TDI Town & Country

Frankendiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Location
Cedar Rapids, IA
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI
Thanks for the feedback guys. I really am pleased with how it looks. The bare VW shifter just looked so ratty for way too long. And now here's some detailed photos.

The factory shifter bracket has studs welded to the bottom, with one exception - one corner has a hole for a bolt to drop down through. I presume this is because the power steering line downstairs. So without a drilling template, I had to do a lot of measuring to make sure it fit precisely between the chairs, and stayed away from the frame rails.



Here's how I linked one of the cables. The Chrysler cable was adjustable with this plastic ear sliding along a slot in the cable end piece. So I removed it and put the VW ear in the hole.



However, this proved to be unstable - the VW ear did not stay parallel with the Chrysler piece. To stabilize it, I found an angle bracket, pounded it flat, and safety-wired it together. You'll also notice I flattened out the crook in the shifter arm to buy me some more travel. The shift pattern of the Chrysler gearbox has reverse below 5th, so I needed to add some travel via this and one other mod (not documented).



Here is how I linked the other cables together. Since this connection point ended up too short, I had to weld in a small piece of channel to connect the two. And since we were dealing with rubber and plastic nearby, I used a wet rag to sink the heat and did small welds with long time in between. Yes, I know, the welding is ratty. I didn't take time to grind them down because they won't ever been seen again. ;)



I hacked off the front of the VW gearshift box and bolted it to the floor. I also had to hack off the Chrysler bracket where it once held the factory cables.



Here is a sky view of the bracket. The handbrake is disconnected at this point. I may order a cable to activate it later on but that is another UK-only piece.



As mentioned, the shift pattern for the Chrysler knob is different than the VW tranny. I'd like to adapt a VW knob someday so as to avoid confusion. That does also mean I don't have the reverse lock-out gate. So it's a tad clumsy finding 1st without the gate. I'm thinking of adding an additional spring to substitute for the reverse gate.

Now as for the fuel path, I discovered that I was massively over pressurizing the factory Chrysler fuel pump (drawing too much current doing so as well.) That's because I was trying to push fuel through the TDI IP and return path. Can't do that. So I put in a dedicated fuel loop for just the electric pump that comes out of the pump, goes under the hood, then returns back to the pump. The in-tank pump has a built-in fuel pressure regulator on the return path to keep this at a static level (don't know what the pressure is). I then put a humble "t" on this fuel loop under the hood with one port going to the inlet of the fuel filter. This provides sufficient enough pressure to bleed the air out of the IP lines, and still maintains a happy pressure on the fuel pump. Then for the fuel return from the diesel system, I used the vapor recover ports on the fuel tank. So in essence, I've got two fuel loops. One for the electric pump, and the other for the injection system. Should work fine, right? Oh, and word to the wise, O'reilly Auto carries Gates hoses rated for bio-fuels. Win.

I'll share later on how I was able to source the UK-only (made in the USA) console pieces.

Later,

Frankendiesel
 

Frankendiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Location
Cedar Rapids, IA
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI
New Gage Pod Installed

Hi all,

Long time no see. Another biannual update from the Frankenvan here. After experiencing yet more fuel delivery issues, I decided it was high time to get a fuel pressure gage installed. So what better time to get a boost pressure gage as well. I have also been getting an intermittent oil pressure light, so I put on an oil pressure gage in too. Here is the result:



Pretty goofy looking in a minivan, I know. But hey, I need the data and the A-pillar pod worked great. They are Glow Shift gages from their 8-color series. The color change isn't what attracted me to the gages - I mainly chose them because of their price and that I could get the fuel and oil pressure with a remote sensor. But it is neat to change the color from day-time to night-time. :D

If anyone else happens to have an oil pressure gage, could you let me know what readings you're getting? On a cold engine, at idle, I get 80psi which is wonderful. On a hot engine, I can get as low as 15psi which seems kind of low. I'm using 15W40 Rotella oil on a fresh Mobile 1 filter.

Fuel pressure runs really kind of high (70psi) so I've ordered a DC motor controller off eBay. The fuel pressure sensor is right on the intake of the fuel filter, so I really want to dial it down to something more reasonable like 10psi or so, which should also help extend the life of the pump. I had trouble last fall with what I believe was a bad tank of fuel - I plugged TWO pump strainers a month apart. I finally pumped the tank dry and took it to a carwash and sprayed the thunder out of it. Seems to have done the trick. No more plugged intake strainers.

I've been trolling the other posts lately - sure seems like more TDI conversions on here. Keep up the good work fellow oil burners!
 

Frankendiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Location
Cedar Rapids, IA
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI
Thanks for the comparison data and the thread link. I'm getting better than 30psi at 2kRPM.

I have an AHU, so the oil pump is a bit different. If I'm getting adequate pressure, I'll leave it for now.

Thanks!
 

deejaaa

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Location
Baytown, Texas
TDI
FOR SALE, 2002 Jetta GLS, 5 speed
just finished reading your thread. congratulations on the project. what was the final mpg figure? able to get it back to the upper 30's?
 

turbovan+tdi

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Location
Abbotsford, BC.
TDI
2003 TDI 2.0L ALH, auto, silver wagon, lowered, Colt stage 2 cam, ported head,205 injectors, 1756 turbo, Malone 2.0, 3" exhaust, 18" BBS RC GLI rims. 2004 blue GSW TDI, 5 speed, lowered, GLI BBS wheels painted black, Malone stage 2, Aerotur
Awesome, been thinking about a TDI Minivan one day, lol.

What MPG are you getting? I saw an earlier post that you saw 20 mpg, which isn't really worth the swap.
 

reddtekk

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Location
Waterbury, CT
TDI
1996 Passat TDI
Very nice build, and thank you for sharing so much detail! It's one thing to just build something, and another to take the time to share the details with others who may want to go down the same path.
 

Frankendiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Location
Cedar Rapids, IA
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI
Well, it's been a minute, and it looks like I missed a few comments - so to start with, the van has been driven probably somewhere around 30k miles or so, mostly in town. Two successful trips south (800 miles one way) so I call that a victory. Average fuel economy floats right around 37 to 40mpg.

The past several years have seen mostly reliable service. Then last month, the clutch master broke. I have a new one on the bench ready to install. The clutch 'piston' snapped. Not too surprising I suppose since it was from a 30+ year old Bimmer. And fuel issues have continued to haunt me. Had a clogged return line again a few months ago. Prior to that, it went several years between any major failures. Last summer I put in 0.205 nozzles. Like wow what a hoot! Then a few months ago I put on smaller diameter tires on the front. I can light em up (well...one of them anyway) w/the traction control turned off. :D MPG did not seem to suffer at all either. This van is a whole different level of fun now!

Had the A/C lines hooked up a few years ago and haven't spent the time getting the wiring all sorted. I believe the Chrysler body control computer won't engage the A/C clutch because it thinks the motor isn't running. May just install a toggle switch to the pump and see how it goes.

So, after 9 years of ownership, I'm going to close the book on this one. I'm investing my time elsewhere lately and need to move on. Time to list it for sale. I'll post the question in another thread as well but - anyone else here sold their conversion? If so, how much did you get for it? I'm really at a loss for how to price the van. Any input is welcome.

Thanks!
 

Andyinchville1

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Location
Virginia
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
Well, it's been a minute, and it looks like I missed a few comments - so to start with, the van has been driven probably somewhere around 30k miles or so, mostly in town. Two successful trips south (800 miles one way) so I call that a victory. Average fuel economy floats right around 37 to 40mpg.

The past several years have seen mostly reliable service. Then last month, the clutch master broke. I have a new one on the bench ready to install. The clutch 'piston' snapped. Not too surprising I suppose since it was from a 30+ year old Bimmer. And fuel issues have continued to haunt me. Had a clogged return line again a few months ago. Prior to that, it went several years between any major failures. Last summer I put in 0.205 nozzles. Like wow what a hoot! Then a few months ago I put on smaller diameter tires on the front. I can light em up (well...one of them anyway) w/the traction control turned off. :D MPG did not seem to suffer at all either. This van is a whole different level of fun now!

Had the A/C lines hooked up a few years ago and haven't spent the time getting the wiring all sorted. I believe the Chrysler body control computer won't engage the A/C clutch because it thinks the motor isn't running. May just install a toggle switch to the pump and see how it goes.

So, after 9 years of ownership, I'm going to close the book on this one. I'm investing my time elsewhere lately and need to move on. Time to list it for sale. I'll post the question in another thread as well but - anyone else here sold their conversion? If so, how much did you get for it? I'm really at a loss for how to price the van. Any input is welcome.

Thanks!
If / when you decide to sell, I'm definitely interested.

Thanks

Andrew
 

Frankendiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Location
Cedar Rapids, IA
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI
Got the AC working today. :cool: Could not get the Chrysler HVAC controller to engage the AC clutch. I suspect it's because the system thinks the engine isn't running (lack of tach signal). So I installed a manual switch on the dash. The switch feeds a signal to the VW fan controller which then relays +12V over to the AC clutch and also turns the fan on (low speed).

I had all the plumbing done a couple years ago at an AC shop in town. I had put a can or two in at that time and then got sidetracked (for a few years :( ). The system still had 25 PSI in it today when I hooked up my gagues - good news - no leaks! So I pumped in 4 cans (the van has rear air) and it started to cool the cab just fine. It was 81*F (and high humidity) today when I was running it. Air coming out right around 45*F. Check it:

The only down side to the manual switch on the dash is that it won't cycle when the evaporator gets too cold and won't turn off when/if the system pressure is too low. Chrysler didn't use a pressure switch - they used a pressure transducer, so I can't just hook the clutch wire through a switch. I may still try to get the tach signal hooked up yet and see if the HVAC controller will wake up the AC pump.
 

ToddA1

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 3, 2011
Location
NJ 08002
TDI
'96 B4V, '97 B4, '97 Jetta
Couldn't you wire in a low temp cut off thermostat? Probe would be installed in the evaporator coil fins. Usually wired between the switch and the clutch coil.

I was going to do this when I was experimenting with propane, but never did. I'm told you can buy them adjustable.

-Todd
 

Frankendiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Location
Cedar Rapids, IA
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI
I did consider a low-temp cut-out. That wouldn't solve the problem of needing a low-pressure cut-out, which I think is more critical. Which is why I'm veering more towards a tach interface to see if I can get the Chrysler HVAC to take control properly. Good suggestion though!
 

Motohead1

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2016
Location
charlotte
TDI
2002 bug+telephone pole
I did consider a low-temp cut-out. That wouldn't solve the problem of needing a low-pressure cut-out, which I think is more critical. Which is why I'm veering more towards a tach interface to see if I can get the Chrysler HVAC to take control properly. Good suggestion though!
Use a Dakota digital box fed from pin 27/121. Used it for my dakota swap and it works great its only off by 50rpm.
 

Frankendiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Location
Cedar Rapids, IA
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI
Yep - the Dakota Digital is the box I was looking at. Sounds like it's just what I need. So unless someone buys Frankenvan real soon <ahem> I may just get to that. It's THE last sub-system to bring online (tachometer) and that would just button this project up nicely. Motohead1 - where did you feed the tach signal back into the Dakota ECU - Crank sensor? Cam Sensor?

Hey, in case anyone was interested, I uploaded a YouTube vid today. Check it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFFgnVa9en4
 
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Motohead1

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2016
Location
charlotte
TDI
2002 bug+telephone pole
Yep - the Dakota Digital is the box I was looking at. Sounds like it's just what I need. So unless someone buys Frankenvan real soon <ahem> I may just get to that. It's THE last sub-system to bring online (tachometer) and that would just button this project up nicely. Motohead1 - where did you feed the tach signal back into the Dakota ECU - Crank sensor? Cam Sensor?

Hey, in case anyone was interested, I uploaded a YouTube vid today. Check it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFFgnVa9en4

post 109 here http://forums.tdiclub.com/showpost.php?p=5249177&postcount=109
 

genscripter

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Location
Los Angeles
TDI
98 Jetta
I'd like to make an update on Frankenvan. My friend took over ownership of the minivan and we've been continuing Frankendiesel's project.

It's been a fun project to drive cross-country and work on. We've already taken it on a few roadtrips from Wisconsin to Los Angeles, and we drove it up into Canada to the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island (Port Hardy).

It's much nicer taking this diesel-sipping minivan than our usual full size Ford van. It's really cool Frankendiesel took the time to make this conversion because it's really efficient.

Here's a video of the latest project, where we made an alternative motor mount to adapt the VW mount design to the Chrysler. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGKjx4yV6dU It cut down on the shimmy.

We'll post more stuff as we work on it.
 
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