'83 Vanagon

Buy & Sell all your Air-Cooled vehicles here! VW, Porsche, etc...

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joshuashredwards
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'83 Vanagon

Post by joshuashredwards » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:00 am

I am scheduled to see a '83 air cooled Westfalia Vanagon for sale today and would appreciate any advice on potentially purchasing a Vanagon from this year. I have read mixed reviews on the air cooled Vanagons, which make me a little nervous.

gowesty.com :

1980-1983: The Vanagon was introduced in 1980 with the same 2000cc EFI engine that was used in the last of the Buses. These air-cooled Vanagons, although functionally a great improvement over their Bus predecessors, are the worst of the Vanagons, and maybe even the least desirable of any VW van ever made. The 2000cc air-cooled engine was simply not up to the task of pushing around an even bigger, heavier box. Typical engine life is about 90,000 miles. Additionally, the first stab at the 4-speed shifter system was a complete failure and was totally re-designed with the introduction of the gasoline water-cooled model in late 1983. A good specimen of an air-cooled Vanagon pop-top will run between $2500 and $5000, but we recommend steering clear of any air-cooled Vanagon.

Any thoughts?

Jivermo
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Re: '83 Vanagon

Post by Jivermo » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:09 am

Hey, Josh! Glad you signed on here. I tend to agree, but I'd like to hear Colin's take on this subject. I just don't read much about the early air cooled models. My 2 friends with water cooled Vanagons have thousands of fairly trouble free miles on their vehicles. One couple, I mentioned, have traveled and lived in their early 1984 water cooled for 4 years.

cegammel
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Re: '83 Vanagon

Post by cegammel » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:53 pm

I love my '80...but I also like pain...and work...

I am a cheap bastard. I would not pay $20k for a vehicle of any type. But, I would spend $500 on a busted bus and $19,500 learning to repair it. I think the air cooled Vanagon is a great vehicle. Parts are becoming scarce, but that is true for any type iv, I think. As for a choice of Vanagon vs. Bus, get the one you like. No doubt that the bus will have higher resale value. Waterboxer? I would like to have one, but they do have their own issues. Again, I love my aircooled. The body has at least 198000 miles, with three engines. The most recent engine has 11000 miles, mostly trouble free. The odometer did not work from'94 until I repaired it in 2015, so real miles are unknown...

Good luck in your search!

joshuashredwards
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Re: '83 Vanagon

Post by joshuashredwards » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:10 am

Thank you for the insight!

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asiab3
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Re: '83 Vanagon

Post by asiab3 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:58 pm

GoWesty's writings sound like they're trying to sell you a $60k water-cooled Vanagon. Air-cooled vans can be great travel companions; I would trust a well-sorted air-cooled van over a cobbled together water-cooled van. Unfortunately, it takes grit and perseverance to get most air-cooled vans for sale today back to where they were before people started cheating on the repairs and maintenance required.

Good luck, got any pictures?
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
100k miles with me.
279k miles on Earth.

joshuashredwards
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Re: '83 Vanagon

Post by joshuashredwards » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:27 am

Unfortunately, the Vanagon was not all it was cracked up to be. For now, the search continues!
Thanks again for the advice.

-Josh

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Re: '83 Vanagon

Post by TrollFromDownBelow » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:22 pm

FWIW ... I seriously considered a Vanagon when I first went searching 12 years ago... At that time I wanted to make it my DD, and here in the Midwest, the galvanized steal they used was much more resistant to rust vs. a bay. I changed my mind after I sat behind one ..... felt more like a minivan vs. the nostalgic feeling of the 71 bus I had owned in college....but, that is a personal/qualitative decision. Vanagons do have a nicer layout if you are looking for a Westy. I haven't seen the comparative comps on weight, hp, etc. but would not turn down a Vanagon b/c it was aircooled (unless you want real heat :flower: ) The wasserboxers have issues with head-gaskets, so from a reliability standpoint I'd say they are equal. Aircooled Vanagons are a good value if you find one in the right condition.
1976 VW Bus aka tripod
FI ...8 completely solid lifters.... now it's both kinda noisy and leaky, but she sure runs good!
hambone wrote: There are those out there with no other aim but to bunch panties. It's like arguing with a pretzel.
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