I built this van with extended snowboarding trips in mind. I purchased the van 4 years ago and it was bone stock but very rust free. Two years ago I pulled the original 2.1 flat four and spent a year putting a modified 1.9 TDI engine out of a 97 passat in it. In modified form it produces 130 HP and 260ft lbs of torque. Since I often put down several thousand miles on a single trip fuel consumption was a huge concern. I am able to pull 590 miles on a single 16 gallon fill up traveling 65 and under. It cruises at 75 MPH no problem (regeared trans for diesel swap) but fuel consumption goes down to 28-29 MPG at that speed. In stock form with the gasoline engine I would average 18 MPG.
I added an espar D2 diesel furnace from a semi truck and it heats the interior up very quickly. I am able to dry out all of my gear at night with it.
After having to turn around on several trails due to the 2WD I decided something had to be done. I searched and searched for a factory 4x4 westy but as most of you know they can't be found for under $20,000 in decent shape. less than 1600 pop top 4x4's were brought to the states.
fast forward a year- I found a titleless/ rusty non camper syncro (with factory rear locker ) sitting at a repair shop in Truckee, CA this winter. It wasn't really saveable but the drivetrain was all there so I bought it. I have begun to strip its AWD system and am getting ready to convert my 2WD camper. It is not super difficult to do but a ton of work. This is my 36th VW so I feel comfortable with them.
I will post more pics as the project continues.
Pulling the stock engine out
The donor passat turbo diesel
Mated to its regeared transmission 1.14 3rd, 0.70 4th
Added liquid intercooler to front
My girlfriend and I drove it to Alaska 15 days after installing the TDI engine
The 4x4 donor as I found it
As the westy sits today.