Other things

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Beginning | Engine | Electrics | Underbody | Following Year | Second MOT - Brake Pipes | Third MOT | Brake Pipes | Stereo | Passing Time | Upper Body | Fuel Pipe | Suspension | Air Cooled | Snow | Wales | Commuting

Air cooled is cool

Driving a Beetle is like nothing I've ever experienced before. You can drive conservatively if you want to, because people expect you to. But in my 1.6 I can cruise on up to 70mph and overtake if I want to (at a price - high fuel consumption!), it also pulls rather well up hills. My top speed (or, the fastest I dared go!) is about 80mph, but the steering becomes very light as the front of the car begins to lift up! (not quite like a drag racer, but you can definitely feel the suspension lifting)

By far the best thing is the air-cooled factor of the engine - it is hardly affected by cold at all. There is no anti-freeze in my car, only some spare oil and windscreen wash fluid. If started up and used regularly, like at least once a week or so, the car starts first time every time. At one point, while I was home for Christmas, the car was left under an area of permanent shade and was covered in frost for the best part of a whole week, at the end of which it started up perfectly after only a few turns of the engine, amazing!

Beetle Frost

There are only three drawbacks of driving in cold weather - one is that the demisting system relies on forward motion (air is forced through the vents by the airflow over the car) and is fairly poor on the rear window, another is that the heating system takes ages to have any effect as the heat is lost through the cold steel heating ducts until they warm up (plus they are currently partially blocked), and finally the engine tends to die after about two or three minutes if in traffic, after the automatic choke goes off, because of (as a book describes it) cold air forming ice as it cools the moisture around the air intake to the carburetor, thus starving the engine of sufficient air/fuel mixture for tick over. This last problem only ever happens if I am in traffic though, or I have to stop at lights etc, as I have to keep the revs up which is very difficult when trying to apply the brakes and clutch to change gear; I have tried changing out of gear and left-foot braking while keeping the revs up with my right foot, it is tricky and not advisable in heavy traffic!

The Beetle cools its engine with oil. Where there would be water in a water-cooled car, there is oil. The oil passes through a radiator in the fan shroud which is where it is cooled. No need for a grill as the fan draws air from around the rear of the car.