Part 7B - Installation of Subaru EJ22

Part 7B is a continuation of Part 7A and resumes the installation of the EJ22 into the aircooled Vanagon. In Part 7B we document how we installed the exhaust, air intake, fuel, throttle, and wiring systems to complete the transformation from aircooled Vanagon into SubaruVanagon. Follow along as we examine these areas in detail. 

 Overview and Approximate Time Needed:


Process Description

~ Time (hours)


Installation of exhaust system, option item1



Installation of air intake


Modify throttle assembly


Install fuel lines and belt


Test and installation of wiring harness 


* Approximate Total Time =


*When you factor in rest and prep time, a mechanically inclined person could finish these steps in about two days. For someone new to working on cars, this may take a few days. 

1Optional item: Using Ford F150 or similar muffler instead of bolt on Vanagon application.

Step 4: Installation of exhaust system

With the KEP supplied exhaust header, the stock Vanagon exhaust will bolt right up. KEP also supplies a fantastic muffler bracket to support the weight of the exhaust assembly from the motor which is how Volkswagen designed the exhaust system to originally be. This is, by far, the quickest solution. In this step I chose to use a muffler from another application because of the beneficial characteristics to performance and comfort of the driver. The muffler chosen is from a 1996 Ford F150 with a 6 cylinder motor. Some modification is necessary but the benefits far outweigh the work involved in making this muffler work with the SubaruVanagon exhaust system.

In the gallery below we show how the flanges from the original muffler are adapted to the Ford F150 muffler to work in its place. Note - access to a welder is very helpful, but with careful marking you could take the bits and pieces to a muffler shop and have them weld the parts inexpensively.

Step 5: Installation of air intake 

In this step we will install the air intake and vacuum lines to the charcoal canister and intake manifold. There are only a few connections that need to be made so this step should go quickly once the cuts and bends are made to the intake duct.  

I have found that if you can source an additional intake duct from a parts yard it makes for a very clean, factory looking installation. This method also keeps all of the PCV valve and breather hoses in their stock locations so there is no need to modify. Lets take a closer look!

Now that the main intake ducting is in place we can connect the accessory vacuum connections and make some modifications to the second intake duct to finalize this part.

Step 6: Modify throttle assembly

Now on to the throttle assembly. This is one of my favorite steps as it's quick and it results in a very clean arrangement of the throttle mechanism. The use of an angle grinder with a metal cut off wheel or a hacksaw is needed for this step.

An alternate setup is to modify the throttle wheel and leave the cruise control wheel unchanged. This allows for cruise control in the future and also provides a nice, factory, appearance to the engine bay. Our aircooled Vanagon also needed an extra bracket to hold the throttle cable in place and we mounted this onto the transmission using one of the adapter plate mounting bolts.

Step 7: Install fuel lines and belt

We are getting very close to starting the SubaruVanagon for the first time since the start of the conversion. Follow along as we get the fuel system and belt figured out.

Step 8: Test and installation of wiring harness

The final major step before the SubaruVanagon is ready for the streets. We will show how we placed the wiring harness, in test form, and start the motor to check for problems in the wiring BEFORE we tape it all up. Remember that before starting for the first time we need to replace the motor oil, fill the coolant system, and connect the battery. But before all that, lets get the wiring harness in so it can be tested.

With the wiring harness in semi-complete state, connect the critical items and make sure the motor will start and idle okay.

Once no faults are found with the wiring harness it can be taped up and readied for final installation. We chose to use the basic KEP instructions and computer location in the right side cubby just forward of the right taillight - it happens that this was also the stock location for the Vanagons original computer.

The gallery below shows another possible installation location for the computer, and this has proven to be a great location in several Westys we've converted so far. The wiring is from a 95' Legacy so it's slightly different than the 90-94' years but the idea is essentially the same.


We covered a lot of information in Part 7A and Part 7B - Congratulations, you made it! At this point I know you're itching to get your SubaruVanagon out on the open road. Make sure you keep the fluids topped off, especially the coolant, and monitor the engine temps to make sure they're in range and you should be ready to roll! In the next articles we'll detail how we installed the front and rear heaters so that you have heat for the winter - because it'll come eventually!