[Vwdiesel] low temps

William J Toensing toensing at wildblue.net
Sat Dec 6 02:46:01 PST 2008

Back in the later 1960s, probably the winter of 1967-68, while living in Mpls., Minn. I had a 1965 Citroen ID-19 wagon which I had bought new. I had an unheated garage but got the car started in -35F by leaving a lighted trouble lite under the hood all night, leaving the battery charger on so the battery would be warm & at full charge, leaving the electric block heater connected all night. I also had a cardboard to completely cover the radiator. This was in the days before synthetic oil & I think I was running 10W40 oil. It started easily & the temperature gage was at normal. However, in that -30 & -35 degree F weather, as soon as I turned the heater on, the temperature gage would drop to cold & the heater stopped producing heat. During the January of that winter ('67-'68), it never got above zero all of Jan. '68, & for a week or so, it dropped to -30 to -35 in the morning & rose to a high of -15 in the day. That & the use of salt to keep the streets free of ice (& RUST OUT CARS) is why I left Minn. for Calif. in 1969. It was my experience that most cars, especially European cars, were not designed for such severe winters. However, air-cooled VWs could keep you warm in that sub-zero environment without a gas heater, if modified properly. I had a '57 VW that you had to open the vent window at -20 to keep from roasting. Will furnish more info, if interested.
Bill Toensing, Nevada City, CA

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