VW Vanagon's/Westfalias

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by thesurvivalist, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. thesurvivalist

    thesurvivalist Backcountry Rider

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    I've always liked the seriously cool VW Vanagons/Transporters T3's. I saw a Westfalia on the interstate today and it looked uber cool!

    Is there anyone with experience with owning them?

    My main concern is crap gas mileage with the 2.1 gas engine while the diesels have little to no power. Also I do not have the technical skills right now to perform a 1.9tdi or subaru engine conversion.

    Would a vanagon be able to handle the hills of Colorado? Also would a KLR fit in the back of one?

    Can you still get parts for them?
    #1
  2. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Been here awhile

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    I'm on the same page as you. I think the westy's are the most creative piece of automotive packaging ever. I came really close to picking one up 2 months ago but it was an auto and that killed it for me. Nice ones are stupid expensive and I don't see them being worth what alot of these folks think they are...but if they find buyers more power to them.

    The engine swap I'm into is the ford zetec, its a well engineered kit and parts for that thing are pretty cheap. Mileage with the waterbox engines was pretty poor like around 12-15 from what I found. A modern engine like the zetec would probably put it in high teens low twenties.

    Here is a vid of the zetec conversion westie in Colorado:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RKjvZUsJ0I

    Now if I could just find one at an affordable price...

    No way you are fitting a bike in the back of one over the engine, you might be able to fit one in the center but a KLR might be too big - i'd look at a cheap trailer.
    #2
  3. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    I never experienced poor mileage from my vanagons right around 20mpg with a/c and I personally like the subaru conversions but I do not think they are worth the money or the hassle, true a vanagon is gutless but I'm never in a hurry when traveling or camping. I liked the waterboxer and never had an issue as long as I used the proper antifreeze and I put many miles on these vehicles. I can't imagine putting any motorcycle in a vanagon much less a westy unless it was in parts or on its side.
    For what you are describing I would look for a ford van and make your own camper.
    #3
  4. thesurvivalist

    thesurvivalist Backcountry Rider

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    They are definitely overprices but I love the look of them. 20mpg is pretty terrible. Surely full loaded and having to rev it to get whatever power out it has will drop the mpgs significantly. Would I be better off with a v8 conversion van with the rear seats removed, surely the gas mileage will suck but at least i'll have the power and torque to get it moving with less revs.

    Is that the european zetec engine, i didn't know they were sold in the US?
    #4
  5. BerndM

    BerndM Shiftless One

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    Way back in the early 70's I had a '69 poptop Westphalia. :clap:clap

    I probably had more fun in that bus than any other vehicle I've ever owned, including the 2 1967 Shelby Mustangs (1 each GT 350 and 500).
    #5
  6. longtallsally

    longtallsally Yeah I'm a chick

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    #6
  7. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    We have a 1970 Westy. I can't imagine wanting to go more than 65mph in it.
    #7
  8. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Been here awhile

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    Nope, US spec motor. Its a 2.0L IIRC, and was found in some of the ford small car line (escorts contours etc...) and you can sometimes find them as a crate motor if you are lucky. Ford was selling them direct, but it looks like they have stopped but there are some floating around...I recently found one in Florida but when my westy purchase fell through it didn't make much sense to buy one.

    Honestly, I don't know who the heck is paying those ridiculous prices, for the money these folks are paying I'll just go out and buy a MUCH newer and larger sprinter. If I ever find one at a good price I will get one though - because they really are pretty cool vans. I guess in the bigger picture - thank goodness for fools with $$$..:lol3
    #8
  9. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    :lurk

    Don't "aks" me anything.....

    I love my T3 Vanagon Westfalia kombi.... My life would be empty without it. I pretty much live for it now.. :lol3 We got the air cooled version, because it was available, and cheap. Wasserleakers make good conversions to TDI, 1.8T or ZTEC conversions (bostig.com)....

    I stayed with aircooled, got me a new motor. Not in any rush or getting away from things. All I wanted is that my engine runs cool, last long, as reliable everytime i turn the key... We replaced everything in the restoration, and it is almost complete... can't wait.

    The next thing is interior, and exterior paint.

    Now for the price, I've seen them go as low as $1000 for aircooled, or $3000 for wasser leakers in very good shape externally in internally......

    They are fun... Can't wait to take my wife, and the dogs for a road trip.
    #9
  10. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    Check out Go Westys of Los Osos Ca's website, for some cool 4x4 V W vans and farkles. The guys just down the road from a family members place and every once and a while I'll take a look, damn cool rigs. Holy shit though... $50 to 80K for a VW :eek1
    #10
  11. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. stiggs13

    stiggs13 Been here awhile

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    I had a 81 Westy Vanagon, loved camping in it the layout is very smart and efficient. The engine sucked complete dog balls, way underpowered, but even driving across the Valley in 110 f on a summer day it held together. Fridge work ok not as good as the fridge in my new rig. Still have a warm spot in my heart for them, the later water cooled vans can get a powerplant swap from a Suburu I think that helps. I eventually got fed up and sold the vanagon and eventually replaced it with a Ford Sportsmobile. The Sportsmobile has power to spare and I like driving the E250
    #12
  13. JamesG

    JamesG Rabid Poster

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    That belongs in the "WTF" thread.

    Its not just engine power that limits speeds on the Westies. CoG, suspension, and wheels really aren't up to high speed stability, and they have very little safety.

    Mid nineties front engined VW Westfalia conversions are much more capable, but rare in the States.
    #13
  14. C Squared

    C Squared Now with TURBO!

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    I've seen a fair amount of the newer Euro Vans at some rides with bikes in the back....
    #14
  15. Mista Vern

    Mista Vern Knows all - tells some.

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    Exact same sentiments.

    I'd advise a Sprinter if you want to haul a bike.
    #15
  16. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    There has never been front engined T3...
    #16
  17. Chad M

    Chad M Custom User Title

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    There were more than T3's in the 90's. Remember the Rialto, Vista Winnebagos? They were all front engined VWs.
    #17
  18. nomad5326

    nomad5326 Xventurous

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    I have a 85 Westy 225,000 miles (w/new engine), 15" BFG A/T tires and GoWesty clone bumpers with hitch. Gets 20mpg and I have towed (on a Kendon trailer) two f650Gs's ( right at the towing capacity) with no problem.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I wouldn't trade this 4-person sleeper for anything other than a like equipped Sprinter or Sportsmobile. That aside, if you want to stuff bikes then you need a van w/ a front engine and barn doors.....Sprinter or poss the new Ford Econoline/Transit clone. Mods can be made on the Eurovan camper to slide the seats fwd on track but the length is just not what the Sprinters have. I've seen two sprinters here in SOCAL with a westfalia-like camper poptop package and sliding rear seat for motorcycles... They pushed the rear seat fwd, ramped the bikes in and away! At site, offload bikes, push seat to the rear, pop the top and you have a Westfalia like camp package....all with a price though....But, awesome to see

    If seriously looking for a Westfalia and you have the cash for a new engine, find the best looking/shape one and drop in a Subaru Water Boxer 2.0-2.2 CARB certified. Night and day and the engine was made to be there...but the van is a love hate relationship. Those that love them do and work the issues on this unique vehicle.
    #18
  19. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    I saw a VW Rialta on the freeway the other day. Nice camper.
    #19
  20. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Been here awhile

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    What kind of mileage do you get with the air cooled motor??
    #20