"The best damn engine ever designed for the VW Bus"
• Horsepower Range: 90-103 HP
• Torque Range 125-135 Lb/Ft
(HP & Torque figures heavily dependent upon method of induction)
Our most popular application for our Camper Special engine is the 72-79 Bus. If you have an Early Type II to 1967, or a 1968-71 early bay window Bus you can also take advantage of the Camper Special engine through a conversion centered around our DTM cooling system. Click the links from the left side navigation bar for details on the earlier applications for the Camper Special Turn-key engine package.
Camper Special engines are available in three different internal combinations to support all Bus derivatives. We have combinations designed specifically for use with stock EFI, or Carburetors and we even have combinations optimized for buses with both automatic and manual transaxles. If you have a Bus, we have a PROVEN Camper Special derivative that will blow your mind.
The only engine specifically developed to power your daily driver Bay Window Bus resides here at Aircooled Technology. The Camper Special was first modeled and created in 1999, based on a stock displacement 2.0L engine. The Camper Special is an excellent daily driver with 35% more power than a factory 2.0 engine, yet our design retains the factory 2 liter engine displacement. All the power and efficiency gains come from our developmental evolution of the package over the past 14 years. The camper Special enhances the performance of your Bus by adding 500 more usable RPM, a flatter torque curve and simple more power, while maintaining equal to stock MPG and longevity with COOLER than stock engine temperatures.
Here is an example of a "CS" engine after being prepared to perfection, evaluated in our dyno cell and placed into our shipping crate for delivery to Seattle Washington.
The camper Special is an original design of Aircooled Technology that isn't available anywhere else, the secrets within the confines of this engine primarily lie in the compression ratio, camshaft profile and cylinder heads. Having one of these in my personal 1974 Transporter for several years,I can vouch for it's rock solid performance and reliability. In 2007 I drove this "CS Powered" Bus 88 miles per day as my daily commuter while I was both remodeling my home and adding a new building to the Raby Engine Development compound. This meant hauling tools and building materials both ways daily, often times overloading the bus. The CS didn't care and iot even tackled my 6% grade
Forget about down shifts while ascending hills, just roll on the throttle and experience what it's like to accelerate up a grade in a Bus! These engine perform exceptionally well in mountain terrain as they have increased torque that helps maintain the momentum that's needed most.
Want to drive 1/2 way around the world in your Bus and do so with confidence? In 2008 a couple of guys did just that with our Camper Special combination and had a flawless excursion. Read their tesimonial!
Note: This engine was a standard "Camper Special" and nothing was done outside the normal "CS" engine combination for this trek; thats right- no special preparation at all.
Amsterdam to Beijing wasn't good enough... In 2010 they tackled the African Continent in the middle of summer and had a flawless excursion there as well. "Normal" VW engines can't do this.
Note the route these adventurers chose... WOW!
Not a typical scene from your routine family camping trip in a VW Bus. When you have a Lion 10 feet away your engine must be reliable!
Do you think your application can be more grueling than this?? I don't think so!
Stock 2.0 engine output compared to the Camper Special. Both engines tested on the same dynamometer.
The Camper Special is the King of USABLE torque.. Look how broad the torque curve is and how it extends into the upper RPM ranges. This dramatically assists with the CS engine's ability to climb hills and mountains.
Dramatic differences in the cylinder head flow profiles when comparing the "CS Heads" to OEM factory heads.
Jim Snyder has owned his Bus since it was new.. His testimonial is one of our most coveted..
Jake Raby and Jim Snyder cruising in Jim's CS powered bus in 2008 after Jake travelled to Southern California to repair an oil leak for Jim. Jim didn't have a warranty, but he also didn't need one.
Read a testimonial about the Camper Special.
RAT Camper Special Testimonial from Kurt Oosterhouse:
Three years ago, I purchased a 1973 Westfalia Bus. It wasn't purchased to be a daily driver. It could have been, but it was purchased as a "vacation machine" and memory builder for my wife and two young girls (and something fun for me to tinker with on the side).
By this last Fall, we had put on 10,000 miles on the Bus, including trips from North Carolina to Disney as well as numerous trips to the South Carolina coast and North Carolina mountains.
We certainly made some memories - good and bad (depending upon how you look at it). In the funny now, not funny then category, we not only spent an afternoon in a South Carolina cotton field (including meeting "Farmer Paul" who helped us with a fuel problem), but also an unforgettable return trip from the North Carolina Outer banks with the temperature at 98 degrees and a 20 mph headwind (the CHT gauge was reading of 410 going only 45 mph). That trip included an unplanned hotel stop following an hour break under a tree in a Big Lot's parking lot and it was also was the last straw for me and my stock 1700 engine (supposedly recently rebuilt prior to by purchase).
As each of these "big trips" approached, my stress level increased. During the drive, my stress level rose along with the CHT gauge. Even worse, as the return trip approached, the same process started - interfering with the enjoyment of my last few days of vacation. While advice such as "Just drive it", "Cover up the gauges", "Get a AAA card" and (my favorite) "It's a machine, not a horse, just drive it" all sound great, when it's 98 degrees outside and you are 250 miles from home on some highway surrounded by semi's or lonely back road with your wife, two young daughters and dog, that advice doesn't make you feel any better. Instead, my only feeling was - "This is supposed to be fun, this is my vacation - I'm less stressed at work!"
In any case, my girls are getting older and I wanted to continue to make these camping trips as a way to slow everyone down a bit and have an old time, simple vacation - but for the stress of the drive. "Take the back roads" is certainly good advice, but sometimes the interstate is the only option and say what you want, sometimes you have to have the ability to somewhat keep up with traffic.
As I said, the last straw for me was the infamous return trip from the Outer Banks. When I got back, I decided that I either needed to sell the bus and buy a travel trailer or do something about the engine in the bus. It seems as though I have read every VW book out there as well as every Samba post during my mechanical restoration of the bus (including a failed "top end" rebuild I attempted 6 months before the Outer Banks trip and purchasing stock carbs as a potential solution). However, at the end of the day, I was simply throwing good money after bad and I realized that all these moves were simply band-aides, since none of these "fixes" actually solved the basic problem: I just don't have enough horsepower and torque to make the bus do what I needed it to do. All the posts pointed to the Camper Special as the only option to address my goal and actually solve the problem.
I sent Jake a message saying I was interested and he called me back immediately to discuss. He asked me what my goals were and I told Jake that I didn't need to go 70 mph, my primary goal was to simply have the ability to go 55-60 mph, with a fully loaded down bus (maybe pulling a small trailer), regardless of the outside conditions. I basically repeated this story to Jake. Not surprisingly, he said - "You are exactly the person that the Camper Special was designed for".
Clearly, I am a worrier and after my failed "top end" rebuild last year, I wasn't interested in the kit. I wanted the confidence of knowing that Jake did the engine assembly - to avoid what surely was going to happen - my driving across some road in the middle of nowhere thinking to myself something along the lines of: "Did I torque the head bolts in the correct order", etc. You get my point.
In any case, over the next few weeks, Jake and I had several follow-up calls in which he answered all of my questions, including, advice on somewhat unrelated issues, such as what to do about my 002 transaxle gear ratio etc. (we decided I should have the 002 rebuilt with the same gear ratio, since towing, load and hill climbing were more important to me than speed).
I dropped off my engine at Jakes' place in early October and the engine arrived late December. I should say that during the build process, I received regular updates including some pictures of the build process - which was very exciting. Jake even required me to send him photos of the install (to check my work) prior to starting the engine. Even though I had pulled and installed the engine before, I thought this was a really good idea - showing his concern not simply that the engine arrived, but that it was ready to go in my bus. After Jake helped me through several stages of carb tuning modifications, etc., (Jake and his staff were extremely helpful), I now have 2000 miles on the Camper Special. I couldn't be happier. Two words: Confidence and Safety.
With each trip over the past few months, my confidence grows that I won't have to rely on another "Farmer Paul" in some random cotton field and most importantly, my stress level has correspondingly decreased. On my longest test to date, last weekend, I took a 600 mile round trip to the South Carolina coast. The long rolling hills between Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC, were a killer before - I would drop down to 45 mph on the uphill grades, and the CHT gauge would shoot up to 410. With the Camper Special, I was able to hold a constant 60 mph and even on the longest uphill grades, I never saw a CHT reading above 385 (even though the outside temperature was 88 degrees). At 60 mph, the CHT stayed solidly in the 365-375 range - and I expect that to only come down as the break-in process is complete.
As to my other word, "Safety", there are many components to that. Safety in knowing that if I need to "punch it", the power is there to do so, and further, I am no longer quite as fearful as I look in the rear view mirror that the car behind me is going to smash into my family struggling up a hill at 45 mph.. Certainly, the CS can't change the driving habits of other people, but I now have the ability to keep up with traffic when necessary - something I didn't have before - especially if heat and wind were involved.
The other aspect of safety that the CS has delivered has nothing to do with speed or torque, but instead, it has everything to do with confidence and dependability. "Put tape over your gauges" didn't prevent my tired old engine from breaking down or prevent my stress of worrying about being stranded with my family in a cotton field or busy roadside. In two weeks, the whole family is heading out for a 2000+ mile trip to the Midwest - something I wouldn't have dreamed to do without the Camper Special. Thanks again Jake, I couldn't be happier. Kurt Oosterhouse
Shown below is a sample dyno graph of a Camper Special: Each engine is different, this is an average dyno graph for the Camper Special combination.
Camper Special Engine costs do vary based on the year of the bus that the engine will be fitted to. Earlier Buses require conversion components that are not included in the costs listed here.