Part 4 - Aircooled Vanagon Engine Pull

While we wait on our SubaruVanagon parts to come in we can pull the aircooled Vanagon's motor and make room for the Subaru EJ22. In this article we will walk through the process we took to label all of the various hoses and wires that we'll need to keep for the Subaru transformation. This step goes pretty quickly and is actually a lot of fun. The hardest, and most fun, part of this step is maneuvering the aircooled 2.0L down, out, and away from the transmission and engine bay. It really helps to have an engine hoist (cherry picker) but a stout floor jack can work as well. I have used floor jacks, ATV/motorcycle jacks, and engine hoists and I really like the stability and safety of the engine hoist. A floor jack is fairly unstable, but it can be done.


Follow along as we remove the tired aircooled powerplant from the Westfalia engine bay.


Overview and Approximate Time Needed:


Process Description

~ Time (hours)


Label wires, vacuum hoses, and wire harness



Disconnect throttle and fuel connections



Jack up Vanagon and prepare for motor pull



Pull aircooled motor






* Approximate Total Time =


*When you factor in rest and prep time, a mechanically inclined person should reserve a half day to complete this process.  For someone new to working on cars, this may take 1 day of work.

Tools you may need:

1.       Metric socket and wrench sets, 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 17mm

2.       Needle nose and Chanellock pliers, wire cutters

3.       Swivel adapter for sockets

4.       Masking tape and Sharpie for labeling wires and hoses

5.       Engine hoist with appropriate rated chain and appropriate size engine stand


Step 1: Label wires, vacuum hoses, and wire harness

Let's dive in and start disconnecting and labeling some of the wiring, vacuum, and wire harness.

Step 2: Disconnect throttle and fuel connections 

Now let's disconnect the fuel connections. There is an "IN" line at the right and an "Return" line at the left of the motor, right after the fuel pressure regulator. We'll also remove the throttle cable in preparation for lowering the engine out of the bay

Step 3: Jack up Vanagon and prepare for motor pull

We'll then safely jack up the Vanagon to prepare for the physical disconnection of the motor from the frame and transmission.

Step 4: Pull aircooled motor

It is finally time to lower the aircooled motor. All we have to do is to attach the engine hoist to the motor, unbolt the engine crossmember from the frame, and pull the motor free from the transmission. We're almost there!


A lot of progress in this step! We labeled all of the relevant wires, hoses, and removed the air-cooled motor from its 30 year old home - not a bad days work! Now that the Vanagon is a little lighter in the rear we can take a scrub brush to the Subaru motor and prepare it for installation into its new home. In the next article we'll take a look at replacing the timing belt, oil seals, and attaching all the goodies that make the EJ22 purr like a saber toothed tiger!