VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

1950 - 1968, M38, M38A1, M170, modifications, sugestions, and ideas, official MWO's and unofficial field mods.

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VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Postby M38-CDN » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:49 am

Long story short I have a few of these motors available and would like to swap one in to work with the T90 and M38 running gear. We had a few guys local to us that did the swap and made an adapter plate themselves. Does anyone happen to know of any companies or individuals that might have a 'kit' for this?
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Postby sweetjeep » Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:11 pm

M38- I have seen that rig! I have been DIEING to talk to them as I am going to be starting the same project with the turbo model this winter. I have searched and a lot of companies are perfectly willing to MAKE an adapter, but no one currently makes one.

Do you know if they ever drew up any specs on the adapter or is it good old fashined "redneck engineering"? :)
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Postby M38-CDN » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:32 pm

Nope, no luck there. if only someone had traced it and remembered the thickness. I've gone so far as to ask the chap with the swap to trace it if he ever disassembles everything :D
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Postby Cuz » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:01 pm

Have you researched the engineering used in the many overseas diesel installations? IE Mahindra and so on.
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Postby M38-CDN » Fri Oct 31, 2008 5:02 am

I looked into the Isuzu swap but finding that engine from a delivery would be cost prohibitive up here. All said and done it will probably be a lot cheaper to rebuild my seized MC engine instead of going diesel, the math isn't adding up
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Postby sweetjeep » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:26 pm

It's not about the cost.. it's about the unreal cool factor!

I'd guess it's probably 3/8ths alum. That would likely be more than strong enough. My questions are more along the line of the flywheel and clutch mating.
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M38 engine swap

Postby Rich Saylor » Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:55 pm

Engine swaps can be a lot of fun, but the real question is- what so you want to wind up with- an M38 or a "bitsa"? Just for fun if you can get it to work the VW engine would probably be as good as the Willys, if not better...but then there's the question of really getting it to work...and of course putting up with all the "why'ja do THAT?" type of comments.

If an accurately restored M38 at MV meets, etc. is your goal I'd ditch the VW idea, but if you don't intend to get into that sort of thing, then... remember tho that that puts you in the role of chief engineer, research & development department, works prototype department, and test driver. And of course, financial support department. And BTW...are you married??? :lol:
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Postby M38-CDN » Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:49 am

I have several 1.6's around was the only reason I was considering it. Darn good engines and great torque in a small package. I have however decided to rebuild the MC engine with my son, this M38 has been the best history lesson for him yet, thanks for the feedback much appreciated.
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1.6 VW conversion

Postby Rich Saylor » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:32 am

Sounds good. And for later...what about finding an unloved CJ and doing the VW thing on something like that? Or even an old Land Rover (I do a lot of them, with several engine swaps to my so-called "credit").

If you do decide to to a 4WD conversion, one of the main points is the matter of matching the motor, the gearbox, the transfer case, and the offser of the axle differentials. Another option, of course, might be to ignore the 4WD setup and go for either a FWD or RWD setup, thus vastly reducing complexity (and cost!), depending on your offroading needs.

Best of luck with the project (and your history lesson!)-
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Postby Cuz » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:22 am

Or do a little more nosing around for a Kaiser factory original CJ5 with the Perkins Diesel.
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VW engine

Postby Rich Saylor » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:31 am

Except that he has several 1.6 liter VW diesels lying around...nothing like a challenge!
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Postby Tanker Dawson » Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:13 pm

Or he could just pick up a IH Scout with the diesel and turbo.
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Postby M38-CDN » Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:24 pm

The guys up here mated the 1.6 directly to the T90 and Willys drivetrain. I love the idle load you can put on these motors, they just tinker along at like 300 RPM. The MC will be a ton o fun to build though :D
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Postby sweetjeep » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:17 pm

M38-CDN: They needed a plate to adapt the trans to the motor. I'd guess the odds that the bolt pattern being the same to be.. roughly.. negative 1.5 billion.

My personal reason is: "Because I can". This is a DREAM combination of parts! I don't know much about the 1.6s specifically, but the 1.9 turbos are 90hp with 120 ft-lbs. And with a couple factory parts (injector nozzles and a computer tune) it's easily 120hp and nearly 300 ft-lbs. All that and 50+ mpg in a portly VW body.

I thought like Rich said to just drop it in FWD style.. but where is the fun in that? I have also pondered the possibility of using the factory Jetta trans and stuffing it in sideways, running one axle to the front, one to the rear and having a goofy sort of AWD system. But I haven't investigated that yet. Probably not possible, but I don't know yet.

Cuz: Just a little north of me last year went one of those CJ5s with the diesel.. I almost bought it, but I figured I was just throwing away $900. I assumed I'd never be able to find parts for the motor and it'd be more of a pain than it was worth.
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Postby Cuz » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:47 pm

Rich missed the meaning of my post. I fully understood this thread from the beginning in that he had a large supply of 1.6's.

My post means that since he has decided to stay stock with the M38 but he likes diesel's in a jeep then why not get one that the factory actually installed a diesel in.
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