VW Camper Family

A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.

Greetings!

My wife and I are in the market for a VW Camper.  We're weighing the pros and cons of older (more classic look) vs. newer (maybe more practical?).

I'm certain this is probably an old and frequent question, so I thank anyone in advance for being willing to offer any advice on this, point us to some prior posts we can read, other resources, etc.

Also wondering if there is anyone on this forum in the greater St. Louis area?  We live just across the river in Edwardsville, IL.

Kind regards,

Keith

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Yes same  plugs since I bought it.I just put an electronic distributor in it instead of replacing the points.It seems to be performing just fine so far.Time will tell about longevity on the part.Getting it cleaned up and ready we have a VDub show coming up in Fort Lauderdale.Mine is a daily driver not a show van maybe I will win a free t-shirt.Ok catch you later holler if you have any questions as I said before I am  Ford and ASE master tech but never wrench VW's before ok have a great day.Dom

Keith - you are 90 miles from Effingham, where Mid American Motorworks is. I don't really like the quality of parts they sell, but they are a group of serious VW guys. And they have a big event every spring. I suggest going, checking out the buses, etc. There will probably be a few for sale there that you could drive. Details here: http://www.funfestacvw.com/

That looks like a good opportunity... I think I'll try to make that.  Thanks!

Keith

Anyone out there have any thoughts about this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/DIESEL-Westfalia-Westy-Camper-/26118...

It's a diesel, which is intriguing, although maybe it shouldn't be?  It needs a little body work/interior sprucing up, but if it could be bought at the right price, I don't mind that...

Any thoughts on a fair value?  Also, here's a link to a YouTube of the van being started and driven... I'm not sure what a diesel should sound like in a VW of this vintage?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLEx69qPw1Q&feature=youtu.be

Hi Keith,

The only thing I know for sure about these is that they are one of the slowest of all the Westy's. Have been on bus runs and they always seem to get to the destinations last but nothing wrong with that for sure!! I have heard of people putting turbos in them but I have no idea how that is done. I also beleive that they are air cooled but there are not many 82 diesel Westfalia around. The latest bid seems very reasonable and the vehicle looks good! Hope things are well and take care, Kevin  

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for this... makes sense!  btw, I finally got the VW documentary DVD... man, what a great video!  Can't thank you enough for recommending it.  Made me ever more determined to do this as soon as I can find the right V-dub to "adopt."

I'm finding myself a little bewildered by all the choices, especially since almost all of them out there are far away from me (>500 miles).  There are a few exceptions, of course, but not many choices closer than that, which makes going to take a test drive a major deal.  I've found myself wishing some knowledgable VW camper owner would start a little cottage business as a "buyer's consultant!"  ;-)  I remember about 15 years ago I was in the market for a pull-behind camper, and found a guy online doing just that... for a reasonable fee he would look at the options the buyer was looking at, help with things like whether this was a good unit, fair price, etc.  I think I paid $150 back then, but it was money very well spent in the context of making an informed decision, peace of mind, etc.  Being a little OCD about major purchases like this, I'm thinking one day I'll get a bay, the next day I switch to a wedge... But then I'm a guy who will spend ten hours researching the best electric skillet!  LOL!   "OCD-ness" can be a great quality for some things, but that plus being a Libra makes big purchasing decisions very challenging sometimes... <s>

Best,

Keith

Keith, Kevin again with some more info. This is a very rare bus! A couple of very positive things about it is that it has a one of a kind transmission with extremily low gearing. From what I am hearing from several of my mechanic friends is that if you were to put a Subaru motor in one of these it would flat get up and go!! For us in California, the 82 is smog exempt which would allow us to drop any motor in it and not worry about passing smog. If  in good condition I hear that they are worth around $25,000.     

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=537514 Keith I did a little reading on the diesels and pretty much everywhere I looked the original motor was replaced to make it more acceptable to drive in today's crazy highways.I read in one article about 55 mph top speed.That would not be acceptable where I live in South Florida and I am sure it would be the same in most places across the US.The vehicle looks good and I like it overall but do you want to start ownership by replacing the stock engine.My 1971 westy with the stock motor will cruise all day at 75 mph and that speed almost keeps me out of trouble.As I said before My 2 cents worth.Happy Camping!!! Soon.(They only made the '82 diesel for one year).Check this statement in second paragraph.

Kevin, thanks so much for checking into that and for this information... I really appreciate it!

One thing I'm wondering:  If it has low gearing I would think that it would be slower moving, but with more torque, towing capacity, etc... Is the Subaru a higher revving motor, i.e. cruises at higher rpm's?  If I got this one, one of the reasons would be the diesel engine, mostly because I'm making an assumption that I could put many more miles on it, since diesels are supposed to go forever.  Are your mechanic friends indicating that the transmission is actually more of an advantage than the diesel engine?

I'm going to call and talk with the guy who has it listed.  It clearly needs some spiffing up, but it may be a great candidate for that... 

Again, thanks so much for your insights... 

Keith

Whoops!  I didn't see this one when I replied to the other!  ;-)  Thanks for this thread re. diesels... I'm getting ready to read it now... I can't thank you enough!

k


Dom Fernandez said:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=537514 Keith I did a little reading on the diesels and pretty much everywhere I looked the original motor was replaced to make it more acceptable to drive in today's crazy highways.I read in one article about 55 mph top speed.That would not be acceptable where I live in South Florida and I am sure it would be the same in most places across the US.The vehicle looks good and I like it overall but do you want to start ownership by replacing the stock engine.My 1971 westy with the stock motor will cruise all day at 75 mph and that speed almost keeps me out of trouble.As I said before My 2 cents worth.Happy Camping!!! Soon.(They only made the '82 diesel for one year).Check this statement in second paragraph.

Well, I think I had a senior moment a bit ago... Dom, I was thinking Kevin had posted the second recent one instead of you... I should have caught the South Florida reference... 

I did spend some time digesting the thread re. the diesel... Sounds like the diesel has its fans, but I don't know that I would be one of them if an incline slowed me down under 40 mph!  I'm not a fast driver (most of the time!), and don't need a Westie hot rod... but the diesel sounds like an idea that came and went pretty quickly, perhaps for good reasons, at least for many.  One other disadvantage is that my brother-in-law could work on a gasoline engine with no problems...could rebuild one, etc... he's really good at it... but I don't think he knows a thing about diesels.

So... it's back to the drawing board!  I was just talking to my daughter out in San Diego... I told her that my hope is that I make a good decision, buy the right one for me, and then have it the rest of my life.  Maybe that's putting too much pressure on the decision... and why I'm getting a little mental over it!  ;-)  But on the other hand, the journey is part of the fun.  Ali tells me that VW vans are all over the place out there, and in fact there's a guy who lives close to them who refurbishes them... she's going to send me a pic of one he has for sale right now.

Thanks so much again, Kevin and Dom, and others who have offered me great advice and encouragement!  It is all very much appreciated.  Keep those thoughts coming!

Best,

Keith

If you want a heater in the winter and a more spacious interior with a practical and funtional set up, go with a vanagon westy. I have an 70 westy, which is like new and a 78 westy which is in perfect conditon, and a 83.5 vanagon water cooled. The 83.5 is the flag ship and the one I take camping all the time. I love my bays and love driving them and do at time use them for camping, but the vanagon is the best for camping. So, if you are just looking for a cool van to drive around  and camp in every so often, a splitty, or bay is great. If you are looking for a van to go camping in with the kids or just yourselves, a vanagon is the best deal. They do have air cool vanagons. I would stay away from them, they are underpowered. Not that the water cooled have a lot of power. The 83.5 is the start of the water cooled. They have the 1.9 liter for the earlier years then they switch over to a 2.1 liter. They also have AC in many, a better ride, heavier and better on the road with wind from the side than the older models. Your best deal would be a later model vanagon, have you mechanic give any selections a check over. The lowest price isn't always the best way to go. These are all older vans and some have been cared for and some have been abused, as is true with any used car. Cost wise, they are going to be about the same as a spittly or bay. Expect to have some work done on it.  It's just part of ownership. Euro's of course are the latest thing out there, but they have their issues too. The early models were a 5 cylinder, and had transmission issues thru even some of the early years of the V6. The later years were better. These are nice, but $$$. I hope you are able to find the camper that you want and enjoy it as much as I have over the last almost 40 years that I have owned them. I started with a 70 hard top camper, then a 71 pop-up, and currently own a 70 pop-up, a 78 pop-up, and an 83.5 pop-up all Westies. There are different companies like Riveria, sportsman and a few others, the Westfalia's in my opinion are the best made and most practical design, of course, other people might like the others, personal choice. Take your time, go and look, drive and see as many as you can, this will give you a better idea of when you have found the "one".

Gary Marrs

70 Westy

78 Westy

83.5 Westy

07 Beetle

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