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2wd to syncro conversion

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markward View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 Sep 18 at 20:28
Hello, I am in the middle of converting a 2wd T3 camper "vanagon" to a syncro drivetrain. Project is coming along well, but am searching for methods to transplant the syncro fuel filler into the D pillar of the camper I am converting.

I tried searching, but must be using the wrong terms. Could someone that is familiar with this site, post a link or 2 of other syncro conversions. I have some ideas, but always looking for how others have done this. Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clift_d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 10:26
Not sure what you're asking here. If you're doing it as a stock install then presumably you have a donor vehicle that you can just cut the required fuel filler section out of, which is what what CoastVW did when they converted ours.



1988 1.6TD Westfalia Club Joker syncro
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote markward Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 15:23
clift_d Thank you for responding. I did come across those stage 9 pictures you linked to in my internet search. Is that your filler neck in the picture?

Yes I have a complete donor and have removed the filler assembly. Where it gets a little complicated is that VW recessed the original outer skin where the filler bezel attaches. The trim bezel seats down in that recess.

Some of the documentation I have come across, shows the filler assembly flush mounted to the outer skin and no recess. The filler bezel trim seats flat on the outer skin. The picture you attached, is a bit confusing because I can't quite see how it was finally attached and finished. I'm assuming the screws were there to retain it while it was permanently attached.

It looks like part of the donor outer skin was retained and was mounted behind the outer skin of the recipient van. So it would be 3 layers now instead of 2, but would retain the recess. I like that idea.

I was looking for threads where others have done this conversion and documented their work. Thanks again. Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clift_d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 15:35
Yep. That's our van in the pictures. The filler cut from the donor vehicle retained the shallow bezel recess and a narrow section of the outer skin around, and I understand that this was then set behind the outer skin and welded in position to keep the look as stock as possible. You can omit the filler recess but it doesn't look as good IMHO.


1988 1.6TD Westfalia Club Joker syncro
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote markward Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 15:50
What you describe is what I believe I can see. I too want to maintain the filler recess. Looks like you were in experienced hands. I saved some of the photos from that conversion as a reference.

I also need to sort out the cross brace mid chassis. I was actually thinking of doing it the way yours was done. Completely removing the brace from the syncro, removing the brace from the recipient, and then welding it in complete seems like a lot of extra work and probably would not be as nice a result. Plus, so far, I have left the complete interior in place. Thanks again for posting. I just assumed there would be more threads here documenting conversions.

I am tackling this as a DIY project, but have a lot of VW, Fabrication, and welding experience. Its a lot of work. Once the conversion is sorted, I have a TDI to install. The recipient was a 2wd automatic with a wbx engine. So that added to the job, but is a solid 90 2 owner camper. Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clift_d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 16:42
I believe there's been a couple of threads on samba and on 8090, but the most comprehensive info is probably Mark Halligan's channel on youtube where he has a whole bunch of videos documenting his conversion.

Coast VW did most of the actual conversion work for ours as I don't have the know how or facilities, and if I recall correctly they 'budgeted' around 120 hours for this. There were plenty of additional hours taken to refurb the running gear, etc, but I did this separately and gave them a kit of parts to install - the first pic on that page on their website.
1988 1.6TD Westfalia Club Joker syncro
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote markward Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 16:55
I came across Mark's videos on youtube. Very good info. I'm always impressed by people who take the time to document what they are doing. I worked flat rate for a lot of years and I am more about getting the job done than documenting it. I will search over at 80-90. I already have read all the of Samba threads multiple times. Unfortunately, the build threads never completed. 120 hours seems fair if you have done one before and have a helper. If I were doing them for a living, some jigs and templates could speed up the conversion. Thank you. Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mrhutch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 17:01
Marks donor bus was my old 16"
T3 1981 Westy Vanagon - thinks lubricant is a fuel
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote markward Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 18 at 17:11
We didn't get the 16s over here. Unique parts including wear items are hard to come by. I've had my donor for many years sitting in the back of my shop. It was very solid, but it was very twisted in multiple places. I went back and forth trying to decide weather to fix the syncro and swap a camper setup to it even buying to used campers. In the end, the syncro just was not worth trying to straighten out. I got the two donor campers running and road worthy and sold them on to pay for the 90 I am using. The hardest part was actually starting. I had to cut up two good vans to make one.

We have a fully sorted 2wd TDI powered camper, which I was going to put the syncro gear on originally, but decided to leave it intact. Life has a way of getting in the way of projects and I did not want to get stuck with an unfinished camper. That decision was the best decision I could have made. This is a stressful enough project without the worry of getting our camper back together. Once the syncro is sorted, we may ship it to Europe and tour. My wife retires in 2 years and we will have some time to travel. Mark
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