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Camping Westfalia Style: Vanagon vs. Bay Window
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LandSailor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:59 am    Post subject: Camping Westfalia Style: Vanagon vs. Bay Window Reply with quote

Hey guys,

(This is a duplicate of thread in Bay Window forum. I wanted to get everyone's opinion from both sides of the fence. Apologies to Mods if this isn't appropriate.)

I have a serious quandary here. We're looking at getting a pop top Westy and had been looking at Vanagons, but my wife found a Bus that she absolutely loves and could be show worthy with a little spit-n-polish.

We're buying it for camping road trips. That's purpose #1, but it's not like we'll be going every weekend or anything.

We do actually plan to use the stove. I have several camp stoves, from the reliable ol' Coleman to a Jetboil, but there's something oddly compelling about not having to set up anything at all for a quick bite. We read a story somewhere about a couple who pulled over to the side of the road during a nasty rainstorm, popped up the top, cooked a quick bite, then got back on the road when it was over.

That sounds so awesome.

How does the experience compare when you think about actually camping in the old and newer styles? Is there any significant difference in air flow when you're driving? (We're in the desert, so it matters.)

The 84 I drove the other day had a front heater that worked very well, so I know the Vanagon has that going for it.

If we don't or can't get the Bay Window, knowing that camping is better in a newer one would ease the pain a bit. How many times does your wife find a VW that she has to have? Smile

Thanks!
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Nachtfalter
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh, the wife HAS to have it..... I found myself in that very situation a few years ago.

I had a bay window and it was super cool, just slow as a pig. The interior space seems about the same. A well sorted T3 westy is much much faster. If you aren't in a hurry, who cares.

Both are a good investment when you decide to sell, both are tons of fun. T3 costs more to fix. We had a 1967 bay bus when I was growing up, it reminds me of summer days going to Huntington Beach in the mid-70's and those are the memories that stay in my "happy place". I love them both.

That didnt help you at all.
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LandSailor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nachtfalter wrote:

That didnt help you at all.


At least you tried. Smile

Seriously, though, thanks for the insight! I kind of figured both of them will be on "Hawaiian time", but the older one would be a little more laid back! The Vanagon was definitely comfortable to drive. It's been too long since I've driven a Bay window to compare them.

We were looking at trying to get something really affordable, but have now decided to spend a little more and get one that's had more done to it and is in better shape.
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matkinson13
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allow me to comment on the mechanical side of things, because I'm currently in the midst of an '84 Vanagon engine rebuild. (It's a regular passenger Vanagon, so I can't comment on the camping side of things.)

I found my two older aircooled buses ('67 and '70) to be MUUUUUUCH simpler from a maintenance standpoint. I'm finding that while the Vanagon is more comfortable, a bit more powerful, and safer, it's also that much more complicated. Not difficult, just complex. There's a radiator, water pump, water jacket/gaskets, radiator hoses, Holy crap! All these gaskets!, etc, etc, to worry about on the Vanagon, while on my aircooleds, I just had to worry about my engine and fanbelt. Another comparison - clutch cable (older models) vs. hydraulic clutch tied into the brake master cylinder (Vanagon). Not to mention, as Nachtfalter said, parts are more expensive on the Vanagon.

As much fun as I'm having with the rebuild and teaching my kids about it, I'm also wishing for the simplicity the older models had. If you're into the mechanic thing, have at it...just go into the deal with open eyes.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simply way to decide, althought this doesn't have to do with camping as much as driving to your destination. The Vanagon has Hot heat in the winter, cold a/c in the summer. So if the weather is always perfect where you live, disregard this. But right now it's 94 degrees where I am, and my wife won't even think about going anywhere in the Bay, but loves the nice cold Vanagon a/c.
Something to think about.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

find the bus vs. vanagon thread - I posted a ton of comments from reviewers there

only real adv. of bus is the better suspension articulation

maybe shape if you prefer it
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early Vanagons were Air Cooled......... Slow on the highways but did not have the complexity of the long cooling system design.

But....... The late Bay and early Vanagon Air Cooled engines were anything but simple when compared to say ........... the first year of the Bay.....1968.

Given my druthers........ 1968 through 1972 would be my dream years for a useable Bus.

Dave
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

on the 68 camper I had the bed was a little wider.was slower,sure had a lot of fun in it.my vanagon does have heat,but now days I guess you could add propex heater in the bay window.just depends on which one calls your name when you see it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:38 pm    Post subject: bay - van Reply with quote

The Vanagon has Hot heat in the winter, cold a/c in the summer. X-2 , and better brakes, better steering, power mirrors , power windows , cruise control, better motor 2.1 and lot's of other motors to pick from, more aftermarket parts SA, and 4x4! I would only have a bay to take to VW shows! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Early Vanagons were Air Cooled......... Slow on the highways but did not have the complexity of the long cooling system design.

But....... The late Bay and early Vanagon Air Cooled engines were anything but simple when compared to say ........... the first year of the Bay.....1968.

Given my druthers........ 1968 through 1972 would be my dream years for a useable Bus.

Dave


72 was the first year of the pancake and head issues.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TequilaSunSet wrote:
djkeev wrote:
Early Vanagons were Air Cooled......... Slow on the highways but did not have the complexity of the long cooling system design.

But....... The late Bay and early Vanagon Air Cooled engines were anything but simple when compared to say ........... the first year of the Bay.....1968.

Given my druthers........ 1968 through 1972 would be my dream years for a useable Bus.

Dave


72 was the first year of the pancake and head issues.


Ok........through 1971 then! Smile. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With your double post on two forums you're likely to get different points of view so I'm not sure how helpful this will be.

I have never had a bus so I cannot make that comparison but I do have classic cars that lack air conditioning. They are great fun for drives at the time of day or time of year where AC is unimportant -- but our Westy is for year-around travel irrespective of temperatures.

Living where I do means a camper w/o AC is just too limiting -- living in Lost Wages you may experience the same thing.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Busses feel cozier but Vanagons have more room.
A friend of mine who has a bay bus noted that the rounded off cabinetry in Vanagons are less prone to damage.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:



Living where I do means a camper w/o AC is just too limiting.



does the a/c really work well? is yours a Westy?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:
...does the a/c really work well? is yours a Westy?


Yes & yes.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big difference in upstairs space- the bus has a cot, whereas the vanagon has a bed. I'm also always surprised how well the Vanagon drives.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Royb wrote:
Big difference in upstairs space- the bus has a cot, whereas the vanagon has a bed. I'm also always surprised how well the Vanagon drives.


Early bays with the rack at the back had the cot. Late bays with the rack at the front and the pop top oriented the same as the Vanagons have the same bed as the Vanagon. (When talking about Westfalias)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

74 and up busses have the same camping layout as pretty much the entire run of vanagons.

I have one of each.

The vanagon is a soulless appliance.

The bus is a time machine.

Normies don't give a rats ass if I'm in a vanagon. I can get gas and drive it wherever without problems. The bus takes a extra half hour to get anywhere because people like to relive their childhood every time you stop to buy a big gulp, not realizing you're probably just trying to get to work. My bus is much faster than the vanagon but I still allow extra time getting places when I drive it so I'm not forced to be a butt-head to random folks.

Camping is different too. People will sit on your bay bumper while you're asleep and take pictures! Rude as all get out to wake us up to this nightmare. I've come out of the bus a few times swinging a billy club at unsuspecting couples.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We don't miss our 68 bay camper at all. We had great times with it. Even honey mooned in it. We were also 25 or so years younger. The vanagon out performs the 68 except in maybe coolness, but the Vanagons get cooler every year that goes by. If you goal is to hit vw shows get the bus. If you want to travel cross country and camp, I vote you get the vanagon.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Early Vanagons were Air Cooled......... Slow on the highways but did not have the complexity of the long cooling system design.


Dave


I have to disagree with the being slow. My 82 a.c. can hit 80 mph(128kph.) I think it's awesome and as powerful as it needs to be. But I also like to coast and take my time.

My 84 had leaky coolant and I'd be fixing it every month it seemed, and when it was really cold I couldn't rely on it.

I find alot of the air cooled guys say their van is rock solid and preventative maintenance takes it a very long way. (and making sure the engine compartment is completely sealed as much as possible)
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