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Old December 17th, 2019, 15:41   #5
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: MT

I suppose the technical answer to your question is that you could add an OBD port even with a mechanical pump running the engine, if you wanted to badly enough and were ready to do (or pay for) the work. Presumably if it was originally an electronic TDI engine that was converted to mechanical operation, it still has the boss in the block for the crank position sensor and the tone ring on the crank, and might even still have the sensor there with wires cut or unplugged, so that could give you RPM. Provisions for other engine sensors that feed the ECU probably also still exist (ECT sensor, etc.) Optical or magnetic pickups for vehicle speed sensing exist that you could send to the ECU at the right frequency with a little homework. You could find a used engine harness and ECU to start with, reconstruct enough wiring to get the ECU to wake up, receive the few signals from the needed sensors, and output live data to an OBD reader to run your gauges. Some folks have done this type of thing on engine swaps into newer cars that depend on the original ECU functioning in a limited capacity to run gauges and handle things like ABS or stability control functionality, alternator charging, etc, where running without a dummy ECU still in place would cause problems with those systems.

So it could theoretically be done. But it almost certainly would be the most labor intensive available way to get a good set of gauges in your conversion.
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