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    Thread: The Rabbit TDI Project Part 2: Intalling the Engine

    1. 04-08-2003 04:15 PM #1
      The Rabbit TDI Project
      Part 2: Intalling the Engine 1

      Or: Mounting a 2002 ALH TDI engine block into a 1982 Rabbit can't be that hard, can it?

      VW is really good with their cars. Essentially they are German Lego. Everything fits togeather.
      Up to the engines in the A3 cars, all of the engines had the mounting bosses for the previous generations of cars.
      I have an ABA in my 1984 GLI. Installation was simple: bolt on the passenger side engine mount, and you're done.

      The new A4 bodied engines are different beasts. The water pump is internal, there is no hole to mount a distributor(gas) or vacuum pump (diesel), a completely different engine mount system, and on and on and on.

      Well, there are guys mounting the A4 style 1.8T engines into Rabbits, what are they doing?

      Three of the four engine mounts in a Rabbit are bolted to the transmission, so there should only be one mount to worry about. I took a look at my new engine, and fabbed a mount to make it fit where it should.

      I used the passenger side mount from an A1 gas engine as a starting point.

      The bolt holes on the new engine only line up with one of the stock holes in the mount, and there is a waterpump in the way of where the mount is supposed to go. Looking at the last picture, the middle hole is from the stock mount, everything else is new.

      Some of the plastic guard was trimmed to fit the new mount. The mount slides in behind the plastic guard.
      The center hole on the left of the block is the only hole that is common with the old engines (at least wrt this engine mount)

      The guard before clearancing the plastic.

      Here is the mount on long bolts for a fittament check.

      With the engine in the car, the slot that the passenger side mount sits in was rubbing the idler pulley on the timing belt. I had to change the tensioner pulley with a larger pulley and remove the little idler pulley. This picture is looking down at the passenger side engine mount.

      The plastic strip was being used so wouldn't score the idler pulley. It ended up being jammed in there anyway.

      I can't seem to find any pictures of the new tensioner pulley.
      I believe I used the pulley from a 16V, and I had to replace the bolt as well.

      When I put the engine in, I ran into clearance problems with the tensioner for the serpentine belt. A block of wood and a good motivator (read: 2lb sledge) cleared the frame rail for everything to fit.

      summary: new passenger side mount, different timing belt tensioner, clearance for serpentine belt.

      Stay tuned...


      Part 1: Introduction
      Part 2: Installing the Engine
      Part 3: Transmission
      Part 4: Wiring 1
      Part 5: Speedometer and Cluster
      Part 6: ImmobilizerIII
      Part 7: Drive By Wire
      Part 8: Intercooler
      Part 9: Intake and Exhaust
      part 10: MFA and Cruise Control
      Part 11: The Dash
      Part 12: The Little Things
      Part 13: The End (for now)
      Part 14: 6spd transmission and brake upgrades
      One Year Later
      Dyno results
      Who Needs a VR6
      TDI Rabbit
      Last edited by MrDave; 11-08-2019 at 02:19 PM.

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    3. 04-09-2003 07:03 AM #2
      I like it, what transmission are you using

    4. Member Patrick's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 28th, 2000
      2002 ALMS Audi TT
      04-09-2003 05:15 PM #3
      Very nice

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    6. 04-10-2003 12:21 AM #4

      That'll be detailed in part 3.
      Till then:
      020 FF.

    7. Member 1.8TsyncroB3's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 7th, 2001
      Montreal Area
      04-10-2003 01:00 PM #5
      Have you had any problems with the front engine mount/rad support apron flexing or tearing due to the torque from this engine?
      I've read about A1s having this area reinforced due to previous flexing, cracking, and failure from high HP engines.

    8. 04-11-2003 01:42 AM #6
      come on, its a diesel, it cant have high horse power!
      What management system are you using? the ALH ecm, or are you going mechanical???? sounds like its fly.

    9. 04-11-2003 12:49 PM #7
      I only have ~2000 kms on the conversion, which means only about 4500kms on the engine. I'm still babying it.
      I have heard of flexing and deforming the front crossmember, but my current setup is the stock 90/150 (hp/ftlbs), which really isn't that far from my ABA in the GLI, so I don't have any immediate fears.
      My future plan is to put a brace across the front tied to the front rails and to the front engine mount as a mounting point for a skid plate/belly pan, but that hasn't gone beyond the planning stage.

      As for engine management, I'm running the full ALH ECU/ECM, OBDII, VNT, MAF, DBW, cruise, cluster, MFA, etc etc.
      It's seems kinda odd, programming a 1982 Rabbit with VAGcom and a laptop.


      [Modified by MrDave, 4:50 PM 4-11-2003]

    10. Member 1.8TsyncroB3's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 7th, 2001
      Montreal Area
      04-11-2003 08:26 PM #8
      I'd like to see some photos and details on the DBW pedal set-up. I'm gonna be involved in a DBW swap in my buddie's '80 wabbit next winter, so any helpful info will be appreciated.

    11. 04-13-2003 12:57 PM #9
      I intend on writing a bit on the DBW setup. I just have to get my stuff organized.
      I do have pictures.


    12. Member 1.8TsyncroB3's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 7th, 2001
      Montreal Area
      04-13-2003 01:17 PM #10
      Thanks, I'll be watching for the updates.

    13. Member Bicycle019's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 30th, 2001
      Denver, CO
      '84 Mk1 Jetta GLI ABA S/C, '89 Vanagon Carat Whitestar, '17 Golf Alltrack, '16 GTI PP
      04-14-2003 01:58 AM #11
      I only get red x's instead of pics.
      DCI - Party time, excellent.

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