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Any ideas on how to get some heat in a VW Bus without spending a ton of money on a Propex heater, or the like? My heat exchangers and plumbing are good but still no heat. any suggestions? Thanks.

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Mr. Buddy Portable propane heater. Takes the chill off when you're hanging out in the bus. Even though it has an automatic shut-off O2 sensor, I wouldn't leave it on overnight. besides the propane canister won't last that long.

http://www.mrheater.com/ProductFamily.aspx?catid=41
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No doubt that even a perfectly running heating system probably won't help you and me this week (a high of -3F tomorrow in Anaconda), but this link is worth checking out:
http://www.ratwell.com/technical/Heating.html
I was always incredulous about an ACVW's ability to provide passenger heat, until I drove around one cold Nebraska Winter in a friend's Beetle, and it would actually get too hot. Our Squareback gets plenty warm as well, even in these recent temps.
Spending money restoring the stock heating system first may be the way to go, as it's part of restoring the whole bus anyway.
Copy that, it's going to be tough getting warm with these temps
This is what I have used in the past. Works well.


westywoman said:
Mr. Buddy Portable propane heater.

Second that. The one in Westywoman's link fits nicely between the front seats of the Vanagon, I'm told. If you have an earlier bus with the walk-through seating, there's a version of the Mr. Heater called the "Little Buddy" that fits there. Same heater, but a little smaller and not quite so powerful, but effective just the same.

Another trick: Put all your bedding on the rear shelf, right over the rear cushion if you have one. The engine heat warms up the bedding. When you get to where you're going, it will be nice and toasty warm. That's saved my butt more than a few times over the years
You guys have got to be kidding with your suggestions . This is my first winter and I need some heat and to be able to defrost the windshield ., that is my big concern the defrosting part do you have the same trouble and has any buddy cured this. Just bought a $130 12v heater and defroster and it sucks .


79 TIm said:
You guys have got to be kidding with your suggestions . This is my first winter and I need some heat and to be able to defrost the windshield ., that is my big concern the defrosting part do you have the same trouble and has any buddy cured this. Just bought a $130 12v heater and defroster and it sucks .
I'd like to reaffirm my suggestion: completely fix the stock heating system and you'll find that it's adequate--not great, adequate--for temps at least down to the mid 20s. The defroster will work too.


whc03grady said:

I'd like to reaffirm my suggestion: completely fix the stock heating system and you'll find that it's adequate--not great, adequate--for temps at least down to the mid 20s. The defroster will work too.

What he said. I had a '70 bus that went through several hard winters in Maryland and the high desert of New Mexico with a stock heater/defroster system, and it worked OK once I got it back to stock. When it went way below freezing, I appreciated gloves and long underwear, but the windshield stayed clear. I suspect that if you have no heat, and you know that your cables and flaps are actuating properly, you've got either an obstruction or a hole in the system somewhere (possibly several). Troubleshooting is a matter of starting at the back and pulling off the hoses that connect to the heater boxes. If there's a blast of air when the flaps are open, and it disappears when the flaps are closed, proceed forward until you've found the problem. East coast buses are notorious for damage to the system due to corrosion (in fact, the long pipe in my '70 bus was missing altogether when I bought it, and the bus was only five years old then).

My take on the original poster's question was that he wanted to know how to keep warm when the bus was stopped (i.e., camping). That's what my own previous answer addressed.
This is what I do to defog a hopeless windshield. Works fine.

Mr. Grady, I got air to come out of my defrosters but it is not a whole lot unless I am doing like 50mph is this normal or does that sound like a leak . Plus I was wondering about a part , under the dash board , the levers for the defrost and fresh air , on the one there is a spring that puts pressure on the cable , that spring is broke and I can't find it this might also be part of my problem HELP
whc03grady said:


79 TIm said:
You guys have got to be kidding with your suggestions . This is my first winter and I need some heat and to be able to defrost the windshield ., that is my big concern the defrosting part do you have the same trouble and has any buddy cured this. Just bought a $130 12v heater and defroster and it sucks .
I'd like to reaffirm my suggestion: completely fix the stock heating system and you'll find that it's adequate--not great, adequate--for temps at least down to the mid 20s. The defroster will work too.

It sounds like a leak. There are about a million places the heating system can leak from waaaaay at the back of the bus to waaaaaaay up front where defrost heat comes out. Check out the link from earlier in this thread.

Don't get me wrong: even when your bus rolled off the showroom floor it didn't pump heat out of the defrosters like people expect a car to deliver defrost heat today. But you should get something.

If you have most of the spring you might be able to find a replacement at a hardware store, though the only thing those levers do is make certain flaps open and close.

79 TIm said:


Mr. Grady, I got air to come out of my defrosters but it is not a whole lot unless I am doing like 50mph is this normal or does that sound like a leak . Plus I was wondering about a part , under the dash board , the levers for the defrost and fresh air , on the one there is a spring that puts pressure on the cable , that spring is broke and I can't find it this might also be part of my problem HELP

  Like everyone else said....  Find and fix all air leaks / obstructions in the pipes.  My cables are messed up, so I bought a couple of old school choke cables from JC Whitney. I installed them under my back seat and rigged them to actuate the heat flaps.  (Heat on all winter, off all summer.)     When it really gets cold, I hang a wool blanket behind the drivers area to keep the heat up front.  I also lower the sun visors to trap the heat close to the windshield for a better defrost.

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