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Compleat Idiot Archived Logs

September 2, 2020Cleaned up Links, documented my heater motor, wiper motor, and fusebox replacement. Find it in the Electrical section.
August 23, 2018Cleaned up Links and added vanagon parts entries.
December 19, 2017Adding information on replacing electric door lock actuators to a new Electric > Door Locks section.
August 08, 2016Added some powered by subaru sticker pics to the Misc > Sticker Pics section.
July 06, 2015Cleaned up some broken links in the Links section
June 23, 2014Updated the Interior > Armrest Repair page to provide info on a handy pin removal tool from David Beierl
January 29, 2014Updated the vanagon headlight relay page to provide links to Jay Brown's product page. See updates at Electrical > Upgrading to Brighter Vanagon Headlights
Apr 09, 2012Updated the Interior > Re-Upholstery Slideshow to show the newly upholstered door panel results and instructions. Also added TDI Starter installation notes to Subaru Engine-3 > Stronger Starter.
Jan 05, 2012Updated the links section to remove old and broken links.
Jan 16, 2011Posted some instructions/pics on modifying 90-94 subaru ej22 engine intake manifold harness wiring for relocation of the plugs. See it at Suby Engine-3 > Intake Wiring Reversal
Dec 29, 2010Posted a pdf containing subaru vanagon conversion pricing/vendor information. Find it in Suby Engine-1 > Conversion or click here.
Nov 02 2010Get out there and vote!!!! Posted a link to subaru engine troubleshooting information. Find it in Suby Engine-1 > Conversion
Oct 01 2010Found and published a great pdf containing vanagon incandescent lightbulb to led conversion parts. Find it in Home > Electrical > Upgrading Stock Vanagon Interior Lightbulbs to LED.
May 26 2010Published a very good writeup on installation of vanagon headlight relays. Find it in Home > Electrical > Headlight Mods.
May 21 2010Added a graphic showing 1991 Vanagon fuel economy estimates. Find it in Home > Misc > Specifications.
Nov 17, 2009Added a section to describe the servicing of the subaru Idle Air Control valve. Find it in Engine 3 > IAC Servicing.
24 Sep 2009Ever consider building a hovercraft? Peter Baylis did and stuffed a suby engine into it. See his creation sporting a powered by subaru sticker out at Misc > Sticker Pics.
Aug 16 2009Added a few tips to the wire soldering section. See these at Suby Engine-I > Wiring > Wiring 101 Slideshow. Also added links to a couple of past conversion jobs out at Suby Engine-1 > Conversion.
Jul 19 2009Kevin Jakey was kind enough to write up his process for fabricating a vanagon hitch. See it in Body > Vanagon Hitch.
Mar 11 2009Added a set of instructions to help those interested in hooking up their subaru engine converted vanagon's a/c hoses. Find them in Suby Engine-3 > AC Conversion. Also put in a set of instructions for removing/replacing window seals. Check it out in Body > Window Seal R/R
Jan 27 2009Added a set of instructions to help those unfortunate enough to have to replace their vanagon clutch cross shaft. Find them in Transaxle > Release Shaft R/R.
Jan 04 2009Added an archive of the B10 Scan Tool made popular for use with Subaru Engine computers and reading codes from them. See the archived files on the Engine1 page via the B10 Scan Tool link or click here.
Jun 19 2008Added some more pictures of adventurous vanagon drivers who have chosen to keep their vans running through conversion to a dependable, fuel efficient subaru engine. See all the pics out at Misc > Sticker Pics.
May 20 2008Although I've not been keeping track of all the changes on the site, there have been plenty. Most are in the browsable file section that holds all of the info on converting a vanagon to subaru power. Check it out in the main page from w/in the EngineI Section or click here.
Jul 23 2007Finally got the subaru conversion resource information to allow directory browsing. Check it out in the main page from w/in the EngineI Section or click here.
Jul 09 2007Added a set of step-by-step instructions on modifying your Key In Ignition circuit so that the stereo comes in as soon as you put the key in the slot. Find it in Electrical > Electric Misc
Apr 20 2007Added a heck of a lot more detail on how to repair/adjust the droopy vanagon armrests. Find it in Interior > Armrest Repair
Mar 24 2007Added info. I replaced the stock jump seat from my multivan with a modified bench seat. Details and slideshow can be found in Interior > Jumpseat II.
Feb 01 2007Added info to help folks drive down the high Oregon registration fees for Vanagons.
Oct 16 2006Plenty of folks have been buying the popular Powered By Subaru stickers from me. See some new snaps of vanagons sporting the stickers out at Misc > Sticker Pics
Jul 22 2006Have added a menu page to allow browsing through the Subaru Conversion related resource. See it in Engine-1 > Conversion section.
May 08 2006Installed a ShadyBoy awning and am ready for some serious recreating. See Body > Awning Section for pics.
Apr 25 2006Subaru engine's in and running great. Added video with muffler comparison. See Engine 1 / Exhaust System Section for lowdown.
Apr 17 2006Engine's in and running great.
Added instruction for auto trans accelerator linkage conversion. See Engine 1 / Accel Linkage Section for pics.
Mar 20 2006T Minus 1 for engine installation! Am now detailing and servicing transmission. See Engine 1 Section for a link to some initial pics.
Jan 01 2006Have begun work on cleaning up my subaru donor engine for the pending conversion of the powerplant. See Engine 1 Section for a link to some initial pics.
Dec 24 2005I hacked together some cool, cheap Euro Trim bits for the rear of the van. See results in Body / Euro Trim.
Nov 25 2005All body work is now complete. Very happy with outcome. See results in Body / Cladding.
Oct 25 2005The Auto Restoration guy sent me over some progress pics of the lower cladding being painted. See them in Body / Cladding.
Oct 21 2005I've replaced some burnt out bulbs in the dash and was surprised at how hard that was. But it won't be for you if you read my instructions in the Electric section. Still waiting for cladding to get painted. Argh.
Oct 13 2005Out of town on biz so thought I'd work on the site a bit. Much content added to engine, electrical sections. Check it out!!
Oct 06 2005Sound insulation is complete. Check it out in the interior section. Also worked on electric door locks and am waiting for body cladding to come back from painter.
Sep 18 2005Since last writing I've finished the replacement of the front cabin carpet, mounted the vw mudflaps, and updated the headlight circuit. Have added the details around carpet replacement as well as sound insulation in the Interior section. Check it out when you get a chance.
Sep 05 2005Updated the Suspension section to include detailed instructions regarding replacement and servicing of front/rear brakes. Ordered a Sew-Fine Products carpet kit and am eagerly awaiting mail delivery.
Aug 04 2005I've recently installed a set of MB Quart component speakers in the cab, finished installing a Chrysler Digital Overhead Console purchased used for $13, and finished fixing my power window motors. Details herein.
Jul 26 2005Doing some site cleanup and organization while away from the van on a biz trip. Added power window and door debugging and repair info to the electrical section.
Jul 24 2005Added info on troubleshooting power doors and windows. Have been working of late on stereo installation.
Jul 06 2005Updated Electric / Electric Misc / Interior Lighting to show the wiring positions for the Hella domelights. Since last writing have installed Fat Mat soundproofing in all doors, installed Hella domelights purchased used, and worked toward repair of power windows and mirrors.
Jun 08 2005Update future plans section to assist me in planning for some future modifications.
May 23 2005Modified front center caps to fit over speedo cable fitting. Ronal wheel installation is complete. Finished removal of Subaru engine from donor car yesterday. Much business travel leaves little time for Vanagon work.
May 07 2005Waiting for Empi Long Rear Wheel Studs to install rear spacers. Have to modify wheel center caps to fit over vanagon hubs. All work sidetracked by house chores.
Apr 17 2005Entire van has been detailed. Sunroof installed to replace tired vent. Third brake light installed today. Test fit wheels and waiting for spacers. Purchased donor 92 Subaru for low miles engine it carried.
Apr 06 2005Swinging into full gear on cleanup and restoration of second Vanagon. Gotta name suggestion for her? Send it to me when you get a chance. Just picked up a killer deal on some very lightly used Ronals and Dunlops, pictures coming.
Apr 11 2005Have ordered and am waiting arrival of many of the bits necessary for the blue vans restoration. Power mirror replacement, new canvas for poptop, power door lock actuator, all are on their way.
Apr 09 2005Purchased and retrieved a 92 Subaru Legacy Sedan which will serve as a donor engine for my new van's conversion. The subaru has 280k but the engine has only 75k. Not bad for $800.
Steam cleaned both engines in my van and the subaru in prep for the removals.
Apr 02 2005Completely stripped and steam cleaned the interior of the blue van. All seats, door panels, and carpets were removed and cleaned. Also installed Home DePoor foil backed bubblewrap for insulation against sound in the rear body panels.
Mar 23 2005Sold Madeira after falling for a 91 Multivan which I purchased from a private party in Eugene, Oregon. Here we go again!!
Mar 11 2005Updated the Electrical section to add a bit about installing a "lights are on dummy" alarm and also added a section detailing the installation of a sunroof to replace the poptop vent. See it in the Body section.
Mar 05 2005Updated the Suby Engine-2 section to include some good info on the EJ engine ECU including tables of codes, step by step code reading. See it in Suby Engine-2 / Wiring.
Mar 03 2005Updated the Electrical section with a couple of pics of the Dodge third brake light that I installed in the van. See it in Electrical / Brake Light.
Mar 01 2005Much thanks to both Leon and Ian for providing corrections on Subaru EJ22 Timing Belt installation. See it in Engine I / Timing Belt.
Feb 26 2005Added additional information, supplied by David Beierl, on the Vanagon Water Cooling System Fan. See it in Misc / Tips & Tales at Vanagon Cooling System Explained - Part II.
Feb 23 2005During this time period I have re-contacted the firm that did my transaxle rebuild in order to get them to fix the leaks and check out the vibration on deceleration.
Feb 16 2005New site rolled out. Images have been optimized and navigation simplified. Room for more content.
Feb 06 2005Liberated a junkyard Chevy S10 of it's front air dam and, after a few mods, installed it on my vanagon's rear end, covering the exhaust. See the finished product out at Body / Rear Wrap.
Feb 02 2005Changed direction several times while designing new site layout.
Jan 23 2005Began rewrite of site last night. Will simplify layout and navigation and make the images lighter for faster download.
Jan 16 2005Got to dreaming about different color schemes and what the van would look like with a bit lower profile the other night. Came up with a few pics to ponder. See them in -->Misc / Future Plans Section
Dec 26 2004Added a small tip page showing the location and adjustment of the Subaru EJ22 Idle Air Control valve. See it in Misc / Tales & Tips section.
Dec 13 2004Removed and replaced rear brake shoes and bearings, both inside and outside, last weekend with Parker's help.
Did a fair to middlin writeup on it for info purposes, find it out at Suspension / Rear Brakes and Bearings section.
Dec 05 2004Minor additions to site. New CV's installed and rolling. Added a task and cost listing for the restoration and update tasks I've completed to date. Might be a good one to hide from the accountant!! But hey, it's still cheaper than a solid crack habit.
Find it out at the Misc / Tales & Tips section.
Dec 01 2004Minor corrections to site. Just got my van back with the re-rebuilt transmission intact and running fine. Have purchased a set of half axles from VW Cafe. My old cv's are making some tired noises even after fresh greasing. Will install the new cv's before this weekend.
Nov 10 2004Posted some good specifications (including paint codes) on the 1990 Multivan that I found at the site and the site. Thanks to both of them for the good information. See the info here in the -->Misc / Tales & Tips section.
Nov 05 2004Just found and plagiarized an exceptional guide to water cooled radiator fans out on the GoWesty site. Probably the clearest explanation of the subject I've ever heard (or understood).
Read it here in the -->Misc / Tales & Tips section.
Nov 02 2004 Election Day. Get out there and vote and quit reading this webpage!
Back home in the states now. Added some good resource related to the subaru engine conversion
  • A complete listing of the part descriptions and costs of subaru conversion related bits
  • An itemized listing of a conversion related timeline (Contains time estimates for serious coffee drinkers as well as retirees.)
  • An Adobe Document providing an overview of design, diagnosis, and overhaul of the Subaru EJ22 motors
See all three resources in the Misc / Tales & Tips section.
Oct 15 2004Still in Oz. Got some quality surf at a secret Mornington Peninsula spot my daughter and I stumbled onto last Sunday (see some unlabelled, unrevealing photos here). Locals were outstanding citizens and I only received one death threat related to blabbing about the spot. Surf was double-overhead, clear water, lot of wind making it a bit bumpy on the drop.
Saw a dealer selling new campers (looked like Toyota HiAce vans with Riviera style pop tops) out on a highway north of Melbourne yesterday. Will try to get out there to check prices in a week or so.
Oct 05 2004Am a day ahead of most of you now. Working in Australia for a time during which I'll attempt to wrastle up some of those cool transporter black plastic inserts that install between the tail lights. If anyone out there reads this and has a clue as to where I can get some in Australia, please give me a holler.
I was up in Manly, near Sydney, last weekend and saw many Transporters and Caravelles, only two campers though. Surprised as this is the perfect spot for a Westy or equivalent.
Sep 12 2004Added a Tales & Tips section just off of the "Misc" portion of the site. Going to post some of the stories that I've lived through during my vanagon adventures.
Sep 11 2004Added a couple of sections for both muffler bracket fabrication/installation and automatic transmission shift point modification. See the new stuff in the Engine-II / Muffler Bracket sections.
Thanks to Tom Shiels for his patience and the fabricated muffler bracket.
Sep 07 2004Just back from a long journey with my daughter, Jayde, up for a surf in British Columbia and a corndog out at the Ravalli County Fair in Hamilton, Montana. The vanagon ran great and consistently performed strong on the hills while achieving 20mpg even with a canoe strapped up top.
Muffler bracket repairs are complete for adapting the new muffler to the subaru engine. Thanks to Tom Shiels for the fabricated bracket and to the subaruvanagon yahoo group for the good tip on the spring loaded muffler band clamps. I'll post some pics of the completed work ASAP.
Back to work.
Aug 12 2004Sold the tires/wheels today so updated the Main / Swap Meet section. Thanks Mark.
Aug 10 2004Added a new image and description of the aftermarket transmission cooler I added to the Engine-II / Vanagon Transaxle Cleanup section.
Aug 04 2004Filled up my tank for the first time since upgrading to a subaru engine. 22 mpg achieved with mostly city driving!! I'm stoked!!
Also made the move to a different location on the internet, 10mb of verizon webhosting space gets taken up in a real hurry. Now located on
Jul 29 2004Added a new subsection on Vanagon Gauge Overlays to the "Electrical" section.
Also added a bit to the Engine-II section on Vanagon Transaxle Cleanup.
Jul 28 2004Added a new subsection on Subaru Engine installation to the "Engine-I" section. Still have to put words to the pics though. Also added a couple of pics of the Infinity Subwoofer.
Later that evening I added text to the engine installation pictures.
Jul 24 2004Added instructions on the insanely difficult repair of the 90 Vanagon Armrest to the Interior Section. Also added link to UK Transport Site (it's good, check it).
Jul 23 2004Updated site Engine-II / Coolant System Mods section to add pictures and notes on modifying/building the coolant piping and installation of burp tank.
Jul 20 2004Selling some of the bits that were replaced during the engine conversion and wheel replacement projects.
Check the Misc/Swap Meet Section for more details.
Jul 19 2004Yahoo! Started up my converted Vanagon for the first time last night. Turned over on the first go. No one is more surprised than I am. Replaced the stock waterboxer with a Subaru EJ22 (2.2L) H4 engine. Even drove it to work today. What a great improvement. I'm stoked. More to come regarding the conversion herein.
Jul 06 2004Finally, some new stuff. Since last writing, I've installed the subaru engine. Have plenty of pictures to post but not enough time to write them up yet. I have updated the Engine-II / Wiring Section this time though.
Jun 03 2004Wiring has begun on the conversion.
May 17 2004Miscellaneous minor changes.
May 12 2004Added additional notes to the wheels section after my brother provided an editorial.
Camped with the Wet Westies over the weekend down at Beverly Beach. Great time and managed to score a couple of surf sessions as well. Life is good. Looking at T Minus 2 weeks to finish other chores and start Vanagon engine conversion in earnest.
May 07 2004Added text captions and instructions to go with all provided pictures. Rewrote javascript slideshows.
May 05 2004Completely redesigned the entire site last night making the pictures much more better to download.
Added sections on prepping Suby engine.
Will test on dialup connection to see if the new slideshow function works any better.
May 04 2004Site unleashed. Just a bunch of pictures for the time being.