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    Thread: Any inexpensive camper ideas?

    1. Junior Member
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      08-29-2012 08:08 PM #1
      So I'm looking for some ideas for a relatively inexpensive camper van that doesn't drink gas as quickly as Taco Bell would like you to eat their products at all hours of the night. I'm looking into a 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia for around $3,000, but I was hoping for some more suggestions. As you can tell by my interest in the VW and the cars in my signature, something a little out of the ordinary will work just as well as the usual suspects.
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      08-29-2012 08:15 PM #2
      I love teardrops. Seems cheaper in the long run vs maintaining a whole vehicle.


      Last edited by Fe2O3; 08-29-2012 at 08:17 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

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      08-29-2012 08:24 PM #3
      A guy a work got a used bread truck and turned it into a nice apartment. Also there is the toyota dolphin there pretty cheap,


      The westy's are the best try to get a 86 and newer if your going for the euro van ones reliability jumps significantly.
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      08-29-2012 09:25 PM #4
      Buy the westy as fast as you can!
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    5. Member eurotekms's Avatar
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      08-29-2012 09:30 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by flytech78 View Post
      A guy a work got a used bread truck and turned it into a nice apartment.
      Pics?
      x

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      08-29-2012 10:02 PM #6
      i've seen custom tear drops go for as low as 2k. most are pretty nice. you could easily tow it behind even a normal mid-size sedan...just about any decent car will safely pull 1k pounds (particularly that sedona you have listed).

      what are your real needs? shower/toilet? how many beds (just you, or wifey, 2.5 kids, dog, etc)? does it need to tow anything in addition like a boat, jet ski, or small trailer? can you tow it yourself or do you not have a tow vehicle? do you want it to be self-propelled?

      let us know your needs, we'll BS something for you!
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      08-29-2012 10:05 PM #7
      Minivan and a sleeping bag.
      :gift:

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      08-29-2012 10:09 PM #8
      Basically what I'm looking for is something that has room to sleep two adults reasonably comfortably, three adults and a young child in a pinch (probably using the driver's and passenger's seats in vehicle like the Westfalia). It has to be reasonably good on gas, reliable, and not absurdly hard to get parts for. Finally it also has to have a fairly decent amount of cargo area...not huge, but akin to at least a minivan.

      Thanks you everyone for your ideas so far!
      -Paul-Michael
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      08-29-2012 10:13 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by MerkurManPaul View Post
      Basically what I'm looking for is something that has room to sleep two adults reasonably comfortably, three adults and a young child in a pinch (probably using the driver's and passenger's seats in vehicle like the Westfalia). It has to be reasonably good on gas, reliable, and not absurdly hard to get parts for. Finally it also has to have a fairly decent amount of cargo area...not huge, but akin to at least a minivan.

      Thanks you everyone for your ideas so far!
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      08-29-2012 10:22 PM #10
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      08-29-2012 10:25 PM #11
      Buy the Westy, unless it's rotted to the core or has no engine/transmission and all the Westfalia pieces are missing.

      Seriously.

      Nothing else fits this brief as well.

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      08-29-2012 11:14 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      Buy the Westy, unless it's rotted to the core or has no engine/transmission and all the Westfalia pieces are missing.

      Seriously.

      Nothing else fits this brief as well.
      My friend sold his Westfalia with half an engine and a torn top for like $2500. $3000 sounds like a hell of a deal.
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      08-29-2012 11:20 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      Buy the Westy, unless it's rotted to the core or has no engine/transmission and all the Westfalia pieces are missing.

      Seriously.

      Nothing else fits this brief as well.
      Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. The thing is mint...

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      08-29-2012 11:26 PM #14
      $3000?

      F*cking buy it.
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      08-29-2012 11:31 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by eurotekms View Post
      Pics?
      I have not taken pics of his setup sorry. Iwork for a major airline and travel for free and commuted to work for three years and am going to start commuting again. In the past i have lived in crash pads were a pilot or mechanic buys a house then rents out a bed in a room that may have 4 beds to it but, sense everyone is on a different schedule you tend not to see the other renters of the rooms witch make it better. I am now looking into getting a westy from the late 80's as a option of not only having a place to sleep but as having a car were i am going to commute to.
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      08-29-2012 11:32 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by 16v_43v3r View Post
      $3000?

      F*cking buy it.
      I would, but I'm a little nervous about how low the price is. Westfalias usually still comand 5-figure prices. It seems like too good of a deal to be true.
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      08-29-2012 11:44 PM #17
      Those old VW vans are cool... but it doesn't really seem anything close to efficient (for the output) or roomy enough for three adults and kids.
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      08-29-2012 11:52 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      Those old VW vans are cool... but it doesn't really seem anything close to efficient (for the output) or roomy enough for three adults and kids.
      Believe it or not they are supposed to sleep four. Now how comfortably is a different story lol. And you're right, the MPG isn't all that great considering the motor's meager output, but it's better than a V8 conversion van.
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      08-30-2012 01:27 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by MerkurManPaul View Post
      Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. The thing is mint...

      This? For $3k??? You'd be crazy not to buy it. It could have a blown engine and still be worth close to that price.

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      08-30-2012 01:36 AM #20
      That Westy is a steal at 3k, as others have already said.

      However, if you ever need more comfort, space, mpg's, and so on you could do as my friend did and convert a cargo Sprinter:





      Sure, it's probably about $8k more all told than the Westy, but you'll get a reliable 21-22 mpg and have some pretty decent room. My friend lives in the one pictured above, but he had to put many hours into the conversion.
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      08-30-2012 02:02 AM #21
      you could always get a tiny "flat bed" trailer and bolt a roof top tent to it

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      08-30-2012 02:18 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by MerkurManPaul View Post
      It has to be reasonably good on gas, reliable, and not absurdly hard to get parts for.
      And you want a Westy?!

      They are fun though. Went camping in mine last week:



      Quote Originally Posted by MerkurManPaul View Post
      I would, but I'm a little nervous about how low the price is. Westfalias usually still comand 5-figure prices. It seems like too good of a deal to be true.
      If you want genuine feedback, ask the Vanagon folks over at The Samba... they'll give you honest, brutally honest, opinions on any van you're thinking of buying: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewforum.php?f=20 .

      I really question that asking price, especially for a full-camper that looks nice. Either it's a genuine steal, or a money pit hiding some expensive stuff and the owner wants to dump it right quick before it drains his wallet any further.
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      08-30-2012 02:25 AM #23
      If it were me, I would think about a diesel vehicle to convert into a camper. A short bus would be perfect. yes... I would drive the short bus.

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      08-30-2012 02:58 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction View Post
      That Westy is a steal at 3k, as others have already said.

      However, if you ever need more comfort, space, mpg's, and so on you could do as my friend did and convert a cargo Sprinter:

      I second an idea long these lines. Get a delivery van or small cargo truck and just convert it. Hell why not just drive the thing to ikea and outfit it that way.

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      08-30-2012 03:29 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction View Post
      However, if you ever need more comfort, space, mpg's, and so on you could do as my friend did and convert a cargo Sprinter:


      Sure, it's probably about $8k more all told than the Westy, but you'll get a reliable 21-22 mpg and have some pretty decent room. My friend lives in the one pictured above, but he had to put many hours into the conversion.
      I love Sprinters, but $11k is barely enough to buy one with >200k miles around here. I think it's a great platform for a camper van, but one that's really hard to do on a small budget. I think vwtool has a Sprinter build thread.
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      08-30-2012 08:02 AM #26
      Came for teardrops, leaving happy.

      I want to get a camper as well when we get our next car. I'm looking at new or slightly pre-owned pop-ups. It needs to have a bathroom though, more for the wife than me.


    27. 08-30-2012 08:09 AM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by clutchrider View Post
      Came for teardrops, leaving happy.

      I want to get a camper as well when we get our next car. I'm looking at new or slightly pre-owned pop-ups. It needs to have a bathroom though, more for the wife than me.

      I picked up a mint '94 Coleman Pop-up for $1,800 last year. The thing is fantastic, sleeps 4 comfortably, has a microwave, stove, and most importantly, AC. You can find these all day long on Craigslist. They only weigh about 1300-1500 lbs so you can tow them with anything. The previous owner of mine towed it on a 1000 mi trip with their 4cyl Honda Odyssey. Oh, and as far as toilets go, you can buy a collapsable little toilet that uses a bag system. Folds away for when you don't need it.
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      08-30-2012 08:30 AM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by MerkurManPaul View Post
      I'm looking into a 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia
      It's not a Westfalia, or 100% complete for that matter, but VR6 Vanagon...
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...85-Vanagon-VR6

    29. Member lorge1989's Avatar
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      08-30-2012 08:35 AM #29
      My friend has one for sale:






      http://buffalo.craigslist.org/rvs/3210624226.html

      He's flexible on that price, (23k is the actual mileage!)

      But honestly these things are freaking awesome. I was very skeptical at first, but after taking a few trips with him and some friends and its perfect. Most recently Buffalo to Baltimore, and on the way back towing an Audi A4. The thing didn't break a sweat.
      Last edited by lorge1989; 08-30-2012 at 08:44 AM.
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      08-30-2012 09:06 AM #30
      ^ Lol@ the green shag and the ghetto brick!

      But it looks fun and has plenty of what they call period charm.
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      08-30-2012 09:26 AM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by geofftii2002 View Post

      But it looks fun and has plenty of what they call period charm.
      period charm...just don't bring a uv/black light on board.
      Regarding DD'ing a tuned Evo:
      Quote Originally Posted by SchrickVR6 View Post
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      08-30-2012 09:28 AM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by compy222 View Post
      period charm...just don't bring a uv/black light on board.
      Lol. It was given a good cleaning before anything else. But it was owned by an old man, for his family trips to Watkins Glen for like 22 years. So it can't be that bad, right?
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      08-30-2012 09:32 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by MerkurManPaul View Post
      Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. The thing is mint...

      If it's that actual Westy then $3k seems like an absolute steal.

      There's no shortage of good, used, class C's for 3 or 4 grand though, and all will be significantly bigger inside then a westy.
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      08-30-2012 09:34 AM #34
      Long time Vanagon owner here...

      At $3,000, buy the Westy. You can't go wrong, but expect to need major engine work at that price (you might not... but just bank for it at that price).

      I don't have a Westy, just a base model van, but I use it for camping. It has the fold-down rear bed, so I just bring along a cooler and a camp stove. Fits me and the wife rather nicely.

      From that picture, I can't see losing out at that price. If you do need an engine, there are used stock engines out there (I got a good used runner this past winter for $200 and installed it myself), rebuilts (buyer beware) and popular, proven engine swaps (mostly Subaru and Ford) for more power and better reliability.

      The engines tend to be problematic IF not maintained propely (pretty reliable if they are, though they eat head gaskets faster than other engines). The handling is awesome for something of its size and shape - surprisingly modern. The transmissions hold up very nicely if maintained well. The automatics are some of the most robust automatics out there.

      These are only going up in value. My 7-passenger base model won't hold the same value over time, but I'm keeping it because it's awesome and I love it. I've had it for nine years now and plan to keep it for life if possible.

      If you can... do it.

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      08-30-2012 09:36 AM #35
      If you havn't bought that westy for $3K by now, I'm going to drive there from Canada and buy it instead....
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