Interested in converting you T25 to a Syncro? Then read on...
This recent syncro conversion to a 2WD Westfalia Hi-top is a breakdown of the various stages that we went through to produce this 4WD syncro. This article is by no means exhaustive and any information contained within is for illustrative purposes only, the syncro conversion is relatively complex process to achieve a safe and factory spec so always seek professional help and guidance. Yes you will be told that it only takes a weekend to convert…….well if there were 10 people working 2 full days then maybe….but this isn’t the discovery channel.
I hope you enjoy the info and if you have a burning desire for a syncro westy then please do get in touch.
Stage one: the donor and some shiny bits
After a donor syncro was sourced, we then stripped it down of all the relevant parts. A great tip here is to try your best to get the same fuel type syncro donor as you intend to use, makes the conversion easier…especially on the diesel version. The owner then has had all the suspension parts cleaned and powder coated. New bushes and suspension parts have been fitted. Pic shows all bits laid out.We can source donor syncros and of course supply all the parts you may need, we canadvise on upgrades to brakes and suspension at the same time, check out our webshop for brakes and suspension packages.
Stage two: 2WD suspension removal
Remove the 2WD suspension, everything from the front, at the back the trailing arms can stay in place if required, or you could take the opportunity to remove, replace the bushes and bolts check for corrosion.
Stage 3: 2WD existing parts checking
Remove the fuel tank, now if you have a power steering truck then check those power steering pipes as they can rust out badly, especially where they drop down under the chassis at the rear, great mud trap. Also look very carefully at the front to back plastic water pipes, check the ends, if they have split or the metal insert is sticking out replace them…..remember to order the syncro specific set now!
Stage 4: Chassis modifications
Now the fun part, the chassis/ suspensionmounting andcrossmemebr that carries the 2WD steering rack have to be removed…. This is to allow the fitment of the syncro subframe and the crossmemeber that carries the steering rack for the syncro, this crossmmber is a different shape and sits at a different angle to the 2WD one, its essential when this part is removed from the donor syncro that you get all the tabs and the mounts to chassis are intact. When the chassis is modified it needs to replicate the factory version as closely as possible. Its not simply a case of hacking of a few bits of steel to get the subframe to fit. Careful attention is paid to the alignment, the welds and the structural integrity of the work.
Stage 5: Measurements
Mock up the fitment of any part before welding, measure, check, check again.
Stage 6 Syncro sub frame
Once the rack mounting is in place then offer up the subframe to get the correct fitting position, again careful checks are made at this crucial stage. The chassis has to have the mounting plates fitted at either end, this shot is just the positioning shot.
Stage 7 Sub frame build up
Fit the subframe to the chassis, bolt up into place, in all the carefully prepared locations, all the weldedsections are zinc primed to ensure long term corrosion protection, this conversion will be thoroughly waxed underneath to ensure its long term survival. The lower track control arms can be fitted up now as well, once the subframe is in place then all the front end parts can be built up and fitted. When doing this carefulattention needs to be paid to the condition off the bushes and joints, it’s more than likely that the donor items are worn and require replacement.
Stage 8 Gear box mounts
The other chassis modifications can now be undertaken, this means adjusting the middle crossmember, just rearward of the subframe, the 2WD one is a different shape, the shot shows the mocking up of this adjustment process. The rear chassis now needs to be modified to carry the gear box mountings and the prop bar hangers. We have looked at various methods for best fitting the gearbox mounting plates, including replacing the complete crossmemeber at the back, but that’s a pretty big job and we have found that everyone we have removed was pretty badly internally and now use the method outlined next: carefully mark out the position of the gearbox mounting plates on the rear crossmember, drill this position, take out the chassis here with a step drill, to allow an M8 nut to sit inside the hole. Next fabricate the new plates, use 2-3mm plate, weld the nuts to this plate, offer this up to the crossmmber and weld into place, this makes a super strong fixing. The prop bar hangers are plug welded to the chassis as well.
Stage 8 Syncro fuel tank
The syncro tank void can now be prepared, so the tank mounting plate subfame needs to be made and fitted into place, the tank void is then waxed, we use bilt hambler waxes available in the webshop. The clutch pipe fixed line is also moved into the correct position at this time, the fue tank is then prepared prior to fitment, the syncro tank has 2 breathers fitted to the top of the tank, these lugs often snap and so fit up the tank with new fuel lines and breathers as required before you fit the tank….you really don’t want to be taking it out again. We fit the stainless steel strap kits as well.. The one from the donor will be in bits almost guaranteed.
Stage 9 Body cuts
This is a good time to concentrate on the body cuts that need to be done to fit the syncro fuel filler point and to delete the old 2WD filer point.
Stage 10 syncro transmission
Depending on how you have configured your syncro transmission, then all the vacuum lines can be laid in now along with the wiring for the diff lock actuator switches, once this is all resolved then the engine and transmission, we fit as a complete unit, remember that the syncro uses different engine mounting bars…your 2WD drive ones will be no good. it’s all built up on the bench, gearbox is filled with oil, we now use a fully synthetic oil under advise from Aidan. Again it really pays to look at things like the clutch, replace if in any doubt, for the extra cost of these items then it makes sense to do as much as possible now whilst it all being fitted up, rather than having to tear it all down to replace a worn clutch in a thousand miles.
Once the boxes are in place then a huge amount of tidying up can start, fitting back any loose lines, taking care of pipe runs, getting it all looking as factory a possible.
Stage 11 interior
Interior work can begin now, the vacuum lines fitted previously and the wiring loom can be fitted up into the interior, the vacuum switch panel can now be built up, the plastics modified as needed, always test as you go so the vac lines are checked out as is all the wiring to ensure it all should perform as expected. Again we are looking for the factory look and feel. The speedo head from the donor syncro has been fitted into the dash panel as well.
Finished…well getting there!