This Subaru engine is the most impressive motor I have come across in my 40 years of automotive experience. It is state of the art with 7 main bearings, 4 valves per cylinder and four cams driven by a toothed belt. Still a non-interference engine, It will not self destruct if the cam belt breaks. It features an engine management computer capable of learning as you drive with input from crank and cam position sensors, a knock sensor, two oxygen sensors and it controls the spark, fuel injectors, and timing. It has no distributor, cap, rotor, or plug wires. The stock horsepower is rated at 230 at 5400 RPM and the redline is an impressive 7000. With our free flowing 2 1/4" exhaust system, the motor is producing an estimated 240 horsepower. These numbers put the Vanagon Syncro on a par with many of the new sports cars and SUV's from BMW and Mercedes.

The most amazing thing might be that you can go around a right hand city street corner in third gear and just drive smoothly away with no hiccups or vibration.


New design engine mount retains the original Vanagon crossbar and provides for solid muffler mounting. The height of the H6 fits with no modification to the engine lid and with no cutting of the engine compartment.

Small Car aluminum oil pan and stainless headers keep existing ground clearance and the ability to refit the Syncro skid plate. The engine management computer is located in original location under the rear seat.


If you have any questions about a Subaru conversion, don't hesitate to contact our conversion expert, Brian, at 253-473-2474 or by using our conversion contact form.

SVX Conversion


It's 1991 and the VW engineers are up against the wall. They need to upgrade the Vanagon to compete against the new Minivans so they place a call to Porsche for advice on a new powerplant. The engineers at Porsche say, "Ya, we will send some drawings over next week". The Porsche design arrives and the engine is a six cylinder boxer with four cams and four valves per cylinder. I believe this is what VW should have done instead of building the Eurovan. The challenge is to do it as well or better than Volkswagen. In my opinion a difficult but not impossible job


Man, it's amazingly fast. Second gear moves anything not tied down to the back seat and feels and sounds more like a Porsche 911S a Vanagon. It's very smooth and has a kind of swoosh sound to it. I'm afraid it will be very difficult to keep from punching the throttle often for a while. I'm real glad we upgraded the brakes as it wants to exceed the speed limit in about 100 feet. So far I haven't been able to resist standing on it in every gear. Think I'd better stay inside before the neighbors have me arrested.

I honestly feel my Vanagon is now more reliable than it has ever been. The engine starts quickly, idles so quietly you sometimes forget it's running and has so much reserve power that you never feel you are taxing it in the least. The Van is so much more pleasurable to drive that you have to wonder why VW did not build a better engine for them. I have driven dozens of Vanagons hundreds of thousands of miles but only now fully realize what great cars they really are.

Available Engines


All engines we might have available at the present time would likely require rebuilding. Estimate: $8500

3.3L SVX Before & After


The cost to install a 3.3 six cylinder in a Vanagon 2wd or a Syncro is $10,975 plus the cost of the motor. There are no hidden costs, just a few options shown as optional items below.

Note: The 3.3L engines are showing their age now and therefore a rebuild is recommended. Parts can be a challenge to find as well so owners should very seriously consider if they really need 230 horsepower.

  1. Smallcar bellhousing with Subaru flywheel
  2. 321 stainless steel header
  3. Custom manufactured engine mount system
  4. New radiator
  5. Stage II clutch
  6. New engine mounts, modified for more strength
  7. Oil dipstick behind license plate door
  8. 2 1/4" exhaust system and high-flow catalytic converter
  9. SmallCar designed aluminum oil pan
  10. Stainless exhaust tip
  11. Subaru starter
  12. Speed sensor
  13. All installation labor, fluids, etc...
Optional Upgrades


  1. Ceramic coated exhaust - $350
  2. Air Conditioned cars - $595
    Note: This cost is based on a Van with properly functioning A/C.
  3. Dash A/C now available!
  4. Cruise control (if already equipped and operating) - $230
  5. Syncro skid plate modification - $204
  6. ScanGauge driving computer installed (96-97 engines only) $200
  7. 8,000 RPM tachometer face w/recalibration - $185
  8. White gauge faces - $245
  9. Wheel and tire upgrades
  10. 11" vented front brakes
  11. 10.4" rear disc brakes
  12. Auxillary battery system
  13. OME or Bilstein HD shocks
  14. HD springs
  15. Transmission repairs or 4th gear changes
  16. Limited slip differential for manuals & Syncros
  17. Stage 1 AC1 ECU Module - $415
  18. Propane heaters for camping
  19. Keyless remote & power door locks
Customer Comments


"The Carrera 4 of Vanagons. The power and torque are effortless in almost any gear. The sound is wonderful. Numbers of different people have told me: "Wow, the engine looks like it was made to go there!"

- Warren Chapman

"After first driving it I found myself thinking all kinds of bad thoughts... Can I get a speeding ticket in a Vanagon? Can I pass others on a hill? Can I do 100mph? I began to realize I wasn't breathing, I was too busy smiling. Even though I've probably driven 500,000 miles in various Vanagons, I have only now begun to appreciate what a great car it is. That's the essence of this experience. We gave the Van an extra 150 horsepower, better brakes, and it loved it... Me too!"

- DJ


After 5000 miles of driving, the mileage is averaging around 17 MPG. Although, I haven't managed to keep speeds down to 65-75 long enough on highway trips long enough to see what could be possible at those speeds.

An emissions test after a 450 mile break in period shows very low emissions:

  1. Idle CO: 0.01% HC: 25PPM
  2. Cruise CO: 0.02% HC: 50PPM


Before arrival of your Vanagon we generally get a deposit of approximately the engine cost to acquire and prepare the Subaru engine. Upon delivery of your Vanagon for the installation work, a 50% deposit is required with the balance due upon completion of the work. There is a $15.00 per day storage fee after 5 days unless prior arrangements are made.


For all new parts, we have a one year warranty. Used engines have a one year warranty on internal parts and 90 days on externals. Extended warranties may available on some parts manufactured by us. If the vehicle cannot be returned to us for warranty service, repairs at another location should be authorized with us before the repairs are completed. Diagnosis is covered only when performed in our shop.