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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 August 1st, 2020, 18:42   #1
Andyinchville1
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Virginia
Default //// ALH TDI into 2005 Dodge Gran Caravan ////

Hi All,

My Caravan's 3.8 V-6 is starting to burn a little oil so I figure it may be time to start looking for a solution .... It's not burning or leaking alot and the rest of the van is in great mechanical shape despite 336K mostly highway miles (well mostly highway since I got it about 150K ago).

I know other caravans have been done but I think they were earlier models and or they used the 5 speed from the Jetta.

My preference is to actually use the existing automatic in the Caravan because :

1) automatics are easier for other people to drive ... not everybody can drive a stick and I don't want them learning on my vehicle!

2) The gearing of the trans seems to be well suited for the TDI engine .... I will know more for sure after I install my Scan Guage II but looking at the tach and GPS speedo, it looks like the gearing is such that the TDI is spinning fewer RPM's at speed .... Almost like changing out the 5th gear on our 5 speeds for lower engine RPMs at speed (I'll try to see what engine speeds are in other gears but I have not done that yet).

3) I'm thinking making an adapter plate for the engine / tranny and output shaft converter is easier than trying to graft in the TDI / 5 Speed and worrying about welding up the CV Axles ...

Also since the van is heavier than the Jettas, the weak link would not be the smaller (presumably weaker) jetta tranny / shafts.

5) I'm thinking the Caravan tranny may be computer controlled (have not researched yet), but I'm thinking all I have to do is figure out what sensors are on the engine of the dodge and rig them up onto the TDI engine (hopefully there is a mechanical / optical sensor of sorts to read engine RPM etc).

6) The V6 engine has a manual throttle cable so it would be easy to use the TDI throttle to control the TDI engine.

7) I'll use the engine accessories off the minivan (AC compressor , Alternator, PS Pump etc ) since they are already sized to handle the larger volume of the interior (well at least from the AC standpoint).

8) I'm thinking custom pipes to keep the stock caravan radiator.

9) I'm assuming I need to find weaker front springs since the TDI may weigh less than the 3.8 V6 but I'll have to research that ( on the flip side people often install VR6 springs into jettas so maybe keeping the factory stock springs will be OK?

10) custom motor mounts would be needed

11) I'm thinking I need to keep the guage cluster from the TDI and use that instead of the caravan's guages?

12) I think a return fuel line would nave to be plumbed in to the fuel tank ... BUT the electric fuel pump should be a plus feature to ensure fuel to the injection pump (no more air bubbles in the fuel line!) and easy to prime in case fuel runs out

What do you think? Anything else to think about?

I'm wondering how the preformance / MPG s would be ?

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks

Andrew
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2003 Jetta tdi wagon , 5 sp, 316k miles, 11 mm pump, DLC 520, Malone stage 1, P205 70 R 15 Ecopias on Avus rims, hammer mod
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Old August 1st, 2020, 21:00   #2
Mozambiquer
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Default

I think that sounds like a good swap.
We used to have a first gen caravan with a Mazda RF Diesel engine from a Ford escort. It was turboed, but not tons of power and it did pretty good so I think an alh would do a lot better.
Hope you have fun!

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