Information on the Axis PowerTM Turbo Diesel swap
Why a diesel for a Samurai?
Overall, the venerable Suzuki Samurai is a well designed, well built, "serious" 4x4. The engine has several drawbacks, though. The mighty diesel engine has long been a workhorse in the power industry used when the heavy work is done. You'll find it in everything including agricultural tractors and "semi" tractors. A conversion to a diesel engine will provide:
Better torque. The stock Suzuki engine produces approximately 55 ft. lbs. of torque, the VW 1.6 turbo diesel produces over 90ft. lbs. This means almost twice the hill climbing capability compared to your current Samurai. The 1.9 TD produces over 140 ft. lbs of torque. You just put it in low range and idle over everything without touching the throttle
Better Fuel Economy. The stock Suzuki will get hiway mileage in the mid 20's MPG. A diesel powered Suzuki will get in the high 30's MPG. Even better improvements in fuel economy are found when 4 wheeling. This means more miles between fill-ups. This may not be too big of a concern in city type driving, but when you are out in the "bush" a long ways from a filling station, this can be real important. No more hauling fuel cans on 4 wheel outings.
Long Life. The stock Suzuki engine is not known as a "long life" engine. Although with proper care, they can last a reasonable amount of time. Diesels, in general, are designed to last for several hundred thousand miles. It is not unusual to hear of diesels with 400,000 miles or 500,000 miles before requiring rebuild.
Why a VW diesel?
The VW diesel has several advantages over other diesels.
Availability. VW diesels are one of the most popular diesels made for automotive purposes. The VW diesel (originally introduced as a 1.5L, normally aspirated version - we prefer the newer 1.6L Turbocharged version) was introduced in the late '70s and is, in larger displacement and updated form, still available. They are readily available in junk yards or from "donor" vehicles. More recently 1.9 TDs have been released in Canada and are available through our network of suppliers. Here are some sources for VW Turbo Diesel engines.
Cost. The availability of the VW diesel means that a significant quantity of "donor" engines is available at a reasonable cost. Prices range from $200 - 300 at a "you-pull-it" junk yard, $500 - 800 at a "full service" junk yard or $2,000 to $3,000 for new or refurbished engines. Rebuilding a diesel can be done cost effectively, as parts are readily available. In some instances a rebuilt diesel may be no more costly than a rebuilt Suzuki engine.
German Engineering. Achtung! Need we say more? By the way, Volvo (a company known for reliability) uses VW diesels in some of their automobiles. Plus.... FarfenZUKen!!!
Spares Availability. Since the VW is a reasonably popular diesel, spares are readily available, should you ever need them.
Support. There is a lot of information available on VWs and their engines. Many service manuals (including the "Idiot's Guide" - one of our favorite) are available, many repair shops and garages have experience with the VWs, and there are subscription news groups, bulletin boards and websites on the Internet.
It Fits! The VW diesel is approximately the right size, weight, power and RPM range. It is really a sweet installation!
Lift Kit. Due to the size and orientation of the VW diesel, You will need to provide a minimum of 3" lift on your vehicle. This is measured from the front axle to the frame. Various suppliers can provide these kits, or you can do your own. Typically this will be a "Spring-Over-Axle" lift or lifted springs all available through Rocky Road Outfitters.
What is Involved in the Conversion?
Donor Parts Required
VW watercooled engines came in either a "North-South" installation (crankshaft in line with length of the vehicle, as in the Quantum or Audi Fox) or an "East-West" installation (typically called "transverse" mounted where the crankshaft is perpendicular to the length of the vehicle, as in the Jetta and Rabbit). Some donor parts MUST be from a "North-South" installation, others MUST be from an "East-West", but for many parts it doesn't matter.
Specific Donor parts:
Diesel Engine. The preferred engine is a 1.6L Turbo diesel, manufactured from approx. 1983 to 1989. A VW 1.6L gasoline (watercooled) engine from Volkswagen will also fit - if you are looking for horses, not torque. Many other engines will fit as well, though some minor modifications may be required to complete your installation. If you choose a Turbo engine for your installation, the turbo assy. must be the type where the turbo mounts on top of the exhaust manifold (East-West installation), not below it (North-South installation). Other vintages will work, too, as well as the newer model 1.9L diesels, but some modifications may be required.
Oil Filter Adapter. The Oil Filter adapter must be from a "North-South" installation donor. It allows the oil filter (and oil cooler, if applicable) to mount at a slight angle, thus avoiding interference with the left side motor mount. If you choose a Turbo engine, this adapter must have a turbo oil pressure line fitting. If you cannot find one with that fitting, KELTEC can modify your adapter for a very small fee. KELTEC has a good supply of these adapters at a reasonable price, but, hey, save a couple bucks when you are at the junk yard, if you want. The VW P/Ns are 086-115-417T or 049-115-417T depending on what vehicle it was removed from. The P/N is cast in the top of the adapter. Either German or Brazil manufacture is OK.
Flywheel. The flywheel is a special part in this conversion. The flywheel must be from a "North-South" installation donor. The VW flywheel must be modified. You can send it, along with your Suzuki ring gear, to KELTEC Systems for modification. We modify the VW flywheel and install your Suzuki ring gear on it, so it will fit into the transmission (bell housing). It must then be dynamically balanced. We can also provide the drawings to you if you prefer to do this modification yourself. Check our price list for this service. Unless you have your own machine shop and have extensive shipping (and / or duties), our price will be very competitive. The price of flywheel modification is not included in the kit.
Pressure Plate. We typically recommend getting a new pressure plate, but if you want to get a used one, get the one that goes with the above flywheel. This pressure plate and flywheel assembly allows you to use either the standard Suzuki friction disk or a slightly larger one (not VW).
Starter. You will need a Starter motor from a '90-'93 Geo Storm. We recommend buying a new one, but if budget is a problem, you can pick one up while scrounging parts at the local junk yard.
Fuel Filter Adapter. Any VW diesel fuel filter will probably work. We have only ever seen one style. The VW P/N is 086-127-401. This is a BOSCH part and the VW P/N is cast in the top in small characters. You will need the "banjo" hose fittings but not the rubber hoses that connect to them.
Pulley. Most of the VW waterpump pulleys we've seen on VWs will not be used. Try to find a VW Power Steering pulley of an 89-92 Jetta or Audi. Look for P/N 027-145-255. We have had trouble finding this in junk yards, but if you run across one, pick it up. KELTEC can supply a new (orig VW) one for ~$16 or we offer a billet Aluminum one (Fancy!) for ~$50.
You do NOT need: The donor engine does not need to have the Alternator, the A/C pump, any other belt driven accouterments, or a Starter motor. The kit allows you to use your Suzuki Alternator and A/C Pump.
KELTEC can supply SOME these items at a very competitive price, if you cannot find them in your area, contact us.
Click here for a detailed list of all parts including VW part numbers.
The Kit includes:
All kits include:
Engine to Transmission adapter kit
Starter Motor adapter kit
Motor Mount Assemblies (R&L)
Alternator Mount Assy.
A/C Mount Assy. Specify if you have AC, no AC or a powersteering conversion.
Throttle cable adapter
The Turbo Diesel kits (AP01-01) includes:
Diesel Wiring Harness (Specify if you have tach or not)
Fuel Filter Adapter
Turbo Intake Adapter Kit
The Normally Aspirated Diesel kits (AP02-01) includes:
Diesel Wiring Harness (Specify if you have a tach or not)
Fuel Filter Adapter
(no exhaust header, no turbo intake)
The Gas kit (AP03-01) includes:
Basic Wiring Harness
Note on Motor Mounts:
We currently offer only "low" engine mounts. These allow the VW engine to ride low in the vehicle so that no hood modifications are required, but a lift kit (2" minimum) is required. We were considering producing high motor mounts that allow the engine to sit higher in the vehicle, so no lift kit is required, but a hood modification will be required. An add on hood scoop is expected to suffice.We have not found enough interest in the high mounts at this time. Please contact us if you are interested in the high mounts.
Diesel conversions may need a Tach Converter to allow the alternator to feed your Suzuki Tach. As you already know a diesel has no sparkplugs, thus no feed to the tach. Many diesel rigs use a "center tap" on the alternator that creates a pulse. These pulses are then processed into usable tach signals. You can buy an after market tach or you can buy a Diesel Tach Converter from KELTEC. Due out Spring '99
We were originally going to offer the kit in several levels. Since then our customers and dealers have helped us define the standard kits. See the Price List for details. We still offer all parts on an A-la-carte basis for spares and for custom installations.
Kit P/N Engine Mount style Price
AP01-01 VW TD low engine mounts current $795
AP02-01 Diesel low engine mounts current $745
AP03-01 Gas low engine mounts current $725
The Good News:
We aren't out to get rich on this kit. We run KELTEC as a small but serious business. We have no aspirations of becoming General Motors. We are more interested in providing a quality product and the best support in the industry. All kits and parts will be priced based on our cost with lower than average markup for inventory management and other aspects of this type of business.
The Bad News:
There are a limited number of Suzuki Samurais in the world. There are even fewer of their owners who will have an interest in (and be skilled enough to install) our kit. Low volume equates to higher prices than would be available if we had lots of volume.
So, buy lots of the kits and they will be less expensive! :^)
KELTEC Systems, Inc. will directly support the Axis Power kit. If you have any questions during or after installation, please contact us. Technical support is offered, free of charge via: