Should I Remove the Thermostat?
Some time ago the popular magazine VW Trends reported that -
Here in Southern California, you are correct in assuming that most of the thermostats have been disconnected.
If you were to ask Bob Hoover or Rob Boardman whether you should remove the thermostat, you would get a very terse and concise reply: "Do it. But only if you remove the thermostat from your Chevy Malibu, F100 or Honda Civic at the same time!"
It is true that the aircooled Volkswagen WILL run without the thermostat -- the better the climate, the better it will run. But keep in mind -- essentially what you're doing by removing the thermostat is to re-design the Volkswagen engine -- you've told generations of superbly qualified engineers that you know a better way to do it.
If the thermostat has been removed or is not functioning properly, then the cooling flaps that control the amount of fresh air to the engine are probably wide open and you will not heat up your engine properly on those cold mornings, and the warm-up will be extended. You will not have heat in the cabin as soon as you would if the thermostat and were in place and the system were working correctly. Nor will your engine come to a proper operating temperature to match the operation of the automatic choke, resulting in "stuttering" during warm-up.
Removal of these vital components will result in pre-mature wear of the cylinders and valve guides, thus shortening the life of the engine. You'll burn more gas, suck a lot of oil and have a difficult time passing your smog check. And in cooler climates, you will lower the optimum amount of heat that could be used for warming up the cabin.
To quote Bob Hoover: "Put the thermostat back in. To a real mechanic, anyone who builds an engine without a proper cooling system -- and that includes a thermostat and air-vanes -- is like a guy going around with his fly unzipped."
The bottom line is: With the thermostat properly installed, your engine will warm up faster, idle better, run sweeter and last longer.
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