Frequently Asked Questions

Acme Adapters manufactures the finest grade Suzuki turbo diesel conversion kit that enables you to convert your Samurai, Sidekick or Geo Tracker to diesel horsepower and torque. The following "frequently asked questions" will give you some insight into the ACME Adapter approach to the Suzuki diesel conversion. Discover how easy it is to do the diesel conversion. Converting your Suzuki to a diesel is not a complicated engine swap. Should you have additional questions that are not answered here, please send us an e-mail at . We will have an answer for you in 24 hours.

What vehicles and engines are the Acme Adapter Suzuki Turbo Diesel Conversion Kits designed for?

Acme kits are designed for use with the 4 cylinder VW engines made prior to 1998 and installed in Suzuki Samurai sj413's from 1986-1996, Suzuki Sidekicks and Geo Trackers from 1989-1998 (non-sport models) and Toyota's using the 22R style 4 or 5 speed transmissions from 1979-1995. Special note: Acme Kit #1 and our basic Sidekick/Tracker, and basic Toyota Kits will fit any of the VW 4 cylinder inline water cooled engines from 1976-2006.

How long does it take to do a typical Suzuki Turbo diesel conversion?

For the average mechanically minded person having all the conversion parts sitting on the garage or shop floor, one can have the motor in the engine bay in about three hours. It takes approximately 30-40 hours from start to finish to complete the conversion.

Does the Acme Suzuki Turbo Diesel Kit require welding, drilling, tapping of holes, heating flywheels to remove ring gears or serious modifications to the VW engine?

No. The ACME kit is professionally engineered and does not require any welding to the engine block or other parts, drilling or tapping of engine holes. You do not need to mess around with replacing ring gears either. You only need to perform a simple minor modification to the unused back portion of the crankshaft hub from your donor VW engine.

Do I have to modify my Suzuki Samurai hood or body?

With the acme kit and the way the engine mounts are configured, it is not necessary to perform any body modifications or suspension modifications for normal street driving. However, if you plan on using the VW crossflow radiators some models that have the fill cap on the tub require one to modify a small part of the inner rib of the hood for radiator cap clearance.

Are there any core charges?

The ACME kit does not require any core charges or exchanges.

Does a Diesel Conversion using the Acme Suzuki Turbo Diesel Conversion Kit require a spring over axle suspension lift?

No. A spring over axel lift is not required for the VW engine conversion or for daily driving on the street in your Samurai or Sidekick. There are many ACME Suzuki diesel owners running around the city without a suspension lift. However, if you have weak or sagging springs you will need to bring them back to stock Suzuki specifications or you can compensate for the sag by using longer shackles. It is Acme's recommendation that you consider a spring over axle lift (SPOA) because it is more desirable to have extreme suspension articulation for off-road 4X4 high performance and spirited wheeling.

What does it take to perform the VW swap?

A Suzuki SJ413 Samurai, Sidekick or Tracker vehicle(1989-1998 non-sport model vehicles), a donor vehicle with the VW engine of your choice or a complete VW engine assembly, an ACME Adapter kit configured for your manual or automatic transmission of choice (Toyota, Samurai, Sidekick/Tracker), radiator, electric cooling fans, new 2-2 1/2 inch exhaust system, simple wiring, and some routing of the coolant hoses. Acme Adapters supplies the ACME conversion kit from bare bones to 100 percent complete. You can purchase as little or as much of the kit you want based on resources available to you.

Will I have a problem with DEQ or AIRCARE emissions testing in my State or Province?

With all of the conversions we have done and helped others to do in the US and Canada, we know of no problems passing an emissions test or registering as a diesel. That includes the emission laws of the tough state of California. However, you should check with your local testing authority for any detailed particulars that may be areas of concern.

Will the Acme Suzuki Turbo Diesel Conversion Kit work with a late model VW TDI motor?

Yes. The ACME kit will allow you to directly bolt your Samurai, Toyota 22R style or Sidekick/Tracker transmission to a Volkswagen TDI engine. However, the early TDI, from 1996-1998, needs the wiring and computer along with the engine controls in order to work outside of the VW car in a Suzuki or Toyota platform. Beware that the later 1999 and up TDI’s are more complicated to swap and require the engine computer, dash instrument cluster, ignition key––all matching from the same serial numbered vehicle. This is due to VW's immobilization and anti-theft control system. The later TDI's need major modification as well. All the accessory bracketry needs to be removed; the oil filter assembly along with the water outlets require re-fabrication in order to use them in a Suzuki platform. The earlier models share the same accessories as the 1.9 IDI engines. For those that want to eliminate the TDI computer and computer controlled injection pump, you can replace the stock TDI Injection Pump with a modified hybrid mechanical injection pump that can handle the TDI’s requirements. These pumps are built and sold through VW performance specialty shops. They run close to $1200.

What transmission can I use with my VW Motor?

With the ACME Kit, you can choose to use the Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Sidekick and Geo Tracker (auto or manual), and the Toyota 22R style truck transmissions (auto or manual).

What minor modifications are necessary to the transmission?

All VW engines require one to make the Suzuki transmission bolt holes larger by drilling the transmission bellhousing holes to 12mm. We also recommend die grinding a circular shape on the two bottom hole tabs allowing enough room for a 14mm socket to fit over the nut. Note: This only applies to the Samurai's as the mounting holes on the Sidekick/Tracker's and Toyota's are already 12mm and have the space needed for the hex nut.

What clutch should I use?

The ACME Suzuki Turbo Diesel Kit cleverly adapted the Suzuki to the VW...not the other way round. Acme keeps it simple, enabling you to use an original Suzuki clutch disc, pressure plate, and throw-out bearing. That means there are no hybrid or mismatched clutch parts. The Acme kit was designed so that you can buy all your parts easily at any auto parts store in any town and anywhere. You can also choose to use any aftermarket clutch. Acme recommends using a 4x4 performance specific clutch such as the Petroworks high performance clutch or ACME's extra heavy duty Kevlar/Aramid clutch.

What about the Suzuki flywheel?

Acme uses the stock Suzuki flywheel for a number of engineering reasons. The flywheel is indexed to the VW configuration allowing you to use stock Suzuki parts such as a pilot bearing, clutch disc and pressure plate available everywhere. This allows you to remain OEM as opposed to depending on custom manufactured parts that are more expensive to acquire and replace in long term and harder to get resulting in significant downtime. In complete form, the Acme Samurai flywheel is approximately 1 ounce heavier than the VW counterpart.

What starter should I use?

The ACME kit allows you to use the gear reduction 1.6 Suzuki Sidekick or Geo Tracker model starter. There are two types of 1.6 starters, auto and manual. Both work perfectly. These starters have the same torque and Kilowatt specifications as the VW starter.

Do engine mounting brackets come with the Acme Suzuki Turbo Diesel Conversion Kit?

Absolutely. The ACME kit comes in any configuration you require from bare-bones basic to 100 percent complete. Engine mounting brackets are available for any 4 cylinder water cooled VW engine manufactured up to 1998 and will work on any SJ413 Samurai from 1986-1996, Geo Tracker and non-sport model Suzuki Sidekick's from 1989-1998.

What is the best VW engine to use?

The most common of the 4 cylinder VW engines are the 1.8 gas, 1.6 diesel turbo and non-turbo from 1981-1992. Acme recommends the 1.6 non-turbo for the best fuel mileage (as much as 43 mpg) and the turbo version for added power and torque. If you want the ultimate in diesel power the 1.9 turbos and 1.9 nonturbos work extremely well but are less common and are more costly to acquire. The newer TDI's work amazingly but require an extreme amount of modification relative to electronics, mechanical and engine fitting.

What is the concern about the VW 1.9TD engine common crank pulley failure?

The 1.9TD engines have an issue with the bottom crank pulley coming off the engine during operation. This happens because the keyway at the nose of the crankshaft wears allowing the crank pulley to move and oscillate. This movement eventually leads to crank bolt failure causing your harmonic balancer and crank pulley to come off during engine operation. Because the VW diesel is an interference engine, this usually results in bent valves and expensive head and or piston repair. Should you decide to run a 1.9TD (AAZ) engine in your application, ACME highly recommends modification to your 1.9TD crankshaft by welding up the keyway and machining the end of the crank to a "D" shape. This will allow you to use a later model TDI crank pulley eliminating the possibility of a future failure. Contact ACME if you need a crankshaft modificaiton kit for your 1.9TD (AAZ) engine.

What do I need to do to my Suzuki Sidekick or Geo Tracker in order to use the Acme Suzuki Turbo Diesel Conversion Kit?

In order to swap in a VW diesel in your Sidekick or Tracker (1989-1998 non-sport model vehicles), you will need an Acme turbo diesel oil pan (included in the Sidekick Turbo Diesel Kit) and modified VW oil pump. The stock VW oil pan will not clear the front differential unit. The custom ACME oil pan and modified oil pump resolves this issue.

What's the realistic overall cost of the VW conversion?

Some people have performed swaps for as little as $800. Others have spent over $5,000. The average cost seems to range from $1,800 to $3,000 depending on the motor and options chosen.

What is the best manual transmission to use?

With the ACME Suzuki Samurai Turbo Diesel Kit you can use three kinds of transmissions: the Samurai transmission (manual), Toyota Truck transmissions (auto or manual) or Sidekick/Tracker transmissions (auto or manual). The Samurai transmission is the most economical solution because it requires no modifications to the Samurai drive train.

What additional parts do I need to purchase?

You need to decide what style radiator you would like to use and purchase the appropriate cooling hoses and cooling fans. You will need to fabricate or purchase an ACME exhaust header, finish out the remainder of the exhaust using a flex coupler and a muffler. Also required is a fuel/water separater assembly, air intake piping (your original Samurai airbox or other style system such as a K&N cold air intake). You may be interested in other options such as an intercooler for more horse power should you have a turbo engine, aftermarket oil cooler, tachometer, etc....

Can I use power steering with your kit?

Yes. You will need to fabricate brackets to mount the pump to the engine if using a Toyota or Sidekick style pump. You can also use the VW power steering pump and brackets that came with your motor. They work great. You will have to have a new hydraulic line (high pressure side) made for your power steering box to the VW pump. They typically cost $40-$60 to fabricate.

Is the wiring and electrical hard to do?

No. The wiring is very simple and easy to do. The ACME Suzuki Turbo Diesel Kit uses your existing Samurai gauges and wiring. For sensors, Acme uses the Samurai oil pressure and water temperature units. You also have the option of using your Suzuki alternator and wiring. The starter also uses the original Suzuki wiring. If you are using a pre TDI engine a glow plug relay and minor wiring is needed from the donor vehicle and involves connecting 7 wires. You can also purchase a new diesel wiring harness from ACME as desired. See the ACME wiring harness unit in the store or the diagram in our Tech section of the website.

Can I use the stock water, fuel and tachometer gauges in my Samurai or Sidekick?

All your existing gauges will work fine with this conversion. If your vehicle has the factory Suzuki tachometer you will need to purchase a signal interface driver. You can purchase this in the Acme Adapters store. For some turbo applications that require a remote oil filter, such as the 1.9TD, it is advisable to have an oil pressure gauge to monitor oil pressure.

How do I get a VW engine?

You can ask Acme, we may have the engine you are looking for. From our experience the best buys come from the classified ads in your local newspaper for whole running vehicles. Local junkyards have them as well. There are also specialty shops that only deal in German or VW parts that you can contact.

What are the HP ratings for different VW engines?

Don't let the differences in horsepower fool you and don't forget about low-end torque. There is a big difference in the power bands between the Suzuki and VW diesel engines. The stock Suzuki 1.3 has around 60 HP and the naturally aspirated VW 1.6 has 54 HP. With a turbo on the 1.6, you have close to 70 HP. The 1.9 TDI VW motors have 90 HP. All the diesel motors have an additional major benefit–gobs of low-end torque. The diesel motors are also easily modified for more HP and torque with injection pump and boost modifications. Here are the stock engine specifications for comparison:

VW Diesel specs (power band is reached at LOWER rpms): Suzuki motor specs (power band is reached at higher rpms):
1.5NA (CK): 48 HP and 58 ft lbs torque 1.3: 60 HP and 76 ft lbs torque
1.6NA (CR, JK, ME, JP): 54 HP and 74 ft lbs torque 1.3 swift: 67 HP and 73 ft lbs torque
1.6TD Eco (1V): 65 HP and 90 ft lbs torque 1.6: 80 HP and 94 ft lbs torque
1.6TD (CY, MF, JR): 69 HP and 98 ft lbs torque 1.6 Vitara: 77 HP and 93 ft lbs torque
1.6TD High Output (SB, RA): 80 HP and 115 ft lbs torque
1.9NA (1Y): 70 HP and 100 ft lbs torque
1.9TD (AAZ): 75 HP and 107 ft lbs torque  
1.9TDI (1Z/AHU): 90 HP and 149 ft lbs torque  
1.9TDI (AFN): 110 HP and 175 ft lbs torque

Does Acme provide alternator mounts in the conversion kit?

With the ACME Suzuki Turbo Diesel Kit you have the option of using your Suzuki alternator or you can upgrade to a bracket that uses the GM 105 amp integral style alternator. Certain configured TDI engines can have interfearance issues with the turbo intake and alternator.

What manifolds do I use on the naturally aspirated VW 1.6 motor?

With the 1.6 non turbo we recommend using an early gas rabbit or sirocco carburated intake manifold. Acme manufactures an adapter to enable you to use your stock Samurai air hat and piping. We recommend that you change the exhaust manifold to a VW Fox exhaust manifold.

Do I need the Suzuki computer to run anything for the conversion?

No. The computer is not used. You can take it out or leave it in your vehicle.

How does Acme time the diesel motor?

The ACME Suzuki Turbo Diesel Kit utilizes your existing Suzuki gas timing method for the Samurai. The TDC mark is viewed through the transmission bell housing. The Suzuki Flywheel is re-indexed and marked precisely for use with the VW engine. NOTE: For the Toyota, Sidekick and Geo Tracker transmissions, you need to make a timing mark on the front of the crankshaft before you take your donor motor out of the vehicle while the VW transmission is attached. If you don't do this, you will lack a reference point for timing the motor at a later date.

How do I time the injection pump, cam, and engine block?

To time the VW diesel motor, you need to do a mechanical timing and an injection pump timing. Don't let this scare you. Read through your Bentley or other auto manual a couple of times and you will do fine. For the mechanical, you need to lock the cam in place at TDC to get the valves timed with the crank. You do this with a VW lock plate tool at the back of the cam. You need to have the engine at TDC ensuring your number one piston is at TDC. If your timing the engine with an assembled ACME kit on a Samurai transmission, then you use the original suzuki timing hole in the transmission to line up the flywheel at its TDC mark. If you have a VW tranny on the motor, then you use the VW flywheel marking (Sidekick/Tracker/Toyota transmission conversions are timed using the VW bellhousing and flywheel before the motor is installed in your vehicle). Once you have the engine and head timed at TDC, then do the injection pump. To time the injection pump, you will need to put the pump sprocket at TDC. The sprocket has a notch on the inside or outside of the sprocket. Turn the sprocket around until the mark is strait up and lines up with the mark on the injector pump backing plate. Put a VW locking pin tool through the sprocket and into the injection pump backing plate/bracket. That's TDC for the pump. Once you have the engine, cam and injection pump all at TDC, then you can put your timing belt on. Note that your cam sprocket is to be loose at this time and turnable. Be careful with the belt so that you are not off one tooth. Double check the mark on the flywheel and the pump sprocket and cam. After you have it on TDC, use a dial indicator gauge (installed in the back center of the injector pump) to adjust your injector pump. Preload your dial indicator to the proper specs (see your Bentley manual) and turn counter clockwise until it stops moving. Then zero the dial indicator out to manual specs. Turn the crank back to TDC and adjust the pump (move back and forth) to the proper reading. It should read what the Bentley manual states for your particular year motor, turbo or non turbo, when your done. To adjust the pump, loosen the three bolts on the pump flange and the one at the back bottom area of the pump and turn until the pump reads correctly on the dial indicator. Retighten the pump bolts and turn the motor 360 degrees and recheck the reading. NOTE: On Sidekick/Tracker conversions, you must determine TDC and transfer the mark to the front engine pulley before you can time your motor in the future. An easy way to do this is to mark your front pulley BEFORE you take your donor VW transmission bellhousing timing method off the VW engine. In addition to the above timing information, check out Vince Walden's excellent write-up with pictures and timing values.

Do I need parts from different VW engines?

Yes. But only one or two. If you are using a 1.5 or 1.6 diesel we recommend using an oil filter housing from a VW fox (included in Acme Kits #2, #3, and #6, except for 1.9 engines). This angles back the oil filter and will clear the factory Suzuki engine mount on the drivers side. Alternatively, you can use a remote oil filter set-up eliminating the angled oil filter housing if desired. Depending on your choice of motor you may need a gas motor intake and exhaust manifold to clear the Samurai hood.

What is the best service manual to get?

The best and most complete service manuals we have seen for the VW engine are the Bentley books available through your local parts store or

Do I use the VW donor transmission?

No. The VW transmission and related parts are not used. Only the transmission parts you have on your Suzuki are used should you decide to use the Samurai transmission. Acme Adpaters also gives you the option to mate any 4 cylinder, water cooled VW motor to a Samurai, Sidekick/Tracker and Toyota truck transmissions. Kits are available for the automatic or manual transmissions.

What year Samurai's will work with this kit?

The ACME Suzuki Turbo Diesel Kit will allow you to mate the VW engine and Suzuki transmission into any 1986-1996 SJ413 Suzuki Samurai. For the early SJ410, you will have to relocate the engine frame mounts forward and use the SJ413 Samurai 5 speed transmission (1987 and earlier Samurai transmissions are preferred for the higher 5th gear).

What about RPM's and gearing?

RPM's are typically a little higher than the stock VW application. This is easily addressed with using larger tires. However, other options are swapping transmissions, transfercases or ring and pinions.

What kind of mileage can I expect using a VW diesel motor?

We have personally experienced up to 45 MPG using a VW 1.6 naturally aspirated engine running on 235's using the older #2 high sulphur fuels. The 1.6 turbo engine averages 33-38 MPG running on 31 inch tires in a Samurai. In a Tracker/Sidekick, we you can expect 33-39 MPG running 30 inch tires. The 1.9 turbo engine running 33 inch tires gets 27-30 mpg in a Samurai. Mileage is affected by the type of fuel you use (high or low sulphur #2, off road #2, Bio, WVO, etc....), condition your motor is in and what tires are on your rig. You will get the best mileage with a rebuilt injection pump, injectors and head provided the rest of your motor is in good condition.

Can I put a turbocharger on my naturally aspirated motor?

There is some controversy with this subject. Acme's position is a big "Yes". Mechanics, racers and owners have been doing this upgrade for many years. Simply locate a turbo set-up (exhaust manifold, intake manifold, turbo, oil lines, and oil pan) from a turbo engine. You will have to drill out the angled oil filter housing where the turbo oil line would normally mount. It all bolts up the same on the head. In later years, VW and other manufactures got smarter and changed the engine block design in order to cool the pistons. They squirted oil up under the pistons creating an engine with more longevity. VW found it to be beneficial in all 4 cylinder engine applications from approximately 1990 year onward.

What should the compression and oil pressure be on a good used diesel motor?

The compression should be between 398 and 483 psi after cranking 4 or 5 times. Maximum difference between cylinders should be no more than 73 psi. Oil pressure should be from 2 to 6 lbs. at idle and 26 lbs. at 2000 rpm.

What can I do to prevent my exhaust from cracking?

Due to the nature of the diesel, we recommend using a flex pipe and a steel brace in the exhaust system near the front of the header. This eliminates cracking. This part is available from ACME or parts stores such as J.C. If you want a good used one from an auto wrecker, you can find them on a 1993 and later Ford Taurus.

What do I do if I get stuck somewhere in the conversion?

Contact ACME Adapters by phone or e-mail, listed in your kit, for unlimited technical support. We are done when you are done.

What happens if I break or bend an Acme Adapter part?

Every ACME Suzuki Turbo Diesel manufactured part is guaranteed for life. If it breaks, bends, or fails, send it back and we will give you a new one free of charge––even if your not the original owner. That's proof of our commitment to you as a customer and it's an ACME promise.