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A Volkswagen engine in action

Going by many names, such as opposed, boxer, and flat, the engine configuration famous to such cars as the Porsche 911 has had a storied run throughout the decades.

The hallmark of the opposed engine is the fact that the engine has two cylinder banks and each piston, directly horizontally opposed from another cylinder, does not share a crank pin with the opposing piston. The latter characteristic is essential to the engine being considered opposed; often times people confuse the boxer engine with the 180 degree V engine family, which is similar, yet attaches both pistons to the same crank pin.

Gaining the name ‘boxer’ from the appearance of two boxers going at each other from the synchronously reciprocating motions of the pistons, the opposed engine was first patented in 1896 by Karl Benz. Almost as old as the automobile itself, the opposed engine design has certainly had its run throughout the decades. Perhaps one of the earliest and most prolific uses was on the VW air cooled flat four, which became the staple of the Volkswagen Type 1(Beetle) and remained in production for almost 70 years before being discontinued; however, its appearance in road cars went on the wane much earlier, beginning in the mid 90s. Porsche has also been reputed for using flat engines, particularly on the 911 and succeeding model variants. For a time, some of the most prolific boxer engines were also air cooled, though this is no longer the case; Porsche shipped the last air cooled 911(badged as the 993) in 1998, and the air cooled Beetle ceased with the introduction of the New Beetle in 1997. Beyond Porsche, Subaru has also made extensive use of boxer engines, with the Impreza being a well known example. Ferrari experimented with the flat engine design in the 1980s, with the most prolific example being the Ferrari Testarossa, which sported a flat twelve.

Boxer engines derive several performance advantages inherent to their design, since the center of gravity on an opposed engine is much lower to the ground compared to an in-line or V design. This allows for better lateral acceleration. In addition, the benefits to handling are enormous. Better turning/cornering capability, decreased roll, and better grip of the roadway all come natural to the flat engine over its alternatives, due to its lower profile. The boxer engine also has a leg up in terms of balance; due to the fact that its pistons are directly opposed to each other, firing motions can cancel entirely. Consequently, the flat four is ideally balanced over the in-line four, due to the fact that second order vibrations can cancel; the in-line four is seen as imbalanced, hence the need for balancers and dampening mounts. Boxer engines also generally have better cooling system functionality after start-up, since, due to the horizontal nature of its profile, oil and coolant remains more evenly dispersed throughout, rather than sinking down as happens in in-line or V designs. Lower profile also makes power transmission more even, as the engine is on a plane closer to the rest of the drive-train.

vw-flat-fourDespite all of the opposed engine’s benefits in terms of performance, however, it does have a few marked disadvantages which have largely precluded its rise over the decades. The flat configuration always catches flak for the fact that the wide profile makes the engine significantly harder to work on. With each cylinder head right up against the side of the engine bay, a simple task like swapping out spark plugs can become a protracted and arduous process. In addition to irking those who wrench on these cars, it also increases maintenance cost for the average owner when it does come time to have the car in the shop. But the added costs of a boxer engine don’t stop there. They generally require more parts and components, due to the fact that having two cylinder heads is innate to the flat design. This, in many cases, doubles the number of head components, valve-train components, and cooling jackets. The added cost builds up, making the boxer engine much more expensive to produce. Obviously weight considerations come into play here, though they don’t present a huge obstacle. Many boxer engines are constrained to mid engine designs, due to the additional size requirements imparted by its wide profile; this is not always the case, with smaller boxers generally exempt.

Some folks will tell you that the boxer engine is the best thing to ever happen to motoring, while others will contend it isn’t worth spitting on- just depends who you ask. Regardless of which of these two groups is right, one can’t help but notice that the engine has always been more of a niche technology. Where does this leave the engine’s fate in today’s automotive world, where things are changing so rapidly? Probably not anywhere different than it’s always been. Sure, no new manufacturers are adopting the configuration, but those who currently make them remain committed to the design. Subaru recently unveiled a new line of smaller, more fuel efficient boxers, designed to meet the challenge of a world where fuel economy and efficiency mean everything to so many. Porsche also isn’t abandoning its flat six tradition. In fact, the German manufacturer recently announced that it was investing in a brand new line of flat engines, including both four and six cylinder mills. The folks in Stuttgart are even rumored to be working on a flat eight to grace one of their upcoming models. And of course, BMW remains committed to its line of opposed engines employed in its motorcycles. Expect the flat engine to soldier on, much like it has for decades. It might not be the next big thing anytime soon, but it’ll be around.

  • Which way does the cooling air travel through the shroud? Am I right to think that the air is sucked by the fan through the opening on the other side of the shroud by the firewall area?

 

Yes. The fan sucks air in through the large opening at the back of the shroud. 

  • And then it is pushed by the fan down and over the heads and cylinder fins and exits under the back of the car?

 

Yes. Later models use a “dog house” style fan shroud, which has a bulging extension at the back for the oil cooler (hence the name “dog house”) this extension gets it’s share of cooling air from the fan and uses it to cool the oil cooler.. the warmed up, used air exits through a small channel, and is routed under the car next to the transmission.Earlier shrouds had the oil cooler mounted inside the shroud, but it was found to cause overheating when the factory stepped up the size of the engine to 1600cc. The warmed-up air from the oil cooler on those shrouds was used to cool cylinders #3 and #4, but it was no longer “cool” because of the heat from the oil cooler. So especially the #3 cylinder had a tendency to overheat in extreme conditions.

 

  • And in that case what is the purpose of the hoses that attach to the nozzles on either side of the shroud?

 

Those provide fresh air for the heat exchangers (aluminum casting around the exhaust pipes, wrapped in sheetmetal). The air heats up inside the heat exchangers and is then pushed inside the car by the pressure created by the fan in the fan shroud.To maximise engine cooling in the summer, many people block off these hose outlets in the shroud. If you remove the hoses, you must block the outlets AND the respective holes down in the engine tin, otherwise the fan will suck in very hot air from the exhaust pipe area under the tin.

Sealing off the heater pipe outlets in the fan shroud will increase the air pressure inside the fan shroud a little and would result in slight increase in airflow to the cylinders (see our article on Solving Overheating Problems for better ways to increase cooling).

BUT – VW designed the heat exchangers to have a small continuous flow of air through them (which is spilled out through small slots at the front (front is front of car) of the heat exchangers when the cabin heaters are turned off) – for several reasons.

  1. It results in less heat-soak from the very hot exhaust headers which run past the rocker covers on the way to the muffler. This radiant heat from the exhaust headers would increase the temp of the oil in the rockers covers a little but the flow of cooling air around the header pipes reduce the temp the rocker covers nearby “see”, and
  2. When there is any moisture in the air it can get trapped between the header pipe and the heat exchanger outer cover and increase the likelihood of rust. Running a continous small stream of air through the heat exchangers prevents a build-up of moisture inside the heat exchangers.

 

  • Is the cooling air actually picked up from under the car by where the transmission is and goes up between the shroud and firewall into the fan opening?

 

No. It is drawn in through the vents below the back window, as long as the engine bay seals are in good shape. Cool air in the top of the engine, hot air out the bottom.That’s where you got a bit off track. The engine bay is sealed to prevent air from under the engine reaching the fan, because the air under the engine is very HOT. The fan gets it’s air through the vent holes on the engine lid, and under the rear window. Fresh air comes in from there, and hot air exits from under the car.

*Some* warm air is sucked in to the air filter via a pre-heated air hose, identical to the heater hoses that connect to both sides of the fan shroud. The air filter has a thermostat controlled flap that allows warm air to be sucked into the carburator from under the right side cylinders, when it’s cold enough outside. This helps prevent carb and intake icing.

 

  • If that is the case isn’t that rather ineffective? Wouldn’t it be better to have actual ducting pick up the cold air from the outside and feed it directly into the shroud opening instead of relying on the air somehow squeezing it’s way up between the shroud and firewall and into the fan opening?

 

That’s what it does. There is actually a small high pressure vortex that forms over/behind the back window at speed. Getting sufficient cool air in the vents is no problem. Also note that the rear engine tin prevents any air from being drawn up from underneath/in front of the engine. 

  • Also where does the air that feeds the carburetor come from? The few magazine articles that I’ve read tell you to make sure your engine compartment is sealed properly so no hot air gets in.

 

Again, the engine compartment is sealed from the BOTTOM. Warm air from the #2 cylinder head is provided to the carburetor from the pre-heat hose described above. 

  • Does the carburetor air come through the row of louvers just above the decklid?

 

Yes — the same louvers that feed the fan. Later models had louvers in the decklid too, when the engine size grew to 1500 and 1600cc. (Forget about using a non-louvered decklid with a souped-up street engine unless you provide more fresh air to the carbs and fan from someplace else.) 

  • But if the engine compartment is sealed, then after feeding the carburetor how does that air get out?

 

Like I said, the engine compartment is sealed only at the bottom, so the hot air from under the engine doesn’t get in. Only the needed amount of air is sucked in (except when you have the above-mentioned high power engine in there — then there’s not enough air supply, and you get HEAT!) The air that is fed into the carburetor gets mixed with fuel and burned in the cylinders where it becomes a combustion product (CO, CO2) and is exhausted through the tail pipes. 

  • And finally, I’ve read that you should keep your seals in good shape (sparkplug boots and all other rubber seals) so the hot air doesn’t recirculate into the engine compartment.

 

Exactly. Especially the large rubber seal that goes between the engine tin and car body, it surrounds the entire engine. That seal is critical for engine cooling. 

Millionaire pitcher Daniel Norris lives in a VW camper van

http://sportsglory.com/mlb/millionaire-pitcher-daniel-norris-lives-vw-camper-van/35423

@DanielNorris18
@DanielNorris18

Toronto Blue Jays 21-year-old pitching prospect Daniel Norris used his $2-million signing bonus to buy a 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van, which he plans to live in during spring training as he’s done the last two seasons.

The van, nicknamed Shaggy after the Scooby-Doo character, will be Norris’s home for the next 2 1/2 months in Dunedin, Fla.

Norris, originally from Johnson City, Tenn., recently spoke to the Toronto Star about his van.

Here are the highlights of the interview:

Q: How’s Shaggy (his beloved van) holding up?

A: She’s good. I was away from her for a few days, but it’s good to be back now.

Q: So you’re living in the van all through spring training, not just while you’re on the road?

A: Yeah (laughing). It’s a full-time gig.

Q: Where do you park it?

A: I usually park on Honeymoon Island (a public beach about a 10-minute drive from the Jays’ spring-training complex in Dunedin.) I talked to one cop who patrols the area and he said he was cool with it, but he’s only there Thursday through Sunday, and his partner who covers the other three days isn’t cool with it. So I park at the Wal-Mart Monday to Wednesday and then move to the island.

Q: What’s the best thing about living in a van? A: Being by yourself, making your own decisions and not really answering to anybody. Not that I don’t like being home with my family and stuff, but sometimes it’s nice to just be alone and take care of yourself. It makes you get up and do stuff. You can’t just sit in there and watch TV. I mean, you can, but it’s not comfortable. Being alone so much you learn about yourself. Last year especially I really started thinking deeper about myself and what it took to get me going. It’s definitely taught me a lot. Q: What’s the worst thing?

A: Every year I’ve gotten a lot better at packing lighter, but still it gets messy. I’m not OCD or anything, but there’s times when I just want to throw everything out. You have to be organized or else it starts to feel really cramped.

Q: How do you decide where to stop on the road?

A: I always make a point to stop at Folly Beach and Charleston. That’s a really beautiful area. But other than that I just go wherever. I’ll buy, like, $20 of gas and then stop when it runs out. I’ve

Norris pitched 6.2 innings for the Blue Jays last season.

 

Facebook page reaches 1,000 likes

Recently the Type Two Owners Club Facebook page registered 1,000 likes, meaning ONE THOUSAND people are following our online activities using Facebook.

That is some achievement in just over two years online presence and we hope some day to double this.

Thanks to all you followers!!!!

If you haven’t already – give it a visit.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/VW-Type-Two-Owners-Club/140419162800788?ref=stream target=

 

t2oc likes

 

Vintage releases new VW Camper tyre

http://www.tyrepress.com/2015/02/vintage-releases-new-vw-camper-tyre/

 

Vintage Tyre Supplies (VTS) has launched the first commercial white wall tyre specifically for the type 2 Volkswagen Camper – the 185 R14C (102/100R) by Duramax.

According to VTS, Camper enthusiasts wishing to use white wall tyres have been forced to use car tyres which are often oversized and have insufficient load ratings. This is illegal in some countries and can run the risk of uneven tyre wear or worse. The new 185 R14C on the other hand was specifically developed for commercial vehicles. And therefore it has an increased load capacity of up to 850kg per tyre.

Other popular fitments include: Bedford CF, Ford Transit, Leyland Sherpa and LDV, Mercedes 207D/208, Toyota Hiace, Citroen C25, Fiat Ducato, Ford P100 and the Volkswagen type 25 and LT.

Volksfest this weekend!!!

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Beetlemania-VW-returns-bigger/story-26723213-detail/story.html

Fans of Beetles, campers and all things Volkswagen will be pulling up in a field near Bristol this weekend. Volksfest returns for the 24th year and organisers say it will be bigger and better than ever. The festival, which celebrates the German manufacturer’s vehicles and the cult surrounding them, will run from tomorrow until Sunday June 19 to 21 at a 40-acre venue in Easter Compton.

For the first time at this year’s Volksfest, there will be a wall of death display. A family of performers will defy gravity by riding motorcycles around vertical walls.

There will also be displays of classic and vintage V-dubs and a “show and shine” competition, where owners are given the chance to show off their vehicles in a competition judged by the public.

 

An off-road track will allow owners of custom 4×4 VWs to go through their paces, while there will also be a VW-themed display by Bristol urban street art festival Upfest.

Stepping away from the traditional showcasing of VW models will be the UK lowrider nationals, an event for owners of low-slung American cars with custom suspension to show off their tricks.

There will also be live music every day at the family camping weekend.

Organiser Adrian Ashby said: “It will be a great family show with tons of things for people to see and do. You couldn’t ask for a better Bristol weekend.”

For more information and ticket details visit the website bristolvolksfest.co.uk

 

28 May 1937: the Volkswagen car company is formed

http://moneyweek.com/28-may-1937-the-volkswagen-car-company-is-formed/

Adolf Hitler founding the Volkswagen factory in 1938 © Getty Images
Hitler laid the foundation stone for the Volkswagen factory on 26 May 1938

In the 1930s, the race was on to build a car for the German people.

Adolf Hitler – suffering from automobile envy and peeved that the average American was speeding around in an affordable car but the average German wasn’t – made his desires known. He demanded that a car be produced that could convey the model Aryan family of two adults and three children along Germany’s fancy new roads at speeds of up to 100kmh, for the price of 990 reichmarks.

So in 1933, he instructed Ferdinand Porsche to build such a car. Porsche built three prototypes, one of which was instantly recognisable as the iconic Beetle. It was initially called the Kdf-Wagen named after the ideal of ‘strength through joy’, or Kraft durch Freude.

And so on this day in 1937, the Society to Prepare the German People’s Car – Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH  was founded, and was soon abbreviated to the rather more snappy Volkswagenwerk GmbH.

The government allocated 480,000 reichmarks as start-up capital for the construction of a new factory, and on 26 May, 1938, Hitler laid the foundation stone in the Stadt des KdF-Wagens – renamed Wolfsburg in 1945, and still the home of Volkswagen today.

It was originally operated by the German Labor Front. The company began as a piece of Hitler’s project to develop more autobahns as well as an affordable car to drive on them. The goal was to sell the vehicles for less than 1,000 Reich marks — the equivalent of $140 at the time, so they could truly be the car for everyone. At a Nazi rally Hitler said, “It is for the broad masses that this car has been built. Its purpose is to answer their transportation needs, and it is intended to give them joy.”

After WWII, the factory found itself in the British occupied sector of Germany and was handed over to Major Ivan Hirst to run on behalf of the British military government. He persuaded the British Army to order 20,000 cars for its occupying personnel, effectively saving the company from ruin.

The company’s historic connections to the Nazi party dampened sales initially, but not forever. In 1959, an advertising campaign was launched that gave the company’s car the famous name, “Beetle”, and promoted the small size and unique shape of the car. Following the rebranding of the company, VW became the top-selling automotive import in the United States.

The business, now renamed just Volkswagen was offered to various US and British car companies, who all rejected it. So in 1949, the company was made into a trust controlled by the West German government, and administered by the state of Lower Saxony, which still owns 20%.  The German federal government floated its stake on the German stockmarket in 1960.

The company went from strength to strength, becoming a potent symbol of German post-war regeneration. It suffered problems in the 1970s, but came back stronger to become the world’s second-largest vehicle-maker, behind Toyota.

 

 

1986 Volkswagen Transporter GL Syncro

http://www.boldride.com/ride/1986/volkswagen-vanagon-gl-syncro

Volkswagen’s third-generation transporter was introduced in 1979. Designated “T3,” it was known as “Caravelle” in Europe and “T25” in the United Kingdom. In the United States it was sold as the “Vanagon,” a successor to the Microbus and Kombi that had become cult cars in their heyday. Initially built with the legendary four-cylinder air-cooled boxer engine, it was converted to water cooling in 1983, for better emission control and engine management.

A major upgrade was conducted for 1986, with more fabric choices, a redesigned air conditioning system, a larger engine, an upgraded management system, and a new design transmission, available for the first time with Syncro all-wheel drive. The last of the rear-engine Volkswagens, the T3 was discontinued in 1992, although a version continued to be manufactured in South Africa until 2002.

The Dingman Collection’s Volkswagen Vanagon is the top-level GL model with five-speed manual transmission and Syncro all-wheel drive. A water-cooled, 2.1-liter model, it is equipped with air conditioning and power steering and brakes; it also has cloth-faced seating for seven and a cassette AM/FM stereo radio.

 

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2012 at the Dingman Collection, Hampton, New Hampshire.

95 bhp, 2,109 cc OHV opposed four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual gearbox with all-wheel drive, MacPherson strut independent front suspension, torsion bar independent rear suspension, and four-wheel power hydraulic front disc and rear drum brakes.

 

 

Be careful with your vans!! VW camper van destroyed by fire at Studland

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/12977303.UPDATE__VW_camper_van_destroyed_by_fire_at_Studland/

HUNDREDS of half-term holidaymakers were caught up in lengthy delays as firefighters worked to prevent the spread of a heathland blaze at Studland.

Dorset Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) asked police to close off Ferry Road, and the Sandbanks Ferry was temporarily suspended, while they tackled the lunchtime drama.

The fire – which destroyed a VW camper van, a car and a 40 x 20 metre section of heathland – is believed to have started because of a fault with the camper van.

Bournemouth Echo:

Both vehicles were parked on heathland, a few metres in from Ferry Road. No-one was injured in the incident.

DFRS Poole and Hamworthy district commander Charlie Pack praised the work of fire crews, who managed to confine the blaze to a relatively small area.

“Luckily the wind was blowing out to sea,” he said.

“Had it been blowing in the other direction, things could have been a lot different.”

The owners of the camper van, who remained at the scene while firefighters dampened down, declined to comment.

Emergency services were alerted at 12.37pm and a pillar of smoke could be seen from across the harbour at Sandbanks.

The Studland chain ferry immediately suspended services to the public to allow fire crews and emergency services to quickly get to the scene.

Firefighters from Westbourne and Poole were sent across, joining a crew from Swanage who made their way to the scene along Ferry Road. Around 17 firefighters were deployed at the height of the incident.

Richard Green from Ashley Cross, who was on the Poole side of the harbour, said police closed the road to allow emergency services to go across on the chain ferry.

“Although a police bike had parked in the yellow box to stop motorists getting to the ferry they were driving around the motorbike,” he said.

Dorset Police closed Ferry Road for around two hours, before opening one lane to ferry traffic. Hundreds of motorists were caught up in the drama.

Mr Pack said: “Preliminary investigations lead us to believe that the fire started as the result of an ignition fault with the VW camper van.”

“Whilst we would like to encourage members of the public to enjoy the heathland, please take care to ensure the risk of fire is kept to a minimum.”

 

Coronation Street star ‘camping out on set to avoid commute’

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/leisure/national/11873893.Coronation_Street_star__camping_out_on_set_to_avoid_commute_/

Coronation Street star 'camping out on set to avoid commute'

Coronation Street star ‘camping out on set to avoid commute’

First published Monday 23 March 2015 in Entertainment News © by Press Association 2014

Coronation Street star Joe Duttine has reportedly been roughing it by sleeping in his camper van on the soap set during filming.

The 44-year-old actor – who plays window cleaner Tim Metcalfe in the ITV show – lives in Sheffield, and commutes to work at the Corrie studios in Manchester.

According to the Sun, Joe revealed to his co-stars he has been staying the night on the Weatherfield set in his VW camper van, rather than staying in a hotel.

A source told the newspaper: “In the past, Joe has used a camper van to stay in when on acting jobs away from his own home. He bought it a few years back for family holidays, which he really enjoys.

“When Joe knows he’ll be finishing filming late or starting early, he sometimes brings along the motorhome.”

Joe as Tim Metcalfe in Corrie with his daughter Faye and her friend  Craig (ITV)
Joe as Tim Metcalfe in Corrie with his daughter Faye Windass and her friend Craig Tinker (ITV)