Anyone ever ALH swap a Honda Element?

ts888

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2023
Location
PNW US
TDI
03 ALH
I have been gifted a 2003 Element. It's AWD, manual. Mechanically it's OK, 190k miles, no major faults outstanding, clutch feels OK. The K24 runs fine, but it's not a diesel...
The engine compartment is pretty big, and the setup -- engine mounted transverse, transmission on the left side -- is the same as a VW. The K24 makes 70 more HP, but only a tiny bit more torque -- 218 nm vs 210 nm for a stock US-spec ALH. Seems like a mildly breathed on ALH would be capable of moving 3500 lbs. What does a TDI wagon weigh, 3200-ish?
 

CanadianALH

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Location
Canada
TDI
2002 Jetta 5spd 2006 Jetta DSG (wifes)
I hear k24 and I think eBay turbo…. Talk about a sleeper. I bet someone has already turboed one of those.
 

PickleRick

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Location
Greenville sc
TDI
05 GLS BHW sedan 5 speed conversion. BHW Carver SantaCruz in progress
I've not seen any Honda diesel engine conversions. Mostly due to the mpg increase you get with a TDI swap isn't much better than the gas motor you're removing. Honda engines are also pretty solid in the reliability department.

The Honda 4 cylinder engines are geared to rev way higher than the diesels, you'll have to figure out how to regear.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Man, an AWD + manual Element is a pretty rare bird. You could sell that as is to someone who appreciates it just as it is. They have a cult following. My Dad bought a 2003 when they first came out, it's AWD but they decided to get the automatic. Aside from the typical Honda stuff like A/C compressor and starter, it has been pretty good. Just after 200k, last year, had to do ball joints, sway bar links, and control arm compliance bushings, and changed the prop shaft as they too don't last indefinitely. It's also needed both rear calipers replaced.

10k mile service interval, uses about a quart or so between. Doesn't leak any (and that kind of surprises me, as usually the VTEC solenoid starts to leak but this one has remained dry). We change the ATF every 30k, and just did the inline filter. They are a really great, albeit ugly, utilitarian vehicle that's great for pets and camping and such. I'd leave it alone. That era engine is better than the later ones, and the Element didn't live long enough to get cursed with a CVT, and yours is a stick to boot!
 

ts888

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2023
Location
PNW US
TDI
03 ALH
Yeah, I was thinking last night more about gear ratios, etc. Probably not worth the effort, even with a free car. We did VTEC solenoid for the customer a year or so back. The engine is quiet, so unlikely the timing chain/guides/tensioner need any immediate attention. I think I'll drive if for a while, see how I like it compared to the dieselwagen. The space inside is hard to beat for the size of the package. I'm sure if I want to sell it one of the local board sailing/snowboarding/mountain biking addicts will snap it up.
 
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