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Normal oil temp range?

Early last month there was a discussion here about cylinder head temp ranges. I just installed a new VDO oil temp gauge in my '76 and would like to know what folks consider "normal" operating temps for a mild climate (I live in the SF area). I know the "newer" 914's should run a bit hotter. I seem to be running around 250 degrees F.
Old 09-13-1999, 08:32 PM
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250 is too hot. A good operating range is 180-220F. Sounds like you need an extrnal oil cooler.

But before spending the bucks on a cooler, check the oil temp with another source. Use a Pyrometer and see if the gauge and sender is accurate.

HTH
Old 09-14-1999, 08:22 AM
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OK, assuming I am running too hot, what would some of the usual suspects be? Do the warm up flaps on the engine tin default to an "open" position if the thermostat fails? The car does seem to take a while to warm up. I have to believe an external oil cooler is not the solution for a totally stock 2.0L car that has been well maintained and has no other symptoms. I ordered and installed the VDO gauge (300 degree F) and sender recommended in the Pelican online catalogue.
Old 09-14-1999, 08:56 PM
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When the bellows thermostat for the flaps fails, the flaps will 'default' to the closed position. They will also remain closed if the thermostat wire should come loose from the flaps crossbar.
I agree that an external oil cooler should not be necessary for a stock 2.0L. I feel the stock system to be a sound design for the original application. And either buying a pyrometer or checking in at a shop to have a measurement done would be your first step, so you know for certain your gauge's reading is accurate.
I do find it annoying that such information as proper oil temp and head temp are not listed in spec.s books for this car. (and the oil pressures listed are rather useless) At least, I've never found such listings in either my Haynes, my original owner's manual, or 'the little spec. book'.
Considering that the flaps are supposed to open between 150-160F, I would consider an oil temp of 250 to be high also. --john
Old 09-14-1999, 10:40 PM
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The previous post is in error, the cooling flaps default to open, unless the springs are broken. The springs are easy to see as they are right on top of the engine. The cable pulls the flaps shut and as the bellows expands, the cable lets the flaps open. That is why it is a task to attach the cable to the clamp on the flaps since you have to hold them shut against the springs(pushing down on the clamp), take slack out of the cable and also tighten the clamp bolt! In southern CA, many 914s don't use the bellows since they warm up pretty well due to the warm temps.
Old 09-15-1999, 06:16 AM
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John, if you're right about the flaps, then I'd better apologize. I am just about to sell an extra engine and offered advice based on the way I had installed the flaps in it. Guess I'd better go back and do some refiguring before I ship that engine out!
(sorry all)
Old 09-15-1999, 08:37 PM
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So I think we agree that the two cooling flaps are in the closed position by spring tension when cold and are pulled open by the cable attached to the bellows/thermostat. Now, is there a simple way to visualize the flaps under the engine cowling tin without a lot of disassembly?
Old 09-16-1999, 08:51 AM
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It may seem that the flaps default closed because of how the passenger one acts. With the thermostat working and the motor cool, the flap is up against the upper cooling tin. This lets air bypass the cooler and go straight to the #3 and #4 cylinders (those are the two on the passenger side, right?) allowing the oil to warm up faster. When the thermo warms up the flap lowers (closes) against a gasket around the cooler. In this posisition the flap redirects air, about half to the cooler, and half to the cylinders. I can feel the flap moving up and down with my finger if I pull out the sparkplug closest to it and move the flaps with the control rod.
Old 09-16-1999, 12:29 PM
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I called two shops here in San Diego and they both said the flaps are suppposed to be held OPEN by springs on the connecting rod that goes across the top of the engine. One did tell me it is possible to put them in backwards although I have never heard of that. You could try looking through the engine sheetmetal holes after removing the forward spark plug wires and shinning a light in the front where the fan is and then moving the connector where the cable attaches to and see if the light shines through. Best to do after dark. I also checked the stock sheetmetal that was removed from the race car and they are also default to open.
Old 09-16-1999, 01:58 PM
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First of all, I really appreciate the info several of you have shared on this problem. I double checked the compatibility of the new sender with my VDO gauge and it is the correct sender. I only a return spring on the left side of the rod that operates the warm air flaps. The bellows thermostat appears to be working normally. My guess is that there should be a second spring on the right side and that the single spring is not forcing the flaps fully open when warm. Can someone confirm my diagnosis?
Old 09-19-1999, 11:16 AM
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I think there is only supposed to be one spring on the rod that holds the flaps open. I recall only one on my Vanagon and Porsche 2.O, as well as every other Type IV motor I've seen.

There is, however, an adjustment on the thermostatic bellows itself. There should be a threaded section on the cable end where it attachs to the bellows. You use this to lengthen or shorten the cable, thus affecting the amount of "pull" on the flaps, which are held in the open position by the single spring on the rod. In operation, the flaps are held "closed" by the pull on the cable (which should be greater than the spring tension), but transition to "fully open" as the bellows expands and relaxes the cable. Another adjustment point for this mechanism (I think) is the mounting bracket for the bellows. I think the holes for the bracket where it mounts to the case may be slotted, allowing for back & forth placement of the bellows position.
Old 09-19-1999, 05:30 PM
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DJS is right about the spring, I checked ours and it has one spring around the area where the cable attaches to the cross rod. The cap that holds the cbale to the bellows did not have any free room for the cable. he VW parts expert told me there used to be a couple of different temp range bellows, but now there is only one, when you can find it.
Old 09-19-1999, 05:56 PM
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Over the weekend I was nearly blinded by a flash of the obvious -- the sound dampening material attached to the firewall of the engine compartment had come loose and was laying back against the smog pump. This was dramatically reducing the air flow thru the engine cooling fan resulting in higher temps. Case solved.
Old 09-20-1999, 12:26 PM
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My advice on the sound dampening carpet, pull it out completely fold it up as tight as you can. Spin around while holding it, preferably in a wide open space and...LET IT GO!. See how far it lands and walk away, I didnt follow my own advice when I removed the thing but its not there now. I've never driven with it on but the car sounds and feels better to me. IMHO of course.
Old 09-20-1999, 10:55 PM
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