"A" based Engine Swaps

Author:    Jan Vandenbrande
Date:        July 21, 1999, Updated Aug 16, 1999


NOTE: This is a work in progress. Please send me feedback with tips, corrections, detailed specifications, whatever you think will help. Use this info at your own risk. There is no garantee that any of this is correct.

Thanks.  Jan Vandenbrande

This page is a compilation of several sources:

Warnings: General Recommendations Basic US Gas Engines
Size (cc) Valves
Engine Code (Fuel)
"1500" (1457-1496)
  • 62-71 Hp, Very early (1975->1980) US A1 cars
  • Points
  • Solid Lifters
"1600" (1588)
EE & EJ 
  • 74-78 Hp. (1976 -> 1980) 
  • Points through 1979
  • Solid Lifters
  • EJ: 1980 CA with Lambda & Electronic Ignition
  • Note Carburated Euro versions produced 85 Hp, while the GTIs with the (interference) Heron head produced 110Hp.
  • 65-74 Hp, 1981-> 1983 Rabbits, Jettas & PU
  • Solid Lifters
  • CA Models with Lambda & Electronic Ignition
"1800" (1781) 8V
(Bosch K-Lambda, TCI-h Elect Control)
  • 90 Hp, 1983->1984 A1 US GTI & GLI, Sciroccos & Cabriolet
  • 90 Hp, 1983-1987 Scirocco 8v
  • 90 Hp, 1984->1987A1 Cab 
"1800" (1781) 8V
(Digifant, TCI-h Control)
  • 94 Hp, 1990->1992 (94?), Cab with CIS-E?
"1800" (1781) 8V
  • 85 Hp, 1985-1988 Golf & Jetta
"1800" (1781) 8V
  • 90 Hp, 1985->1986, Golf Jetta
"1800" (1781) 8V
  • 100 Hp, 1985 A2 US GTI/GLI (can be boosted to 102 by cutting a cpu wire to switch to the "Audi" map)
"1800" (1781) 8V
  • 102 Hp, 1986-1988, A2 US GTI/GLI & Golf GT
"1800" (1781) 8V
(digifant II, I)
  • 100 Hp, 1988->1992, A2 Golf/Jettas Digifant
"1800" (1781) 8V
(digifant II, I)
  • 105 Hp, 1987->1992, A2 US GTI/GLI, 
  • Jetta Carrat/GL (CA version uses RV engine)
"1800" (1781) 8V
  • 94 Hp, 1990-1992, US Cabriolet
"1800" (1781) 8V
  • Canada only: 81 Hp Fox due to restrictive exhaust, 1987 -> 1990
"1800" (1781) 8V
  • 81 Hp Fox due to restrictive exhaust, 1987 -> 1990
"1800" (1781) 8V
(digifant 1 & 2)
  •  83 Hp, Fox, 1990 -> 1994
  • Digifant I in CA, II 49 statest & Canada
"1800" (1781) 16V
  • 123 Hp, 1986 -> 1989 US 16V GTI/GLI/Scirocco
"1800" (1781) G60
(digifant II)
  • 158 Hp. 1989 -> 1992, US Corrado G60
"2000" (1984) 16V
  • 134 Hp. Late A2 GTI, GLI, Passat. 1990 -> 1992
  • Currently in dispute is whether these had bigger in and exhaust valves, or the standard 32 In and 28 Exhaust. Anyone?
"2000" (1984) 8V
  • 115 Hp US Golf/Jetta III, Cabbie.
  • Crossflow Motronic, tall block 1993->? 
  • Fits well in A2, but tight in A1
  • Hot swap right now
From vw.org:
  • Longer connecting rods for smoother operation 
  •   Oil is squirted directly under the pistons for better cooling 
  •     Most have low miles 
  • Must use a Volkswagen 1.8L head and intake manifold if you are installing into a non-Motronic car. 
  •  Audi / VW Fox users must retain their original oil pump and pan 
  • Expensive as compared to the 3A 
  •  Must buy a crank case vent cover if installing into a non Motronic or CIS-E car. 

  • 16.5 mm taller - exhaust could bang on the floor and throttle body might  rub on the rain try in A1 models. 
"2000" (1984) 8V
  • 115 Hp, Audi 80 2.0E, year???

  • Block and cylinder head are designed for CIS. 
  • The "hot" swap for earlier VWs
From vw.org: 
  • Injectors are in the intake manifold for cooler operation. 
  •  Same deck height as other 1.6 - 1.8L blocks - no need to buy a new exhaust down pipe. 
  •  In expensive as compared to the ABA block. 
  •     Stock intake manifold is the correct orientation for A1 cars and Audi / VW Foxes. 
  •   Intake manifold runners are larger than most stock A1 manifolds. 

  • Must use a pre 1993 head and 85 to 92 intake manifold if you are installing into a car with passenger side injection (A2s) as the throttle body will be on the wrong side. 
  •   Must swap oil pump and oil pan if used in an A Series VW - this is not necessary on the Audi / VW Fox models. 

  •  Stock throttle body usually has no idle adjusting screw - bad news for CIS people.
  • Most engines have higher miles due to their age. 
  •   Must buy a crank case vent cover if installing into a non CIS-E car. 

"2000" (1984) 8V
  • 115 Hp, 1999 Beetle, Jetta
  • Note that the A4 Beetle motor is of a different design than that found in the A3 cars.
"2800" (2811/2860?) VR6 12V
  • 172 Hp, Passat GLS/GLX1992->1994(?)
  • 172 Hp Golf III/Jetta III, 1995-
  • 178 Hp US Corrado. 1992 -> 1995
  • 190 Hp Euro Corrado (92-95). Actually a 2900 cc
  • 140 Hp, Eurovan, 1995?-??
"1800" 20V Turbo (motronic) Available soon on A4 based VWs and Audis, currently only available in the US "A4" Audis mounted longitudinally. Power range: 150 - 225 Hp (the latter in the Audi TT Quatro)
"2300" VR5   Not available in the US as yet? Ever? Available in Europe only.

Basic US Diesel Engines

Size (cc) Valve
Engine Code
  • 48 Bhp
"1600" (1588)
(Bosch VE)
  • 52 BHp, Jetta ECO Diesel, 1991->1994
"1600" (1588)
(Bosch VE)
  • 52 BHp, Jetta Diesel, ?->1990
1600 Turbo Diesel
  • 68 BHp
1600 Turbo + Intercooler
  • 90 BHp
1700 IDI
  • 61 BHp
  • 64 BHp
1900 TD
  • 75 BHp
1900 IDI
  • 75 BHp
1900 TDI
  • 90 BHp
1900 TDI
  • 115 BHp, 1998->, New Beetle.

A1 Cars

(Rabbits/Golf 1, Jetta 1, Sciroccos, Cabby/Pick up Truck, Cabriolet)

Engine swaps that work for A1 cars.

Donor Engine
Modification Needed
A1 4 cyl 8V Straight swap Will fit.
A2 4 cyl 8V Requires A1 exhaust manifold. Harder then A1 engines
Audi 3A 2.0l 4 cyl short block
  • Contrary to earlier statements, this conversion DOES NOT require a VW (Gti) cylinder head
  •  Hot swap.
  • See comments above
A3 "ABA" tall block with non-crossflow head
  • Requires A1 exhaust manifold
  • Requires longer downpipe (available from Techtonics)
  • Hot swap tip.
  • Scirocco with A3 ABA engine. Lots of swap info.
  • John Ryland 78 Scirocco with A3 engine
  • Marshall's PU swap.
    A4 Beetle   To be fully legal, you need to bring the car to full OBD II emission compliance, which may be harder then the entire engine swap. It includes engine check light, dual oxy sensor, cat, vapor recovery, unleaded only sticker, fuel restrictor, etc.
    Corrado G60 motor
    • Without the AC, need to reroute the serpentine belt.
    • With AC, need to cut and reinforce the frame rail for blower drive, change lower valence
    • Need to find space for intercooler and plumbing
    • Stock G60 airbox will not fit (use Pflow)
  • Difficult.
  • 1981 Scirocco G60
  • A1 16V (Scirocco)
    • Between A1 series cars, not too bad
    • 16V nice choice for an A1 car.
    • 2.0l 16V better suited than 1.8l
    • However, 1.8 8V are better for street driving due to the better low end torque characteristics
    • Recommended to install better cams and perform headwork
    A2 16V (Golf & Jetta II)
    • Harder then A1 16V
    • Need to relocate fuel injection component
    • Intake manifold different
    • Wiring different
    B3 16V (Passat)
    • Harder then A1 16V
    • Need to relocate fuel injection component
    • Intake manifold different
    • Wiring different
    A2 VR6
    • Requires special tools and lots of skill
    • Requires custom parts
    • Custom motor mounts
    • Reinforce chassis
    • Wiring is hard
    • The VR6 engines require the 02A transmission! See notes under 02A trannies.
    • Better off buying an A2 or later VR6 car
    • B2 VR6 transplants are much worse even.
    • A VR6 adds over 100 lbs of weight to the front of the car, changing handeling characteristics significantly. Need to install stiffer springs & shocks.
    • Brake upgrade is also recommended.



    Covers: Golf 2, Jetta 2, Corrados

    Donor Engine
    Modification Needed
    Audi "3A" 2.0l Shortblock
    • [David Marshall]: You will have to get an A2 head and intake if you are installing it in an A2
    A3 "2000" 8V "ABA" tall block with non-crossflow head
    • Straightforward for 8v cars. 
        bokchoi: The shortblock drops right in and you can keep your existing head to maintain your fuel
        injection.  Also i believe the 2.0L crossflow head gives clearance problems because it sits too high.  It's a tallblock and i think you need a spacer for the exhaust manifold so the downpipe clears down low.  Other than that the A2 distributor doesn't quite fit the A3 block so there's some fabricating needed there.  Also since the A3 block is taller you'll need the A3 timing belt and cover.  The A3 block has a crankcase breather which needs to be plugged up as well.  Everything else should bolt right up.
    Popular swap.
    A2 16V
    • Relatively easy with cars with same fuel injection system (CIS-E)
    • Hard if the fuel injection systems is different between donor and recipient (CIS-E to Digifant)
    Corrado G60
    • The most difficult swap into a non Corrado car because of intercooler routing (requires mods to left fender)
    • Note that a Golf G60 exists in Europe and their intercooler is in front of the radiator. This can be ordered from VW, but may be pricey.
    • You can use the 020 trannies to simplify the job. 16V tranny are a bit stronger.
    • For conversion to a 02A tranny, see notes below.
    A2 VR6
    • Corrado VR6 with stick shift are the easiest to use. See also the specific notes of a rather convoluted transplant from a Jetta GLX into an 85 GTI.
    • Swaps into 1990+ recipient cars is easier because of the Central Electric II.
    • All US versions are 178 BHp 2.8l while the 190 BHp 2.9l was a Europe-only. 
    • The VR6 engines require the 02A transmission! Also beware that you'll need a hydraulic clutch, which makes the job much harder.
    B2 (Passat) VR6 Much harder to install into A-platform cars.  


    Covers: Golf III, Jetta III/Vento, Cabrio

    A3 VR6
    • Because of the common electrical wiring, this is an easy swap. 
    • However, since VR6 versions of most A3 cars are available , you need to consider trading up. The only A3 where this swap really makes sense is the Cabrio.
    • Biggest difficulty is modifying the shifter to cable shifter (see note bellow on 02A trannies)
    A2 G60, 16V Not a very popular swaps. Be aware of backdating issues.
    A4 Beetle
    • May not be Central Electric

    Audi and VW/B-platform Engines


    Note that retrofitting a donor engine with auto transmission requires a lot of work: Flywheel, clutch assembly, different starter and a different throttle-body. Generally, the closer you remain to the original chassis type the easier the swap (ie, A1 donor tranny for an A1 recepient).
    020 (?78-?84)
    • Initial versions were 4 speeds, 5 speeds introduced in 1978.
    • Available in "normal" gearing, tall (better gas mileage), economy, close ratio GTI (better acceleration). 
    • The close ratio trannies were found in the GTI/GLI models, but also the Wolfsburg models. Be aware of the "Self Machining" problem with these trannies. VW used rivets instead of bolts in the final drive which loosen after a while and cause expensive repairs.
    • Early GTI trannies have lower gearing which increases low end but looses a but at top speed (Note, higher ratio 5th gears are available).
    • A1 cars used 90 mm output CV flanges.
    • Starting 1984 1/2 Sciroccos and 1985 GTIs, all Cabrios and all 16V Sciroccos, 100mm output CV flanges are used. 
    • The 100mm CV flanges may interfere (and lock up) with the steering knuckles of older A1 90mm cars. In some cases, the excess material can be ground away. Another solution is to replace the output flanges of the transmission to use the larger diameters. A third option is to use 100 mm inner CV joints and use it with the original 90mm axle. However, heed the following comment from Daley: 
      • It is often said that all that is necessary to upgrade 100mm CVs to the earlier cars, is to swap the inner CVs to 100mm while using the 90mm axles (with 90mm outers) THIS IS NOT TRUE!



        When VW went to the larger CV joints, they went with a joint that was not  only larger in diameter, but thicker as well. This required longer splines on the axles. A 100mm joint is too wide to adequately "seat" on the narrower spline area of the 90mm axle. Conversely, a 100mm CV axle (such as the Scirocco 16V axle), has too long of splines, and a 90mm outer CV joint will "slop" around. I have fashioned alloy ring spacers to take out the slop (1/8"), but the preferred method is to change the entire axle and hub (on an A1) to the 100mm Scirocco 16V pieces. The earlier hub carriers can be ground 
        out for clearance, as you've mentioned.

         I recently did  this when I upgraded my tranny output flanges to 100mm on my Caddy's GTI (4k) tranny.  I wouldn't have gone to so much trouble were it not for the fact that I had a problem with the smaller flanges with the VelocityDifferential upgrade...

    • A popular swap is to upgrade to a 5 speed. It requires another pushrod, 5 speed clutch and pressure plate, tranny mount s and linkages. They will bolt right on.
    • One additional part worth mentioning here is an often neglected piece which 

    • many people omit when doing the 4spd to 5spd conversion on an A1 car: The 
      stop plate.
       This is the metal plate that goes under the shift lever.  It includes the 
      housing which the "stop finger" rides on when you push the lever down and 
      over to engage reverse. The 4 spd cars have a wider stop plate than the 5 spd 
      cars. Changing this piece makes for a better conversion and easier linkage 
    • Early models use a 190 mm clutch, while newer models use a 210 mm clutch. It is possible to upgrade but is only needed if you wear out your clutch quickly. The stock clutches are good for up to 170 Hp.
    • Here's an old tip, and I am not sure how this meshes with the rest: A2 trannys will fit in A1 chassis cars, but A1 trannys WON't fit in A2 cars due to some missing mount bracket moulded into the A2 tranny case.
    020 (?85-?99?)
    • Used in most 4 cylinder A-platform based cars except the Corrados.
    • Late model A2s and Digifant cars have a close ratio tranny except for the second gear.
    • 16V, A2 GTIs and GLIs have a larger diameter input shaft, and are generally stronger and a good choice if you bump the power.
    • By 1987 all cars used 100 mm output CV flanges.
    • 16V cars use a stronger pressure plate than the 8V cars. You can use the 16V pressure plate in an 8V car, but you cannot use the 16V clutch disk in an 8V car because the output splines are different.
    • See the following web site for the 020 ratios and the VLs Gear Ratio Calculator.
    02A (?89-?99?)
    • Introduced with the Corrados, now used in all A3 VR6
    • Cable shifted
    • Hydraulic clutch
    • VR6 bellhousing is different from the G60 bellhousing. This means that VR6 engines HAVE to use the 02A trannies (or whatever supersedes it).
    • To retrofit a non 02A car, requires modification of the clutch pedal to be welded with the hydraulic clutch master cylinder.
    • If you drop a VR6 into an A2 or A3 car, you can retain the car?s original 100mm axles and stock control arms. Alternatively, you can upgrade the car to the Plus-Axle system by using the VR6?s control arms, longer axles, and steering knuckles. The adventage is increased camber. Typically this is a good idea with a VR6 swap.
    •  Here are the ratios. PS: I think this includes the 02B trannies.
    ATA,AGC  3.778  2.105  1.345 0.971  0.795  3.684 Corrado G60, Passat 16v 
    AYL,AYK 3.778  2.118 1.429  1.029  0.837 3.684 92 Corrado G60, Passat 16v 

    3.300 1.944 1.308  1.034  0.838  3.647   Corrado VR-6 2.8
    CHA  3.778 2.118  1.360  0.917  0.717 3.944 VR6 Canada 
    CNL  3.778 2.118  1.458 1.029 0.837 3.684  VR6 
    CCM 3.300 1.944 1.308  1.034 0.838  3.389  VR6 
    CES  3.778 2.118  1.429 1.029 0.837 3.684  Passat
    CGY  3.778 2.118  1.458  1.029 0.837 3.684  Passat
    CAW  3.778 2.118  1.458  1.034 0.838 3.647 Corrado
    • This tranny is used in the 16V Passats, and is similar to the 02A used on the G60s (but seemed less clunky when I tried it).
    • Synchro Tranny.

    Correction and additions provided by:

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       contained here will be a prosecuted to the maximum extend allowed under the law. Copyright (C) 1994-2094 Vandenbrande, all rights reserved.