I decided to take the plunge and switch from the tried-and-true VCMuzzler to the newer S-VCM. Having had the VCMuzzler on our van for over two years now, I feel as though I thoroughly understand how it works and what an owner can expect on a day-to-day basis from it.
I think it is important that I make one thing clear - I have absolutely no complaints about the functioning of the VCMuzzler. Even with the lowest resistance (blue) we only saw the ECO light on the dashboard a handful of times per year. I don't consider that a meaningful issue or a real cause for concern with respect to all the issues and symptoms regular VCM operation creates. The biggest reason for the switch is the fact that we anticipate that my wife will be making a few long trips this summer without me. And while she is an excellent driver and understands well what all the gauges in the instrument cluster are telling her and knows to monitor them all, I don't think I want her wondering about how far from the truth the temperature gauge is if the needle starts to crawl upwards. She knows about the VCMuzzler on our van and how it manipulates the ECU into thinking the engine coolant is cooler than it actually is.
I haven't seen a lot of pictures of the S-VCM being installed or how it looks in the engine bay, so I thought I'd snap a few pictures as I installed ours. First, here's what you get in the package:
You get the S-VCM controller and 4 little back zip ties to keep everything safe and tidy. It is a small little thing, designed to be only a little bit longer than the factory wiring harness lead to the ECT1 sensor.
Others have mentioned that the power lead to the battery is very small gauge, and they are right. This is the ring terminal at the end of the wire that gets connected to the positive battery post.
I removed both the engine cover and the front piece of the air intake to make it easier to reach both the ECT1 sensor and the positive battery post. The installation itself is quite straightforward and the instructions provided are good. If you follow them to the letter in terms of how to use the provided zip ties, the S-VCM is practically invisible when you look into the engine bay.
In this photo, the S-VCM is visible as a small grey rectangle underneath the wiring harness in the lower left corner of the picture. The black wire stretching across the middle of the picture is the power lead going to the battery (at this point it is not tied up, but just hanging loosely).
The remaining zip ties are used to secure the power wire to the positive battery cable and keep it out of the way. I found that using two of them was quite enough.
Once the installation is completed and the engine cover and air intake are replaced, here is what it looks like in my engine bay:
The S-VCM itself is hidden by the engine cover and the black power wire is very discreet. I believe it would take a well-trained eye to notice it.
For the time being, I am going to keep my VCMuzzler handy, just in case the S-VCM doesn't do what it claims or if the performance is not up to what I am expecting of it. The first drive this morning was just fine, which is what I expected. But I will periodically update this thread with my impressions and thoughts. I'm very much open to thoughts, questions, comments and discussion with my fellow Odyclubbers.