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njt1rider September 27th, 2018 10:09

2003 Eurovan 1z SYNCRO Swap
***2003 Eurovan 1Z Syncro Swap***

Hey all, after about 4 years of living in my 93 TDI Eurovan van and logging over 105,000 miles I have found myself in Denver, Colorado working for I am about to embark on a TDI Syncro swap into a 2003 Eurovan. I enjoyed the process of my last swap and thread so much that I decided to make one for this as well. This is just the short and skinny to get started but I will update this with more details and photos very soon! Stay Tuned. Check out my parts threads in the for sale thread if you have some 1z/ahu stuff you think I could use.

If you don't know Cavevan yet, check out and their instagram.

oilhammer September 27th, 2018 10:16

I think the T4 was an easier 4WD conversion than the T3 since they were designed from the onset to have as much in common with the 2WD versions as possible. So Volkswagen could build them both at the same plant (Hannover). Steyr had to assemble the 4WD T3s in Austria because they were THAT different than t he 2WD, although Steyr ended up assembling some of the last of the 2WD T3s as well, so... :confused: They may have been less automated perhaps.

Either way, sounds like a neat project. I liked my T4, I had a '93 too (2.5L gasser/automatic) but sold it and replaced it with a Sprinter. Just wasn't big enough for what I needed.

njt1rider September 27th, 2018 10:36

OH, I believe you are totally correct. I was (-----) this close to doing the Syncro swap on my personal van when I did my swap 5 years ago but just didn't have the time/money/energy at the time. Hindsight being 20/20 I would have just bought a camper sprinter from the get-go but I just didn't know at the time. I wouldn't trade my experience for the world though and had a great time meeting people through tdiclub and the VW community. I have since upgraded to a T1N Sprinter as well and the difference is night and day. We do custom Sprinters at Cavevan; this one just left the shop yesterday to a very pleased owner:

Anyway back to the syncro, we recently had a euro spec 2.5TDI syncro in the shop and I checked everything out very closely and yes the syncro is basically a bolt on swap. I believe Justin at greaseworks has a good write up on his blog which I will be referencing on here I am sure. SO excited to get started! Making a parts list as we speak!

oilhammer September 27th, 2018 10:41

What type of AWD system do the early T4s use? Is it a standalone Haldex system?

(Picture of my people movers just for fun) :)

Zeitgeist September 27th, 2018 13:35

I believe it's a viscous coupler, just like the T3s. Other than the exhaust, the Syncro kit appears to just bolt in place, unlike the T3s.

I'll be watching this closely. I really want to convert my '01 to TDI and Syncro, even though I love the VR6 and the FWD with traction control is awesome in the snow.

njt1rider September 27th, 2018 14:30

I believe Zeitgeist is correct. I'm not too familiar with Haldex but after doing a little research it sounds like the Haldex is a fairly newer system (98ish?) and started with the Audis. The Syncro systems in the eurovan began being produced in 92ish or so. I know the Syncros in Europe had more sophisticated systems with electronic lockers but this system appears to be the most basic system which I believe is just the viscous coupler. I will figure out pictures soon.

2 questions:
How do I change the thread title? It should say 2003. I went to advance editing and changed it to 2003 but it still says 2000.

What is the best way to attach photos now adays? I used photo bucket last time and they screwed us all over for awhile there so would prefer not to go that route again. If this is a sticky already, feel free to just point out the link. Thank you.

Josh_WA September 27th, 2018 17:04

I was close to going to syncro just this past winter but decided that I would just update to an EWB transmission geared for the AHU that I had already put in. It would have been $1500 more to go syncro. Call me lazy, but I didn't want to replace or modify the complete exhaust I put on and Frans mentioned that I would need to modify the sump for it to fit with the syncro transmission. Were there syncros that came with 1.9 engines? I'm not in the mountains much either, so it would by all show and no play while burning a little extra fuel to haul it around. It would be cool though.

Zeitgeist September 28th, 2018 12:13

If you're a Samba member you can upload pics there and post links elsewhere.

mogly September 29th, 2018 03:56

Cool project. I'll be following this thread with interest.

Zeitgeist September 29th, 2018 13:11

If your van has ABS, then can the EDL be made to function with both front and rear diffs, or does that require a completely new ABS control unit?

njt1rider October 1st, 2018 18:04

EDL=??? I'm guessing electronic diff lock? I am not sure the answer to your question but we are installing a very early syncro setup so there are no electronics to it whatsoever (later versions had the rear electronic diff lock). This set-up just has the viscous coupler as far as I know, I am sure I will be learning all about the syncro variations. As-is this syncro set up is basically bolt on. I will be spending the next hour or 2 trying to figure out photos and hopefully have the first real update to this build...

Question: how does the syncro compare to AWD offered in other VAG vehicles (4 motion and such). DO they share parts and design?

njt1rider October 1st, 2018 18:54

The 2003 had a blown engine so engine and auto transmission were removed.
The TDI is a 1Z and came out of an early Passat so it has the GP relay in the fuse block and a BK ECU.
The Syncro has a CTV trans with no electronic bits. From what I'm told its an older style of syncro with out an electronic locker.

I did not do any of the disassembly on the van, syncro, or TDI so I am currently trying to figure out how to put all the pieces together. I was able to pin out the wiring harness today and it all seems to be in working order. It needs to be dressed up a little but what do you expect from a 22 year old wiring harness. I have a few questions about the harness:

Can the Eurovan pedal pot be used in place of the A3? Both have 6 wires but different plugs. I haven't dug into the Eurovan schematics yet so I will probably be answering my own question but figured maybe someone could answer before I get that far. Eurovan plug on top and TDI on bottom:

Can anyone help identify the extra plugs left on the harness? I believe I have everything necessary to make the swap run, just curious what the extra bits are:
Plug next to MAF:

4 cut wires next to MAF and N18:

2 wire plug next to ECU:

What is this plug between G1 to G2:

If I remember correctly from my last swap, I need to wire the starter wire directly to the F1 plug. I think this connection is for the IMMO:

Some thoughts/plans for the swap:
-We have the BK ECU so we need to upgrade to an FA or GQ so we can tune this beast to make it driveable. Anyone have one for cheap? I read that an FA turns into a GQ when it is chipped. Is that correct?
-We will be using the Kerma K03/04 turbo with bigger nozzles for the injectors
-I will be resealing the whole engine here shortly and from there I will do the timing belt, engine mount tap, and dipstick relocation. From there we will install the upgraded balanced injectors, Turbo, and clutch then mate the engine and transmission together.
-We will use a G60 clutch
-We will use a front mount intercooler.

Parts we need to source:
-The wiring harness from the instrument cluster to the fuse block (U1 and U2)
-The electronic top part of the VSS going into the transmission
-Clutch hard line

Zeitgeist October 1st, 2018 19:19

I suspect if there's any sharing with other AWD VAG vehicles, it's most likely with the Passat and Golf Country Syncros from the early '90's

njt1rider October 1st, 2018 19:22

Oh! another thought! Is there reliable access to ETKA anymore? The last time I tried getting on the free site it was full of spam viruses.

oilhammer October 2nd, 2018 04:50

I still have an older ETKA running on an older machine. It is no longer connected to the internet, though.

Just a note from your pics: I am sure you are probably going to replace it anyway, but it looks like the timing belt tensioner has been tensioned backwards. :o

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