Hello Volks,

It is time to update everyone about TDI developments. I had other things on my mind lately and therefore the engine conversion got bumped in priority. TDI engines are still very difficult to get at a reasonable price. It makes me almost consider a regular 1.9L TD engine with an added intercooler which gets almost the hp (84) of the 1.9L TDI (90).

Of course there are now different options of TDI available. For example you can tune the 4cyl 1.9L from 90 hp to 110 hp or you can get the 5cyl 2.5L TDI (115 -140hp). However the torque of the stronger engines is so big that it can put to much strain on your transmission. Add on another transmission and the cost keep climbing.

Used TDI engines are sometimes available between can$3000 and can$3500. However, as we know we need a complete engine with all electrical wiring, the intercooler and the poti for the gas pedal.

Here is what Winkler's 230 page German catalogue has to offer:

1.9L used TDI engines from DM 5500

conversion kit (includes oil pump, oil pan, engine mounts, flywheel, clutch bel housing, starter, exhaust parts, muffler, coolant hoses and reservoir DM 2800

conversion labour (in TD Vanagon which has appropriate mounts already) from DM 4500

They also sell an intercooler for the TD engine for DM 1950.

There is also an electronic optimizing gadget for TDI engines available which supposedly gets 20% more power. However, there is no price given.

Their address:
A. Winkler
Schüchtermannstr. 7
44628 Herne

or a USA address

Das Kraftwerk II
Detlev Hanschke
5665 Crestmont Ave
Livermore CA 94550
phone 510 606 8797
fax 510 606 4338

Martin Schulte's experiences after about 6000 kms with the TDI in his vanagon:

fuel consumption between 7.5 and 8.5 L/100km

He is very happy with the power and torque and happyly pulled another VW Vanagon Pickup on a trailer - which he used as a carrying case for his old engine.

a hose connecting the intercooler with the turbocharger came off a couple of times resulting in lots of black smoke from the exhaust and diminished power. It was replace with sturdier connections and pressure hoses with a woven metal sleeve.

A crack in the exhaust at the turbocharger - a VW weld - had to be fixed and was replaced with a flexible part accommodating vibrations.

The wastegate (regulating the charging pressure)and its lever mechanism got stuck which was resolved with some lubrication.

One of the disks of the pulley of his alternator broke which means that he had to be towed because there was no more cooling (belt to waterpump). This of course had nothing to do with the TDI engine as such.

Some others have noted that the vibrations of the engine are quite strong at about 120km/h and are considering a different transmission ratio which is available in Germany through a five speed transmission or gears sold by Winkler and others. I am not sure what's available for a Syncro transmission. According to my calculations 120km/h translates into about 4300-4400 rpm on a Vanagon.

As you can see it can become quite expensive if you have to let someone else do the work. The engines are still very rare in North America. But don't give up yet we just may have to wait a little longer until there are more engines available at reasonable prices. In the meantime I am pushing my Waterboxer towards the 260000km mark.

I will keep you posted,


Björn Ratjen, Ph.D.

ph/fax (250) 743-7575

Back to Björn's TDI conversion newsletter #5.

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Tom Carrington