Ted talks air-cooled engines.
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.