VW Bus - Recommendations and Rationales?

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Messages 1 - 20 of total 75 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 30, 2011 - 05:05pm PT
So the reality is that my life feels somewhat incomplete without a VW bus in it. My wife and I are currently saving for another one (we sold our '67 Westy 7 years ago--major regret), and are still deciding whether to pursue a split window, bay window, or Vanagon (not interested in a Eurovan).

I'd love to hear some pros and cons in terms of years, styles, air/water options, interior setups, etc., from those of you who've had lots of experience with them as climber-mobiles, and/or daily drivers.

As for me, I've had a 6-volt '64, a '67 Westy, and a '71 double-cab pickup. Loved them all in their own ways. I've rebuilt several 1600cc engines, so I know my way around them fairly well. Not so, the post '72 rigs.

I know there have been threads on VW buses already, but I'm specifically looking for input on particular recommendations.

Thanks in advance!

Tom Patterson - Seattle
Brunosafari

Boulder climber
OR
Dec 30, 2011 - 05:19pm PT

The experience of a Volkswagon Bus is almost identical to having a large-boned, hippy chick girlfriend.
Gary

climber
That Long Black Cloud Is Coming Down
Dec 30, 2011 - 05:20pm PT
Why not? They are a lot of fun on the freeway.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2011 - 05:49pm PT
Please elaborate, brunosafari!
reddirt

climber
PNW
Dec 30, 2011 - 06:06pm PT
I really wish our '87 was quieter on highways...

not interested in a Eurovan

why not?
bergbryce

Mountain climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Dec 30, 2011 - 06:14pm PT
Well, since you've already had several, you are probably a good VW mechanic, so that part is covered.

Honestly, I'd be looking at the Sprinter route or even pimping an Econoline or finding an old Toyota camper rig.
Clu

Social climber
Dec 30, 2011 - 06:18pm PT
My first car was a 69 Bus, it's still running somewhere in Louisiana last I heard about 5 years ago. Very please with my 99 Eurovan Camper, not as charismatic but a lot more reliable. Winnebago did a good job on these conversion, stretched 18", all the comforts on the road.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Dec 30, 2011 - 06:33pm PT
I'd go with the last year of the upright engine and the first year of disc brakes- I think '71. The flat engines are kind of a pain to work on, especially because you have to take off a bunch of tin pieces to get at anything.

mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2011 - 06:57pm PT
My reasons for not wanting a Eurovan are really deep:

1. They don't sound like VWs;

2. Not only are they pretty expensive to buy, but from what I've heard from a few owners I've known, they are very expensive to fix.

They're pretty sweet looking rigs, though.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Dec 30, 2011 - 07:20pm PT
Why not go for something really good. I've got a 1991 Oldsmobile Silhouette I'd be willing to sell. It's "the Cadillac of minivans".
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2011 - 07:22pm PT
Why not go for something really good. I've got a 1991 Oldsmobile Silhouette I'd be willing to sell. It's "the Cadillac of minivans".

Um...er...
Tripod? Swellguy? Halfwit? Smegma?

Trad climber
Wanker Stately Mansion, Placerville
Dec 30, 2011 - 07:56pm PT
My VW water cooled 1990 vanagon has well over 1/4 million miles on it (odometer now broke). The engine runs like a swiss watch and it has always been fast. cruises all day at 70 and can pull hills at the same. It is the simple version with the back seat that converts to a supremely comfortable bed and nothing else. the camper version just adds a lot of weight and slows performance. The last couple of years to 1992 were the fastest, most reliable engines to be put in them
perswig

climber
Dec 30, 2011 - 08:04pm PT
The experience of a Volkswagon Bus is almost identical to having a large-boned, hippy chick girlfriend.
I kinda like the sound of that.

Tripod? What kinda mpg do you get with your rig (the bus, not the hippy chick)?

Thanks.
Dale
Tripod? Swellguy? Halfwit? Smegma?

Trad climber
Wanker Stately Mansion, Placerville
Dec 30, 2011 - 08:16pm PT
about 22 mph
I think I'm more Smegma than Tripod today. Then again............
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 30, 2011 - 08:37pm PT
So, Mooser, if yer goin' all retro does this mean you'll be buying some
Goldline, solid Hexes, and a set of Clog wireds? There have been improvements
in automotive technology from what I hear if for nothing else in survivability.
Them old buses scare the crap out of me.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2011 - 09:34pm PT
So, Mooser, if yer goin' all retro does this mean you'll be buying some
Goldline, solid Hexes, and a set of Clog wireds?

I'd say that if they made that classic VW sound, yes!!
JayMark

Social climber
Oxnard, CA
Dec 30, 2011 - 11:09pm PT
I currently drive a 67 Westy and have since before time (it seems like). I love it. It is the most utilitarian vehicle I can think of. The deal with the split window bus is that it's kind of a hazardous situation on the freeways of California. They need to be driven within their limits, which is usually around 55 to 60 mph. Later models progressively get better for freeway use. Like you, I would not consider the Eurovan simply because I do not like the styling. The split window bus is all metal, inside and out, which I like for the same reason I like military vehicles. You can easily fit roof racks on the splitties and many other custom made contraptions as you desire. Mine is a disaster now as it lives on the beach and rust has invaded it throughout. The lift up rear hatch has ceased to function as the hinges have rusted off with part of the rain gutter. So the plan is to cut it open, fab some new parts, and weld em in. For me, the scars of such an operation just add character. But that's me, I love making and tinkering with mechanical stuff (insert climbing gear here) and the pre 67 VW bus fits in nicely, as does a B-25 with the local CAF wing. The Westy served as living quarters from 77-79 and now doubles as a work truck maintaining beach volleyball courts as well. It gets about 22 mpg and goes 55-65 (short periods). But you'll be ducking cars all day on the freeway. And the VW bus does not crash well. But for me, it's hard to beat.

jem
OlympicMtnBoy

climber
Seattle
Dec 31, 2011 - 01:27am PT
I found my Dad's '89 pretty comfy and reasonable to drive on the freeway. He has a "Country Home" conversion instead of the Westfalia. I'm not sure how many they did but the roof pops straight up for more headroom and the sink/fridge/stove unit is all in one cabinet that is reasonably easy to remove giving you a cargo van. The bench/bed runs the width of the van instead of being squished over by a cabinet.

It seems to be relatively reliable for a VW. Probably for sale soon too as he just got a new truck and camper combo.

Of course I really love my '77 Toyota Chinook way more than any VW . . .
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 31, 2011 - 02:03am PT
Karl summed it up on one of those other threads, you've really got to love the VW to put up with all the work it takes to keep them running. The older ones are easy enough to work on, those of us old enough to know who John Muir was certainly logged our time touching those parts. Having stuck my head into the back of a classic van maybe 5 to 10 years ago to consult with the occupants who had broken down at the Big Oak Flats entrance to Yosemite, I took note of the fact that I could no longer focus at that range, and my hearing wasn't as good as it used to be... both important for diagnosing and repairing that stuff.

I don't know what the parts situation is, but I'm sure there are some people somewhere in the world who keep manufacturing what you need.

My hard decision was to get rid of my Westafalia, the third in a long line of buses, simply because it became the center of every adventure I was having, and that wasn't my point in having it. So your rationale for getting one is an individual trip, we, or at least I, can't help you there.

Check out the extensive web presence of those people for whom the bus is the center of their adventure.

if nothing else, use this one: http://www.type2.com/rescue/ (AIRS is on FaceBook too)


http://www.westfalia.org/

http://www.vanthology.com/

http://www.gowesty.com/

http://www.busdepot.com/

http://www.bus-boys.com/

http://vimeo.com/channels/seevwtv

http://www.vintagebus.com/

http://www.type2.com/

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/

http://www.ratwell.com/

http://lovemybus.com/site/
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Dec 31, 2011 - 02:28am PT
just stock up on #3 exhaust valves and you should be alright.

Lars Holbek rebuilt a blown VW motor in the safeway parking lot near peavine ridge, wtf, over?
we are talkin S--T--U--D.

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