diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Problems, ideas and comments specific to engine swaps.
jon510
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Joined: 31 Jul 2012 16:01

diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby jon510 » 03 Apr 2014 21:33

Hi,

I've been perusing the boards looking for any info on diesel swaps into a 510. I realize that this is probably a sacrilegious thought to many but my priorities have changed a bit lately and I'm less interested in a fast car than I had been in the past. My 2dr turbo car is currently getting a body makeover, but I suspect that I won't be driving it much and may sell it over the next couple years.

So, I'm considering doing a 510 wagon diesel swap. I have been driving a hog of a Landcruiser BJ60 diesel converted to run on old veggie oil for the past few years and it's worked very well. But the truck is not fun to drive and is bigger than what I need. I have been looking around, it seems as though the LD20 turbo engine shouldn't be a super difficult swap but finding one may be hard. I found footage of a car with this swap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgDHy88831Y . However I've been unable to get in touch with anyone about the details of the swap. I would entertain another 4 cyl diesel engine if there is a good candidate, but the LD looks to be a potential bolt up block, I think it works with a z or other 5-speed, and while it doesn't have much power I suspect the torque will be enough for me, and I could always tweak the boost/etc.

Does anyone know any specifics at all about this or a diesel swap into a 510? Anyone know if there are any differences in the storage tanks/delivery systems for the diesel engines? Anyone know a good importer that I could source an engine through?

I'm totally open to suggestions if anyone has any other better diesel project suggestions, I think a turbo diesel will be ideal although I have found an SD22 and SD25 nearby, from my surfing these don't look super desirable. I was thinking this would be a difficult swap to get insured and running in Vancouver, but with Aircare on the way out in December I suspect it won't be an issue.

Thanks for any help!

Jon
1969 2dr 510 2Z20t
1983 BJ60 WVO
2011 VW golf TDI wagon

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Byron510
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby Byron510 » 03 Apr 2014 23:17

Hi Jon,

Actually it has already been done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjH013ei_4Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgDHy88831Y

And this thread was short lived, but kicked around a few years ago now;

http://www.the510realm.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5971

Sacrilege... no - I don’t think so.
I personally couldn't care less what powers my car - as long as it's fun.

I dropped in on the guy in Calgary a few months ago selling an electric converted 510 - a very cool project in concept. If I wasn't preparing to buy some property, that car would have come home with me.

And what better place than here to show it.

We need more out of the box thinking.

Byron
Love people and use things,
because the opposite never works.

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okayfine
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby okayfine » 04 Apr 2014 06:18

Another useful LD20T thread:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=25128&hilit=diesel

That fellow used the LD20T-II, which is the one to go for if you're going for it. No idea where you'd find one today. That's also your best bet for bolt-in-ability, though that's not necessarily guaranteed. Another member here was looking at swapping in a VW TDI, adapter plate, and RWD trans. Search for "diesel" here and you'll find his thread as well.

You're going to be making it up as you go along, there are few diesel 510s and none that have documented the process that I know of. If you pursue this, please be the first!
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson

jon510
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby jon510 » 04 Apr 2014 08:36

Looks like that car is the same one I found on youtube. It's a good looking swap, too bad I can't find out a bit more about the details. I suppose the hardest part may be sourcing a good engine.

The SDs would be easier to source, but I'm not sure I'd want to do an NA diesel swap, plus the L series is likely an easier install. I guess I'll keep hunting for an LD. Thanks for the feedback!

Jon

510tdi
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby 510tdi » 09 Apr 2014 08:32

Hey your speaking my language!
I've been slowly planning a wagon/diesel swap for a while now. Have you seen tedneugents post from May 2013? Look under Project Builds. This set-up in a wagon would great but like okayfine said, just finding one and sourcing parts might be a hassle plus I couldn't get 'ted' to respond to my inquiries. I think I'm back to my original VW tdi idea. I see you own tdi. My project engine is an earlier(2003) engine to be mated to a Toyota 5sp using an ACME adapter. I'm also planning to use an injector pump modified to be mechanical instead of electronic - goodbye VW electric gremlins. Let me know what you think. I'd like to stay in touch and I'm open to ideas.

jon510
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby jon510 » 09 Apr 2014 20:26

I have found an LD20T (II) in Malaysia on alibaba. Not sure about the condition so I'm going to assume it will need a rebuild but I've been told it's at +-60K miles and will be compression tested and have a video sent of it running. We'll see. I'd like to know a bit more about the swap itself before going ahead, but it looks like there's not a lot out there about it except for Ted's posts which are some help. I guess I will really need to have it in front of me to see what needs to be done. I'm a little worried about sourcing parts as well and will look into this before I order, but it isn't a totally uncommon engine overseas so I assume there's stuff out there. I will see if Nissan here will be able to support the engine at all too.

I'm pretty fixed on doing a nissan engine in the car, leaving me with few options, but I don't know much about the TDIs and am not the most mechanically savvy so I figure keeping things simple is easier. The fact that the LD should bolt up to a 5 speed we have here is attractive. Plus I think it's nice to keep it all under the datsun umbrella if possible.

Let me know if you're still interested in the LD, the source i found seems to have lots. FYI shipping and engine cost to Vancouver is about $1200 USD, not terrible I don't think. Especially if it actually runs. Might be cheaper to ship two.....

Anyone have a lead on a good wagon shell/body for sale? West coast the closer to Vancouver the better....

Jon

510tdi
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby 510tdi » 09 Apr 2014 23:15

You work fast! I hadn't had any luck finding ld20 turbos. $1200 delivered sounds great if it's solid. I wish I knew more about the performance and mileage potential. If we're only talking low 30s mpg and lack luster acceleration I think I'd rather pursue the ecotec route.Ted had good things to say ( better power than a strong modified L20) but of course he was trying to sell his car. (Sure wish the new owner would chime in with some first hand experience.)
A lot of tdi enthusiasts will vouch for the power, mileage, reliability, and parts availability for the the pre- 2006 VWs. A friend of mine claims 40+ mpg and 13 sec. 1/4 miles from his hot-rod diesel Golf and that's a front driver that weighs a good 1000-1200 lbs. more than a 510 wagon. I do, however, also have a strong affinity for the all Nissan route. I do need my car to be a usable driver so I don't want to end up with something that sits around waiting for parts from Thailand.
Bottom line, though, I would like to be in the loop on this ld20II thing and if we can help each other out it could be cool. I hope you don't mind me tagging along and letting you take the lead. I'm a farmer here in Oregon and we're entering the WAY busy planting season so my time's pretty limited right now.
As a side note, I did some research on gearing and had come up with the combination of a Toyota 5sp (.85 overdrive) and a Ford 8" rear end (2.7-3.0:1 ratio) that looked like it might work well with a diesel. The Datsun solid axles have a very limited selection of ratios with nothing lower( numerically) than 3.7:1 as I recall. I think it worked out to around 2000 rpm at 70 mph with (I think?) 195/60-14 tires.

Keep in touch,
Bryan

P.s. I do have a second wagon without an engine that I was keeping to do another diesel swap if the first one worked out but at the rate things are moving I'll be lucky to get the first done before I buy the farm (pun intended).

510tdi
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Location: Troutdale (near Portland) ,Oregon

Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby 510tdi » 12 Apr 2014 08:37

According to Wikipedia:
LD20T II - 78 hp/123 ft lbs

Someone on Infamous Nissan site claims they're not much for power but that's probably in a heavier truck. Haven't found any info on getting more out of them.

According to Quality German Auto Parts:
VW M-TDI - 90-150 hp/145-225 ft lbs. The M means mechanical pump instead of the original ecu etc.making for a "one wire"(simple) install.

jon510
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby jon510 » 12 Apr 2014 13:54

I have no doubt the TDI engine is more efficient and powerful. I just expect that the install is not at all straightforward. Has anyone done it before? Maybe it's worth a look given the support for the engines. Why have you chosen a toyota tranny?

Reading Ted's post I get the impression the LD wasn't a slug and had decent mileage on the highway. My bigger concern is keeping the RPM down on the highway, I haven't done anything to a wagon before but I gather gearing is harder to sort out than for a sedan for the rear-end. Might need a truck transmission for the LD. I assume the VW engine can handle a few more RPM.

Jon

510tdi
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Location: Troutdale (near Portland) ,Oregon

Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby 510tdi » 12 Apr 2014 16:48

The reason for the Toyota box is because ACME Adaptors makes their kits to put a VW diesel in Samurais mated to either the Suzuki trans or a Toyota trans.and there were a number of gearing options in the 22r equipped cars and trucks.
Regarding the rear end, I talked to a very experienced axle guy who has shortened a Ford 8" for a510 wagon before no problem. That gives you lots of options also.

jon510
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby jon510 » 12 Apr 2014 18:14

Gotcha, I had a look at the acme site. Maybe not a terrible option. I have no idea how complicated the wiring would be on the TDI setup, I will do some reading. Looks like I could probably get an engine for a similar price, just I'm sure the install will be a lot more complicated. Worth a thought....

Jon

510tdi
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Location: Troutdale (near Portland) ,Oregon

Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby 510tdi » 13 Apr 2014 00:03

Not dealing with matching old Japanese to modern German electronics would be one of the reasons for going the mechanical route and doing away with the cluster, ecu etc. You'd lose the ability to chip it and probably a slight amount of efficiency but you'd get a MUCH simpler install and fewer gremlins. The down side is the hybrid mechanical injection pump conversion is not cheap but if done by a guy in Canada named Giles it's apparently pretty bullet proof.

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okayfine
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby okayfine » 13 Apr 2014 09:37

You should also factor in the wealth of modern TDI knowledge floating about the web versus the dearth of L20DT knowledge.
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson

jon510
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Joined: 31 Jul 2012 16:01

Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby jon510 » 22 May 2014 21:24

Just a little update in case anyone is interested in this thread.

I picked up a pretty nice local wagon today from Maple Ridge. Has a bit of rot but not bad. Got it from a great guy, had to almost tear the keys from his hands. Dogleg 5-speed, swastika rims, snaking 2" exhaust that ends up on the wrong side of the car, weber carb, electronic ignition. Looks like I'll be ordering myself some rockers and fenders from futofab as these look to be the areas that need the most attention. Overall the rust situation isn't bad, still has the original paint on the floorboards, and as an added bonus the headliner and interior are in pretty good shape and the dash only has one tiny crack on it.

I have an LD20 turbo on order from Malaysia. Quite an interesting experience ordering this given the patchy communication and ESL issues, but it appears to be carted and ready for shipping next week. Hopefully they actually get it here, every time they send a document with a destination address on it I have to correct them since it say Sweden, Uganda, Kenya..... Here's hoping. Anyone every import an engine to Canada? I'm getting a bit worried about what will happen at the port/customs if it does actually arrive.

I think the VW swap was just too much for my ability. I will unfortunately have to deal with the lack of info out there on the LD and lack of parts supply, I'm thinking I should make best friends with a parts supplier in the UK since they seem to have made it there. Or maybe Aus....

Plan for now is to mate it to the dogleg 5 speed that came with the wagon and hold out for a tall 5th gear 280zx tranny if I can find one, my last lead turned out to be the early model with 0.864 5th.

If anyone near Vancouver has a set of 280zx struts they would part with (+- the later model 280zx NA 5 speed) I'm on the look out. On the other hand, I will be pulling the running L16, weber, and the electronic distributor/msd coil from the car that I will sell off. Let me know if you're interested but not in a huge hurry....

Thanks to everyone for their help with my recent posts.

Jon
69 2dr Z20et (nearing release from the body shop)
71 wagon with faint rust colorations, LD20T veggie-mobile to be

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Byron510
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Re: diesel swap, LD20 turbo - thoughts?

Postby Byron510 » 22 May 2014 23:08

Good to hear you found a car locally Jon.

How did you get the lead on the car?

What color is it, and of course we all want to see photos.

Importation of car parts isn’t an issue - I think your primary concern is it arriving. After that it’s just a little bit of paperwork because it's just parts - and then you are clear to go.
You’ll likely need a coolant system upgrade, maybe the bolt in Champion rads will work for you. At $250 they are a steal really.

I’m sure you’ll find a set of struts locally, they are still around once in a while.

I look forward to your build, and like many will follow with great interest.

Byron
Love people and use things,
because the opposite never works.


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