It has been a huge week for the van. The engine conversion is officially complete! We are writing this from sunny but chilly New York City. We wrapped up the install with the awesome team at Bostig on Friday night, but that wasn’t just wrench turning for the install, but also several hours of learning time as Jim was teaching us the basics of bush mechanics to prepare us for remote mechanic needs. He went over all of the major systems of the vanagon overall, both in theory and in actual application on our Bostig. It was fantastic. From understanding manifold pressure and vacuum and its impact on fueling and combustion, to all of the normal simple fixes that sometimes happen, but can cause people to panic. These guys really have seen it all, and there experience is already paying dividends.
It was like an odd twist of faith leaving there with the van on Friday night. We went for a quick cruise for a bite to eat and we when we came out the van, and we had a no crank condition. Turn the key and nothing happened. Of course I immediately started feeling a small sense of panic/ anxiety. But then i just slowed down and we started going through the trouble shooting we just learned. In our class work we learned how the starting system in the van is seperate from the Bostig systems, so to start with the Volkswagen systems. We had battery power just fine, but the starter wasn’t cranking. We went right to the back of the van, jumped under it, went to the starter, and saw the issue immediately. The trigger wire for the new starter had popped out. We had installed a new gear reduction starter (not Bostig) which came with a harness to connect to the van. That harness is a loose fit, so it slipped out, and therefor no start. With a quick “click” we were back on the road in 10 minutes. Amazing. No need to google anything, look up something in the manual. Just use the knowledge we gained over the past week, and off we went. Felt GREAT.
We drove 200+ miles from Boston to New York on Saturday. I was anxious to see how it would feel versus the Subaru that was installed. On paper the two should stack up and compare well, maybe a little knod to the subaru. But on top of this, I always felt my Subaru was a bit of a beast, and stronger than most. I was grinning ear to ear as we blasted down the interstate at 75+ MPH. All of the horses were there! And all of this was after the added weight of the skid plating and the functional bumper system (more on both of those later).
Tomorrow we head back up to Bostig for some additional training and reviews of the install to be sure all is kosher. I feel a tremendous sigh of relief to have the little blue manual for this conversion in the glove box, and the confidence to know that if something goes wrong we have the documentation and records needed to figure it out.
The little red bit sticking out under the van is a hint at our Bostig inside 🙂 Oh and NO red blinking light on the dash… NIIICE!!!