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Zeitgeist 13 Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:47 am

westyventures wrote: Zeitgeist 13 wrote: There's really a lot to like about the ALH vs. the 1Z/AHU engines. I just wish the pans could be more easily modified to suit 50 degree applications.

Like what for instance? I really haven't seen any huge benefit, as the VNT turbos and other differences can be directly swapped. I'm currently building up my 'new' van with an m-pump AHU @50 degrees, VNT17 turbo, PD intake, liquid intercooling, etc., should put down around 140 hp and 250 ft-lbs when done. :D

I'm mostly referring to the NA relative availability issues with each engine series. I have no direct experience with the ALH, so my appreciation is really just based upon theory. I only have TDI experience with the 1Z ('96 Passat), and I really do like the engine. But, I also have lots of experience with earlier VW gas and diesel engines, as I've rebuilt dozens of 'em. One of the things I've never liked about these is the idler shaft, which is really just used to drive the dist/vacuum pump and oil pump. We used to see the idler shaft bearings wearing prematurely, and they were annoying to replace...and difficult to source (early '90's). Correct me if I'm wrong, but VW jettisoned the shaft in favor of a chain driven oil pump and a camshaft driven vacuum pump on the ALH, correct? Other than that stuff, I have no opinion about the turbo, since any engine I build will no doubt be mTDI and have different induction and exhaust.

Andrew A. Libby Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:24 am

rsxsr wrote: If I believed everything I read on the internet since doing my conversion, I'd probably just leave it parked in the garage.

I wasn't talking about "something I heard on the internet". I was talking about the Tech paper published by Volkswagen on the development of the diesel vanagon. I could probably find a copy for you, but then again, you could probably find a copy for yourself just as easily.

rsxsr Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:29 pm

Andrew, I think you misunderstood. Did not mean to imply the information you provided was suspect. I was only saying that overall, my conversion, if I were to use the internet as a reference, would be broken down with a burnt out turbo, a burnt up clutch, and now the engine breaking away from the transmission. That is not the case so far.

As I stated earlier. "the ALH engine, may not have been the best choice" for converting into a Vanagon. I am not as connected as many of you appear to be with suppliers in Canada and Europe. I have to work with what I can get. At the time, it was a low mileage engine on a pallet from the Parts Place in Michigan. Once it showed up, I set about to installing it. At the time, my tech friends at the dealer and the parts department did not think it would work at all. So, you can see, I don't always listen well.

So, to summarize. Diesels are not for everybody, but if you are inclined to install a diesel into your vanagon, there are some options, and that equals choices. You need to make a choice based on what you are comfortable with. From what I have read, the earlier TDI's are easier to "bolt in". If you don't have access to welders, sheetmetal brakes or the skills, a bolt in option would make more sense. If electrical is not your bag, then certainly a mechanical pump adapted for a TDI from a reliable source makes sense.

Its funny to me that I am supportive of all the options for powering vanagons, but I rarely feel the same from the Samba in return. Fortunately, I only need to satisfy myself, and I am beyond satisfied with my conversion. When the clutch fails, I will most likely upgrade it along with the larger input shaft. When the turbo wears out, I will readdress the drain back plumbing and deal with the pan at the same time. I am running a torque limiting mount that I don't see many using in their conversions. If I still have a failure in the bellhousing area, I will deal with that too. Otherwise, I intend to travel as much as I can as time permits and enjoy my labor. mark

purplepeopleeater Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:30 pm

I'm lazy, i might just slap an AAZ in my doka and call it a day...anything is better then gutless wonder 1.6NA

svenakela Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:06 pm

purplepeopleeater wrote: I'm lazy, i might just slap an AAZ in my doka and call it a day...anything is better then gutless wonder 1.6NA

And if the intake looks like this even a clean 1.6TD will be a killer.


purplepeopleeater Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:21 pm

Well bumping this thread back to the top, I am still on the diesel kick but I am still unsure at this point.


My thoughts are running an AHU at 50*


1. I need to rebuild my tranny, I have unknown miles on it and its always made some ringing clicking noises since owned it, so this would be a fine time to upgrade/regear....but if I keep a gasser in there this is where picking gearing can be a challange.

2. I have about a 10k budget in mind to rebuild trans and source diesel bits, I have found complete AHU engine/harness with a/c goodies for $3200 (70k on it) and the 1.6D bits needed for another $700.

3. I am toying with going with M-TDI, Karl has pumps for 1200 something or leave it electronic and have greaseworks convert my harness for 800.

4. Turbo piping/intercooler, I have some ideas off the yahoo group and tdiclub, I also would need to adress the air intake system <--these two items to me look like the most critical/time consuming efforts...and then there is the exhaust,pretty straigt foward..

5. some misc gauges, pryro meter, boost gauge.

I guess i'm having second thoughts due to not having real solid money numbers or first hand experiance on a diesel swap in a van (worked on them in cars tho)

I could tell ya where and how much on a subaru swap down to almost the nuts-n-bolts.

hans j Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:31 am

I'm starting mine on my syncro if that's any motivation! :D Pulled the engine and trans out earlier this week. I'm going with a 15* ALH ETDI though. Sticking with stock gearing for now with 215/75-15 tires. A little short for freeway driving but it's not a race car. I can drive 65 but will prefer windier/bumpier roads.

purplepeopleeater Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:35 am

Who's doing your harness? Are you doing a mechanical pump?

hans j Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:42 am

purplepeopleeater wrote: Who's doing your harness? Are you doing a mechanical pump?

I'm wiring it and will be using the full electronic pump. I'm very familiar with them and wiring can be as simple as just giving the ECU and components power when it wants it. There is a wealth of information on the TDIclub conversions forum.

I like the ability to change software with added nozzles and turbos if needed. Also Malone Tuning has cracked it so he can make a high idle situation. I really want that for off roading! Would be great to flip a switch and get bumped up to 1200 RPM to idle up steep stuff! Plus I get cruise control out of the ECU too :)

westyventures Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:37 am

hans j wrote:

wiring can be as simple as just giving the ECU and components power when it wants it.

I like the ability to change software with added nozzles and turbos if needed. Also Malone Tuning has cracked it so he can make a high idle situation. I really want that for off roading! Would be great to flip a switch and get bumped up to 1200 RPM to idle up steep stuff! Plus I get cruise control out of the ECU too :)

Huh? Power when it wants it? Must be a few words missing there.

Cruise, high idle, easy tuning options are also available non-electronic. In fact, the cruise can work better. My Passat TDI would vary 2-3 mph, the last mTDI van I built stayed within 1 mph on cruise. :)

hans j Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:50 am

westyventures wrote: hans j wrote:

wiring can be as simple as just giving the ECU and components power when it wants it.

I like the ability to change software with added nozzles and turbos if needed. Also Malone Tuning has cracked it so he can make a high idle situation. I really want that for off roading! Would be great to flip a switch and get bumped up to 1200 RPM to idle up steep stuff! Plus I get cruise control out of the ECU too :)

Huh? Power when it wants it? Must be a few words missing there.

Cruise, high idle, easy tuning options are also available non-electronic. In fact, the cruise can work better. My Passat TDI would vary 2-3 mph, the last mTDI van I built stayed within 1 mph on cruise. :)

Constant power and key switched power or maybe 30 and 15 power? For me, I don't know MTDI, how to fix it or how to tune it. But I do know stock ALH systems. Hardly a day goes by when I don't see a couple at work, I have the tools and VCDS to set it up and it's an easy trouble shoot for me.

High idle will be a switch on the dash, not high idle all the time.

TDI_VT Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:24 am

purplepeopleeater wrote: Well bumping this thread back to the top, I am still on the diesel kick but I am still unsure at this point.


My thoughts are running an AHU at 50*


1. I need to rebuild my tranny, I have unknown miles on it and its always made some ringing clicking noises since owned it, so this would be a fine time to upgrade/regear....but if I keep a gasser in there this is where picking gearing can be a challange.

2. I have about a 10k budget in mind to rebuild trans and source diesel bits, I have found complete AHU engine/harness with a/c goodies for $3200 (70k on it) and the 1.6D bits needed for another $700.

3. I am toying with going with M-TDI, Karl has pumps for 1200 something or leave it electronic and have greaseworks convert my harness for 800.

4. Turbo piping/intercooler, I have some ideas off the yahoo group and tdiclub, I also would need to adress the air intake system <--these two items to me look like the most critical/time consuming efforts...and then there is the exhaust,pretty straigt foward..

5. some misc gauges, pryro meter, boost gauge.

I guess i'm having second thoughts due to not having real solid money numbers or first hand experiance on a diesel swap in a van (worked on them in cars tho)

I could tell ya where and how much on a subaru swap down to almost the nuts-n-bolts.

By no means am I an expert....but I'm about 6 mon ths into the TDI AHU Swap so maybe I can help a little:

1. Count on it. Thought mine was good...Daryl at AA found otherwise. About $2600 later...but it has two new 3rd and 4th gears and he has been excellent to work with. Carries some of the harder to find parts like the diesel clutch arm and crossshaft if you need a new crossshaft.

2. Probably would add about 4k to that...but that's just my personal experience. I have had the "just replace it with a new part" approach, which has been expensive but will ultimately result in a better end product in the end I hope. You might be able to fab some stuff that I haven't been able to. I'm at about 7k right now not including the engine.

3. I'm not sure greaseworks does the conversions anymore, at least the last time I asked Justin (May '12) he had said no. I know Fastforward still does it, I just had him do mine, should be here this week.

4. This will be tricky yes, but a bunch of good silicone piping shouldn't make it too terribly difficult. Probably harder to mount the intercooler IMO. Greaseworks sells a handy dandy air intake adapter plate that should solve the air intake problem quite handily I would think.

5. Those are way down the 1 million items list but sounds good to me.

Zeitgeist 13 Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:35 am

Excluding the cost of a transmission rebuild and extra stuff you're opting to replace at the same time, what exactly are the high dollar drivers of these TDI swap budgets?

Andrew A. Libby Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:43 am

The rest of the costs are:

the engine
the wiring if electronic or pump if mechanical
the intercooler system
the stock diesel vanagon conversion bits
the coolant hoses if they didn't come with the DV bits
the intake and exhaust
upgraded clutch

There are other incidentals like gauges, cruise control if mechanical, custom oil filler tube to license plate if using A/C and PS, custom dipstick and tube to license plate, new oil pump, new water pump, new alt, etc, etc, etc...

TDI_VT Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:52 am

Some day I think I should attach the spreadsheet I keep that would outline this stuff. I dunno man, I feel like its more of a nickel and dime type thing.

The top costs besides the $2600 transmission are:
-$700 for the diesel swap parts
-$700 for the electronics modification
-Roughly $200 for a new clutch assembly (can't resuse either van or Jetta)
-Roughly $100+ for Tank reseal kit and fuel line
-$120 for the diesel engine mounts (I got the kit, not a donor van. The mounts don't come in the quality german kit)

Those are the main ones and i'm probably forgetting some stuff, but the rest is $50 stuff that starts to add up. The diesel starter, crosshaft clutch arm, slave cylinder bracket, diesel input shaft, etc. I also had to reseal the jetta engine I had (134k miles, needed a lot of new rubber), so that was about $100 in seals and such. Once you toss about another $600+ in new van parts (CV's, shifter rebuild, tires, brakes, etc.), it gets expensive real quick...but that's nothing new to the folks here.

Granted, I could have saved some money here and there by having some metal shop experience to fab some of this stuff myself, but I don't so I have to pay for it. Spending the $700 on the electronics is also pure laziness IMO because I am competent enough to do it I just didn't feel like it :P.

Edit: Andy beat me to it, but he included some other stuff that I haven't cost estimated yet like the intake system and exhaust, plus the intercooler mounting. That'll add quite a bit to the bottom line.

Andrew A. Libby Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:55 am

The tank doesn't need to be resealed. The filler tube does need to be modified, but no parts are required. Most of the other items you list are not part of the conversion, but rather neglected-van syndrome and while-I'm-in-there or while-I-have-my-tools-out syndrome.

TDI_VT Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:57 am

You are correct it doesn't, but it, like a lot of things on my list, was a while-it's-out-of-the-van task. The tank still has to be drained and cleaned of gasoline. I feel like most of my stuff listed besides the $600 list was neccessary...

Andrew A. Libby Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:09 pm

I'm not saying there aren't a lot of while-you're-in-there things that make sense. I'm just saying that a lot of folks lump those things in with the cost of an engine conversion. If doing that kind of math, then it would make sense to deduct the costs "saved" by not replacing the cracked WBX exhaust or the worn out air-flow meter, etc.

BTW, there's nothing wrong with a small amount of unleaded gas mixed in with diesel provided you don't run a quantity that reduces fuel lubricity, so no great care is required to drain every drop or clean the tank. The older diesel owner's manuals actually recommend diluting diesel with regular unleaded to avoid gelling in cold weather.

TDI_VT Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:14 pm

All very true. Maybe i'll add the WBX repair costs into another sheet just to see how that affects the bottom line. As an aside, the 7k doesn't include recoup costs from the parts i'm selling off the old Jetta or the van bits that aren't needed...so that'll help a bit.

Did not know that! I knew about the gelling (though I thought it was kerosene) but thought diesel + gas = bad. Not in small quantities is good info to know.

To try to keep this tread on track as well as talk with Andrew, you (OP) are going to be spending a bit....but hey its all in good fun. I personally am not doing it for $$$ savings...its for the experience and I just plain love diesels :).

Zeitgeist 13 Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:17 pm

Andrew A. Libby wrote: The tank doesn't need to be resealed. The filler tube does need to be modified, but no parts are required. Most of the other items you list are not part of the conversion, but rather neglected-van syndrome and while-I'm-in-there or while-I-have-my-tools-out syndrome.

That is exactly why I asked the question. Every swap is going to be padded with incidentals associated with the relative concept of "since I'm here, I might as well...". I think these costs should be set aside, and stated swap budgets should just include the expenditures for items associated with the peculiars of the engine itself.



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