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    Thread: Swapping to an automatic transmission?

    1. 11-28-2019 07:37 PM #1

      I know folks swap out their auto trans to swap in a manual most of the time.

      But due to some physical limitations with me, I would like to swap an auto trans into an 81 4 door.

      I currently have a 1.6 but being from Canada I could find an AAZ with a little effort, or I have a couple ALH's on hand. (MTDI?)

      Looking for drivability and reliability and it would be nice if the transmission wasn't so super rare to find parts for...

      Any thoughts on what might be best?

      Not afraid of a little hard work if it is feasible.

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    3. Member
      Join Date
      Dec 28th, 2005
      Burr Ridge, IL
      81 S, 84 GTI, 86 16V, 92 Cabby
      11-28-2019 11:55 PM #2
      It can be done for sure, but it's not for the faint of heart. We converted a 16V Scirocco to automatic: https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...-thread/page25

      The adventure starts near the bottom of the page. Basically you need a whole car, there's a lot of parts you need besides the trans itself.

      Oh, and when you're done, you will be shunned .
      It's hard for me to know exactly what these things cost me. I'm guessing a LOT, but I like them, so that's that.

    4. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 13th, 2006
      Somewhere North of Lyon Mountain.
      SR71 C30 t53a/b/b
      11-29-2019 12:25 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by echassin View Post
      Oh, and when you're done, you will be shunned .
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.
      Buy my couch!

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    6. 11-29-2019 12:39 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by LT1M21Stingray View Post
      Yeah until I pull out my wheelchair and spell Fawk dat with my fingers

      even if it is a bit ugly, its still better than the sidelines.

      Thanks for the link... I will go take a look.

    7. Member
      Join Date
      Apr 22nd, 2002
      NJ 08002
      4 clunkers & 2 nicer clunkers
      11-29-2019 12:52 AM #5
      I don’t think diesel automatics were too common, at least with the 1.6D. Finding that trans may add to the complexity.


    8. 11-29-2019 12:57 AM #6
      Well as it happens while cruising Kijiji I found an 1.7 w an auto for 75.00 so I just sent the seller a message.

      He is about 14hrs from me but I have friends and family about 40 min away from him, so I am sure I can find an excuse for a visit.

      If I have to leave the diesel world..uhhhh I guess I could reluctantly

      I am hoping he might have some of the other bits as well, but won't know till we chat.

      I am sure the shift points are different enough between diesel and gas, but its a starting point...see how it turns out tomorrow.

    9. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 20th, 2004
      Atlanta Ga
      90, 92, 93 Cabriolet They own you.
      11-29-2019 08:15 AM #7
      List of Trannys that will work on a diesel.

      Ratios of the transmissions.

      You will need the Pedal assembly.
      You will need the shifter mech.
      You will need the Cables for them
      You will need the interlock relay, and wiring
      Starter, Heat Shields and Brackets.
      Shifter console (if you have a/c heater box, the one from a latter Cabriolet should work fine.)

      That is about all I can think of.

    10. 11-29-2019 08:31 AM #8
      Thanks for the link, and I think finding the peripheral stuff will be the slow down.

      I'll see what the seller says about all the parts.

    11. 11-29-2019 11:02 AM #9
      This guy has a lot for $200. As with all sellers, most will take what they can get. Yeah, it's for a Mk2 VW, but I bet there are more parts that will work than not work.

    12. 11-29-2019 12:45 PM #10
      I ran an '82 Jetta diesel with auto from 50k miles to 435K miles. I made it last by pulling the pan every 5,000 miles and swapping the atf.

      The problem which you are unaware of is that:
      1) The two throttle cables needed are no longer made to my knowledge....especially the one from the trans to the fuel pump....and this one has a very short life-span due to how it works. I always carried two for spares back then.

      2) The starters on these cook being in such close proximity to the pipe. Once they get so hot for so long, the windings in the starters apparently never work right again. Finding these starters is next-to-impossible ("rare" for all you little crowd-followers out there). About 18 years ago, I bought the LAST one on VW's books in North America.

      My advice: buy a Toyota. A gas Toyota.....with automatic.
      If you need a 12 mm diesel head.....let me know. I am moving into the later ALH cars and have been hoarding several heads (solid and hydro) which have all been disassembled and cleaned.....most ported.
      Think you know EVERYTHING?: https://www.infowars.com/special-rep...piracy-theory/

    13. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 20th, 2004
      Atlanta Ga
      90, 92, 93 Cabriolet They own you.
      11-29-2019 11:34 PM #11
      Heat shielding for the starter and the advent of adding a heat soak relay resolves the iffy starter issues.


    14. 11-30-2019 12:04 AM #12
      Well I appreciate hard truths even if it involves a little swearing.

      I have located an entire auto set up complete from a vintage vw auto recycler up here for a somewhat decent price, although the rarity and current state of the cables is a concerning point.

      Ive been running air-cooled, MK1, MK2 and MK3 for the last 11 years or so but this would be my first VW auto.

      Thanks for taking the time to chime in, it is appreciated.

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