1996 Passat TDI Donor

  • I owned a 96 Passat TDI that had been a great car for me, but my wife and kids didn't want to keep a car whose doors randomly flung open around corners, or at other times locked them in. I was thinking about doing a Eurovan conversion, so the perfect solution seemed to be to keep the great TDI engine and dump the problematic Passat body. So the project began.

    To start with I pulled out the things I thought I would need from the Passat. This was my basic list:

  • Engine and transmission - engine for obvious reasons and transmission since I was going to rebuild the existing Eurovan transmission and wanted to swap in a few gears from the Passat.
  • ECU and entire ECU wiring loom
  • potentiometer and bracket
  • Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) on top of Passat transmission
  • 15 pin OBDII plug that comes out of the dash with several wires attached in back.
  • Fuel tank sender and entire fuel line
  • Vacuum pump, line to brake booster, N75 valve, and anything else related to the vacuum system…
  • Front half of exhaust system past catalytic converter to 02 sensor behind the converter.
  • Air-intake box, MAF sensor and intake hose from box to intake manifold (I got a used 96 Jetta air-intake box in the end, as the Passat's was too big to fit in the Eurovan space).
  • Instrument cluster from B4 Passat along with wiring loom to the relay panel; 96-99 Jettas cluster does not naturally fit into 93-99 Eurovans
  • Cruise control wiring from cruise control switch through firewall; this is separate wiring that does not go through relay panel.
  • Clutch and brake pedal switches
  • Fuses and relays for spares
  • Emissions diagram near battery (to show to California DMV that your engine is from a car at least as new as the Eurovan).
  • Anything else that looked valuable or potentially necessary!

    There were a number of much more able persons than me that had done the conversions, so I spent a lot of time looking at their websites. Justin at Greaseworks and various builds on the TDI club were the main ones that I got a lot of inspiration from. Based on their advice and experience I set off on my adventure. On the following pages I have documented the steps I took.