Axis Power

Donor Engine

Where to find engines. Looking for a source for your engine?

Engine and Vehicle Variables:
Fortunately, Samurais are all pretty much the same. There weren't many options or even color choices. This is good news. That helps us be fairly confident in the installation steps as related to the vehicle. On the other hand, while VW made the engine blocks all similar (same bolt patterns) they had a zillion different versions, varieties, permutations and combinations for the add-ons. The good news is that we are starting with a pretty much stripped down engine. Most brackets, mounts, holders, cables etc. should be removed. That limits our problems when trying to find the right part that will work.

Donor Engine Specs:
Following are the hp and torque specs - we used the 1986 year model as a sample
· 1.8 gas - 85 - 100hp@5500, 98 - 110 ft lbs @3250 (depending on model)
· 1.6 Diesel - 52 hp@4800, 72 ft lbs @2000
· 1.6 TD - 68 hp@4500, 98 ft lbs @ 2800
· the 1987 Scirocco 16V 2.2L has 123 hp @5800 , 120 ft lbs @4250
· We don't have official specs for the VW industrial / Canadian 1.9 diesel, TD, or TDI.

Intake and Exhaust:
Once you decide on the type of engine you want to use, the next most important factor in selecting a donor engine is to get the right intake and exhaust systems. If you are going to make your own intake and or exhaust system, then the Fox or Quantum configuration is always recommended since it will have the right oil filter housing and flywheel.

Recommended Donor Vehicles:
Desired engine Donor Vehicle
1.6 TD or 1.9 TD Jetta
1.6, 1.9 or 1.5 Normally Aspirated Diesel Fox or Quantum
1.5, 1.6, 1.8 Gas Fox or Quantum

Risk Assessment:
With these specs in mind, we did our development with the 1.6 TD. It suited our personal needs and had the right balance of performance, cost, and technical risk. By Technical Risk, we mean that it would be a reasonable power plant for the Samurai and wouldn't risk hurting the other stock Samurai components.

Caveat: An automotive company goes through millions of dollars of research to develop their products. They test for reliability, performance and many other features. Putting any engine into a vehicle for which it was not designed is a RISK. A small one, maybe, but still a risk. For obvious reasons, we did not spend millions developing this kit. It is not intended for the "masses". It is intended to be installed and used by someone who knows more than average about their vehicle. It will require the owner to learn about how this new system performs, what its quirks are, and what its limits are.

After all this, you, as the installer and driver of the vehicle have to select the engine you want to use. We can't tell you what engine is best for you, that is your decision, but we will give you some things to consider in making the choice. We do make some Guarantees, tho.

· HP and Torque - The stock Suzuki Samurai engine has 63 HP and delivers 76 ft lbs of torque. The more HP and Torque you install, the more you risk breaking torque related components - clutch disk, transmission, drive shafts, transfer case parts, axles. If you install a VW GTI engine, have it race tuned, then pull your Samurai up to a concrete wall, rev the engine to 5000 and drop the clutch, I GUARANTEE you will break something, maybe a lot of things.
· Heat - The stock Samurai radiator is certainly not an over kill for the Suzuki 1.3 gas. We'd classify it as marginal for the stock installation. The more power you install the more heat you create. If you install a 1.9 TD, run the A/C, pulling a trailer up a hill, in Arizona in the summer, I GUARANTEE you, it will overheat.

Your system will have its limits. Look for then, learn them, understand them.

Engine Risk Specifics:
This paragraph deals with the risks of an engine swap. When you have enough skill and ambition to do an engine swap, we expect you also take the responsibilities for that swap. We include this paragraph for the simple reason that we don't want you whining at us if you put in an over-powered engine and then break something because of it.

1.9 Turbo Diesel and TDI: These engines will fit into the Samurai, using the Axis Power kit. Some special fitting or adaptation may be required. We can provide only limited support on this installation because the only good source of 1.9 TDs in the US is industrial engines, and TDIs are too new to be readily available in salvage yards. The industrial engines are not legal for on the road use. For this reason, VW and its dealers are reluctant to share information with us. We consider the risk factor for this installation to be pretty high. Yeah, it will work, but how long before something breaks?

1.9 NA (normally aspirated means "non-turbo") Diesel: This engine has approximately the same power specs as the 1.6 TD. We consider this engine an acceptable risk.

1.8 Gas GTI (16 valve) and Corrado (supercharged 8 valve): While we've never tried to install these, we know from the bolt patterns they will bolt up. There are many different control systems with the fuel and ignition that we have not yet fully understood. There may be some interference from engine components, as well. You will need to do your own wiring and control system installation and some body fitting may be required. With the high HP rating of this engine, we would classify the risk factor as high.

1.8 Gas (8 valve): Again, the electrical and control system installation will be up to you. The HP rating of this engine is a little high, but probably acceptable.

1.6 TD: This is our prototype, not necessarily because it is the best, but because it fit our needs and had the most acceptable risk for all the advantages.

1.5, 1.6 NA Diesel: If you are looking for economy, this is it. This is considered a low risk installation and can provide significant fuel efficiency.

1.5, 1.6 Gas: Again, the electrical and control system installation will be up to you. The HP rating of this engine would make it a "low" to "acceptable" risk installation.

Variables in the kit as it relates to your engine:
The kits mainly include items that most installers would not be able to make or buy elsewhere. They are ones that are custom designed and made in the machine shop.
It does not include things like rubber radiator hoses, steel fuel lines, starter motor, radiator fan, clutch disk and pressure plate, and other "off the shelf" parts.

All parts will fit all installations (as far as we know) except:
· Turbo Exhaust: This exhaust pipe that goes from the 1.6 TD Turbo to below the driver floorboard where it can be coupled with the stock exhaust system. This was designed for a Jetta type TD where the turbo is on top of the exhaust manifold. It will not work with a Fox or Quantum type turbo or any other engine. We know it works on a 1991 Canadian engine, but we don't know about newer models and the 1.9 industrial engine options, it may work with them.
· Turbo Air intake: This connects the stock Samurai air filter to the turbo. Like the exhaust header, this was designed for a Jetta type TD where the turbo is on top of the exhaust manifold. It will not work with a Fox or Quantum type turbo or any other engine. We don't know about the 1.9 industrial engine options, it may work with one of them.
· Wiring Harness: Our version was designed for all 1.6L VW diesels. It should work with the 1.9L, but again, we aren't positive.

In addition to these above parts, there are 3 alternatives for the mounting system associated with the A/C area. They are:

All installations require the use of a flywheel and Oil filter adapter from a North-South (Fox, Quantum) VW installation. East-West installations use a weird "bass- ackward'' flywheel system that won't work in our kit.

Additional parts:
You will need to ensure you have certain components on your engine for it to work properly with the kit. Depending on the donor vehicle, its accessories and vintage, you may need to acquire these parts.

As stated before, the kit mainly includes the custom components required to install your VW engine. There are also a bunch (or is it covey? gaggle?) of parts you will need that are standard "off-the-shelf" components. Most of these are available at local builders supply or auto parts stores. Refer to the list of Extra Parts for specifics.

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