[Vwdiesel] [TDI-conversion] What engine would you want?

Bryan Belman dieselwesty at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 14 16:54:09 PDT 2009

Very good run down Scott.   I agree with the 1.8l 8 valve motor at 15% install.
I had an 86 Golf with 250K or so on it and that motor ran great, trans was great.  Got 36mpg, super car but run got to the body and brakes lines so a donated it to one of those car donation orgs.

 Bryan Belman, Pt. Pleasant, NJ
04 Jetta Wagon TDI PD, 100hp, 5sp -- running :)
82 Diesel Westy 1.9NA -- running :)
92 Jetta 1.6 Eco-Turbo Diesel -- running :)
70 Type 1 stock Beetle -- Not running :( 

From: Scott Daniel - Turbovans <scottdaniel at turbovans.com>
To: TDI-conversion at yahoogroups.com; vanagons-with-vw-inline-4-cylinder-gas-engines at googlegroups.com; VW Diesel Group <vwdiesel at vwfans.com>; Audi-VW-Diesels Group <Audi-VW-Diesels at yahoogroups.com>; Buskatiers Group <buskatiers at buskatiers.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 3:48:17 PM
Subject: Re: [Vwdiesel] [TDI-conversion] What engine would you want?

Engine conversion in a 78 Bus..........for this big South American trip........
what immediately pops into my mind is your generic Rabbit/Golf/Jetta 1.8 liter inline 4 gas engine.

3 possible fuel systems - carb, EFI or CIS and CSI-E.
I recommend the EFI  1988 jetta for example..........1.8 liter, hydraulic  valve lifters, 8 valves per cylinder...........
about 100 hp.  Easy fuel system to live with.  
Has a nice 'real head gasket' ( unlike joke waterboxer vangon 'not really real head gaskets ) cast iron block, very common engine, cheap to buy used.
One vanagon guy claims 23 mpg with his in a manual trans Vanagon, and a high of 27 mpg once.

I'd probably go for installing it pretty upright in your van. If you know about the Mexican Bay Bus.........that they made up until.........
2002 or something ............those have a radiator on the nose, and an inline four standing straight up and down in the back........
There might be lot of those in Mexico.........and very, very related to what you could build your 78 into........
thus parts would be readily available...........some creativity might be needed there............but you'd be right in the genre of inline four water-cooled VW Buses this way, for that part of the world.

it's one of VW's better engines.
'ALL' ........of VW's air-cooled engines, their diesels ( later ones are better - but I've seen countless blown to shreds 1.6 NA diesel vanagon engines ) and their water boxer vanagon engines...............all weak compared to benchmark long-liffed engine like Toyota's have.......
or even fords or Volvos, Nissans etc.  
But their inline four rabbit / golf engine isn't bad at all.
No particular weakness.....nothing 'fundamentally' lame or weak.  You can over head it, or neglect the timing belt forever , sure .......but if you have take care of it............darn good engine. Not the most power in the world........
in a vanagon a 100 hp 8 valve 1.8 is 'ok' .............not rippin' powerful, but more or less adequate.

Done deal in my mind...........if I think of a non-stock engine for what you're thinking of. 
All VW related too.........that can't hurt. 

I'm gonna pick up my 'new' 87 jetta 16 valve 1.8 with CIS-E fuel injection Friday, that will find it's way into my personal vanagon, when I find time, whenever that might  be.  123 hp at 5,800 rpm ..............should make a nice little engine.  

Them's my thoughts  !
Vanagon engine conversion specialist, Baja veteran.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Dave Cook 
  To: vanagons-with-vw-inline-4-cylinder-gas-engines at googlegroups.com ; TDI-Conversion Group ; VW Diesel Group ; Audi-VW-Diesels Group ; Buskatiers Group 
  Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 9:41 PM
  Subject: [TDI-conversion] What engine would you want?

  First, sorry for those of you who get this in more than one group, but I figured the varied groups would yield varied results and thoughts.


  A few years ago, buddy and I attempted to drive my '78 bus to Alaska after graduating from college. After a couple breakdowns, we ended up turning around and coming home, vowing to do it again sometime.

  Well, we both are currently looking for work, and the conversation has gone back to the idea of another trip, and to do it right this time. For the past couple years or so, we've talked about the Pan-American Highway, going deep into South America.

  The bus does still have the stock, 2-liter, fuel injected engine. That runs pretty well (assuming I figure out why it currently won't start...) though I'm sure it is probably pretty worn.

  So, an engine conversion isn't out of the question. The question would be, what engine? I would prefer it to be something out of a VW, mostly because I'm pretty familiar with many different VW engines, and have all sorts of manuals.

  Things to consider (that I've thought of so far) would be:
  *Ease of repair, and finding parts in South America if necessary
  *Ability to limp along for awhile if necessary
  *Fuel availability
  *Power and Economy
  *Other considerations I haven't considered?

  Also, we were talking about selling sponsorships/ad space on the side of the bus. Of course, there will be a blog with lots of pics, including pics of the bus. If anyone has any leads here, that would be much appreciated!


  If nothing else, hopefully this will spur on some conversations in some otherwise quiet groups.

  Dave Cook

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