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Full blown Westy or Weekender?
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Westywannabe
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:48 pm    Post subject: Full blown Westy or Weekender? Reply with quote

Ahoy Westy Heads,

Im exploring the world of used Westys.. As I have no experience in these vehicles, I cant decide whether to consider the full Westfalias, or go for the Weekender in our pre-owned camper vehicle shopping considerations . Our vision (SO and I,) is to travel from Ontario to the South West US, (Grand Canyon, New Mexico,. The desert, etc.) for about 6 weeks this late fall. We are experienced sailors, but have no experience with land yachts. The VW Weekenders on the used market are a whole bunch less $$. Than the full blown Westfalia deals. I am looking for a 83-89 Vanagon. We wonder if stowing our Origo alcohol stove from the boat and a plug in cooler as well as a wash basin are a suitable alternative to the full Westy package. Any insights on this issue would be gratefully appreciated.

Cheers

Erwin,
Thornbury, Ontario.
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seabright_sc
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I guess it depends what you want. Some are very happy with more (apparent) room and less weight- weekender.

For myself, the full camper is the only way. More organized storage, in house water, and stove! If it's raining I don't want to have to get out the coleman to cook a meal or worse- just to heat some water! And what about rinsing dishes if the weather's foul. Yep all nice and dry in the westy. And the fridge- perfect sealed container for food storage even if you opt to use an ice chest for cold items.

Some might say that you give up space in the full westy- I disagree. The cabinet space provided is perfect to organize all your food and cooking gear, not to mention a drawer for misc. suplies. A tool box goes under the built in water storage (8 gallons?). All this equiptment (and water) would have to go somewhere. I guess in big topperwhere storage bins. I personally enjoy the layout of a full camper. Everything is secure, organized, and easily accessible.

If you think you want a full camper and get a weekender, you may be disappointed. But maybe the weekender suits your needs just fine. I'd think about all the gear you'll be travelling with and figure out which model would work best. What ever you decide- you'll be stoked on one of the finest travelling vehicles around.
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alnvilma
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a weekender and found that we really didn't NEED any pop-top!
Bought a hardtop Vanagon with curtains, a sunroof and a cargo box. Turns out, we really like the full width Z-bed and the thing returns +/- 23mpg too. We have always carried a small stove, cooler, etc. I wired a 110 volt GFI outlet for those 'luxury' RV park stops. Saved a ton of $ spent on keeping it truly road worthy. Westies are a great investment if you actually use all that weight you're carrying. You should get your $ back. The view is great in all of them. My 2 cents.
Good luck and enjoy that adventure!
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a toss up. A toss up between what you think you need and what you actually end up using. At first we looked and looked for a good weekender. We really like the idea of more seats. We usually just need a cooler for our kind of trips. But, I got a deal on a beat Westy and that is what I have been working on for 6 months. It weighs more. It is slower. It uses more gas. It meets or needs, though. It is white and automatic. Great for here in So Cali. I like the cabinets. We do not use the stove (yet.) The frig is nice but really only good for drinks, I think. The sink is good for the kids to wash up in. A REAL PLUS. But, you have to drag around water too. Yes it is good in the rain. In fact we parked on the ocean last weekend and got rained on. It does not rain that often here. I just swiveled the passenger seat, ate and looked out at the ocean. That was nice. That was a rare occurance. I am not convinced the Westy suites us. But we have it. It has been an adventure. We'll keep it for now. If a good weekender comes along, that I like, I might get it too and see which really works better for us.

Do go read more posts about them and compare for yourselves. There are more resources around to read too.
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Yellow Rabbit
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We love our weekender. The refrigerator is a little smaller, but there isn't a stove to rattle, etc. It's also nice to have the extra seating. I also didn't want to deal with onboard propane. I guess it is really a personal preference.
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[email protected]
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have both and like the bed and room of the weekender .
You could look for a wekender with pop top for more camping space.

With the hard top you can always hang a large over sized roof rack and the skys the limt on what you can pack.

My vote get all 3.
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shenan-agon
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked specifically for a Weekender when I bought mine - all the pop-top utility with none of the stuff I don't need. When I go camping, I prefer to cook outside - if it's raining, I put up a tarp. I like having the extra room inside - I've taken a couple trips that were a tight squeeze already, and probably couldn't have fit everything/-body if I had the extra cabinets, stove, sink fridge...

It really depends on your needs, though.
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pjackman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We weren't sure what to buy when we went shopping either. So my girlfriend and I borrowed a friend's Westy for a weekend. When we test drove a Weekender afterwards we were immediately struck by how noisy and van-like it was. The Westy is really well insulated and feels more like a cozy home.

We've just returned to Vancouver from 2 1/2 weeks in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Apparently it got down to zero Celcius most nights we were there. But we just kept the top down and with the fridge running it was a perfect 11 degrees inside. And when we pulled into Interstate rest stops on the way there and back we barely heard a sound from cars and trucks wizzing by on the highway.

We usually cook dinner outside on a portable propane bbq and stove but when the morning weather's cold or miserable there's nothing more pleasant than setting the table for two with fresh orange juice from the fridge and hot oatmeal from the stove and sharing breakfast together on the comfy back seat.

We're really happy with the interior space and layout. The built in storage is fun to organize. We feel our Westy is perfect for the two of us. We don't wish we had more room. We just wish the fridge fan was a little quieter on those crisp nights. And sometimes we'd prefer to have an indoor shower and toilet; but then we wouldn't have a Westy Red Bus.

Patrick & Lise
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of things I thought I needed before I bought mine I didn't really need, and I found things where more practical and had other uses than I thought they did when we finally went camping.
The pop-tops one great overlooked feature is that it allows you to stand up, not a big deal till you want to stretch, or put on pants comfortably.
The older you are the more you find this feature handy. It allso allows for some great storage. Spend a few days in there and you will appriciate all the space you can get. If the fridge works right, saves bringing another cooler, same with the stove, works very well and saves space. Look through my gallery you'll see we use all the Westy stuff, there was a reason the camper design stayed virtually the same over 11 years, just a good all around design.
Then of course there is resale value. Wink
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Fox
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've owned every version of the vanagon and here is my two cents. They're all great! They each have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are truly going to live in your van then the full-blown Westy is very nice and well equipped. However with that being said the weekender pop-top or no pop-top offers some features, which I really like. In the weekender it's really nice to be able to stretch out on the larger sofa. It's also nicer to have a larger table which you can sit across from one another and eat, play cards or whatever. The pop-tops are great if you need the extra bed. It's also real nice to be able to stand up. I love my 91 Carat for the reasons stated above. However the thing that surprises me is how much I DON'T miss the pop-top! I get better mileage, it's quieter and it doesn't get blown around as much by the wind. It also is has better pick-up and over is faster than the heavier pop-top models. also really like the much larger bed as it is way more comfortable to stretch out in. It also comes in handy to be able to seat seven and to be able to take the jump seats out in a nanu second when needed. At any rate whichever you choose you'll be happy! Good luck...
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r39o
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a LOT of truth being written here! They all have their plus and minus points. Trick is finding out what suites you best. For example I am becoming very aware of just how heavy and underpowered my automatic 1985 full Westy is with the 1.9L engine. It goes down the freeway OK up to about 70 with comfort and bad gas mileage. But, go up a hill and it sure shows you just how slow you can go up a hill. Not pleasant. This van is running and driving just the way it should too so there is no simple thing to tweak. Ours is a weekend toy, which I have been driving to work just to see how it goes. It is fine if you are not in a rush or have cars tailgating you. The wife has OKd a bigger engine. That should fix it. Point to all this is that you need to evaluate the chosen van carefully to see if you can live with the compromises you must accept to have a particular model.
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levi
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised that NO ONE posted the correct answer to this, one of life's great mysteries. So I, the all nooing one, shall enlighten you all.
Here's the answer:
You must own one of each, including a high-top, ala adventure wagen.
That was so obvious....gosh.
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groovewagen
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a westy and have sailed in cruisers from pocket size to 50 foot yachts. The westy is a whole lot like a pocket cruiser with a tiny galley, sink, stove, fridge, closets, fold down tables, beds, just like in a tiny sailboat. If you guys are sailors I think you'll love the westy. I'd get a fiamma awning too then you'll have your "cockpit" for fairweather dining.

http://www.gowesty.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Scre...-fiammaF45


Last edited by groovewagen on Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bigdood
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the points are all great. when i first bought mine i was torn between weekender or full package, and went with the westy. i'm glad i did. i reaaaaly love the poptop, sooo nice to stand up and put on clothes, stretch, etc. (i'm 6'4 or so). the stove i didn't think was a necessity, but now after having it i don't know if i'd want to go back to my camp stove cooking while sleeping in the car- i like being able to stand up and cook some eggs in the morning while still in the relative warmth of the vehicle. the fridge is also nice as it's space that a cooler doesn't need to take up. the sink i can't comment on as i've never used it.

(oh, if you're coming to california i may actually be selling mine. HATE HATE HATE to do it, but pondering a move to the middle of the pacific where i'll have no use for a full camper.)
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BavarianWrench
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear all the points of view and none can be argued. I suggest you drive a few. I couldn't imagine owning a vanagon unless it was a full Westy. Then I got a Syncro GL non poptop. It is so sweet I actually look forward to driving it. Some nice things about the pop top that I didn't see mentioned, when parked and popped you can store alot of crap up there freeing up the cabin, also in the summer time when shade is scarce the upper tent and screen is a great place for heat to escape. My goal is still to have a full Westy Syncro. I think the right person could do a poptop weekender into a better camper. I have found quite a few places in the full Westy cabnets to gain some more storage space. I'm no cabnet builder and like my camper looking decent so I'm sticking full Westy.
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Yellow Rabbit
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear a lot of comments about missing the pop-top in a Weekender. Did they make Weekenders with and without the top?
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amtjk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes there are both. We recently made the decision to buy a 85 Westy Wolfsburg edition, which is a Weekender configuration. We looked at both, a full and the Weekender and decided that we will never cook indoors due to the fumes, smoke, oil and mess and that the extra wide bed/bench seat was important. In addition, you gain more storage space for bikes, boxes etc. The pop-up was manditory BTW, since thats where our son sleeps and at 6 feet tall, I HATE crawling around, stooped over while indoors. The only thing we dont like is that the passenger seat doesnt swivel around towards the back like in the full Westy.

Cheers, Art
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Westywannabe
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:41 am    Post subject: To Westy or Weekender, that is the question. Reply with quote

(oh, if you're coming to california i may actually be selling mine. HATE HATE HATE to do it, but pondering a move to the middle of the pacific where i'll have no use for a full camper.)[/quote]

All right, I'll bite

What would you be asking for your Westy.

Westywannabe
Ontario, Canada
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Fox
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The passenger seat in my 91 Carat swivels!
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amtjk
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox,
Is there a compartment under it for a second battery? Ive been toying with putting one in but am not sure if it will work since I have a deep cycle battery under the seat. If so, do you just slide the seat off for access?
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