TDI engine/trans swap into mk1 81 caddy questions


New member
Jun 28, 2018
I'm gearing up to put a tdi engine into my diesel rabbit pickup 81. I'm new to a lot of this and have some questions:

Does anyone have recommendations of resources/things to read that are in fairly plain language that will be helpful? We are backyard.

Which engine would be most ideal for the most simple swap?

I've been looking at a 96 passat as a donor car, it is 1.9L IZ I believe. Also looking at a 98 jetta.

Also, someone recently told me that if I use the passat, i'll run into some kind of issue that I don't understand involving the injector pump cable. I'm planning to use the pump out of the donor car, not the one in the caddy.

Real dumbed-down language, resources and any advice much appreciated!


brady rogers

Veteran Member
Jan 22, 2013
03 jetta 5sp TDI, 2010 bmw x5d, 81 1z MTDi Caddy, 97 jetta tdi
I just finished doing my 81 rabbit pickup. I wanted (just like you) for it to be simple and cheap. I also used a 96 passat donor car. The wiring harness was trashed in the passat that I pulled the stuff from so I went the mechanical route with a land rover 300tdi pump from the uk. Just get all your swap parts like mounts and linkages from s&p they are great to do business w/. Heres my build thread:
Oh by the way dont even think about keeping the stock 5th gear if your going on the hiway!

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Aug 7, 2002
97 Mk3
Just build yourself a harness that has only what you need for the ECU to handle engine management, that's kind of the beauty of the early Mk3/B4 cars, the ECU doesn't deal with anything other than engine management, at least in the US.

You will have to deal with integration issues at the speedo cluster and custom work with pedal cluster but I think the electronic control reliability is worth it.

There are several threads that deal with how to integrate in a non-VW CE2 electric situation.

Besides the tdi you will also want the CTN trans that it was mated to...