Diesel and turbo-diesel


New member
I have a 1982 Diesel which was originally a 1.6; I replaced (involuntarily) the engine with a Volkswagen Golf 1.9 diesel-no turbo.

You can cruise easily at about 60 mph, but I normally keep it at 55 to conserve fuel. The mileage depending on driving is about 22 to 24.

On hills, yes, you will slow down..so I speed up alittle to compensate. Remember, the vehicle is heavy and with only four (4) gears, the vehicle is about max'd out at 60-65.

Hope this helps..randy/US military, Spain


New member
Keeping with the same engine is the easiest. I have an '82 Westy that now has an '88 turbo Jetta 1.6 installed. Lowering the engine mounts by 1.5" and using an airbreather from an Accord were all that was needed. No change in deck height plus better performance by far. 37 mpg Imp.Gal average with a max (one time only) of 43 mpg. Imp. gal. and a worse case of 33 mpg. Keeping my speed to less than 50 mph. is normal and 3000 rpm is better. Any questions? David >detterATauracom.com<

Mac William

New member
I have done 20000 kms (12000 miles) with the 1.9 TD and I am still pleased with the swap. One minor niggle is an oil leak from the cylinder head cover. The aaz has only three bolts to hold that one in place where the jx had a series of nuts all around it. It wasnt design to work at a 50 degree angle. But I am working on it . The smell is the problem as I never have to add oil between changes any more
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Capt. Mike

TiiCO is the website of the original supplier of what is claimed to be a South African VW factory conversion program of waterboxer Vanagons to TDI diesels. They have other rebuild programs & accessories.

Mike Robinson

New member
1.6 diesel to AAZ 1.9TD

I am in the process of investigating the best way to do this and wanted to share some of the info I have got so far.


This is a useful group to belong to. In the files section there is a detailed document on swapping a 1.6 to 1.9TD. There seems to be very little modifications to do.

However, beware of pre '94/95 1.9TD engines. The later years of production came with a smaller turbo KKK K03 this one offers the easiest conversion as it will fit in with the stock left engine mount on the '82 1.6D. Any other turbo - KKK K24, K14 or Garrett T3, T2 will need a modified left engine mount.

'82 Westy Diesel


New member
I converted my 1.6D westy / vork van to a 1.9 TD about 3-4 years ago now. I never bothered with an intercooler.
What kinds of intercoolers air - air are people using?


New member
Good Morning!

I am not a gearhead so forgive my less than technical commentary...

I have an 1989 Westy that two years ago I put a GoWesty 2.4 liter motor in. I was living in both Alaska and Oregon and getting very tired of 42 mph top speed thru the mountain passes... I had Petersons put it in for me... The motor now lets me go over 65 thru the passes with no problems... I did break the crankshaft on a nine day trip and GoWesty replaced the damaged motor with another one within five days.

I had considered the Tiico engine after speaking with Mark at Harmony Motors in Bellingham but settled on the GoWesty 2.4 after reading lucas's info on his web site.

Since I moved to California I started having GoWesty do my major service... I asked Lucas, the owner, about converting to a diesel and eventually a bio diesel. He said that they have been trying for a while to get a diesel working with no bugs and haven't had success... too many problems with it. One day I do hope to go to a biodiesel... but I'll wait till Lucas says he's got it figured out...

I also saw that Poptop heaven had some kind of biofuel conversion... haven't really looked into it.

Mike Robinson

New member
Engine conversions are not for the faint at heart, financially challenged, people with a timeline, or non-technical.

I am in the process of doing the easiest conversion possible in a Westy at the moment 1.6na diesel to 1.9TD and it is full of complications!

There is a lot of information out on the web regarding these conversions but nothing in the way of actual documentations, to give you some examples of the challenges, it depends on which turbo on the 1.9TD as to whether you have to fabricate an engine mount .... and you don't know which turbo you get until you see the engine. Another good one for biodiesel is that until (I think) 1995-6 production year the seals in the diesel pump will rot with biodiesel ... (not to mention all the other rubber in the fuel system)

I looked for a shop that would do this conversion for me and the answer was always a quick and emphatic no - there are so many variables no shop would even guess a cost.

I am so lucky to have a diesel westy to start with - converting from gas requires so many parts - sumps, flywheels, starters, transmission bellhousing, wiring, filters, coolant hoses (now mainly unavailable), custom air intake, custom muffler.

Oh and to top it all the cost of the diesel engine!!!! if you can find one.

I estimate my budget - doing all the work myself will be in the region of $7,000 (without upgrading the gear ratios of the transaxle - thankfully already done on my money pit!)

If anyone out there is on the same road as I am please feel free to contact me I will gladly share any information I have.


'82 diesel


New member
Adding a Turbo to 1.6L diesel?

This doesn't really count as conversion, but rather as an "addition"

Would it be possible/advisable to simply add a turbo to a 1.6L na diesel engine in order to get a bit more HP out of it?

Capt. Mike

That was a factory option in markets other than N. America. Part #068-145-701QX. So can it be done? Yes, but . . . there's a whole lot of other stuff that goes with it. VW never offered it as an upgrade kit.


New member
1.9 Alh Tdi

This is my first post asside from my introduction post. I own a 1982 Diesel Vanagon. Back in 99 I bought a complete 1.9 ALH TDI engine with low mileage from the Parts Place in Michigan. I purchased a new ECU, both wire harnesses and the external sensors from the local VW dealer. I am a fairly decent VW mechanic and fabricator. In my spare time I completed the conversion. It took quite a few years. Everything needed to be fabricated from scratch. It is all fly by wire including factory cruise control. Gets 30 to 31 in town, on the highway because of the gearing the mileage will drop off to around 25 mpg at 75mph. The vanagon is awsome with this power plant. It laughs at hills and seems to be very reliable so far. If you are more interested in TDI's into Vanagons, there are some helpful folks over here http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/TDI-conversion I am not aware of anyone making a bolt on kit for the ALH. If I had the foresight, I might have been able to document better the wiring and fabrication for others. Sorry I can't be of more help overall. Any questions feel free to contact me here. Regards
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Subaru, water-cooled, flat-four, 2·0 litre, turbo-diesel engine

Refer to the following topic thread, for details of a possible transplant into rear-engined VW Transporters, of the recently introduced, Subaru, water-cooled, flat-four, 2·0 litre, turbo-diesel engine, which develops circa 150 horsepower @ 3600 rpm & 350 Nm torque @ 1800 rpm.


To gain the maximum performance & economy benefits of this engine's power & torque characteristics, one would probably need to radically revise the VW transaxle and/or tyre external-diameter, in order that the vehicle's maximum road speed, is achieved at circa 3600 engine-rpm; preferably using a 5-speed or 6-speed, VW Vanagon or Porsche transaxle, for maximum flexibility, bearing in mind expense & practicalities.

Mike Robinson

New member
Must really want to do it ....

I think I remember reading this engine is electronically linked to every system on the Subaru. I cannot image why anyone would seriously concider such a task.

Conversions always add lots of variables and the further you go from stock the more expensive and less relaible the conversion.

The transaxle would be the easy part -- a standard ratio diesel transaxle would probably work. At 3600rpm you are doing about 70mph. The power of the engine would of course rip the old tranaxle apart .....

I wonder how expensive the engine would be -- and with all the expensive mods, ouch, for something that may not work ....

There are too many 'somewhat' tested options out there that offer more accessible projects -- unless the aim of the project is to produce the absolute exotic and time and money represents no barrier.

For anyone looking at exotic transaxles AAtransaxles in Washington have a good reputation.


'82 Westy Diesel 1.9TD
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New member
swap 1.6 to 1.9td

I have a 1988 high top van with a 1.6 diesel engine in it. I have found a good 1.9td golf enfine that i want to swap into it. How many days should i put aside to do the swap?


New member
78 westy... gas to diesel conversion

i hope i dont offend anyone by altering the original state of my vw, but im hoping to "green up" my 78 westy camper.

i want to replace the air cooled 2.0 ltr, with a liquid cooled diesel (out of say... a vw rabbit, or something).

i have heard of the coversion being done.... but have yet to find any difinitive information on how to go about doing this. i have found an engine mount from kennedy engineering, that will fit the engine to the frame, but from that point on, i am kinda flying blind.

im not extremely mechanically inclined, but with the internet, i dont think there is anything that is out of my ability.

thanks in advance!

Mike Robinson

New member
It can be done ... apparently

This is taken from the Yahoo TDi conversion group.

Hope it helps

'82 Westy 1.9TD

4b. Re: Aircooled to Watercooled
Posted by: "Paul Manning"
Date: Tue Sep 1, 2009 12:30 pm ((PDT))

hey Dave.
I've given this a lot of thought, and there are only 5 choices: 1-engine bay, 2- on the nose, 3 - on top, 4 - down under, 5 - on the rear.

1) With the TDI engine in a bay window engine compartment (15* install), there will be space on the passenger side for a Scirocco rad to fit with the fans. The problem is, there is no natural air flow, so you'll be totally dependent on the fans. There is a guy (turbobus) that had 2 rads in the engine bay for a NA 1.6 (probably the guy you mentioned) that never got cool enough, and there wasn't any room in the engine bay for him to think. Perhaps with better cowling or stronger fans this could have been improved, but I'm not so sure. He could have cut cowls into the sides to increase the captured airflow, but I wouldn't have done that to mine. I think he's going with option #4 now.

2) apologies to those that have done this, but this is just bu-ugly. Most of them look like a cattle / brush bar with a large rectangular thing in the middle. That is where the airflow is, though, so if you can get coolant there without airpockets, this works. I know a guy here in NW Oregon that did this with a scoobadoo engine and he fab'd a shroud that looks like a spare tire cover. If you have the skills for that, it looks pretty convincing. You could get a Mexi-bus front clip with all the radiator goodies, but you'd have to go to Mexico for that. Cost prohibitive for me.

3) roadcow. Aesthetically speaking I think that says it all. Airflow-wise, I'm not sure there's enough above the engine to do it without running fans a lot. Just one person's opinion, but the aesthetics pushed this off the list for me. I even thought through a cowling that would look like one of those clam-shell luggage things, but routing the coolant up top would not have been pretty either.

4) how the Aussies do it. I wouldn't have thought there would be enough airflow down there. Then there's the concern for stumps at the campgrounds or debris flying off the pavement. Still, that's how the Aussies do it and it seems to work. There's an offroad shop down there that sells a rad system to go under belly that has no angle to it at all - it is purely fan dependent. How it doesn't recirculate the exhaust heat back into the rad I don't know, but, again, it seems to work for them.

5) There is a natural air vacuum there so the fans
would have to from the engine bay out, effectively pulling exhaust heated air from
under the bus into the rad. To compensate, you'd have to cowl off the
engine topside from the bottom side like the original engine was walled
off. I've seen pictures of bus conversions done this way, but it looks like a great deal of metalwork, and the diesel engine will vibrate a lot (in amplitude) compared to the gasser, so you'd have to deal with that with the cowling somehow.

Given the 5 choices, I'm looking at #4 first, then a fancy fab #2 (like the scoobadoo guy) if #4 fails.

Paul Manning
1972 Westy (haoy) - TDI transplant recipient
Lake Grove, OR

Mike Robinson

New member
Bus with Watercooler Diesel

Some more information on putting a diesel into a bus. Seems like a big project!


'82 Westy 1.9TD

[Moderator Note: And one heck of a lot of skill at fabrication and welding! This looks beyond the capability of the average back-yard mechanic or home shop.]
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