I know it's been covered, but I'm very keen on doing a Scooby conversion. Is that better?

Discussion in 'Mech Tech' started by Grazzer, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. I've seen Fellows Speed Shop at a couple of shows this year, and like their stuff. Has anyone had one done on here, as I'm keen to hear any feedback!

    I have read a few people have had issues with clutches, is this true?
    Cooling - any issues there?
    Is it ok on a bus gearbox, or does it rev it's tits off?
    RJES ??

    Any feedback or comments welcome.. :)
    kev likes this.
  2. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    Mines in there as we speak, should be done in the next few days!
    @Moons and @baybirmingham have Fellows conversions as well.
    Can't wait to get mine back, it'll be paired with a bog standard 6rib box.
  3. Moons

    Moons Moderator

    Mine's been fine - admittedly I haven't done a lot of miles as I have found various things with the rest of the van to fanny arse about with - but it's done a good few hundred miles, usually at very high speeds.

    I have the 3 rib box - no issues with clutch or cooling, have had some issues with speedo cable - still needs a reroute to the back of the clocks.

    In the long term I'd like a longer 4th as it will pull it all day - so as I am at standard height I might look at bigger wheels to gear it down a little and maybe a different box to do the same.

    Can't comment on RJES - I know some have the rad in the engine compartment which wouldn't be my preference - my rad is effin massive compared to what you can fit in there

    @Sydney also has a fellows conversion.
  4. Which Subaru engine did you go? I wondering whether just a 1.8 would do the job?
  5. I saw one in Cornwall. It looked ok until you looked underneath and there was hardly any ground clearance under the sump, Put me off a bit as I didn't fancy leaving all of my fully synthetic on every sleeping policeman!
  6. Meant to say, I don't know if they're all like this, but worth bearing in mind...
  7. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    Fellows use a shortened sump. My bus is stock height but there's loads of clearance.

    Not sure about the 1.8, Fellows list the EJ20, EJ22 and EJ25.
    The EJ20 feels quick, the EJ25 is brutal. I went for the EJ20 purely for the better fuel efficiency. The 2.5 is a thirsty beast.
  8. Moons - I'm confused, what's the deal with speedo cable?
  9. Moons

    Moons Moderator

    Mine is an earlier conversion and as there is a speed sensor needed for the engine, so there is what looks like a hall sensor behind the clocks - because of the additional length of the sensor, and where the column support sits, the angle is a bit too acute and both cables I've had seem to chafe a little - I think there is a modification on older conversions as no one else has had this issue. Fellowes are more than happy to sort it, I havent taken the bus back yet, but I'll probably have a look at sorting it myself - looks like a spot of dremmeling on the support bracket and a slight re-route.

    Regarding engines - I've not seen a 1.8 non turbo - unsure if there is a boxer one of these but would conclude it's a rarer engine. The EJ20 is the most popular non turbo engine, therefore the cheapest for donor cars...it gives around 120bhp in standard form but there is no power steering, air con or catalysts so it's probably around 135/140 bhp.

    There are two types of EJ20, earlier ones like mine (Pre year 2000 I think) have less power than the later ones, but still the figure quoted above, the ECU set up is more complex and tends to go in the bulkhead under the seat but this engine is slightly better on fuel. You can tell the earlier engine as they have ribbed cam covers, as opposed to flat cam covers.

    The 2.2 is extremely rare and there is a lot of competition for them as the block is a lot stronger and coveted by dragster and light aircraft engine builders. I would imagine its more powerful.

    The 2.5 is also a quad cam and @Baydreams our erstwhile TLB member has one in his - and its simply awesome - sounds, power etc - it's just mega - you have to have the 6 rib box on this and be sure of the integrity of your driveshafts and CV joints.

    Fellowes make their own sump - mine is an earlier one of theirs and you can crawl about under it all day if you want - I run standard height.

    I'd also state that fellowes aren't a buy parts and fit them enterprise - they are constantly developing their own kit and continuously improving it - in that, they are unlike any other VW place I've been to - there is a lot of engineering nouse there, plus dna level VW enthusiasts.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2013
  10. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    Just had the call I've been waiting for.
    Mines ready for collection tomorrow!
    Happy days
    baygeekster, bernjb56 and zed like this.
  11. I had speedo problems as well. The needle jumped about wildly at low speeds. I think the problem was that they need to modify the speedo cable to match the type of speed sensor that they fit. I replaced the sensor with an RJES one, fitted a new unmodified cable and voila, sorted.

    I have an EJ20 with 2l 6-rib box. It'll happily cruise at 80mph with more in reserve. Averaging around 28mpg without driving economically. Thinking of fitting higher profile tyres though (as I need new ones anyway) to reduce the cruise revs slightly. Would like to fit a tachometer but haven't managed to suss out which ECU pin to use.

    Had major overheating problems at first that Fellows resolved by removing the thermostat. Runs very cold during the winter but still went above 100degC during the hot spell in July. I've now made a spoiler to push more air up into the radiator scoop. Need a winter version now for the colder months. You'll find you spend a lot of time watching the temperature gauge. I relocated mine to where the clock normally fits for easier viewing.

    Sump clearance is ok, even though mine has a saggy rear. The closest thing to the ground is actually the exhaust. Just avoid straddling any speed bumps.
  12. Wow - loads of useful info! Many thanks, and keep it coming if poss!! :)
  13. kev


    Ive lowered my van 1 spine at the back ive allso got a standard sump and ive never had a problem with it hitting anything (yet)

    I have the speedo sensor from rjes but i dont think it makes any differnce as im allways forgetting to connect it back up when ive had the clocks out
    (Im still trying to sort me fuel gauge out so clocks are in and out )
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  14. Why is the speedo worked from the engine bays are done by the front wheel,???.
  15. They tap into the speedo cable. Modern cars use speed sensors so the ECU can regulate the engine speed and revs.
    marigold13 likes this.
  16. So are you saying that the fellows conversion is unable to regulate the engine temperature and that the answer to this is to provide extra cooling by removing the thermostat? Surely this is going to drastically shorten the engine life if its bit getting to its proper operating temperature. Is this an early version of their conversion done by them or is it DIY?

    I've been looking at these along with RJES.
  17. I agree, engine temp is crucial to longevity. Surely a different thermostat would be a solution than just removing it?
  18. Hi Guys, I'm currently in the beginnings of fitting an RJES conv, got a sweet EJ22 2.2, going to run it with a 3 rib initially but definitely on the look out for a 6 rib to lower cruise revs. Have fitted huge 205/70 14's at the rear to kinda contribute in this area. Personally, I think the main thing to consider when weighing up the conversion route that suites you is difference between RJES and others is the fact that RJES uses a machined replacement bell housing instead of an adaptor plate. The adaptor plate method retains the original small diameter bellhousing meaning you have to use a small diameter clutch plate. Due to the extra torque being pushed through the plate (136bhp compared to the original 40bhp in my case) the clamping action of the pressure plate has to be much stronger, a Kennedy stage 2 race clutch for example. This results in a heavier clutch pedal action. I just didn't fancy sitting in the van in the inevitable traffic on route to hols constantly pressing a heavy clutch. Also, I believe the adaptor plate causes the bellhousing to sit further away from the engine meaning the starter pinion works at the very end of its travel, this puts it under massive strain and affects the longevity of the starter motor. The RJES system uses a Subaru/VW hybrid friction plate (to retain the central VW spline hub so the input shaft of the box can still be used without modification, in the case of normally aspirated conversions that is!) and a Subaru pressure plate, resulting in a nice n light clutch pedal action. The bell housing kit from RJES in my honest opinion is top quality, brilliantly engineered and very easy to fit. I can also speak very highly of Richard, I've never met him, but whenever I have rang. It's him that answered every time and he has always had the time to talk over any aspects of the conversion. Top bloke. I have bought the lot from him.

    Bell housing
    Clutch kit
    Moustache bar (engine mount)
    Throttle body reverser

    My engine is out of a legacy auto, I like this as auto's don't really get over revved throught their lives, this did mean I had to source a subaru flywheel and starter, took me an hour, E-bay!
    Checked it with DTI gauge for runout, all good, simply bolts on where the torque converter plate sat.
    I'm gonna modify my own sump to give decent clearance and sit the rad flat underneath the bus between the chassis members with a scoop. I'm thinking two heater matrixes (heat supply and control for cab and rear). The main thing here is to be sure of good flow, maybe an additional pump in case of severe temperature in hot weather and traffic, may not be necessary, I'm yet to dabble in this area. Also a good bleeding system, bleeding can be difficult as I've read and incorporating a good bleed pipe or two upon fitment is a wise move and makes the whole thing easier to live with during any repairs down the line where the cooling system would be interferred with. There are plenty of schematics on-line for cooling system setups.. http://subaruvanagon.com/tom/Cooling System.htm
    In fact, these conversions have gone mad, when I was considering this 2 yrs ago there was quite a bit of info, but now, there is tons..!
    Hope this advice is useful.
    Majorhangover likes this.
  19. Fellows finished mine last Sept/Oct. They then replaced the thermostat two or three times but it continued to overheat with lots of burbling noises. Sometimes it worked Ok and others not. It could have been an airlock. They said that they don't normally have such problems.
    Without the thermostat it now takes around 15-20 miles to get to normal operating temp (80-90DegC) in summer, and last winter it rarely went above 70DegC. I'm sure you're right that it will reduce the life of the engine if it continues like this. It also means the heater only works in the summer time. However we are just pleased to have something that works for the moment.
    Unlike normal water cooled engines, the Subaru thermostat is on the return flow to the engine, so it much more sensitive to the cooling system design. If the return flow is not hot enough it doesn't open.
  20. kev


    quote deano 777
    { The main thing here is to be sure of good flow, maybe an additional pump in case of severe temperature in hot weather and traffic, may not be necessary, I'm yet to dabble in this area. }

    i have put my rad between the rail with a rough scoop i traveled 3500 miles around spain sitting in traffic red hot days and i never had a heating problem
    the only time i every have a heating problem ie gauge goes up a bit is if i go up to 90 mph [which obviously i never do in england}
    deano777 likes this.

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