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Vanagon maintenance (1983-2011)
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ftp2leta
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:48 am    Post subject: Vanagon maintenance (1983-2011) Reply with quote

Gentlemen, please comment and add stuff that I may forget. Bookmark this thread, I won't repeat mysefl twice, tired of doing so.

Source: Me, for the one who don't know me, I have been working on Vanagon ONLY for.... 6 years at the shop + 3 at home.

There should be more sticky here. too many coolant problem thread.

Any vehicle that was strong enough to pass the 20 years lifespan is due for major maintenance if you want some sort of reliability. A well maintain Vanagon can be damn reliable.

So if your buying a 25 yo Westy for your little family be ready to invest.

Here is the list to make your vanagon reliable.

Cooling system, part that need to be REPLACED!!!!:
-Radiator
-T-stat housing and T-Stat (2.1L)
-Coolant distributor (2.1L)
-all coolant hose around the engine.
-Long cooling pipe: Replace on 83-84 (metal) Inspect carefully on later plastic one in the back, especially the hot one on the right
-Heater valve in the front.
-Remove rear heater if possible.
-Water pump

TO BE REPLACE around the engine if your the cheap kind of guy (minimum replacement)

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


N, L, W, Y, Z, Z2, Z4.
Carefully inspect and sand blasted (or replaced but in general they can be fix) if you suspect that there is any sign of rust.
R, Q, Y, Z1, Z3

On late Vanagon, I think 89 +, the Z4 bleeder hose as a STUPID plastic nipple at the engine, it will crack!

Engine:


Minimum maintenance:

-Total reseal of the engine INCLUDING the head gasket.
-Head, well, REPLACE!!! Don't loose one cent on those old head.
-If your not consuming oil or very minimum consumption, don't mess with the pistons and sleeve.
-Fuel line....
http://www.benplace.com/fuel_line.htm
-Injector rebuilt and tested or new rebuilt one.
-Replace/rebuilt the classic: Alternator and starter.
-Belt

Fuel injection: Test:
http://www.benplace.com/fi_test.htm
REPLACE:
-OS sender
-Coolant temp sender (ECU)
-TPS switch (Inspect and adjust)
-S intake boot: inspect
-Distributor cap, plug and wire.... duh!


Clutch: Replace ALL part, transmission main shaft seal
Torque converter: Replace the seal and if you have money, rebuilt the torque converter (not a must)
http://www.benplace.com/vw_clutch_job1.htm

Drive axle: replace or inspect and re-pack.
http://www.benplace.com/cv_joint_maintenance.htm

4 speed:

-Replace master & clutch slave.
-Inspect clutch metal line from front to rear, especially over the spare tire. At the same time inspect metal brake line.
-Grease the shifter rod, form back to front
-Replace ignition switch
http://www.benplace.com/dash.htm

Automatic:
-Bypass the start wire in the shifter box! YES! join the to big red wire together.
-Ignition switch
http://www.benplace.com/dash.htm
-Adjust the Throttle body rod to down shift leaver (make sure the TPS switch is working)

Brake:

-Replace/inspect the obvious!!!
-Rear cylinder: REPLACE!!!!
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

-I would highly suggest a new brake master cylinder.
-Replace all 4 flex line at each wheel, you won't believe the difference in braking power.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

-Inspect metal line, especially at the rear and over the spare tire.

Suspension

-Inspect upper table bushing (2 each side)
http://www.benplace.com/85rouge/rouge5.jpg
-The rest will never leave you stranded

Steering:

-Upper ball joint, replace both side, they are cheap$
http://www.benplace.com/85rouge/rouge7.jpg
-The big job:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

BUT NOT A MUST!
-Power steering line: inspect, replace for flex one if to rusted.
-Wheel bearing, replace at least the front one (IN the brake disk)

Fuel delivery:

-REPLACE THE FUEL TANK and all seal, it's the cause of so many problems:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


-Replace fuel filter AND pump:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


So, you still think your van is reliable?
Of course this is a lot of money and time. You could at least use that list with your mechanic, as a guide. Do stuff slowly.

You think it's to much? Well, when at 3000 miles from home I don't rely on luck and I don't believe in luck. The vanagon can be very reliable but it as a price.

If anyone here (someone I know) would care to edit my English I would be glad to give him my user and password.

This is a serious thread, please stay polite. Add some constructive stuff. Price for part, availability, trick & tips that you may find useful for others.
I perfectly understand that some people (I understand but don't get why) are on a budget, still, there is minimum stuff that need to be done. For those with big long trip ahead... be ready to spend money.

Picture & video is the way to go.

Cheers, Ben
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candyman
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But Ben i want to spend my money on SA grill, 15 in gowesty wheels, recaro seats, big bumpers etc... Won't that be money well spent over silly brake lines?
Seriously, I agree with all the above and if any newbies or oldies, have not crawled over every sqaure inch of your vanagon, do it now!

Nice write Ben
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dbean
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, great post! may help me with my coolant issue.
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Corwyn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

STICKY A great refrence for new owners. I think a TIRE sticky would be good too. I'm full of good ideas . . . Cool
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eeebee Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about cleaning your grounds, replacing the ignition switch, and adding headlight relays.
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carterzest
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job Ben and definitely Stickylicious Cool
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Californio
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might be worth separating out the true show stoppers from the good-to-do maintenance items.

In the show stopper column I'd add the hall sender with its tiny tiny wires which can break and leave you calling for help at the end of a lonesome road, that is if you have cell coverage, and if not get on your walking shoes.
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noganav
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent information, and a nice summary. Thank you. Applause
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben, you could put together a BENI'S BOOK and publishing it, ever thought about it. You already have so much of it online. I'd think about it seriously. Not to be confused with a Bentley it could be BRIGHT RED! Seriously. THANKS
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

holy hell!

We need to link to this post EVERY TIME someone asks the question.


fantastic post, possibly the best ever to this forum. well done.

now we just need to post a parts list and price for "all of the above"
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Californio wrote:
It might be worth separating out the true show stoppers from the good-to-do maintenance items.

In the show stopper column I'd add the hall sender with its tiny tiny wires which can break and leave you calling for help at the end of a lonesome road, that is if you have cell coverage, and if not get on your walking shoes.


I agree, but there are really 3 levels:

A. the most important show-stoppers are the ones that stop the show by killing you...
1. rubber brake hoses (which can fail catastrophically and cause a no brake condition)
2. rubber fuel lines (which can cause the van to burn to the ground, possibly with you or others i it)

B. the the ones that will disable the vehicle (and maybe kill you by stranding you far from water, food or heat)

C. comfort issues that most likely will not disable the vehicle or are so progressive in their failure that you will surely catch them (perhaps some of the rubber suspension bushings would fit here)

thx again for this thread, Ben
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SL1
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THANKS BEN

excellent info - as usual
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the other issue re replacing parts is that many new parts available now, tho expensive, appear to be worthless junk

e.g. I bought a new M/C from GoWesty and it rusted in just a few months
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MakeFast
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:

I agree, but there are really 3 levels:

A. the most important show-stoppers are the ones that stop the show by killing you...
1. rubber brake hoses (which can fail catastrophically and cause a no brake condition)
2. rubber fuel lines (which can cause the van to burn to the ground, possibly with you or others i it)

B. the the ones that will disable the vehicle (and maybe kill you by stranding you far from water, food or heat)

C. comfort issues that most likely will not disable the vehicle or are so progressive in their failure that you will surely catch them (perhaps some of the rubber suspension bushings would fit here)

thx again for this thread, Ben


I support this division as well and thanks for the great post Ben. I will be redoing some of these soon.

It may be helpful as well to group them together like "Replace fuel lines, while down there it would be easy to do XXX"
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Californio
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with the three levels of importance.

Very useful thread.
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PNWesty
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. Brake line replace added to top of Spring To Do list.
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UNIBLONDER
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm new here and thank you so much for taking the time to post this, especially for folks like me. Mine is a 1980 air-cooled (and while it doesn't fall in the year range you mentioned--but I assume much of this is probably across the board) I know that many of these things have already been done, but I'm going to double check)..Thanks a million.
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ftp2leta
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edgood1 wrote:


now we just need to post a parts list and price for "all of the above"
Shocked


I was ready to do so, just an average price, part, time for DIY and normal shop rate labor, but I Already spent 3 hours writing this.

Of course this is to much for the average owner and the 3 level thing is very interesting.

I did several van like mine, well 4, enough to have a good idea of what a total (and a bit crazy) rebuilt is.

I would appreciate if this thread would be a sticky.

I would edit this one every time good suggestions/tip appear.

Ben
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My site: http://www.benplace.com/vw2.htm
Subi conversion: http://www.benplace.com/vanaru_eng.htm
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bjrogers86auto
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:04 pm    Post subject: Work Reply with quote

I think your site is the sticky Ben! I have been using it for two years now as a reference. I had pictures printed for the intake/fuel line rebuild. I used it for the driveline work. It's like the Wikipedia for Westy's!

Thanks for everything!
Brian
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ftp2leta
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Work Reply with quote

bjrogers86auto wrote:
I think your site is the sticky Ben! I have been using it for two years now as a reference. I had pictures printed for the intake/fuel line rebuild. I used it for the driveline work. It's like the Wikipedia for Westy's!

Thanks for everything!
Brian


Smile

I miss NS... such a nice place.
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My site: http://www.benplace.com/vw2.htm
Subi conversion: http://www.benplace.com/vanaru_eng.htm
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