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I have just bought a 1999 California coach campervan based on the T4. It's a German import and from all the bits and pieces (cruise control, ABS, air con, heated seats etc.) it must have been towards the top of the range at the time and presumably the bloke that bought it originally was not short of a Euro or two. The thing that puzzles me is the engine which is an 88hp TDI. By any standard 88hp from a 2.4 litre engine is pretty low especially as there was a 102 hp engine choice available at presumably not much extra cost. Why would anyone choose the lower power engine? Even 102 hp can hardly be described as powerful. What could be the thinking behind this engine range? What possible advantage is there in building such a low power output engine? The 88 hp is bad enough, God only knows what the even lower power non turbo lump feels like. Any insights or explanations would be welcome.
 

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i was thinking about this too - my assumption, and it is an assumption, is that because the likelyhood is that the engine is going to have a pretty hard life - towing other vehicles, spending most of its life hulking bricks/tools/photocopiers - or whatever - up and down the country, it isnt a good idea to tune the engine to the very limit of its potential performance because it just means that things are going to go wrong, head gaskets will blow, etc. By under-rating the engine its going to be a lot more reliable, and therefore more useful to a business, which is its primary purpose. That's my assumption. B
 

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The VW T4 diesel engines are as follows

1.9
1.9td
2.4
2.5tdi

If yours is a 2.5tdi (Im assuming it is, seeing as you mention the 88hp and 102hp models) then you can run project power (use the search function on the forum) and tune it, get the ECU remapped etc.

The 1.9's and 2.4's (i.e. non ECU controlled) can only really be tuned mechanically.

As to choosing the lower power engine, why dont you ask him yourself? And as for building one, why dont you ask VW? Rasp:

Even 102 hp can hardly be described as powerful. What could be the thinking behind this engine range? What possible advantage is there in building such a low power output engine?
My answer would be that VW made it to be a van. A simple, functional van - why have a massive engine? What conceivable point would there be in building a 300hp work van?!? OK OK I know people are looking to get 200hp out of their vans on this forum, but thats enthusiasts for you! Yeah VW offered loads of options, electric pacs etc but that doesent change the intended function of the vehicle.

To me 102hp is powerful - more powerful than anything Ive driven before. If however you have only driven sportscars then yes, I agree 102hp isnt very powerful.

Its subjective, isnt it?

If you want something more powerful, get a VR6 Caravelle :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My last few cars have been an elderly peugeot 306 1.9 TDI, a 130hp Sharan and a 90 1.9tdi hp Sharan. Currently driving a new 1.6 tdi Fiesta. All of them have more oomph than the California, even the old pug. Also on all of them you can tell when the turbo kicks in but not on the California which makes me wonder if the turbo is actually working! When it gets up to motorway cruising speed it will hold 70 all day but it's getting there that it struggles with. How can I tell if the turbo is working? Incidentally the van has a full service history.
 

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My last few cars have been an elderly peugeot 306 1.9 TDI, a 130hp Sharan and a 90 1.9tdi hp Sharan. Currently driving a new 1.6 tdi Fiesta. All of them have more oomph than the California, even the old pug. Also on all of them you can tell when the turbo kicks in but not on the California which makes me wonder if the turbo is actually working! When it gets up to motorway cruising speed it will hold 70 all day but it's getting there that it struggles with. How can I tell if the turbo is working? Incidentally the van has a full service history.
Clearly the T4, even without a coach built conversion will be a lot heavier than all those vehicles. With a coachbuilt conversion you are looking at one heavy mutha!

Comparing those vehicles you are really only talking about an extra litre on the engine for a whole lot more tonnage so Im not surprised you find it slow!

What vehicle do you have ?

2.5tdi or 2.4? If you have a turbo you will hear it kick in - like on all your other cars. If you dont, you wont T:
 

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As Si says - it's a van. In your case, a VERY heavily laden camper van - but a van, nonetheless.

Go down the PP route if you want extra power without a hit on reliability/economy, but it'll still be a van.

You're comparing apples to oranges trying to compare a T4 to a small car......:)
 

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You are carrying much more weight and have windage, but you should defo feel the turbo spin up,
had mine remaped and it goes V well turbo kicks in and your pinned in your seat!

again relative not like an aerial atom
still only takes seconds from 60 to 95 in 5th
 

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They were not built for BHP, but for torque. Ie pulling power;)
 

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Pretty sure it said on whatvan.com in the review of the 2.5 tdi 88 bhp t4 that the reasoning for detuning the engine was to provide an incentive of saving on insurance costs for potential buyers, who wouldnt necessarily need 102bhp but would still like the 2.5tdi. I think you are missing the point of a van as others have said, its a van not a speed machine, my 2.5tdi 88 bhp is fine when unloaded, and adequate when loaded and has a nice turn of speed on the motorway.hopefully depending on how merry monks van turns out will be getting a meaty power boost soon ;) take a look in the engine section for the thread on this T:
 
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