1987 Vanagon GL Full Camper Price: 17900
111,XXX on Chassis
Even though the rebuild was done in 2010, if you do the math this engine/transmission has less than 2700 miles. Starter, fuel pump, belts and some hoses and wires replaced within the last year. I have a document put together that I can email that has receipts included.
The wheels and tires have about 2000 miles on them. The brakes and suspension have been inspected and though they are not faulty, there is definitely room for improvement. If I was going to keep the van, I would replace the springs and shocks and other assorted bushings.
The expansion tank and level sensor have been replaced. I removed the heater under the bench seat (I have it and it will go with the van) and installed a bypass kit. There was a very tiny coolant leak, not enough to matter other than the smell of anti-freeze in the van. The front heat put out plenty for me and the room under the seat was used for more important things-powered sub and amp for the other speakers!
As expected, the A/C does not blow cold. You can hear the compressor kick on when the A/C is turned on and the blower works fine. I have not tried to purge/charge the system.
The front heat has a typical issue with the heater control. The cable stretches and the valve to the heater core cannot be turned completely off. This makes for ďhot feetĒ in the summer. It is easy enough to drop the spare tire down and manually crank the valve all the way closed for summer driving.
I bought a new Bosch battery when I first tried to get the van running in early 2017. This summer I was having intermittent slow or no crank problems. I took the battery in for testing and it was bad. Replaced under warranty so it is only 3 months old.
I replaced the stock headlight bulbs with the HID kit from Go WestyÖnight and day difference! (Pun intended).
The blower switch for the front heat/defrost is a little touchy. Give it a little wiggle or change speeds and the blower works fine. I have purchased a new switch, just havenít put it in yet.
Finally, the fuel gauge does not work at all. More on this below.
Fuel System and Tank:
As is common with these vans, the fuel tank vents will spew fuel if you fill the tank all the way up. The tank needs to be dropped, resealed and have a new sending unit installed. Not a difficult or expensive job, however, if I was to keep the van and do this, in addition to replacing ALL the fuel lines I would also replace all the cooling lines that run front to back.
I think the interior of this van is in amazing condition. There are no cracks in the dash or tears in the upholstery. There is some slight discoloration on the folding bench seat. I have not tried to clean it. The original flooring and carpet is in good condition and there is a nice set of rubber mats cut out for the passenger/driver and main cabin area.
The pop top tent was replaced with a Go Westy unit in 2004. There is one tiny pinhole in the front. You canít even see it in the pictures.
Iíve only had the awning pulled out once just to see how it worked and what kind of shape itís in. It could use a cleaning but is in otherwise good condition.
Early this spring I plugged it in and ran the fridge on 110v. I was able to get it down to about 45 degrees. I tried to light it on LP but was not successful. I did not try to do any troubleshooting at all. Probably just needs to be cleaned out as covered in the online forums. I have not tried the fridge on 12v.
The LP tank has gas in it and the stove works fine. The water tank holds water and the water pump works.
I installed a JVC blue-tooth head unit (no CD), infinity powered sub and a 4 channel amp to run the door and rear speakers. It sounds amazing but does take up some room under the bench seat. If not interested, Iíd knock some $$ off and keep the amp and sub. They would be great in my boat.
Bottom line, this van starts, runs, drives, shifts and stops incredibly well for its age. I was shocked at how smooth and solid the van feels going down the road (the 16Ē wheels helped tremendously!).
If itís so great, why are you selling?
I donít see myself having the time to complete any of the projects I would want to do or use it to its full potential for another 10 years when I retire. My job requires me to travel most weeks and Iím only home on the weekends. I live on a lake and right now prefer to use those weekends for sunning and funning.
Donít get me wrong, I love to drive it around and see all the people looking and waving. They stop me at the store and gas station and everyone has a story to tell. After reading all the forums and posts online, I realized that people are really passionate about their Van Lives. Iíd love to see this go to someone that would drive it from end to end and top to bottom of this great country of ours or even beyond the border. With winter coming on, south sounds good to me!
I do not need to sell it so Iím not interested in any lowball offers. Iíd be open to trade up or down for the right vehicle. A nice jeep, a convertible or even a daily driver if itís all wheel drive. I just donít need any projects right now. I have a garage and tools available for any inspection or work to be done by buyer.
So, now the bad news. You knew it was coming, right? Seam rust. In addition to the seam rust, there are two other spots to note. One in the back window, lower left corner, and one on the driverís side door. The front of the van has numerous chips and is faded. I have higher resolution pics I can email if youíd like.
How I got the Van
Several years ago I was looking for a crash pad in the Chicago area. I responded to a Craigslist ad and found a roommate and what turned out to be a great friend. The van was in his garage when I moved in and clearly hadnít moved in some time. It had boxes piled in on and around it.
As we got to know each other, he told me how he came to own the van and why it was now not running in his garage. He had bought it off of a childhood friend of his and, after driving it across country to get it home, used it mostly for going to music festivals and an occasional weekend camping trip. Mostly local stuff.
The transmission started slipping and the van was acting up and overheating. Donít take this the wrong way because heís a smart guy, but he has absolutely ZERO mechanical aptitude. The van got parked.
Along the way he met a woman and, after a very short time, they got married. Turned out that was a big mistake and within a year they were getting divorced. Not at all amicably. She had no interest in the van but wanted half of everything else. His lawyerís advice, if you donít want her to have it, SPEND IT! So, off the van went to the shop. Turns out, the transmission cooler was mixing fluid and coolant. Not good for the engine or the trans.
Out of spite, the van got a rebuilt engine and transmission, new cooler and $9500 later my friend was feeling avenged. This happened in early 2010 with 109,213 miles on the van.
What happened next?
My friend did not drive the van much over the next year or so, never even went back in for a post-transplant checkup and oil change. He had only put a few hundred miles on it when, while driving home from a weekend festival, the oil light started flashing and the buzzer went off. Due to the time that had passed, the shop he had do the work was going to charge him to diagnose/repair whatever was wrong. Fearing the worst, and again without the ability to work on it himself, he parked it in the garage and lost interest.
Thatís about where I came into the picture. I stayed with him off and on whenever I was working in Chicago up until late 2016. Thatís when his new girlfriend (now fiancť) moved in. I lost my crash pad and the van had to find a new home. I offered to buy it from him, as is, not knowing what I was up against. As a side note, part of the payment was a very nice American made Fender Strat 50th Anniversary!
I put a new battery in but was unable to get the starter to turn at all. Iím not afraid of getting dirty and can shade-tree with the best of them, but my garage and tools are 200 miles away. Iíve also come to the realization that I just donít have the time right now to tinker. I called on a high school buddy of mine that has a very reputable shop in the area and off it went in January of 2017 with 109,600 miles.
What the heck was wrong?
The agreement I had with my mechanic buddy was that he would pull it in when the shop was slow to try to figure things out. After replacing the starter and starter wires, a new fuel pump and some line, the van was alive!
I had them give it a good look over, replace the belts and some hoses and install some new 16Ē Michelin Defenders on a set of Go Westy rims. I also had a nasty exhaust leak fixed which entailed removing the catalytic converter (no smog where I live). In August of 2017 I rolled out of there and drove it the 200 milesí home.
What about the oil pressure light/buzzer you ask? One wordÖFRAM. If you donít already know, just read the GW tech articles or the forums and youíll find out that the 2.1 oil pressure circuit is a bit finicky. I changed the oil and installed a Mann filter as recommended. If I was to keep it, an oil pressure gauge would be on the list for sure.