Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?

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Offline mammonista

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Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« on: September 30, 2017, 08:24:33 AM »
So I recently bought my first Samurai after years of thinking that for off-roading this little rig made a lot more sense than bigger 4x4s. Took it to the beach last week and it was perfect.
But like everything in life it could be even MORE perfect.
Like if the Sami had the same 1.9 td in 'Vanomo' (my VW (DIY) Doka) or the same 1.9 mTDI in my '83 VW Jetta. Those engines make approx.  90hp and 120hp respectively. Vanomo weighs about 3,700 pounds, pulls really hard up to 75mph and still gets about 30mpg. I expect the Jetta will get about 40mpg if I can keep my foot out of it.
So why aren't much more efficient (and powerful) turbo diesels more popular in Samurais? Cost? The hassle to do a motor swap? Just curious...
I bought the Sami because I couldn't find a speck of rust on it (and I looked a long time) and coming from the Midwest rust just freaks me out, but the transfer case, transmission, or rear differential is kind of noisy. Or is that normal?
And finally those gauges... The speedo and fuel level, coolant temp are almost unreadable day or night. This is an 88 Samurai and I understand the speedo/tach instrument cluster didn't come in until '89(?)  Is it easy to swap in white gauge faces? What is a source?
thanks in advance for all the input!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 09:01:23 AM by mammonista »

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 05:03:08 PM »
Small diesels are uncommon in USA because they didn’t really come in anything here like most other markets.  So, less parts, knowledge base and desire.  In a samurai weight is a big factor, but no reason why you couldn’t  do it.  It would be sweet.  It wouldn’t save you any money tho.  I promise that. 
Your gear noise could be a bad bearing. 

Offline mammonista

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 06:09:45 PM »
Not looking to save money but torque increases and great mpg from a diesel td would be a big benefit. I think the weight of an 'undressed' 1.9td (or tdi for that matter) is about 300lbs. I could live with that.
Any ideas on identifying source of powertrain noise?
And I recently bought a speedo/tach combo from Japan for 'cheap' thinking I could swap those into my 'American' Sammi. No? Because the domestic Sammi's came with 3-cylinders and turbos. Probably not run the tach correctly if at all?

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 10:31:22 PM »
Well you should be able to isolate rear end from tranny/t case with careful listening.  I find it helpful to bring a friend maybe have him drive while you listen.  Also the old trick of jamming your ear on the shifter handles can be revealing.  There might be other tricks I don’t know.  My experience like yours was basically to let it slowly get worse until it finally quickly got a lot worse and I tore into trans to find the main shaft bearing toast.   Only needed that one bearing tho.  It was growling for several thousand miles, in fact I thought it was normal it was so long lol. 

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 10:36:31 PM »
One thing you could do is pull the rear driveline and run through the gears without the car moving.   If it’s tranny you’ll still hear it. 

Offline mammonista

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 07:44:12 AM »
two newbie questions...
1) could it be the transfer case? This thing is pretty noisy on the street at anything over 15mph...
2) is the transmission something I could tackle myself or would I need a shop to do it? Can the home mechanic replace bearings with a good set of tools or does it require micrometers/measurements/shims etc. ? I know differentials require accurate measurements to set up to eliminate howl...are transmissions the same?

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 08:01:06 AM »
I think it could be either t case or trans yes.  Actually it’s not too difficult to service manual trans in my experience.  Much easier than rear end.  The tranny in my x90 had all the gears on two main shafts and once i had the main one out it was a system of cooling in freezer and heating with torches to re I’ve and replace the offending bearing.  So, it could be possible that you will need help with that part if they are more stubborn than mine , but if that is the case then you can always bring those parts to local shop and they can do that part for 5$ or less, or whatever it costs.  It will not be much because you are doing the real work of R&R.  I’d say pull tranny/t case and start lookin for bad bearings.  dont bother with a fancy all inclusive rebuild kit because you may find everything looks great except that one bearing so just get bad parts out first then decided what to do, unless this is your only transport and time is a factor. 

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 08:03:03 AM »
Of course if you’re going to diesel swap anyway then why bother to fix the tranny ;)

Offline mammonista

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 08:58:21 AM »
The diesel swap would be months away... and I love driving the Sami now! My concern is that it's the rear end making the noise. I pulled the 'fill' plug to check the level and finding it low I pumped some 75/90 into it until it came out (between 8-16 oz.) The 'overflow' had the metallic, shiny look to it. Could be years of normal bearing/gear wear or something worse ( ?). What should I expect to pay to have the rear end rebuilt if I take it to a shop, and do most shops work on these or am I going to need to find a specialty shop?
thanks for all the input by the way!

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 09:03:39 AM »
Well I’d say do it yourself but with good research first.  Rear ended work is very detailed and precision.  But, if you want it done professionally DONT take it to a 4wd shop.  Instead find out where the big semi trucks go for their gear work and let them do it.   They should charge about 400$ labor and 400$ parts for a ballpark estimate.  At least that’s what they wanted for my Tacoma.  That’s a total rebuild though with gear change so maybe less for a repair.   


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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 07:01:31 AM »
If you plan to go diesel, do the research first. I tried every thing to get the 1.3l to pull the sami 70 mph for my 70 mile commute with no luck and way more invested than I should have.  When I decided to go diesel I went for the TDI and really still feel it will be worth it but I should have went with an older version engine that the mounts, adapters and accessories are readily available for. I found a great deal on a 2000 with the ALH engine but few of the parts available for the pre 98' TD and TDI engines will work for mine. It looks like the 1z/AHU are the newest engines that all the brackets and adapters available will work on, so I would stick with one of those. The wiring is more complicated for the TDI but the harness can be custom modified to be plug and play for the sami and a tune or chips for the computer can give it real power gains.
John

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 07:52:15 AM »
I tried every thing to get the 1.3l to pull the sami 70 mph for my 70 mile commute with no luck

OK - let me ask the questions - now that you have gone turbo diesel ...

 -  what's it like on that 70 mile commute?
 - can you get it up to 70 mph?
 - what's it like merging at an on ramp?  or overtaking?
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Offline mammonista

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 09:01:13 AM »
My experience with VW diesels is as follows:
-1.6 na diesel in a '80ish rabbit. slow but economical - 45mpg on the interstate
-1.6 turbo diesel in an '80ish rabbit pickup. faster and powerful (towed a Vanagon 1,500 miles with it
-1.6 na diesel in an '82 Vanagon. gave a new definition to the word 'slow'
-1.9 turbo diesel an '87 Vanagon (custom DIY DOKA) (currently daily driver). fast, powerful, 30mpg in a 3,700 lb. vehicle
-1.9 TDI (converted to mechanical pump) in an '83 Jetta (currently still a project awaiting completion). should be putting out about 120hp at the crank and return 45mph at cruise in a 2,000 lb. vehicle

I've got to think that any vw turbo diesel would be a HUGE improvement in a Samurai in terms of power and mpg. Can't speak for 1.6na diesel or a 1.9na diesel although the latter might be an improvement as well.

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Re: Typical Newbie Questions...turbo diesel?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 05:13:11 PM »
So it's clear - I have driven several different diesel and turbo diesel powered vehicles and am reasonably familiar with what to expect from them - my interest, and therefore my questions, are specific to a turbo diesel powered Samurai
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 05:15:27 PM by fordem »
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