Vanagon – Q and D head replacement – surprise

Catching up on my progress. I spent yesterday (Sunday) adding the bits and bobs that go on the motor. Intake runners and plenum, coolant lines, oil cooler, PS bracket, alternator bracket, dipstick, etc. A bit of a disappointment when I fitted up the spare rear manifold and found that the end did not line up with the end of the new front manifold. Not even close. I thought that the rear manifold was the same for all 2.1 engines (apart from, perhaps, the small support clamp and bracket) but this one was nowhere near close to working. The angle at the end of the pipe where it meets up to pair with the front manifold was all wrong. I bought a new one today and it works, but needs some slight adjustment.

But the real surprise yesterday was the coolant pipe that runs from the water pump forward along the left hand side of the engine to connect with the thermostat. I had forgotten all about it when painting other bits and yesterday, when I was going at it with the angle grinder powered wire brush I uncovered this.


Wow eh? I think the paint was all that was protecting me from a massive coolant leak. Talk about lucky. This one discovery almost makes this entire ordeal worthwhile. I’ll talk about what I did about this in a later post. One more pic, before I put the rear manifold on.


A personal issue has complicated things, but I hope to get this thing done in the next few days.

  1. #1 by edbee on May 28, 2013 - 12:54 am

    Hi Al,
    Sounds like you may have figured out how to deal with that rusty coolant pipe but if not… I still have the complete waterboxer that came out of my syncro and it wasn’t too long ago I bought a brand new one of those coolant pipes as mine was leaking slightly. Anyhow, I may part out the syncro engine or sell it whole, not sure but let me know if you are interested in the new(ish) pipe.I wanted to save the engine until I got the Zetec running just in case I needed some little bit from the old engine. Cheers, Ed

    • #2 by Joel on May 28, 2013 - 5:46 am

      good on you to offer the Pipe to Mr. Shooftie. I’ll be checking my coolant pipes.
      What also caught my attention was the reference to the Bostig conversion. I have an 85 weekender with high springs and was considering a Bostig conversion. Are you happy with the installation and performance?


      • #3 by albell on May 28, 2013 - 7:06 am


        Please, poke and pick at rust bubbles/flaking paint.


    • #4 by albell on May 28, 2013 - 6:57 am

      Thanks for the offer Ed, but I think I have a fix for the holy pipe.

      Honestly Ed, it was pretty well just rust and paint keeping the coolant in. It couldn’t have lasted much longer.



  2. #5 by Joel on May 28, 2013 - 5:48 am

    Looking Great, I hope it runs as good as it looks for a long time.

    • #6 by albell on May 28, 2013 - 7:07 am

      thanks Joel. cheers


  3. #7 by Pz on May 28, 2013 - 7:36 pm

    Nice surprise eh?
    Paint and rust are keeping the coolant inside that pipe..
    Changed 3 new pipes into my Van over 14 years..
    Makes the SS pipe a viable alternative… at ~ $200.
    Naugh… just paint it and put some Gorilla Tape on the bottom side
    to protect from gravel spray….

    Nice colourful paint job on the engine ancillaries Alistair….
    Me likey……


    • #8 by albell on May 29, 2013 - 7:45 am

      Hi Phil,

      My fix, and it has been delayed, is another used pipe that has only one pinhole 🙂 I’ll be brazing that, then paint, and then if I can, put some sort of protection over the area. I was thinking of a debris/heat shield.

      The Chevy Orange paint was done just to brighten things up.



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