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TDI Conversions Discussions on converting non TDIs into TDIS. More general items can be answered better in other sections. This is ideal for issues that don't have an overlap and are very special to swaping engines.

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Old January 3rd, 2019, 19:13   #1
JeddaDeezl
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Default ALH into 2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ

I have been getting a ton of questions about this build so it is time to start an official build thread. The interest surpasses just Jeeple, so I decided to host it here to be more open to all who may be considering one of these swaps!

In the summer of 2018 I picked up a the 5th XJ I have now owned - a 2001 Yellow XJ with a nasty rod knock. For the past two years I've DD'd a 2001 Jetta TDI auto and while I like MK4 VWs, the Jeep itch was real...but I just wasn't excited about getting back into a vehicle with <18 MPG, and well, the engine in this XJ needed to be replaced anyway! Nothing wrong with the car really, I put about 15k a year on it so I am sure I could have run it another 5 boring years. But this swap was just begging to happen, so here goes.

The Jeep already has some kind of lift on it, maybe 3" when it was new but it has settled a lot. One of the many things to note for swapping an ALH into the XJ platform is that lift is REQUIRED due to track bar clearance, there is simply no way you are going to fit it under the hood cleanly otherwise. Sure you could cut into the firewall to keep the engine aft of the track bar, or maybe run a cowl hood and mount it high, but that is not what I wanted here. Keep in mind through all of this that I am after a clean and reliable swap with no clutter or cobbled together bits.
Since I am writing this mid-project, here's a list of requirements I have determined. I will come back and add them here as I discover more along the way.

1: 3+" of suspension lift is required to fit the engine cleanly in the engine bay, below the hood and in a comfortable fore/aft position.
2: The entire driveline must move FORWARD approximately 3". This means shortening the front driveshaft and re-tubing the rear shaft or upgrading to something nice.
3: ECU tuning is necessitated by the fact that ALH and newer TDI engines are equipped with the VW immobilizer which must be turned off to run the engine electronically outside of the VW it came from.
4: EGR/ASV/MAF delete is somewhat necessitated, mainly for clearance issues but also simplicity. I am not even attempting to keep these systems on my engine but I do believe the EGR valve would contact the hood or be uncomfortably close.
5: For a 97+ XJ you can piggy back the computers, meaning you keep the Jeep ECU to run the CANBUS dash gauges. I'll need to double up the coolant temp sensors so the Jeep ECU gets a read on that to give the factory gauge.
6: For factory automatic XJs you will most likely want to transmission swap to the AX-15 or NV3550 but there's a big bonus there, you get a lower gear ratio (3.55:1) with the factory axles in an auto XJ which is a great ratio for around 31" tires with the diesel/manual combo. I do not know of a TDI swap that kept the AW4, but at minimum this would require configuring the TCU to run in harmony with the TDI.
7. Yes you CAN keep the factory VNT-15 turbo.
8: I am using a TD Conversions adapter, which allows the engine to be clocked in 1 of 3 ways. I was unable to clock the engine with a full passenger side lean due to starter to turbo clearance. This is a possible configuration with other turbo options. I have mine set to the center position which is about vertical.
9: The power steering pump sticks WAY off to to the driver side. Clearance to the steering shaft is a little tight, but manageable.
10: Factory VW A/C compressor must be removed, there simply is not clearance for it with where the track bar connects to the frame and the upper control arm/differential would hit it regardless of your suspension setup. A compressor from a BHW is an option to consider. This means a shorter belt from crank to alt and ps, with a custom tensioner. I'll detail this step when I get to it.

Here's a few shots of the Jeep the day I brought it home






Last edited by JeddaDeezl; January 7th, 2019 at 08:53.
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Old January 3rd, 2019, 19:20   #2
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First thing I did was labeled wires and pulled apart plugs on the engine harness in preparation for pulling the dead 4.0. It ended up throwing a rod while I was moving it in my driveway.

Pulled the factory driveline. I decided to get fancy and run a Behemoth Drivetrain Strongbox doubler connected to a flipped Dana 300 transfer case. The D300 can accept the electronic speed sensor from the XJ, and the Strongbox will have a custom machined port for a VSS to satisfy the VW computer and allow me to run cruise control.



1 can of Gunk degreaser and probably about 300 gallons of water later...



Centerforce high inertia flywheel (45 lbs)


Freshly rebuilt AX-15



Picked up a nice set of TJ Rubicon wheels with 245/75 Destination A/T tires in great condition. Will replace with something more aggressive next time around.

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Old January 4th, 2019, 04:37   #3
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My ocd likes that you have a label maker for marking all your connectors.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 06:16   #4
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My ocd likes that you have a label maker for marking all your connectors.
Haha thanks. My handwriting sucks and little hang tags or pieces of tape just fail too darn often. P-Touch labeler for the win!
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Old January 4th, 2019, 07:07   #5
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Very nice set up. I love how cheap the jeep lifts are compared to other vehicles.

Any ideas how you'll get your tach signal? Dakota?
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Old January 4th, 2019, 11:52   #6
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Very nice set up. I love how cheap the jeep lifts are compared to other vehicles.
Any ideas how you'll get your tach signal? Dakota?
Thank you, this has an unknown lift on it now, and I have some concerns with track bar clearance, as well as noting that the removal of passenger side upper control arm would make exhaust routing a lot easier, I may opt for a nice long arm lift that deletes the factory bracktery, as well as allows moving the trackball down and forward 1", along with the front axle. That's gonna be over $2k so no idea yet if that is even a reality.

Tach signal will likely go through a Dakota box off the Jeep CPS, yes.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 11:54   #7
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Pulled the VW motor. Yes, I did it the hard way. Was trying to keep the car as much intact as possible leaving the transmission in place. Thought for a minute that might not be possible but I was able to get it!



Closed up all the orifices and applied oven cleaner and pressurized water. FYI Walmart oven cleaner at $2.50 a can is much more cost effective than Gunk engine degreaser. Let it sit for a few minutes and do its magic before washing.



All clean! Part 1 of TD Conversions adapter installed, this sets the spacing needed for the crank adapter and gives the mounting points for the 2nd half of the adapter, which is clockable in 3 different positions to set the engine tilt.



2nd half of the TD Conversions adapter, mounted in full passenger side tilt clocking. There is not room to mount the starter with the VNT-15 turbo in this configuration. This also shows the TD Conversions crank adapter bolted to the VW crank shaft.







Engine Mount plates (need to have arms welded to them)





Jeep electronic speedometer sensor mounted in D300 tail shaft. This is the "long" shaft D300, there is a short shaft version that is not compatible with the speed sensor like this. The original one for this case was manual cable drive but is the same size as the newer style.

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Old January 4th, 2019, 12:25   #8
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Eveguy? Spelling? The guy selling the td adapters has a tdi xj. I think he used a bhw manifold (and converted turbo) for clearance. The bhw is a longitudinal mounted motor vs the fwd sideways tilted alh.

If your are planning new bumpers or can fab yours a body lift is an easy and cheap way to gain clearance.

1 inch body lift usually requires no bumper mods. 2 inch lifts look awful without modding the bumpers.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 12:28   #9
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Originally Posted by PickleRick View Post
Eveguy? Spelling? The guy selling the td adapters has a tdi xj. I think he used a bhw manifold (and converted turbo) for clearance. The bhw is a longitudinal mounted motor vs the fwd sideways tilted alh.



If your are planning new bumpers or can fab yours a body lift is an easy and cheap way to gain clearance.



1 inch body lift usually requires no bumper mods. 2 inch lifts look awful without modding the bumpers.
Evguy. He runs a vnt17. But he has his bew vertical. A xj doesn't have a frame so you can't body lift..

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Old January 4th, 2019, 14:37   #10
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Oh that sucks! Shows how much i know about jeeps....ive always been a land cruiser guy. Except when my sister had a yj, then i also became a jeep mechanic. I could swap a front or rear axle in a yj in less than an hour before she finally sold that beat up rig.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 14:47   #11
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A xj doesn't have a frame so you can't body lift..
You beat me to that one, thanks.

JeddaDeezl: This is looking like a nice project, looking forward to seeing it come together. Can you elaborate on why you felt it was mandatory to dump the AW4 and go stick? I understand personal preference, but the way you worded it above made it sound like you think you discovered some sort of insurmountable technical challenge (and I seriously doubt the TCU is that complex a unit to deal with). Certainly it's not a question of the AW4 not handling the power, not when a 4.0 converted into a 4.7L stroker pushing 38-inch tires doesn't even make it blink.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 08:03   #12
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You beat me to that one, thanks.
JeddaDeezl: This is looking like a nice project, looking forward to seeing it come together. Can you elaborate on why you felt it was mandatory to dump the AW4 and go stick? I understand personal preference, but the way you worded it above made it sound like you think you discovered some sort of insurmountable technical challenge (and I seriously doubt the TCU is that complex a unit to deal with). Certainly it's not a question of the AW4 not handling the power, not when a 4.0 converted into a 4.7L stroker pushing 38-inch tires doesn't even make it blink.
Hey Rob, I'm pretty sure we wheeled together at Paragon in a previous life LOL. It was so long ago at least it feels that way! I am very preferential to stick for simplicity, driving feel, and enjoyment. I am sure you could use the AW4, there's no physical reason it wouldn't bolt up with this adapter. I don't know of anyone who has done this TDI swap with one, and I have not looked at stand alone controllers for them at all. If one was set on doing it, the resources and information likely exist, but as you said it would require messing with the TCU and as I said I have not seen any TDI swap where someone has done it. EDIT: I updated the first post to relate to what I said here. If anyone knows of a TDI swap using the AW4 please speak up!

Last edited by JeddaDeezl; January 7th, 2019 at 08:54.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 08:12   #13
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EVGuy (Randy/TD Conersions) has a BEW in his XJ, mine is an ALH so there are some major differences namely the PD motor doesn't have the injection pump and power steering pump hanging way off the driver's side of the block. He did use the VNT-17 turbo, I am using the stock VNT-15. My engine is clocked vertical, as is Randy's. According to him most ALH guys clock it 10 degrees tilted the "normal" way. He did need to cut down his manifold for clearance with that engine, as you will see I have the clearance with mine using the stock ALH manifold. And yeah the XJ is unibody but for me a body lift is not a way to gain clearance for something like this...body lifts and suspension lift blocks kinda fall in the same category of "redneck engineering" in my book haha.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 08:54   #14
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Engine mounts tacked together, I have the engine clocked vertical. I have the engine back out right now to finish welding and modifying mounts, I will post lots of pictures of it once it is back in. I will also begin routing hoses and fuel lines. And most exciting - my TDI harness is on it's way back from Fast Forward Automotive!

Here’s the passenger side



Driver side



Hood to intake clearance



Race pipe clearance



Testing clearance. Stock track bar, stock aluminum oil pan. I have a steel pan I want to modify to make a deeper rear sump, but it is actually taller than the aluminum one by 1/2” or so. I am strongly considering a trackbar/steering brace setup from Ironman 4x4 https://www.ironman4x4fab.com/produc...system-package.



This is showing full passenger side compression with no bump stops installed.



Clutch is installed and everything bolted together. Hopefully next time it goes in for good!

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Old January 7th, 2019, 13:51   #15
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Hey Rob, I'm pretty sure we wheeled together at Paragon in a previous life LOL. It was so long ago at least it feels that way!
Wow, Paragon? It has been a while then. I've still got the '92 I had then, if you remember it (though it's grown a little since then, sitting at about 4.5" and 31s these days).

I've been mainly going to Rausch Creek since Paragon closed down in '07, but got to try AOAA last February and liked it (need to go back there again and see some more of the place).

As to the AW4, I wonder if the challenge is in the fact that most of the swaps seem to be the 97+ body style, and in most of those, the TCU is integrated into the ECU (I think that happened in 98 or 99, but I'm not 100% sure). Earlier models like my '92 have a standalone TCU box that might be a solution for the swap crowd.

Anyway, will be watching this thread to see it progress.
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