Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 14:32:09 EST
Sender: Vanagon Mailing List <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Robert Keezer <Wrmrwgn@AOL.COM>
Subject: Fwd: "useful service life" comments
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If you consider the Vanagon as a big metal box, the box needs relatively
little attention in rust free zones, and all the mechanical components of the
box can be renewed. All components have a service life.
Start out with all replaced with new or reconditioned, this box will move for
quite a long time.
I suppose your perspective on complexity can vary depending on what car you
left behind in exchange for a Vanagon. The first van of Volkswagen's, is
where I began.
My previous daily driver was a 64 Bus with a camper interior. This was my
second early bus, my first I sold eight years earlier, driving a 62 ragtop
bug between the busses.
For five years, between 1990-1995, I went thru three engines and a
transmission-all engines were "rebuilt." The front suspension was so worn out
I replaced it entirely.
It had a knack for breaking clutch cables on long trips, three of them.
Countless other parts had to be replaced, not always due to age, but because
of the aged technology that is not acceptable in contrast to improvements
that are found in modern vehicles.
When the technology we have now becomes obsolete in the future, the Vanagon
will no doubt be like an old bus, although many things about the Vanagon are
up to modern standards, except for ABS, Airbags, cupholders.
Before I switched to the ball joint front end, this was the maintenance
Adjust king and link pins. Adjust brakes. Adjust valves. Adjust points.
Adjust steering gear box. Adjust the clutch. Adjust carburetor. Adjust my
Not to forget-grease the front end, 9 points on the king/link, five on the
ball joint front end.
It got to the point with all the adjustments, that for me to do my own
maintenance to save money, I had to sacrifice my weekends, and about 15
Before I bought my Vanagon Westfalia, I looked into it's maintenance profile,
and discovered: (for my model, 1982 Diesel with 95 Golf engine),
No front end adjustment (except alignment), No grease, No adjust steering
No adjust brakes, No adjust valves, No adjust clutch, No adjust points, No
adjust carburetor, No adjust attitude, because gone are the gut-wrenching,
heartbreaking, nerve-wracking Maalox moments I lived with driving VW's first
I have owned water-cooled VW's for 5 years now, and none have ever had
cooling problems. The 2.0 inline for performs like a champ-but it took a
while before I could adjust to this reliability. If I smell smoke from
someone's trash fire as I drive on the highway, I pull over thinking I have
an engine fire (I had 2 fires on the old air-cooled).
On most of the older Vanagons I have driven, the front ends never seem to
have worn out like the old busses did (they all wore out in the first ten
years).they blew all over the road in the wind NEW.
Adjusting the brakes and clutch are among my fondest memories.
Not to mention no power.
My Westfalia now has 230,000 on it, and I have only had to make improvements,
and minimal adjustment. I started out with a low mileage 2.0 I-4. I also had
the trans rebuilt.
I added power steering, and Beer AC, extra propane tank, CAT heaters.
The interior has been replaced with 86 Wolfsburg. All of these were done with
planning, not as the result of a roadside failure. For me, like many of you,
to do this kind of work is to save money.
I added a lot of things like so many of us who enjoy the camper features in
a Vanagon, that some of you now know has around thirteen less adjustments so
you can save time and put the money into that inline four you would like!
OK, so reliability for me is everything, and I could not have lived with the
notion "she's gonna blow someday" and you can see why, after reading my
experience, I chose a Diesel Vanagon to convert to the reliable "rabbit"
Even if you keep the WBX, bring it up to top condition at the start, and you
won't be plagued with constant replacement and repair. this applies to any
As it says on my original 82 Vanagon sales brochure.
"Jetta Rabbit& Scirocco Nothing else is a Volkswagen"Quantum Vanagon&Camper
Just my 2 X 2 cents worth