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1,018 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Rabbit TDI Project
Part 3: Transmission

Or: You can bolt a 20 year old transmission to a brand new engine?

A buddy of mine is into Mopar. He wanted to change the engine in his 30 year old whatever-the-heck-it-is. He had to change the engine mounts, change the suspension to clear the engine, change the bellhousing, shorten the driveshaft,
modify the shifter, all kinds of fun.

I simply had to bolt my old transmission to my new engine.

On the A4 cars, and the A3 cars for that matter, the TDI transmission is a cable shift and hydraulic clutch.
I'm working off a limited budget, so I don't have the funds to change over the transmission at this time.

I'm currently running the truck with the stock FF 020 transmission that came with the truck.
I'm running a stock 210mm flywheel, clutch and pressure plate.
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Yes, I went kinda cheap. Since this is a project, I'm planning to change out the transmission and clutch later on, but I currently need to drive the vehicle, so you make do with what you have.

If I drive it hard, I fully expect to blow up the tranny, or grenade the clutch, but there are 200+ HP 1.8T cars out there running stock 020 transmissions.

What about the gear ratios?
No, the 020 FF is not optimum for this engine. It's a 3.89 final drive.

Ultimately, I'd like to install a European 6spd, but that's going to be much later in life.
Until then, the next transmission for this beast will likely be an 020 with a 3.67 final, or if I can find one of the rare 3.42 finals, or even the rarer 3.29.
If you have one, or know someone, send them my way.
I'm told the 3.29 came in the 020 4S transmission.

In order to make the front engine mount fit, I had to rotate the oil cooler about 180 degrees. To make that work right, I had to reroute it's coolant hoses. No problem.

Here's a picture of the original oil cooler orientation.
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And rotated:
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I've owned my GLI for 12 years, and have blown up a number of transmissions. The usual failure is baking 5th gear. The transmission leaks from the axle seals, and eventually 5th gear runs dry, bakes and fails. For this transmission, I mounted a VDO oil temperature sender in the 5th gear endcap, under 5th gear.

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To date, I have yet to see the needle budge on the gauge (minimum reading is 50 Celcius). Maybe the gauge will give me a warning when things start getting hot. Maybe I'll never see anything. We'll see what happens.

Yes, I'm running Redline MTL.

summary: old transmission bolts up, rotated the oil cooler, tranny temp gauge

Stay tuned...


Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Installing the Engine
Part 3: Transmission
Part 4: Wiring 1
Part 5: Speedometer and Cluster
Part 6: ImmobilizerIII
Part 7: Drive By Wire
Part 8: Intercooler
Part 9: Intake and Exhaust
part 10: MFA and Cruise Control
Part 11: The Dash
Part 12: The Little Things
Part 13: The End (for now)
Part 14: 6spd transmission and brake upgrades
One Year Later
Dyno results
Who Needs a VR6
TDI Rabbit

578 Posts
Re: The Rabbit TDI Project Part 3: Transmission (MrDave)

I think Autotech had a 3.42 at one time and also I have heard that the Dodge Omni had a 3.42 in an 020. Never got around to checking it out...I think that the 020 tranny would live a long time with a Quaife/Peloquin. If you did blow it up then you could spend some time with a good tranny builder analyzing the 020 weaknesses and beefing up the next gearbox to keep it from happening again. I have a friend who is a tranny builder and he has spent a lot of time bulletproofing the aircooled tranny for drag racing with good results and a whole lot more tire loading(grip) than we front drive geeks could ever have. Just a thought.
I love the project! Let us know about the Immobiliser Issue .

[Modified by jroyston, 6:01 AM 4-17-2003]

5,810 Posts
Re: The Rabbit TDI Project Part 3: Transmission (maxt)

Dude that looks sick! Im a big fan of the TDI. Monster torque! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
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