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Luddite Vanagon Industrial Diesel Engine Conversion Kit
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funwithlint
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:39 pm    Post subject: Luddite Vanagon Industrial Diesel Engine Conversion Kit Reply with quote

Is this for real? Shocked I would like some thoughts on this... and compare ONLY DIESEL conversions in this new topic: the costs and efforts (hours involved) to the 1.9tdi or 1.6 td systems including Grease VSO WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil Fuels)/ Biodiesel.

Thanks for your help.

http://vanagondiesel.com

"A low cost alternative to electrically complicated diesel
engines, the Luddite conversion kit introduces a simple
diesel engine for VW Vanagons. The Luddite kit
replaces the problematic stock Wasserboxer platform with the
Nissan SD series ultra reliable and brutally simple engine,
procurable from sources like forklifts, boats and road vehicles.
If you want an engine that is good on fuel and gets around
with uncanny dependability; then the Nissan SD is your engine.
If you want performance to be able to drive like an animal, then
look elsewhere. The Nissan engine is a far more reliable with an
infinitely rugged design. The common "flaw" of most other small
diesel engines out there is two part:
1) They use ALUMINUM cylinder heads (warp and crack)
2) They use BELT driven camshafts and injection pumps.
The Nissan SD series engines are all cast iron, and employ a pushrod design.
What diesel needs overhead camshafts unless the manufacturer is trying to cut costs at your expense? The Nissan SD camshaft and injection pump are not driven with a belt, not with a chain, but with STEEL GEARS.
This kit is designed to help owners overcome the usual nagging issues common to stock 1.9L and 2.1L Wasserboxers, with the prototype installation tallying over 500 miles in service. Along with this kit, there are only a few other diesel conversions currently on the market, each with their respective benefits and drawbacks.
The Luddite includes the basic components to mechanically adapt an SD engine to your existing transmission. Detailed installation instructions are provided on this site with handy links to forums for additional details. Print out what you need, find an engine, buy what kits parts you want, and dig in like the rest of us crazy folk who love their Vanagons so much more than we do early German fuel injection
systems."
http://vanagondiesel.com/tech.html[/img]
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the caveman
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well more power to anyone trying to improve things. I just have a couple concerns. The weight of one of them[ VW and other car companies use aluminum for a reason -weight] and can it turn over at highway speeds for ant length of time. An industrial diesel is not really meant to turn mid-high rpms for any real length of time. Yes it can be done with better fuel flow etc, but if it wasn't designed for it .... That's one reason VW was so innovative when they came out with a light diesel that could turn 4000-5000 rpms
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funwithlint
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:26 pm    Post subject: Used in pick up trucks, sits lower than the TDI. Reply with quote

If you read the web site... Rolling Eyes The engine which this dude has used is from a Nissan 720 pickup truck which I have seen around in the past so RPMs are not a big deal. Also a cast Iron head would not be all that much more wieght? which the whole engine / vanagon center of gravity is lower where as the TDI's have to often have to raise the engine cover what ..??? 2"... Waste of space... It would seem that the TDI is even higher CofG let alone my stock WBX which is a lot lower in comparison... No one makes a horizontaly opposed diesel for this? lol..

I can't find any contact info on the website as of yet? I guess its just pretty new... ????

What does a TDI Kit conversion cost? if there are any out there?
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levi
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Used in pick up trucks, sits lower than the TDI. Reply with quote

funwithlint wrote:
.. No one makes a horizontaly opposed diesel for this? lol..
?


There might be soon though... Wink
If someone figures out how to get around the can bus on this new subaru, and if it ever gets here, and if you can find an engine and convert for less than 20,000.. oh....never mind. Rolling Eyes Confused
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure why this is posted in two separate threads, but I'll add the same reply here as well:

Well...I'll jump in on this one! Cheap is relative. IF you can locate of these engines, but then what about parts? Modern diesels (TDI) with aluminum heads do not crack and warp, that's pure misinformation. Nor are belts and overhead cams "the manufacturer trying to cut costs at your expense". What BULL crap. Belt- and chain-driven cams are just as reliable, or more so, as any antiquated pushrod design. The maintenance cost is small compared to the efficiency derived from the head design. These folks need to look around a little more closely when making broad statements. What about fit? Read the 'Cons' in the website. Cutting reinforcements in the rear of the van? Loss of clearance? These don't sound like convincing pluses for the conversion. maybe if one has this engine 'just lying around' it would be a 'good' conversion. But the TDI is far better in almost every area. Sometimes modern IS better, and IMO this applies in this case as well. There are in fact better diesels out there if you want robust and rock-solid dependability. Unfortunately, most of these engines were never sold in the US. For instance, the little Ford 2.8. The MWM 2.8 TDI. (well, anything MWM for that matter, they make a ton of the diesels used around the world) To install a diesel that has less HP and torque while not gaining much in the way of fuel efficiency seems a step backward to me.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Used in pick up trucks, sits lower than the TDI. Reply with quote

The first challenge, in the US, would be to actually locate one of these engines. I don't believe Nissan sold too many here. TDI's do not require a raised deck if 'done right'--check out the photos on my site. The pluses of the TDI: it is lighter, in stock form makes far more power (and can easily make 50-80% MORE power that stock tune), far more fuel efficient, tons of the engines around, and can be installed with factory parts. The latter not being all that expensive considering the flow of parts from Europe to Cali now.

IMO, diesel conversions like this Nissan one are fine as one- or two-offs (if you just happen to have the engine lying around), but are not viable as a long-term of widespread solution.

funwithlint wrote:
If you read the web site... Rolling Eyes The engine which this dude has used is from a Nissan 720 pickup truck which I have seen around in the past so RPMs are not a big deal. Also a cast Iron head would not be all that much more wieght? which the whole engine / vanagon center of gravity is lower where as the TDI's have to often have to raise the engine cover what ..??? 2"... Waste of space... It would seem that the TDI is even higher CofG let alone my stock WBX which is a lot lower in comparison... No one makes a horizontaly opposed diesel for this? lol..

I can't find any contact info on the website as of yet? I guess its just pretty new... ????

What does a TDI Kit conversion cost? if there are any out there?

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funwithlint
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject: It looks like you do TDI conversions, on your web site? Reply with quote

Nice website... "
http://www.westyventures.com/conversions.html"

thanks for your response... I LOVE TDI's... but Hypetheticly...What would you charge for exactly all the parts and harness stuff to DIY conversion? I'm thinkng TDIs are expensive and the parts and kits are $$ cha ching Shocked ... I've been also looking on ebay for the past two years...

your probably right... Its certainly LOW TECH.. hense the "LUDDITE" ha ha...but there are alot of us poor Vanagon owners who don't have 4-8k stuffed in socks...

I think the Nissan 2.5 SD specs has more bottom crawling end torque almost at idle.. than an average TDI...

My brother and sister in laws newer TDI Jetta froze up and its head cracked... Maybe it was not taken care of... ??? they bought another one... and its fine...
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:05 pm    Post subject: Re: It looks like you do TDI conversions, on your web site? Reply with quote

There is no 'harness' for my conversions: mine are all purely mechanical, I'm one of a few that has successfully figured out how to run the '96-03 TDI's with no ECU. I don't ever plan to offer a 'kit' as I am far too busy just keeping up with in-house builds and pumps. If one doesn't have a lot of $ to start with, seems more realistic to start with a diesel vanagon or parts of to build your own. Used-up/wrecked TDI's are starting to show up everywhere now. One could pick up the diesel van mounting parts and a crashed TDI for around $2K total and build from there--wouldn't be much more expensive. Also, remember to factor in to the equation that diesel fuel is currently on average $1/gallon more than gas, and this starts to make a lot of gas conversions look better for many not totally sold on diesel.

In regards to low-end torque, I think you'd be amazed at what the TDI does, even in stock form. Stock torque peak of 150 ft-lbs is 1900 rpm. It's an absolute blast to drive around off-road (and on).

Heads and blocks crack on any engine that is allowed to freeze from lack of antifreeze.

funwithlint wrote:

thanks for your response... I LOVE TDI's... but Hypetheticly...What would you charge for exactly all the parts and harness stuff to DIY conversion? I'm thinkng TDIs are expensive and the parts and kits are $$ cha ching Shocked ... I've been also looking on ebay for the past two years...

your probably right... Its certainly LOW TECH.. hense the "LUDDITE" ha ha...but there are alot of us poor Vanagon owners who don't have 4-8k stuffed in socks...

I think the Nissan 2.5 SD specs has more bottom crawling end torque almost at idle.. than an average TDI...

My brother and sister in laws newer TDI Jetta froze up and its head cracked... Maybe it was not taken care of... ??? they bought another one... and its fine...

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most powerful of those Nissan engines is still 5 ponies short of a TDI, all the others are ~20 ponies down compared to a TDI.

With that Nissan you'll have a hard time finding someone that knows how to work on one. But as with any engine conversion I think the owner should be thoroughly familiar with the engine and how to repair it themselves.

Aluminum cylinder heads crack and warp? Not if you have a cooling system that works as it should.

Timing belt? No big deal. Every 60k miles I need to spend 2 hours changing it. For the extra 5-10 MPGs I get with my TDI over the Nissan I'll be making a few hundred dollars an hour in fuel savings for changing the T-belt.

Also, that nissan is probably an IDI based on the high torque peak, and a newer DI VW will have notably more power at low revs.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bring a converted Vanagon to Syncro de Mayo so we can see how well it performs. You have plenty of time to get it ready!

We had a great engine conversion seminar put on by Warren Chapman, he's the Subaru/Vanagon list moderator. We had Bostig, Go-westy, and mastercraft do presentations on their conversions.

One more choice is a great thing! Can't wait to see it in person.

Eric
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But wait - weren't there at least three there this year?

Tristar Eric wrote:
Bring a converted Vanagon to Syncro de Mayo so we can see how well it performs. You have plenty of time to get it ready!
Eric

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't speak about the engine characteristics, but I can say that the diesel 720's in US trim are rare as hen's teeth. I have a 720 gasoline and it's a hella rugged little truck, though. I imagine they made a pretty stout little diesel engine, but that's a whole lot of good if there are none around, because that means there's no parts market for them either.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:32 am    Post subject: Availability verses Reliability Reply with quote

Well, I did a little research and read various forums on the options out there. The Nissan SD engine is top brass for quality and are completely interchangeable between automotive and industrial application, I have little doubt about that now. Although these engines are good stuff, you are absolutely right on about these animals being hard to find. I only found four engines available since my last post but many foreign suppliers had parts. Most of these engines are cheap overseas, but nothing easy to find, or cheap, on our soil. lame. If I find an SD engine in the US as low cost as I see them overseas, I would rather go with the luddite conversion. If not, I think I will settle for the VW TDI. It has better top end power anyways.

Recent SD availablility...

SD22
http://www.jescoweb.com/SD22.htm

SD23
http://www.dieselenginetrader.com/engines/engine_details.cfm?id=26580

SD25
http://www.soltoggiobros.com.au/Parts/NISSANSTOCKLIST.html
http://www.enginesplus.com.au/products.htm
http://brisbane.gumtree.com.au/c-Cars-for-Sale-cars-5K-4x4-Nissan-Navara-Ute-W0QQAdIdZ94511390
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I am the guy who hosts the vanagondiesel.com site you folks are talking about.
I'm honored to see a discussion about my conversion kit on TheSamba.com. I'm just trying to provide yet another diesel engine conversion option. A fellow converting their Vanagon to ingest a forklift SD25 diesel engine told me there was some activity here. Nice.

My response is for funwithlint...

Yes, these are not the easiest engines to find, but certainly worth the fuel ecomony, excellent torque and crazy reliability. I now have over 1500 miles on my prototype, a very heavy Syncro model with an average fuel ecomony of 27-29 mpg. I suspect others will get more under lighter duty conditions.
If you contact Jesco, as I see you researched also, they can set you up with either a used or new engine for cheap. Parts are available too, from heads to rebuild kits. My kit is a relatively inexpensive way to capitalize on these great little engines, but it takes some effort. Nothing is ever easy, but I suppose so is the old gas engine and that retarded electronic fuel injection.

Below is a recent reply I received from Jesco while looking for another engine for a friend's van...

--- On Mon, 1/12/09 <[email protected]> wrote:

Thanks, not a bad price, 3 to 6 grand for a complete conversion.

--- On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 7:27 PM, Enrique C Santillan <[email protected]> wrote:

A complete automotive rebuilt engine for automotive application we sell for $4,750. The marine application has a different governor & also a different intake & ex manifolds. Also the oil pan is different too.

We have a used industrial engine for $2,250.

--- On Fri, 1/2/09, <[email protected]> wrote:

From: <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: SD22
To: [email protected]
Date: Friday, January 2, 2009, 4:33 PM

I want to buy one for an automotive application. All but the marine version have successfully been used in converting VW Vanagons to diesel (Vanagondiesel.com). People buy these engines from other countries in used condition, but I am interested in exploring your option instead. It could save me the rebuild hassle.


On Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 6:44 PM, Enrique C Santillan <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Vanagon_diesel,

In regards to your e-mail about the SD22, YES! we do sell them! We need to know for what application? (auto,marine,or industrial). My Name is Enrique from JESCO. I can be reached @ either e-mail address [email protected] or [email protected]
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about Cal emissions?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just have to get it recertified as a diesel and yer good -- doesn't matter what the motor is. but that could all change with the stroke of a pen tomorrow.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is another point that needs to be made - parts.

I was curious about this conversion but I know from my Mercedes experiences, it is not always easy to get the parts needed to keep the thing running. Even though Mercedes takes pride in their past I have to work with my favorite dealer to find some parts (not part numbers). Most of the time I have had good luck but again I have been working with the same guys for 30 years now which matters.

With Nissan, as mentioned you have to have someone who knows what they are doing, VW is different because not much has really changed since the 1.5L diesel engine.

Now for my dumb question of the day -

After owning Land rovers for a while, my last was a defender with a 300 TDI, I know that there are gear conversions to eliminate the timing belt (Zeus Engineering makes one for the 300 TDI). Does anyone make one for the VW TDI?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never seen a gear conversion for the VW timing belt. I assume you're talking about a chain conversion as a system with just gears would be a nightmare. Meshing Cam/Pump/Intermediate shaft and Crank in their current spacing would require intermediate gears as well. Yikes... Converting to a chain certainly wouldn't be anything I'd ever want to do either. The belts are easy to change and very reliable as long as the maintenance interval is respected. Chains are more prone to stretch than the timing belts and so with the close tolerances of the VW valves, you'd likely need to swap the chain as frequently as the belt or at least make routine pump and cam timing adjustments. Add to that the oiling necessities of a chain system. Yuck, the whole thought is almost as bad as converting a WBX westy to be air-cooled... Very Happy

Andrew
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously, I haven't had to deal with the belt or chain issue with the Nissan engines, nor suspect I will need to rebuild my SD25 ever again. The gear driven system is bomb proof, these engines reliably power boats across the Pacific and transport trucks across the country. I managed to find a rebuild kit, replacement cams, cranks, pistons, whatever I needed to rebuild the Nissan SD25 prior to the prototype test, all within the US.
It seems even easier to find parts for the slightly weaker SD22. Bear in mind, we are talking some serious improvements over the stock VW diesel for Vanagons. I've personally been there, that is why I put my engineering skills to help provide another option... at least until Subaru or someone puts out a horizontally opposed diesel. My actual concerns rather lie with long term effects on the transmission through abuse of the increased torque, not so much parts procurement. The Luddite conversion has so much figgan torque, you could easily lug your van around at idle in every gear if you were so undisciplined, something you wouldn't be able to normally inflict on your stock rig. It weighs twice as much as the stock engine, but seems to behave ok and doesn't overload that beefy suspension. The prototype (as heavy and tall tired as it is) behaves like a 1.9L Vanagon at high speed, but better than a 2.1L at lower speeds. I guess everything in life has it's compromise. Like designing aircraft.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: It looks like you do TDI conversions, on your web site? Reply with quote

westyventures wrote:
In regards to low-end torque, I think you'd be amazed at what the TDI does, even in stock form. Stock torque peak of 150 ft-lbs is 1900 rpm.

Boring!

Some minor mods will get better fuel economy and power. But the torque peak rises a few hundred rpm. Thing is although torque max is higher up, the torque at 1900 (really it is 1850) is higher than stock with a modded engine.

I like my modded TDI, A LOT!
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