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1990 vanagon questions
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physast
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 8:38 am    Post subject: 1990 vanagon questions Reply with quote

My wife has the chance to inherit a 1990 vanagon if we want it. It currently does not run, but we were told there is no rust and the interior is in great shape. We currently are getting our 1967 beetle restored and always wanted a camper at some point. So on to the questions...

1. is it worth getting the vangon for free and turning it into a camper?

We don't need to convert it to a pop top, although that would be nice.

2. What are the advantages of a pop top?

3. would it be easier/cheaper to just look for a pop top already to go?

thanks for the help
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the world of the Vanagon!

Yes, you can convert them to a camper. You can strip an old rusty carcass or have a custom interior made for you. (Or make it yourself but I'm guessing that if you are having a Beetle restored, a check book restoration, you probably won't be doing your own work on the van either)

Pop top or high top units can be retrofitted, again a pop top off of a junk is the way yo go most likely.

Back in the day many companies made conversion kits for VW Vans, I think there is still one out in the PNW if I'm not mistaken, others will chime in who know for sure.

Brackets for any conversion need to be welded in to support seats and such.

If you can get a rust free 1990 for free, that means you've got the coin available to invest in making it reliable and convert it as you see fit without becoming completely upside down $$$$ in the unit.

It's a no brainer! Go get it!
Tempered with...... Sorry about your loss........

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physast
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also I would like to hear and see pictures of people who have a non pop top camper.
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physast
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we transplanted a pop-top I would likely not do the work myself. If we just converted to a camper, I might take on that. The issue is we now live in an apartment and they do not allow working on your car on site.

I am familiar with restoring VW's, I did my bug back in high school. I am having someone do it for me now, because of time, space and ease of not doing it myself again.

I think the easiest would be to find a 90 camper to take the interior and transplant.
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A link for conversions.....
http://kirkmeeks.com/services

VW actually made hard top campers....... Mostly partial units often referred to as a "Weekender".

http://www.gowesty.com/library_article.php?id=1138

The pop top offers head room while you bustle around inside "camping" and added ventilation, especially with a modern three window tent installed.

Dave
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http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392473

Vanagon
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6315537#6315537

Beetle
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=482968&highlight=74+super+vert


Last edited by djkeev on Mon May 27, 2013 9:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fix the 90 and see how you like it before hacking at it.

It is NOT worth having some one convert, given your situation, which is a set of circumstances many of us have.

The 90 is worth little now, after it runs, consider it a down payment on a camper.
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah r39o....... You Western boys! So spoiled with your huge selection of rust free bodies!

The OP is in DC....... Stumbling upon a Rust Free body in the North East? That's like winning the megamillions lottery!

Yes, fix it, drive it, take a driving vacation West and have it converted to a full or weekender camper.

My parents had theirs converted by Sportsmobile during one working day. They slept in it that night after having it converted!

Dave
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http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6315537#6315537

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physast
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
Fix the 90 and see how you like it before hacking at it.

It is NOT worth having some one convert, given your situation, which is a set of circumstances many of us have.

The 90 is worth little now, after it runs, consider it a down payment on a camper.


This car has been in the family since purchase. If we take it we are not going to sell it. We have always wanted a camper, so this to us is a way in. I have looked around the east coast for rust free campers and to be blunt, it's near impossible to find one, for sale.

I like the idea about getting it running and driving for a bit. What about a engine conversion? I have read about the Subaru engine's. If it needs a new engine would this be the way to go? What are the advantages?
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geo_tonz
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many engine options if you want to drop the cash down the road, but unless the present motor is completely screwed you should get it running and live with it a while to help you decide what direction you want to go with it before shelling out the coin IMHO. You might decide the Vanagon isn't a good fit for you at all and then you'd be into it for $1000's if you started with an engine swap. Sounds like you need to find yourself a good (reputable) Vanagon mechanic to if you don't have a driveway to do the work yourself.

The main 3 common/easier swaps that fit under the stock engine cover are a subaru motor, a ford z-tec (Bostig), or a performance version of the vw waterboxer (Vanistan likely the best, but go westy). There are more main stream adapters & kits for these engines (and obviously the waterboxer requires no adapting). Lots of other options (TDI would be nice) but demanding a more custom install and might not fit under the lid. You an also get a few more ponies with a bigger-bore rebuild of the current engine for not too much $ compared to a swap. Use the search as the various swaps have been discussed in this forum extensively as has converting to pop-top, installing cabinets in a tin-top...

BTW if you are wanting to add a pop top it doesn't have to be a '90. vanagon roofs are identical from '80-91. Perhaps there is a slight difference in the mechanism earlier on (my vans are tin tops so I'm not sure) but any year would fit. The thread I saw here on the Samba that seemed the easiest/most straight forward for converting to a pop top was one where everything was left intact and the roof of the donor was cut just above the rain gutters. The roof was cut in the recipient to match. The donor roof was welded in and the result was really nice. Use the search and you'll see what I mean.

Check out the FAQ links at the top of the forum page that r39o has so nicely put together. There's an engine swap/conversion section.
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VW Logo PUBLIC VANAGON REGISTRY: http://goo.gl/forms/QIiFT0zKhM
---------------------------------------------------
Red Vanagon "Ron Burgundy": 1991 Vanagon Multivan (Weekender) 2.1L Auto - Driver/Camper
Brown Vanagon "Bob": 1985 Vanagon 9 Pass rust bucket. 1.9L Auto - Donor
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

physast wrote:
Also I would like to hear and see pictures of people who have a non pop top camper.


there are a lot of threads here - 'tintop' might pull some up on a search

the poptop gives you lots of headroom and a 2nd bed (assuming you have a Z bed in yours); otherwise a custom bed platform can be built

I think a lot depends on how old you are - if you are 70 the lack of headroom will give a different experience than if you are 25.

I agree that a free 1990 Vanagon is well worth it even w/o a Z-bed in it

It also appears that you have the skills and VW specific skills to do the repairs (?)
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All 1990 Vanagons have a Weekender rear seat, so it will already work as a camper as it sits. You can always add your own curtains and a small camper cabinet to make a budget camper. Definitely worth getting - especially if it is rust free.

D
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physast
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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

D Clymer wrote:
All 1990 Vanagons have a Weekender rear seat, so it will already work as a camper as it sits. You can always add your own curtains and a small camper cabinet to make a budget camper. Definitely worth getting - especially if it is rust free.

D



This is good to know! I am going to try and get pictures of the vanagon soon. It is currently two states away from me.
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