Saturday, January 18, 2020

Small Diesel Engines

For no good reason, I am looking at used diesel engines.

The prices for VW diesel engines is insanely cheap. Go to Ebay and type in "4 cylinder diesel engine" and most of the items are over $2500

Simple kits for VW diesels can be had for $500. Other kits include pistons that are 0.020" oversize so the worn cylinders can be honed out and re-trued. Those kits cost $750.

VW diesels have a timing belt that is good for about 150,000 miles or maybe 3000 hours. That is duty related. Running an air compressor will cause more torque pulsing and will be harder on a belt than running a steady 2000 RPM on a generator.

The older diesels have mechanical injector pumps and probably don't care about the application provided you can cool them and feed them good fuel.

The newer diesels have common rail and electronic injectors. That means the Powertrain Control Module runs the show and will get its panties in a bunch if it does not see all the sensors-reading-in-the-green.

Just out of curiosity, I wonder if there are PCMs or chip--sets that can be used to repurpose a VW, common-rail diesel to agricultural power or stationary installations like generators?

I know the boys running Duramax, Cummins and Powerstrokes around here can get "chips" to roll-coal.


  1. Those little 1.5L VW engines were great little machines.

  2. You can do a LOT with a 1.5/1.8 VW diesel engine. Plan on rebuilding the head and block (kits aren't that expensive, actually) and you can get more like 5000 hours out of a full rebuild, not including the timing belt (which you should change about once per 1000 hours in a non automotive application, BTW). Redoing the injection pump is a simple task, and kits are available, or you can get really good rebuilds fairly inexpensively.

    TS performance makes a chip that enhances low end torque for VW common rail 2 liter engines and adds a pretty decent amoount of HP.


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