engine choice and support itself. That's why we're still the only conversion that uses brand spanking new wiring harnesses. In fact, for the 2.0 we've now increased our capabilities to instead of buying new harnesses from Ford(since they are a fraction of the cost of a new subie harness) and stripping down and re-looming, we can build the zetec harnesses from scratch, to any custom configuration we want, with all new pins, backshells, wire, routing. We designed and build them specifically for this application, again, something that no other provider is capable of(I'll brag about that one because just the time in FINDING the right contacts to try and twist the arms of people when you are dealing in such small quantities to make it possible is dangerous to your mental health)
The fact that we also custom tune the ECU to match our hardware and application is an important distinction. This is what enables us to run any octane, have both superchargers and turbochargers as bolt on options, and run e85, and we are talking with a few people in South america that want to be able to run CNG instead of gaslline. As we develop and improve the tunes, they can be emailed, downloaded, and then reflashed via the handheld unit which also doubles as a code reader and USB interface for realtime digital dash and logging functionality. Again, the reason we are capable of doing this stems from the choice of engine, and decision to pay attention to engine management. The 2.0 will have the option of a standalone on dash tool from Auterra to display engine metrics, trip computer functionatily, and has a GPS antenna input to log both against GPS location. The playback software uses to Google earth API to playback vehicle location while you see what the ECU was doing at the time... it's the first step to my dream of aftermarket vehicle prognostics for our customers.
The most recent development which lead to the DIY or Bostig Core conversion, is the realization that it didnt stop with engine mechanicals and engine management. The information provided and known by the operator is just as important. And this is where we can again distance ourselves from the other options. Video based assembly and instructional videos make the build really easy(a pic is worth 1000 words, NTSC video is 29.97 fps, which makes a DVD what.. a sh*tton of words ha) Also people like to pop in a DVD and learn something passively.. and the video makes it both easier for us to produce, and is really the perfect medium for transmission of complete information of such things.
Then there's the price. Since we've gotten so much better at both development and everything else in our business as we always try to improve ourselves as our products, the DIY kit price is looking to be right around $4k, which means if you are a DIYer, you can have it into your van for under $5k. Add the stage 1 turbo to that for around $2400 and you have a maintainable, 90% brand new for your dollar, reliable torque monster that gets 20mpg if you let grandma drive it. BTW we have an EJ22 with adapter plate, cradle, flywheel, primary exhaust, and DIY harness(worthless, it's a mess) that we pulled during a re-conversion. Someone can have for $300 if they want it. For $300, that might be a good reason to do the subie. We make the same power/torque with our power tune as the subie EJ22 does, and the reason we know this is we're still the only ones that ever bothered to double check ourselves and use a chassis dyno before selling anything to anyone... but if factory crank numbers as installed in something else float your boat, so be it
Thanks for reading,
Modified by bostig_engineering at 8:21 PM 3-25-2008
Modified by bostig_engineering at 8:24 PM 3-25-2008
Modified by bostig_engineering at 8:25 PM 3-25-2008