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T3 CONVERSION VS REBUILD

Discussion in 'T3 & T4 Tech Help Clinic' started by dougs, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. dougs

    dougs New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hey folks,

    I've found a few threads mentioning these things but not quite answering my questions.

    I have an 85 T3 Caravelle, the engine is kaputt, it developed a knock in the engine the day I picked it up after getting a bunch of work done on it. To be honest I kind of reached a point where I'd spent so much on it over the years that I just wasn't sure if it was worth sinking any more into it - the cost of pulling the engine out and pulling it apart before even being able to diagnose the issue was a bit much.

    I've since been thinking about doing the Subie conversion with an EJ20/25. There's one guy in Melbourne that does them that I know of, Luke at Bayside, but he's got a waitlist of 20 or more which he reckons will take him a year to get through but he's not taking anymore names at the moment. He's quoted 7500.

    I don't have the space or know-how to do the job myself. Does anyone know of other mechanics in Melbourne that do the conversion?

    I've been told laws are making it harder to get the engineering approval for conversions, anyone had issues?

    Do you think I'm better off getting the engine rebuilt and keeping it original?
     
  2. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,904
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    There is a guy in Mel’burg that does conversions but it is like a 2 year wait.
    That said - no offence, but as your knowledge is limited, mine too, o would go the rebuild.

    Road assistance will walk away when they see Frankenstein.
    Your call.
     
    oldman and syncro like this.
  3. dougs

    dougs New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Yeah must be Luke who I spoke to today, seems that's all he does is conversions so probably the best guy for the job. Just thought it could be worth asking if anyone knows of other people doing it.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,904
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    That’s him
     
  5. SunnyJim

    SunnyJim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,993
    Location:
    carindale Brisbane
    Doug's
    Just another point of view for you here.

    I have 3 subie conversions in 3 vans, but I do my own work out if necessity. I have learnt a real lot.

    However just keep in mind that most subie conversions are done with a second hand subie engine, not a new one.
    I have talked to Luke on the phone a few times and he is a real pro.
    So if you don't want to wait 2 years and value the originality if your vw motor, you might be better off getting that rebuilt
     
    Grantus and Barry like this.
  6. Wattie

    Wattie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Mildura. Victoria. Australia.
    I've gone "Full House" on my T3 with a 6 cyl Subi and lots of other upgrades, at various displays over the years I have been rubbished for vandalizing a good T3 which of course is very disappointing.

    I can only sell my legally registered & insured van in Vic where all the mods have approved, it would not pass in other states.

    Best solution, keep your T3 original :) Members on the forum can advise where to get a quality wasserboxer rebuild.
     
    SunnyJim, njg02, Grantus and 2 others like this.
  7. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,605
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    I love your beast of a big scooby six powered caravelle Geoff.

    You definitely haven't butchered it - other than the engine under the back it looks fairly standard VW stuff.

    And I agree with your thinking - the scoobie is a reliable cheap, easy to get parts and upgrades for power plant for our aging beasts.

    Once you have a reliable modern engine you are very set. Its an expensive start but so is a VW donk rebuild. Don't expect any change from $8k for a decent VW engine rebuild.

    Your cheapest bet is to acquire a second hand matching VW engine in decent condition - but that's a big lottery.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
    Wattie, oldman and SunnyJim like this.
  8. SunnyJim

    SunnyJim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,993
    Location:
    carindale Brisbane
    @Wattie

    My experience is different, perhaps regulations have changed.? Approval wasn't an issue for me.
    I bought my 76bay from Victoria over 10 years ago. It had lpg and a subie ej25dohc conversion in it already.
    I just went thru the normal process in Brisbane to get it all approved and registered.
     
  9. Steve Treloar

    Steve Treloar Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Far South Coast NSW
    Is there somewhere , someone that has list of parts required for a rebuild of a 2.1 that I can print off as a check list.
    Thanks in advance
     
  10. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,246
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    Depends what needs doing. The basic engine is very reliable and long lasting. The normal replacement is heads then pistons etc. Speak with a VW engine builder.
     
  11. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,904
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    @Steve Treloar
    Most of the design is very good and doesn’t wear. Crank is well supported etc.
    The BIG problem is corrosion from poor maintenance on the coolant side.

    This can result in studs breaking when taking the heads off, poor sealing on water jackets and other annoying leaks.

    Also if you are doing a decent repair you would be wise to replace as many of the hoses as you can.
    It only takes one old pipe to blow and you cook your new motor
     
    Syncro27 likes this.
  12. Luckyphil

    Luckyphil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,018
    Location:
    Gosford
    All depends on how many K's are on the motor and the end float. Most that have between 200 & 350k klms can just get a refresh with a top end rebuild. Rings, gasket set. I would also do the water pump and the oil cooler at the same time. Replace oil cooler rubber hoses and any others that need it. Probably will need engine mounts as well. Rear main seal is a must and crank pulley seal if needs it. Clutch also if needs it. Mechanic may also spot other small bits so factor that in.
     
    Barry likes this.
  13. Steve Treloar

    Steve Treloar Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Far South Coast NSW
    Thanks guys for your replies, it’s funny all the items I was thinking about where mentioned. I have a porous head, drivers side . Where the date stamp it . Rear main seal throwing oil out about 2.5 litres oil over 3000 km trip engine mount knocking noise until warm . Also runs fast after a run or warmed up . Thinking of ,go westy heads as replacements? haven’t done a compression test though seems to run well .suppose do a light hone ang new rings . Being an auto been recommended to get the torque converter serviced .
     
  14. 1500king

    1500king Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    The big fails when rebuilding are not renewing the head studs with quality items, not renewing the rods(or just the bolts) and not renewing the other torque to yield bolts such as flywheel and pulley bolts. Sooo many have thrown a rod after rebuild. yes the other big factor is not using the correct coolant/maintenance. Have seen many that have lived until graceful 500,000km wear out, all just on good maintenance. You won't see that on a scooby.
     
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  15. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,246
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    The MV engine is very reliable and long lived if maintained properly. It's the aging accessories that can give problems.
     
  16. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,904
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    That is a LOT
     
  17. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,246
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    Have you read the factory specifications?
     
  18. Luckyphil

    Luckyphil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,018
    Location:
    Gosford
    The factory specs are bullshit, I have never used up tp 1.5 litres per 1000 klm's in any T3 I have owned. Page 87 Operating Instructions Factory Instruction Manual
     
  19. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,246
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    Yes I know. If I used that much oil I would be reconditioning the motor.:D

    It's to avoid warranty claims. VW does not like doing warranty work.
     
    1500king likes this.
  20. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,480
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    Friends had a new beetle, that was using 900mls of oil, per 1,000kms, and were very concerned.

    VW pointed to the specs of “Up to a litre of oil per 1,000kms is normal”, and refused to work on, or replace that loose motor under warranty……
     

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