VW TDI Diesel Sahara

What is the issues with the R2.8? I thought it was basically designed as a TJ engine swap. I know that the JP/FourWheeler guys are supported by Cummins, but they have swapped in the R2.8 into dams near every small(ish) truck and SUV out there by now. Are they not holding up? Or is there some other issue that makes them less desirable than the VW TDI's? I've dreamed about a small diesel ever since the switch (US) to low sulfur. I got massively ill breathing around the old fumes. But then that stupid EPA fu@%ed it all up! So it's only doable (for me) with a swap into an older vehicle now.
 
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You can piece together a TDI swap pretty cheaply and it's a great compliment to a TJ.

The R2.8 Cummins is pretty much just brand new from Cummins and for many that's already more than they were going to spend buying and selling and making parts to do their TDI swap. The R2.8 can be pieced together, but there's some very solid kits out there already and the cooling tends to be a bit funky on the 2.8 and that can be a massive expense/headache without a custom radiator.

A full TDI kit and TDI rebuild and tune vs R2.8 Cummins is very similar in price.

Around 3 L diesel is a great size for a TJ, but around 2L diesel is good enough. Turbo has to kick in to really get the torque, so the more displacement the better as long as the size, shape and weight fit the build. For diesel more displacement can actually help MPG too.
 
I am new here but figured I would share a little hobby and project of mine. It is a 1999 Jeep TJ Sahara with a 2002 VW ALH diesel swap. I have the Dana 30/35 differentials with 3:73 ratio and AX15 transmission. Jeep is all original other than 31" BFG all terrain tires. It seems to be great little combination and I average about 35MPG.

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I know this is an old thread but is the TDI still working for you?
Do you only run it in the summer? (I'm in Alberta with a 50 mile each way commute). I would love to gain the MPG of the diesel year-round.
As my 03 Jetta is becoming parts hungry and I'm slowly losing the rust battle, I'd rather throw the ALH TDI into my 99 Sahara as it's at the end of its life with 466,000kms on her and looking for a major overhaul on the 4.0L. 300,000 miles on any vehicle on Alberta roads is tough.
Also, did you do a build thread? Or any vids? I'd love to see what I might (or might not) be getting myself into.
Cheers!
 
Actually sold the jeep about 2 weeks ago and yes it was working well. I ran it in winter and summer, some winter days were -35deg C and it worked fine. I did have a circulating block heater which was very helpful. This thread is basically the only build thread that I did. Do you have any specific questions?
 
Actually sold the jeep about 2 weeks ago and yes it was working well. I ran it in winter and summer, some winter days were -35deg C and it worked fine. I did have a circulating block heater which was very helpful. This thread is basically the only build thread that I did. Do you have any specific questions?
Mostly concerned about final cost. The kit prices seem to be cheaper than having parts built. As I don't live in a large city, finding used parts/ having parts built or altered are difficult to get or extra $$.
Also cost vs reliability. As it will be my daily driver at 200 km per day, I don't want to have it in the garage chasing "weak links".
I have a blank slate. A TJ frame in surprisingly amazing shape (for Alberta ) and a clean, rust free tub. I'm going to build this one from the ground up and I want it to be a long-lived diesel tugged with low maintenance.
 
Mostly concerned about final cost. The kit prices seem to be cheaper than having parts built. As I don't live in a large city, finding used parts/ having parts built or altered are difficult to get or extra $$.
Also cost vs reliability. As it will be my daily driver at 200 km per day, I don't want to have it in the garage chasing "weak links".
I have a blank slate. A TJ frame in surprisingly amazing shape (for Alberta ) and a clean, rust free tub. I'm going to build this one from the ground up and I want it to be a long-lived diesel tugged with low maintenance.
We will need many posts about your build. And I'd prefer to see some video too.
 
Yes the gas to diesel conversion kit will likely be the best bet, paired with the Fast Forward wiring harness. I would say prepare for it to cost more than you think.

I am not sure if building from the frame up is the best route, remember you are daily driving this in Canadian winters. What I mean is people drive like idiots and it is very likely that you will get into accidents eventually. I would hate to put in a ton of work perfecting everything and have some body total it off (insurance will likely not care about these modifications).

My advise would be to start with a basic 4.0 jeep with the AX-15 trans. Don't combine the two wiring harnesses, keep them separate so diagnostics is easy. Keep as many things OEM or stock as you can. Make a front engine mount for VW engine, a lot easier access and removal than the side mounts people make. Get the conversion running as fast as possible so that the fundamentals get worked out first and you dont get overwhelmed and eventually give up.
 
We will need many posts about your build. And I'd prefer to see some video too.
I will pic and video the build... kinda owe it to the forum as I used every bit of info I could get from the site. It was also a Frankenstein of the junkyards but it worked out well. An unfortunate health issue forced it's sale but that's water under the bridge.
The current complete 99 Sahara I'm fiddling around with is a rust bucket and was poorly treated by the PO. Lots of hidden "treasures" in the heap, everything from deadend live wires to bondo in the floor pans. I just hope to make it last until I can complete the new build.
This will not be a quick build... I don't have the funds for that. Got tub and frame, next, get some axles and wheels under it. Probably Ford 8.8 because an inexpensive Dana 44 is impossible to find in Alberta.
 
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I will pic and video the build... kinda owe it to the forum as I used every bit of info I could get from the site. It was also a Frankenstein of the junkyards but it worked out well. An unfortunate health issue forced it's sale but that's water under the bridge.
The current complete 99 Sahara I'm fiddling around with is a rust bucket and was poorly treated by the PO. Lots of hidden "treasures" in the heap, everything from deadend live wires to bondo in the floor pans. I just hope to make it last until I can complete the new build.
This will not be a quick build... I don't have the funds for that. Got tub and frame, next, get some axles and wheels under it. Probably Ford 8.8 because an inexpensive Dana 44 is impossible to find in Alberta.
What about Chrysler 8.25 29 spline?
 
Yes the gas to diesel conversion kit will likely be the best bet, paired with the Fast Forward wiring harness. I would say prepare for it to cost more than you think.

I am not sure if building from the frame up is the best route, remember you are daily driving this in Canadian winters. What I mean is people drive like idiots and it is very likely that you will get into accidents eventually. I would hate to put in a ton of work perfecting everything and have some body total it off (insurance will likely not care about these modifications).
I've looked into the conversion kits. Pricey for sure but still cheaper than the newer Jeeps... and no PO surprises.
Already have an 1.9L ALH and a 5.3L with a 4L60 attached so when I get to the engine option, I'll let my meager monetary resources decide.
Not too concerned about the idiots on the roads. I'm out of the driveway before even the early birds are hitting their snooze button. I even prefer the gravel side roads to the highways most days. More fun, less crotch-texting, subwoofing, tire-spacering, knuckle draggers riding the center line. Got out of the city to get away from them but they're everywhere now. Chose the ditch over a head-on 3 times in the last 2 winters. My insurance company has been real good about my previous builds. Been with them for over 25 years. Haven't short changed me and my rates are decent. Plus I warned my agent that I was about to start the build. I get coverage for the Jeep and receipts under my theft insurance until it has a motor in it ("means of propulsion "). Then we start haggling.
 
I will pic and video the build... kinda owe it to the forum as I used every bit of info I could get from the site. It was also a Frankenstein of the junkyards but it worked out well. An unfortunate health issue forced it's sale but that's water under the bridge.
The current complete 99 Sahara I'm fiddling around with is a rust bucket and was poorly treated by the PO. Lots of hidden "treasures" in the heap, everything from deadend live wires to bondo in the floor pans. I just hope to make it last until I can complete the new build.
This will not be a quick build... I don't have the funds for that. Got tub and frame, next, get some axles and wheels under it. Probably Ford 8.8 because an inexpensive Dana 44 is impossible to find in Alberta.
Look for a last gen Rodeo. They have a M266 rear end that is a metric Dana 44 they are 63” wms-wms disk brake and most have a limited slip already in them.
 
Look for a last gen Rodeo. They have a M266 rear end that is a metric Dana 44 they are 63” wms-wms disk brake and most have a limited slip already in them.
Very rare vehicle in western Canada. Once in a while you see the imported diesel ones but owners don't sell them until they crater. 5 months of salted roads eats them alive. Would be nice though.
 
Late to the party but what a great thread. I'm in the early stages of a tdi 2.0. bhw engine swap into a 2005 LJ auto. Going to look at an ax-15 that comes with a front drive shaft and wanted to know if you needed custom shafts or used your stock ones ? Also I have the vw vag-com software and thought that integrating as many vw systems as possible could be good, or maybe not. Thoughts ?
 
Late to the party but what a great thread. I'm in the early stages of a tdi 2.0. bhw engine swap into a 2005 LJ auto. Going to look at an ax-15 that comes with a front drive shaft and wanted to know if you needed custom shafts or used your stock ones ? Also I have the vw vag-com software and thought that integrating as many vw systems as possible could be good, or maybe not. Thoughts ?
I sold this jeep a while ago, so I am not on here a lot anymore. If your transmission stays in the same spot as the stock one did, then you can use the original driveshafts. It depends on your firewall clearance, does the BHW motor have a large vacuum pump on the rear of the head.
 
Yes it does, I'm hoping that using a 2" wide engine to trans adapter will give me enough clearance at the firewall. Also swapping in an ax-15 for the auto 42rle so guess I will just have to wait and see about drive shaft length. Anyway, I appreciate all the info you posted, its been very helpful.
 
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On the TDI, can you all move the engine and transmission a handful of inches and then figure out a way to deal with the shifter?

With such a short wheelbase, I always would like to move the transmission a bit forward so when you lift the Jeep a bit and/or Tummy tuck, you can have a bit more manageable drive angle. My angles look pretty good with a mild lift, but I still plan to get adjustable control arms before I get an Atlas and then do a Tummy tuck.