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    Thread: Vanagon WBX G Lader (Build)

    1. Member
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      09-28-2012 10:28 AM #1
      Anyone ever done a supercharged Wasserboxer?
      I am considering (planning) to do so on mine.
      The top end is new and the pistons are German OEM with new rings done a little over a year ago.
      I want to keep Digi II and see if I can pull it off on a OEM pully G-Lader (will run ~6-9 PSI), possible non intercooled.
      Who thinks this would be cool.
      I had considered a subaru when I tore into the van in 2010 but could not make a hybrid brand vanagon.
      I am tired of getting passed on the highway, not because I can't keep up, but becasue I am not interested in running 75 at 4300 RPM and killing my 20 MPG. If I charged this van, the blue shoebox would not get the pass and go treatment.
      Who's with me on a G Lader 2.1 WBX?
      I am almost done with with GTI CIS-E G60 so I know there is a way to make it work.
      Thanks
      Last edited by nbvwfan; 02-26-2013 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Title change

    2. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      09-28-2012 04:22 PM #2
      http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=192576

      My dad keeps telling me, "Need to put a supercharger on this thing!", then we meet up with Subaru-swapped vans... "Need to put a Subaru in this thing!"
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    3. Member MagicBus's Avatar
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      09-29-2012 09:33 AM #3
      Having been around them since 1985 and having owned one since 2003, I regard the waterboxer as a fragile beast, at best. Keeping them running properly in stock form is difficult. I can't imagine that modifying the stock engine will yield results that'll be reliable for more than 100 miles or so.

      I'd highly recommend an engine swap for more power.

    4. 09-30-2012 12:00 PM #4
      While I'm far from an expert on engine building, as long as the rod bolts have been updated, the 2.1 is a pretty stout, reliable engine. Obviously the electronics associated with the engine can be finicky, but if all is well there, I say go for it. You may have to upgrade the ignition system to one that can pull timing as the boost rises and you will need to provide some means of increasing the fuel as boost rises, but those are relatively simple things to manipulate. An air/fuel ratio gauge would be your friend.

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      10-01-2012 10:49 AM #5
      The rod bolts are stock but are not the problematic 1.9's.
      It has new heads and new rings and new/used OEM German pistons put in the right way.
      The bottom end is solid and the top end is new.
      When contemplating the design during reassembly, I feel the engine is easily capable of 200 reliable HP. Especially due to the lower rev and balanced design of the WBX.
      I disagree with the "Fragile Beast" comment. My parents had an 84 1.9 and I know that even with the headgasket leak issues it was subject to flogging everytime it was driven. Mine is a 91' 2.1 and has been driven very light (since I have owned it).
      I am going for it.
      Yeah I thought of the Subie 2.2 or 2.5 or the H-6, and was really about to do so even after my rebuild, but something in me did not let me mix brands.
      While I really like Subaru's and I like Subagon's I also like/appreciate the design of the WBX. The history on it was interesting, VW designers did the best they could do performing a watercooled from air cooled design base. It is a solid engine (especially with the 91' updates)

      I think a G60 lumped just over a relocated P/S stump would be cool. And a fab'd dump valve from a Corrado to Vanagon T/B and some plumbing, and mechanically I am there.
      As for fueling, I would first push the limits of Digi do some tuning to the flapper and spring, put on a wideband and look at it's manners.
      I think stock Digi II can do 175 HP, after that I would need more fuel pressure or bigger injectors or both. But a Boosted WBX running 175HP/175TQ would be more fun than a EJ25 conversion. I could always add in some CIS items to supplement boost fueling.

    6. Member MagicBus's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 09:03 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by nbvwfan View Post
      I disagree with the "Fragile Beast" comment. My parents had an 84 1.9 and I know that even with the headgasket leak issues it was subject to flogging everytime it was driven. Mine is a 91' 2.1 and has been driven very light (since I have owned it).
      I am going for it.
      I present my comments as opinion only, but based on:

      1. a 1985 Vanagon my parents bought new and sold in 1989
      2. a 1989 Vanagon my parents bought new and still drive daily
      3. a 1991 Vanagon I bought in 2003 and still own
      4. various friends' Vanagons


      I've seen head gasket failures, bottom end failures, electronic failures (ecu, sensors, switches, MAF), accessory failures (water pump, AC compressor)... you name it.

      I concede that a lot of that can be chalked up to standard old car issues. But, I have yet to see with my own eyes a Vanagon get past 160,000 miles without blown head gaskets, a worn-out bottom end, or both. I know that some of them will seemingly run forever and ever with little care. That simply hasn't been my experience. In my personal experience, I have yet to see one pass 100,000 without a fairly major issue.

      Granted, I'm spoiled in terms of what I consider reliable. I've had more than one old diesel Mercedes and more than one EJ22 Subaru. So, my radar is off in terms of what's really dependable and reliable.

      For what it's worth, it sounds like you know what you are doing, and if you do go ahead with it, I hope you post the project here. It sounds like it'll be cool, and I wish you luck with it.

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      10-01-2012 10:20 PM #7
      Mine just rolled 158000 today.
      Hoping it goes to a solid 200000.
      Rings pistons lifters and heads waterpump ect all at ~145000.
      From what I've read the 2.1 bottom end is more solid and the lower C/R suits low boost.
      Granted I aim at stock G60 (78mm) pumping a stock 2.1 liter at under 6000the rpm and factored loss of ~18%the I don't think I would push more than 7my psi max.
      That might suit a 2.1 and tuned digital II f/I fairly well.
      I would probably do an intercooler if I can get it plumbed and by Corkins Bell's book I might see about 150 HP 170 TQ max.
      that with it all from idle to 5000 rpm would best a 2.5 subaru setup.
      Thanks for the input, its appreciated.
      This will not be an overnight or bolt on build but one I will pace as sanity dictates.
      A predictor will also be the durability and economy of my nearly complete 86 GTI g60 running on a mildly worked CIS-E setup.
      I will keep this post going as it progresses.
      check out my build in mk2 and hybrid forums.
      Thanks
      Last edited by nbvwfan; 02-01-2014 at 04:16 PM.

    8. 10-07-2012 02:29 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by nbvwfan View Post
      The rod bolts are stock but are not the problematic 1.9's.
      Actually, the 1.9s did not have any rod bolt issues. The 1.9 bottom ends are darn near bullet proof. The 2.1s were the ones with the rod bolt issues and 150,000 to 180,000 seems to be the point where most let go.

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      10-08-2012 08:54 AM #9
      I guess I stand corrected. Mine seem to be fine at 160,000. Hope this info does not influence them to fail.

    10. 10-08-2012 02:07 PM #10
      Yeah, I hope not! Many have gone more miles than that without fail. Adding boost to your 2.1 won't necessarily add much in the way of increased load on the rod bolts, but if you plan on running higher RPMs or running high RPMs for extended periods of time, I would definitely look into tearing the engine down and upgrading.

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      10-08-2012 03:47 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Schimke View Post
      Yeah, I hope not! Many have gone more miles than that without fail. Adding boost to your 2.1 won't necessarily add much in the way of increased load on the rod bolts, but if you plan on running higher RPMs or running high RPMs for extended periods of time, I would definitely look into tearing the engine down and upgrading.
      Yeah, that is what I read in the book Supercharged by Corki Bell, the inertial loads are more directly effected by RPM than elevated charge pressure.
      I had indicated that I am after a low torque boost bump, with the OEM 78MM running on a WBX that stays under 5K RPM, I think I would be fine. I plan on having my daily driver first running reliably before adding any potential issues on my Van that is honestly fault free right now.
      I may never even do this, but I do contemplate it while I am continually passed because people feel the need to get around the blue box ahead of them that is going the flow of traffic.

    12. Member
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      02-26-2013 04:42 PM #12
      Thought I would update this thread.
      I got my vanagon through emissions after 5 tests with incremental improved results.
      Last was a "pass" at 706ppm on a 708ppm limit for Nox

      I will be driving it now N/A until the next emissions test in two years.
      Unfortunately I have to wait until it is no longer required, or plan on a build that would/will pass or be easily removed and set to stock.
      I still plan on doing the boost, just cannot until I have done some more research/thinking, and have my GTI on the road DD.
      When I do, I am probably tearing the engine down, splitting the case, doing a bottom end refresh, and finding ARP hardware if that is possible.
      Then I will be going worked G60 or an M62 with a goal of 12-16 PSI on DIGI and a Haltech F5 with dual injectors.
      I want near double the HP and torque, at ~16 PSI I think a 200HP/TQ WBX is possible, and would certainly be a quick blue box.
      Last edited by nbvwfan; 02-27-2013 at 09:03 AM.

    13. Member greenraVR6's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:53 PM #13
      seems like this could be a cool build if all the parts are rebuilt and beefed up a little bit. My initial thought when reading this was that mixing the notoriously problematic WBXR engine with the notoriously problematic G60 charger sounds like the makings of an overly problematic setup...

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      03-12-2013 09:14 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by greenraVR6 View Post
      seems like this could be a cool build if all the parts are rebuilt and beefed up a little bit. My initial thought when reading this was that mixing the notoriously problematic WBXR engine with the notoriously problematic G60 charger sounds like the makings of an overly problematic setup...
      Or a - + - = +
      I have rebuilt my G Lader and top ended my WBX, so yes, if/when I merge the platforms, I will be sprucing things up on the bottom end where the weak points exist.
      I am hoping/planing the bottom will hold up until then.
      It is about to turn 170,000 miles this week but everything seems solid aside from a clicking in the transmission when rolling to a stop.
      Thanks for the interest.

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      02-01-2014 04:26 PM #15
      Figured I would bump this on the lonely Van & Transporter forum.
      I've been DD'ing my 86 GTI for about a year and ~25,000 miles.
      I'm running a solid 10PSI G Lader, on lowered compression Corrado pistons I added in the fall, all still CIS-E.
      I'm installing a twin screwed in a few weeks to push the boost and see if I can break 30MPG.

      As for the Vanagon, I am still considering/planning F/I, I have a couple other roots blowers and any would fit decently if I pulled the A/C stuff.
      I have to flush the diff and transmission fluid as there is some clicking sound I hear at idle and rolling to a stop.
      About 25,000 miles since major service, it needs a bit of a tuneup in the ignition end.

      Since I starting this thread, I have found a few more things to use in the hybridization, all with the aim of it being a relatively bolt on, plug and play build.

      Right now, it sits and waits to be used as my backup DD, but it will get some TLC soon enough and when I do, I plan to start fabricating the mounts for one of my blowers.

      Keep an eye out for F/I WBX updates.


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      03-21-2014 03:47 PM #16
      I ordered and received a bunch of maintenance items for the Van.
      It has sat most of the winter, only used two times.
      But I plan to cover:
      Fuel lines (finally)
      Trans Filter/Flush
      Rear Diff Gasket and fluid
      Headlight Relay Kit
      Dual Washer nozzles
      Upper Ball Joints
      Lower Ball Joint
      Repack the front bearings
      SST Brake lines 4 corners
      15W-50 Mobile 1Oil and new Mahl/Mann filter

      With the above it should be good for another year of backup use.
      Once sorted I may still contemplate F/I, but for the time being, It will just have to stay a slow, relaxing blue box.
      Bump for old vanagons

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      03-22-2014 09:07 PM #17
      (Upper) Ball Joints done, Brake lines swapped, Rear Brakes done, Trans Flushed, Diff fluid replaced, Oil changed, Leak fixed, Window rehung, Repacked a bearing, and rotated tires. Van's ready for some use again.

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