What would become R J Engineered Solutions Ltd began in 2002 when I bought a Subaru engine to transplant into my 1978 T2b ex ‘disaster control van’ (a mobile radio van – part of a cold war German radio network). I’d chosen a 2000 model EJ201 Legacy engine, much newer than anyone, at least here in the UK, was fitting into VW’s, knowing it was possible to install Subaru engines into VW’s, but not knowing anything about what parts were available for the conversion. People were having problems with the adaptor plate kits which were available at the time, from manufacturers in Germany and the USA, and these were caused by fundamentally unavoidable dimensional mismatches between parts of the two systems being joined together, as well as bad design and manufacture. I decided not to use any of them.
The way to do the job properly, to a much more professional standard for those using the VW 002, 091 or 094 bus transaxles was obvious – to make a new bell housing for to enable the Subaru flywheel, starter and clutch to be used. Initially there were no plans to make more than one, but I decided to make three, to try to recover the development costs by hoping to sell the other two. By then I’d switched from initially planning to fabricate a one off bell housing to casting it. Sand casting was the answer, as used by VW for low volume models like the South African 5 cylinder models and the Mexican 1.8 inline 4 models. Long before the first castings were finished (2003 / 2004) , and despite trying to keep what I was working on quiet, I started to get messages from people I didn’t know asking when they would be able to buy a bell housing. So the focus changed from methods which could get a small number made with minimal effort and cost, to ‘how would an OEM make a bell housing for a very low volume project’, and ‘how can the design be as versatile as possible in terms of joining as many combinations of engine and gearbox together as possible’.
Once it was obvious that there was a market for more than the three, I bought as many different Subaru clutches, flywheels and starter motors as I could find (at the right prices), and re-designed and re-made large parts of the casting pattern so it could be used with as many of them as possible.
The inquiries continued, so a second batch was ordered (20 castings this time), following a minor re-design to incorporate some improvements discovered with the first batch and from more work done with other Subaru clutches. Getting them and various other parts for the conversion into production soon took up all of my ‘spare’ time. R J Engineered Solutions began as a sole trader in 2004, alongside my full time job.
From the beginning, the plan was to focus only on designing and manufacture parts for Subaru powered VW engine conversions, and providing some services to help customers customers with the bits which many can’t do themselves. We do not, and have never installed engine conversions, other than in our own vehicles, and one for a magazine feature. That’s a job for a specialist garage, not an engineer / manufacturer. My background in vehicle design engineering, and I prefer to concentrate on the engineering and manufacturing detail. This sets R J Engineered Solutions apart from almost all other businesses in the Subaru powered VW industry. Unlike a lot of the competition, R J Engineered Solutions Ltd is not an offshoot of another business like a garage, a hobbyist who turned their interest into a business despite having no relevant engineering background (believing they can develop good products by sub-contracting engineering to others when required), or a side line of engine conversion products produced by a company whose main business is engineering something else. Subaru powered VW products, plus a few parts for restoration is all we do.
I’ve had a life long interest in how things work and are made, have a Masters Degree in Engineering Design, and worked for 11 years as a design engineer for JCB, on the design and development of parts for the Fastrac high speed tractor product range. The most significant job I worked on while at JCB was designing the roof, headliner and HVAC ducting system for the 3190, 3220 and 8250 models, plus all sorts of other parts. I was involved with the JCB’s CAD and PLM systems prior to leaving to run R J Engineered Solutions full time. R J Engineered Solutions became a Limited company in 2013, and had became VAT registered by then too (if you look at competitors in the UK, you’ll notice they often don’t state their business type or VAT status even though doing so is required if they’re VAT registered and / or a Limited company). The business moved to our current address in 2014.
As a long time VW modifier, I like to develop my own products – particularly if unimpressed by what (if anything) is already available to do the job. I often go to far more depth than can reasonably be justified with parts for such one off projects. Therefore it makes sense to offer some of these to others too, hence the recent introduction of a small range of Porsche restoration related parts and services. All our products are intended to be as close as possible to something a high volume vehicle manufacturer would make. High quality materials are used throughout, and many processes typically only used in higher volume production are used.
R J Engineered Solutions Ltd is in no way connected with Subaru, VW, Bosch, Unisia Jecs, Hitachi, Valeo, Sachs, Exedy, Loctite or any of the other manufacturers or OEM’s mentioned on this site.