View original topic: Westy Sycnro RIP Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
shepherdsond Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:11 pm

My well loved (and worked on!) syncro Westy was lost yesterday. I was returning to Portland from Newport on the Oregon Coast on Hi-Way 20 about 10 miles West of Philomath. I was traveling up hill in the outside lane towards the brow of a hill at about 45mph when a pick up truck coming in the other direction headed straight towards me across three traffic lanes. There was nothing I could do except pray that he woke up in time and swerved away - he didnt. He hit me right in the center of the drivers door at full hi-way speed (if I had braked it would have been head on). As you can see he then ran down the left side of the van stripping the sheet metal clean away and impacting the rear corner very hard before going down the road and making some large dents in the roadside impact railing. He left his front left wheel and suspension (almost bare tires!) just behind my van. Fortunately and surprisingly, injuries to us and the dogs that each of us had amounted to minor scratches and bruises.

The inside of the van looks like a bomb went off. The water tank exploded (in fact I couldn't even see any remains) and the cabinetry was matchwood and spread everywhere. The mountain bike I had in the back was bent and most everything else was smashed and soaked with water. I took a trip to hospital in an ambulance but checked out OK with just a minor cut above my left eye. Tha van is at a tow yard in Corvalis now.

One of the fortunate aspects of the crash was that my wife was following in her car (she had joined me late) saw the whole thing and we were able to rescue some of our possessions and get home. The other is that our dog was in the front with me and not sitting on the rear bench seat where he often sits - he would not be alive now if he had been.

I am impresed with how well the area arround the front door absorbed the impact without deforming into the driver space - mostly it was absorbed by the frame arround the wheel arch and the sill allong the bottom of the door (note the damage to the front wheel). I am not sure the outcome would have been as good in a car. Also of interest was the fact that the propane tank was full and the fridge was on at the time of the crash. There have been numerous posts in this forum about the adviseability of doing this. All I can say is that with this sample size of one, the crash cut off valve worked perfectly - I could not even smell any propane, not that I am recomending it mind you!

Now of course I have to deal with the insurance night mare and the fact that even if I do get a decent settlement getting a new Syncro Westy may not be possible. If anyone has some recent experience with insurance perhaps they could pm me.

markz2004 Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:17 pm

glad you and the dog are ok. that is really a scary thing to happen to anyone.

gostus Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:18 pm

the bottom line is you walked away form it, which speaks very well of the design of the van. glad to know nothing happened to you

insyncro Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:56 pm

I am so glad to hear you are both OK.
Sorry for your loss of your Syncro.


GWTWTLW Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:03 pm

Holy crap!! I'm glad you guys are ok. I live in portland and have been through the insurance nightmare a year ago. I'd be happy to help you in any way that I can. PM me and let's talk.

1621 Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:34 pm

I'm glad all of you were fine. Good luck with the insurance company, but just be glad you were able to walk away from that!

240Gordy Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:43 pm


good thing your wife was well back and missed getting hit too.

Rhinoculips Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:03 pm

My jaw dropped when I saw that photo! We are glad you're still with us. Seeing another Syncro Westy go down sucks too. Obviously, better it than you. Keep us updated on your dealings with the insurance company.

Crughy Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:14 pm

I know of a guy who got his westy syncro totalled 2 weeks ago. Not sue what happened, he let a friend drive it, in the mountains, off road. He rolled it.

Total loss, but the engine and many parts. But still another one gone or so.

This one is amazing. Someone was asking about a side impact with a vanagon/westy. I guess that's a very convincing answer.

Good luck.


shepherdsond Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:07 pm

Thanks for the replies and well wishes. I have some good ideas and contacts for how to proceed on the insurance.

It is astounding how much the Syncro Westy prices seem to have gone up the last few years. Mine was an 87 and I purchased it for $14,500 3-4 years ago. Admittedly it was in very poor mechanical shape and much of it had since been replaced/repaired. I would be lucky to replace it for $20,000 now I think.

carterzest Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:24 pm

Wow! X1000 on glad you are ok. Dog too. PDXwesty(Rick) and GWTWTLW(Pete) have extensive experience on this type of fiasco. Petes thread " help, insurance wants to total my Westy" is a bundle of info.... A roadmap if you will. Ricks gallery as well has similar pics. It is amazing how these vans do in accidents however, I think of we other Pdx ers that have kids and cringe when I see such pictures. Tom at Halsey Automotive and ashley at always vdub are great resources, as is Lucas at Go Westy. Do not settle until you have a beer with Pete though and anything we can do to help you out, pm and let us know.

Peace be with you and yours brother! HOLY SHIT! :cry:

I honestly have tears in my eyes right now..

wavanagon Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:22 pm

WOW. Glad to hear everyone's ok. Best of luck with the insurance companies!

tencentlife Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:27 pm

Man, he peeled that thing like a grape! Really glad you're all OK, but such a shame the loss of your rig. What happened to the other, driver? (as if we should, just kidding)

Vanagon Nut Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:27 pm



Glad all are ok.

What a shame to loose a Westy. Especially a Syncro Westy. I hope your dealings with the insurance company go smoothly.


syncrodoka Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:38 pm


Glad everybody was safe after such a big impact.
Luckily cars can be replaced and hopefully yours will be soon. A search for insurance should get you information here. This might help too-

Bercilak Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:37 pm

If they give you a hard time, lowballing on value, then tell 'em to replace it. They'll find out what a Syncro westy is worth right quick.

Glad to see you walked away ~ grew up in the valley, and any of the coast highways can be pretty scary... :shock: Best of luck to you.


Witless Joe Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:51 pm

I'd really like to see more photos.

Got any of the interior, and back seat area?

Cabinetry was "matchwood", you say. I'd really like to have an idea of how hypothetical back seat passengers would fare in this kind of accident.


Glad you were ok.

carterzest Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:08 pm

Witless Joe wrote: I'd really like to see more photos.

Got any of the interior, and back seat area?

Cabinetry was "matchwood", you say. I'd really like to have an idea of how hypothetical back seat passengers would fare in this kind of accident.


Glad you were ok. Perhaps we should give the brother a week or two. I mean, no disrespect intended to you, but, it was like 24 hours ago and I am certain he is still processing his near loss of life experience(with wife right behind him whom I am sure is equally shaken at nearly losing her husband, dog and westy!).
Just saying! :cry: :wink:

vweggie Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:33 pm

After seeing the picture and hearing that no one in the van was seriously injured is a huge relief. Unbelievable. Glad you're ok.

Beetsport Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:33 pm

I'm glad you both got out OK! Man, what a wreck that was !!

The Vanagon is such a strong vehicle.
I took some pictures of a Westy in a wrecking yard that looked like it got hit by a semi-truck on the drivers side then slammed against the passengers onto a pole it like something.

I too would like to see more pictures (as sad as it is. :( ) if you have them.

It's interesting to see just how well our van's "hold-up" under extreme conditions.
I know nothing about this wreck below. Still cabin is somewhat in tact.

I don't want to take away from the horrific wreck this post started about.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group