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Volkswagen Tech Letters

Mar 19, 2004

'77 Rabbit 16V Conversion
I'm the proud new owner of a '77 Rabbit 16V Conversion ('88 Scirocco 16V was the donor). I was wondering what the base horsepower rating (whp or bhp, it doesn't matter) was. I can't seem to find this information anywhere on the Web. Thanks for a great mag, as usual, and thanks in advance for any help provided.
Jonathan Dorsey
Vancouver, Washington

Hey Jonathan,
If your engine is stock and came out of a 1988 Scirocco, it has 123hp at 5,800 rpms and 120 ft.lbs. of torque at 4,250 rpms.
Joe Lucchio



Maxed Out 1.8T
I recently bought a 1991 GTI 16V and did the 1.8T engine swap. I read that the stock 1.8T engine is capable of handling a large amount of horsepower without upgrading the engines internals. Is that true? I would like to get the engine to around 375 to 400 hp. What is the best route I should go in persuing this goal? Thanks, and keep up the good work. I love your magazine and love european cars. V-Dub for life.
Mario Di Cesare
Lake Orion, Michigian

Mario,
While the 1.8T is a very strong engine and there have several examples of the engine producing over 300 wheel horsepower with stock internals, the jury is still out on how reliable these engines will be in the long run. Most of these high hp engines are using larger turbois such as the T3/T04 or GT28 or GT30 series turbos, bigger injectors, higher pressure fuel pumps, modified intake and exhaust systems and so on to achieve these numbers. When thinking of increasing the horsepower on the 1.8T, just remember that Audi engineers found it necessary to reinforce the internals of the engine for their 225hp version, but this doesnit mean the other versions of the 1.8T engine canit handle more power with the stock internals. Also consider the fact that most of the European tuners such as Abt, MTM and Dahlback recommend strengthened internals including lower compression pistons and strengthened rods with their kitis that produce over 300hp. Consider all these factors when looking to produce 375hp to 400hp out of your 1.8T. If I was looking to make those types of horsepower numbers, I would look at upgraded the rods, pistons and crank bearings at a minimum just to be on the safe side.



2.0-liter 16V VW
I understand that VW offered 2.0-liter 16V engine for the 1993-96 MkIIIs for Europe, but for 1997-99 the only engines were the 8V and VR6. Is it possible to find that OBD-I engine? And if so, where would I begin to look? I have done 2 years of research on the motor. I'm not into turbos or superchargers, and I donit want to get the VR6 just yet. I'm not looking for blazing speed but enough to smoke a stock Civic SI with the 160 hp. My research showed me a way to get at least 185 hp, and after regearing the transmission 190 lb-ft of torque, which is my biggest concern. Thanks and I'll be looking for more 16V articles.
Vincent
via the Internet

Vincent,
You are correct that VW offered a version of the 16V engine in the MkIII GTI in Europe and the UK, which was rated at 145hp at 4,800 rpms. While the good old USA didnit get this engine - the 2.0l 16V engine we did get in 1991 and 1992 in the Golf GTI and Jetta GLI is very capable of producing this amount of hp but getting to that 185hp mark is going to be pretty difficult without a lot of engine work. As for the 190 ft.lbs. of torque - that isnit going to be possible without forced induction, due to the limitations of the 2.0l size of the engine as torque is basically a function of displacement. Iive seen slightly modified 2.0l engines equipped with OEM Euro intake cam, OEM Euro 50mm intake manifold, Velocity throttle body, Eurosport airbox, ABD intake tube, GIAC chip, stock exhaust manifold, and Techtonics Tuning catback exhaust put down 144 wheel hp and 133 ft.lbs. of torque translates into about 170hp using a 15% drivetrain loss factor. So as you can see - simple bolt ons can result in pretty decent hp gains. However, once you get to this point, you need to start considering even greater modifications to the engine which could include such things as much more radical cams, fueling (individual throttle bodies with higher volume fuel pumps) big valve ported and polished head, lighter stronger internals to achieve greater horsepower at higher rpms, and last but not least increasing the displacement to 2.1 liters. All these are modifications are dependent on the thickness of your wallet, but should get you to your goal of 185hp or maybe more.
Joe Lucchio



Golf MkII GTI Power Gain
I own a MkII Golf GTI 8V (1990 spec). I have already fitted a full Magnex exhaust system (not manifold) and K&N induction kit. Iim looking to modify the car and make it more powerful. Is it worth modifying the 8V engine by fitting various parts (sports cam, chip, ported heads, etc)? Or shall I fit a brand new 2L 16V engine? Is it a worthwhile change and is it easy to replace the 8V engine with a 16V engine? Also, can it be supercharged or turbocharged? What is the unitis limit on power? II may also consider a 1.8t conversion. Iim limited by funds so want to go for something that wonit cost the world, but will still deliver enough power (180+ bhp).
Kemal
via the Internet

Kemal,
Your target goal of 180hp can be achieved a number of different ways. However, none of them are inexpensive, especially modifying your existing 8V or even a modified 16V. Simply bolting a turbo system, exhaust and other related parts to your 8V will yield about 150hp maybe slightly more. A mildly modified, normally aspirated 16V will produce slightly more - about 170hp. If you are looking for 180hp, I would suggest either a VR6 or 1.8T engine swap as both of these engines are capable of that output in stock or near stock form. Of course these are not inexpensive in and of themselves, but you are assured of reaching your horsepower goals and if you are going to do an engine swap - probably the most inexpensive route.
Joe Lucchio



1.8T Engine Swap
Is it possible to swap a new 1.8t or VR6 into a MkII 8V or 16V GTI? And because the MkIIs are so light, which swap would be better for the car? That is if either are possible. And how would these engine swaps work with the existing parts, such as the drivetrain and electronics? I would think that the tuned 1.8t in a MkII would make a very lightweight and fast car.
Scott Weltz
via the Internet

Scott,
The 1.8T and VR6 swaps are the two most popular swaps into the MKII chassis. While you can argue that the 1.8T swap would be better because it would place less weight over the front end of the MKII chassis, the weight savings are pretty nominal as the compact VR6 engine isnit that much heavier than the 1.8T when you take into account the intercooler, piping and other items that come along with a turbocharged car. Total weight difference is about 80lbs. The advantage of using a VR6 is that this swap has been done numerous times and MKIII parts are easily interchangeable with MKII parts and do make the swap simpler. That being said though, if I were to choose between the two, Iid probably go with the 1.8T swap. With simple chip, intake and exhaust modifications along with the swap you are looking at close to or over 200hp at the wheels. For all this to work, you will need the ECU and wiring harnesses and the ability to modify them for use in the MKII. Also donit forget the shifter mechanism, pedal cluster and instrumention. I would also suggest using a VR6 or 1.8Tis 02A or 02J transmission as well so you are assured that it can handle the added power. While you are at it, swap in G60 Corrado brakes or aftermarket big brake kit to handle the added horsepower. If you choose to swap in the iPlusi subframe and suspension from a MKIII VR6 car - you can go ahead and use the VR6 brakes as well. Remember, this will change the front wheels to a 5-lug bolt pattern and also slightly widen your front track. You will then need to do a 5-lug swap with the rear brakes as well. To facilitate the swap I would suggest finding a MKIII VR6 car at a wrecking yard to scavenge all these parts at once. A great source of swap information has been compiled by Futrell Autowerks and can be found here. ( )
Joe Lucchio



Lightening Up a Big Brake Upgrade
I recently completed a five-lug big brake upgrade on my '86 GTI. Every aspect of the conversion works superbly; however, I'm a bit concerned with the massive unsprung weight I've added. I read the european car tech article by Les Bidrawn where he installed 280mm brakes on his 16V MkII project car. Obviously, as in his case, Wilwood makes a caliper to fit over 11-in. VW rotors, but my conversion uses 11.3-in. rotors from the later VR6 MkIII cars. My question is, can I simply use 11-n rotors and Billet Dynalites as on the ec project 16V? If not, is there a way to get ultra-lightweight calipers that will work with my application?
John List
via the Internet

John,
You are right, Wilwoodis kit uses 11i rotors not the 11.3i rotors that you have installed. If you want to use the Wilwood brakes, then you would need to buy the kit which includes the calipers, rotors, stainless lines and all the hardware necessary. RPI Equipped sells this direct bolt-on kit for $795. () Remember that you will need the kit designed for the MKIII VR6 cars though or if you have kept all your stock parts, you may want to swap them back on and sell the VR6 conversion to recoup some of your previous investment.
Joe Lucchio

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