carguy123 PowerDork
June 26, 2012 7:35 p.m.

I've had to deal with sooooo many little gremlins in my daughter's car, and she's married, plus I've had to stop and help put out way too many with spontaneous fires - we weren't able to save a one, but a friend of mine had an interesting comment on them.

We were talking about Middie Locost options and of course Subie came up, but then there's the cost of blocking off the rear drive (the kit's from Australia) and the gears are behind the axle (I believe) which makes for a precarious position when rear ended.

Then he mentions the VW/Audi Passat, etc. longitudinal mount and talks about all the engine available for the transmission plus the junkyard availability. But the kicker was that he swears the VW/Audis have a separate engine harness that would make wiring things up miles simpler.

Is that true?

I know there were certain models that sludged up, but I think that's a small number.

It is my understanding that the transmissions and engines are heavier than the Subies.

I don't know this for a fact, but I'd bet the VWs have a better torque curve than the Subies.

So am I full of it or is he?

mad_machine MegaDork
June 26, 2012 8:03 p.m.

not sure.. but I always thought that the classic Saab 900 would make an interesting rear/mid donor for a lowcost

carguy123 PowerDork
June 26, 2012 8:28 p.m.

Is it a longitudinal engine layout?

rallymodeller New Reader
June 26, 2012 8:31 p.m.

In reply to carguy123: Yep, but with a difference: the output shaft of the engine is at the front of the car, with the transmission underneath.

93EXCivic UltimaDork
June 26, 2012 9:10 p.m.

I know some Audis (not sure about the one you mentioned though) have the longitudinal setup as does the Saab 900.

EvanR
EvanR Reader
June 26, 2012 10:55 p.m.

The VW Fox transaxle is good if you don't intend to make gobs of power.

And speaking of easy engine wiring. The '77-'84 VW Diesel engines only use 5 wires.

You could make the first (?) Diesel Locost.

dabird New Reader
June 26, 2012 11:08 p.m.

audi 016 gearbox from a non quattro (2wd) audi 5000. Kind oft hard to find in junkyards but they are out there. they can handle 300+ hp unless you plan to drag race

carguy123 PowerDork
June 26, 2012 11:47 p.m.

But do they have a separate engine harness to make things easy?

I hadn't thought of a diesel. I'll have to spring that on him. Unfortunately I've never seen a diesel engine that feels right. It doesn't have power for very long & torque isn't a replacement for horsepower (at least in the feel good department)

Would that Saab arrangement mean the engine sits really high or would it mean the engine would be behind the axle if you stuffed it in the rear of the car?

Ian F UberDork
June 27, 2012 7:38 a.m.
carguy123 wrote: Then he mentions the VW/Audi Passat, etc. longitudinal mount and talks about all the engine available for the transmission plus the junkyard availability. But the kicker was that he swears the VW/Audis have a separate engine harness that would make wiring things up miles simpler.

I've had similar thoughts for awhile - basically a B5 FWD 1.8t drivetrain in something. A Europa, mainly (complete with HVAC), although I've had day-dreams of a single-seat, open wheel, psuedo-formula car as well. I occasionally search for these cars and they are surprisingly rare as most are AWD.

Personally, I'd rather buy a running car than one from a yard. Yes, it will likely be significantly more expensive, but you will better be able to mitigate some of the inherent VAG-car risks. If a B5 is in the junk yard and the engine is still in the car (hasn't already been pulled by a breaker), then it's probably there for a reason. Plus, you can then part out the exterior and interior bits you won't need to recoup much of the costs, if not all.

Sludge problems are almost always traced back to using the wrong oil and/or not changing it when it should be. VAG turbo cars MUST run a VAG-rated oil.

I'm not sure about the harness, but I wouldn't assume it to be separate. When a TDIclub member did a Euro V6 TDi, 6 spd, 4-Motion conversion of in B5 wagon some years ago, he swapped over the entire harness, bumper to bumper, from the Euro car. Of course, the other option would be to ditch the VAG harness all together at go Megasquirt.

RossD UltraDork
June 27, 2012 7:44 a.m.

I seem to remember that you can find the VAG 1.8/2.0 in both transverse and longintudinal orientation depending on year and model.

Ian F UberDork
June 27, 2012 7:54 a.m.
RossD wrote: I seem to remember that you can find the VAG 1.8/2.0 in both transverse and longintudinal orientation depending on year and model.

I don't recall the 2.0 ever being installed in a US-spec B5 (VW Passat & Audi A4), but the 1.8t (not to be confused with earlier non-turbo 1.8 engines) was in an inline configuration from '97 to '04 (Passat) and '95 to '01 (A4). The A4 has changed configurations a couple of times - I believe it's back to inline today. When Passat went to an enlarged Jetta-based platform, it went transverse and remains so.

Curmudgeon MegaDork
June 27, 2012 7:54 a.m.

Pretty much everything pre-OBD II (pre-1996 for the most part) will have a separate engine wiring harness. If it's A/T there will probably be a subharness for a separate TCM as well.

When OBD II hit the streets, one stipulation from the Feds was that all cars would share a common diagnostic port shape. That's when some stuff for the engine was integrated into the main wiring harness. The CAN-BUS systems built massively on that, meaning that there is so much crosstalk and connection between various stuff in the car that the engine harness has been pretty much integrated into the main harness.

If I was building a mid motor car, I would look long and hard at the mid '90's Accord motor before I'd do a VW.

carguy123 PowerDork
June 27, 2012 8:27 a.m.
Curmudgeon wrote: If I was building a mid motor car, I would look long and hard at the mid '90's Accord motor before I'd do a VW.

And was it longitudinal?

So you're saying NO OBDII cars have a separate engine wiring harness?

turboswede PowerDork
June 27, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Porsche 944 used the Audi 016 FWD transaxle (with an extra hole in the bellhousing for the linkage to passthrough) Might be a little easier to find in the yards.

The GT-40/Lambo replica folks have started using them over the Porsche transaxles due to being cheaper to find and stout enough for their usage after a little help.

Of course the yuropians got audi V8 powered cars with FWD 6-speed transaxles, which is loosely based on the 5-speed 016. One guy swapped that solution into the back of his Lotus Esprit. It was an epic build thread on Motorgeek.

carguy123 PowerDork
June 27, 2012 10:13 a.m.

Unless the engine harness is separate and therefore immune from all the electrical gremlins that seem to plague all VWs then it's not a candidate.

We weren't looking at just the tranny, but the tranny engine combo. And the layout must be longitudinal.

Are the gears behind the axle line on the VW/Audi trannies?

fifty Reader
June 27, 2012 10:27 a.m.

The wiring harness on my 1997 ABA engine (OBD2 compliant) was separate. CB2 or something is the corporate name for the separate harness IIRC

Ian F UberDork
June 27, 2012 10:29 a.m.
carguy123 wrote: Unless the engine harness is separate and therefore immune from all the electrical gremlins that seem to plague all VWs then it's not a candidate. We weren't looking at just the tranny, but the tranny engine combo. And the layout must be longitudinal. Are the gears behind the axle line on the VW/Audi trannies?

I don't know if I'd consider an integrated harness to be a killer, just more work in tracing it down and separating the ECU wiring from the chassis wiring. However, cross-communicating systems could be an issue. It depends on how much the ECU is 'required' to receive data from the other various computers. There are work-arounds, though. A friend swapped a MkIV VR6 into a Fiero and didn't want to use the VW dash, so he found a guy who could reprogram the ECU so it didn't need cluster info. It did turn into a PITA, tho, so his current TDI/Fiero swap will use the VW cluster.

I beleive the gears are behind the axle line in a B5 trans.

turboswede PowerDork
June 27, 2012 11:45 a.m.
carguy123 wrote: Unless the engine harness is separate and therefore immune from all the electrical gremlins that seem to plague all VWs then it's not a candidate. We weren't looking at just the tranny, but the tranny engine combo. And the layout must be longitudinal. Are the gears behind the axle line on the VW/Audi trannies?

MegaSquirt the bitch and move on. Seriously. It isn't worth messing with it in the long run, unless it has some funky OBD2 or ignition nonsense. Lots of folks out there MS'ing VW/Audi products out there.

The gears are behind the axle center line on the Audi 016-style transaxle.

carguy123 PowerDork
June 27, 2012 12:44 p.m.

As far as separate harness issue, the Subie isn't so if the VWs are that's a plus in their favor.

I've separated harnesses out and it can be done, but it's a lot of work so if no separations needed - WINNER!

Megasquirt, never going to standalone again. Too much work when all I want to do is play plus it's a constant source of work. I hate carbs and points for those very same reasons. BTDT burned the Tshirt.

carguy123 PowerDork
June 27, 2012 12:44 p.m.

Just saw a pic and the VW/Audi unit appears to have less behind the axle line than the Subie.

NGTD Dork
June 27, 2012 1:25 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: Just saw a pic and the VW/Audi unit appears to have less behind the axle line than the Subie.

That's because the Subaru has the centre diff behind the axle line.

turboswede PowerDork
June 27, 2012 3:04 p.m.

The Audi uses a pretty interesting selectable FWD/AWD solution that requires a different end case and pinion shaft.

BTW, the smart guy would run MS in parallel on a running car to get the tune correct before dumping the motor in the newly built car, but I digress.

pinchvalve UltimaDork
June 27, 2012 3:34 p.m.

Friend's daughter (17) just got a new Bug. When do I start getting the calls?

pinchvalve UltimaDork
June 27, 2012 3:34 p.m.

Oh, and that post made me an UltimaDork.

carguy123 PowerDork
June 27, 2012 3:54 p.m.
turboswede wrote: BTW, the smart guy would run MS in parallel on a running car to get the tune correct before dumping the motor in the newly built car, but I digress.

Smart guy? Where?

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