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General VW Discussion This is a place for General VW topics (the company, not your vehicle). General topics about a specific vehicle should be posted in the General TDI Dicussion Forum sections for that vehicle platform. A4, A3 & B4, B5, etc.

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Old April 10th, 2006, 17:42   #1
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Default 1951 air-cooled, flat-four, Beetle diesel

The Diesel Beetle

Every clever VW fan will tell you it was the firm which pioneered small-car diesel engines descended directly from a parallel Otto power plant. But how many can give the correct date for Wolfsburg’s first effort along such lines? The Golf Diesel of late 1976, you say? Well, the answer is that the Golf came a full quarter-century after the fact.

Volkswagen actually commissioned an air-cooled, flat-four, Beetle based diesel from its regular future projects supplier-Porsche-way back in 1951. This was given project number 508 and carried to the level of two test vehicles. It even provided vital strength data for Porsche’s own 1.3/1.5 crankcase, but it would be 1981 before the public learned of this decidedly different VW engine.

Among those millions of Beetles, only one was destined to be a diesel. The occasion for reconstructing a workable compression-ignition engine was Porsche’s own 50th anniversary. Development boss Helmuth Bott was searching his firm’s vast book of past projects for possible runners to celebrate that first half-century, and particularly for non racing designs to showcase Porsche’s many other facets.

With diesels all the rage today, especially those cloned off some gasoline engine, this 1951-53 project was a natural. So he called in Robert Binder, head of engine design in modern Weissach, and allotted him DM 50,000 to recreate the diesel Beetle.

Binder was no random choice. His own first task upon joining Porsche in 1951 had been to design that same diesel Beetle engine, although he wasn’t a specialist in such technology. Wolfsburg had provided a contract, however, and firms like Bosch could always help the tiny staff of three or four engine men, working in Porsche’s wooden barracks under Papa Rabe. In any case, solving the unexpected was routine for young Porsche people then.

To repeat the task today took more men and a computer but proved almost as tricky. No test reports had survived- and there were very few drawings. Binder drew largely on various memories and the shop skills of their development men. The two engines of that day had long since been scrapped, but at least Bosch found a proper injection pump in its own museum and Mahle cast some 22:1 pistons.

Porsche uncovered a three-piece crankcase at a dealer, since its stronger bottom end as used for the 356 had been developed for this diesel Beetle, too. That gave beefier bearings. Otherwise they needed prechamber heads and new seals but VW cooling proved sufficient for even diesel thermics.

The first time around Binder had also drawn on a Gmund project. This was a two-stroke, air-cooled, diesel twin later used in their tractor. But it was conceived to fit a Beetle, if necessary.

Impetus for their original contract came from the very low diesel fuel prices of 1951, as well as Korea-war related shortages of gasoline. Then VW chief Heinz Nordhoff visited the U.S. and returned convinced Americans would never drive automobiles, which rattled on, idle while producing little perceptible power. Project 508 became another of those many, many Porsche designs for VW, which fell into a back drawer.

Before that, however, they had fitted one to a Beetle and another to the VW van with which young Bott used to run engineering errands. This pair covered perhaps 15,500 miles apiece in everyday use and provided great glee for drivers who could pull up to the diesel pump and watch the attendant’s jaw drop. There was a considerable consumption plus too. Bott recalls about 36-40 mpg when a contemporary Beetle did 29-34.

Since these test engines displaced 1290 cc (74.5 x 74 mm), Porsche could extract 23 hp initially and 25 at 3100 rpm by the end of the project with a rev maximum of 3300 and weight penalty of only 45-55 lb. Such power was hardly dashing; but then, the everyday Beetle wasn’t all that much peppier.

Even so, their diesel was slower enough that Porsche engineers still wonder what the person thought who stole the world’s only diesel Beetle from a downtown parking slot. Despite a long wait for pre-warming and curious fuel needs, the thief drove it all the way to Switzerland before abandoning his smoky, noisy and obviously odd steed.

It is equally curious that the story is this different VW never became common. Apparently motor magazines and industrial espionage were as rudimentary as design facilities of the time. When some bystander did hear a difference he usually asked if a cylinder had failed.

When I drove the car on Nurburgring recently-Porsche put its reincarnated engine into a Beetle of appropriate age from the works collection-both smoke and nose were all too evident, if not overwhelming. Let's just say that few would have been tempted to spend money on a radio with all that air-cooled clatter in the back.

Nor was performance neck-snapping on the Ring’s upgrades where first was a must with two aboard. Absolute maximum speeds of around 15-30-45 mph in the gears go with a top of perhaps 68 if the wind is with you. Porsche quotes an even 60 seconds for 0 to 60. I fully believe them.

Cheered on by spectators for an old-timer event, we may even hold the slow-lap record for the RingÍs short course-truly, a new nostalgia high. Now, if we could just get Porsche to recreate some more projects-the inline six for instance, or an intriguing, air-cooled flat three maybe? Their impeccably turned-out diesel Beetle drew more attention than an everyday 936 Le Mans winner after all.

You must wonder how many other recently invented auto ideas were already tucked into a lost file at Porsche decades ago.

From VW & Porsche March/April 1982

Supplied from ïZeitschriftÍ Club Veedub Sydney
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Old April 11th, 2006, 11:39   #2
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and here I thought the '98's like mine were the first to have diesel engines... I must say though, SWEET!
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Old April 12th, 2006, 02:21   #3
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http://www.geocities.com/allanwillia...el/diesel.html

Scan of the original article that someone did.
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The really cool ToofTek made "Emperor's Clothes" injector fork risers only worked until someone pointed out that there wasn't any thing there.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:26   #4
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Let me reiterate SWEEET!
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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:28   #5
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FWIW, note that the block used in that was a survivor of the project.

The block used in the 1300cc Porsche 356 engines was that exact block.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lug_Nut View Post
The really cool ToofTek made "Emperor's Clothes" injector fork risers only worked until someone pointed out that there wasn't any thing there.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:50   #6
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Default Great article find Aaron

I'd still like to see a 1.9L VE motor (ALH) dropped into an original (super) Beetle.

I wonder what happened with Smog's idea...if he's made any progress?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 12:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhtooefr
http://www.geocities.com/allanwillia...el/diesel.html

Scan of the original article that someone did.
Cool, thanks for the pics
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Old April 15th, 2006, 17:06   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BleachedBora
Porsche quotes an even 60 seconds for 0 to 60. I fully believe them.
That car doesn't accelerate; it merely gathers momentum!
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Old April 20th, 2006, 17:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicklockard
I'd still like to see a 1.9L VE motor (ALH) dropped into an original (super) Beetle.

I wonder what happened with Smog's idea...if he's made any progress?
Im getting a 70 Bus this summer, Im definatly going to seriously consider a TDI for it eventually.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 15:10   #10
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Just begging for a turbo
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Old November 27th, 2010, 13:41   #11
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Necroposting, because I stumbled on a (2008) article by Auto Bild about this. Here's the article link: http://www.autobild.de/artikel/ein-k...or-765608.html

And here's a Google translation of every caption (Google has trouble with doing it automatically) and of the article:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 of 14
A beetle with a diesel engine. In series of diesel boxer never went - he was far too loud.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 of 14
"Salt Shaker" observe, then pull the starter - and usually the engine will even.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3 of 14
To start to swell fat exhaust fumes from the tailpipe. Animal sounds and saudreckig. The black bugs are shaken out, starts yelling, sprotzt and spits and blows huge stinking exhaust fumes into the air.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 of 14
Apart from the diesel it is a normal pretzel Beetle. Mark ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5 of 14
... for the "American Zone Württemberg".
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6 of 14
Beautiful, right? Everything in its place here. maintained exaggerated is the precious museum piece not intended, but it all works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 of 14
Angle instead of waving, blinking, blinking. The Indicators of today were once the fiddler. After pressing the outside drove out the signaling elements.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8 of 14
Crank, crank - with feeling and patience could be opened the hood.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9 of 14
Woken from sleep museum managed daskostbare unique exit brave, but slowly. Supposedly earlier 110 km / h having-been there. Sound credible die60 seconds that have hvermerkt for speeding at 60 km /.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 of 14
VW has experimented with diesel boxers in the early 50s. The reason was the extremely low prices for diesel fuel. There were experiments with two and four cylinders, records do not exist anymore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 11 of 14
Only this is a car there, and that comes from the Porsche Museum. For the development of the four-cylinder diesel boxer Warein order from VW to Porsche. Base was then the three-part housing of a 1.3-liter Porsche boxer. 1952 ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12 of 14
... provided the final version of the 3300 rpm in Zuffenhausenkonstruierten, almost 1.3-liter 25 hp at 3,100 production-ready tours with a maximum potential.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13 of 14
The diesel-generated beetles infernal noise. The explosions have a volume that would have to call the army onto the scene. These vibrations are in a middle derStärke earthquake. Compared to a tractor that time is running smoothly as a twelve-cylinder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 14 of 14
50 years Rudolf Diesel: Branke editor on the first trial diesel, built 1893-95, in the (recommended) MAN-Museum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auto Bild
On the 150th Birthday of Rudolf Diesel AUTO BILD has dug up this unique piece. The beetle with an air-cooled diesel boxer even went, but only to the Porsche Museum.

By Dirk Branke

animal sounds. And saudreckig. The black beetle shudders, starts yelling, sprotzt and spits and blows huge stinking exhaust fumes into the air. The gruff demeanor did not fit the neat Pretzel beetles. Which we would have expected the familiar patter of the boxer, not the noise. Older men in bright casual clothes hurry. One minute they walk by with an expert eye, but then winced as we do. They recommend without asking the next workshop. The beetle they know best, but this is something they have never heard of. Can they not, because this car is not there. That is apart from this one specimen: This beetle is powered by a diesel engine, air cooled Boxer, of course.

In series of diesel boxer never went - much too loud

The principle boxer diesel is rare in the car's history - but again not entirely new. Krupp built for example in the 30's air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder diesel engines. And 1952 originated in the Tatra Tatra prototype plan (T 600) with four-cylinder diesel boxer. The engine had two liters, 42 hp and managed over 100 km / h - but never made it into the series. Just as the diesel Beetle. If you drive the diesel engine is easy to see why: the device generates infernal noise. The explosions have a volume that would have to call the army onto the scene. These vibrations occur in the strength of a medium-sized earthquake. Compared to a tractor that time is running smoothly as a twelve-cylinder. Experiment has VW with diesel boxers in the early 50s. The reason was the extremely low prices for diesel fuel. There were experiments with two and four cylinders, records do not exist anymore.

Only this is a car there, and that comes from the Porsche Museum. For the development of the four-cylinder diesel boxer was commissioned by VW to Porsche . Base was then the three-part housing of a 1.3-liter Porsche boxer. 1952 provided the final version of the constructed in Zuffenhausen, almost 1.3-liter 25 hp at 3,100 trips with production-ready potential of less than 3300 / min - VW CEO Nordhoff waved him off: too slow, too noisy, too dirty anyway. The same applies to the unit, which is shown here, the type 508th He was, however, until 1981. The occasion was the fiftieth anniversary year old Porsche. The engine has been faithfully reconstructed under the direction of Robert Binder - the same man who had built it in 1950 to 1952, then make it to transplant into a pretzel company's Beetle. Woken from sleep Museum overcome the precious one-off exit brave, but slowly. Allegedly used to 110 km / h in it should have been. Sound credible, the 60 seconds that are noted for the acceleration to 60 mph. Might have worked, that in 1976 the first production diesel VW Golf I then Boxer was no longer in.

Tragic end

Rudolf Diesel was on 18 March 1858 born son of German parents in Paris. While still a student at the Technical University of Munich, he dealt with the efficiency of steam engines - with about ten percent very bad. Rudolf Diesel would make it better, and reported 1892 a patent. Title: "approach and type of design for internal combustion engines. 1897 the first fully functional diesel was in the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg (later MAN), 18 horsepower, efficiency: 26.2 percent. Thus began a success story in 1923 drove the first truck with diesel, 1936, the first passenger car, the diesel engine is still the heat engine with the best efficiency, over 50 percent are possible. From the triumph of his diesel engine was little. On 29 9. In 1913 he went to Antwerp on board the steamer "Dresden" - and was never seen again.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lug_Nut View Post
The really cool ToofTek made "Emperor's Clothes" injector fork risers only worked until someone pointed out that there wasn't any thing there.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 16:49   #12
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Yes, it is true. Several years ago I read about this in an aircooled VW magazine, VW Trends, I think.

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