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  1. #1
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    Westfalia, Type II, Bus, Vanagon, and all air cools!

    Given the personality of TGR, I have to gather that there are many who are or have been into Vdubs. I have owned a 76, 77, and an 88 bus. I loved them all. They were all money pits, but some of my favorite rides. I loved working on them and understood the feeling when you finally got the timing dialed on those finicky engines. My water cooled 88 was just freakin awesome! However, the fact that the USA puts phosphate in their antifreeze was torture on the aluminum heads.

    So I have a couple old photo's.

    My '77


    My '88




    I am hoping to make a collection thread for you VW freaks. Maybe also leave advice and tips for those still into the scene. These are dying beasts, I never see them in concert parking lots anymore. Even the Dead and Phish lack the volume of 10 years ago (edit: I'm lucky if I see 2). They are very much harder to come by. I plan on owning another as a project car someday. I'm starting to think I need to buy soon.
    Last edited by Labcabin; 10-14-2013 at 09:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Phosphate free antifreeze is and has always been available. It's Mercedes Benz OEM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4matic View Post
    Phosphate free antifreeze is and has always been available. It's Mercedes Benz OEM.
    You are correct. The problem was always that VW never made this known, so whenever you bought a used one, odds were good that some mysterious damage was already done. If I remember correctly the sign would be pink discharge from the heads through the rings. Van on the rag!

  4. #4
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    Nice. Interestingly, thinking back to selling my 67 camper Type 2 stirs deep feelings of both regret and relief.

    Every now and then I come across my old copy of the John Muir Complete Idiot's Guide to VWs and the heavily grease- and oil-stained pages remind me of the pain.
    And I guess that I just don't know

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Nice. Interestingly, thinking back to selling my 67 camper Type 2 stirs deep feelings of both regret and relief.

    Every now and then I come across my old copy of the John Muir Complete Idiot's Guide to VWs and the heavily grease- and oil-stained pages remind me of the pain.
    I have seen a couple of those on Ebay recently. Fully restored and cherried out for close to 100 grand. Safari and such.


    I don't mean this one. It's just eye candy!

    Last edited by Labcabin; 10-14-2013 at 08:42 PM.

  6. #6
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    67s were pretty awesome - really nice camper layout, louvered windows in back, 12 volt (first year), split window (last year), 1500...even had a gas gauge.

    Pure misery to drive through a desert or California's Central Valley in the summer.

    If you ever ran into anything you were going to end up in the back with whatever you hit in your lap.
    And I guess that I just don't know

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    67s were pretty awesome - really nice camper layout, louvered windows in back, 12 volt (first year), split window (last year), 1500...even had a gas gauge.

    Pure misery to drive through a desert or California's Central Valley in the summer.

    If you ever ran into anything you were going to end up in the back with whatever you hit in your lap.
    '88 went through the Rockies! Didn't have the balls with the '77. Heat and AC huge in the 80's!!!!!! I had some heat with and aftermarket blower in the '77. The '76 didn't even have the boxes.

  8. #8
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    Good times...





    Bad times...



    You know I've had my share...



    83 1/2 (first gen waterboxer).
    Had a re-build motor in it when I bought it 15 years ago, had to put another in a couple of years ago. I had "a gauge problem" for the longest time that 3 local shops could not diagnose. I say gauge problem because no one could figure out why the little red light would go on and the needle would tank right at startup when compression and everything else seemed to be all good. Ran it blind hoping I wouldn't cook it. The week after getting home from a trip to Colorado with several 12-13,000' passes, I cooked it something fierce, only 30 miles from home.
    My friend found the guru of Westies around these parts for his rebuild (Some of you may know Zoltan the Hungarian) and he fixed me up including the gauge problem.
    My second trip to Colorado in 2 years resulted in a failed fuel pump down in Colorado Springs resulting in 2 night at a motel with a pool much to the delight of my kids. (3rd photo)
    Will soon have my 2nd tranny in and will be back at it, although I don't go far during the winter months.
    I hang with a crew that all have Westies and Eurovans. It pretty funny when we all pull up in the ferry line all in single file. I've got that shot somewhere, I'll post it when I find it.
    That second photo is on the Big Thompson on the way to Estes Park in better days
    Last edited by skajah; 05-18-2014 at 06:04 PM.

  9. #9
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    The big problem with them is maintenance. After owning Audi a few times, they all posses a magic quality of emptying your wallet in a nickel a dime way, that becomes exhausting. And after reading ^^ that post, seems the van knew when to take a swim break.
    but really....
    I dream of a water cooled Subaru engine Syncro camper in my life, 25K+

    Traveled a bunch in Utah, California, in both a 70 camper or 85 camper in past 25 years.
    Terje was right.

    "We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel

  10. #10
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    This ought to give a few of you some wood...


  11. #11
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    I know my kids (now adults) have some great memories of the 83 westy we had. Lots of camping trips and when I would get home from work with it, they would ask me to pop the top so they could play in it. To bad it was such a money pit and a lazy ass dog to drive on the freeway. I still look at them every now and then, but $25k, I don't think so.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  12. #12
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    had an 82 1/2, looked a lot like skajah's rig.

    I'm with Jamespio there, great camper, crappy car, even with a newer engine. No pickup on the highway, it was a dog to get up snoqualmie pass.

    when it was totaled, sold the engine and got a newer eurovan. Not the same dog, but much better fit for us.

    I have a friend who's a VW nut. He owns several.
    Here's his latest fixup, 72 panel bus. Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13
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    A good friend has an 82 that looks just like skajahs. It barely gets out of it's own way with the tired old diesel so he's in the process of retrofitting a 1.9l TDI engine out of a jetta.
    ::.:..::::.::.:.::..::.

  14. #14
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    We had Vanagons (not Westies) growing up. Started with an '81 two-tone blue diesel 3-speed manual with no radio, no A/C and brown corduroy seats. I didn't know enough to mind as a kid, but I have vivid memories of trips to the beach where my then teenaged sister was wailing about the heat with her head out the window. I got a "boom box" one Christmas, so I became the source of music for the vehicle, which also pissed my sister off. Dead reliable, but there wasn't really much to go wrong. It was painfully slow, even by Bus/Vanagon standards.

    The old man upgraded to a barely-used '87 with the square headlights and bumper with the spoiler. This one had all the bells and whistles, but also had all the problems. Two cracked heads, the first covered under warranty, the second eventually covered by the dealer because they "forgot" to put in the anti-freeze the old man provided when the were replacing the first one. Also had a blow head gasket.

    The transmission was finicky as fuck. When cold, you had to bump the throttle to get it to go into reverse. You had to do the same to get it to shift into overdrive. That, in addition to the two miles of throttle cable that liked to corrode and get sticky made for some good times. Plenty of cold mornings where I bumped the throttle to get it into reverse only to have it stick and rev the shit out of the engine...shut it off, run to the back, pile the shit out and hand turn the throttle, rinse, repeat. It got to the point where I quit putting stuff back there and left the foam pad in the passenger area and the hatch unlatched.

    Heading home from college one time, we got on the interstate and I started pounding the throttle trying to get it to upshift. The linkage finally had enough and broke, leaving me without a throttle. We pulled the engine cover, and my buddy hand-throttled it while I yelled "less/more" back to him. Managed to get to a service station with a guy that had worked on VWs at a dealer for a long time. He rigged a fix that lasted until the old man gave it away years later. It's frightening to think of all the times that thing was packed to the gills with intoxicated teenagers. My buddy used to call it the Flying Coffin.
    Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wicked_sick View Post
    A good friend has an 82 that looks just like skajahs. It barely gets out of it's own way with the tired old diesel so he's in the process of retrofitting a 1.9l TDI engine out of a jetta.
    My dad had an old 23 window that he took to his sister's place to help her move in west L.A. in the 70's. He took the keys with him, and came back out literally 5 mins later and it was gone. He has never forgiven her for asking him to help her move.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    "One season per year, the gods open the skies, and releases a white, fluffy, pillow on top of the most forbidding mountain landscapes, allowing people to travel over them with ease and relative abandonment of concern for safety. It's incredible."

  16. #16
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    I had a 73 westy the engine was punched out to 2150 which almost gave it adequate power but the punched out engine had an annoying habit of intermittently filling completely with gas and not turning over, the mechanic finaly put a soleniod shut off on the fuel line

    KYB gas shocks, 6 speaker stereo, stuff a dryer exhast hose into the gas heater vent and run it up to the driver seat for heat & defogging I liked driving it but nickle and dime does not describe the money pit VW vans are it was more like 500$ bill ya to death back when 500 was serious money as opposed to now days when 500 is just lunch and a haircut for old larry

    I sold it buy a new suby 4x4
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  17. #17
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    my bud just sold his '71...good year btw. this pic is from NYC when they used it for filming some tv show. I almost bought it, but couldn't commit the time right now.


    I had an '84 with the same antifreeze issues. Phosphate free...who woulda thunk? Went from Taos and broke down in Nelson BC from a blown head gasket. You would think that wouldn't be a big issue, but damn is it ever. You have to pull the whole motor to change the gasket. What a shitshow.

    Still, I loved that thing. We bought that and 1/2lb of Alaskan thunderfuck on the same day...popped the top and enjoyed a phat bob marley!

  18. #18
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    I always thought it would be way cool to find an old split window camper bus like the one below and go to town on ALL the mechanicals...drivetrain, electrics, camper equipment..etc.

    I'm thinking an engine, drive train and chassis from a 2004 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 with the full '63 or whatever VW camper bus somehow grafted onto it....so you would have the reliability and 4wd of the Tacoma and the coolness of a VW camper bus..with an inside sort of upgraded to late 90s Vanagon camper layout including stove, sink and fridge.

    Outdoor shower stall hooked on outside rear section would be a cool touch as well. Did the damn things have any sort of indoor head? Or just a port-a-potty that tucks under a seat???




    Here is an English Land Rover version of the same concept:

    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  19. #19
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    Snapped a shot of this crew cab while visting Bornholm, Denmark, in '97.



    I remember seeing aftermarket conversions done out of Germany on that Island. It was mostly to the Vanagons, they called them Caravellas and they all had famous American city names on the side depending on the version. New York, Atlanta, etc. They were basically the old Vanagons getting the new Eurovan super slim popups. Looked really cool !

  20. #20
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    Still have "lil jefe" '74 weekend camper out the backyard.







    Auto tranny!



    There was a ban after WW2 on allowing Germany automated manufacturing and certain western advancements before then due to the war. With the dual Weber's it could zoom up Loveland pass at a staggering 45MPH.


  21. #21
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    Nice rig for sale spotted at the Boulder library parking lot, the lot use to be full of campers back in the early '90's when it was still cool to camp there overnight and you didn't need to worry about being busted by 5-0.

    Last edited by mud; 10-15-2013 at 02:26 PM.

  22. #22
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    I had a '76 Type 2 Weekender and an 82 Wasserboxer orig diesel converted to gasoline 1.8L Golf in-line 4 and the big pinion gear to keep down the revs at highway speed. The '76 had a 1.8L fuel injected engine, pretty strong and relatively reliable. The '82 conversion ran fine for a few years but became a mechanical disaster. Oil wasn't getting places and a blew a cylinder. After an engine replacement it ran fine for awhile but, soon after selling it to bud for a deal, it resume its mechanical disaster status.

    I loved them both but hated them even more.

    The description "great camper, terrible vehicle" is so true.

    We recently looked into buying a 1986 or newer wasserboxer or EV Westy. Prices for the 86+_ wasserboser are absurdly high, the GoWesty rebuilds are having problems, etc., etc., etc. The EV ATs are time bombs, etc., etc., etc. We decided to keep the trusty FWC/F150 rig.

  23. #23
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    VeeWee vans brings me back to being 17.... smoking really shitty weed and eating endless amonuts of AM/PM hotdogs/burgers/nachos. We use to pack the van full with 5-8 guys heading to the hill. Whoever rode shot gun had to squeegee the windshield for the driver since defrost was only a fantasy.
    My wife always points them out and says how cool they are and my response is I don't need to smoke that much weed anymore or get passed by 90 year olds going downhill... good times/decades. I hear you can drop a Subaru engine in them and improve the power and not overheat when it's over 80 degrees outside.

  24. #24
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    ++++++++ vibes for this thread.
    My current ride.
    Roseburg, OR
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cassiar. I believe outside Smithers.
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    Down to bare metal paint job.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by HansJob; 10-15-2013 at 05:39 PM.
    Did the last unsatisfied fat soccer mom you took to your mom's basement call you a fascist? -irul&ublo
    Don't Taze me bro.

  25. #25
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    Ive owned a '67, '70,'71 and a '81 westy.

    Its a true love hate relationship. The the vans, hate driving 55.

    I work with a dude that put $80k into a westy. Jacked it up, 4x4, subie engine perfect interior. Bad ass but cost prohibitive IMO.

    cool thread

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