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    Thread: Suggestions need for 2.8-Liter 24-Valve VR6 V-6 that NEEDS MORE POWER for climbing & towing

    1. n00b
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      Aug 13th, 2020
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      '04 Itasca 21-ft motorhome on a '03 VW Eurovan platform with the 201-hp VR6 engine
      08-14-2020 12:29 AM #1
      I have an '04 Itasca Sunstar 21-ft motorhome on a '03 VW Eurovan platform with the 201-hp VR6 engine.
      Altogether, the 2.8-ltr, 24-valve V-6 is moving 7,250 pounds in it's current motorhome RV configuration.
      Coupled with a 4-speed automatic transmission, the entire vehicle drives on level freeways easily and able to attain speeds a little over 80 mph.
      However, subject the vehicle to an uphill climb and it's struggles to a crawl. Fortunately, engine temperature doesn't rise over 1/2 on the temp guage while "hunting" between 3rd & 2nd gear. It's also a good thing that I don't have to pull a trailer behind me.
      Bottomline is that my 181 lb.-ft. of torque is not enough.
      My VR6 engine NEEDS MORE TORQUE.

      I considered employing a turbocharger to add more power and boost fuel economy but the Eurovan's engine bay isn't spacious enough to accommodate all the necessary components. So, I guess that's out (unless a new remedy is suggested).

      How about headers to replace the stock exhaust manifolds? Any objections or recommendations?

      What about a computer chip upgrade? Is that even possible?

      Last but not the least, will a supercharger work? Is there even a supercharger that can be matched with the VW VR6? If yes, where can I acquire it?

      Sensible suggestions/recommendations will be much appreciated.

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    3. Junior Member
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      Sep 2nd, 2019
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      08-14-2020 08:34 AM #2
      Depends on your budget? 1.8t swap would be an option. They take up less space and can run enough boost to crest 350hp

      Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

    4. n00b
      Join Date
      Aug 13th, 2020
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      '04 Itasca 21-ft motorhome on a '03 VW Eurovan platform with the 201-hp VR6 engine
      08-14-2020 11:18 AM #3
      How much boost in the TORQUE can anyone get from the little 1.8T?
      How much do you guess such a swap will cost?

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    6. 08-14-2020 01:07 PM #4
      I don't think a 1.8T swap makes sense. There are turbo swaps out there for the 24v VR6 that are going to get you more HP/torque.

      It sounds like a lot of your issue is the transmission. Which is going to be an issue in any swap you do as well. If you swap for a 1.8T you aren't going to want to keep the stock 01P 4 speed automatic.

      The transmission is unfortunately the weak point in these vans.

      You basically have a few options:

      1) Keep the VR6 and get an 02G 5 speed (EU spec 5 speed transmission) and swap to a manual transmission.

      2) Do an 02G 5 speed swap and add a turbo to the VR6.

      3) Do an 02B 5 speed swap (like in the US spec manual Eurovans) and a motor swap to something like a TDI or 1.8T


      None of these options are particularly cheap. If you're going the work yourself you could do a TDI swap for a maybe 2-3k, depending on parts you source and how much you get when you sell your old engine/transmission.

      There aren't any great automatic swaps in the Eurovan that have been done.

      Adding a turbo to the 24v VR6 is going to grenade that transmission.

      My two cents.

    7. Member gti_matt's Avatar
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      08-17-2020 01:20 PM #5
      I agree that putting more torque and HP to the 01P auto trans is dangerous, since it's a pretty fragile transmission.

      If you're dead set on a more powerful VR6 though, a manual swap would be in order. For VR6 donors, I'm not entirely sure what the compatibility is, but what comes to mind for "bigger" is the 3.2 VR6 from a Mk4 Golf R32 or from a first-gen Touareg. Yeah the Touareg was a longitudinal mounting IIRC and not transverse, but isn't it the same VR6 anyway? There also were 3.6L VR6s in later T-regs and also in the Passat. IDK if those are too far "distant" from the T4 to bolt in though, but if they do, that'd widen your donor search.

      Going a TDI + manual swap is a good idea as well for the fuel economy, as bigger VR6s will just eat more fuel. It won't be a drag racer with a TDI, but the torque and the low-end should be good for maintaining speed on hills and towing.

    8. Member fuelsparkcompression's Avatar
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      Feb 8th, 2006
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      97 jetta/91GTI
      09-15-2020 11:30 PM #6
      I have a 2002 my with a 3.2 VR6 swap. Ran great but now needs a torque converter

    9. Member
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      Dec 8th, 2003
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      09-16-2020 05:02 PM #7
      Best option is to sell it and get something else. From looking at your post, you are not the DIY type person where you'd undergo a major project. Every suggestion is for a tinkerer not someone looking to add bolt on power. Everything everyone suggested is completely wrong for you in the situation you are in. Even though I'm a tinkerer, mechanical engineer and have tons of motorsports experience, I went ahead and bought a Class C RV that has a Ford V10 in it. Why? You can't shoehorn anything in that Eurovan that will give reliable performance like I have. My class C is a 26ft. The engine and trans just cruise along with no struggle at all. I can't imagine punishing my Eurovan engine and transmission with all of that extra weight. I even put cams in my Eurovan.

    10. Junior Member Josh_wa's Avatar
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      May 15th, 2017
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      09-16-2020 06:45 PM #8
      Looks like he's got an RV already. '04 Itasca 21-ft.

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