The title says it all, and with a description like that you can only smile when you really think about it. There’s honestly a laundry list of mods on this vehicle to talk about but we’re going to save that for the complete coverage of the car at a later date. This article is more to document/showcase the MK4 AWD conversion.
The car belongs to Greg Tibbo, and this MK4 Jetta has been in his possession since he drove it off the lot new in 2001. With all the MK4 1.8T’s roaming the streets in the early 2000’s Greg set out to prove the VR6 still had a few tricks up its sleeve. Once the car was paid off he began piecing together a turbo kit to give the naturally aspirated 12V VR6 a little more get up and go. After a few stage upgrades the last dyno session put down 392whp on pump fuel w/meth. Although impressive, the most recent motor/turbo upgrades should exceed those numbers and we can’t wait. Over the years the car has gone through a handful of changes however the latest transformation was the largest undertaking to date.
Greg had dreamt about doing an AWD swap for a while but other projects became a priority and the MK4 nearly got sold last year. It wasn’t until a few AWD parts became available locally that he started to think hard about keeping the MK4 and taking it to the next level. Since the power was well sorted there was only one more thing that could make this car even more fun… traction!!!
At this point Greg had a few conversations with Dave at CO Motorsports and was confident the dreams of the AWD Jetta could become a reality. With excitement building it was now time to make the plunge and start gathering up the required parts for the swap. With the pan and a few other items sourced close to home a quick search on the interwebs and a weekend trip across the border the parts were no longer an issue.
Up until this point Greg had always done all the work on the car himself. With work/life commitments and the tools required to perform such a task he knew it was finally time to hand the car over if this dream was ever going to come to fruition. The complete AWD swap seen here was completed by CO Motorsports in collaboration with Overall Collision. This collab brought together a combination of skills to ensure every part of the swap was completed to not only look the part but to handle the future power goals. Using the proper panel repair processes and frame measurement tools to ensure the fit and finish came out as it would from factory, not to mention handle the years of torture the car has ahead of it.
In typical “built not bought” fashion Greg delivered the car completely apart as a rolling chassis, making sure he did as much as possible before handing it over for its face lift. As you can see from many of the photos this is not a typical job for the do it yourselfer. This requires a lot of time and patience to ensure it’s done correctly and that other things aren’t ruined in the process. The entire rear floor section of the vehicle must be removed to make way for the new R32/Audi TT floor pan (we used an Audi TT pan on this car). This is not just the floor pan but also includes a very large portion of the side rocker sills (rails) and parts of the inner wheel wells. Needless to say there’s a lot of cutting and structure that must be removed from the vehicle in order to make room for the new pan.
Before putting the new pan up into its final resting place the entire bottom side of the pan was painted. This guaranteed a quality job and ensured none of the original TT floor color would show through. Once everything was in place and measured out correctly the process of welding it all back together began. Because the trunk is much longer/lower in a Jetta , the R32/Audi TT pan must be extended to fit the vehicle. As you can see after the transformation the rear trunk area in the MK4 Jetta looks like it would from factory.
Once the fab work was completed and some OE touches the car was ready to hit the paint booth. After some color was laid on the new pan to match the outside of the vehicle you begin to lose sense that there was anything done to the car at all.
The entire AWD conversion took only a couple weeks and after the new suspension was bolted up in place the car was ready to go back to its home for final assembly. Greg could finally get his hands back on the car to start bolting on the collection of new parts he had been gathering for the swap.
On top of this wild MK4 Greg also has a handful of other top notch VW’s in his stable. A MK2 Jetta Coupe with a Turbo VR6, a modified MKV GTI TSI, Gen 3 TSI Beetle and most recently a new 2.0T Tiguan. Not only is Greg an old school/die hard VW owner he is also an Engineer, so needless to say attention to detail is sort of a disorder for him. When Greg finally got to see his Jetta in person his expectations had been surpassed by the quality, fit and finish of the entire swap. It’s safe to say the goal of having a completely OE looking swap was a success and we can’t wait until we receive the videos of it shredding all four tires this spring.
Be sure to follow along with the entire build by clicking the “Build Icon” at the beginning of the article.
Photos: Clayton Cole