VW Bus - Recommendations and Rationales?

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Messages 1 - 74 of total 74 in this topic
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.

mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2011 - 11:38am PT
Great feedback, y'all. Thanks! And Ed...a few of those sites are new to me. Thanks for the links.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Dec 31, 2011 - 11:47am PT
mooser, we've had two eurovans. the first had no pop top and started having relatively costly mechanical problems ( in addition to the normal vw problem of all the small stuff breaking ) at 110k miles. we sold that one. unable to find what we though was a better body design, we bought another, this time with the pop top. the vehicle has had no significant issues and is now at 180k. it's been great. my recommendation is buy the eurovan with the pop top and pull out bed, but not the camper version that takes up too much space. my dad has an old synchro 4x4 vw van that he loves, but it drives like %%$ in comparison to ours without air bags and without power in hills. just my 2 cents

Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Dec 31, 2011 - 02:44pm PT
I, too, feel incomplete without a VW bus.

I'll never forget passing a VW van near Crested Butte, Colorado, one cold winter's day. A few feet of snow on the ground, clear blue skies. As I passed the VW, I noticed that the driver was scraping the inside of the driver's door window with an ice scraper.

That was all it took to rid myself of those "VW bus" inadequacies.

Instead of a VW bus I got a 9,000-pound 4x4 conversion van with everything including the kitchen sink. And I stay warm. And I have a heater and defroster.
reddirt

climber
PNW
Dec 31, 2011 - 04:05pm PT
Mooser & other PNW VeeDubbers, have you ever checked out Wolfsburg Motorwerks (no website)? Any opinions on their work? It's our back-up solution for anything that can't be handled at home.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2011 - 04:15pm PT
Thanks for the link, reddirt. I've heard of them, but I'm not personally familiar with them.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 31, 2011 - 04:32pm PT
The one thing I learned from having several VWs, including one van, is that preventive maintenance is really important. Maybe those German engineers take such things seriously, and a part designed to last a specified time or distance really will only do so. No plus or minus - that date/distance, on the nail.

Plus it helps to learn about self-repairs, as at least in older models, much is possible for the amateur with some time and tools, and probably now there's tons of information on the net about specific issues.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 31, 2011 - 05:17pm PT
Lars Holbek rebuilt a blown VW motor in the safeway parking lot near peavine ridge, wtf, over

Off White and I swapped out a blown engine in his '67 splitwindow (nicknamed Zardoz the Dragon Van, long story) with a rebuilt 1600cc. Summer of '78, SLC. Went there on a rumor that Warbler could supply work delivering phone books. Turned out the work was in Carmel/Monteray, but that's another story...

Did it by the side of the road using a carjack and a 2X4 to hoist the engine into place. Marginal tool kit, and an oldschool copy of this:



Climbing and tooling around the West in a VW bus was a blast. And '78 was one helluva year to be doing it. I should write a book.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Dec 31, 2011 - 05:46pm PT
I've blown up three of the old air cooled VWs each time on long grades in summer heat. The cooling system just isn't up to the demands of western summer driving. I'd even plan trips so that any long grades were done at night. Currently have a Toyota truck.
That said, the old VW had some very good qualities. They were easy to work on and parts were cheap. Don't know if this is still true about parts. Anyway, an idea for living with them, which I would like to claim as my own, is actually from Jon Storer, a sometime contributor here. The idea is to have two engines. Then, when something went wrong, swap the engines and fix the malfunctioning one at your leisure. Extracting an engine is about 20 minutes once you have it wired (helps greatly to have a floor jack).
mastadon

Trad climber
crack addict
Jan 1, 2012 - 03:10pm PT
The 1978 was the best of the air cooled VW buses. It was the first year of an oversized crankshaft bearing journals, first year (I think) of a spin-on oil filter, last year without an O2 sensor. In 1979 they went to square port heads with an O2 sensor to meet emissions and they were never quite the same.

The 1986 waterboxer was the first year of the 2.1 motor. The 1986 version had a cam that gave the engine more low-end torque. In 1987 they went to a different cam that required higher rpm's to generate the whopping' horsepower that the engines produced.

The Eurovans are nice but they don't have the clearance that the waterboxers have and they seem smaller inside. Parts for the Eurovan's Audi motors are very expensive.....

I've had a '67 van, 78 Westy, 86 Westy and now have an '87 Westy (not to mention all the old bugs I've gone through). The older VW's seemed to know when I had extra money in my pocket and they insisted on utilizing it.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 1, 2012 - 03:58pm PT
The older VW's seemed to know when I had extra money in my pocket and they insisted on utilizing it.

Favorite quote so far, mixed in with lots of great feedback. Thanks!

Eric: I like your two engine idea.
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
Jan 1, 2012 - 11:51pm PT
Are you suggesting two big boned hippy chicks? An auxillery back-up big boned hippy chick?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Jan 2, 2012 - 12:04am PT
I'd say that if they made that classic VW sound, yes!!

I've had a lot of VWs, and the classic sound which sticks in my memory is the sound those motors make when they swallow a valve.

In 1987 they went to a different cam that required higher rpm's to generate the whopping' horsepower that the engines produced.

The words "whopping horsepower" and VW Vanagon do not belong in the same sentence. Or perhaps you gest.

In 1979 they went to square port heads with an O2 sensor to meet emissions and they were never quite the same.

So you all old VW nuts actually don't like the idea that modern cars pollute much much much less than those old junkers? Get with the program. Drive a car, and pay the price for it, that doesn't f*ck up the air the rest of us have to breathe.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 2, 2012 - 01:04am PT
I agree with Ksolem, so I actually put a 2001 1.9L TDI engine into a 1989 Westie... and it almost worked...

certainly getting 30mph was great, better than most of the cars you'd call "real"

the torque that engine put out was amazing, the Westie climbed hills, no problem, it was a favorite game of mine to watch the expression on someone driving a "modern" car being passed by what was commonly viewed as a "moving obstruction"

When moving at highway speeds, that is, over the speed limit 10 to 15 mph on the highway, I'd feel bad that I was only getting 28 mpg...

Problem was a 1989 Westie is still a 1989 Westie... a 22 year old car, with close to 250,000 miles on it, hard miles...

...but that was definitely the ticket if you're looking for a project... the engine would run pure biodiesel too, so basically you met the future CARB standards, and you had a classic vehicle that you could visit at your local mechanic with pride...

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 2, 2012 - 01:31am PT
In 1979 they went to square port heads

Imagine, a VW involving squareheads. Whatever will they think of next?
storer

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Jan 27, 2012 - 09:59pm PT
Shary McVoy and I traveled extensively in a '68. Somewhere I must have a pic of it in camp 4; gotta look. It would be remembered as we had a cool Sony cassette stereo (one of the first) and two wood speakers playing tunes from the times.

Early on, I always scrounged up a floor jack in order to remove the engine. Then I got wise and put and old tire (no rim) under it and just jerked back it and let it drop. No problem. two guys could lift the bus over the bumper, no problem.

It was said that you didn't drive a bus uphill but rowed it, keeping the rpm's optimal, listening to the engine sound (one got very good at that!) jumping out and tweaking the spark advance ever so little to find the optimum.

One time, on the way to Devil's Tower in Illinois, we pushed too hard into a west wind and melted a hole in a piston. No money and bummed. Some great folks (I wish I could reconnect!) with a tiny 2' x 2' shingle with "VW Repairs" took us in, let us use their garage, got us discount parts, and put us on the road again within our budget. They were beekeepers and gave us jars of honey for our
journey westward.
Never got up DT on that trip, however, as Shary was bitten by a rattler in the Badlands. Bad Luck/Good Luck cycles, doesn't it?

Thank you, Eric, for stirring my memory.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 27, 2012 - 10:05pm PT
i got to where i could pull the engine in the 67 in minutes. right next to the fire road. or campsite. or surface street. or interstate. in snow. rain. hail. wind. hell heat. did all of them. regularly. in addition to constant preventive maintenance.

never again, not for me. though it looks cool when a fetishist pulls up in a cherry split windshield.

lots easier on yr back workin on motorcycles.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 27, 2012 - 10:09pm PT

http://www.peteraschwanden.com
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 27, 2012 - 10:32pm PT
on my 61 Bus/64 engine I installed an Engine Head temp gauge that could be switched between the 4 cylinders... my cross country driving behavior was to drive to the cylinder temp, slowing down to keep away from the max...

that worked amazingly well even if going up some mountain passes was down in slow motion
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 27, 2012 - 10:50pm PT
Credit: guido
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Jan 28, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
I'll sell you my '87 Weekender. It's in excellent shape. Lots of work done to it to bring it up to reliable and drive-able shape. It's a real gem.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 28, 2012 - 01:16pm PT
Credit: guido
steve shea

climber
Jan 28, 2012 - 02:41pm PT
I've had a split, a 72 bay with the pancake and now a 97 Eurovan with the complete Winnebago treatment. Bought it for 19k put 3 more into it. We use it for trips only not a daily driver. It has the VR6 and pulls the passes here no problem with a full load and the winnie package. It can cruise 80+ all day on the freeway and gets good mileage on real fuel not ethanol. I shop. There has not been a major breakdown or expense and what has happened has been cheap to repair cause I like junkyards. Dealers are last resort. No soul though. If you enjoy the anxiety of not knowing if you will make it to your destination, the euro is no fun. Plus no more roadside bivys timed around a cool engine for those pesky frequent valve services. There is definitely something to be said about the simplicity of the original oil cooled boxer. With a screwdriver and a timing light you are good to go. Plus you meet lots of people who think you are an oddity for enjoying primitive motoring. If you enjoy the trip and have no schedule go early, the 72 was a rocket compared to the split. If you want to get there get a used euro 97 or newer.
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Apr 9, 2012 - 10:08pm PT


http://subagon.com/
Lightenin'

Gym climber
Muleshoeville
Apr 9, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
Why not get an Audi and join the modern world?
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Apr 9, 2012 - 10:24pm PT
Only way to go the VW Vanagon Westfalia Syncro . . .


The VW Vanagon & Syncro Video by VW of America 1987
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sII5loesI





StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 9, 2012 - 10:36pm PT
Baja approach
Baja approach
Credit: StahlBro

Get some.....
Barbarian

Trad climber
New and Bionic too!
Apr 9, 2012 - 11:03pm PT
The experience of a Volkswagon Bus is almost identical to having a large-boned, hippie chick girlfriend.

Great line Brunosafari! I had one of each some years ago, and have fond memories of both. No disrespect to the girl, but I sure wish I still had the bus ('74 1.8 liter flat w/ dual carbs)!

I must admit that I caught myself perving over a beautiful vintage model on my way home from work today. I was thinking about what the wife would say if I brought it home (bus, not hippie chick).

OldHippieBarbarian
Barbarian

Trad climber
New and Bionic too!
Apr 9, 2012 - 11:18pm PT
And the VW bus does not crash well.

Looks like another opportunity to inset crashpad humor...
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Apr 10, 2012 - 01:00am PT
I have an 87 weekender in great condition that needs a home. Lots of work done by the Van Cafe. Body and engine in really great condition.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Apr 10, 2012 - 01:07am PT

I know this guy, he has a weekender that has a special compartment, inside is a VW mechanic.

The door to the compartment is always open...

Hoi has a nice rig, I have seen the beast in the desert.

Labors of love I recon


Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 10, 2012 - 01:08am PT
I'm not ready, yet...
Lasti

Trad climber
Budapest
Apr 10, 2012 - 06:25am PT
Don't know how I missed it, but I think Ed nailed line of the year the first day...

"...and you had a classic vehicle that you could visit at your local mechanic with pride..."

That about sums is up... Truly classic!!!

Thanks,

Lasti
Bad Climber

climber
Apr 10, 2012 - 09:07am PT
Between me and my wife, we've owned several VW vans: '67, a split-window pop-up (so damn cute!) '65(?), a '78 camper no pop, a '78 w/pop (had for about ten years and a couple of engines, and, finally, a '95 Eurovan--full pop/camp.

I think I've finally been cured of this particular disease! Obviously, I've loved the damn things, but the lack of power, fairly deadly consequences of crashing, and need for repairs have pushed me to more smoothly operating, safer vehicles.

The Euro was cool, but it was very expensive to purchase and after just a year or so started having problems--like blowing a supposedly new radiator hose that cost about $300 to replace--a stinkin' hose! We went for the '95 because it was one of the last years to have a manual tranny. We'd read that the automatics were known to sometimes blow out completely, without warning, huge $$ to replace.

My current, hopefully dormant, fantasy is to get a late model Westy Vanogon and put a Subaru engine in it. I'm no mechanic, so that would be very expensive, but that would be the ticket--a powerful, super reliable engine in place of the finicky VW P.O.S.

My current camping vehicle is a Toyota Tundra with pop-up camper. Sweet!

BAd
salad

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 11:47pm PT
yeah so my syncro has been sidelined for the past three years. i got her running last weekend, it was a beautiful site. i hugged her from the engine compartment and told how her much i loved her and how sorry i was as she spat rust and spew from the exhaust on my legs. a tear might have been shed.

then i threw the fam in and drove her around the block, honking like maniacs and waving at all who would throw their gaze in our direction.

the following monday i went to the dmv and coughed up $688 bucks (mostly fines) for not registering her since 2009.

now my sweet girl just needs to pass smog and she will be legal.

Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Dec 8, 2012 - 12:09am PT
True story from about 1978...

I was riding in a friend’s car, going through the town of Tupper Lake, New York (in the Adirondack Mtns.) We passed a house which had a nice looking ‘64 VW van in the front yard with a 4 SALE sign on it. We stopped, and I was looking over the very clean van, when a grumpy old guy came out of the house and barked “Fifty bucks and it’s yours, but you don’t want it. Damn motor seized again!”

I went to the back and opened the engine compartment lid and began to inspect the motor. It looked new. I grabbed hold of the lower pulley on the end of the crankshaft and pulled and pushed. It had about the right end play, which you could feel on those motors, so I knew the crank wasn't seized anyway. Then I saw it. Looking in the opening in the generator (where the brushes are) I could see a tangled mess of freshly shredded copper.

I called the old guy over and told him that I thought the generator armature had disintegrated and that was keeping the motor from turning over. He basically told me “F*ck off, you don’t know sh*t. If you want it cough up the fifty bucks.”

So I paid him and he signed over the slip.

While he watched, I took out a pocket knife, cut the generator / fan belt, started it up and drove it off his lot. Of course I had to park it a couple blocks away, before it could overheat. I got a replacement generator for about $35.00 and had a great van for years. I drove by the old coot’s house many times over the rest of that summer and always tooted the horn.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 12:58am PT
all right salad!

(still not ready to go back, but there are tales that 510OW is running around the Bay Area with its new owner)

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 8, 2012 - 01:25am PT
IT'S GUNNA DIE!!!!!

FOR REAL! NOT KIDDING!!!

well I am kidding but still

Had two of those suckers, the old ones. They drive like Ouija boards and stick it to you for maintenance. I thought "Cool, a van simple enough to work on yourself" but then you HAVE To work on it, unlike vehicles that keep running forever with few issues.

Now the newer ones. Of course more complicated, and maybe more powerful but the friends who bought them were all sodomized by them

And I'm a friggin hippy but never again!

Ford and other van conversions can be had cheap, have all the camper stuff in them, hardly ever break down, have way more power, and parts are cheap and rednecks know how to fix em

Hard to beat all that

Karl

I might spend more nights in this rig than my home!
I might spend more nights in this rig than my home!
Credit: Karl Baba
o-man

Social climber
Paia,Maui,HI
Dec 8, 2012 - 01:45am PT
I loved my VW van but I don't think that I will own another one.
http://rockerwaves.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-i-cant-meet-you-in-baja.html
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Dec 8, 2012 - 10:59am PT
Blow up your TV, drive your vans to the country, smash the engine and figure out how to live disturbing less.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Dec 9, 2012 - 01:26pm PT
RIP


healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 9, 2012 - 01:32pm PT


Exactly. Passed on burning on the side of I84 in the Gorge once and it was one of the hottest, most intense, fires I've ever experienced and that was through glass in a car passing thirty feet away from it. I was surprised that side of my car still had paint on it. I'm guessing in the course of the engine going up some somehow metals got ignited as parts of it were white hot in appearance.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Dec 9, 2012 - 02:31pm PT
Some older vw engines and some earlier Mag wheels had a unsubstantial amount of magnesium in the castings. Well, sparklers, the fireworks small kids are allowed to handle around the forth of July also have magnesium.

In the 60's some late night hippy country parties would put a mag VW engine block in a bond fire and eventually watch "the blue magnesium fire" explode. These quoted words are in some song of that era.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2014 - 04:01pm PT
So...after starting this thread a few years ago, we settled on an '86 Westy. Did a little work here and there, and we've used this thing dozens of times for camping and climbing just in the past year. It's been great.

Yesterday, on I-5, North of Seattle, one of the belts blew, and the other two blew, too (peer pressure), and dislocated a hose in the cooling system in the process. Didn't have any spare belts, like I would've in my '64 or '67, since there's only one in them, and the fix is a snap.

Gotta love AAA! They arranged for a tow of about 60 miles back to our mechanic, where they're replacing all the goods today.

My wife suggested we sit on the hillside above the freeway while we waited, and since the day was incredibly beautiful, we did.

Even with the predictable maintenance issues, I love these things!

My lovely wife, Liz, with the Westy down below.
My lovely wife, Liz, with the Westy down below.
Credit: mooser

Even on the back of a tow truck, she's a beaut.
Even on the back of a tow truck, she's a beaut.
Credit: mooser
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Karkoekstan
Apr 14, 2014 - 04:26pm PT
you can have my 74 westy for $50K and that is today.it comes with 1500 CC turbocharged mazda engine

next year I may ask for $60K

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NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Apr 14, 2014 - 05:51pm PT
Cool stories all...

Mooser, I'm happy for you that you have a significant other who can turn adversity into fun. Makes the trip through life a lot nicer!
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2014 - 08:10pm PT
Thanks, NutAgain. She's kind of awesome, actually. 34 years on April 5.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Apr 14, 2014 - 09:03pm PT
Congrats on 34 ,mooser.



A friend once said ,"If you own a VW bus, and it runs ,you must be a hell of a mechanic".


Imho,it is no big deal,180k ,and few vehicles are as versatile.

Cheers ,Wilbeer.

Credit: wilbeer
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2014 - 09:55pm PT
Thanks, Wilbeer! And I get the happy VW owner/mechanic thing. Most stuff, I can do on the road. Didn't have the parts for this one, though. Something must've gotten kicked up into the engine compartment when I was driving yesterday, as it took out belts, dip stick tube, and two hoses. All good now. She's back home and purring like a kitten once again. By the way, your pic ^^^ just makes me happy.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 14, 2014 - 10:12pm PT
I really liked my Straight 87 vanagon better than Isa's 86 westy. More room for liveing. All them closets and the overhead take up so much space. i usually hit my head on the effin overhead closet at least two times a night. can be pretty funny if the vans a rockin;) There was so much room in this beast. the Cooler lived right behind the passenger front seat by the battery compartment. You could sit on the cooler and play guitar on a rainy day and there was pleanty of room for a 2nd guitar player sitting on the edge of the bed.
Isa doing homework on a snowy rest day, Seneca WV
Isa doing homework on a snowy rest day, Seneca WV
Credit: tradmanclimbs
the bed was so much bigger than a westy bed. you could sleep in all kinds of different directions and angles. Foot up against the kitchen counter gives good leverage;)
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Apr 15, 2014 - 12:05am PT
repost ...
Credit: ß Î Ø T Ç H
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Apr 15, 2014 - 11:38am PT
I miss my bus, all this VW talk makes me crazy and ready to do stupid things.

I miss my bus.. a bed one can drive anywhere.

Me in my Van.
Me in my Van.
Credit: guyman

and then pass out.

mastadon

Trad climber
crack addict
Apr 15, 2014 - 01:17pm PT

Wow! I'll be double dipped. Someone actually listened to what I said (upthread) and bought what I suggested!!

And wait just a minute. You've been together for 34 years? How can that be? Were you married when she was 10?

Psilocyborg

climber
Apr 16, 2014 - 10:51am PT
meh....they are great, sure, but you can get more room, more power, and more reliability in just about any other van for less money. I don't want to poo poo the thread, and I do absolutely love the many incarnations of the VW bus, but someone has to bring some damn sense to the conversation!

A good friend of mine has a very nice 72 westy he restored himself. Good thing because I wanted to burn that thing to the ground when it barely bubbled along for 1000 miles before finally stranding us in scarysville texas for 4 days.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Apr 16, 2014 - 02:45pm PT
Wilbeer's VW is cherry. Really nice ride. I've got Westy envy.
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