'71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

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ambrynmc
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'71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by ambrynmc » Wed May 09, 2012 4:25 pm

Ok, so I‘m finally starting “My thread” for my build! So for some background, I have a 1971 bug with a Domus flatbed kit on it that has been in the family for over 35 years.

It looks just like this…
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So the thing is, I basically grew up with this car. It was my fathers and now it’s mine. It needs a motor badly and I decided to go Subi-power after looking at the cost to build a type 1 engine with Chinese parts scared the crap out of me. And the cost to go type 4 scared me too. So I started researching it and figured out that the Subaru turbo engine needs the Subaru trans with it if you want to handle the horsepower and have an overdrive (75 mph at less than 3,000 rpm, yeah!). This project is currently going to be just an engine and trans swap. There are other things I want to do with the car, but I need to do this a piece at a time due to my budget. In the future I plan to do a pan-off restoration with Mendeola suspension and 944 turbo brakes…but that is sooo not happening now.
So I started collecting parts for this conversion! I was able to work a deal with Todd at Subarugears for what was probably his first and only groupbuy…(major thank you for that Todd! It went super smooth.) So with one of the major part hurdles under my belt, it was time to find the actual engine!
I was searching on Ebay, the internet, and Craigslist for an engine with a trans. I was looking for the right balance of age, horsepower, and of course cost. Sounded easy at first, but it’s not. Money always gets in the way; I found lots of engines that I wanted but couldn’t afford…pretty JDM STI engines from the early 2000’s for $+/-3,500. I found some 1994-1997 Twin Turbo engines for $750 (budget YES), but add a newer trans (easier to convert) and a single turbo and you are at $1,700 for a +/-16 year old engine. Not really what I was looking for. Not to mention, I kept hearing about how a lot of the JDM engines are not actually “low mile”, all of them advertise as 40,000-60,000 miles, but I saw real evidence of 90,000 mile engines out there (re-sealed head gaskets, etc.). So I kept looking.
I was finally about to pull the trigger on a 1999-2002 EJ208 (newer twin turbo) with a newer trans for $2,000 when I found a mislabeled engine on Craigslist. It was listed as a 2008 2.0 liter WRX engine for $2,000. The picture showed an aluminum intake manifold, so I immediately knew something was off. First there are no 2.0L WRXs in 2008 (all 2.5L) and the 2008 year has a plastic intake. I chalked it up to a scam, but the ad was up for a couple of weeks and then he lowered the price…so I figured, “what the heck” might as well look at it! I go over and sure enough, it’s a 2003 engine with transmission. The guy must have gotten the 8 confused with a 3 and really didn’t know (he’s a body shop guy, he bought the car for the body parts). I double checked the transmission code, found the date stamp on the intake and the underside of the oil cap verifying the right date. So we came to a deal and I took it home!

Here it is being unloaded...
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So fast forward through a kitchen remodel, new deck hand railing, and some new tile flooring and a lot of painting….and here we are! During this time, I’ve collected a lot of parts: radiator, aftermarket ECU, wideband O2 sensor, timing belt kit w/water pump, gasket set, 930 axles/CVs, headers, etc…
So finally this weekend, I moved some stuff around in the garage and got the Subaru engine on the engine stand. Covered all the openings I could find on it, and pressure-washed the engine and trans.
Here is the dirty engine/trans on the stand

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Now it’s clean!

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I did get a little water in the engine, so I started removing the parts I don’t need and the ones I need to modify. I took off the turbo and the exhaust. I also removed the oil pan and filter.

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Next, I need to start taking the intake and top side of the engine apart. I need to work on a breather system, remove the tumble generator valves, remove the fuel injection rails so they can be modified for AN fittings, remove the rocker covers so they can be powder coated, change the sparkplugs, replace the timing belt and water pump, replace a broken timing belt cover (behind the cam pulleys…ouch), paint the timing belt covers, turn the intake around (powder-coat that too), blah, blah, blah. I definitely have a few things to work on! And that is just the engine, I haven’t even started to do the transmission ring/pinion conversion!

So here we go! It’s time to get started!
1971 Truckaru (WRX eng/trans powered Domus flatbed bug-truck) - build thread

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RonW
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by RonW » Wed May 09, 2012 4:49 pm

fcuk ya! its about time ;) cant wait to see the progress.

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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by Steve Arndt » Wed May 09, 2012 5:37 pm

I love bug trucks.

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GS guy
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by GS guy » Wed May 09, 2012 7:29 pm

Looks like a great start! Nice parts selection. Now show some pics of the truck conversion! Any plans for the finished look? Low street slammer? Or off road? Either one would work with the right bits!

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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by GS guy » Wed May 09, 2012 7:38 pm

This remineded me of a Bug-truck conversion I saw in a guys garage a number of years ago. It was the wildest thing I'd ever seen! I think he had channeled the body an inch or 2, and it might have had just a "slight" chop to the roof as well? The whole thing was LOOOOOW - like the roof was about chest high, but the top wasn't super chopped to get it that low, and it had just normal lowering to the chassis. Baja front end, and super clean truck bed conversion in the back. Seems like it had a full sided bed like a standard small pick-up, but can't quite remember the exact details? Nice wide Fuchs wheels and hot honking motor with Big weber carbs sticking up inside the bed. I've kicked myself to have not taken any pictures. Never seen anything quite like it. A truckaru will definitely be cool!

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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by 56SemaRag » Thu May 10, 2012 7:04 am

Awesome! Good to see the build taking off
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ambrynmc
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by ambrynmc » Thu May 10, 2012 1:13 pm

So here is the "vessel" for the Sub-version...

Image

Dirty and being using as a parts table...sorry baby. I just placed the radiator in there to soo what it looked like (it's a Griffin 26" x 16" race one from Summit Racing). The outlet is hitting the sheetmetal since I haven't cut anything yet.

I'm planning to go low with this one. I still want the truck functionality, so this might be a challenge.

My dad used air shocks to increase the load capacity. I'm not sure what I will do. I will tell you this, this "truck" has carried countless refrigerators, stoves, etc. It has been well used. I can't even tell you all the funny stares and finger pointing we used to get...well, I also used to ride on the back too....can't do that these days, you would go to jail. :shock:
1971 Truckaru (WRX eng/trans powered Domus flatbed bug-truck) - build thread

ambrynmc
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by ambrynmc » Thu May 10, 2012 1:43 pm

Continued the disassembly of the engine. Took all the stuff off the top of the engine.

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Here are all the intake parts

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This is the stock TD04 turbo.

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Not sure what to do with it. There is a little shaft play and there is some oil in the intake (not a lot), so it could stand to be rebuilt, but why spend $250 to rebuild the stock one when you can go bigger for +/-$500 (used newer VF turbo?). Either way is not in the budget...What to do, what to do....
1971 Truckaru (WRX eng/trans powered Domus flatbed bug-truck) - build thread

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Buggin_74
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by Buggin_74 » Fri May 11, 2012 6:19 pm

Looks likes this is going to be an interesting project.
ambrynmc wrote: I kept hearing about how a lot of the JDM engines are not actually “low mile”, all of them advertise as 40,000-60,000 miles, but I saw real evidence of 90,000 mile engines out there (re-sealed head gaskets, etc.). So I kept looking.
It's some kind of law with parts of Japan that they have to offload some engines by 40,000kms.
We installed quite a few low KM Jap import for customers and they are often an absolute nightmare and I recommend against it usually, people think oooohhh low KM engine for not many $$ must be a good buy.

It's not that they have lied and the engines have higher mileage, they have just had a hard life.
Most aussie cars with 200K+ highway KMs look better inside than a 40k city KM Jap motors.

These engines spend 90% of there life just idling around in bumper to bumper Tokyo traffic usualy with A/C loading them up and running nice and toasty in those hot humid Japanese summers.
I had to tear down a few of them to do seals and headgaskets and they are so badly carboned up inside.
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56SemaRag
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by 56SemaRag » Fri May 11, 2012 9:58 pm

The inspection is called the "Shaken" or shaw-ken. JDM motors can have high miles, but typically don't because of the annual inspection. It is harder to keep an older car on the road in Japan. The fees and fines for having an older car that leaks oil or other minor nuisances gets to be too much and they dump them. Many of the cars that traded hands over in Japan between servicemen rotating in and out of country was really based around the expiration date of the inspection and not necessarily the condition of the car.

Buggin_74 is right in that many of the miles the cars have are spent in traffic.
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by ambrynmc » Sat May 12, 2012 9:46 am

I totally agree about what everybody "knows" about the Japanese regs, but the funny thing is...go do a search for whole Japanese cars for sale. The second one that pops up on Yahoo is http://www.findjapancars.com

Now do a search for Subaru cars, there are over 100 cars for sale. MOST have over 80,000 km, some are up to 180,000 km. Less than a dozen have less than 70,000 km! So I'm having a hard time believing the low mileage claims that ALL the breakers are spouting.

I thing that the truth is more like this...They take old engines, pressure wash and spray them with light oil to make them shiny and PRESTO a "super low mileage" Japanese engine....my 2 cents.
1971 Truckaru (WRX eng/trans powered Domus flatbed bug-truck) - build thread

56SemaRag
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by 56SemaRag » Sat May 12, 2012 1:34 pm

Being stationed in Japan you get to know the regulations real quick, so my information is first hand about the inspections. There were high mile cars, it just got harder year after year to keep them on the road if you didn't do your own labor. Power washing and brake cleaner over everything minutes before going on the inspection lift only carries you so far :lol: The dreaded JAI (japanese auto inspection) was no joke. You would shake your head at what the discrepancies were, but then again you were used to the states.
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by RonW » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:30 pm

ambrynmc wrote:Continued the disassembly of the engine. Took all the stuff off the top of the engine.

Image
bump to top for update ;)

on that note, i have a questions for all the suby conversion guys. in the above photo are the two hard lines that go to the heater exiting to the R side near the oil dipstick. if not running a heater, according to outfrontmotorsports, you have to connect them together otherwise the T-stat wont open properly. how are you guys looping this. it is really tight in our cars and although I have a hose connecting one end to the other, im afraid with the sharp turns its getting kinked. are you guys connecting it at the bottom at the t-stat housing?
http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n52 ... -42023.jpg
this guy looks to have capped one
http://i730.photobucket.com/albums/ww30 ... tor015.jpg

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RonW
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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by RonW » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:53 pm

a bit of a hi jack / off topic sorry
i just got off the phone with john at outback and he is gonna send me some pics of how to clean up those water lines. basically he doesn't run a t-stat and he caps off those ports at the waterpump/t-stat housing. he also cuts off some unused water port at the throttle body too, not sure what he was saying but he's gonna take pics so. i'll start a new thread with a write up when i get pics and figure it out.

back to your scheduled programming ;)

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Re: '71 VW Bug truck w/Subi WRX eng/trans...Buga-Truckaru?

Post by GS guy » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:42 pm

I'm running a hose from the upper crossover manifold, down along side the engine and back into the waterpump inlet. On my WP, it has 2 hose inlets besides the radiator hose return. One is 1/2", that one comes from the fill reservior. The other, 5/8" is the heater return inlet.
I pulled the pipe coming out of the water manifold and replaced it with an NPT fitting after tapping the hole - that might give you some more flexibility. Maybe solder or weld a U-joint into the heater return pipe so it feeds more easily back into the water manifold.

I also kept the heater connection at the throttle body, but did do away with the OEM IAC valve and the heater hoses to/from it. The TB hose T-ees into the return from my turbo cooling hose, feeding back into the fill resevior.

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