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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - VW TDI Engine Transplant

For the sake of discussion, has anyone ever thought about the VW TDi diesel engine in the MGB? While I have done zero research as I type this, I gotta believe that the weight would be about right, it would probably fit reasonably, has more power than the standard B engine and would get *astounding* fuel mileage. I believe it can be found in RWD configuration as well. The hardest part, I think, since this engine is fairly new (don't want the older underpowered diesel) finding one would be hard today but in a couple of years.......

BTW, I just donned my flame suit made out of surplus Space Shuttle tiles.
Tom Lang

Tom - must of us on this link are power freaks but don't be put off by a deathly silence - I recall an article some years backs in one of the UK MG Mags by someone who did a lot of miles in his B - and fitted a Renault diesel - which worked very well for him.

Go to it - tell us how you get on


Here in Europe, the best diesels are Peugeot

Here in the world the best diesels are Caterpillar--but they don't make any for cars.
James Johanski


This thought has crossed my mind too - particularly in view of recent prices rises in petrol (gas) here in the UK.

In Europe the Volkswagen Passat 1.9TDI has a 130 bhp engine and a 6 speed gearbox - but of course that's FWD.

I believe that there are RWD versions of this engine, although I think with only a 5 speed gearbox.

It's an excellent engine, with lots of torque, and I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who is seriously contemplating this engine swap. I might build myself a Diesel Roadster to go alongside the MGA, B GT V8 and R V8.


INHO there are those who would take issue with you that the Peugeot is the best diesel in Europe. Try driving a 130 bhp Passat 1.9TDI and compare it with the top of the range Peugeot 406 2.0 HDi. I have twice recently driven both on the same day, and my vote would go for the VW, which has 20 bhp more in any event.


Nigel Steward

I have been giving the matter some thought also and came to the same conclusion.

The real success or otherwise is to find the right choice to slot in the engine bay of the 'B
Perhaps a BMW Diesel as fitted to the Land Rover Discovery may be suitable?

With the recent introduction of the CO2 sales tax on Company cars in England this is indeed a timely topic to raise.
It will not be too long I fear before other Governments find the idea palatable if only from the revenue raising point of view and expand it to include all cars sold either private or company.

Pleas post any further thoughts and progress along these lines as I for one would be very interested.
Cheers, Pete, Sydney, Australia.
Peter Thomas

LPG as MGBV fuel is a contender here in Western Canada-from the point of view of both economics and lower emmissions but allow me to say that a properly converted V6 or 8 engine is absolutely essential to maximise the energy potential of LPG as an automotive fuel.
One of the irritating problems we do face here though is that LPG equipment suppliers are loathe to produce or import torroidal (doughnut) storage tanks which would solve psrt of the difficulty of getting the fuel stored in the little B's trunk.
You can easily buy these tanks in Oz, Mexico and Europe but not that easily up here in the Great White North where LPG currently costs less than half of 97 octane gasoline and is almost as abundant in supply at gas stations in urban areas.
On the other hand, if you think you've got problems now with high underhood temps when using gasoline, LPG will drive you nuts if you can't get cooler induction into the manifold.
LPG today in Vancouver is steady at $0.37Can/lt. Factoring in the worst case scenario of a 20% greater fuel usage, that works out to a figure of $0.44Can/lt equivalent. Conversion costs are a different matter but this discussion was developing around fuel costs, not equipment. However, diesel engines aren't exactly cheap to repair and maintain, LPG engines are a dream compared to diesels in those departments..
Apart from the licensing and inspection issues, much of an LPG conversion would not be difficult for most folks on this list and the newer feed-back carburation systems aren't that much more now than new Holleys and Carters it seems. Just another point of view and my Can$2 worth...
john morgan

I posted a similar question on the MGB Technical page a few weeks ago. I was ridiculed by those across the pond who are a few decades behind europe in the development and use of Diesel engines in cars. The new Audi Cabrio will be fitted with a diesel engine!

The charachteristics of a tdi are very similar to a B in that they deliver most of their power under 4000 rpm, except that they deliver nearly twice as much torque.

The route that I had thought of was the Rover O series TD engine from athe old 800 series that would mate to a Rover 5 speed. Though this is rather old technology it is keeping it "in house" and power outputs are good. However the BMW or VAG 1.9/2.5 are vastly more powerful, though also vastly more complex, and would make a sublime MGB Engine. I would be very interested in getting involved in a conversion at some time.
philip may

Philip, my sentiments exactly.
By the way have you seen the new Peugeot "concept cars" on show recently?
The red diesel is very attractive ibdeed.
Cheers, Pete, Sydney, Australia.
Peter Thomas

Philip, surely worthy of further investigation. But wasn't the 800 range front wheel drive and transverse engine ? A more likely route to bear fruit might be a Sherpa diesel....I think Rog P has given some thought to this question before, you could give him a call at the MGOC for pearls of wisdom :-)

Very interesting about the TDI. I just today drove one to see how much of a dog the diesel is. I drove one about 10 years ago and it could not get away from its shadow. I drove a Jetta and what a great car. Plenty of acceleration and torque, was a very fun car to drive and very little noise from the engine. Problem is that I want leather seats and you can not get that without VW loading on options I do not want. Otherwise great car and interesting idea to use for a swap.
Richard Porter

The reason I suggested the Rover 800 is that I believe the block is an 'o' series block a relative of the 'b'series block, so should mate fairly easily to the rest of the car.
philip may

I was actually thinking of the development of that O series, the L series. Better than theb O series Prima diesel in many ways but unfortunately still some way off the latest 130/150bhp 4 pot diesels from the likes of VW and very recently Ford. However the L series is easily moved to 130bhp and sometimes a little more with minor tweaking.

The benefit of this engine is that the block keeps it's relationship with the previous O series which is directly related to the petrol O2 engines. (Not original O series and therefore quite distant from the B series) The O2 petrol was fitted to both FWD saloons and RWD Sherpa, so the conversion from front to rear wheel drive should be reasonably straight forward. Add to the equation that the 5 speed LT77 (SD1) or more recently the R380 gearboxes are common fits in V8 MGBs and we have a basic set of compatible ingredients. Finding room for the turbo is likley to create the most difficult packaging problem, much is it would if fitting an O series petrol Turbo.

The resulting engine would be very much of the former generation of diesels so would rattle quite well, but the prospect of a reasonable 130 bhp and 240 ft lbs of torque married to V8 gearing would produce something that would raise many eyebrows, and give probably 60 plus to the gallon. (50mpg could be cracked by the base 16v petrol conversion on a run. This because the B is relatively light and present a small frontal area with a reasonable Cd, at least it does with the ST design front spoiler.)

Roger Parker

This thread was discussed between 11/03/2002 and 16/03/2002

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