Part 1 - Subaru pre-purchase inspection

As we begin the process of converting our aircooled Vanagon Westfalia to a SubaruVanagon we want to start with the best condition EJ22 motor we can find. These motors are known for their longevity but it never hurts to take a little extra time and make sure its in good condition before buying the donor vehicle. A compression test is also a good baseline if you've already purchased a donor Subaru. Fluid checks indicate whether the owner has taken good care of the car or not - low power steering fluid, for example, could indicate that the owner didn't pay great attention to detail with the maintenance of the Subaru.

This article explains how to do a quick compression test and some basic things to look for when buying a Subaru for an aircooled Vanagon engine swap.

Overview and Approximate Time Needed :


Process Description

~ Time (min)


Check fluids



Remove spark plugs and unplug Ignitor



Perform compression test



Re-install spark plugs, wires, and Ignitor






* Approximate Total Time =


*A mechanically inclined person should reserve a half hour to complete this process.  For someone new to working on cars, this may take an hour or two. 

 Tools needed:

1.       Shop towels to check fluids

2.       Ratchet with extensions and spark plug socket and swivel adapter

3.       Compression tester

4.       Electrical tape


This Legacy pans out! Aside from a bad throwout bearing, due to faulty clutch linkage at the transmission, we are ready to start our project and have an EJ22 in good shape. Let's move it into the garage and start pulling the motor and wiring harness.