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    Thread: 74 Beetle engine upgrade to 2016 Jetta 1.4T

    1. 05-13-2020 03:58 PM #1
      I bought a 74 beetle that had been converted into an electric vehicle. I didn't so much want the electric part, but the body was good. I did get the electric part functioning and driveable but it had limitations on power and speed and range, so I decided to convert it back to gas. I had a 74 engine that I had rebuilt destined to go into it until I got the inspiration to go all out and modernize the car a little. I have wanted to put a 2016 and later Jetta 1.4 tsi turbo engine in a Beetle and this one had been cut up a little to convert to electric so it became a good candidate for the swap.
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      I bought a complete car that had been wrecked so I could get all the pieces I would need.
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      I liked the 1.4 because it is all aluminum and compact and lightweight, stock and untuned it produces 150 horsepower. The engine once removed and weighed as shown hanging in the picture weighs 230 lbs, that includes the alternator and a/c compressor. I weighed the 74 engine I had built for the car with heater boxes and alternator and it weighed in at 250 lbs. With radiator and intercooler it will get back up to the original engine's 250 lb weight. I was able to separate out the harness and make it run with the original cluster and ignition switch to defeat the immo, but it was in limp mode. Marin at https://www.advancedcarelectronics.com was able to rewrite the ecu to fool it into thinking it didn't need the cluster and key and also take it out of limp, although I did have to retain the ABS controller and two sensors. I tried several tuners that specialize in the 1.4T and none of them could offer me anything more than a prepackaged tune for an existing car, and wouldn't even consider trying to write a standalone file.
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      With an adapter and a little ingenuity we got it to mate up to the 74 pan.
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      With some cutting and trimming in the body we got it to fit there also.
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      Last edited by davek181; 06-16-2020 at 04:11 PM.

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    3. 05-15-2020 08:49 AM #2
      Since we had to do a bit of a body lift for hood clearance we decided to get some dropped spindles and springplates to bring the height back to stock looking stance. While going through all that trouble we opted to do a complete disc brake swap too. Cleaned and painted and resealed the pan also.
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    4. 05-26-2020 03:42 PM #3
      A little more progress. Got the firewall and engine bay box built and painted. There is a lid that fits on the box and has latches to hold it down but they are not in the picture. Plan to cover the entire inside box with carpet similar to the original car. Underhood in the box I have already covered all areas including the bottom of the lid with sound deadening material. Getting the A/c lines mocked up to fit my vintage underdash a/c unit. Fabricated my fuel surge tank and mounted the pump inside. Plan to gravity feed it from the original tank so it will never be dry.
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      Last edited by davek181; 05-26-2020 at 03:46 PM.

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    6. 05-28-2020 09:46 AM #4
      A little more progress. Did more sound deadening underdash and also in trunk area. More to come with doors and quarter panels and floorpan. You can really hear the before and after difference just by knocking on the panels you do. The done panels have lost their ring when knocked on and just quietly deliver on thunk sound.

      Mounted a drive by wire pedal and used the throttle tube as a conduit for the six wires required to make it work. Had planned on using the stock pedal and have it's cable operate the electronic pedal, but when mocked up and working that way the pedal just didn't feel right. There was too much tension from operating the pedal instead of a carb, so I opted to do it the hard way and mount the e-pedal. I am glad I did as it feels great now. yes I know the brake line is out of place, this is just the mock up stage and everything has to be removed and cleaned and painted and re positioned in their final places, plus sound deadening has to go under it all.

      Next task in my list is to mount the condenser and mock up and have made the a/c lines. In the last picture you can see the expected receiver dryer location and can just see the condenser in front of the frame head and the fan for it on the ground in front of the pan.

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      Last edited by davek181; 05-28-2020 at 09:50 AM.

    7. 06-03-2020 10:47 AM #5
      Getting ready to start mounting everything permanently. We had an empty transmission we were using for mockup as it is lighter to deal with, but now we are preparing to install the functional one. I modified the mounts to allow for slight forward placement of the engine/trans assembly to clear the rear apron. Had to shorten the nosecone on the transmission and hockey stick and mount boss to fit where we needed it.
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      Now we can permanently mount the engine and trans and axles, route all the wiring and hoses to their final positions. I have already mounted the coolant bottle.
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    8. 06-11-2020 05:13 PM #6
      Still plugging along and getting much closer to finalizing everything. Got sound deadening put where ever we could, and starting to get carpeting and other stuff going into the pan. Got the heater fan and hoses worked out, dropped the body back on to be able to get accurate measurements on the a/c hoses. Got my cruise control parts, gps speed signal and 2016 Jetta cruise system with modified programming that will interface with the drive by wire pedal harness. Kind of a hybrid deal worked out between me and Rostra. I am getting excited and want to drive the car but don't want to have to pull the body off again once bolted on, so caution is the rule.
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      Still a list of things to do, but the list is getting shorter. Got my heater valve today so I need to fabricate a bracket and cable hookup to use the original temp control between the seats. Need to mount a relay to control the a/c compressor and condenser fan. Need to mount the condenser, I have the brackets fabricated so not so hard, but still time consuming. Every part of the project is time consuming as they all require making mounting brackets or guides, or something to fit a car that was not designed to have these things.

      More to come....

    9. 06-12-2020 09:39 AM #7
      lol thats fricken cool. how fast does that little go. its gotta be zippy as all hell

    10. 06-12-2020 10:44 AM #8
      Don't know how fast yet, probably too fast for the original design of the car. That is one reason we put disc brakes all around and lowered the CG of the main mass and installed KYB gas shocks, etc. I really want to drive it but there are still things to do before final assembly. I had hoped to have it running and driving this weekend, but....

      By using gear calculator and horsepower and rev figures it will do about 120MPH with stockish size tires. Once running and driven some we will decide how much bigger diameter tires to get the optimal gearing. Horsepower is rated at 150 for the stock Jetta engine. Knowing me I will probably have a rewrite done on the ECU and the claim there is 180-190 HP. We also calculate from the charts that drag times should be in the neighborhood of 8 to 8 1/2 second 1/8 mile, or 12.5 to 13 second 1/4 mile times, with the stock horsepower. We already have a beetle flatbed conversion with a 2.0 TDI common rail swap that does those times.

      I am mostly outfitting this as a daily driver type vehicle with a/c and heater and cruise control and modern engine reliability and power. Probably be my daily driver for a while at least. Everyone I know wants an old beetle till they drive one and feel how dated the car is compared to modern cars. I have a couple interested customers that want me to do the same to their Beetle. With the ready supply of late model Jettas wrecked, donor cars are relatively cheap. (cheaper than a new Beetle air cooler engine) Once done, I could duplicate another fairly quickly as I am noting the mods needed so engineering would already be done. Even so, I figure parts and labor could total $10,000 dollars to make it as nice as this one.

      Kinda have thoughts of doing a BAJA bug version as body lift and stockish appearance would not be required. It would be more of just an engine swap type of project but would produce a very capable and fun Baja.

      Hand a monkey a crescent wrench and strange things happen....

    11. 06-17-2020 10:03 AM #9
      Update with more pictures because everyone likes pictures. Completely disassembled and cleaned and rewired the a/c unit, glad I did, it did show signs of use and was pretty dirty inside. Wired the a/c unit to the car and cooling fan and mounted relays and dryer. Got the hoses I measured and indexed back, now the final assembly can begin.
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      Here is the engine wiring harness in it's final revision getting it ready to go back into the car permanently. Doesn't look like much now from where it started as the car wiring loom, but it does represent many hours of work even if it doesn't show. Many hours of separating, cutting splicing, and planning and trial and error to get it out of limp mode with as few controllers and parts as I could get away with trimming off.
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      Steering wheel in and most of the interior that we can do with the body off. I used the lower steering shaft from the Jetta and built an adapter on the lathe to mate the original column to it. Needed to have u-joints because of the body lift. The shaft has the added advantage of having a sliding joint that keeps the anti impale function of the column in case of accident.
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    12. n00b
      Join Date
      Jun 24th, 2020
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      Vehicles
      1974 Super Beetle
      06-24-2020 07:55 PM #10
      Where did you find an electric converted bug for sale? Do you mind me asking what ballpark range you paid for it? No issues if you don't feel comfortable providing that information. I've been thinking of looking for an already converted bug, but I haven't been able to figure out where I would find one. I have a 74 right now, so it's neat to see what you are doing with it

    13. 06-25-2020 01:40 PM #11
      I don't really want to give a price but I did get it pretty cheap. At the time the electric drive was not functioning and not even a part of the negotiations as I didn't want it. I was asking questions about where the original stuff went and was kinda disappointed it wasnt there. There were no bumpers or running board or rear seat or tank and it was cut up here and there for the conversion so I didn't have a lot of interest in it, so he let it go cheap basically selling me the rolling chassis. The paint looks pretty good and very little rust so I went from there. I have a couple other beetles I could have done this conversion to, but this one was already cut up in places and needed no bodywork.

      I did revive the electric drive out of curiosity but it proved to be too slow, to limited in range and hated the hills we have here. I had thought it might make a good loaner car for service work, but it didn't have the range or the ease of driving to do that. It used the original transmission and no clutch so shifting was weird and probably overworked the synchros a bit and made it strange to drive. Hoping that the transmission survived that abuse now that I am putting triple the designed power though the tranny with the 1.4 turbo.

      Since this is a side project it is progressing slower than I like. I keep adding options too which slows it down, like cruise control and heater and a/c systems that i have to work out before I drop the body back on. I had hoped to be driving the car by now, and could have, but I want it mostly done when I do put it on the road. I expect to be driving it within a week or so. I just try to get at least one thing a day done, usually in my spare time before work, but every day it gets closer.

      I fleshed out my heater system and made cardboard patterns to form my fresh air intake box. I will make the finished product out of metal. I am using the original heater tube holes in the body to draw in intake air for the fan into a sealed air chamber, then the output air from the heater box will go into another airtight chamber under the seat which will pressurize and force air through the original heater tubes and will be directable by the original heater/defroster flaps. I will put a water valve in the heater hoses and operate it from the original heat control lever to control heat output. One additional bonus with this that the original lacked is that you can use the heater fan without the hot water and have forced ventilation in the car.

      Here is a picture of the prototype heater inlet box, I will need to add the top to the chamber but will need to have the body sitting on it to fabricate it to fit. I think this is the last item to consider before dropping on the body and fitting the coolant hoses to the radiator. I have got them close, but also need the body in place to finalize length. I still have the cruise control to wire in, but think that won't be any harder with the body on. It uses a GPS speed sensor into an aftermarket cruise made for the 2016 Jetta the engine came from and only connects to the throttle pedal connector, so that might actually be easier to lay out with the car intact. The list of preliminary to do's is getting shorter, and most things are already worked out, so once dropped on it wont be long till it is drivable. I have it licensed and insured so that is ready too.
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