This is sort of a vestigial post about my now abandoned (?) effort at making a proper(ish) center mount fan shroud for the Spyder. I post it now because there is renewed interest in this project from other Spyder guys, and because the One Guy who supposedly had tooled up to manufacture these and sell them for $1,500 a throw has, after years of promises, not yet done so.*
Let’s begin with the gold standard. (links to video)
This is an Ibrahim Kuzu fan shroud. It’s an exact copy of a 547 shroud, fit to a Type 1 VW engine. I believe it costs $15,000. Here’s an original 4-Cam engine for comparison:
Obviously, very different engines. But: if you lift the clam on your faux Spyder and that shroud is there, everyone’s eyes are drawn away from the extra width of your engine at the carbs, the lack of cam covers, etc. They only see that iconic rounded A-shaped shroud and, at least for a minute or two, you got them.
Now, $15,000 for a VW Bug fan shroud is a tall fucking order, even for the most insane, OCD Spyder replica owners. You’re talking about tripling the price of the engine, for a thing that is still, and will always be, fake.
Another option is desired.
For many years, CB Performance has (occasionally) supplied a center-mount shroud for Type 1 engines.
It is self-evidently a bad substitute for the doghouse design, lacking the necessary air vanes to make it actually work to cool the engine, and it also doesn’t look much like the much thicker 547 variant.
Notwithstanding these drawbacks, Bic Green designed a thicker housing to fit over the CB housing, along with an alternator stand and very lifelike velocity ring on the back:
This item, priced at a cool $1,500 (one-tenth of the Kuzu shroud), was supposed to start shipping last August but, last I checked, was not yet doing so.
By then I had already bought what I thought was the thing to make it work. FJ Camper, a VW racer, developed a plastic insert for the centermount shroud with air vanes. He says it keeps his 7000 RPM Karman Ghia cool on the track.
I made a rough velocity ring out of a piece of discarded gas grill. That’s part of a steel side burner no one ever uses: about the right size but very, very rough….
With that, the CB housing and a bullet-shaped hubcap I figured I was within striking range.
Then, talking to Bic last year, I abandoned my DIY shroud concept. Discussing what it took to get where he was, he persuaded me that the effort was too much for my feeble newbie skill set. We talked some about that cool looking bullet nose thing inside the fan, and I told him I’d bought a wheel hub cover that looked the part and set it in there and he told me he’d tried eleventy-billion things before getting that part right, and everything was custom-designed and built, and how hard doing all this was.
I figured a $1,500 shroud that was ready to go could not be beat by me.
I also didn’t like my options for routing oil lines to the front of my car. There are structural metal things in the way which, if I bored through them, it would be bad.
After mulling it over for a few months (and making a nice 547-style breather/oil separator), I finally decided to live with the Raby shroud, which works. Maybe Spyder it up a bit. I took my hubcap and made a shaft to fix it to the fan bolt.
I started working out how to make my velocity ring fit. With the ducting for the oil cooler, there isn’t any reasonable way.
I could do it, maybe, by fabbing up my own fiberglass “air vane” to replace the hose/piping on the back of the shroud. Seems like a lot of effort for a very little benefit.
Meanwhile, the CB shrouds are allegedly back in stock, but Camper’s insert is not being made. Too expensive to manufacture, he says. This may change….
So there’s where we stand: No center mount shroud for you!
*I emailed him and will update when I hear back.
6 thoughts on “Fan shroud project”
Do you know where the oil filler is on the original and kuzu 4 cam engine? I’ve been looking at photos but can’t see it.
The original Type 547 engines were dry-sumped, so the oil filler was in the tank that hung on the firewall behind the passenger. Per the Kuzu shroud fitted on a wet-sump Type 1, I’m not sure but I could ask the guy who has one.
Stuntmidget, I’m sorry I did not reply to you. I am only seeing your message now, I think I forgot to refresh my browser at the time. I’m still planning to build a replica shroud although this will be in the future as I have other projects I need to complete first. This is what I am planning to do incase its any interest to you or anyone else reading this page. For the pedestal/intake I will fabricate this from steel. This is mainly because I have a steel welder and secondly I have found a donor for the air velocity intake in steel. Its the center of a Mercedes steel wheel rim. After studying/measuring photos of the real intake the curve/diameter of the wheel looks very close. I will cut the piece out of the wheel, cut and weld in the three fins and weld a piece of tube to mount the generator. Next weld the stand which will mount to the two oil filler bolts on the engine block closest to the crank pulley. The oil filler neck will be fabricated behind this (access somewhere through the fan shroud by hidden door). Distributor will be removed and electronic ignition used. It will take quite a bit of time but it should look fairly accurate. The differences being it won’t have the made in Germany stamp on it, the mounting bolt locations will be different being a type 1 engine. The crank pulley will be larger (I’m thinking using two VW fans, the smallest, welded back to back, maybe a 4.5″ pulley will be enough to cool it). As this will be going in to a 356 I am not replicating the other side of the fan shroud.
Good luck with the project. I hope you post pics of it somewhere. The folks at the Spyder Club [ http://www.spyderclub.com/ ] would certainly be interested, and some of those guys have the chops to be helpful.
Thank you. I will do when I get to it but its going to take a while. Right now I’m modifying a 911 Bergmann shroud internally to improve the cooling. I am posting photos of that on thesamba.
Good luck. Getting the air vanes right in any of these shrouds is not a simple as it first looks.