Vanagon – Q and D head replacement – A little update

Life, god bless it, intruded on the project a bit. So really not much progress to report, but what I have I give to you. (sheesh!)

Way back when, I played around with an oil pressure switch relocation set up. I blogged about it here. I saw no reason not to whack it onto this engine. Some notes about the install:

– threaded hole between the pushrod tubes, where one of the 2 oil press. senders originally fitted, is M10X1.0 thread. I used a brass adapter, male M10X1.0 taper thread by female  1/8″ NPT. Note that I have got a male taper thread going into a female straight thread. I was assured that this will seal up fine.
– Then from the female 1/8″ NPT  we go to 1/8″ soft copper pipe via a compression fitting. A better way would to be to go to brake line rather than copper, more vibration resistant.
– copper line sheathed in fuel line
– stainless steel cable tie securing line to pushrod tube. Not really needed, the line is pretty solid in it’s run (the covering stiffens things up a bit). I worry about the tubing vibrating and putting stress on the compression fittings, but as it is, the tubing is routed pretty nicely, tight and secure.


– the line runs up tight to engine case and out to the top surface between case and thermostat housing.
– I had to use a 45 degree 1/8″ NPT female to male to make the turn. A 90 degree fitting was too tight. Then we have another female 1/8 NPT to male M10X10 adapter which goes into the manifold.
-due to that little pipe that goes from water pump to Tstat, I had to make a little spacer to raise the manifold about 2 cm.
– that side pushrod tube protection plate had to be reworked a little. I’ll get a pic of that sometime.


At the rear of the engine, just to the right of the water pump, the now vacant M10X1.0 hole (which is actually a reduction bushing) can have a temp sender probe fitted. I had this nice VDO sender (used it for years on my I4 engine in my ’82 westy) and popped it in there. Later I broke the bugger when I Was going round checking that “I had tightened things up”. Bloody hell. Local autopart stores could not get me a new VDO sender anytime soon, so I took a chance went for this sender (MKII/MKIII Golf). I don’t care that it is shorter and not reaching as deep as the other one. Well I do care but will it *really* make that much difference? Pic showing senders and reduction bushing.



Installed in engine. Signal wire running up then back over top of engine and I’ll bundle that up with the oil pressure sender wires.



Remember my rotted coolant pipe? Well I found another. less rotted one and decided to patch that one up. It had one hole in the main pipe and another one in one of the side pipes. I brazed the holes closed and then slopped on more braze to fill in some minor pitting. That pipe, especially just at the bend where it comes up to connect to the Tstat housing is very exposed to the elements and heat from the exhaust pipe. The combo of heat and weather causes the paint to be eroded and the pipe to corrode. I had the idea to weld on some tabs to allow a little shield to be installed, but I had blobbed on the braze before I remembered and the TIG welder was being used on some serious stainless welding so I left the tabs off. I might try and clamp on a shield. Not the best way, the clamps might be a locus for corrosion starting. I painted the repaired pipe with POR 15, and then with some orange engine paint.
I encourage those of you with old 2.1 WBX engines to check this pipe. Poke at it with a screwdriver or an awl. Make sure it is not on the edge of failure.


I have to say that this project has been much more work than I thought it would be. I not regretting doing it, my god the rotted coolant pipe alone has made it worthwhile. But I have been distracted and unable to concentrate during the job and that is annoying me.

More to come, this job will end 🙂

  1. #1 by famillysyncro on May 31, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    I had the same problem with that pipe at that time. I went with a SS pipe from VC…..
    I like the mod for those temperature senders, this make sens in case you need to check or replace them.

    As always with our vans, they are old so there is always more to do. I got another example with my sound deadening rpoject…no difference and since all rubbers are news everywhere, I need to take care of my heather box…. after I find another one to restore first. Since you know how much I like to take the dash apart, I guess I’ll switch them next year.

    Good job Alistair, you did well and you got 1 more chance NOT to breakdown on a trip, this is good.


    • #2 by albell on May 31, 2013 - 6:47 pm

      Hi Jerome,

      Yes I could have replaced pipe with SS version. I was told that the local VW dealer sells the pipe, sometimes you get a plain steel one of poor quality, and sometimes you get a SS one.

      I like the sender relocation for the reason you mentioned, also because it allows me to add an oil pressure gauge sender and use the free up rear oil pressure sender for an oil temp sender. I really miss not having oil pressure and temp gauges.

      A small reduction in wind noise might be gained if you block off the open bottom end of the A-pillars. VW did this in later years, with a bit of foam rubber.

      If you lived closer I’d come over and help you pull the dash 🙂



      • #3 by famillysyncro on June 2, 2013 - 5:38 am


        You know, if you come for a week or two, Calgary isn’t that far after all…. LOL.

        I take a look at the A-pillars stuff (thanks a lot for the link with pictures). It is so easy to do, we’ll see the result pretty fast.

        When I put the Corrado steering wheel, I lost view of some parts of the dash, you warned me but it didn’t matter, I am really happy with it.
        Now, if you take away from me my gauge for oil pressure and temp, water temp, that will be a problem……

      • #4 by albell on June 2, 2013 - 8:43 am

        I haven’t done the A-pillar mod yet. But I will.

        I have bad sight lines to dash even with stock wheel. My height puts me in the wrong spot. The VW engineers all must have been short 🙂



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