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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Not surprised about the muffler as it has set for so long. I had to change mine out when I first got it too. As for the speedo, it's because of the 14" wheels.  If you decide to get new wheels and tires go with the 15" or 16" (they both have the same OD on the tire). This will get the speedo to being closer to correct. I got the 15" http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=23808&category_id...= .  These are great and are a little wider and don't need caps as they are mags. The 15" ones have more sidewall than the 16"ers do. If you have good rubber on the tires that are on it, I would use them until you need new tires. Getting both the tires and mags for that price isn't too bad. Getting the Odometer fixed at GoWesty would be fine, they do good work.

 

When I picked mine up, we stopped and camped overnight in it on the way home, so don't feel bad about the rest stops, that is why you bought it, right. I would go camping in it asap too, that way you start finding out what you are going need to keep in your van, as summer is coming. I hope you guys are not in the flood plain back there, I see a lot of bad things on the news these days about flooding in your neck of the woods. Now you've got all these big decissions to make, like sleep head toward the middle or toward the back, sleep up or sleep down, what to have in the van and where to put it, do we need a pot-a-potty, etc.... so practice, practice, and we all love pictures of your van, what your'e doing to it and the places you go !!!

 

Gary Marrs

Thanks, Gary... This is probably a stupid question that shows my lack of mechanical sense, but what are the advantages of bigger wheels?  And if the 15's and 16's have the same OD, which are better?

Also, do you know if the inverter on GoWesty is pure sine wave?  It doesn't say... I sort of doubt it given it's relatively inexpensive price, but maybe they just have a good deal.  I'd like to be able to use my laptop, and I also use a CPAP machine at night that does better with pure sine wave... I emailed them, but doubt I'll hear back in time to place my "on sale" order tomorrow.

Also, this van has the GoWesty auxiliary battery setup under the driver's seat... sealed battery.  But the van has only been driven for fairly short periods 2-3 times per year for the last 2 years, so I wonder if it is bad.  The light strip over the sink/stove area doesn't come on... don't know if it is the battery, the light, or if there's some switch I need to turn on to get the aux battery power to the light.  I'm ordering the Bentley manual from GoWesty tomorrow... They're having a 15% sale for one day only for Earth Day, so I'm getting my shopping cart filled up!  ;-)  Maybe that will help me with some of this.

I'm thinking that someday when I get the basics all nailed down, I may invest in a small generator, like the Yamaha or the Honda... Want something quiet... But that will have to wait a while.

We're having fun!

Best,

Keith

One more quick question:  What is your experience with the fridges in these vans?  GoWesty doesn't like them at all, but maybe that's because they'd love to sell you a different kind!  ;-)  The lady who sold me the van said her husband always preferred coolers in the previous VW vans they owned, but he never really got to use this one.

Thanks!

I'm not familiar with their invertor so I can't really say how good it is. As far as the GoWesty aux battery set up, it's the one I have and it has served me well. As far as how good of shape the battery is in, it would have to be tested, probably it is still good. I know someone who also uses a CPAP machine and had this set up and an inverter ( get a big enough one) and they could use it for one night but not much more. So if you don't camp where there is power a generator or Solar charging set up would be needed, to recharge your aux. battery. There is a switch next to the lights on the cabinet that turn them on and off. The deal on the tires is that they give you a more accurate speedo reading and a all around better ride and stability on the road. The difference between the 15" and 16" tire is the sidewall, if you like a lower profile tire go with the 16".  I saw a Bentley manual under the back seat in the pictures, is it still there???

 

As far as the fridge is concerned, it will only keep things 40 degrees below outside temp. It is small and can be fun to start on propane. As far as these new truck fidges as some are called there are pro's  and con's. The pro's, they are much better all around as far as room inside and they will keep things nice and cold and even have a little freezer. When installed right they look great and even will give you a little extra room on the either the top or bottom depending how it's installed. The Con's, they are $$$ and you must put in another battery besides the aux. to run them and then they will run for about 3 days on the battery, after that the battery will need charging, so you will have to get a solar set up or generator or both for extended stays without a power source. I still have the stock fridge and it does okay for me, after it gets over 80 it's not too good, but I also take an icebox with me on all my trips.  They also have these new 12VDC poratable coolers and freezers, that you might want check out. If you go to start your fridge on propane the easiest way is to run it on 120 VAC for several hours first then try the propane. I don't use the 12VDC because if you forget to switch over to either 120VAC or propane it will kill your aux battery in about 30 minutes or so. I run on the road with propane and use 120VAC when I have power. If you run on propane a full tank will last about 2 1/2 weeks if you don't use your stove.

 

Gary Marrs

YAHOOOOOO! The madin voyage and only lost a tail pipe....... Outstanding! I have the moons and beauty rings on Gus and they look very cool! You did good my friend and your "Due Dilgence" paid off. You could have the speed odometer rebuilt but I think I would look for a new or used one and replace the cable as well, Guess it depends on the cost. Happy trails To you guys and keep your adventures coming! Kev   

Thanks so much... I appreciate it.  I'm taking her in today for a good checking out, tires rotate and balance, etc.

Do you have the 14" wheels then?

k

Hey Keith, Yes I have 14" but as soon as I can get my play money built up I'm going to 16". Gowesty has the tires and wheels for abot $1200. I understand that these will give you much more stability and better performance and gas milege. The other problem with the 14" is finding good tires for them. The last time I put tires on Gus I had to by the only kind I could find and they are to narrow and makes driving in the wind scary ( or scaryer!!) WIND IS NOT OUR FRIEND! I'm glad to hear that you are having the tires checked out. When they sit the rubber can go bad so you are doing all the right things. Now all you need is a couple of VW bus t-shirts and to put something on it or in it to make it yours. My first thing was a ONEIL surf boards window sticker and although faded, still on there today.  

Yeah, I might do that down the road, too, but my tires are pretty decent right now, so I'll get my money's worth on them first.

And good news:  Took the van to my mechanic shop today, asked them to really go stem to stern on it, check brakes, suspension, etc., etc.... I expected there would be something they'd find, but except for the tailpipe that I knew had fallen off, and the fact that they had trouble checking the battery under the seat, the manager said, "This thing's in tip-top shape."  he was really impressed, said all the other mechanics were fighting over who got to work on it, who got to pull it into the garage, etc.  He suggested I drive it for a time, then bring it back and let them check again, perhaps at the next oil change.  That was great news!

They couldn't find a tailpipe, so I ordered one on GoWesty's mechanical site tonight... $35 with shipping.  

Went and picked out a stereo and speakers... Getting her spiffed up.

Btw, does anyone have any info re. the GoWesty aux. batter under the driver seat?  The manager said they couldn't get to the terminals to check it without taking the seat off, and they weren't quite up to that this trip... They knew I was anxious to pick it up and get it to the stereo place.  Does the seat need to come out to get to the battery?

Thanks, and I'll keep you posted.

Keith

The seat slides off to the front, then you have to turn the swivel around 180 degrees and you can get to everything. It only takes 5 minutes or less to do this.

 

Gary Marrs

That's a big help... thanks!  Hopefully when I get my Bentley manual, I'll be able to look that stuff up.

k

Your Bently manual!!! Your a funny man! Good step getting tunes in that bad boy. You have got me so fired up I'm looking at a 26 window this afternoon. Maybe I need two!!!! The wife has not been informed of this as of yet but why get them excited before we need to, right?  

Hey, that's a great idea... why not add a little variety to your V-Dub experience... Plus, those old ones aren't going to go down in value any.

Here's what you do when it comes time to talk to your better half:  Get out some dismal looking charts on the stock market, the economy, etc.  Explain that investing in these sorts of things is risky, especially these days.  Then show how classic cars have gone up in value... AND, unlike stocks and bonds, you can actually enjoy your investment as it grows.  It makes sense to me!

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