1989 TriStar Syncro Project



This TriStar came with the most powerful gasoline motor that VW offered in the T3.  The 2.1L "DJ" wasserboxer with 82kW (112hp) of power at 4800rpm and 174Nm (128lb-ft) of torque at 2800rpm.  Very respectable numbers compared to the North American 2.1L "MV" motor at 70kW (95hp) and 160Nm (117lb-ft).  The problem with the DJ motor is that in order to get that extra power the compression ratio was increased to 10.5:1 and you need to run expensive premium fuel as the the DigiJet injection system does not have knock sensor.

Times have changed since this TriStar has been produced and technology has changed too.  Now we have computer controlled motors that have a torque output of 210Nm (155lb-ft) at a very low 1900 RPM that consumes only small quantities of inexpensive Diesel fuel all from a 1.9L displacement.  This motor is known as the TDI or Turbo Diesel Direct Injection.  Just the thing we need to move a big truck like the TriStar!  

1.9L 'ALH' TDI verses 2.1L 'DJ' wasserboxer

At 100km/h in 4th gear the ALH TDI will produce 25% more torque than the original DJ wasserboxer motor.  After the tire size is taken into consideration we will have a 11% increase in performance at highway speed.  This will mean less gearing down for hills and the ability to pass someone with reasonable style.  If the TriStar had an MV wasserboxer motor like they have in North America we would be looking at 33% more torque at 100km/h and 19% more after the larger tires are taken into consideration!  With the TDI installed, I can drive from Quesnel to Vancouver entirely in 4th gear - try that with a wasserboxer!

1.9L 'ALH' TDI verses 2.1L 'DJ' wasserboxer
Corrected for felt power as a result of 14% increase in tire size

The above chart isn't really correct as the engine output doesn't change due to the increased tire size.  The chart shows effectively the felt power as a result of the 14% larger tires on the ALH equipped vehicle verses the stock tires on a DJ equipped vehicle - the results are even better compared with North American MV engine!

Finally, a chart that will shows speed verses power with the old and new setup.

I think everything works out perfectly.  The speeds at which the torque drops off on both motors is the same with the new gearing and tire combinations.  It is a real treat to drive.


2003 - 2004 David Marshall