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Frustration setting in, Out of Stock Bus parts
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Pacmanfever
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:39 pm    Post subject: Frustration setting in, Out of Stock Bus parts Reply with quote

We're working on our 67 and it seems like every project is missing at least one part to complete it. Pop out windows- no complete sets of glass to frame seals available (at least none that fit correctly). Long rocker panel replacement, we need C and D pillar repair sections, but I've been playing message tag with one popular supplier, and the other one never replies. Safari frame to body seals, I need OG style which is out everywhere.

I realize the challenge is half the fun, but I sourced all the harder to find vintage OG parts already (one year only dash, etc) and figured the consumable repro stuff would be in stock everywhere. Some vendors have been out since May with no landing date in sight.

Is everyone else seeing similar issues?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've noticed it w/bugs parts as well. I love Wolfsburg West but they sure seem to be out of stock on the parts I need recently.

As these cars get older and older and the amount of people looking to buy these parts shrink, I worry that this is going to get worse and worse. I hope I'm wrong but we've sure seen a lot of the classic VW repair shops closing their doors over the past few years. This has to be due to the vast majority of these existing, old VW's having gone from daily drivers to collector/hobby cars that are primarily driven on the weekends.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with the fact that there are less people buying cheap replacement parts and taking their air cooled VW to a shop to have simple repairs done to keep the daily driver on the road forcing a lot of repair shops out of business. Even FLAPS have discontinued parts for us a while back.

But I think the shortage of parts at Wolfsburg West is an indication that our VW's have broken the barrier of cheap daily beaters and now people are spending real money on preservation / restoration of them. Most of us know where to buy quality parts and who to avoid. Most suppliers are going to base their inventory based of sales trends so if the demand grows quickly there will be a catch up period. Just search pop out windows and see how the discussions have grown in the proper repair of them.

What was the last year Ford produced a Model A? But there are numerous suppliers for Classic A and T parts. Hell think about the tri 5 Chevys, only made for three years but have a huge aftermarket and reproduction market. I think the industry just is trying to catch up with the demand for correct reproduction parts not cheap junk.

It gets to point where we go from losing vehicles at a high rate because they are considered cheap daily drivers through accidents and neglect to being crushed for scrap when prices go high to the point they become collector status. Now, once a bus is discovered by someone now it stands a very high chance of surviving because people are preserving them. We will start to see more of them show up at shows because they are winding up in the hands of people who have a passion for them and the means to do the work properly.

I don't think the reproduction parts industry is leaving us behind, the are thriving off of us and our air cooled VW's.
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Pacmanfever
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I find especially maddening is the lack of subassembly sets. For example, if you're going to stock pop out window seals, what's the point of having hundreds of just one of the three needed? I'm not spending the time redoing a window to replace just one seal, especially when the other two are $5 bucks apiece.
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kenshapiro2002
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the midst of doing a '67 as well and haven't experienced your problems. I got all three seals for the side pop outs from WW. They're all installed and working fine. I've bought tons of funky green from KF...gotten it all in a fairly good time and they all fit well. Of course, I'm retired, and not on a time line so patience is easy for me.
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Homeresque
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm new, second post, but I've been watching for years. Since last fall I've been working on a 10/57 Kombi low mileage project I got at a reasonable price but was not for the faint of heart (my wife fainted when she saw it). Next weekend it is finally going to my metal man to have the $7000 worth of steel installed (I stripped the repaints down to OG and cut out the rust). At some point I planned on expressing my frustrating overall experience and I guess nows a good time.

I was a VW fanatic back in the day (a caveman now I guess), '77 to '97. That was when I was a teenager/student and VWs were cheeeeep daily drivers...first bus was from Bob Scott's pile, a $500 '58 panel OG dove blue instead of a $750 '51 23W OG SWR/CB because it was $250 less!
I completely divested myself of 20-years worth of VW...cars, parts, lit, toys, etc, in '97 because I was becoming so obsessed on what we enjoy today as the OG-style but this was before the explosion of the internet and there was NOTHING like the Samba. I was frustrated beyond words.

I then immersed into the tradional Ford hotrod scene and ultimately became a '32 junkie, had 3 of them. Anyone who's been there can appreciate when I say in that world, you can literally get anything at anytime anywhere you want it, and if you can say the magic 'hotrod celebrity' words probably for free. After 17 years I've lost my mojo for that and left that world. Lurking on the Samba showed me that what was once my secret passion was now a full-blown style with people even going to the extremest lengths to achieve it. So here I am back where I started from...its like the herpes virus.

Anyway, almost immediately I was reminded of some of the 'traits' amongst the VW life that I did not miss and had forgotten about...rip-offs, flakes, frauds, hucksters, liars. I guess I got spoiled by the downright professional business world of the mainstream car hobbies. Even when trying to deal with the most 'mainstream' VW vendors, the level of customer service and sophistication, and product quality level place them equal only to the outer fringes of vendors in the other car worlds. I surmise that its because in those world which are so big, if you can't provide that part or answer that call or respond to that email or otherwise dick around, that customer immediately moves on to the next guy, with literally 100's more behind him.
Don't get me wrong, compared to 17 years ago the VW world has advanced light years, but as time goes by and as said, as VWs get closer to leaving the 'daily driver world' and becoming solely the world of the enthusiasts (buses $25K-$75K...WHAT?), their value will make it more enticing to vendors to provide for and professional-level competition will emerge. Imagine when someone steps up to compete with WW at its level, talk about game-changing.
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biggestdaddyo
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Thank you for that perspective. I've never thought of our world in those terms. Seems right on point.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I disagree. Never been part of the Ford world, but was big into Corvettes (talk about fake cars...more big block '67s around now than Chevy ever made), Porsches, Lotus, Triumph, Harley Davidson, etc. I've run into shoddy business people, liars, forgers, scam artists, and most of the time good, honest, reliable, trustworthy people. In my 61 years I've learned that people are people, and there are many stinkers in there. It has NOTHING to do with whether you're talking VWs vs _____________ (fill in the blank).

P.S. I LOVE dealing with WW.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disagree to what? What I'm saying (or tried to) is that VWs in general, buses in particular, are reaching that tipping point for various reasons where their increasing value to beyond just us usual VW folk will create (hopefully) enough enticement in the business world to create more vendor competition, more buyer options for us hobbists/enthusiasts/nutburgers to enjoy, on par with what is found in other car realms. (And perhaps fewer unanswered emails, unreturned phone messages, inconsistent parts supply, etc)
If you're saying you believe it already is, then right-on...I don't agree, doesn't sound like Pacmanfever either. Guess we just haven't had as much good luck shopping as you have enjoyed.

If you mean my aversion to the stinkers, of course they exist in every realm. However, not wanting to throw any names under the bus (pun intended) I can PM you the list of vendors, not the pirate-looking swap meet vendors but REAL vendors, that have made MY list over the last 12 months but since they're the only game in town, I get to call 'em again and navigate thru their crap to hopefully get a part.

I love WW too. Imagine what it would be like to love WW and their direct competition.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree with "Anyway, almost immediately I was reminded of some of the 'traits' amongst the VW life that I did not miss and had forgotten about...rip-offs, flakes, frauds, hucksters, liars. I guess I got spoiled by the downright professional business world of the mainstream car hobbies."
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Homeresque wrote:
Disagree to what? What I'm saying (or tried to) is that VWs in general, buses in particular, are reaching that tipping point for various reasons where their increasing value to beyond just us usual VW folk will create (hopefully) enough enticement in the business world to create more vendor competition, more buyer options for us hobbists/enthusiasts/nutburgers to enjoy, on par with what is found in other car realms. (And perhaps fewer unanswered emails, unreturned phone messages, inconsistent parts supply, etc)
If you're saying you believe it already is, then right-on...I don't agree, doesn't sound like Pacmanfever either. Guess we just haven't had as much good luck shopping as you have enjoyed.

If you mean my aversion to the stinkers, of course they exist in every realm. However, not wanting to throw any names under the bus (pun intended) I can PM you the list of vendors, not the pirate-looking swap meet vendors but REAL vendors, that have made MY list over the last 12 months but since they're the only game in town, I get to call 'em again and navigate thru their crap to hopefully get a part.

I love WW too. Imagine what it would be like to love WW and their direct competition.


I agree with a lot of what you're stating in this post. I've stated before that the customer service you get from MOST VW parts vendors is horrific at best. There's one vendor who is TERRIBLE at returning emails, voice mails, etc, yet you see him posting on this site all day long? Really? Another big name company who does sell very good parts have absolutely TERRIBLE people answering the phone. Rude, short and indifferent if you spend $ w/them or not.

Overall, most parts vendors need to invest in training their "sales people" who come in contact with their potential customers whether on the phone or at the counter. Thank goodness for the internet as I don't have to experience the poor attitudes or I'm doing you a favor by selling you parts.. I miss Rocky Mountain Motorwerks. Those were some nice sales people who cared about what they did, how your were treated on the phone and insured you were happy with the transaction.

I do think Wolfsburg West is one of the best VW parts vendors out there but even they can improve in two areas. The first would be train the folks who answer the phones. The second would be to do a MUCH better job in stocking the parts that they sell. So many common parts seem to always be out of stock lately there.

I've been impressed with most VW folks I run across. Sure, you're going to have some low life folks in any area of car hobbies. I've been buys lots of used parts off the classifieds here on The Samba. Most are very nice, helpful and friendly. I've sent money orders to several who didn't take Paypal and have never been burned once.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pacmanfever, come to the 3rd world and try to find or import quality parts without being ripped by UPS or Fedex =(

You could pay twice the original price.

No clasic Fab here

No wolfburg west here

no airccoled.net here.

only empi crap
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I might have the rubber seals for the Safaris that you need look at my ads
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have given up on calling over the phone anytime I need to place parts orders.
Online stores work for me.

On a Good note. I just recently placed three large orders with Ronnie at Bustorations using his online site.
My orders would have been perfect except for only three different parts were out of stock. I thought that was pretty good.
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Lind
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pacmanfever wrote:
....
I realize the challenge is half the fun, but I sourced all the harder to find vintage OG parts already (one year only dash, etc) and figured the consumable repro stuff would be in stock everywhere. Some vendors have been out since May with no landing date in sight.

Is everyone else seeing similar issues?

I had always thought that any repro part would always be available (they are making them new right?) but that is not the case. especially on the low production run stuff done by enthusiasts. when most people who need a certain repro part are willing to wait because they need to buy OG stuff while it is available, then the person reproducing it experiences slow sales, and then they lose so much time/money on the project, that they never make another run.

unless you have unlimited money, then you have to balance what to buy when, and hope that it works out. I have never had a completely done finished car, but I have had a lot of fun fixing and driving buses for many miles. I always have multiple projects going, and when there is a holdup on parts for one, I move to the next, and drive another.

these are not simple easy catalog hotrod restorations. it takes a long time and a lot of effort to do a bus. don't lose the enthusiasm, just realize everything will take twice as long and cost twice as much as originally planned.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I'm new to the VW scene and while I'm fortunate enough to not find myself in another full on restoration with limited parts; I will say my VW world experience so far has been exemplary.

In my short time as a VW owner, I've had dealings with 3 Samba members (2 of which reached out to me) that were fantastic and everybody I've ordered from (WW, Bustorations, Bus Boys, cip) have all been communicative and prompt in delivery (except cip took a while).

My background has been drag racing, custom engines, Jeeps and Mustangs from 60s to 80s well before al gore invented the internet, and Hemmings/telephone was really your only big source for swap parts. I was quite fortunate through those times as well to not have any jokers.

One primary thing that I've noticed - and I think one can miss appreciating when submersed in the VW world - is that these parts really are CHEAP. Whenever I've been looking for or ordering something for our 50yo bus, I usually find myself thinking "wow, pretty cheap parts for such a valuable vehicle".

There may be some availability issues here and there (as in all vintage models) but overall, we're fortunate to have this site (it's one of the best support sites in classic automotive I've seen) and a market that does and will continue to produce and supply parts especially as their value increases. Fitment issues ALWAYS plague aftermarket stuff but fortunately this is a simple machine and quite frankly, fitment issues from the factory on many areas I've notice is a joke compared to other manufacturers.

And when the fack did rust become "patina?".....
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lind wrote:
Pacmanfever wrote:
....
I realize the challenge is half the fun, but I sourced all the harder to find vintage OG parts already (one year only dash, etc) and figured the consumable repro stuff would be in stock everywhere. Some vendors have been out since May with no landing date in sight.

Is everyone else seeing similar issues?

I had always thought that any repro part would always be available (they are making them new right?) but that is not the case. especially on the low production run stuff done by enthusiasts. when most people who need a certain repro part are willing to wait because they need to buy OG stuff while it is available, then the person reproducing it experiences slow sales, and then they lose so much time/money on the project, that they never make another run.


On this subject, if a private person is making something or you know it's a limited run, my standard operating procedure is to just buy it. Maybe more than 1 if I can afford it or it makes sense. For example, if it could wear out or good for trading later when it's NLA.

I have a bunch of stuff I bought and have not used yet - M-spring, heater wrap, rubber seals, etc.
There are also a few things I wish I had bought.
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lightice
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to find sliding door parts for a split, made harder by being RHD so I can understand your pain.

Also, there are no stores here that stock any thing I need. I have to import everything in and pay a lot in shipping.

Very thankful that some samba guys here can ship USPS at decent prices to me.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I"ll second what Everett said. I've purchased parts I know I don't need now but may in the future (especially hard to find Westy bits) as well as stuff that just comes up for the right price that I cant pass up. This stuff gets used either to replace stuff that breaks or for trades for other items.

Most guys have a stash of parts to pull from when needed. I've even thrown some of those parts to other's in need when they are trying to complete their bus. Bus karma is good thing.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

brettsvw wrote:
I have given up on calling over the phone anytime I need to place parts orders.
Online stores work for me.


Isn't this sad? Maybe I'm old school but I enjoy building relationships with people. Everyone likes and wants to feel appreciated, especially when you're patronizing a business frequently. How many of us are repeat customers at restaurants, parts houses or other businesses because they take the time to make us feel appreciated, learn our names as we learn theres. They recognize there are many choices out there and they appreciate us coming back to their business again and again. They get it..

So many VW parts vendor owners and their poorly trained "sales" staff don't... As a result, you see many of them getting flamed here on the Samba and they don't get repeat business.
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