Ted Con­nolly

Ted talks air-cooled en­gines.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents -

Air­ing a few thoughts

VERY few pow­ered ve­hi­cles rely on air-cooled en­gines these days. The thing is that liq­uid cool­ing keeps a mo­tor within pre­de­fined op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­tures and al­lows de­sign­ers to work to much closer tol­er­ances. With­out get­ting too tech­ni­cal (which I can’t, any­way, be­cause I’m not that bright), en­gines are now su­per­ef­fi­cient in terms of power out­puts and emis­sions.

How­ever, air-cooled en­gines do have ad­van­tages. They are less costly to man­u­fac­ture, cheaper and sim­pler to main­tain (no cool­ing sys­tem to worry about) and there is never a prob­lem with ic­ing up in the win­ter. The Bri­tish bike in­dus­try re­lied on such de­signs for many decades and Volk­swa­gen, of course, per­fected the art of the air­cooled mo­tor with the Bee­tle and Type 2 vans.

I re­mem­ber read­ing an ad­vert many years ago, which boasted that a VW Bee­tle

had cov­ered 100,000 miles on the same en­gine and it still didn’t need a re­build.

A phe­nom­e­nal feat at the time, con­sid­er­ing that our stuff needed pulling apart at some­times half that mileage.

I also re­call read­ing in a mag­a­zine that you should never use Duck­hams oil in a Vee­dub en­gine. You know, that lovely green stuff that I haven’t seen around for ages. I never did quite un­der­stand why and it was only rel­a­tively re­cently, af­ter speak­ing to a VW ex­pert, that I fi­nally got it.

The air-cooled Vee­dub mo­tor – at least, the ear­lier ones – had an oil strainer rather than a fil­ter and this trapped im­pu­ri­ties. Duck­hams was a high­de­ter­gent oil and it was ca­pa­ble of dis­lodg­ing those par­ti­cles and let­ting them run round the lu­bri­ca­tion sys­tem, usu­ally with dis­as­trous re­sults. Did you know that? Say ‘No’ – I like to feel im­por­tant.

‘A Bee­tle cov­ered 100,000 miles on the same en­gine’

Con­vert­ible Volk­swa­gens seem to be dom­i­nat­ing the CM pages this is­sue – Ed.

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