View original topic: ALH TDI in a 76 Bus Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
amosdoodle Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:35 am

Hi Guys,

I have been contemplating this swap for well over a year now and have been gathering the parts and reading up on all the forums. This is the beginning and I know everyone likes pictures and i will get them up soon. In the mean time I have a question about the 091 transmission and the gear set. Can 3rd and 4th be changed without removing the gear set from the housing or will I need to get the large special socket to remove the pinion shaft nut. And buy the way I am going with 1.14 and .70 on the fourth. My goal is to have this project complete within a year. Thanks for any help.


levi20AE Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:23 pm

I have always thought the ALH was the perfect motor for a bus. Let us know how you plan to tackle the ECU/gauge cluster/pedal cluster, or are you going mTDI? I just finished a 1.9td AAZ swap in my caddy and fully loaded with ~800lbs of fire wood and camping gear it still did 75 MPH up most grades going from Vegas to Tahoe. Seeing how you plan to tackle the cooling would be great too.

amosdoodle Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:30 pm

Ok here are the first pictures. The alh is a 2000 and the ECU has had the immobilizer deleted.

markd89 Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:39 am

The ALH has a vacuum pump towards the rear (transmission) side of the engine. If you use a standard adapter plate, it will interfere with the fuel tank.

Possible solutions -- clearance the fuel tank (PDXPaulie did that) see

Maybe you can relocate the vacuum pump.

I used a 1Z engine which has the vacuum pump located at a different spot.

The other clearance issue you have is the coolant outlet in the head which will be an issue on the ALH and the 1Z.

My build thread is here:

tristessa Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:51 am

markd89 wrote: Possible solutions -- clearance the fuel tank (PDXPaulie did that) see

Paulie and I both looked at relocating the vacuum pump and the coolant flange on his ALH swap, but with the tools & funding available at the time, clearancing the fuel tank was the easiest/cheapest solution.

The coolant could be done with a custom flange, but would require at minimum someone who can weld aluminum, or (better) CNC and someone to design a one-off part. Vacuum pump flange on the head could be done with a blockoff plate, but you stilll need vacuum. Earlier Mercedes used one that ran off the crank pulley with a V-belt, but Mercedes parts are $$money$$. Electric could be an option, but they're $$money$$ as well...

amosdoodle Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:51 pm

One difference between Paulie and my build is the length of the early transmission and the 091 I am using. I will know a lot better at mock up my options.

tristessa Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:29 pm

I was elbow-deep in Paulie's swap a time or two, and I'd be *very* surprised if the additional length of the 091 vs 002 makes a substantial difference in clearance for the vac. pump & coolant flange. If you used the Mexican "091E" bellhousing you *might* get enough room .. and you wind up with a transaxle that bolts straight to an EA827-based engine instead of using an adapter. :twisted:

amosdoodle Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:59 am

I have made some progress sense last post. Starting with the transmission, new third and fourth are in 1.14 third and .70 fourth. From my reading this should be a pretty good upgrade that will pay off with a cruising rpm of about 2600 to 2800 rpm at 65mph.This will be pretty good for the TDI and allow for some millage numbers in the low 30's :) Kennedy Engineering supplied me with the adapter plate, flywheel and clutch package. There service I would rate as pretty good, there were a few glitches that I encountered, the timing sight hole was not drilled in the plate as requested and they assured me it would be. So after talking with them and using some measurements supplied by them I was able to locate the hole accurately.

The next big challenge was to find a starter that would work off the shelf. I was not to thrilled about having to use Kennedy Engineering's one off starter that I found expensive. Sometimes I am to tight for my own good so with a lot of help form friends with resources we found a high torque starter that works perfect with a spacer plate. This would not be a problem with the early three rib transmissions that have a shallow bell housing that will work perfectly with the high torque 80's and 90's diesel starters. The VR6 won the the right to crank this motor :P

The vacuum pump has been removed and the coolant pipe cut down for clearance. I also slightly modified the bell-housing mount to move it as far back as possible.

The only other clearance issues were the stock EGR valve and the valve cover fill cap both of witch I easily modified.

I have an accelerator peddle and cruse control stalk that I am working on as well as a lot of wiring, air induction and other areas that still need attention, very pleased with the progress so far.

greenbus pilot Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:34 pm

Damn that is going to be one cool setup! Although I know little about the TDI's, I keep thinking about this swap.Of course I would do drive by wire and as much stock TDI parts as possible.
I am running my '76 Bus with the Kennedy stuff and find that timing hole to be a real pain to access with engine running, unless you like burnt hair....
Please keep us posted!!! :lol:

jimbote Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:48 pm

Nice work man!!... i like the throttle pedal mounting...keeps it out of the weather ;)

markd89 Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:44 pm

Nice work!

You deleted the vacuum pump. I'm not sure, but doesn't the N75 boost regulating valve need vacuum (as do power brakes) -- or do you have another plan for that?

P.S. Radiator on the side will be challenging. I have two underneath and it is barely sufficient in hot temps, up a hill, fast. I've since sealed in the radiators a little better and will be retesting soon.

PPS. If you add injectors+tune, you can likely run even taller gearing. I'm at 3000 rpm at 75 mpg with the 29" tires

amosdoodle Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:24 am

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement guys. I can see were the timing hole for the gasers would be a challenge luckily the diesel its only used statically. The plan for now is to run a electric vacuum pump with a reservoir. They are putting these on a lot of turbo charged cars and I have already sourced every thing from the salvage yard. I will make sure to let you know how the different systems perform and if I have to make modifications. Yes you scooped the side radiator :wink: I am using the stock fan control module for the TDI and I'll box in the radiator so that all air from the right scoop has to pass through the radiator. As with any swap you get some idea's in your head and then you might have to adjust and go to plan b or c.
Taller gearing might be out there but have not seen it, that would be interesting.

danfromsyr Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:48 am

not sure why you need to time a gas engine via the flywheel 'timing hole' as there's usually some Tic's on the front crank pulley.
I just added a TDC notch with a small written/stamped "O" under it on the face. you can use a protractor to find the other *degree marks you need to mark.

one thing to note, I know you used the VR6 starter, with some modification? how hard would that be to modify on the road?

karl Mullendore over at has been workong on conversions for a long time and developed this starter adpater to use the TDI oem starter.. the benifit is availability at most parts counters if you needed one in a pinch.

Quote: "MORE TORQUE" starter adaptor for engine conversions: Most adaptor-plate conversions had been using the 'Hi-Torque' IMI starter. These have been known to fail frequently and do not have enough speed OR torque to start most high-compression engines, especially the diesels and some Subarus. Even the 'new improved' versions offered are no better. I have developed this adaptor to utilize the commonly available, powerful (2.0 kw) and reliable starter from the 1996 - 2003 manual-trans VW TDI (diesel) cars, the SR0408X/409X. The adaptor mates with this starter to provide an easy installation to the waterboxer manual-trans bell housing. The SR0408X/409X is a Bosch high torque gear-reduction type starter, is slightly longer than the stock wbx starter, and has a self-supporting shaft-- it no longer requires the pilot bushing to position the shaft end. On Syncro applications with locker, a 3/4" notch will be required in the diff-lock bracket, and you must use the longer (2.25") type bracket (photo below) and corresponding locker pin. Sorry, it will not work with the short bracket unless you extend both the bracket and the locker pin. The adaptor will work with ALL conversions using a Kennedy, Eurospec, SmallCar, Vanaru, or Tiico engine adaptor plate and stock-diameter ring gear, also with the stock Vanagon WBX. The 'automatic' version adaptor is essentially a thicker version of the manual adaptor - and has been shown to be a good fit for the earlier van manual transmission (70's) so we've got you covered there as well

great job and following this with interest.

amosdoodle Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:57 pm

Hi there,
The starter will be easy to work with on the side of the road or in a pinch, and with a parts house VR6 starter in hand maybe an extra 5 minutes working with it. One thing to note I tried the manual starter for the TDI but it would not engage the flywheel due to the diameter of the gear and the gear have one extra tooth. The only way i can see that adaptor working is if it offsets the starter just a little to the out side. Anyhow I have a reasonable solution for my situation and maybe it will help someone else down the road.

amosdoodle Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:38 pm

I have been working on air intake particularly the inter-cooler and associated piping. Don't mined the cheap air filter and the bailing wire its temporary. I really want to find an air box that will fit in the space left under the inter-cooler.

Here is a preliminary look at my radiator this is a double core double pass radiator that is at least 30% more efficient than standard. The diesels are pretty efficient and don't produce a lot of extra heat. If I am lucky I might have this thing running in a couple of weeks. Need a big push on electrical and plenty of odd and ends.

levi20AE Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:26 pm

Great work!

Is that a rabbit radiator upside down? If so who makes it! I'm interested in an upgraded radiator that will allow room for an intercooler in my truck.

amosdoodle Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:37 pm

Hi its off E-bay very similar if not the same as this don't have the exact site in front of me but this is close.

amosdoodle Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:35 pm

Alright, Working on a lot of lose ends so it felt good to make a nice score at a local yard with some buddies today.

I have completed my radiator shroud and fan which is a nice upgrade from the 80's era rabbit fan. :)

Fan came off a Passat 1.8 approximately 2005 didn't look at the year.

Should move some air, the shroud had to be cut down and the flapper holes filled in. I will update next week with some good installation pictures.

amosdoodle Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:04 pm

Alright first and foremost a huge shout out to a great friend Jimmy also known as jimbote. He has saved me many hours and helped source almost all the parts in this build. Without his expertise it would not have run today and most likely wouldn't have run next week ether. :)

So we identified all the important wires that allow to engine to run and I basically cobbled the harness feed wires and made sure my grounds were taken care of, applied power, bumped over the starter and it fired right up :shock: I ran it for a few seconds at a time and could not believe how smooth she has running. Fluids were checked and every thing looked over all was good so I let her run longer. Two leaks developed the number 1 injector nut and my junkyard hose for the bottom of the coolant expansion tank. Off to the parts house to get a five dollar piece of hose. Tightening the nut and replacing the hose took care of the leaks. I probably had two hours run time and let me tell you I am very pleased so far :D I might be able to get a video posted later this weekend or next week until then here are some pictures.

Mr. Unpopular Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:59 pm


Make sure you keep updating the thread. I'm curious how the gearing and radiator placement work for you.

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