Wasserboxer Vs GTI, Subaru

Vanagon 30 MPG TDI Conversions 12K

Vanagon TDI Conversions

EJ22 Subaru Conversion


Eurovan (T4) TDI conversions now available! If you thought TDI Vanagons were off the hook, wait till you drive one of these! New Eurovan TDI webpage coming soon, but in the meantime check out our new Eurovan TDI Yahoo group, our new shop blog or send us an email for more info on this exciting conversion.

TDI Vanagon Conversions

The ultimate powerplant for power, torque, and efficiency in a Vanagon.

28-33 MPG, and up to 150+hp and 300+ ft/lbs torque!

Bis später wasserboxer and hallo TDI! We are once again offering fully electronic 1.9TDI Vanagon conversions installed at 50* using stock diesel Vanagon mounting hardware. We utilize the 1Z/AHU (90hp 155ft/lb--stock) TDI engine that allows for the engine deck lid to remain unmodified, as well as ground clearance to remain roughly the same as the original 1.9/2.1 wasserboxer engine. All of our conversions are done 100% in-house, including wiring harness and instrument cluster mods.

Compared to every other engine conversion option for a Vanagon there is just no two ways about it: The TDI engine is hands-down the best option in terms of durability, longevity, efficiency, tune-ability and power. We are happy to be offering these conversions to the Vanagon community and we strive to keep producing the gold standard in quality Vanagon TDI conversions in North America.

When we perform any VW engine conversion we strive to keep every stage of the conversion as close to stock as possible. Volkswagen has spent millions and millions of dollars engineering their engines/vehicles for safe and reliable operation, and whenever possible we use factory VW parts to accomplish the task at hand. Now, since TDI engines didn’t exist during the Vanagon production years we are in the position of stitching the two together across the divide of several years and a whole generation of vehicles, and in doing so we try to execute this delicate operation as we imagine VW would have from the factory. That’s our modus operandi: stick to VW conventions with all things, and when in doubt, think like a German VW engineer named Günther.

All of our TDI Vanagon conversions now include a Stage I tune, which gives the engine 110hp and 185ft/lb torque. We have found this to be the best "entry level" power level for a TDI Vanagon, though even at the stock 90hp/155ft-lbs it will blow the doors off of any WBXer!

We are now offering several options for those interested in doing their own conversions including: Vanagon TDI conversion parts in our online store, wiring harness modifications, email/phone consultations ($50/hr), and personal appearances (travel expenses + a fee to be determined by your location and the tasks at hand--HI bills out less than TX ;-) to help you with you complete your conversion. If you are interested in any of these services, please contact us for more information.

Here are some of the features that are presently standard on our TDI Vanagon conversions:


EJ221 Naturally Aspirated

    • Horsepower: 135 bhp (101 kW; 135 bhp) @ 5800 rpm

    • Torque: 186.3 N·m (137 lb·ft) @ 4800 rpm

EJ222 Naturally Aspirated

    • Horsepower: 142 bhp (106 kW; 144 PS) @ 5600 rpm

    • Torque: 149 lb·ft (202 N·m) @ 3600 rpm

Basic TDI Conversion:

*fully rebuilt 1.9l TDI engine

*brand new K03 OE Borg Warner turbocharger

*hybrid clutch kit using single mass AHU TDI flywheel/G60 pressure plate and

wasserboxer 228mm clutch disc (300+ ft/lbs rating)

*100% biodiesel compatible Viton® fuel hoses, and injection pump seals/gaskets

*rebuilt/re-geared transaxle w/ 1.08 3rd gear ratio,

and .70 4th gear ratio (built by German Trans of America in Bend, OR, or AA Transaxle in Seattle, WA)

*stage I injector tune (110hp/180ft-lbs)

*stock diesel Vanagon mounting hardware, bellhousing and oil pan

*new Bosch DV starter

*GW Exclusive! Custom silicone diesel Vanagon coolant hose set STD on all conversions

*custom high flow exhaust system

*intercooler and associated plumbing

*glow plug light and check engine light mods to instrument cluster

*working cruise control (all) and tach (if present), OBDII interface installed under dash

*Warranty: engine 1-yr/12,000 mile & 1-yr warranty on transmission

EJ22 Enhancements and Improvements

Beginning in the 1997 Model Year, the 2.2 liter engine for 1997 Legacy and Impreza models has had internal and external changes that yield an approximately 10% increase in power and 3% increase in fuel economy. Accomplishing this involves many factors, one of which is engine friction reduction. The piston, a major source of engine friction, has been coated with molybdenum to reduce friction. This thin coating not only allows smoother travel through the cylinder, but also reduces cylinder wall scuffing. The skirt of the piston has been reshaped and the overall weight has been reduced by approximately 100 grams. Compression ratio has been increased to 9.7 to 1 by reshaping the crown of the piston. This eliminates the clearance that was available between the piston at TDC and the fully opened valve. Piston pin offset has been changed to 0.5 mm (0.0 in). Piston to cylinder wall clearance has been reduced by increasing the piston diameter. Another source of high engine friction is the valve train. Hydraulic lash adjusters (HLAs) are always in contact with the valves. The hydraulic pressure of the lash adjuster must be overcome during operation and during the most critical time of engine start. To overcome this situation and to contribute to the total reduction of friction loss, 1997 and later SOHC engines have solid valve adjusters. The scheduled service of this valve train is set at 100,000 miles (160,000 km). SOHC engines now use an adjustment screw to adjust valve clearance. The roller rocker cam follower system that was introduced on the 1.8L Impreza engines, is installed on all 1995 model year and later 2.2 liter engines. The roller assemblies are not serviceable separately, but the rocker arms may be serviced as individual units. The carbon composition head gaskets with integrated o-rings are interchangeable from left to right on 1990 to 1994 N/A engines only. Other Engine Modifications (2.2L 1997) The intake manifold has been reshaped to increase the airflow mass and speed, contributing to improved low and mid engine speed operation. Components located on the intake manifold have been relocated as compared to the 1996 models. EGR Solenoid, Purge Control Solenoid, etc. 1999 2.2 Liter Phase 2 Engine Enhancements (from endwrench article H-4 and H-6 service): All 2.2 liter engine for 1999 are the Phase 2 design. The 2.2 liter Phase 2 engines are a SOHC design, with a newly designed cylinder head. Changes in the 2.2 liter Phase 2 engines are as follows:

    • The engine and transmission are fastened with six bolts and two studs.

    • The thrust bearing has been moved to the number 5 position.

    • The oil groove in the number 1 and 3 have been changed to supply additional lubrication to the crank journal.

Additional Phase 2 Engine Features

    • The cylinder head is a two-rocker shaft, solid type valve system with roller followers.

    • The valves are positioned at a larger angle than previous model years. The intake valves are positioned 23 degrees off-center with the exhaust valves positioned 20 degrees off-center. Prior model year engines utilized a 15-degree positioning angle.

    • Head gasket thickness is 0.7 mm (0.03 in).

    • The intake rocker arms are marked so they are correctly placed on the rocker shaft when servicing. An IN1 or IN2 will be embossed on each rocker arm. As viewed from the front of the engine the Number 1 intake valve of ach cylinder and the number 2 intake valve have an IN1 marked and IN2 arked rocker arm that mates with it. New IN1 rocker arms can also be identified by a Green painted mark on the top of the rocker arm. The IN2 rocker arms have a white mark. Proper positioning is maintained through the use of a wave washer located between the rocker shaft arm and rocker arm shaft support.

    • The camshaft is secured to the cylinder head with the camcase. An oil passage in the cylinder head provides the passageway in the camcase with oil that leads to the intake rocker shaft. Oil from the camshaft is collected on the opposite side of the passageway leading to the intake rocker shaft to provide oil to the exhaust rocker shaft.

Note: Cylinder head and camcase must be replaced together (line bored).

    • The sparkplug pipe is pressed into the cylinder head and is not serviceable.

If it becomes damaged the cylinder head must be replaced. The seals installed onto the ends of the sparkplug pipes seal against the valve covers and should be replaced when the valve cover is removed.

    • Pistons on the 2.2 liter engines have a 0.5 mm (0.0 in) offset with the engine having a compression ratio of 10.0 to 1. The horsepower has increased to 142 hp (106 kW) @ 5600 rpm. Maximum torque is 149 lb·ft (202 N·m) @ 3600 rpm.

    • Camshaft sprockets are constructed of a resin type material with a metal key pressed into the sprocket for maintaining proper sprocket to shaft orientation.




Performance TDI Vanagon options:

Want to get even more power/performance out of that TDI engine? Here's a quick way to put your back against the seat and an even bigger smile across your face! (Please note all of our custom engine builds/tunes come standard with ARP head studs and performance ASV pistons unless otherwise noted)

Please note, we are usually booked out 2-3 months in advance for these conversions. If you want to get in our schedule we request a 50% deposit up front to allow us to begin assembling the parts/engine for your conversion. We like to have the engine all of the associated parts/installation hardware here before your Van shows up, that way we limit downtime. Please contact us for more info here.

We are located in the quaint PNW college town of Corvallis, OR. For lodging info check out www.visitcorvallis.com as well as www.brooklanecottage.com.

If the TDI conversion is a little out of your price range but you still have a burning desire for a diesel engine in your Vanagon, we also offer 1.9TD, 1.9NA and 1.6TD conversions, on a limited basis as engines and parts are available, please contact us for more info.\


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. Discussion about the problems with the sole source used may be found on the talk page. (November 2009)

The Volkswagen wasserboxer is a four cylinder horizontally opposed pushrod overhead-valve (OHV) petrol engine developed by Volkswagen. The engine is water-cooled, and takes its name from the German: "wasserboxer"; which when translated into English, means "water-boxer" - or water-cooled boxer - with 'boxer' being an alternative name for a horizontally opposed engine. It was available in two displacements - either a 1.9-litre[1] or a 2.1-litre;[1] the 2.1-litre being a longer stroke version of the 1.9-litre, both variants sharing the same cylinder bore.[1] This engine was unique to the Volkswagen Type 2 (T3) (Transporter T3 / Caravelle / Vanagon / T25), having never been used in any other vehicle.[1] Volkswagen contracted Oettinger to develop a six-cylinder version of this engine. Volkswagen decided not to use it, but Oettinger sold a Volkswagen Type 2 (T3) equipped with this engine.[2]

Volkswagen wasserboxer

Design detail

The wasserboxer featured a cast aluminium alloy cylinder block, cylinder heads, and pistons; and a die-forged steel flatplane crankshaft with three main bearings.[1]

The wasserboxer, as with all Volkswagen boxer engines, directly drives the three-bearing camshaft via a small steel gear on the crankshaft, and a large aluminium one on the camshaft, so there is no timing belt or timing chain. The entire mechanism is internal to the engine, so there should be no concerns regarding wear or replacements, as long as the engine oil is changed regularly. The overhead poppet valves each feature twoconcentric valve springs, and are operated by pushrods, with adjustable rocker arms to facilitate valve clearance adjustment.[1]

It also featured "Heron", or "bowl-in-piston" type combustion chambers - where the combustion takes place within the piston area, and not in a recess machined in the cylinder head.[1]

The cylinder banks contain cast iron cylinder liners inserted into the crankcase surrounded by a water jacket, with a "rubber lip" style head gasket, which is a very different design as compared to most engines. The top of the cylinder liners is pressed into a recessed cut-out in the cylinder heads, that are sealed with compressible metal rings, to prevent leakage.[1]

Some wasserboxers were plagued by water jacket gasket failures (often erroneously referred to as head gaskets) due to several design issues. Engine failure was also a result of poorly placed sensors, corrosion in the cooling system, and many areas subjected to leaks.

The switch to water-cooling for the boxer engines was made mid-year in 1982, because Volkswagen could no longer make the air-cooled engines meet emissions standards. (The previous generation Volkswagen Type 2 (T2), currently produced in Brazil, was changed to water-cooled engines since 23 December 2005 in response to Brazil's emission laws; the power plant used in the previous-generation T2 is an Audi-sourced inline four.) Water-cooled T2 models can be distinguished by a second radiator grille.

1,913 cc DH wasserboxer


2.2 litre

135 bhp (101 kW) @ 5800 rpm 140 lb·ft (190 N·m) @ 4800 rpm Australian model - 100 kW (130 hp) @ 6000 rpm 189 N·m (139 ft·lbf) @ 4800 rpm Usage:

94.0 mm (3.70 in)[1]

1,914 cc (116.8 cu in),

2,109 cc (128.7 cu in)

August 1982–July 1992[1]


Phase one 2.2 Liter SOHC Turbo, 163 bhp (122 kW; 165 PS) fully closed deck, oil squirters, no intercooler

    • Legacy 1991-1994 (North American-spec)


All data from ETKA.[1]

AUDM Subaru EJ22E

This section requires expansion with:

dates for 'EY' variant.


Phase two 2.2 litre closed deck

    • Displacement: 2212 cc

    • Bore: 96.9 mm

    • Stroke: 75.0 mm

    • Compression Ratio: 8.0:1

    • Valvetrain: DOHC

    • Fuel Delivery multi point fuel injection

EJ22G Turbo DOHC

    • Horsepower: 280 PS (206 kW; 276 bhp) @ 6000 rpm

    • Torque: 362.8 N·m (268 lb·ft) @ 3200 rpm


MK1 GTI 1.8 JH

Wasserboxer 86-91


Article on boosting GTI Performance

VW A1 Cabriolet Tuner


External links

All A1 Cabriolet had 4 cylinders, 8 valves and a single overhead cam controlling intake and exhaust valves. The 1.8L JH engine introduced in 1984 was the same used in the GTI including modified fuel injection, a special cylinder head and oversized valves. However it was teamed with the standard exhaust manifold like other VW instead of the duel down pipe version found in the GTI that provided less restriction. Hydraulic valve lifters (cam followers) were introduced in 1988 that don’t require regular adjustment to maintain proper valve clearance because they are pumped up by engine oil pressure. In fact you can often tell when your oil level is low because of the increase in valve chatter noise. On board diagnostics (ODB1) was introduced in 1990 with Digifant.

Engine modifications to increase performance include upgrading to a more aggressive cam to add torque and horsepower. Cams control the duration and the amount by which the fuel and exhaust valves open. These have dramatic affects on low and top end performance, the usable power band, idle quality, and more. Mild cams add more bottom-end torque and maintain good idle, while aggressive cams provide less bottom-end torque but more top-end performance. Depending on what you choose you may have to replace valves and springs. Engines with solid valve lifters should get the famous "G-Grind," while hydraulic owners should go for a cam made for hydraulic profiles. For best low-end torque (read usable), go with a Schrick 268° or Neuspeed 256° for 8v JH engines. Upgrading to a lightened and balanced flywheel also makes a difference.

There are turbo and super chargers available for VW convertibles but they are incredibly expensive and require more "plumbing." Some people bore cylinders to the next higher capacity, swap out different blocks (ex: ABA vs. JH) or even swap entire engines (to a 16v G60). This can produce major power advances however can often be difficult and expensive. Although there is a lot of commonality designed into VW products, there are several differences in engine compartment dimensional allowances, weight and stress considerations, electrical, transmission and exhaust layouts, fuel systems, brakes, and other controls. Be prepared.


Continuous Injection System (CIS) is a fully mechanical fuel injection system that controls the air/fuel mixture consisting of an air flow sensor, a mechanical fuel distribution control plunger and fuel injectors. Digifant uses a combination of electronic controls and sensors (like all cars built today) and was introduced to meet tougher emissions mandates. The Digifant system is described as an engine management system because fuel injection, ignition, idle speed and emissions are controlled by a single integrated system. In general, CIS is easier to troubleshoot and repair, also replacement parts are less expensive. When Digifant was first introduced it was problematic, however it became reliable after a couple years.

Beginning in 1985 the VW Cabriolet got two fuel pumps. The main fuel pump is located underneath the car on the passenger side in front of the gas tank. The second "transfer" pump is inside the gas tank. Access to the transfer pump is under the passenger side rear seat. For most owners the best thing to do for performance is to keep the fuel injectors clean, both fuel pumps working and buy good gasoline.

Intake Manifold & Exhaust

One of the best upgrades you can do for a VW Cabriolet is to switch from the standard single manifold to a dual manifold. These came on the original VW Golfs found in Europe, but except for GTIs and some of the earlier Cabriolet, were switched on most North American VW cars because of cost cutting. They produce about 5 to 8 hp more but need to be mated to a dual down pipe and maximized exhaust system to get the best results (Techtonics Tuning).

1989 VW Cabriolet and before with CIS injection have a smaller throttle body than the '90-93 VW Cabriolet with Digifant injection. Many people with older CIS injection use the throttle body off a '84-'91 Audi 5000/100 because it is much larger and an easy bolt on. If you can, get the manifold extruded, honed and matched to the exhaust ports on the head. It will add even more power.

A common upgrade is to replace the standard VW air filer with a K&N filer. Some even cut a few more air holes in the side of their air filter box. However this is a bad idea because it lets in hot air from the engine compartment that is less dense so lowers horse power.

The VW Cabriolet has a special exhaust bend to make it fit around the spare tire and gas tank. It should also be limited to 2" instead of 2.25" because of the engine size displacement. Stick with aluminized construction because it dissipates heat better than stainless steel.

Manual Transaxles

Wheels, Suspension & Bracing

Starting in 1985, 14" alloys were matched to exterior paint color on special editions. VW typically delivers cars in North America with "soft" suspension because that's what most Americans like. Volkswagens, however, are known for excellent driving characteristics; they are European after all! The main thing to do is to replace the standard shocks and struts with a higher quality set (BOGE or Bilstein). Replacing the springs with a stiffer and lower set (H&R or Eibach), and increasing the front and rear sway bars' thickness while lowering weight (Neuspeed) should also be done. Replace all bushings with polyurethane. Although the VW Cabriolet has a number of extra bracings provided by Karmann that "compensate" for the loss of strength from the top being cut off, a very common upgrade is to add a lower strut tie-bar (Neuspeed) to brace the front suspension and provide a more solid feel.

After a while wheels will be damaged by accidents, road debris, sun and rust. There are hundreds of places that specialize in refinishing wheels. It runs around $75 per wheel and takes two or three days. It runs about $25 more a wheel if you just leave the car there and they take them off and remount them for you.

Top Replacement

Eventually the three layer convertible top will ware out. From my experience most tops last between five to six years. White is "difficult" to keep clean. Although there are canvas tops, Cabriolets come with vinyl tops and I think look the best with the original. Cabriolets even have a special vinyl texture called "Cabriolet or Pebble Grain." There are only two major suppliers of top materials in the US; differences mostly revolve around vinyl verse cloth backing options. The "horsehair" middle blanket both insulates the temperate and protects against sound better, while "foam" insulation is less expensive. Factory VW Cabriolet use horsehair. The back window and most gaskets can be reused, however, the two shock absorbers, springs and tension wire should all be replaced. Replacing a convertible top is a VERY involved affair. In my opinion, it should only be performed by someone who does it on a regular basis.


One of the biggest design flaws is the limited space for rear speakers in a VW Cabriolet. They are only 3.5" so limit direct replacement options to around 4". A common solution is to add a separate bass box in the trunk or rear seat.