I love cars. I would love to have an Audi All Road or an A4 Avant with quattro. Maybe a Subaru Forester XT. However...I chose the wrong career path to drive really sweet cars. To be honest though...I'm not sure one of those would suit all of my needs. My dogs would trash a really nice car. I can't sleep comfortably in a wagon and I sure as hell can't change into my waders in one. These are some of the reasons why I really love the van. I can pick up whole sheets of drywall in it. Sleep in it with my wife and 2 mutts. Haul loads of gear and still have room to walk around. It even handles pretty well with the weight being below the floors and all. The only thing I worry about with it is the motor. 90 horse power aint much at this altitude and they typically leak oil and coolant pretty badly (although mines fine but it is only a matter of time). I see no reason to rebuild a motor that will still have the same power and weaknesses once it's done. Heather was not on board with the van until she had a few days to let things perculate. Now she loves the van but she's not on board about a motor swap. So I'm waiting it out patiently as it's only a matter of time.
So the big question is which motor would serve as a good substitute? There are quite a few options. A Porsche motor would be fun but far too expensive to maintain. A Ford Zetec motor fits very well and the fellas at Bostig Conversions have really done their homework with that 130hp swap. Anything that's inline 4 should fit fine and that leaves loads of options. A TDI would be really neat but it would mean having to regear the trans (although I wonder if you could make due with bigger/taller tires...although the headache associated with finding wheels that fit is incredibly hard). I've seen a 5 cylinder Audi motor installed but it's not interesting me. A 1.8T would get me in a lot of trouble but I'm not really sure I wanna deal with a turbo. I've never seen anyone do a Vetec conversion but I know that motor can handle buttloads of power. There's the 2 liter, 8 valve ABA motor from your Golfs/Jettas but it's only good for 118 hp. I've seen one guy do a 2 liter, 16 valve motor (one of my favorite motors) but......there's the Subaru motors. I could do a 2.2NA motor but why do that when there's the 2.5NA that'll give me about 175ish (depending on year)? Lot's of people go the Subie route and it fits like it was supposed to come that way from the factory. Plus I still get the cool factor of the horizontally opposed 4 cylinder (it's really interesting to me). A VR6 will work but you have to fabricate a new deck lid and lose a lot of space. Finally....an SVX Subaru motor fits nicely and gives stupid power but you pay for it and they're hard to find. I do know of one of those motors in St. Louis that my friend built that has 1000 horse power and I believe he just sold it for 27 grand.
Right now I'm leaning towards the 2.5. It's nothing that's gonna happen tomorrow. A conversion like that is gonna take some reading up on. I need to have all my ducks in a row before I do that and I've still got some things that are pretty big distractors to take care of.