VW Camper Family

A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.

I just stumbled upon this site and it has made my day!

My husband and I owned a 72 Westy years ago and had such fun with it except for that darn third cylinder!!!!

We are looking for another and here is a question for the family. We have two options at this point but don't have to go for either.  Both 89 Vanagons. One has a 2100 engine with alot of power. automatic.

The other,  a diesel 1.6 stick told it was the same engine in the Jetta. Both in great condition for the year. Both going for 12 thousand. Both have just under 200 K although the diesel has a rebuilt.

We don't know what to do. We were told a diesel needs more maintenance. We want as less maintenance as possible.

This site and the prospect of owing a VW camper once again is such a highlight for our family.

Thanks so much for your time.


Jaime Lyn and Fernando.



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Go with the gas one. 

Diesels are not for everyone. The stock 1.6 diesel is a bit of a dog. Remember in 82, hwy speed was still 55. The WBX 2.1 can also be plagued with problems. I am a big fan of diesels.  If you purchase the diesel powered vanagon. It is a good candidate for upgrading to a 1.9 NA diesel, a 1.9 TD diesel, and the best would be the 1.9 TDI. They are reliable, powerful, and get average 30 mpg.

The WBX is also a good candidate for upgrading to Subaru power. I have seen some nice installs.

So, you really need to decide on whether you like diesels or not, more than which is better. markw


Thanks for the reply and ALL the info on the diesel.

Still doing some investigating. Takes a while to find "the one"



I did a lot of research, and I decided on the diesel. Why? Several reasons:

1.) Better mpg than the gassers

2.) Plenty of upgrade paths TD on the 1.6, 1.8, 1.8TD, 1.9, 1.9TD, all the TDIs, etc. 

3.) Eventual biodiesel/veggie conversion if you like that sorta thing

4.) The battery is in the rear, so that gives you two empty battery spots in the front seats for a later solar setup (=

5.) I like the under-dog.

Yes, it's the slowest thing on four wheels. You'll be hitting 35mph up hills and be riding an average 50-55 when on a good jive on the road.  You'll be the tortoise that takes everything in on the road. You'll see things you never saw before when driving. You'll really get a feeling of nostalgia.  But with those trade-offs (if you would call them that) you have excellent 25-30mpg if not better. The engine is rock solid if you listen to her and not push it. Like everything else basic maintenance is required. 

Would I ever go back to a gas van? Hell no, and I'm even looking to replace the rest of my cars with diesels. 

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