1986 Vanagon Westfalia Weekender Price: 12500
This 1986 VW Weekender Westfalia camper has high miles on the clock but is as mechanically sound as any you will find. We have owned it for nearly 13 years and most of the mechanical work was done by Specialty Motors in Seattle (where we lived until 3 years ago). It has about 50,000 miles on a 2.2L Northwest Connecting Rod engine (2008) and the automatic transmission was rebuilt at the same time. Last year it had some front end work to take care of a shimmy and it now runs (and stops) great.
We have taken a couple of long trips in it, most notably a 10,000 mile round trip from the Oregon coast to Newfoundland in 2015. It performed great! Other long round trips include Minnesota (2017), Oregon/Northern CA (again in 2012) Canadian Rockies (2010), Oregon/Northern CA (2009) Minnesota/midwest (2008). We have put about 60,000 miles on it in the 13 years we have owned it and the odometer now shows 294,000 miles.
Folks like to say how they can cruise at 65-70 in their Vanagons. Although ours can do that, we have always gone 50-60 mph on our road trips, and the engine seems to run as well as it did when installed 10 years ago. It’s a reliable car. It doesn’t leak oil or ATF.
It’s a Weekender, which means it does not have an integral stove, refrigerator or propane tank. (It was originally equipped with a 12V cooler but that was long gone when we got it, as was the air conditioning). We actively looked for a Weekender when we were shopping for a camper in 2005, based on our experience with a 1971 camper we owned years ago. It’s roomier inside without the stove and fridge, which allowed us to take three big dogs with us when we hit the road in 2008.
We are probably about the fifth owner. The owner we purchased from hit a deer and his insurance company totaled it. He bought it from them and had the minor front end body work done (except for the finish paint), so it had a “salvage” title in Washington. Oregon did not brand the title when we registered it here.
The body (original paint, Merian Brown) shows its age and has some dents and dings, although when washed and polished it still shines. It has steel 15” wheels (South African VW) with Eurovan wheel covers; they look good on a vehicle its size. The tires are Nokian eNtyres (XL rated), a highway tread to maximize MPG as we don’t venture onto unimproved roads. The front seats show some wear but the back seat and jump seat are in great shape. Overall the interior is very nice and comfortable for camping. The pop-top canvas was replaced in 2015 and is free from the rot that PNW living can cause and the upper bed is in good shape.
Another nice thing about the Weekender is that in about 20 minutes you can remove a couple of bolts and take out the jump seat and rear cabinets. Voila! Head to the big box hardware and easily haul a couple of sheets of drywall or plywood, or stuff it full of yard waste and make one trip. Not quite as versatile as a pickup truck, but a lot more fun on a camping trip. We have a cushion that goes where the closet normally lives so if you want to camp without the closets and with a big bed you can.
It originally had AC but the system was maimed when we bought it and everything is now gone except for some interior duct work and the dash switch (which operates nothing).
We have some camping gear (a ladder to reach the top bunk; portable propane heater still new in the box) that is included, as well as some spare parts.
We can provide all receipts from from our ownership (some previous but they are no longer very relevant), and the original dealer sticker.
Major mechanical history:
2018: Fuel line replaced between filter and firewall connection (Portland)
Oil change with Mobil 1
2017: New front brakes (rotors, pads)
New front wheel bearings and seals
New drivers side tie rod, passenger outer tie rod end,
New upper ball joints;
Set front-end alignment
New intake sleeves; cleaned replaceable air filter
New water pump and coolant
New rear brake cylinders (Portland mechanic said shoes were good)
Radiator fan ground wire replaced
Replaced idle control relay unit
Passed OR emissions
New rear hatch seal
2016: Mechanic in CA replaced bad wire near fuel pump relay
2015: New pop-top canvas (North Westy, Renton WA) and pop-top lift assist shocks.
Flush out and replace brake fluid
Fuel lines replaced from tank to filter
Fluid film (rust inhibitor; North Westy, Renton WA)
New GoWesty ATF cooler and synthetic fluid (replaced problematic OEM design
New fuel tank seals and fuel filter
New spark plugs and belts
2013: New (rebuilt) ECU
2010: Headlight upgrade (halogen bulbs and relays)
New chrome bumpers
OEM fix for “Vanagon Syndrome” installed
2008: Engine replaced with 2.2 L NW Connecting Rod rebuilt engine installed by
Specialty Motors, Seattle. Automatic trans rebuilt by Specialty Motors.
Fuel injectors serviced
New coolant pipes
New front and rear shocks
Instrument cluster replaced with manual transmission type (with tach and digital
Pre 2008: New 15” steel rims (VW South Africa)
New catalytic converter
Replaced rear heater core
We like our camper a lot. It runs well and is a great camping vehicle. But we just don’t get out camping as often as we once did and would rather see it get used than sit in our driveway.
$12,500. We will consider serious offers by people we think would provide a good home.