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should i buy a 1984 vanagon gl?
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justinlandis
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject: should i buy a 1984 vanagon gl? Reply with quote

my wife and i have been interested in getting a vanagon for a while, and recently came across one that we could probably get cheap. however, it's been sitting for several years. the owner said she stopped driving it because it made a noise at 45mph, which could obviously be a number of things.

i don't now much about vw vanagons. is this a decent year/model to buy for a project? it would need a lot of cleaning up, and has 173k miles on it, and i don't know what condition the engine's in. would it be worth $500? less? more?

any advice would be appreciated. thanks
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allsierra123
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the thing with cheap vanagons is you usually have to put as much money into them as expensive vanagons cost to make them reliable. I bought a cheap one and I bought as a daily driver. It hasnt ran in almost a year and i am many thousand dollars in the hole. I still love the van a look forward to the day I can drive it again, Very Happy
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95 GMC Yukon 6.5 TD 2 Door Tow pig/ Daily driver.
91 Vanagon GL. 1.9TD Conversion Sold
81 Vw rabbit 1.6 Diesel. Sold
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tikibus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the time of year when "Spring"cleaning/ get that "XXXX" outta here happens.
Before you do anything, get over there and see if you can turn the engine by hand. Don't mess with putting a key into it and seeing if the starter pulls, just ease into it. Look for funkiness. I know your looking into a foreign land, but put your eyes to it.
Sitting for 7 years poses a host of Gremlins. Be good and wise to you and your Family that you might/will be spending time underneath the beast. Which is okay, if funds allow.

Most important: it is a an agreement between you and your better half. Be honest to each other in the process. You might have stumbled on a find or a lemon, so that needs to be put forth.
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allsierra123
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes make sure she is on board or you'll be sailing the uss blamesville with me.
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Texxxxx
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: should i buy a 1984 vanagon gl? Reply with quote

justinlandis wrote:
i don't now much about vw vanagons. is this a decent year/model to buy for a project? it would need a lot of cleaning up, and has 173k miles on it, and i don't know what condition the engine's in.


The first deal breaker would be rust. I would suggests not buying it if there is any rust at all, let alone rot. You can eventually fix everything mechanical, but body rot is terminal, unless you have access to and the skill for cutting and welding.

I would assume with that amount of miles the engine will need to be rebuilt soon ($3000 - $4000 at a reputable shop), and it is probably leaking a bit of coolant from the heads; , or buy a rebuilt from GoWesty http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=4036&category_id=82&category_parent_id= ($4000), or buy a low mileage used engine ($600 - $1000) like I did for my rust-free '85 ($800 initial cost). There are many other engine options.

As far as year/model...well, it's not the camper, but that doesn't mean you can't camp in it. My son and I have done quite a bit of camping in our GL; it works out well and I appreciate all the room we have without the cabinets, stove and fridge. Throw in some swivel bases on the front seats and you have an amazing amount of room. The '84 has the smaller engine...like mine used to...but as I said, you'll most likely need to replace/rebuild anyway.

allsierra123 wrote:
the thing with cheap vanagons is you usually have to put as much money into them as expensive vanagons cost to make them reliable


True. The difference would be you would know exactly what was done if you buy cheap and replace things, as neccessary. I may have bought mine for $800, but believe me, I have LOTS more into it.
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Last edited by Texxxxx on Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:57 am; edited 2 times in total
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Mr. Electric Wizard
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

allsierra123 wrote:
yes make sure she is on board or you'll be sailing the uss blamesville with me.


Oh man, things go soooo much more smoothly when she's on board. Very Happy
It is magical.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the body is in good shape go for it. A used tranny could be had for $500 and other noise sources like wheel bearings could even be cheaper. The engine would be the worse but at $3500 is not a killer.

Don't try and do what all too many do which is to pay on $500 for a van and then get upset when repairs exceed the purchase price. Few would give up on a $30,000 vehicle if it needed $3500 in repairs a few years down the road, but people often won't put the same kind of money into a $500 vehicle cause "It ain't worth anything".

I paid $400 for my 83 1/2 and have put maybe $2000 into it over the last 60,000 miles. A deal in my book.
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justinlandis
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:20 pm    Post subject: thanks so much for the advice Reply with quote

great points and great wisdom. the part about my wife being on board is solid gold, and i need to confirm before doing anything.

as for the pre-purchase check, i met a guy here who knows air-cooled vw's very well, and he's gonna at least look at it with me and let me know what he thinks. he also has a good friend who knows vanagons, so with their help, and yours, i ought to be able to make a good decision.

thanks again.
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allsierra123
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for what its worth aircooled may not have as much power. but they seem so much simpler to me.
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91 Vanagon GL. 1.9TD Conversion Sold
81 Vw rabbit 1.6 Diesel. Sold
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