Engine Conversions

Adding a modern engine can make your van into the vehicle it was destined to be.

We pride ourselves in top quality engine conversions. Our specialty is the 06′ and newer Subaru VVL/VVT (Variable Valve Lift / Variable Valve Timing) 2.5 liter “drive by wire” engines.  We also do Turbo Diesel (TDI) conversions.

The Subaru is a boxer style engine (with opposed cylinders, same as the Volkswagen Vanagon).  This allows the engine to fit snugly in the existing engine bay with very little modification; once it’s installed, it really looks like it was meant to be there.

We feel they are what should have been in the Vanagon originally.


Why an engine conversion?

  • Better mileage – Typically a Suby 2.5 offers an increase in fuel economy in the range of 20-30% from the stock gasoline 2.1-L or 1.9-L engines.

  • Greater reliability – The modern design of the Subaru engines mean breakdowns in the back of beyond are less likely than with the stock motor. Plus, you can get all the parts you need right off the shelf.

  • More power – The stock 2.1 motor (years ’86-’91) puts out about 95 horsepower. The Subaru 2.5 puts out about 170 hp, and with a little tuning from us you can go even higher.

  • Lower emissions – Subaru engines are partial zero emissions vehicles (pzev).

  • More smiles per mile – Because every time you put your foot down in a Subaru powered van, you will be smiling!

All our Subaru conversions include a rebuilt, zero-mile engine with race bearings, rebuilt heads, and high volume oil pump.

We do all of our wiring harnesses in house as well as programming the ECU to better fit the needs of being installed in a Vanagon.

We also produce many of our own conversion parts including stainless steel headers, engine mounts, stainless steel throttle pedal brackets and many more. Our goal is to source as many items locally and not outsource production of parts and supplies overseas.

There are several other quality shops who specialize in Subaru conversions, however,  we take a different approach than most.

We never reverse the manifold, it seems that Subaru engineered the coolant system to flow across the engine from side to side, so we’ve kept it that way.   We also keep the coolant bottle in the stock VW location, and last but not least we run the air intake on the factory VW side as to bring cold dense air into the engine. Other conversions are running the intake over the catalytic converter which is the hottest part of the exhaust due to all the unburned fuel being catalyzed and burnt off. Our conversions have been tested by us and many customers in all types of conditions without any over or under heating. With our air intake system we usually see an intake temperature of approximately 10 degrees over ambient, which is very good! Our goal is to take the design ideas of both Volkswagen & Subaru and combine them in a way that makes sense of both systems.

Please call or e-mail for a quote for pricing. We also HIGHLY recommend having your transaxle rebuilt.


Conversions include the following items:

  • Adapter plate for automatics and manuals.

  • New clutch, throw out bearing and pilot bearing.

  • Stainless Steel Header

  • New High Flow Catalytic Converter, Muffler, and Tail Pipe

  • Silicone coolant hoses in the engine bay

  • Modification of the Subaru wiring harness

  • Engine mounting system

  • Shortened high capacity oil pan

  • New rubber engine mounts

  • Synthetic fluids

  • Custom air intake system

  • Stainless steel coolant lines (radiator to the engine)

  • New High Torque Starter (2kW)

  • New Radiator and hoses

Extras for additional cost:

  • Custom Gauge Cluster

  • Transaxle Rebuild / Adding Limited Slip Differential / Higher 3rd / 4th Gearing


After tuning the ECU, this engine will be close to 200hp.

After tuning the ECU, this engine will be close to 200hp.

A TDI engine conversion using a 2003 ALH VW inline 4 cylinder.

A TDI engine conversion using a 2003 ALH VW inline 4 cylinder.

A few custom TDI gauge panels we made for our conversions