Introduction & To-Do list

My 1.6 VW engine is getting tired, so I have to do something. I have the choice between rebuilding my engine, buy a rebuild engine, OR swap the engine to a watercooled one. Because the first to options where quite expensive AND the quality of engine parts and rebuilds is getting worse, I decided for the watercooled one. It will cost me roughly the same (maybe a little less) then the vw engine, but I would gain horsepower, smoother running (fuel injection) and it will produce less engine noise. Plus I would have a heater without a slight smell of exhaust fumes. Another plus would be running the beetle on the freeway at 120 km/h knowing that this engine should be able to do this without problems.

I decided to convert to an Alfa Romeo engine. Why? See the first link in my to-do list:

The To-Do list:

Not entirely in chronological order…

choose and buy an engine
create an engine trolley
clean engine
replace old and worn rubber gearbox mountings
buy adapter kit (from DS-tuning)
fit engine to the engine bay, I’ll have to cut away (part of) the bumper brackets.

Cooling system:
At first I had the radiator in the back, but this didn’t work on the highway (read more about it here). Now I am putting the radiator in the front.

Fuel delivery/return:


connect throttle cable to Alfa throttle cable
find an alternative for the standard airfilter
create an exhaust
create brackets for the rear engine support and rear apron
perform basic maintenance on engine
Change gearbox?


After all the modifications, this is how you install the Alfa engine (engine start at the end of the clip):



Alfa engine in VW beetle

Running smoothly for the first time, on 2007-04-30:


  1. I lost my 156 recently due to a drunk driver hitting me from behind.I bought a 73 bug but ibdrove a 33 TI .I can get an engine is the convention worth it

    • Hi Corne,

      Yes it is worth it. It makes the beetle much more useable and fun to drive.
      But, it is ot a project you can do in a weekend, it will take time, and you need a place where you can work on it.


  2. as passionate Alfisti and someone who wish for himself also an classic VW Beetle Cabrio, this would be ideal choice!

    now, I would only like to use the 1.7L Alfa Romeo boxer with 16 valves. that is 129 PS rocket!

    I had both 1.4 and 1.6 boxers on 146 Alfas, but both were 8 valve machines and petrolhead like me can notice that.

    those boxers are indestructable!


    • Hi Yunus,

      I used the VW beetle gearbox.
      At first I used the longer geared AT gearbox, but then I switched to the lower geared AM gearbox.
      The lower gears suit the higher revving engine better.


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