can the subaru gearbox be used somehow to cut costs? Is a mid mount engine configuration an option?
I was rereading through some posts (in anticipation of a Type 3 project) and realized no one addressed these questions.
The Subie transmission can be used, but the differential has to be flipped, since it is driving in the opposite direction (engine behind trans, instead of in front of it, moving forwards). This is now accomplished with http://www.subarugears.com/
. It looks like the flipping of the diff and machining out the case isn't that bad (see vids on the site) but you will have to fab or buy mounts, and fab shift linkage.
Here's a Vanagon build thread about the transmission - one of the best IMO, and David build some good linkage, I think. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=407222&highlight=subaru+transmission
On the Samba, years ago, a member named Tristar Eric built a Vanagon Double Cab with a 2.5 STI engine, and a Porsche G50 transmission. More fab work, and that trans is kind of expensive.
Nate on here has a great build thread of his Squareback with a Type 4 engine and a Porsche 915 transmission, and the associated mods for installation.
So - I think your budget and your fab skills will determine what you want to do.
Type 4 swap - easiest and cheapest
Subie swap - more expensive and more involved
Turbo Subie Swap - even more expensive, and even more fab work involved
Stock 4 spd trans - easiest and cheapest
Porsche 901/915 trans - some real fab work, trans are reasonable cost, but rebuild costs a lot
Porsche G5- - more fab work and a higher price, but stronger internals
Subaru 5 speed - plentiful and cheap, but swap parts are about $2000, and some fab work to install
Mid engine? Anything is possible, but that option would put you into the complete custom car builder - not really feasible for a weekend fabricator, even an accomplished one, reasonably.
Parting out Porsches and VWshttp://www.greggearhead.com