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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I've decided that over next year or two I want to Diesel swap my truck with a VW TDI. The purpose of this thread to start off is research and information gathering. I've got a bunch of info from TDI gurus on getting the drive train working stand alone, but I want some input from the s10 guys on getting factory stuff working. I'm not planning on buying/starting anything until I feel confident enough that I have sufficient information to tackle most of the issues that may arise.

The Plan:

BHW 2.0 TDI from a Passat (accessories are already longitudinal/Best PD engine in available in the US pending a BSM delete)

I currently drive a Passat TDI sedan with a stage 2 tune/5 speed swap and am netting about 175hp/305ftlb, On the truck the plan is to build up another engine with a bigger turbo (BV43) and try to make around 200/350ftlb. That's slightly more power and a ton more torque than the 4.3. You can build them to have more but then you're messing around with injectors/camshafts and other stuff. Id rather just safely "max out" the stock internals.

Malone Standalone tuned ECU

TDConversions SBC pattern adapter plate/starter (makes the back of the TDI look like a SBC)

Rebuild the 4l60e thats in there now


Things I'm concerned with/need info on:

Accessories...am I limited to running the stock VW accessories? For instance how would I still have power steering and a vacuum system? Would I just need to make sure that the VW power steering pump is rated for the same PSI?

S10 electronics...are my airbags and other safety systems going to need modification/reprogramming to work? I know I can tune the ABS sensors out of the VW ecu so it will let the engine run, but is there any way to retain a working abs system?

Transmission...Gearing for a diesel is different than a gas. Would I benefit in swapping the stock planetary to a 2.84 quick ratio one? That seems to bring the gear ratios more in line with what my 5 speed Passat has, but i know the differential gear ratios come into play and i don't know how any of that works other than one side spins x times for the other side. My truck has 3.73 gears and stock size tires (31in I believe?)

Trans TCU...I was planning on getting a USshift Quick 4, they seem to have the best support should something go wrong/I need any help. The megashift was another option that seems less expensive but their site blows, and support seems to be non existant.

Any information would be appreciated, I'm sure more questions will come up lol. Looking forward to documenting everything and getting this ball rolling.
 

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Been there Done it
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6,343 Posts
Nice to see someone thinking of trying something different. IF you have the place, equipment, ability and money to do this. Definitely not something you want to pay someone else to do. Unless cost is not an issue.
Why a TDI? The fact that you already drive one isn't a compelling reason. More of a "that's what I'm familiar with" thing. Not the best way to choose what motor to use.
First problem I see is that most of the gauges in a 99 ZR2 are fed their info from the PCM. By using a stand alone on the engine you'll be leaving them blind. You need to get hold of a complete 99 ZR2 wiring diagram to see how a lot of the systems work. 98 up S10's have a fairly complex integration of various modules. Not like a 2018 vehicle by any means, but it has multiple inter dependencies.
Give Current Performance (CPW) a call and see if they have any suggestions.
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Nice to see someone thinking of trying something different. IF you have the place, equipment, ability and money to do this. Definitely not something you want to pay someone else to do. Unless cost is not an issue.
Why a TDI? The fact that you already drive one isn't a compelling reason. More of a "that's what I'm familiar with" thing. Not the best way to choose what motor to use.
First problem I see is that most of the gauges in a 99 ZR2 are fed their info from the PCM. By using a stand alone on the engine you'll be leaving them blind. You need to get hold of a complete 99 ZR2 wiring diagram to see how a lot of the systems work. 98 up S10's have a fairly complex integration of various modules. Not like a 2018 vehicle by any means, but it has multiple inter dependencies.
Give Current Performance (CPW) a call and see if they have any suggestions.
Yeah these swaps are definitely time/labor intensive, and not cheap. I think the guys on the TDI swapped Trucks facebok page say their average costs are about 10k. Considering a new diesel ZR2 Colorodo is about 5 times that, id say its worth it. Plus you cant buy small trucks anymore in general let alone a diesel, which blows. There are a few s10s out there with ALH engines in them in Canada from what I've seen but details on things like weather they used the VW cluster and just shoved it in there etc. are sparse. Definitely not going to be paying anyone to do it though that would be financial suicide haha

I have several reasons for wanting to use a TDI, but the main 3 are power density, power efficiency, and reliability. Sure I could try to do a 4bt or similar, but that engine is massive both in size and weight. To build up that engine would probably also be expensive, if there even is a way to tune or modify them (I don't know). In that scenario I wouldn't net much fuel gains either due to the extra weight. The TDI is a tiny little motor that can be setup to produce gobs of torque with just software, Its lighter than the 4.3, and its diesel so its inherently much more efficient. Most guys are claiming low 30s for their mpg's in tacos and other 4x4 trucks, which I definitely believe (I get almost 40 in the Passat with a manual). I have to check the stickers on both but the s10 only weighs a few hundred pounds more than my Passat as is, so that gives me a good frame of reference for how it will perform with the slight extra net weight.

I'm not looking to have a race truck, if that were the case an LS engine would be my choice. I want an efficient little work truck, that I can use for around the house/to tow small trailers every now and then. With the increased torque I think it'll be quicker/more fun than stock anyways.

I have a Hanes manual that has some diagrams but I've been searching through here and other sites to find high res PDFs of everything, I have to organize what I have and start going through each system independently. The good thing is that I have my old 01 Blazer still that i ripped the transmission out of and stuck in the s10. I can use all the wiring/systems from that to test on a bench, and verify that stuff works before the final install.

I took a look at CPWs site, I'm wondering if they would so something similar to what they do when you use a LT1 engine on a 98+ truck

From their site:

"The trucks that came with a PCM mounted on the overflow bottle under the hood will require both the stock truck computer and the ECM from the engine IF you are installing an LT1 engine AND you intend to keep all of the factory truck functions......When complete, the stock truck computer will control things like the cruise control, ABS, speedo, etc. The computer for the engine will pretty much just run the engine and control the electric fans."

Knowing the I/O from the VW ECU, maybe with a few data converters/transducers, a similar setup can be had.
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
So I emailed CPW and maybe it was because I was talking to a sales guy, but the communications from them gave very little detail on what exactly they could do.

Basically they said they could make a "dash integration harness" which seemed cool (obviously they would have nothing to do with the VW side, that will be a standalone system), but the guy told me that it literally will only run the gauges, nothing else...for $225. He was kind enough to send me the instructions for it, but that just left me more confused because the instructions say that it would let you use everything in the truck, ABS, cruise etc. (per the instructions attached here)

"This harness system will provide all of the available connections for the recipient vehicle’s electrical system to control the factory gauges, starter, A/C, ABS, cruise control, and any other available signals in to and out of the stock vehicle’s electrical system."


The other confusing part is that it seems like this would only be good for a v8 swap or a swap where you're still using the chevy computer, due to the connectors used as well as just the general lack of information on the types of input signals needed for it, it just seems like this is a single purpose thing that they just want to sell me...the only specific signal defined in there is the speedo as a 4000 pulse per mile signal.

Guess I have more digging to do. Am I just going to have to probe all the inputs to the gauges and everything to see if I can generate the same signals from the VW ECU? I know the Quick shift 4 has a few outputs I can use as well.
 

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Hallo d0u8l3m

First of I have to say TDIs would be a grate idea to be used in a pick up. I does not depend which one 1.9 or 2.0 both have a lot of torque for their size and are very efficiently.
The first problem I see is that as I know there is no engine of this type used in an rear wheel powered car or truck. So do you think it is really easy to find a transmission that fits on the engine? Than you have the security system on the engine. The ECU is normally married to the instrumental panel and the key, so you have to use them all. And what about the communication with systems like ABS and so on? Is this possible?
I think it is easier to use the whole drive train from one donor when you do something like this, but it is just an idea.
So long and good luck with this project
 

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Old Fart
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2,823 Posts
I had a 2015 Golf TDI, and you are right about the power and torque. I had a Malone stage 2 tune on mine, and it was fast with no change in fuel mileage. Power was around 200 at the wheels, and torque was almost 350. I had to be very light on the go pedal on wet pavement. I thought about trying to find one to swap into my Datsun 620, but decided I wasn't up to that much work, and expense, so sold it, and bought my S10. Good luck, and I hope to see this one running!
 

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best bet is to use both systems
S10 to keep all the body stuff ABS,airbag ac etc
make the PCM think is has a 4.3 in it.
Do the TDI as a stand alone and dont worry about any interface with the body,other than power on power off and charging.
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Hallo d0u8l3m

First of I have to say TDIs would be a grate idea to be used in a pick up. I does not depend which one 1.9 or 2.0 both have a lot of torque for their size and are very efficiently.
The first problem I see is that as I know there is no engine of this type used in an rear wheel powered car or truck. So do you think it is really easy to find a transmission that fits on the engine? Than you have the security system on the engine. The ECU is normally married to the instrumental panel and the key, so you have to use them all. And what about the communication with systems like ABS and so on? Is this possible?
I think it is easier to use the whole drive train from one donor when you do something like this, but it is just an idea.
So long and good luck with this project
Actually getting the engine to bolt to the stock 4l60e is pretty easy with the adapter from TDConversions, you bolt it to the back of the TDI and then the trans bolts to that with the SBC pattern. I also don't need to worry about the immobilizer as that can be tuned out. ABS and the other stuff is what im trying to figure out now. Been going through wiring diagrams but they don't say what types of signals are running.

lots of plans, lets see some work! I love the idea of a small diesel swap
Haha planning is the first step, I wont be able to start anything anytime soon, but the plan is to get the drivetrain and all the systems from the s10 working together on the bench, then I can just throw it into the truck and worry about just the fabrication of motor mounts etc.

I might start ripping the blazer apart soon to start figuring out how everything works, though ill take pics of all that.

best bet is to use both systems
S10 to keep all the body stuff ABS,airbag ac etc
make the PCM think is has a 4.3 in it.
Do the TDI as a stand alone and dont worry about any interface with the body,other than power on power off and charging.
That's basically what I want to do but I have no clue on how to mess with the chevy PCM, I have the old black box in the truck now and was gonna use the newer silver one from my blazer to run the swap because those you can code with hp tuners, but still have to read up on how to program it. Are there a select set of signals that the chevy pcm needs to run, besides power and charging?

Can anyone chime in on how this would be done?

I think I have a general idea of how the blocks will work together, VW ecu running standalone, quick 4 running the transmission, and the s10 pcm to do the body stuff, unless there's a way to get that to run the trans as well, but i doubt it.

Also is that CPW harness gonna be helpful at all or should I just make my own?

Thanks!
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So I found a page that someone made showing how they actually got the 0411 PCM to operate the trans standalone. Im thinking it's worth trying, I just have to decide if I wanna get hptuners. I'm guessing if what he says is right about the pcm only needing RPM, throttle, and crankshaft signals, I'm sure there's a way to generate those from the VW ECU, just need to see if it can read/convert them.

https://sites.google.com/site/sloppywiki/everything-ls/cheap-stand-alone-trans-controller

Thoughts? Probably gonna start ripping all the wiring out of the Blazer this weekend if I get a chance. Need to swap the PS pump in the truck first lol
 

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You might get lucky and the Crankshaft Position Sensor on the VW is already a 24x or 58x signal. If not you'll have to rig up some sort of sensor to read whatever signal the PCM (trans controller) you decide on. If the stock TPS from the VW doesn't work that seems like there could be a work around with a factory GM TPS too.

On paper that's really all you need to setup the standalone transmission controller.

If that's all you need HPTuners for sending your PCM off to someone who already has the software could be much cheaper.
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
So I contacted HP Tuners, they said I wouldn't be able to put the 99 VIN into the newer PCM with their software.

Guess this only matters for emissions, Ill have to find out if I can use the VW ECU to get emissions done but im pretty sure the correct vin needs to be in the ECU. Does anyone have experience with emissions testing your swaps in CT? They only state that the test is via the OBD port no specifics.
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
So I finally found a donor Passat TDI for a steal that I couldn't pass up :D . It has a bad torque converter (VERY common on these), but other than that seems like a very healthy candidate for my swap. It has about 211k on the clock. I'm going to be sending in an oil sample for testing to get a better idea on the engines health, but other than needing the balance shaft removed I think its fine. Towed her home with the s10 no sweat! I love this truck, its so versatile. Having more torque and fuel efficiency will be great though because it ATE through almost 2 tanks of gas =[ (about an hour drive each way)

Pics so you know it happened lol



 

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I am intrigued by this swap. I have had several TDIs over the years, currently in a 2004 Passat TDI that I did a manual swap on. I think a TDI s10 will be a great balance between versatility, fun, and fuel economy. I had considered a regular cab short box s10 with a TDI swap. I believe they could get over 40 MPG since they weigh less than a Passat and have less rolling resistance.
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Talked to Dave over at fast forward automotive up in Canada about the signals I need for the 0411 PCM and got this response

Throttle Position
As you know, TDIs are drive by wire, so the only throttle position is the output from the accelerator pedal. 0% is 0.35V and 100% is 4.00V. Assuming the input of that device is high enough impedance not to interfere with the actual signal going to the ECU you could use that.

Crank Shaft Position
The TDI doesn't have a signal like that at all and it is very important to the ECU so I wouldn't mess with it. You would have to install a cog of sorts to the crank shaft pulley and use the universal VSS that we sell to count the 24 teeth on said cog, or a lower count of teeth an the VSS Korrekt to multiply the count up again. You could also just use the tachometer signal (2 pulse per revolution) and multiply it by 12 with the VSS Korrekt.

Vehicle Speed Sensor
Again the universal VSS and the VSS Korrekt would be your friend here.

With all this being said, I've never done this exact setup before, so I could be completely right or completely wrong.
This at least gets me started, on figuring out how to make this all work. Ill have to do some more digging and probing to figure it all out.

It looks like as long as I can scale the throttle position via tuning software, that will work, the main issue would be the crankshaft position, which im guessing as long as its a 5v square wave with 24 or 58 pulses per period that will work too. Any input on this?
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Ended up sending in the 0411 PCM from the blazer to LSX Power Tuning out in Texas to get the VIN changed to the s10 vin. Then ill order the new MPVI2 from HP tuners and should be able to licence it without it bitching about the 99 VIN. Should be there Friday.

Also did some messing around with this calculator, and at 75mph it says ill actually end up with a slightly lower RPM than the manual trans in my sedan, which i'm all for.



This means I'm probably gonna stick with the stock gear ratios, but I'm gonna upgrade the planetaries to the 5 pinon ones. Also looking at getting a Hughes Performance HP3789 rebuild kit and possibly a new torque converter from them after I test how the stock one I have runs. The stock stall on mine is just over 2k rpm, but its pretty old and has high miles on it so if that stall speed works, ill save some money and get a new stock one. Though the hughes one seems a bit beefier so if its not that much more ill do that.

Gotta tidy up the garage and organize everything so I can throw the blazer in there and gut the rest of the wiring out of it. Then once that's done the wagon is next. Ill take pics when that gets going. Life has been busy busy busy.

If anyone needs parts off the blazer too let me know!
 

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Crazy Engineer
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Finally got my MPVI2 and my PCM back to start using HPTuners! I decided to just order the PCM connectors to make my bench harness that way, because after I moved the blazer into the garage and started taking out the wiring, there was a field mouse in there chilling and staring me down...needless to say im too slow to catch that little bugger so I didn't wanna leave the truck in the garage with him running around in there lol.
I took an old D-Link router apart and started modifying the case to make a interface box to make my life easier. Gotta go get a smaller 2A fuse but its basically just a box to hold the obd port and have a few switches for power and ignition power. I also took the power jack from it so I dont have to ruin a good 12V power cable. (I use them all the time)

Here's some pictures:






Heres the diagram for anyone that might need it (credit: gmtruckcentral)

 
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