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VW diesel swaps

92954 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  CRAZY MATT
This is a on going project and I will update and organize as I go. Please add any info you have.
Here is what info I can provide on VW Diesel swaps(might help for VW gas swaps too). This is a revised version of Mtnkid85's thread and info that I have came across over the years.

Mtnkid85's original thread (also includes Toyota diesel's)

One is generally skeptical at first glance when looking into the VW diesel's, but this is because the numbers are simply not impressive nor are the engines powerhouses in stock form. Any VW diesel is VERY tunable and will benefit greatly from simple swap upgrades such as intercooler, intake, exhaust, tune.

-The newer engines use a variable vane turbo to control boost pressure wich maximizes fuel milege vs power.
-One could expect about 30mpg (Spulen81) mixed driving with a 1Z

Most engines differ from country to country in terms of accessories, power ratings, year of production. The newer TDI's from the 1Z(1999) and up the change can be as subtle as engine management or an engine man share the same block as another but with different pistons, intakes, turbos, injection system ect.

Most European cars were equipped with immobilizers early on. Any thing from 2001.5(?) and up in north America were also equipped.
This can be defeated with a simple immobilizer delete through many companies. It would make sense to do a engine tune as well as egr delete ect if desired at this time. (about $500 all in)

This is done by using anything from the full VW harness down to just a few fuses used to run just the engine. Depending on your application. The harness when narrowed down is very small and actually very simple. A Bentley manual is a must for this. This is not all that hard to do if you just take the harness apart one component at a time on the floor while constantly referring to the schematics to double check you have the correct component before cutting. The trick with the harness comes in when you need to decide how much of the Diagnostics you want and whether or not you want the VW instrument cluster to retain the check engine light. Later VW also have a CAN-BUS system on board that communicated between the cluster, ECU, and ABS. Obviously the abs is deleted but most codes can be erased from the ecu with a good tuner. So if you remove the cluster you most likely wont be able to get a check engine light from the ecu.

ALH harness down to the bare bones conatines very few components.


MECHANICAL(ecu deleted) aka. M-TDI, TDI-M
Most TDI's can be run mechanically like the older engines and will only require a few wires for fuel cut off solenoid ect. This is achieved with a injector pump swap.
There are a few ways of doing this.
One is to use a AAZ injection pump but this is not ideal as it not a direct injection specific pump and operated at a lower internal pressure.

Second is buy a of the shelf pump from Europe where there is a direct bolt on pump ?part number?, mod the governor and your good to go. This is a good method as it will provide substantial HP gains

Third and most common is a Cummins 4BT pump modded with some of the TDI pump parts and some AAZ pump parts. Can be done yourself if you know what your doing but it must be done RIGHT for a good performing engine. But with this pump the power potential is good as it contains a 12mm shaft as opposed to the stock 10mm VW one.

Very good quality pumps are sold by Gilles in Ontario Canada he will take your old pump and set you up with a perfectly tuned one for you application.$$$$$1400 or more

As mentioned the newer engines use a VNT turbo with variable vanes. This has its advantages but requires a vnt actuator to control the vanes. This actuator is controlled by what is called the N75 valve which gets its signal from the ECU. A VNT style turbo can also be used on a older engine by making a mechanical arm to connect actuator to throttle cable. If you plan on running a M-TDI setup you will need to make your Turbo vanes function with this method if VNT equipped. "Clocking" the turbo is done to point the outlet from the compressor housing in a desired direction.

A EGT gauge is a nice thing to have when pushing these little engines.

Adapter plate is readily available from Acme Adapters for about $575 is what I paid. It can also be home made if you feel like a champ(see below for link).

With one of these you will be able to bolt up to many Toyota transmissions basically anything that shares the W56 bolt pattern.

ALH and w56 with Acme Adapter


This is a never ending debate and more or less and trial and error process. Most mount the engine on either side as would be expected but I have also heard that the motor mount on the timing belt cover plays a important role. I kinda doubt this because Spulen81 has had his running with regular mount setup for a while now. Definitely RUBBER mounts no poly or the vibes will be mighty annoying and possibly break stuff.

People generally use larger(vr6) clutches on their stock VW's cars when tuning so it would be wise to get a HD clutch while your doing the swap. Acme swap suggests a 22re clutch and they provide flywheel machined to fit as well as a machined pilot bushing.

The newer engines 1Z and up will gain substantial power gains just from a tune alone.


With keeping the Toyota starter in its stock location there are clearance issues with the turbos on most engines. this can be overcome with a small 1.0kw starter. The starter will still suffer some from the heat but it will work. Wrapping the starter in header wrap might help or building a heat shield.

A larger 22re starter hits the Turbo(Vnt15), Smaller ones are work but are still close.

NOTE: A small section was taken from the piece of the thin plate between engine and trans from original Toyota setup and trimed a shim for proper started spacing.

Early engines do not have any issues here but the later models have a vacuum pump and coolant outlet that sticks out about 3in. The simple solution here is to move the engine forward that amount and relocate shifters, but this could be a pain in the ass if you are not already moving xmembers and doing drive shafts. I would imagine that the firewall could be easily modified to accommodate this.

Diff clearance is not much but it can be done on a IFS rig with no body lift. Some use small body lifts to give a bit more working room.


This is just a rough mess of some local engines. Check Tdiclub to confirm year of vehicle as month to month they could have changed.


engine code
CY,MF- 23:1
[email protected] , [email protected]


engine code
1Y- 22.5:1
62-70*[email protected] , 100*@2400

engine code
AAZ- 22.5:1compression
[email protected] , [email protected]

engine code
1Z- 19.5:1
[email protected] , [email protected]

late ALH-
[email protected] . [email protected]

Multiple variations on this engine

Many more engines available

2.5,v6..... ect-?

*=sources differ

My new rig completed ALH swap

Mostly TDI stuff, and lots of VW swaps

Here are a few swaps I have came across. Some are not Toyota's but the information is valuable none the less. Also some links of random info.
(Spulen81's build)

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=600780&highlight=vw (My uncompleted build)


http://forums.tdiclub.com/ - Volkswagen TDI
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good writeup, but that's a damn expensive swap... I'd personally go with something a lot simpler, more readily availible and cheaper, but that is just my personal feeling on it.
good writeup, but that's a damn expensive swap... I'd personally go with something a lot simpler, more readily availible and cheaper, but that is just my personal feeling on it.
so what diesel swap would you recommend? a heavy ass cummins?

Thanks for the great write up :D
Jeff at Acme is da man...
I currently run a Toyota 1L in my '80 Toy, but am not happy with 60HP. I also have a 97 1.9l turbo VW motor in a rusted out Jetta in my yard which I am saving for the Toy.

Good writeup, subscribed.:beer:
I am putting a 1.6TD in a stock 2wd pickup. Originally the conversion was done with an automatic. I drove it around for a bit, the power was not that bad but I just couldnt seem to get the shift points right. I always was worried it would downshift at the wrong time. There was also a BAD vibration in gear while stopped, it was bad enough that the lock-up feature of the seatbelt would engage and I couldnt put it on unless I shut the truck off. It was fine while the truck was moving. I didnt want to deal with it so I am swapping in a 5-speed.

In order to clear the firewall and route the exhaust, I lowered the engine an inch and moved it forward an inch. I had to modift the oil pan anyways to clear the 2wd steering, I didnt want a body lift. In the first picture below you can see the modified oil pan and one of the motor mounts, it is a stock VW rubber mount. In the pic below that you can see how I routed the exhaust, it was kinda tricky, not much room to work with.

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so what diesel swap would you recommend? a heavy ass cummins?

Thanks for the great write up :D
I wouldn't recommend a diesel at all... if I had to go with one, I guess it would be one of these, but 4.3s are a dime a dozen around me, as well as toyota motors.
This actuator is controlled by what is called the N75 valve which gets its signal from the ECU. A VNT style turbo can also be used on a older engine by making a mechanical arm to connect actuator to throttle cable. If you plan on running a M-TDI setup you will need to make your Turbo vanes function with this method if VNT equipped.
Another couple options that would work better than a cable are to find a dual ported actuator from a Dodge Shelby Daytona Turbo III car with the VNT25 (one port for vac the other for boost) or I've read about people cutting the actuator cans and "flipping" certain TDI actuators to make them work solely off of boost.

The VNT whistle alone makes it worth keeping the VNT turbo. :D

Crappy pic, but shows the dual ported actuator
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Im considering a VW swap for my 1980 4x4, I would prefer a Toyota diesel but they appear too difficult to find. I do not think I would have much issue finding a TDI. My biggest concern is the performance. My 20r will not push my truck past 65 on flat ground. I have no lift with 31" tires. Will the any of the VW engines allow it to cruise at say, 70?
Bump :D
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