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FLT RSK
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: over Thinking Reply with quote

Greetings. Iím a new member and have been looking for a van for quite a while. Now I have found two in my area. I intend it to be a daily driver and transportation for my two dogs. I also want to use it to tow my (211 lb. + 180 lb. trailer) to races and for sleeping while there. I donít care about refrigerator or stove. Just need a bed and storage.

Here is my conundrum. I have found two vans that I like. One is a 1990 with less than 10,000 mile on it. It has been sitting in a field for quite a while and the paint is shot. Owner wants under $3,000.00. It has a table and jump seats. Yesterday I went over it with flashlight and magnet. Found zero rust, no bondo, and only one dent about the size of a nickel on a wheel well. There are stress cracks on the fiberglass bumpers. Windshield is cracked other glass is good. One sprayer for the windshield even works. Passenger window doesnít work. I can hear the click of connection but no movement. The engine cranks right up, runs rough; seller says itís the gas that was in it when he found it. Oil and dirt on the engine, but no drips beneath. Held a piece of white cardboard to the exhaust pipe. No smoke, just a little carbon blowing from the pipe. Everything underneath looks good. Straight where itís supposed to be and bent where it should be. All rubber looks good too. Not the tires, their shot. AC duct has fallen from the headliner due to someone pulling too hard and breaking the duct where the screws hold it up. I can make supports and fix that with carbon fiber. It wonít show. AC blows, compressor turns, but doesnít cool. Probably could use coolant. Headlights work on bright but not dim. Bulbs? All the lenses are good, no breaks or cracks.

The other van is in great condition. It is a daily driver with a middle seat. The rear seat makes into a bed. An anal-retentive engineer owns it. He has made some upgrades to include South African grille, round headlights, fairly new tires. Price is around $8,000.00.

SoÖwhat do you think? Buy the first one with a $7,000.00 budget for repairs, not painting? Or the other with $2,000.00 for upgrades and/or problems that I havenít factored in?

Be kind, my last VW was a 1963 Karman Ghia that I drove through college.
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photogdave
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome!
Is the second van a poptop or a passenger van? If poptop, I would buy that one because it sounds well maintained and ready to drive. If it's a passenger van it sounds over priced! Unless it's a syncro!
The first van sounds like you might be fixing a lot of small problems, which an be time consuming and expensive. Too many unknowns...
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joseph928
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:25 pm    Post subject: New van Reply with quote

Buy the 1990 low miles, wow. And a $7,000 budget you can make that into one nice van. Do the interior the way you want. And if you don't have any major mech. problems. You will have enough $ left to do a paint job to. The other one sounds a tad high on $. Now say you can get it for $5,000 well then more to think about? PS- If that first one was out west I'd buy it, hate to go more than 500 miles to get a van though! Pictures would help! Very Happy
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Last edited by joseph928 on Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Crankey
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm. 2nd one sounds good to me. if the owner is anal retentive on maintenance it could be in good-to-go shape. lots of problems from sitting in your face right away could be annoying and a real buzz kill.

depends on what you like to do, drive to a race and play with your dogs or crawl around under the van ? your gonna crawl around under there someday anyway. may as well have some fun with it first and get to know it and hopefully love it.
what year is the current driver ?
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61Scout
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd buy the first one without a doubt. 10K miles is nearly impossible to find, so is straight and rust free. Sure there would be some maintenance factors, but that exists for any van... they are all old, no matter how well maintained. Did you drive the 1st one flt rsk? If not, I would ask the owner if they knew if there are any transmission problems or some other major hidden damage. Seems a bit unusual for a rig with only 10K miles on it to be parked out in a field. Either way, you have a bigger budget to work with by purchasing the first van.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one with low mileage is intriguing, but a big unknown. It could have a bad engine and a bad tranny and maybe a lot of other parts that have just turned to rust and dust. If you want something to drive and not work on the 2nd one would be a better bet IMO.
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Crankey
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rodent chewed wires Mad
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debbiej
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the first one drivable? If so, that could answer a lot of questions. Saying the guy selling it, "found it" sounds sketchy to me.
Just a thought, look for signs the odometer has been messed with, or if it works. I've had mine out several times to fix the little gears, it would be super easy to turn it back. Illegal, we know, but easy. Then there is the box you check "not actual miles" and not so illegal after all.
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

10,000 miles on a 23 year old Van....... Possible but unlikely.

Most "normal" people put that on in less than a year....... The first year!

Proceed cautiously.
I also noticed the "found it" comment.

Anal p.o's are not a bad thing! I've been a little Anal with mine...... If I sell my 86 next year, someone would be getting a ready for the highway fresh Van!

Dave
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FLT RSK
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry!! Typo!! Brain fart. Mileage is less than 100,000, closer to 90,000. Iím trying to be vague. Iíve been looking for a long time for a VW that I could sleep in when I sail. Itís amazing how expensive hotels are during a race weekend. Five nights in a hotel would pay for gas, meals, and a couple of bottles of good single malt.

Neither van is a pop-top. Thatís part of my problem. I was thinking that my perfect van would be a weekender with a pop-top. The pop-tops Iíve seen are too expensive or really trashed.

The guy that has the first van said he found it and then dickered with the owner. He does a lot of swaps and trades in the area. Old cars, toys, bicycles, and such. He said that he had it delivered and has only driven it around his lot. He doesnít know anything about it. Didnít know there was a brace under the rear seat to hold it up. He was surprised to see the battery under the rear seat and did not know how to turn the lights off. He hasnít even vacuumed the thing. He cranked the engine before I was ready to look at it and let it run for a while. When I got into the driverís seat there was a red light flashing on the dash. The thermostat had not moved. I turned it off and decided not to drive it. I would rather replace a sensor or thermostat than an engine.

I think the guy with the second van was career military, probably a pilot. He seems very concerned with safety and gadgets. I might be able to get him down to about $7K. His VW is a 7 passenger transporter.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the cheaper one has been in regular use until fairly recently and not parked for two decades then that changes things and makes it a better candidate for purchase. Unless you can get the guy with the second one down you might consider buying the first and spending the extra money where you think it is needed.

A lot would depend on your willingness to do work yourself. If you are intending to pay someone else to do most or even a lot of the work get the van that is obviously in the best shape no matter the price difference.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FLT RSK wrote:
...my perfect van would be a weekender with a pop-top...

Then I suggest you wait for a weekender with a pop-top.

Patience...

Good things come to those who wait...

PS: Everyone knows Weekenders are the bomb... Wink
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FLT RSK
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:51 pm    Post subject: Great!! Reply with quote

I have ringing in my ears now because of bombs. Oh well, at least the voices in my head drown out the ringing when we all sing together with my dogs.

I live in the Southeast and haven't seen a pop-top weekender so far. It has been suggested that I get a tin top and put a high top on it.
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kbeefy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the convenience of a pop-top is awesome. If you plan on spending alot of time camping, expand your search a bit and find a hightop or poptop.
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kbeefy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1541959

Quote:
1987 westy weekender Price: 3500
1987 Vanagon weekender 2.1 4 speed good solid undercarriage not rusty ,,some body rust but not bad overall great window rubber. and clean window openings . interior is not too bad upper cushions are awesome shape . will need new canvass i have the screens and privacy curtain ,,lots of new parts full tune up German muffler$200) and tailpipe brand new cap rotor plugs wires fuel filter tires fuel relays ..this is a project but starts runs drives well.. new shifter ball and linkages ,recent water pump brand new fuel tank !!!and all the hoses and venting new i was going to make it a daily driver. does not smoke or leak oil . 4 like new tires,,drives stops ok clean Florida title ..i really dont want to sell this van..but i lost my job and need the cash..van has working a/c in it just needs recharging (i bought the freon it comes with van.. van is drivable but i make no promises about how far it would make it .. i have driven it locally but not on long trip. it runs strong ..i have to sell i dont want to .clean florida title .. 3500 i may consider partial trade for vw car or small truck
*(up to 1500)

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'86 Syncro Westy. Stock for now.

2000 F350 7.3 CC LB 11' Northland Cabover

2006 Subbie OBXT

2002 Tacoma DoubleCab 4x4

1969 Mustang Basket Case 351c/FMX/9

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FLT RSK
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone, thanks for the input. I was thinking about getting a tin-top and adding a high top. I see that I can buy just the outer shell of the high top and insulate it myself. Then I can finish it out myself with carbon fiber and add bulkheads, shelving, and bracing. My wife has suggested that I slow down on a purchase. Prices might be better near Christmas when people need extra money to spoil their kids.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best time to buy a vanagon is when you don't need one and the right one comes along. I really haven't seen seasonal changes in the market with vans, and if you live in an area where they are scarce, not too many good ones out there. If you find a good solid candidate, well maintained and minimal rust, buy it. You'll kick yourself later when it takes 6 months to find another in similar condition.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
The best time to buy a vanagon is when you don't need one and the right one comes along. I really haven't seen seasonal changes in the market with vans, and if you live in an area where they are scarce, not too many good ones out there. If you find a good solid candidate, well maintained and minimal rust, buy it. You'll kick yourself later when it takes 6 months to find another in similar condition.


Agreed.
More and more people are now looking to purchase a Vanagon and many of them are willing to pay premium money for a good one.

How many Syncros are available under $10,000 currently?
Not many, they get snatched right up.
Even if they need twice the buying price in work.

You need to buy a ticket to win the lottery.
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