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Old December 6th, 2006, 13:02   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Chicago IL USA
TDI(s): 2006 Golf
Fuel Economy: ☠☭
Post How to block your front grill with pipe insulation

It's that time of the year again, when plummeting temperatures send us scrambling to dose our fuel and crank our seat heaters to 11. Ever wanted to block off part of your radiator to help your engine warm up faster? It's very easy to do and can help you get better fuel economy, perhaps lower engine wear but most importantly get heat to the passenger cabin faster. This is very easy & cheap, but I thought some of the less imaginative or mechanically inclined may benefit from some pictures. This was done on my 2006 MkIV Golf TDI.

Go to your local hardware store and buy 3 meters (9') of foam pipe insulation for 13mm (1/2") copper pipe (or 10mm iron pipe - pipe sizing is weird, but pipe threading is even weirder). I found it at my local Menards for the whopping sum of $1.64. Menards is a midwestern chain of giant hardware stores, kinda like Home Depot or Lowes, but without all the suck. The pipe insulation usually comes in 2 meter lengths (6') but for some bizarre reason, it was in a bag of four (4) one meter lengths. Whatever. It costs less than $2 total and more than you need.

Note that this is dark grey, which blends in better. Sometimes it is brown or black. It will still work fine. Don't worry. Have a homebrew. Also notice the package is half French. That's because this stuff was hecho-en-Canadia.

Take out a piece of it and notice there's a slit down one side. That's how you would put it around a pipe. And that's how you're going to put it on your grille. Open up the slit by running a finger down it:

Then slide it in place over a slat in your upper grille, and trim to length with your pocketknife:

Repeat three times, and the upper grille is done.

Give it all a nice push to get it settled in there.

Now do the same thing on the lower grille slats. Don't bother with the bottom-most as it doesn't actually go through.

But before you slide those in place, I like to cut some slits to match up with the vertical grille bits, shown below.

Those help it sit nice and far back into the grille openings and block out that awful cold air.

Do that for both lower grille slats and you're done, honkey.

It may seem a little flimsy but I've never had a piece become dislodged for any of the past 3 winters.


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Last edited by scurvy; October 12th, 2009 at 18:41. Reason: Big massive updated pictures
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