Build Introduction: A little bit of histroy

Read up on the build plan, problems to solve and more.

Posted on September 17th at 4:32pm

Hello, and welcome!

Well here we are at the first post of this build. I hope you find this site a useful tool for any cool projects you may be working on now or in the future. The goal of this project is to take a MK1 VW pickup and turn it into a weekend rocket ship. If you want a little more background on exactly what this site is and what the intent is...feel free to visit the about page. new truck

The platform

Our vehicle of choice is a 1982 Volwagen Rabbit Pickup or "Caddy" as they are often nicknamed. This truck has minimal rust and no rot making it quite a rare spcimin when it comes to Volkswagens in this age group. It still has the original 1.6L diesel engine it originally came with in perfect working order. I have had this truck for about a year now and it has been quite a treat. Uses include trips to the hardware store, weekend cruises and just living in the inheirent nostalgia that comes with these quirky rides.

The build

So what am I going to do to this poor old truck? Well its going to get the full ground up go-fast treatment. This build is going to be a unique one not only because its special to me but also the rarity of the swap. I am going to swap an 07k 5cyl rabbit engine into this truck.

Now at time of writing I only know of a couple MK1 07k swaps out there and none that are a Caddy swap. The unqiue nature of this build is why I wanted to document the process for anyone else they may want to shoehorn one of these straight five hearts into their MK1 project. Now with above description comes some problems we will have to overcome to get this swap to become reality.

Problem #1 - Fitment

MK1 07k swaps are few and far between because well...its not an easy swap. With an ABA, 1.8T, VR6 there are plenty of avilable kits that can use exisitng OEM pieces such as axles, mount points and transmissions. With an 07k things get a little tricker due to the shape/size of the engine itself. It is by far the longest of available engine options for a swap. This coupled with the fact we will be keeping the longitundinal orientation means the when we bolt this engine up to the 02J trans it will be too wide to fit in between the MK1 frame rails.

Problem #2 - ECU/Tuning

When it comes down to ECU choices there are two avenues one can go for a swap; OEM transplant or standalone. Everyone has their preference and niether choice is the worng one. Personally for me and my builds I have always preferred standalone when it makes sense. Now with an 07k swap this gets interesting. Not only are their very few basemaps floating around but the knowledge to get these quirky engines purring is reserved to the masters such as Hank Iroz who have dedicated their tuning careers to this platform. So getting this engine running in a car that it wasn't designed for and controlled by an ECU map built from scratch will make for some interesting challenges to overcome.

Problem #3 - General "trailblazing"

When doing a swap like this you are on your own. You can't google how someone else did it. There are not ample amounts forums to use for reference. It is up to you to overcome every hurdle and obstacle that comes with doing something for the first time in the community.

In conclusion

If you read this far first of all thank you! But it also brings us back to why this site even exists. I have no doubt others will want to do this exact swap and I want to be here for you. Use this knowledge. Expand on it. And have fun! Thank you for reading.

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