Monday, November 20, 2006

VW - The 'Hoover Bit'

The Missing Piece

I’m guilty of taking VW-specific magazines to task for the many errors and omissions in their articles. I’m not against VW-specific magazines . . . there is no ‘hidden agenda’ in my criticism. Indeed, I’ve urged people to buy the magazines for their ads and illustrations. But I’ve also told folks not to put much faith in their technical content since it was often incomplete, inaccurate or skewed to favor a device or service offered by one of the magazine’s advertisers.

Over the years that I’ve been uploading articles to the internet my position with regard to the magazines and the poor job they do has earned me a lot of flack. Most of it comes from kids who simply don’t know any better, some from older VW owners who should. I thank them for their opinion and that’s usually the last I hear from them. But occasionally one of these misguided missiles will wave their lawyer at me. It’s all horseshit of course, but it gets tiresome. The truth is, the technical content of the VW-specific magazines is very low. Everyone associated with the magazines has a vested interest, either in their job with the magazine or some outside activity that is fostered by their relationship with the magazine. I don’t. My opinion may not be correct but it’s always my honest opinion, not dictated by fear, greed or financial interest. And while I may not always be correct, my opinion is based on first-hand experience . . . I’m the guy with the greasy fingernails . . . I spend more time at the workbench than the typewriter.

During the course of a recent thread having to do with the retro-fit of a late-model dog-house oil-cooler to an early engine, I mentioned a critically important piece of tin-ware, a small bracket that bolts to the cooler core, supporting the gasket(s) that serve as an air-dam for the cooler, and as a bolting bracket for the fan housing. The absence of this air-dam creates a substantial air leak, allowing air to by-pass the oil cooler. The bracket also serves to secure the blower housing to the oil cooler. Without the bracket and the critical fastener, the tin-ware around the oil cooler is blown out of position by the force of the cooling air, allowing as much air to go around the oil cooler as flows through it. The bottom line is that failure to install the bracket results in a profound reduction in the effectiveness of the oil cooler.

A Florida subscriber to the Type2 list read my comments about the benefits of the dog-house cooler and followed the recent thread, as well as asking a number of questions regarding air vanes and thermostats in private messages. He is new to Volkswagens, as were we all at one time and not especially confident of his skills as a mechanic, as were we all at one time.

He decided to tackle the job when an illustrated article on the modification appeared in the April, 1997 issue of ‘Dune Buggies and Hot VWs’ magazine (page 54). But the article made no mention of the critical bracket and, never having seen one, he could not deduce its location from the illustrations, a copy of which he sent to me by surface mail.

He couldn’t see it because it isn’t there. The bracket is neither mentioned in the text nor shown in the illustrations. Whoever did the work left the bracket out and Bruce Simurda, the Editor and Associate Publisher of ‘DB&HVW’s’, who wrote the article, obviously doesn’t know enough about VW engines to realize the part was missing.

Without that critical little bracket you’ll just be pissing away your money on the mod. Get the bracket. Do it right. Pour through the shop manuals until you see how it is installed . . . it only fits one way.

The article is the typical infomercial, touting SoCal Imports as one source of the components needed to do the mod. It would be interesting to hear their comments regarding the missing bracket.

-Bob Hoover

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