I picked up a stretch of 3 inch flexible air hose at the friendly neighborhood auto parts store the other day, and after plastic welding a 3 inch inlet to my Zetec's airbox, I connected said hose, and snaked it up the rear passenger side pillar up to just behind the vent cover...
Cue yet another shot of the 16 valve, dual overhead cam goodness...
I suspect that the one thing most people will wonder about the Bostig kit is the very same thing that I first asked – specifically, "do I really have a snowball's chance in hell of successfully finishing this?" After all, we're talking about removing an engine and replacing it with one that didn't even exist yet when the the van first rolled off the assembly line. When you stop and think about all the myriad considerations that must be taken into account for such an endeavor to work, it's only natural for all but the most seasoned of backyard mechanics to question the wisdom in taking on such a project.
Fortunately, the good folks at Bostig have already worked out that overwhelming myriad – and at a level of detail and accuracy that I bet is completely unheard of in the world of DIY engine conversion kits. At varying times throughout my Bostig adventure, while I was immersed in the half-inch thick manual or any of the incredibly helpful installation videos, Q would walk by, harumph, and mumble something about the measly single mimeographed sheet of instructions that came with the MG transmission swap he did several years ago.
Bottom line, thanks to Bostig's having documented every single step of the process, yes, you probably can do this. That is, assuming you can read, follow instructions, and aren't too proud to call upon Bostig's excellent technical support whenever you get stuck. They'll calmly walk you through even your darkest and most boneheaded moments, trust me.
Sure, you'll need a fair number of tools, space to stretch out and work, time, patience, willingness to learn, and an extra set of hands for a few of the more physical parts of the conversion (pretty much anything that involves moving either the old or the new engine). I was certainly fortunate to have both Q's workshop at my disposal, but he and I have discussed it, and agree that there's no reason I couldn't have completed the conversion entirely on my own, even if it had to be in a rented garage somewhere. That would've raised the total cost a bit, but not prohibitively so.
As to the cost, the entire project, including kit (which even included a few optional upgrades), engine, and all necessary parts totaled right around $7500. Not exactly chump change, but when you consider that my van now has an engine that's practically new (only around 15,000 miles), along with the enormous wealth of knowledge, confidence, and self-sufficiency that I gained from the whole experience, it could actually be seen as a bargain.
Factoring in the net cost of the van itself (minus the various parts I was able to sell), for only around $11,000, I now have a rock solid van of which I have a very solid understanding. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a rig of any make in comparable condition for that price, and even if you did, it wouldn't come with the unparalleled learning experience that the Bostig kit provides.
In case it's not abundantly clear, Bostig gets a huge thumbs-up from me, and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. Driving the van is a total blast now, she has the satisfying hum of a modern car, has plenty of pep, and I actually understand what I'm looking at now when I lift up the engine cover. Best of all, down the road, even in the worst case scenario, I can just swap in another low mileage Zetec engine for only around $500. For a guy who relies on his vehicle as much as I do, that's some seriously empowering stuff right there.
I could go on and on, but I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record. The enormous amount of work that must have gone into putting the Bostig conversion kit together in such a clear and accessible format is difficult for me to imagine, but I sure am insanely glad these guys didn't shrink from the challenge. I expect my rolling adventures to be made richer for it, and as I turn down the homestretch and get the van's interior completed, I'm as excited as ever to get back out on the open road soon. Thanks Bostig!