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TDI Ranger swap

16565 Views 69 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  classicmuscle454
Howdy folks! I needed a 4wd replacement for my mechanical tdi swapped VW Rabbit pickup, so after some hunting I found a 2000 Black B3000 5 spd 4x4 down in San Antonio TX for a good deal. Got lucky that I had a friend down there for work and he was able to pick the truck up on Thursday and drive it back to Louisville KY. I drove down over the weekend and brought it back to my mad scientist lab in the woods of northern MI. Turns out, the 3.0 has a blown head gasket as it took 3 gallons of coolant to get from KY to MI. No idea how it made it from TX to KY being 2 gallons low and didn't blow up. Oh well, I didn't buy it for the turd v6 anyway. But due to that, my time table is getting moved up and this thing is getting swapped ASAP as I'm not going to do a head gasket on the 3.slow.

About 4 weeks ago I yanked a fully dressed 2004 Passat TDI engine/harness/ecu from a u-pull yard in the ghetto of detroit for $412.50. Sold the trans computer and intercooler off for $425, so the motor didn't cost me a dime. It needs a cam as 04-06 TDI's do, but I'm a dealer for Colt Cams so that's an easy fix. I'll also delete the balance shaft and put a fresh timing belt on it. I'm hoping all the vw accessories will clear and save any custom belt/pulley work. It's going to get a small set of K03/hx30w compounds which should be good for 180whp/350wtq with the stock injectors. When I upgrade them down the road, 220whp/425wtq should be doable from the same turbos.

Put the truck to work and went out and cleaned up a few dead limbs that came down in the wind storm last week. It's already sagging 1.5" with just this load so I ordered the airlift helper bag kit, firestone pump, and assorted fittings to hook it all up. I have a 20ft aluminum car hauler I plan on towing with VW's on it and I know that will squat it more than this.

After unloading the bed, I put it on the hoist to get a look at the underside. Holy crap! I'm so jealous of guys down south/out west. I can't believe this is a 17 year old truck with 216K on it. Looks like a 2 year/20k old truck from up here. This will get the most overkill undercoating job ever done when I get done with the swap and will be washed inside every time it has to see salt.

Worst rust I can find on this thing LOL.

From my googling, this is a very common issue. Hopped on ebay and ordered the aluminum repair ends for $14 and a new pair of Depo door handles as they were only $12/each.

Helper bags to prevent saggy ass syndrome

I freed up an engine stand and started on the TDI. Pulled the trashed cam to install some head studs and stiffer valve springs. I'm planning on 45-50psi of boost so I'm setting the engine up accordingly.

This evening I rolled the engine over to work on the bottom end. Balance shaft setup was deleted and stronger main bolts installed.



All sealed back up.

Electric shift T case isn't reliable shifting in/out of 4wd so I hunted down a 2003 manual shift 1354. Got it to my door for $150 from a wrecking yard in Wisconsin. Now I just need to find the shift linkage and floor plate.

The 7.5" rear end has a TON of backlash, so I hunted down a 8.8" from a fx4 with a limited slip and matching 4.10 gears. Hopefully picking it up this weekend!

If all stays on schedule, I should have the custom adapter kit in 3-4 weeks and I can get swapping :bdr2:
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Beefy support bracket

Bolted in for good! Oil drain lines all done and tight, hot pipe heat wrapped, and oil feed lines halfway made.

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Got all the coolant bypass lines done, intake manifold, rest of the tubes made over the weekend, and vw ecu fit in the ford ecu box. Had to mill 3/16" off each side of the ecu case, but it fits now.

Got the dp all done, 3" fit perfectly! Going to feel a little bad covering this with heat wrap.

Midpipe tucked up like a glove
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Pretty cool build, nice work!
Thanks! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! A ps reservioir and air filter bracket/piping are the last items I have to fab and then just wiring :bdr2:

Dana 4.10 gears went in

Finished up the tailpipe

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Here's the gas pedal bracket that was a major PITA

All wrapped up under here minus ac lines

Out in the wild!
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Have 500 miles in the truck so far! Boost is currently 38psi total, 20psi on low pressure stage. Trying to find a high hz solenoid that will work with vw ecu so I can get boost up to 50-55psi. Towing a bmw 135i on my 20' aluminum car hauler was perfect; 950-1150° egt's and 25-35psi of boost depending on grade in 4th gear at 65mph and 2800rpm.

Since this guy is 100% rust free, I wanted to keep it that way so a whole gallon of fluid film went on the underside and basically everywhere salt spray would hit.

I took the truck on a 6 hour round trip on Monday and it started running funny on the way back. Didn't hear any funny noises so I figured an injector solenoid just took a crap. Upon inspection, I wish it was only the solenoid. In 10 years of professionally working on euro diesels, this is a new one on me.

I was planning on upgrading injectors eventually, but certainly not this quickly. I just finished installing a set of 20% over injectors so we'll see how it runs now with a little more fuel! Just waiting on my tuner to email me an updated file to flash in.
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and then?
Some wonton soup?

Got the new 125% over injectors in and yeeeeehaw!! She needed more fuel.

Here's some videos of current state of tune. Working with Mike at TD Tuning and it's getting better ever day. Should be at 55psi after a few more tunes.
Looks like it scoots along nicely. How's the fuel mileage? Empty you've got to be pulling down some pretty solid numbers?

Cool project.
It definitely moves infinitely better than the 3.0L pos that was in there before. So far the worst mpg has been 21. I haven't been remotely trying to conserve fuel and somewhere in 22-25mpg range seems to be the norm so far. 32" load range e tires, a moderately tall truck, wot datalogging, lots forest road cruising, and a heavy foot don't make for the best mileage :sonicjay:. I just ordered a winch bumper last night so that won't help mpg either probably. But the truck needs a winch and for $400 shipped I can't build a bumper myself.
I don't know what these put down stock, but with your mods, any guess what your HP / TQ numbers are?
This tdi was stock 134/235 and I should be about 225/425. I know I can slip the clutch that's rated for 435tq below 2200rpm if I try in 4th or 5th :sonicjay:.

Well, with taller, heavier tires, no attempts to get better mileage, etc. Sounds pretty solid to me. Most of those trucks seemed to hover around 17-18 at best stock. Plus now you have a ton more power.
My truck averaged 14mpg with the 3.0L and had NO balls. So i'm ecstatic to have ~10mpg better and actually have some nuts.
As much as I hate to buy fabricated things from other places, I picked up a bumper from Affordable Offroad. For $430 to my door, there's no way I could've built it for that. As a professional fabricator, the weld and build quality is well above and beyond my expectations. I have much more pressing ways to spend 2 days of welding/grinding time at my shop currently.

Coat of zinc primer done, toss on some black rustoleum in the morning.
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Got the bumper on this morning, looks much better! I have a used mile marker 10k hydraulic winch on the way, should be here next week sometime.

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Thanks to craigslist, I scored a 10k mile marker hydraulic winch for an absolute steal of a deal. Need to hit up hydraulic store tomorrow for a few fittings and she'll be operational.

Not that it was needed, but it can't hurt so I threw on a 10x10 cooler I had laying around for the PS system.

Again, wasn't needed, but it can't hurt. I had the filter head laying around so I mounted it up in the bumper. It's nice and protected here and the hose routing will tuck up cleanly.
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Very nice. I love seeing a TDI motors being used in other vehicles. I know someone that is having one drop into a CJ7.
I've done lots of engine swaps and ridden in many. For a sub 5000lb vehicle, I don't think there's a better bang for the buck diesel option in terms of weight, performance, and overall cost. If you're gas swapping, then an ls I'd say is king, but everyone already knows that :).

Hydraulic winch is fully operational and I already had it use it to pull a dead vehicle up an iced over 8% grade driveway. As expected, line speed isn't raging fast, but I know I can pull all day and now have a baseline speed to make power steering pump modifications against.

Tig'ed on some 6an fittings

Ran a switch in the cab so I don't have to use the remote sitting in the truck. I'll get a nice switch the next time I order from McMaster, this was a super cheapie I had laying around.

Cooler plumbed up


Hooked to a tree and spooled the line on in high gear as a test. This line is ugly towards the bottom so I hit up ebay for some 7/16" synthetic line and a hawse fairlead that will be here next week.

I took apart a spare vw pump to see what the guts of the regulator look like. Holy hell the flow passage in the outlet fitting is small haha. I cut the pin off the pressure piston that protruded into the orifice and use some small carbides to give a better flow path than the two tiny notches that were there from the factory. I'll add the 2 washers under the spring to bump the pressure. I have a pressure gauge I'll hook up to check outlet pressure after the mods.


Mod attempt #1
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So the modded pump fitting did make the winch faster, especially with engine at 1500rpm. However, the PS pump sounds like a wicked supercharger above 2500rpm. So I'm going to try something halfway in between the stock and the first attempt I did.

Courtesy of ebay, 100' of 30klb rated 7/16" synthetic line and a hawse lead for $150 to my door. The steel cable was ugly and had quite a few knots and pinch spots.
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I dig this build. I missed out on an almost completed grand cherokee tdi swap last year. I would really dig something along these lines as a dd.
Thanks man! That's too bad, a tdi grand cherokee would be a perfect 30mpg suv easy! It wouldn't be any slower than a 4.0L either.

Went on a 500 mile trip this weekend for some snow wheeling with some good friends. Towed a friends XJ on my trailer on the way there and ran empty on the way back. Left the jeep and trailer there for another wheeling weekend in 2 months.

Got some really funny looks, but it handled the ~6200lb load perfectly (trailer has brakes on both axles and using a prodigy rf controller, no worries). On level ground, I could run 5th gear at 2500rpm/70mph easily with 1050-1150F egts and 26-28psi. On hills I'd drop to 4th and egts would sit at 1250F-1300F and 38-40psi at 70mph. Coolant temp never went over 203F. Long story short, I was running within safe limits.

Picture of gauge at top of a 6% grade. Needle is total boost, EGT is self explanatory, and PSI is low pressure stage boost.

Here's a video of normal rate acceleration with the XJ on the trailer.

40mph winds the day before made for some very interesting wheeling. Would go from 3" to 3' as I found here. The winch got lots of use this weekend! After a hard continuous pull of about 60ft pulling myself and an f350 through a deep area, the hydraulic motor wasn't even 100F to the touch. It may not be the fastest, but that's the reason I went hydraulic over electric right there.
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The truck has been riding worse and worse lately, so I decided it was time for a mild suspension refresh. New bilstein shocks, sway bar links, and upper control arms as the ball joints were a touch sloppy. Upon removal, old shocks were 110% blown :sonicjay:. Took it down a trail for a test and it's sooooo much smoother now.

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