Just Picked up a 1975 ST4 in the Willow area

Benak

New member
Hello all,

I just bought #1801 and have it my shop thawing out. My intention is to clean it up and run it on the Big Sue. I drove it across a lake to get it on the trailer back to Anchorage, seems to run/drive OK. My wife thinks I'm crazy which kind of adds to the appeal. I'd like to run it this winter with the original VW power and look at converting to the Subaru EJ22 in the coming years. The tracks look OK but I do need new idlers soon.

What have guys been running with for tooling to do "in the field" track repairs? I intended on running only on the frozen river so I'm hopeful I don't walk tracks off on a regular basis. How do these things do in overflow?

Thanks in advance and I'm looking forward to getting some hours on this thing.

-Ben
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redsqwrl

Bronze Member
SUPER Site Supporter
nice ride! is over flow water?
I have forded some water up to the bumper it makes a lot of steam and I don't think I did and favors to my heat boxes....

Mike
 

sno-drifter

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Finally, a Snot Trac with the right color. Benak, you have arrived, not the only wife to label her husband as crazy. Wear the badge with pride.
 

Benak

New member
nice ride! is over flow water?
I have forded some water up to the bumper it makes a lot of steam and I don't think I did and favors to my heat boxes....

Mike

Overflow is basically water flowing on top of river or lake ice and either making slush or refreezing. On a snow mobile generally you just pin the throttle and skip over it. With a track rig I don't see that as an option.

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There are obviously varying levels of this but where I run I do see a fair bit of it.
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
light over flow is ok just keep an eye on the tracks as the water freezes to the metal parts in your tracks and they will become too tight in short order. I generally avoid it you never know how deep it is especially where it transitions to snow once the slush packs into the belly pan you will get froze in in short order. if I were you I would keep the aircooled vw engine if you want more power it can be had the power t weight ratio is pretty tough to beat and if your airbox heaters are good there will be no shortage of heat.
 

Benak

New member
light over flow is ok just keep an eye on the tracks as the water freezes to the metal parts in your tracks and they will become too tight in short order. I generally avoid it you never know how deep it is especially where it transitions to snow once the slush packs into the belly pan you will get froze in in short order. if I were you I would keep the aircooled vw engine if you want more power it can be had the power t weight ratio is pretty tough to beat and if your airbox heaters are good there will be no shortage of heat.

I'll heed your advice on the overflow, I have plenty of snow machines where plan on running this so I don't need to push it too much. I have access to heated parking too so if I can keep the rig moving long enough to get out I'll be able to thaw it out. Do you run with winches on your rigs in case of trouble?

I plan on running the stock VW power at least this year, if it runs fine (so far no problem) I may leave it alone. I am mainly looking for easy cold starts and cabin heat as a reason to swap. I've run down to -35F (not the past few years though) at the cabin a few times a year with -20F pretty common - you're in Nome so this would be normal for you. The heat off the engine keeps you warm enough in the cab with the stock arrangement?

The machine also came with the Stewart-Warner "Southwind" gas fired heater (not installed, appears complete) but just about everyone I know that ever ran one has a story about them burning down a vehicle... I'm also considering a diesel fired cab heater with a separate fuel tank like a Webasto, etc. often used on boats.

All it takes is money I guess. A big part of my "permission" to buy the rig was the allure of a heated cab, I need to figure that part out no matter what.

Thanks for the feedback.

-Ben
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
I use tannus pads scored from the aviation industry and a small electric heater should I enter into some crappy weather I fire up the little 2k heater plug the snow trac and heater in now I have safe heat inside the machine and the engine will stay warm enough to start again. at - 20 we are generally opening the back door to let heat out on long trips and I get defrost a lot faster on the vw heating system than you can ever hope for on a coolant system. if you needed more heat than plumb an auxillary oil cooler in the cabin and stick a fan behind it.
 

Alaska Jay

New member
Let me know if you choose to go Subaru. I've done mine with a 2.5. As far as I've seen, I'm the only one so far to swap to a computerized Subaru engine. Lots of advantages, in my opinion. I love how smooth and quiet it runs compared to how the Volkswagen engine sounded.
 

300 H and H

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
With a throttle body injection, computer control, and a counter weighted crank shaft, I doubt if anyone would change out the VW for a Subaru. These can all be added to a VW engine quite easily these days. Plus the VW parts are much easier to find, and cheaper I bet as well. It is hard to argue with an engine platform that has had over 30 million built world wide... :whistling:

Regards, Kirk
 

Alaska Jay

New member
With a throttle body injection, computer control, and a counter weighted crank shaft, I doubt if anyone would change out the VW for a Subaru. These can all be added to a VW engine quite easily these days. Plus the VW parts are much easier to find, and cheaper I bet as well. It is hard to argue with an engine platform that has had over 30 million built world wide... :whistling:

Regards, Kirk

Well, he mentioned in his first post that he was considering converting to Subaru power in the coming years, so I was offering some guidance since I just did it.

A Subaru engine is a great option. If you think that vintage Volkswagen engines are easier and cheaper to come by than modern Subaru engines, you're crazy. In Alaska, Subaru cars are sold at a rate 2-3 times higher than anywhere else in the USA. The guy could buy a wrecked car with a good EJ engine for a few hundred bucks and have everything he needs to make the conversion except the adapter kit, which is also ridiculously affordable.

You like how your 50 year old engine runs? That's great. When I'm in the Alaskan bush, I'll be a little more comfortable knowing that I'll be getting home with a power plant that was made in the last decade.
 

300 H and H

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Well, he mentioned in his first post that he was considering converting to Subaru power in the coming years, so I was offering some guidance since I just did it.

A Subaru engine is a great option. If you think that vintage Volkswagen engines are easier and cheaper to come by than modern Subaru engines, you're crazy. In Alaska, Subaru cars are sold at a rate 2-3 times higher than anywhere else in the USA. The guy could buy a wrecked car with a good EJ engine for a few hundred bucks and have everything he needs to make the conversion except the adapter kit, which is also ridiculously affordable.

You like how your 50 year old engine runs? That's great. When I'm in the Alaskan bush, I'll be a little more comfortable knowing that I'll be getting home with a power plant that was made in the last decade.


In my state old push rod Subaru parts would be like hen's teeth, I think. The VW stuff is easy to find. To each his own I think.. Those Subaru engines, at least the push rod engines do fit very nicely I see.

I don't think either engine is a bad choice, just depends on what flavor you like. I have never had to walk home on VW power..

Regards, Kirk
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
Well, he mentioned in his first post that he was considering converting to Subaru power in the coming years, so I was offering some guidance since I just did it.

A Subaru engine is a great option. If you think that vintage Volkswagen engines are easier and cheaper to come by than modern Subaru engines, you're crazy. In Alaska, Subaru cars are sold at a rate 2-3 times higher than anywhere else in the USA. The guy could buy a wrecked car with a good EJ engine for a few hundred bucks and have everything he needs to make the conversion except the adapter kit, which is also ridiculously affordable.

You like how your 50 year old engine runs? That's great. When I'm in the Alaskan bush, I'll be a little more comfortable knowing that I'll be getting home with a power plant that was made in the last decade.

as an Alaska mechanic I cant debate the reliability of Subaru engines, especially the pushrod models. I can build a vw engine from the ground up with all new parts. I looked into a Subaru conversion, as there are several around here, But none I would trust or go through the trouble of installing with out a rebuild. like every thing from the 80's parts supplies have dried up, this is one of the reasons I have stuck with the aircooled vw engines.
 

Benak

New member
Update: should I choose to take the plunge I now have a donor 1991 legacy (the whole car) with an EJ22. I'm more than comfortable with the reliability, in particular the non-interference EJ22. The best EJ22 would probably be out of a '95-96 legacy (to get OBDII) but I can't be too picky. Im pretty leery of the EJ25 DOHC and SOHC because of all the head gasket problems
 

Alaska Jay

New member
Update: should I choose to take the plunge I now have a donor 1991 legacy (the whole car) with an EJ22. I'm more than comfortable with the reliability, in particular the non-interference EJ22. The best EJ22 would probably be out of a '95-96 legacy (to get OBDII) but I can't be too picky. Im pretty leery of the EJ25 DOHC and SOHC because of all the head gasket problems

Did you buy it? Have you started this conversion? Let me know if you want any advice on the conversion.
 

Benak

New member
I own the vehicle, yes. I had family move out of state and the car wasn't worth moving so it's mine now. It runs and drives, I've been using it a little bit here & there to see if it has any issues that concern me, nothing yet. In a past life I used to work on Subaru's professionally, I am very familiar with the EJ22 of this vintage.

I think the biggest hurdle for me is getting a cooling system in place. I'm not sure what route I would want to go with a radiator & plumbing.
 

Alaska Jay

New member
I think the biggest hurdle for me is getting a cooling system in place. I'm not sure what route I would want to go with a radiator & plumbing.

I tried and tried for days, maybe weeks to make the original Subaru radiator/fan unit fit, but it just would not. Eventually, I ordered an all aluminum 4-row radiator for a Jeep TJ Wrangler and it solved all my fitment issues. It has the ports in the appropriate places, but I still had to weld on additional elbows to make them line up better with the ports on the engine. Keep in mind that I moved my transmission mounts rearward 3 inches to give more room for all that stuff up front.

The exhaust took me quite some time to figure out, since I built the whole thing custom. Engine wiring will be a major hurdle. I’m assuming that engine is managed by computer. There’s a really smart guy named Mick Longley who owns a company called Busaru. Look it up on YouTube and there’s a whole series that shows how to pick the wiring harness apart, leaving only what you need to manage the engine. I just sent my harness to him for him to do the work. He has figured out all the issues involved in doing that conversion on vintage VWs.
 

Benak

New member
Thanks for the advice. I'm still in the stockpiling mode as things sit but I'm inching towards the swap.

i've seen a few on the web that mounted a radiator remotely, on the rear or side of the rig which seems appealing so you keep the room up front but I'm also concerned that this would just add a lot of complexity and failure points versus a conventional/front mounted radiator. What fan setup did you use? With a Jeep radiator could you run an electric fan from TJ too? Do you run your rig when it isn't winter and have you had any over heating issues?

Thanks,
Ben
 

Alaska Jay

New member
I bought a radiator with fan and shroud combo. Not sure if this link will work:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M8GVTWY/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I’ve not actually finished the restoration yet, but installed and tested the engine and cooling system in my shop with no indication that there would be an overheating issue. Temperature stayed exactly within normal limits. Fan and thermostat cycled when they were supposed to. That radiator has way more cooling ability than the stock Subaru one. I don’t anticipate any issues. Even when I built the new front skid plate, I didn’t incorporate any grille openings because I wanted it all to be sealed and smooth up front to keep snow out. It currently will circulate fresh air from The original louvers toward the rear of the hood and over the engine. If I experience any overheating, I can cut louvers or openings in the front section of the hood.

I’ll attach some blurry screenshots of a video I took of it running in my shop. It sort of shows the current layout. You should be able to see house nicely everything fits and how much extra space there is in front of the radiator. I can’t find any better pics, for some reason. Disregard the random wiring, this was just a test run before installing any of the permanent wiring.CD552654-1478-4F26-A2CF-261E3D2D5217.jpeg

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Alaska Jay

New member
The only modification I did to that rad/fan combo was to flip the fan shroud from the rear of the radiator to the front, and reverse the direction of airflow by switching the power wires. It blows air to the rear instead of the fan being positioned between the radiator and engine. I mounted the AC condenser between the radiator and engine but you can’t see it in these pics.
 
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