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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Post by Rich Saylor » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:15 pm

OK, got it. A very good point but I suppose the question is-pending/possible ownership of an existing factory-correct diesel M38 (I didn't even know such a vehicle existed!) or else the proud creator of something strange but original, using some stuff he already has? That's something only he can answer. No right or wrong answer, here.

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Post by Cuz » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:06 pm

Well now here we go with the last word contest again.

Yes there is a right answer to my post. I posted it.

If you must cloud threads with this last word effort try using just one word or maybe just one syllable! :roll:
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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by didget69 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:06 pm

In the interest of resurrecting this topic, FWIW...

There is a company that makes a kit to install a gas or diesel VW 4-cylinder motor into a Suzuki Samurai/Sidekick - http://www.rocky-road.com/diesel.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

With their parts, you mate a VW watercooled diesel or gas engine to a Suzuki transmission (5-speed), and the transfer case is divorced on the Suzuki Samurai - I can get you this far in thinking... :lol:


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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by JeepMKD » Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:08 am

If you decide to make a diesel swap just change the engine and leave the Willys drivetrain and transmission. I had the F-134 in my Mahindra, but due to the poor mpg my father swapped it with a 2.3 Diesel from Ford Siera. 12 years on, we just change filters and oil when needed. Plenty of torque and very economical. The down side is the top speed. With the 3spd T-90 the maximum that I can squeze is 60km/h. I would recommend swapping the GoDevil with another petrol engine, no more than 2.0 liter. You can probably find a 1.8 or 1.6 VW engine... All you need is revs, which much of the diesels miss.

On the other hand, If you have those engines laying around make a connector plate and do the conversion. That's how my diesel is mated with the original transmission. If you have things like fuel or oil filters in the way, you can just make brackets and mount them wherever you like. In my case the oil filter was in the way of the steering box so my dad mounted it on the fender insted of on the engine :lol: Also the starter was mounted on the other side... Things like that are easy to solve and should not scare you away.

There is a Willys MB in my town with a VW 1.9TDI engine. It is faster, queter and more economical than my Mahindra probably because of the weight. VW engines are durable and you can't go wrong with them. I'll just repeat that you will have trouble with top speed.

I've found a CJ 3A in a garage but the owner won't sell, yet. I'm not sure but it could be an M38. The chances are that the engine is dead, and if I get my hands on it, engine conversion is a must. This time a small petrol engine, probably VW or Opel. I still have the F-head in my yard with 12.000kms done, but I could hardly use it because I would like the CJ 3A to be my DD.

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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by bwood » Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:18 am

Having owned a 6.2 liter Blazer, I can honestly say that I would not
want a diesel jeep simply due to the diesel-stink factor.

Not that the swap wouldn't be cool.

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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by Jeep-Livin! » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:37 pm

We were the ones that had done the VW turbo Diesel conv .... One of our gang [Greg]had done a very nice conversion wih a 1.6 VW in a '67 M38A1 Cdn2 .... If you didnt know what you were looking at then you'd think it was factory......

Then we had gotten together as a group and converted a custom M606 clone build to a 1.9 VW TDI out of a 95[?] rabbit/golf? [I think that's what we bought and removed the engine here] ...... Lots of small odds'n'ends to making it happen but quite simple overall .... greg has a drawing of whatever is required and his business shows the conversions of the 1.6 and 1.9 builds at his website overlanddiesel.com ....

> turned the VW 90 degrees , willys flywheel easily machined to match VW crank , bellhousing adapted easily by Greg ,T90, 18 T-Case ... oil pan had another drain added due to the different tip angle ... oil filter remote adaptor fabbed to relocate the oil filter , a few other odds'n'ends...... greg could fill you in through contact at his home site.....

-as for highway drivability - add an overdrive and it's a different jeep regardless of the gas or diesel powerplants...

The VW idea has gone by the wayside [due to the extra work required and weak links of the VW powerplant ] in favor of a Kubota [very easily adapted] turbo diesel that can be seen on the same website .... Now installed into a CJ2a for demonstration purposes.... overlanddiesel may also be able to supply whatever is needed for that conv as well I'd think ..... Words dont express how sweet that Kubota conversion is.....

Check him out- he's the best there is and knows his stuff [and a great stand up nice guy to boot] Greg and Bill at overlanddiesel.com
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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by m606dsl » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:58 pm

hi,boy i'm really late for this discussion,back in the early 90's it was quite popular to use the jetta vw diesel in the suzuki (samurai) somersault.the vw diesel in the jetta sits normally and their are plenty of companies that build adapters for that engine to the suzuki, they are turbo as well. fairly easy swap. i used a cummins 4bt,3.9 litre back in 90,everybody said it could'nt be done,well all this time later and the 606 is just fine,330 ft lbs torque,125 hp,yea basically no stock running gear,but from twenty feet away if it's not running, other than the lift,tires,arctic top,you can't tell. looks navy mp, the 1.9 jetta are turning up at the pick-a-parts here in the states all the time from anyware of 75.00 on up. just depends how much work you want to do. the suzuki's were an easy swap. and you should get about 30+ mpg. i like the cummins because i run everything,motor oil,tranny fluid,virtually any used oil or diesel. it's not for everyone as some people just get p.o'ed at the sight of my m606, but hey it's mine. bye all.

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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by uglydukwling » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:07 am

I have three and a half m-38's. There should be enough to do one good restoration and build a driver out of the left-over parts. I've been thinking for years that I'd like the driver to be a diesel. Part of my problem is too many alternatives. I have several Mercedes om-636 diesels: car, truck, Unimog and reefer versions. I also have several Mazda 2.2's. Now that Greg is advertising his Kubota conversion as a kit, it's starting to look like a better alternative, even though I don't have any Kubota engines. I should go and have a talk with him about it.

But the one that should be easiest to do is the VW. I have the remains of a cj-2a that someone started to put a tdi into. The engine is bolted to the transmission and sitting in the frame.The body is rough enough that it's probably not worth finishing but it looks like it should be a simple matter to transfer it to one of my m-38's.

There should be people on this site who can tell me if it really is easy, or if there are all kinds of unforseen problems. Unfortunately, it's been my experience that when a project is abandoned, there's often a good reason.

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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by Baios » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:50 am

don't give up!!
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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by Maverick1701 » Wed Dec 25, 2019 6:16 am

this would be a GREAT swap.
I am considering a diesel swap in my M38A1

1997 4x4 Ford Expedition

2003 KLR650 Motorbike

1967 6x6 Kaiser Jeep M35A2 w/winch

1954 M38A1

M998 HMMWV (work toy)

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Re: VW 1.6 diesel into an M38

Post by mspeters » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:38 pm

I swapped a 1.9 TD (IDI, not the computerized TDI) into a M422A1 mighty mite trail rig and used a modern transmission, and an Novak adapter to a Spicer 18 transfer case.

It starts great in cold weather and has a good amount of torque. Moderate added noise is a decision factor.

It would be viable to use the Suzuki VW conversion kits from Acme Adapters as a base (uses Toyota or Suzuki Sidekick/Geo tracker bellhousings), then make an plate adapter for the stock 3 speed. English sports cars (Triumph GT6, MGA) clutch discs have the right size 10-spline input shaft for the M-transmissions and the larger diameter 215mm pressure plates. Some welding to create frame brackets that mate to the Acme Adapters engine mounts.

The complexity is the myriad of VW coolant & crankcase vent hoses, hefty radiator & electric cooling fan, 12V glow plug system, and the Toyota hydraulic clutch or the Suzuki cable clutch - both are on the passenger side.

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