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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My wife and I did high 5's at your post... we were hoping this was a good deal.  I like this lady... she sounds square business to me.  And sounds like she has a nice van.  I'm waiting to hear back from the guy she bought it from, but I don't expect he's going to cast a lot of doubts on this one... I'm ready to get this done and go camping!

Thanks, and I'll keep you posted!

Keith

Keith, I drive my 85 Westy as my daily driver and love it. It is auto transmission and although it has a/c I have never put on the belt to repair it because it never really could cool down the whole inside of the vehicle and when it's 105 it just can't keep up so open all the windows and do your traveling in the early morning. I think the 85 is a great year despite what Gowesty says! Good luck on this one Kev

Thanks so much for this, Kevin... I appreciate it.  We're going to pick her up tomorrow night... will actually drive to Dayton then get the van first thing the next morning and drive home.

She's put new belts and a battery in it, plus an oil change, and had the mechanics look it all over... 

What does GoWesty say about 1985's??

Here's some more photos of her: 

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=109263797959199842129&...

I'll keep y'all posted!

Best,

Keith

They just think 86 on are better. Nothing to worry about. Congratulations you will love your new home away from home. Time to get to know her then a trip to California. It will need a name! It looks really nice and just a little darker then mine. Like I say, I love this year. Keep in touch and I have some things that I did to improve the vehicle in different ways so we can talk.

Ha!  I've been thinking about names... because of her color I was thinking, "Blondie," but of course my wife will have to weigh in on this, too.

Would love to know about improvements... I've already created a GoWesty account, and have a bunch of stuff in my "wish list."  I like the side tent thing... Maybe when it needs breaks I'll spring for the GoWesty upgrades, but I'll wait on that till I need them.

What do you think of the stove?  Seems like it would be better to cook outside?  Does it work pretty well?

Thanks!

Keith

So nice to hear you've got your van. The pictures looked really great. You've got both tables and the rear screen and front curtain too. I even saw an ice tray in the fridge. Go Westy is a great place for parts, but favors the later models with the 2.1 engine. Van Cafe carries everything for the 1.9 engine. http://www.volkscafe.com/ Plus when you order something from these guys you get Famous Amos cookies !!!!! When I'm shopping for parts I'll check both places for the best price. I've had great service from both Go Westy and Van Cafe. I just got yesterday an exhaust manifold for #2 and #4, that's the rear cylinders that I noticed was cracked after only 256,000 + mles, from Van Cafe and my wife and I already ate the cookies last night. Also on the east coast there is Bus Depot, http://www.busdepot.com/ , which are also good people.

 

As for as cooking inside the van, the stove works just fine, but it will smell up the van, I use it mostly for boiling water for instant foods like potatoes or mac and cheese, etc.., so be careful what you cook inside as you will be smelling it for a while. I usually cook things outside on a camping stove, or gas grill, I use a gas grill because a lot of places will not let you use charcoal or have fires. Side tents are nice, but, they attach to the van and are $$$. I use a free standing 10' X 10' awning, with straight legs. Like a quick shade, or the one from Walmart, also you can get a screen or solid walls that go around it at Walmart. My wife didn't like the solid walls because there was no windows, so she got some thin clear plastic and put windows on threes sides and it turned out great. You can set it away from the van or leave one side open (if you put the walls up) and put it right next to the van or with no walls up as a shade. When you want to take off and go some place we put our equipment under it and lower it down to cover our stuff. Of course they also have awnings that you can get that stay on the van and are like the ones on RV's only smaller. But, $$$.

 

I hope you guys enjoy your new camper as much as I enjoy mine. You just have to keep in mind that it is 28 years old and you may have to make some repairs now and then, but it's worth it. AND, after you get things the way you want, and get ready for a road trip, try getting out of that sweat box back there and come to the Pacific Northwest for some out of this world camping. You can check out some of my pictures on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetmarrs/ . There are just tons, well over 15,000, of camping trips road trips and WetWesties Campouts that I have done over the last few years, plus places to see and Big campouts like Buses by the Bridge etc....... I'm getting ready for about a month road trip starting the first of May with a couple of WetWesties campouts, plus a tour of Washington State with some local friends and their VW Camper, pictures to follow.

 

Gary Marrs



Gary Marrs said:

So nice to hear you've got your van. The pictures looked really great. You've got both tables and the rear screen and front curtain too. I even saw an ice tray in the fridge. Go Westy is a great place for parts, but favors the later models with the 2.1 engine. Van Cafe carries everything for the 1.9 engine. http://www.volkscafe.com/ Plus when you order something from these guys you get Famous Amos cookies !!!!! When I'm shopping for parts I'll check both places for the best price. I've had great service from both Go Westy and Van Cafe. I just got yesterday an exhaust manifold for #2 and #4, that's the rear cylinders that I noticed was cracked after only 256,000 + mles, from Van Cafe and my wife and I already ate the cookies last night. Also on the east coast there is Bus Depot, http://www.busdepot.com/ , which are also good people.

 

As for as cooking inside the van, the stove works just fine, but it will smell up the van, I use it mostly for boiling water for instant foods like potatoes or mac and cheese, etc.., so be careful what you cook inside as you will be smelling it for a while. I usually cook things outside on a camping stove, or gas grill, I use a gas grill because a lot of places will not let you use charcoal or have fires. Side tents are nice, but, they attach to the van and are $$$. I use a free standing 10' X 10' awning, with straight legs. Like a quick shade, or the one from Walmart, also you can get a screen or solid walls that go around it at Walmart. My wife didn't like the solid walls because there was no windows, so she got some thin clear plastic and put windows on threes sides and it turned out great. You can set it away from the van or leave one side open (if you put the walls up) and put it right next to the van or with no walls up as a shade. When you want to take off and go some place we put our equipment under it and lower it down to cover our stuff. Of course they also have awnings that you can get that stay on the van and are like the ones on RV's only smaller. But, $$$.

 

I hope you guys enjoy your new camper as much as I enjoy mine. You just have to keep in mind that it is 28 years old and you may have to make some repairs now and then, but it's worth it. AND, after you get things the way you want, and get ready for a road trip, try getting out of that sweat box back there and come to the Pacific Northwest for some out of this world camping. You can check out some of my pictures on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetmarrs/ . There are just tons, well over 15,000, of camping trips road trips and WetWesties Campouts that I have done over the last few years, plus places to see and Big campouts like Buses by the Bridge etc....... I'm getting ready for about a month road trip starting the first of May with a couple of WetWesties campouts, plus a tour of Washington State with some local friends and their VW Camper, pictures to follow.

 

Gary Marrs



Kevin & Debie Welch said:


Gary Marrs said:

So nice to hear you've got your van. The pictures looked really great. You've got both tables and the rear screen and front curtain too. I even saw an ice tray in the fridge. Go Westy is a great place for parts, but favors the later models with the 2.1 engine. Van Cafe carries everything for the 1.9 engine. http://www.volkscafe.com/ Plus when you order something from these guys you get Famous Amos cookies !!!!! When I'm shopping for parts I'll check both places for the best price. I've had great service from both Go Westy and Van Cafe. I just got yesterday an exhaust manifold for #2 and #4, that's the rear cylinders that I noticed was cracked after only 256,000 + mles, from Van Cafe and my wife and I already ate the cookies last night. Also on the east coast there is Bus Depot, http://www.busdepot.com/ , which are also good people.

 

As for as cooking inside the van, the stove works just fine, but it will smell up the van, I use it mostly for boiling water for instant foods like potatoes or mac and cheese, etc.., so be careful what you cook inside as you will be smelling it for a while. I usually cook things outside on a camping stove, or gas grill, I use a gas grill because a lot of places will not let you use charcoal or have fires. Side tents are nice, but, they attach to the van and are $$$. I use a free standing 10' X 10' awning, with straight legs. Like a quick shade, or the one from Walmart, also you can get a screen or solid walls that go around it at Walmart. My wife didn't like the solid walls because there was no windows, so she got some thin clear plastic and put windows on threes sides and it turned out great. You can set it away from the van or leave one side open (if you put the walls up) and put it right next to the van or with no walls up as a shade. When you want to take off and go some place we put our equipment under it and lower it down to cover our stuff. Of course they also have awnings that you can get that stay on the van and are like the ones on RV's only smaller. But, $$$.

 

I hope you guys enjoy your new camper as much as I enjoy mine. You just have to keep in mind that it is 28 years old and you may have to make some repairs now and then, but it's worth it. AND, after you get things the way you want, and get ready for a road trip, try getting out of that sweat box back there and come to the Pacific Northwest for some out of this world camping. You can check out some of my pictures on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetmarrs/ . There are just tons, well over 15,000, of camping trips road trips and WetWesties Campouts that I have done over the last few years, plus places to see and Big campouts like Buses by the Bridge etc....... I'm getting ready for about a month road trip starting the first of May with a couple of WetWesties campouts, plus a tour of Washington State with some local friends and their VW Camper, pictures to follow.

 

Gary Marrs

Keith,
Gary is right about the smell but it goes away fast and there is something about driving back to work after a great camping trip and still having that smell of beacon and eggs in the car! I really like the side tent that Gowesty has and I am going to order it for two reasons, one is for more room for our two labs that have to sleep with us and stay warm because they are huge sissy and the other is storing things like your bags and other "stuff " that just clutters up the cabin. I like having the stove inside and we carry a portable bar-b-que for outdoor cooking. I got rear ended on February 19 and I owe not getting injured and little body damage to the plate steal bumpers I got from Gowesty. They are outstanding and I feel a real must have for safety reasons. The breaks you mentioned are really expensive around $1200 if you are talking about the African ones at Gowesty but I am thinking about going with the larger wheels for better performance and stability and keeping the same break system. Hard to find good tires for buses in 14 inch wheels . The side tent I think is about $275 or so but that and the wheels are my next investment. Gary is also right about Van Cafe, shop both places when filling that wish list. I'm excited for you folks and the weather is getting outstanding for us. Have our first get together with the camper family the middle of may so I'll send you some photos.

Thanks Kevin and Gary for your kind thoughts... We're really excited.  This does feel like "the right one."  The help I've received here in this forum has been invaluable, and I'm really grateful.  I'm sure I'll have lots of other questions... 

For instance, do either of you know the size wheels that are on this?  What was stock, or is it possible to tell from the pictures?

Also, I wasn't looking at the African brakes... they had some "large" brakes that were about $400, I thought... Maybe I misread that.

I saw a cool camp stove a while back called the Camp Chef... Two nice burners over a little oven, all uses a small propane can... Might be useful in addition to the inside stove?

I do like the side tent on GoWesty... Kind of wish it had a floor, but that would probably made it heavier and more complicated.  I saw that they also have a screen that fits inside the tent that also does have a floor... 

I'll have to look for the rear bumper... how much is that?

There are some hubcaps on the GoWesty classifieds that I like better than the ones on the van currently, but they are for 15" steel wheels...

I'm stoked!  Pretty soon here I'm going to sit my wife down next to me here and show her all these great accessories!  And Saturday morning I'll be heading back home with the new family member...

Many thanks!

Keith

They are 14" wheel and are stock. I've got the GoWesty 15" tire and wheel package and really like them.

Gary Marrs

Thanks Gary!  We just got home with her not 15 minutes ago... runs like a top.  Lost the last section of the tailpipe somewhere between Indianapolis and Effingham, and doesn't look like there is much unrusted muffler to weld to, so I suspect we'll be getting a new muffler... But in the scheme of things, that's small potatoes.

The odometer is broken (which we knew) but they've pieced things together with the prior owner who knew when it broke and about how many miles he put on it afterwards doing some camping trips... seems like it probably has about 88K on her... I might get the odometer rebuilt by GoWesty?  Thoughts?

The speedo is off by 7 mph per my GPS as well as my wife (who was behind me driving our car home)... Don't know if fixing the odometer would fix that too, or not.  It reads faster than the actual speed.

We're really happy with her... spick and span inside for a car of its age, good body, tracks straight down the road... Just a few things to address here and there and we'll be ready to go.  I actually think we might go to a park about half hour from us tomorrow just to pop the top, open the slider, and hang out!  What a blast... we kept stopping at rest stops just so we could hang out and drink a soda lounging around.

I think I'm going to get these hubcaps (and the rings) from GoWesty:

http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=2659

The info says good for 14" and 15" wheels, so we should be ok... and we'll get the rings:

http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=3433&category_id=...

I figure we'll do a few things up front here, then just take it slow and make improvements as we go along.

I'm sure I'll have lots of questions for you guys... I really appreciate all the help... I think we made a good choice here.

Keith

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