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1987 Factory JOKER Hightop Syncro with BOXEER TDi Turn on always show all large photos     Ad id: 2271536
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1987 Factory JOKER Hightop Syncro with BOXEER TDi   Price: 49500

I bought this van three years ago in British Colombia, Canada, imported it to the United States and have lived in it since. When I purchased the van, it had a 1.8 TD AAZ engine that died two days after paying the previous owner. I then put a 2004 1.9 PD TDi into it, which had me bouncing between shops down the west coast trying (unsuccessfully) to solve a series of blown turbos. A very frustrating two years. Eventually, about a year and a half ago, I decided scrap that whole conversion and invest a good chunk of change into a new Boxeer setup utilizing a 2014 VW 2.0 CR TDi engine with only 500 miles on it at the time of install. That was 20k happy miles ago. In the last year of not having to focus on engines and turbos, Iíve been addressing everything else mechanical, preparing to bring the vehicle down to South America. However, I have recently decided I want to go beyond South America to Africa and Asia, and as a result, will need a vehicle that fits into a container for shipping.

The Good:

VAN: 1987 Factory Diesel Joker Hightop Triple Knob with factory Bonoplex (double pane insulating) windows and Eberspacher diesel heater (needs 12v motor and muffler replaced). This is an extremely rare iteration of the Vanagon, especially in this hemisphere.

ENGINE: 2014 VW CJAA CR TDi with 20k miles on it, installed at 15 degrees by Boxeer. (Benefit of this angle is its the stock angle the engine was originally designed to run at. Downside is it required a hole to be cut in the deck lid and doesnít utilize the ultra sexy Boxeer engine mounts).
20-26 mpg (depending on driving speed). New radiator, stainless steel coolant pipes, new Bosch TDi starter, new coolant pump... everything that can be replaced has been gone through and replaced.

TRANSMISSION: Rebuilt 10k miles ago with new German 5.43 R&P, new German mainshaft, new taller GT Gears 3rd and 4th, oil cooling fins, new bearings and seals. Syncro rev. removed and replaced with 2wd for more reliability (these are known to come apart when mated with TDi engines).
65mph at 2700rpm. 67mph at 3000 rpm. 70 mph at 3200 rpm. I love the gearing and wouldnít change it.
Brand new decoupler. Freshly balanced drive shaft. Trans temp sensor wired to ECU, displays on tablet.

SUSPENSION: Old Man Emu absorbers in the front, Trail Masters in back. Previous owner had this setup when I bought it and Iíve always loved the ride. Lifted a few inches. Looks and drives great. Lots of work done at Peacevans 3k miles ago replacing all front bushings, u-joints, added T3 beefy sway bar end links and new steering rack.

BRAKES: New rear drums and pads. All fully gone through by Peacevans. 20k on Rotors and pads up front. It stops great, but Iíd suggest an eventual upgrade to the bigger brake kit up front.

BODY: GW Bumpers front and back with rear hitch mount,
New GW Swing Away system with GW box spare tire
2 diesel Rotopax and 2 water Rotopax
100 Watts of Renogy Solar on roof
High Lift Jack with rear hitch mount adapter--fits over swing aways, easily removable with one 17mm Bolt to open swing aways. I have the GW front bumper mount but havenít installed it.
Fiama Awning
Custom Surfboard Rack (locking) that folds down over side window for easy loading/unloading.

WHEELS: 4 powder coated CLK rims with 225 75 16 BFG AT K02s, 17k miles on them. New full size BFG spare mounted to GW alloy on back.

INTERIOR: Eurovan front seats, Eurovan steering wheel, birch paneling all around including hightop, Engle Fridge, 12v lighting (I did it, I love the look of the light, but the wiring could be cleaner). 2 6v 225 amp hr AMG batteries in parallel (so 225 amp hrs at 12v), ProSport 20+ Shore Charger for fast shore charging. Sink and stove function well. 5 gallon propane tank underneath (this thing is huge. I cook everyday and only need to fill up once or twice a year). The propane tank is attached to a special Joker-only unit that has a fill capacity meter, heater to keep propane in gas form when sub zero outside, and a standard outlet for if you want to hook up an external grill or other unit that uses propane. Stock fridge has been removed and replaced with GW fridge delete kit for (a ton of) storage. Custom cabinet removal of the headbanger/ac cabinet and cut-down of the tall cupboardóthis creates a clean, flat surface all the way back while still utilizing a ton go storage. Really opens up the interior of the van making it feel much larger. The rest of the interior is left stock Westy. Westy-Lounge kit installed allowing for bench to be comfortably set up in reverse. Great in combination with the cabinet removal. Cork board headliner installed above lower bed. Recently added a Vanagonlife Locking Center Console with battery kill switch inside. That thing is a dream and has changed my whole driving experience. Stock diesel black rubber floor mat throughout the frontórare. Rocky Mountain Westy drivers-side under-seat locking drawer for passport, paperwork, small camera, sun glasses.

The Bad:
The van is beginning to show rust coming through in the normal spots (seams and windshield), but isnít bad yet. The underside of the van is surprisingly clean. There were rusty components (controls arms, brakes, shift linkageÖ) but in the past three years of ownership Iíve replaced or removed and cleaned just about everything under the van. The front brake calipers and behind the fuel tank are the last areas that still have some rust. Chassis is clean. The worst of the rust is on the interior of he trunk hatch, around the window. When it rains heavily and the vanís parked parked at just the right angle, it leaks a bit. I would definitely suggest rolling the hatch soon. Before deciding to sell, I was thinking about investing in rust repair and paint, but donít have the energy and didnít want a potential buyer to thing I was covering anything up. The rear passenger pillar has some small dents in it from the terribly designed swing away system the previous owner had. The front windshield should eventually be removed and a few rust spots around the seal should be taken care of. None if it is horrible, no holes through the van, but itís there. Iíve been living in it for the past three years, so the interior is comfortable, homey, but not showroom status. Stock speed and rpm gauges donít work but the Boxeer conversion comes with a wifi module that sends out a signal to an included tablet and display all necessary engine readouts (rpm, coolant temp, trans temp, oil pressure, rail pressure, etc). I also have a hardline EGT and Boost gauge installed. Blue foil behind the gauges needs to be replaced for dash lights to work. Iíve come to like having them dark at night with just the tablet so I havenít replaced it. Lastly, no radio (the engine is quiet enough to have gotten away with using a JBL bluetooth speaker on the dash and I was always satisfied with it). Being a diesel, it smokes a bit on startup in the cold, but quickly goes away.


Otherwise, mechanically, the thingís looking, feeling and moving pretty damn good.

Iíve built this van to be used, not to be a showroom vehicle, so my time and money have mostly been spent on the mechanics of it, and I think my asking price fairly reflects that. I'm well over $70k into this thing but know it'll never go for that (and would feel like a thief if it did). There are more expensive syncros listed, but Iíd wager this van will run smoother and get better fuel milage that anything else on here. WIth another few thousand bucks the cosmetics could be addressed, but again, I donít have the energy, and like I said, I donít want any potential buyerís to think Iím covering anything up with a cheap paint job. I bought this vehicle under the impression of it being a runner only to have the engine completely fail on me two days later and donít want to pass this vehicle on in the same way. No secrets, no misgivings, full transparency.

Comes with a new spare turbo (I bought an extra after the ptsd of all my past failures on the last engine, but havenít needed to use it with the new engine), extra clutch disc, full spare front axle assembly, 4 spare cv and boot assemblies, a spare oil pan, a spare transmission main shaft (used but in good shape) spare fuel filters, spare oil filters As well as an assortment of other small switches, sensors and bushings. All the stuff I was planning on bringing down to South America with me.

Samba build-thread here:

Build Video:

Engine info here:

I hope I can find someone who wants to use this van as it serves to be used. Itís taken a lot of effort from myself and a lot of generous people to get it where it is today.

Van is located in Minneapolis, MN. I am in no rush to sell. Text or email are best for inquiries!

Aidan Klimenko
[email protected]

Detailed photos of interior to come/upon request.
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Aidan Klimenko
August 11, 2013
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Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:10 am
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:01 am
Vehicles - Type 2/Bus - Vanagon
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