Anyone running a VW motor in their 356

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Matt Anderson
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Anyone running a VW motor in their 356

#1 Post by Matt Anderson » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:55 pm

Have any of you guys taken your Porsche motor out and replaced it with a VW motor for the fun factor. My 63Cab is a "regular" and pretty gutless to boot. Have any of you guys done this, and what have you had success/fun with?
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Re: Anyone running a VW motor in their 356

#2 Post by Jim Breazeale » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:12 pm

Matt Anderson wrote:Have any of you guys taken your Porsche motor out and replaced it with a VW motor for the fun factor. My 63Cab is a "regular" and pretty gutless to boot. Have any of you guys done this, and what have you had success/fun with?
I can't imagine anyone admitting to replacing their Porsche motor with a VW motor and bragging about it.
That reminds me of the old saying............."Riding a moped may be fun but I would not let anyone see me doing it or admit it"!

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Matt Anderson
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#3 Post by Matt Anderson » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:17 pm

I'll admit I'm thinking about. I mean, why not? It's just like having the ugly cousin in the car, they're related, but you don't really want anyone to know. Parts are cheaper for the VW too (did I just say that). All I'm saying is that VW motors are easier to replace than the Porsches, so until I do the full resto, I may just run a 1910 DP.
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JOEL JENSEN

#4 Post by JOEL JENSEN » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:36 pm

Matt, do what suits you. It's your car, not community property. Jake Raby can give you
advice on the VW (or 914) particulars. I remember an Registry article on a Speedster that
attended the Monterey event, driven from back east with a hot VW powerplant. Painted gold too. It could likely have blown the side curtains off of all the 'correct' cars who got
to share it's space. Not afraid to let anyone seeing me having fun, even on a Vespa or Rolly Reso's Speedster go-round.
:wink:

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Kevin Wiggins
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#5 Post by Kevin Wiggins » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:56 pm

I've seen quite a few VW motors that could smoke the crap out of a Porsche Normal or Super motor. And there is no reason they can't be reliable either if built by somebody who knows what they are doing.
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Matt Anderson
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#6 Post by Matt Anderson » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:02 pm

I'm just thinking it makes economical sense. The parts are cheaper and readily available and the fun factor would be about a 10. I just can't imagine what would happen when I put the Normal motor back in...
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#7 Post by Mark Pribanic » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:13 pm

Matt,
First off, let me say, it's your car, do as you wish. Secondly, my '58 coupe came with a 2 liter VW engine in it when I bought it in 1999. It took me almost 5 years to find a good buy on a running 912 to get a 4 banger Porsche engine. I was in my mid 20's at the time and the cost of 356 engine's even back then were more than what was in my budget. Comparing the 2....The VW was fast but just didn't feel right being in the 356. The engine from the 1968 912 feels great too, but looks even better when you open the decklid. It all depends on what is most important to you.
Personally, I'd recommend running a 356/912 engine. However, depending on your finances & parts/engine availablility, a VW engine will at least allow you to continue to drive your 356.

That to me, is the most important part....Driving them!
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#8 Post by Jake Raby » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:14 pm

I can't imagine anyone admitting to replacing their Porsche motor with a VW motor and bragging about it.
When you can attain 40 HP more than a Carrera engine for less than the cost of the STOCK rebuild of a "Normal" 356 engine you don't have to brag...

The engine conversions I specialize in also don't require any alterations of the 356 body work at all, no cutting, no welding- it just bolts right up.

And the engine we choose is the VW Type 4, used in the 914 and the 912E, its just as much a Porsche engine as the 356..

We START at 160 HP these days and my twin plug roller cammed engines make a minimum of 190 HP with well over 200 lb/ft of torque.. Reliable, I have put 4,000 miles on my Wife's 2.9 liter twin plug engine since March.. It makes 195 RWHP (at only 5,500 RPM!) and gets 30 MPG..

If the conversion required modification of the vehicle I would certainly deem it unacceptable for the 356, but since it can be "un-done" in less than a weekend pickling the OE engine under the work bench is the smartest thing to do if you want real power.

When I finish my Carrera cooling system development the engine will REALLY confuse some people.

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#9 Post by Bob Campbell » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:54 am

Jake Raby said, "The engine conversions I specialize in also don't require any alterations of the 356 body work at all, no cutting, no welding- it just bolts right up."

Hi Jake,

With all due respect, the type IV motor you sold to Randy Unthank did not come close to fitting in his T-5 coupe. The dimension from the alternator nut to the rear of the case was a full two inches more than the opening in the stock engine cavity and no amount of tilting or twisting would allow the engine to go in.

Many hours were required to remove the original tray and fabricate a proper, fitted horizontal tray secured and sealed all around the engine.

Have you changed your fan housing/alternator location recently that allows them to fit as you represent?

No problems with the engine, it runs very strong.

Regards,

Bob
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Michael Eker

#10 Post by Michael Eker » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:16 am

If it is fun you are after you could sell the 356 cab and use the cash to buy a replica.

A painstaking and accurate restoration will cost you many $$$.

If you don't restore the car sympathetically you will reduce it's value.

It has a real value now as it is in a rare original condition but if you start putting in old VW

motors etc you will start to lose cash.

You can buy a souped up speedster replica for what you can sell the 356 cab for and still

have cash left over for James Dean sunspecs.

I can see a 165 HP version here.

http://www.intermeccanica.com/speedster_prea.html

meker

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#11 Post by Kevin Wiggins » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:46 am

Michael Eker wrote:
It has a real value now as it is in a rare original condition but if you start putting in old VW

motors etc you will start to lose cash.
And how exactly would that happen? If he has the original engine, it can be re-swapped in an afternoon.....
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Mike Baskette
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Thanks Matt

#12 Post by Mike Baskette » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:17 am

You beat me to the punch reguarding the question on installing another type of air cooled engine in the 356. Some, not all of my collector car friends have change out their "original" engines and replaced them with other engines. All the Shelby guys I know did it.
They place the original under the work bench for safe keeping.
I think it is a great idea. I suspect I would go for an upright engine just to keep the theme going. Wasn't the original VW engine design done by Dr. Porsche?

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#13 Post by Jake Raby » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:22 am

Bob Campbell wrote:Jake Raby said, "The engine conversions I specialize in also don't require any alterations of the 356 body work at all, no cutting, no welding- it just bolts right up."

Hi Jake,

With all due respect, the type IV motor you sold to Randy Unthank did not come close to fitting in his T-5 coupe. The dimension from the alternator nut to the rear of the case was a full two inches more than the opening in the stock engine cavity and no amount of tilting or twisting would allow the engine to go in.

Many hours were required to remove the original tray and fabricate a proper, fitted horizontal tray secured and sealed all around the engine.

Have you changed your fan housing/alternator location recently that allows them to fit as you represent?

No problems with the engine, it runs very strong.

Regards,

Bob
Yes, I have altered the shroud in late 2006, this is known as the V2 DTM. It was designed for the 356 application as well as replicar installations that have similar engine bay constraints.

I now use these on all my engines for the 356 application.

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#14 Post by Jim Breazeale » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:46 am

I can't imagine anyone admitting to replacing their Porsche motor with a VW motor and bragging about it. [/quote]................by me, Jim Breazeale



And the engine we choose is the VW Type 4, used in the 914 and the 912E, its just as much a Porsche engine as the 356..,Jake's quote.

Jake

The type 4 engine is no where near a "Porsche" engine. It is a VW engine that was used in 914s (Built by VW in the Karman factory) The 914/6s with a "Real Porsche engine" were assembled in the Porsche factory. It was also used in the ill fated 912E in 1976 (you ever tried to buy a relacement part for that car at your local Porsche dealer? Good luck!) All that said, the type 4 engine is a great engine.
Now, let's all go back and read Matt's original post. He wanted more performance for a modest amount of money. A "Turnkey" Jake Raby" motor would provide a huge increase in HP and performance, no doubt, but not at a modest amount of money. We are not talking about a simple rebuild. One must first purchase a type 4 engine, perferably a 2.0 914 engine (my own guess). Send it to Jake, have him repair all the cracks in the heads (assuming they are even rebuildable)and other work before actually getting down to the rebuild. I don't think a person is going to do that to save a few bucks. Your engines are wonderful pieces but saving money is certainly not the prime motivation of most of your customers (again my guess). They want performance, relaibility and product support and are willing to spend more than the average rebuild. Is it worth it? You bet.
I don't want to blow my own horn, but I have 100s of customers out there that are running their 356s on good used 912 engines (large increase in performance) that I have provided for a fraction of the price of a rebuild, be it a 356 or Type 4 engine. There are many ways to increase performance. They all require money, though.

Regards
PS: What do you do for a flywheel?
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#15 Post by Jake Raby » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:58 am

There is no doubt that the Type 4 isn't a VW engine, in fact thats the reason I prefer it... It also can offer 100HP with over 100 lb/ft of torque from a stock engine and will do so for 160K miles if taken care of well.
It was also used in the ill fated 912E in 1976 (you ever tried to buy a relacement part for that car at your local Porsche dealer?
A car I have personally put 144K miles on in less than 7 years as a full daily driver, making 130HP.

A good used 912 engine offers the best "used" performance one can get, I have a 356 in my shop now with a 912 engine and its a great performer.

FYI we do not rebuild TIV heads, we have brand new castings that are CNC ported and all components are new, I haven't rebuilt a cylinder head for a TIV turn key engine in 8 years.

To address your flywheel question- I offer a 356 conversion flywheel that fits the 741 trans when a VW starter is used.

Its all personal preference... But with the 356/616 engines getting older every day and main bearings costing 4-500.00 and other parts following suite its only going to get worse to repair or rebuild the original engines from a budget stand point.

To build a performance 356 engine takes DOUBLE the budget needed to attain the same power from a 914 engine, with the same quality of components. All I build for the 356 are performance engines, so thats the basis for my comparisons.

Oh, and by the way- Never assume anything. I learned that lesson long ago!

I build 356 engines and just finished one yesterday, but having experience with both foundations as well as most other aircooled power plants I can say the differences in components between the 356 and the TIV are huge. Most 356 builders don't have experience with other foundations and due to that they have a hard time comparing the two accurately. (without assumptions)

Jim, we need to talk offline my latest endeavors might be something that can be beneficial for both of us.

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