Engine build philosophy

My philosophy in this project was to build the engine that VW would build today. Clearly for VW it probably wouldn’t be air cooled any more but for me it was important to maintain as much of the character of the original VW as possible whilst bringing it up to a modern driving standard. I came up with a list of requirements


  • Should enable the heat exchangers to be retained, proper VW style ones with aluminium fins, not the ‘big bore’ ones that are just empty boxes. Heating in your VW is important for safety as well as comfort.
  • Should not require significant modifications to the vehicle. I didn’t want people to have to fit a beefed up gearbox or weld extra engine mounts to their chassis or even drill holes in their pride and joy.
  • One of the nice things about the VW engine is that it can be removed as a complete unit exhaust and all. This makes it much easier to work on than most cars. I didn’t want to detach hoses to external oil coolers or do anything over complicated.
  • It shouldn’t require significant work for at least 60,000 preferably 100,000. At that point we probably should be having a good look at the exhaust valves.
  • No component should be so expensive I wouldn’t be able to replace it should the worst happen, in some cases I’d like to be able to carry spares.
  • It should address some of the common VW engine issues, cutting out at lights, short oil change intervals, the need to constantly adjust the distributor and carburettor.
  • Address the issue of fuel fires, particularly with campers where the fuel tank is mounted right in front of the engine.
  • Must start easily when it’s been laid up over the winter.
  • Should not drain the battery when laid-up
    Must run on modern fuels.
  • Be constructed from good quality parts that fit together properly and last longer than their warranty period.
  • It should be powerful and efficient and a pleasure to drive as all engines should be.

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