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Old 08-07-2013, 05:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default '87 Samurai TDi swap - newb questions

Hey there everybody!

Happy to say that as of yesterday afternoon I am now a proud owner of a 1987 Suzuki Samurai! I had my eyes on this little beast for a few weeks before finally taking the dive. I will be using this as my daily driver (20 miles commute for work). Due to the engine power, I figure I will most likely have to keep it under 60, but I don't really mind that. However, I am looking into swapping out the original 1.3l Samurai engine with a 1.9l TDI Volkswagen Jetta engine in the future for an easier ride on the highway and off-road.

I just had a few questions though and if anybody could give me some insight, I would greatly appreciate it. I would like this information so over time I can buy the parts I'll need until I can spend a weekend (or week) putting it all together.

The engine I am looking into is JUST the engine - it's an AHU/1Z from gexdotcom. I know this is very expensive, probably more expensive than looking for an entire Jetta with a salvage title and taking the parts from there, but it will be a brand new engine. Along with the acme adapter kit, what else will I be needing for this swap? I read in a forum somewhere that the instrument cluster, ignition switch, key, ecu, and more will be needed from the original car to make this all work - is this true? And if it is true, can I look through eBay for the parts that will match the year of the engine I will be buying?

Also, since I will want to use it off-road (mostly trails), what other modifications should I look into that will still keep the highway ride comfortable? Leaf springs (I have been seeing this around forums, but I have no idea what they are - suspension?). What's a reasonable size lift to do and tire size that will be, again, still great for highway rides? And when I say great for highway, I mean keeping most of the MPG numbers that come along with the diesel engines. Besides the lift, how would I go about giving the Samurai a wider stance for better stability?

In a nut shell, I would like to have the Samurai modified to comfortably be used on trails while still being able to use it as my daily driver and getting 30+ MPG. Is this possible and if so, what modifications/equipment should I look into getting?

Sorry for this VERY long post and I appreciate those of you who will stop by and drop a few helpful lines for me!
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First off ur getting in over your head. And yes leaf springs are part of the suspension.
The 1.9L your looking at a what kind of injection system does it use? Ull need the ECU and ignition switch so the glow plugs will work, and control the injectors if its not mechanical injected, instrument cluster so u know what the engine is doing and have the right tach. U might be able to piece parts together from ebay and junkyards but it will be a pain to get it all to work together. U will need to redo the fuel system from the tank all the way to the engine. Also you will need to get different leaf springs because of the weight difference between engines.
For a lift you can flip the leaf springs to the top of the axle with the stock springs of leaf springs from a jeep yj, or put the stock rear springs up front and use stock cj springs in the rear, or buy a lift kit.
Widening the stance can be done with wheel spacers or swapping in different axles.
U can rear gear the transfer case.
Im running a spring over axle lift with rears up front and cj springs in the rear with a 1in body lift, 33X12.50in tires with wheel spacers, 1.6L sidekick engine, 6.5to 1 t-case gears and 4.57 gears in the axles
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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One of the older 1.6TD or 1.9TD engines would be an easier swap you would not need the ecu instrument panel, or ignition switch. 1999 and newer versions require the computer, instrument cluster, ignition switch, and the key for that ignition switch because of the security systems that VW put on those cars

Below is a link to a site that sells a swap kit and there page has good detail on what is involved and needed from donor vehicles (can't get all you need from one car, they explain)read this carefully before you dive into a project you may not be ready for.

Samurai Diesel: VW Turbo Diesel for Samurai
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies, I appreciate the help!

Admittedly, I looked over forums talking about diesel swaps as I was first considering my purchase and let my naivety take control. The VW TDi engine I was looking into at gexdotcom was a '96-'97 model, but as it was brand-new it didn't come with the harness, ECU, instrument cluster, ignition switch, key. After I realized I would need those components, I gave up the idea for awhile until...

I saw the second reply! The link provided helped a lot and according to it, I would only need the ECU and harness for a 1.9l TDi ('96-'98 model) engine. As it turns out, a link provided by rocky-road to quality German autoparts, they have many engines of that model compete with the ECU and harness. What do you all think? Does that make it more easy since it comes along with those components?

Also, would the minimum 3" lift needed be "good enough" to use off the highway on trails, or would the average 5" lift be recommended? And what are some tire sizes I should look into? I'm seeing most people using 35" tires for off-road. 33" sounds like a good size, but would 30" be used for highway use and possibly trails?
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you do a 3in lift you might be able to run 31s. The cheapest and easiest lift is a spring over axle lift, which is about a 5in lift. If you go any wider than a 10.50in tire you will need different rims, just FYI. My question is what kind of trails are you going to be doing?
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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1.9ltd or1.6ltd?? samurai swap! consider both as north-south orientation later model engines. if i don't use "newer" engines does it matter much "besides power and torque differences" which!! I am speaking from an installation point of reference! Can anyone help me decide! my e-mail address is [email][email protected]
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