Monday, November 20, 2006

VW - Install a Thermostat

Do it.

The thing will run without it, the better the climate, the better it will run. And if you’re running a full-flow oil filter the main bearings will last about as long.

But that’s it; that’s the limit of the ‘benefits’ you’ll receive from re-designing the Volkswagen engine, because that’s what you’ve done; you’ve told generations of superbly qualified engineers to stick it in their ear, that you know a better way to do it. Unfortunately, without the thermostat your jugs will wear like a bitch, as will your valve guides; you’ll burn more gas, suck a lot of oil and have a hell of a time passing your smog check. Of course, all the experts in the VW-specific rags say no thermostat is a wizard idea, along with blue coils and yellow wires itty-bitty fan pulleys and all the other bitchin’ tricks that made them rich and famous as builders of fine automobiles.

What’s that you say? They haven’t built any cars?

Oh. Well, then make them famous as builders of winning racers. Whats that?

Gee... you mean all they do is talk about it? Ummmmm.....

Put the thermostat back in. To a real mechanic, anyone who builds an engine without a proper cooling system -- and that includes a thermostat and air-vanes -- is like a guy going around with his fly unzipped.

Here’s how to do it.

You need a blower housing with a working set of air-vanes.

The connecting-rod across the front of the blower housing connecting the air-vanes together. Plus the spring that holds the air-vanes open.

The right-side set of air-vanes must have a thermostat link-rod.

Under the engine you need the thermostat bracket and the thermostat.

To install, make sure the thermostat link-rod slides down through the head and projects between the push-rod tubes under the engine. Secure the blower housing and generator (I’ll assume you took the opportunity to replace the modified intake manifold).

Under the engine, reach up and thread the thermostat onto the link-rod. Run it all the way up. Now put the thermostat bracket onto the thermostat. Make sure the base of the thermostat fits the opening in the bracket, which is flat-sided to prevent the thermostat from unscrewing itself as it expands and contracts. Now pull down on the whole assembly and fit the bracket over the stud on the side of the sump. Install a flat washer, a warpy washer and a nut. Pull down on the assembly until the air-vanes are fully closed.

Don’t over-do it. Tighten down the nut securing the bracket.

I’ll assume you tested the thermostat before you did all of this, and that your engine has all its tin-ware. The lower tin provides a plenum that insures the thermostat is bathed in heated air from the cylinders and heads.

The bottom line is that your engine warms up faster, idles better, runs sweeter and lasts longer.

On the other hand, you may wish to leave it off, unzip your fly and make your personal style statement to the VW world.

-Bob Hoover

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