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RE: [T3] Oil coolers (oh boy, it's longer than I thought!)

My comments below.
   Toby Erkson
   air_cooled_nut@pobox.com  <-- Please use this address for email
   '72 VW Squareback 1.6L bored and stroked to 2.0L, Berg five-speed
   '75 Porsche 914 1.8L, ORPCA member
   '95 VW Jetta GL 2.0L, boringly bone-stock
   Portland, Oregon, http://www.pobox.com/~toby_erkson/

> -----Original Message-----
> Was just wondering about an oil cooler kit.  How they are for fitment?
> Any major machining required?

A secondary oil cooler (oil pre-cooler) is particularly difficult to mount
inconspicuously in the Type III.  I was 4[ÓGType IV 2.0L stock oil
cooler mounted horizontally on my left rear lower shock mount.  On a trip up
to the Zion Nat'l Park in Utah I discovered that the pre-cooled *did* make a
difference in helping keep my big engine cool.  Not a lot, but definitely
measurable.  However, it wasn't enough and it's location -- close to the
road -- wasn't ideal (I did have a protective front screen on it).  If I
could've mounted it on the roof in a strong, steady air stream I *know* that
would've helped keep the oil even cooler but it wouldn't have looked cool in
that location :)

I am now going with a Mesa 48-plate oil cooler with thermostatically
switched fan.  Every single person I've talked with has sworn by the Mesa
coolers (they come in several sizes).  These are far better than any simple
tub-n-fin style because of the greater surface area provided for cooling.
They are a radiator.  I haven't installed it yet nor do I currently know
where I'm going to put it but I will update the list as I go.

Location of any pre-cooler is difficult, cosmetically and functionally.  At
the bottom of the front spare tire area with the access port off (used in
replacing the shift rod) and the spare tire pan removed allows good air
flow, you just need to route the oil lines so they are safe from damage and
you use a lot of oil.  Not cheap if you're using synthetic!  One popular
area is directly above the tranny.  Not my favorite spot as this area gets
pretty hot due to the tranny.  I'm not sure of the air flow characteristics
in this void either but blowing hot air on the tranny doesn't sound very
nice to me.  Porsche 911 cars use the front right fender, behind the
headlight.  This is a good spot since air can be brought in from the front
faŤade (facade if this doesn't print right).  Naturally, there is a sealed
and louvered barrier behind it.

Some things to remember:
1. The higher the pre-cooler is above the road the cooler the air flowing
through it will be.
2. Ideally, the pre-cooler should be located in a *constant* stream of air,
5Kă< stock one.  Realistically this is impossible, particularly if
you're the unlucky sap stuck in Houston "rush-hour" traffic during the
tail-end of a heat wave.
3. Keep the stock oil cooler installed and functional.  It is your backup,
just in case.
4. The pre-cooled oil should return back into the main oil line that feeds
the stock oil cooler.  This insures the oil isn't too thick and blows the
stock cooler or an oil plug.  If you have properly installed a full flow oil
filter system then this isn't an issue as the pre-cooler can tap into the
return line.  This also benefits the pre-cooler in case the engine eats
itself as the particles will get trapped in the filter and not in your
5. Use a thermostat to route the oil from the oil filter to the pre-cooler.
If the oil is cold then it will bypass the pre-cooler.  Once it becomes hot
the thermostat will direct all the oil to the pre-cooler.  Doing so will
protect the pre-cooler from rupture when the oil is cold and allow the oil
to quickly warm up to engine operating temperature.  Oil thermostats are set
to operate around 170-deg. F.  I got mine from CB Performance but I know
many Porsche companies sell them (at an inflated price...).

>  Living in Florida, I think it may be a
> wise investment.

If the engine is stock and in good running condition an oil pre-cooler isn't

> Also, I would like to go with a real oil filter - i.e. external spin-on
> type.  Any votes for best / easiest?

Gene Berg Enterprises (http://www.geneberg.com/) has the only Type III
friendly full flow oil filter system I know of.  DON'T USE A BOLT-ON KIT!
It puts the oil filter directly in the waste heat of the cooling system and
they will also lower oil pressure.

Some clearancing of the rear engine mount will be required at the location
where it covers the oil pump cover.  You will also need to find a place to
put the filter, see my location at
'http://www.icbm.org/erkson/personal/bumper.jpg'.  It is possible to install
the system with the engine still in the caV”}˙ is far easier to do if
the procedure is done during an engine rebuild.  Complete instructions come
with the kit.

List info at http://www.vwtype3.org/list or mailto:help@vwtype3.org

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