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High mileage driver found
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back around 2009, I bought a fairly mangled '99 TDI NB, and the whole drivetrain and wiring harness from a Mk3 '99 Jetta VR6... then quickly realized this wasn't the way to do it. Fast forward 6 years, about 50 other cars in between, and I ended up buying a beat up '99 NB 2.0 for $200 (My 7th New Beetle). I had no plans for it, the seller told me I should run it in a demolition derby, but I don't think I could ever do that to a Beetle.




It ran, had a broken rear spring, no brakes whatsoever, and when I tried to drive it, the right control arm pulled out of the subframe it was so rusty. It was a mess... and then I thought back to my original dream of building a VR6 Beetle.

A few hours spent throughout the week found me a 2001 Jetta VR6 for $800... new timing chain, new clutch. I emailed the guy, and he told me I could have it for $400 if I could get it that weekend. Sounded good to me. The car was about 3 hours from my home and I drove it back without even a hiccup.



Really wasn't a bad car, but it wasn't a Beetle.
 

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High mileage driver found
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Time to start stripping the Beetle:






(Most of the 2.0 engine harness)


And then the Jetta. I almost felt bad tearing apart this car. ALMOST.







 

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High mileage driver found
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·




Actually getting the VR6 drivetrain into the Beetle took maybe 15 minutes... it fits, the mounting points are the same and everything lines up. MK3 VWs use different mounting points, so I'd avoid getting that version of the VR.


Front clip temporarily installed for fitment purposes. I ended up having to trim most of the black plastic rad support that's exposed, the intake was hitting (and there's no place for the distick tube).

Next:
Making a '99 Beetle with no immobilizer have the wiring from an '01 VR6 Jetta with an immobilizer. And trying to keep everything else functional, too!


The entire wiring harness from a VR6 Jetta.
 

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High mileage driver found
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So my issues with wiring...

-The Beetle is not equipped for an immobilizer
-The Beetle has a mechanical (cable operated) throttle, the Jetta has electronic (Drive by wire)
-Although the electrical connectors for plugging the engine harness into the remaining vehicle harness are the same style, the Jetta connector has a ton of extra wires.
-Portions of the Jetta harness are shorter, as the routing to the ECU is totally different between the two cars.



What I ended up doing was basically separating the parts from the Jetta harness that the Beetle didn't have, without cutting any wires. It was tedious, but I wanted this to be tidy and basically a factory looking install. I already had an entire harness from another '01 VR6 Jetta that I parted out a few years back (had a blown engine), so if I ran into any issues, the harness in the most recent donor Jetta was totally intact.

I did the wiring for each component separately to keep things isolated in case I had any issues, and to save myself from confusion (I get sidetracked easily!)



Cluster zip tied to the crossmember, ecu kinda in place, and wiring everywhere!
 

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I commend you for diving in on a project like this; it looks like allot of work! I am afraid; looking at those piles of wiring harnesses, look overwhelming at the start! Where to begin? I'm looking forward to seeing your progress; as you move through your VR6 engine swap! :) I'm curios; to see if you do any VR6 engine upgrades and whether you go with a 02M six speed transmission. Lately, it seems; turbocharging the VR6, seems to be a trend over at VWVORTEX and I can only imagine, a turbocharged VR6 New Beetle with a six speed with a all wheel drive conversion, would be a blast! I'm sure; that could get expensive but we can dream, can't we?

PS: please discuss; your project plans concerning performance goals and where you are going with the conversion, I am sure other things need upgrading (e.g. brakes, etc.).
 

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High mileage driver found
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When I swapped over the Jetta's subframe, I left the brakes and everything attached, so it'll just have the Jetta VR6 front brakes for now. Rear brakes are the same anyhow. Eventually I'd like to go with R32/TT 3.2 brakes all around, but for now, this should work.

As far as performance is concerned, I'm not going to go too crazy with it... it's chipped now (so 15-20 more HP than stock), and I've also done a lot of weight reduction to the car, so it should be fairly peppy.

The goal? To have a Beetle with the glorious noise of a VR6.

...and to prove my ex girlfriend wrong because she said I couldn't do it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·


First start up! With hand operated gas pedal for now... note the wires coming over the crossmember!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks!

I should add- I had to send my ECU out to have it re-chipped to disable the immobilizer. Some can be flashed, some can't... mine was the latter of the two. Fortunately, a good friend of mine has a connection and it only ended up being $150, including a performance flash (15-20% increase in HP, speed limiter disable, and the ECU doesn't look for the cluster any more... although the cluster still works, as does the Jetta one!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Another thing I neglected to take photos of: The gas pedal. VW is pretty good for making stuff that just kinda bolts in.

This isn't the case for the electronic gas pedal vs the cable operated one. The mount is entirely different, and if you're doing a VR6 swap, it's easy, because a huge chunk of the firewall unbolts from the body of the car! I realized this after getting the engine into the Beetle and getting it running... so I ended up having to drill out a bunch of spot welds under the dash of the car and from the Jetta's firewall, then swapping over the pedal mount. I'm sure the removable part of the firewall is the same between the two cars... so for anyone reading this who wants to do the swap- please do this instead.






A good example of some "test" wiring while I was getting things operational.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·


Stock exhaust just isn't going to do it for me.
 

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Wow, amazing built thread!!! Congratulations for taking on this project, can't wait for the next update!
 

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I've been planning a vr bug since before I had one in 2000. I'm waiting for a good deal to show on a 2002 GLI to use as a donor but they are still out of budget. anyway you are on the right path to getting this done in my research. Its better to have a whole car to swap everything over. Here is a pic of the firewall pan mentioned above. I can tell you that they unbolt but the glue they seal them with is made by the gods. you prob have to heat it with a torch to get it to let loose. This 99 that I parted out had the ecm routed mostly over the passenger side into the brain. Not sure but maybe the vr harness could be routed that way also
 

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I'm going to try using the entire cluster and make or find something to cover it or blend into the dash design. My thought was to wire everything in before the engine install. There is a guy down the street who put a vr from an 02 in a mk2 Jetta and he sent the ECM somewhere and had it stripped of the downstream o2 the air pump and mobilizer, a bunch of mods to it to get it to work in that Jetta. Upon getting it back they struggled with the car but it was something the company forgot to do with the ECM re mobilizer. the problem was resolved and all is well. the ECM mods cost around 500 if memory serves.
Like you he stretched the harness out and followed everything on the floor.


After my car was in an accident I upgraded the spindles and front brakes from a junkyard 02 Jetta turbo , so I have the brake mods done. For those in the dark, the Turbo and VR use a duel piston caliper and vented rotors
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Unfortunately I don't have a pipe bender, so I had to leave the exhaust system up to the professionals. I work across the road from a great exhaust shop, good enough that the VW dealership I work at sends any exhaust work that isn't "bolt on" to them.

I left the car with them for an estimate... and got a call a week later saying it was ready to go.


Some extra pipe... I trimmed this back.


Totally hand made!







Trimmed back with rolled stainless tips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·


It sounds umm... a little aggressive.
 

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So, correct me if I am wrong but this setup, is this a straight through exhaust system ( with no mufflers; cat back or downpipe as well)? What size pipe are you using; it looks like a "step down" in size, towards the back. I am curious; what are the sound/decibel limits in Canada? Do you still have a cat installed; why did you go without any mufflers at all? :confused: Would something like this pass inspection in your area or do you have inspections in your area at all? Just wondering; thanks! :) The sound; is definitely pretty amazing! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The exhaust is 2.75" from the cat (still running a cat) to where the exhaust splits off, where it goes down to 2.5".

I decided against mufflers because I wanted this Bug to sound like a holy terror. We do have a mandatory inspection here, but I can just do my own since I'm a licensed mechanic. Not sure what the decibel limit is... but I'm going to assume I'm over it. It's fairly polite if I keep my foot off of the gas pedal, but who wants to do that?

I also need to figure out reverse lights at some point, but haven't found anything I like so far.
 
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