Porsche-Powered Vanagon

Porsche-Powered Vanagon Porsche-Powered Vanagon Many owners of air-cooled Vanagons find themselves wishing for more power than the stock VW 2.0 liter air-cooled engine provides. William Kennedy is one of those owners. What sets William apart from the rest is that he did something about it - he installed a Porsche 6-cyl engine into his Vanagon! Here is some info and pictures of his conversion.

Note: Click on thumbnails for expanded images!

view of engine To the left is a view of the stuffed-looking engine compartment, with a 180HP 1978 3.0 liter Porsche SC engine with Continous Injection System (CIS) fuel injection. All of the 1973 thru 1981 engines with CIS fuel injection have similar dimensions.

another view of engineThe Porsche 6-cyl engine has a dry-sump oiling system, which means that the engine oil is stored in an external tank instead of in the bottom of the engine. Looking to the right, you can see where oil tank is installed in William's engine compartment. The gold-colored oil tank filler cap is easiest part to see at the far right of the photo.

Oil cooler An external oil cooler is mounted behind the front grill. Oil hoses run from an external thermostat, thru the belly-pan, then up through the left wheel well to the cooler. The car has been through three different Porsche engine sizes -- 2.2, 2.7, and now 3.0. With 2.2 (about 125 hp) the oil cooler was not needed (in NJ), but with larger engines, steady cruising at 75 in summer weather requires the cooler.

decklid with raised portion to clear taller engineOne concern with this engine conversion is the height of the Porsche engine versus the VW engine. To clear the taller Porsche engine, the engine hatch needs a raised portion added so that the engine cover can close. Luckily, the area that needs to be taller is all within the bounds of the engine hatch, so only the hatch itself needs to be modified, not the sheet metal of the van per se.

how tall the engine actually is Silhouetted against the junk in the storage net, you can see how high the air intake box actually extends. Note that the raised box in the previous picture is somewhat taller than it needs to be.

total engine heightAlso, the engine is installed at lower height than stock VW engine. This permits the stock Porsche muffler to clear the VW chassis, but it does give up ground clearance. The image to the left shows the engine height from top of the raised hatch lid to the bottom of the stock Porsche muffler.

extra gauges in dashboard To keep tabs on his expensive engine, William installed gauges to monitor the oil pressure and temperature. One problem with adding extra gauges in a Vanagon is that there is no really good place to install them. To right of cigarette lighter is one spot to install them, although it is not in direct view of driver.

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Tom Carrington