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    VWVortex


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    Thread: early 80s VW Vanagon Westy Questions...

    1. 03-05-2012 12:05 PM #1
      So... ive been really interested in buying a mid 80s vanagon. Im a huge LOST fan and wanna have my own blue dharma van lol, but have a few questions about the vanagon. I figured there has got to be some experts on vortex lol. Most of the westfalias that I have seen are manual. Im looking at either an 82 or 83. I like their body style the best I think. One of my big questions is did they ever make an automatic? How crappy were their engines and transmissions? Ive heard that they are super simple to have rebuilt or replaced. Also was curious what type of upgraded trannys and engines would work in it and are they gonna cost me alot of $$$$. Im honestly looking for any overall comments on the vanagon. Thx for any info!



      Dharma Dan
      "Namaste"

    2. 03-05-2012 01:28 PM #2
      There are literally a ton of options but mainly for the water-cooled T3s vanagons. Really depends on either how talented and resourceful you are OR how how deep pockets are! The option list for aftermarket engines and trans changes yearly. A good example is now there is a kit to retrofit a Sooby 5 speed trans into a T3. Pretty cool stuff. Spend a night or two searching these forums as well as the ones at the samba. My preference is the samba ( no offense to anyone here) there's more traffic there.

      Engine options to search:

      - TDI
      - mTDI
      - turbo diesel (IDI)
      - Subaru
      - zetec
      - Porsche

      That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more.
      -

    3. 03-05-2012 02:41 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by CdnVWJunk-e View Post
      There are literally a ton of options but mainly for the water-cooled T3s vanagons. Really depends on either how talented and resourceful you are OR how how deep pockets are! The option list for aftermarket engines and trans changes yearly. A good example is now there is a kit to retrofit a Sooby 5 speed trans into a T3. Pretty cool stuff. Spend a night or two searching these forums as well as the ones at the samba. My preference is the samba ( no offense to anyone here) there's more traffic there.

      Engine options to search:

      - TDI
      - mTDI
      - turbo diesel (IDI)
      - Subaru
      - zetec
      - Porsche

      That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more.
      -
      Also:
      2.6L gas South African 5-cylinder
      VW gas inline-4 (1.8L, 2.0L, etc.) from the Mk2 and Mk3 Golf/Jetta cars
      1.8T from Mk4 (kinda getting complicated though)
      1.9L AAZ Turbodiesel

      There were automatics but they're rarer than sticks, especially in the earlier Vanagons.

    4. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 13th, 2002
      Location
      Arizona
      Posts
      16,430
      Vehicles
      1986 Cabriolet Best Seller; 2000 Jetta VR6; 1990 Vanagon Westfalia
      03-06-2012 01:39 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by mrdanboone View Post
      I figured there has got to be some experts on vortex lol.
      Most of the Vanagon experts reside over at TheSamba: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewforum.php?f=20 . Go there and spend days reading.

      Quote Originally Posted by mrdanboone View Post
      Im looking at either an 82 or 83. I like their body style the best I think.
      I'm sorry, but I found ^that a tad amusing... 'cuz the body style was the same from 1980-1991. They're all just big, square, lovable bricks.

      The main exterior differences: Second radiator grille, headlights, bumpers, rear side window vents.

      More info here: http://www.gowesty.com/library_article.php?id=54

      Quote Originally Posted by mrdanboone View Post
      One of my big questions is did they ever make an automatic?
      Yes; I own one.

      More info: http://www.gowesty.com/library_article.php?id=116

      Quote Originally Posted by mrdanboone View Post
      How crappy were their engines and transmissions?
      I wouldn't call them "crappy", just grossly underpowered, especially for the Westies and especially the early ones. Like any engine, if it's not well maintained, it'll give you lots of problems. Plenty of Vanagons out there with their original, unrebuilt engines with over 200,000 miles on them. Lots of engine choices out there for the water-cooled vans, many already listed, including rebuilt water-boxers with more horsepower.
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to the VW Cabriolets
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
      "Fashion is a waste of money that could be better spent on, say, maintaining your car." ~James May

    5. 03-26-2012 03:04 AM #5
      What he says^^^^^^Try to get a 2.1 they are the best standard vanagon one's,and I've heard the auto box are better than the shift stick ones

      Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk

    6. Member
      Join Date
      Aug 15th, 2007
      Location
      Virginia
      Posts
      2,369
      Vehicles
      G60 on CIS-E and a bunch of other VW's
      04-17-2012 05:22 PM #6
      I agree, newer is better.
      VW did a lot of little iterations to fix issues along the way.
      One was bumping to the 2.1, if taken care of, it is a solid (slow) runner.
      My 91' 2.1 Auto gets 20-21 MPG on 87, but it took a good bit of time and money to get it there. Would have put in a 2.5 Subaru, but something was wrong with mixing brands, though if I get another van I am going SVX or WRX.
      I agree with the above, deep pockets (default) or moderate skill, and a lot of time.
      Read up in Samba, getting a Vanagon is a commitment not everyone can sucessfully make.
      Good Luck

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