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Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162
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OrangeZA
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 2:30 am    Post subject: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

I thought I’d start a thread on the development of the VW T3 as I can’t find much online and in English.

If you’re interested I’d recommend having a look at Richard Copping’s book “Volkswagen T3 - Transporter, Caravelle, Camper and Vanagon 1979 - 1992”, ISBN 978-1-84797-239-2. He has a whole chapter dedicated to the genesis of the T3 with lots of interesting photos from the ‘70s.

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This is Rudolf Leiding standing next to his comapny car (an NSU Ro80), a trained automotive mechanic whom started at Wolfsburg in 1945 having the responsibility of repairing army vehicles. He is also largely responsible for getting the first post war assembly line at Wolfsburg up and running. Eventually he worked his way up through the company to to become chairman of VW on the 24th of September 1971. He has gained the reputation of being a pretty ruthless and efficient manager whom presided over the death of most of the German built rear engined VWs and the engineering contract they had with Porsche. He was also responsible for reducing production costs by 34% whilst in charge of VW subsidiary Auto Union and increasing VW do Brasil’s production by 50%. It has to be said though that the writing was on the wall for the rear engined VW years before Leiding became Chairman as evidenced by the EA-projects (EA = Entwicklungsauftrag, “Devlopment Order” in English) that were already under development when he took control. EA276, which would eventually turn into the Golf; and EA272, originally commissioned by Heinz Nordhoff in early 1967 this was a Giorgetto Guigiaro penned Type 3 replacement, transverse engined, front wheel drive car powered by what looks like a bespoke inline cross-flow engine, were already under development as was the interesting Porsche developed EA266.

Designed by a team led by Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Beetle designer Ferdinand Porsche, the EA266 utilised a water-cooled, very oversquare, OHC, inline 4-cylinder that was mounted longitudinally on its side under the rear seat. Mid engined with the transmission mounted behind it and the differential at the very rear.

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Lots more photos and the story of the car (in Polish!) to be found here: http://www.wykop.pl/ramka/3531153/ea-266-volkswagen-ktory-okazal-sie-wielkim-nieporozumieniem/

It was envisioned that this car would form the foundations of a whole family of new VWs and Porsches including a VW bus!

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above image from here, which appears to be an online version of Hans-Rudiger Etzold’s “The Beetle -The Chronicles of the People’s Car - Volume 2”, ISBN 0-85429-648-4

Rudolf Leiding canned the project within three weeks of taking over as chairman, just as VW were preparing the tooling to start production of the EA266, which was to be known as the VW 191.

After the abandonment of the EA266 project a fresh start would have to be made regarding a new Transporter. The project was initially given the development order number EA389. The first order of business was to make a decision of the drivetrain layout. It seems that VW investigated 12 different drivetrain layouts assessing them on 52 separate criteria before deciding that mounting the engine longitudinally in the rear behind the gearbox was the optimum drivetrain solution for the new Transporter.

I find this decision utterly bizarre, awesome, but bizarre. Leiding is famous for making the VW operation more efficient and rational. As described on his Wikipedia page:

Wikipedia wrote:
Leiding described the key to his solution as the “Baukastensystem” (roughly translated as “modular assembly”) whereby an entire palette of cars could be designed, ranging from a rival for the super-mini class defining Fiat 127 right up to a full-size family car, all of them sharing the same essential design architecture and most of their components. This would minimise the necessary investment in tooling and training while maximising the flexibility with which production could be switched between models in response to unexpected marketplace changes.


Why on earth did he initiate this new rear engined design when he had nothing else like it in his model program?? Under Leiding we had the Polo/Audi 50 which could share engines and transmissions with the Golf/Scirocco, we also had the Audi 80 which formed the basis of the Passat (killing of the EA272 project), this could also share engines with the Golf and it’s whole drivetrain with the upcoming C2 Audi 100. Then there was the newly designed VW LT, launched in April 1975…

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The LT was fairly sophisticated in terms of large van design when it was launched in April 1975. It utilised a 2 litre, 4 cylinder OHC engine derived from the OHV unit originally developed by Mercedes in the ‘60s and used in the F103 Audi and the C1 Audi 100, not an EA827 derived engine that would see use in the Golf, Passat, Audi 80 and C2 Audi 100 and eventually some versions of the T3. The rear drive gearbox was unique to the LT. Check out the Panhard rod locating the rear axle and independently sprung front axle at a time when the Ford Transit and later Mercedes T1 had beam axles and cart springs on the front (also used on the LT40 to 55). Could VW have built a successful smaller version of the LT, perhaps utilising much of its running gear? Maybe they could have fitted an EA827 engine between the seats? Surely that would have made for a more profitable vehicle?

Gustav Mayer, often referred to as “Transporter Mayer”, was the head of commercial vehicle development at this time, he was a talented engineer whom designed an innovative small front wheel drive car for VW back in the mid ’50s, EA48; and of course along with Henning Duckstein built the 4WD VWT2 contrary to the instructions they had received from the chairman.

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Henning Duckstein and Gustav Mayer in 1985, introducing the T3 Syncro to the press

It’s said that Mayer pushed for the T3 to be a front wheel drive design, I imagine something similar to the Autobianchi Primula based FIAT 238.

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Photos from here: https://www.oldtimertrend.com/en/classic-cars/mark...001d0a390f

I could imagine VW utilising Golf parts to build something like this. Or perhaps they would have used Audi components to build something similar to the forward control Barkas van?
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Photo from Wikipedia

For whatever the reason, Rudolf Leiding decreed in a board meeting of the 4th of December 1973 that the 3rd generation Transporter would be a forward control rear engined design. By September 1974 Gustav Mayer’s engineering team had developed the first prototype.

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The above photo has been doing the rounds for a number of years, but without much context, it shows an early design proposal for the T3. I don’t know exactly when the photo was taken, it was dated 1979 in Pinterest, maybe it was taken at the T3 launch?

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I recently found this photo on Pinterest showing another model
Notice the thick B-pillars on these models? Makes me think they were planning for the engine to be mounted between the front wheels.

According to Richard Coping’s book, Rudolf Leiding originally wanted the new Transporter to be available with a purpose built water-cooled diesel engine. I assume this engine would have been a boxer or an inline engine that could have lain completely on it’s side, but the accountants ruled that out on cost grounds but did allow for investigations into wether the air-cooled Type 4 engine could be used as the basis of a diesel engine or if the EA827 based diesel engine could be modified to fit.

The use of the EA827 engine probably resulted in some engine packaging compromises, even though it could be reliably mounted at an angle of 50˚. Perhaps if the T3 had only been offered with Leiding’s desired purpose built T3 engine, it may have had as neatly packaged engine bay as the 411/412 Variant or Type 3 resulting in a rear floor height not much higher than a front engined, rear drive van?

Leiding resigned from his post as chairman of VW on the 10th of January 1975 citing “reasons of health”, but most commentators suggest he was forced out of the role due to internal company politics and clashing personalities with some members of VW’s Supervisory Board. He was replaced by ex-Ford man Toni Schmücker the following month. Schmücker was another hard headed businessman who managed to [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Schmücker]reduce VW’s workforce by 25,000 before the end of 1975[/url] and sold the loss making assembly facility in Clayton, Australia to Nissan in 1976.

I can’t imagine the rear-engined T3 project was all that far advanced by January 1975, so I think it would have been easy for the new chairman to call it to a halt, just as Leiding had with the EA266 and 272 projects in 1971, but he didn’t and the oddball rear engine project carried on through the mid ’70s.

By August 1976 the project had been divided into further development orders:
EA162 -> Van, Kombi, Bus, Pick-up and Double Cab
EA357 -> Camping Vehicle
EA162/10 -> 1.6 and 2 litre engines
EA162/02 -> Diesel engine (EA827 based)

The minutes from a T3 project progress committee meeting taken that month state:

Quote:
The space for the engine is deigned in such a way that apart from the air-cooled flat-four motor, a water-cooled 4-cylinder, and if necessary, a water-cooled 5-cylinder diesel engine (at a 50-degree angle), can be offered


I don’t know what were the development order numbers for the wasserboxer engine. According to Judith Rastall and Fokko Haanstra, a 90PS water-cooled flat-4 was running around in a prototype VW 411 sometime in November 1967. Why was the wasserboxer based on Type 1 engine architecture rather than Type 4?

By late 1977 VW were testing prototypes in Algeria and were spotted by the guy who has written this travel website: http://nasos-reisen.es/index.htm

-> Click here for a Google translated version of the encounter with the T3 prototypes

After getting back from his travels he reads this story in the paper
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The text translated using Google reads:

Still a secret: the new Bully from Wolfsburg

Camouflaged with the inscription "Isozu" and sheets over the air intakes at the rear, VW is testing the successor to the famous Bully. The first photos show that the Wolfsburg stylists missed the edgy shape of the larger LT truck for the new Bully. The air-cooled motors are retained. Incidentally, a diesel engine is also being tested. Possible concept: summer '78


Meet Heinz Müller:
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Heinz worked for filtration specialist Mann+Hummel and he collaborated closely with one of their major customers, VW. He has also posted quite a few stories and photos of his work online! I first discovered his writings on the German site http://www.vw-bulli.de

Here are some links to the google translated versions of his stories:
Testing in 1978
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Testing diesel prototypes in 1979
Photogallery of the 1979 trip
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Photogallery from his 1980 trip when they were testing the wasserboxer engines and probably 6-cylinder LTs
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Notice the legendary red and white 4x4 T2 built secretly in 1975 by Gustav Mayer and Henning Duckstein in a lot of these photos.

More of Heinz’s stories can me found on the Mann+Hummel website

I’m going to finish this post with this photo:
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It was taken in El Golea in 1980, (you can read the story here), the van has Ingolstadt plates on it, home of Audi. Most of the Type 2 prototypes I have seen, T2 and T3, have Braunschweig plates. I reckon Audi requested a prototype watercooled shell to test some engines of their own, the T3 being the best vehicle to carry the motor and all the monitoring equipment. I think Porsche did something similar. I wonder what kind of engine was sitting in the back…

If anyone else has got anything else to share, I’d love to hear more.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 2:56 am    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Wow! Great read. Thanks for taking the time to post and share this.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 6:40 am    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Man! Thank you for this post. Very cool!
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 1:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Thanks so much for the history lesson!!! Awesome.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 2:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Awesome. Thank you!
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:24 am    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this. I wonder if any of the prototypes survived?

Gustav Mayer has great hair.

I don't know if it's dirt that has collected in the seams in this picture or if it's just the camera angle, but considering that this was probably a brand-new T3 at the time of testing couldn't they have taken this as a sign that perhaps the seams could have used a bit more protection?

Also, this van has a rear quarter sliding window. I wonder why this feature was dropped from production?

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:30 am    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

OrangeZA is the new black belt T3 master Cool Cool

Thank you so much for this very well detailed post, I loved all the work you put into it and the result is very interesting and informative. I particularly love the cyclonic dust testings Cool

Aloha!
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this. Awesome read.

OrangeZA wrote:
If you’re interested I’d recommend having a look at Richard Copping’s book “Volkswagen T3 - Transporter, Caravelle, Camper and Vanagon 1979 - 1992”, ISBN 978-1-84797-239-2. He has a whole chapter dedicated to the genesis of the T3 with lots of interesting photos from the ‘70s.


I couldn't resist buying that book because of this post. It arrived today and so far I can't put it down. It's my new favorite book.
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Any thread that starts off with a pic of an Ro80 is top notch in my book. Great stuff.

The WBX should've been debuted in '68 along with the T2, and then all the subsequent Transporters should've had front mounted inline engines like the modern versions. I really should be appointed VAG's Chief Engineer of Historical Design Re-Imagining.
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 2:15 am    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

I'm really glad you have enjoyed the story, it's just bits and pieces I have found around the net, but I thought it was worth collating together and hopefully put it all into some sort of context! I'm also hoping that by starting it some other parts of the story may come to light from others.

I've got more to add, but it's still percolating in my head at the moment, some of the translations take an age to work through and to be honest, it's a HUGE distraction from fixing up my poor T3 that's languishing in the shed in bits Very Happy !! It's the 40th anniversary of the T3s public debut next year so it may be worth a trip over to the Automuseum on Wolfsburg's Dieselstraße again.

I thought I would quickly add a bit about Gustav Mayer, he did indeed have great hair! Sadly he died the 25th of August 2014 aged 89. Here is a translation of his obituary posted on the Volkswagen Classic website

Volkswagen wrote:
Farewell to the "Transporter-Mayer": an obituary for Gustav Mayer

Gustav Mayer, "father" of several Volkswagen Transporter generations and former van development chief at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, is dead.
Now we will not hear Gustav Mayer's voice anymore. This brittle, but then again and again clear, strong, emphatic voice of this gaunt man with the snow-white beard and the hair still thick in old age. Always correct, from head to toe, and in content anyway. He understood jokes well, but was more relevant to the basic tone. Even after decades, he remembered even the smallest details in the most accurate way. He will miss, the "Transporter-Mayer", which developed four whole Volkswagen "Bulli" generations significantly with, thought and, above all, thought ahead.

At the beginning of the 1950s, engineer Gustav Mayer had been recruited at the Ford works in Cologne and, with fewer than a handful of engineers, formed Volkswagen's development department in Wolfsburg. From 1953 he was responsible for the development project EA 48 . Although the EA 48 never got ready for series production, thanks to the innovative engineer Gustav Mayer, the front suspension celebrated its world debut. In the summer of 1956 he took over the management of the chassis development and changed in 1958 to commercial vehicle development.

For history-conscious connoisseurs, Gustav Mayer is simply the father of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand today: the generations T1 to T4 took place with and through him. There was no detail that escaped his notice. So he designed the Volkswagen T3 from the beginning so that in any case was space for the so much desired by him all-wheel drive, which he - contrary to a clear board directive - had already secretly tested in the predecessor T2 . "Mayer, what are you doing at Christmas?" asked him in 1975 the former CEO Toni Schmücker. "Drive with the forbidden, now completed T2 wheel in the Sahara," said Mayer dry answer. It was a typical Mayer answer: spoken emphatically, full of conviction. With the T4, he was finally able to realise his front-engine and front-wheel drive idea in the Volkswagen Transporter - he would have liked to have them for the T3. It was a difficult fight, away from the traditional boxer engine in the rear, he once reported. But success proved him right. And former Volkswagen CEO Prof. dr. Carl H. Hahn as well. "Whenever we met as pensioners in the forest, Hahn on a bicycle, I on foot, he said: 'Mayer, we did it right!'", Gustav Mayer liked to recall.

Following his age-related departure from Volkswagen in 1988, Mayer became an indispensable witness for professional chroniclers and historically interested Bulli friends. Gustav Mayer died on August 25, 2014 in Wolfsburg. He was 89 years old.


It's interesting to note that, according to an interview in the March '85 edition of the German 'Off Road' magazine, during his time a VW he always chose a VW Transporter to use as his company car, leading Ferdinand Piëch, designer of the EA266 to comment, "I already know why the Transporter program is carefully engineered and why these commercial vehicles are so comfortable. Because you always have one of them as a company car!"

Here are some period photos of him I managed to capture off a German language video about the VW Transporter on YouTube.

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It's said he enjoyed trips though Africa with his T2, I wonder if this was taken on one of those trips

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This must have been taken out in the Sahara with the red and white 4x4 T2 he built in his spare time with Henning Duckstein.

----------

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Maybe it's just a peculiarity of the photo, but it appears as though this prototype is running wheels without cooling perforations.

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
Any thread that starts off with a pic of an Ro80 is top notch in my book. Great stuff.


When I found a photo of Rudolf Leiding standing next to an Ro80 I had no choice but to use it.
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 12:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Below I've copied a translated version an article posted in vw-bulli.de. It was written by 2 of the engineers that worked on the T3 project, Gottfried Kunstman and Jürgen Seeßelberg. To see the original article in German follow this link -> http://www.vw-bulli.de/geschichten/schwere-entscheidung

HARD DECISION

07. September 2015

Why did the T3, introduced in 1979, still have an air-cooled rear engine, when the Golf, as the successor to the beetle, had already sealed the concept change five years earlier? Gottfried Kunstmann, then concept developer and Jürgen Seeßelberg, at that time assistant to the new development boss Gustav Mayer, give an answer.


Nobody wants to be, no one wants to take responsibility for the concept of the T3. Did you miss the courage to leave the proven concept in one-box design and rear engine? Was it too expensive to build a completely different vehicle in Hannover? Depending on the perspective, there are different answers: The sales department sees it differently than the development or the production. But is it still important now? Together, the decision was made and came out a vehicle in which it was at the end of production in 1992 already signs that it would develop into a cult car.


There were many constraints that influenced the formation of the T3. One of the most important was that the current T2 was absolutely successful on the market. Over 50 percent market share in Germany, top sales figures all over the world, especially in the USA - never change a winning team. But the pre-developers did not do it that easy. They illuminated all conceivable concepts in a utility analysis.

Benefit Analysis - Assessment Scheme for Decision Making
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What are the most important criteria for buying a van, truck, minibus or recreational vehicle? The answers to this form the basis of the utility value analysis and for this it is necessary to find a consensus with all departments. Seven criteria were filtered out and rated as a percentage.

As the two most important arguments in favour of a van, the driving characteristics and comfort in the driver's cab and in the passenger compartment both crystallised with 20 percent each. This was followed by the costs and the loading area or vehicle dimensions with 15 percent each. The vehicle safety including the possibilities of the vehicle conversion, the maintenance and repair as well as the image made according to rating scheme ten per cent. Each of these seven points was further subdivided into the individual criteria to be evaluated.

Selection process - all possible vehicle concepts
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Even before the official start of the development of the T3, the designers were thinking about other vehicle concepts. They scrutinised competitors and conducted in-depth investigations with appropriately prepared prototypes.

All concepts also had to fit the needs of the transporter customers. They used their vehicle to 50 percent for passenger transport. Driving comfort and driving characteristics played a much more important role than with most competitors.

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Added to this was the wide range of variants of the van: bus, van, flatbed, double cabin as the main body styles as well as special solutions such as fire trucks, ambulances, campers and variants for government agencies, Federal Railways, Bundeswehr - all vehicles that are in the Hannover plant and the affiliated customer center, today's Business Unit Special Vehicles developed. From the wealth of possibilities, commercial vehicle development examined twelve concepts.

Handling characteristics - basic value of a VW Transporter
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Good driving characteristics characterize the VW bus. This is already grounded in the concept, Ben Pon sketched it in his legendary sketch, which formed the basic design for the first van. The driver is in the front, the engine is behind and the load is in the middle. Whether empty or loaded, the axle load distribution does not change. Good for driving comfort as well as for traction or climbing ability.

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A note on the nose diving effect: In one of the many preliminary investigations with competitors lifted at full braking without loading the rear wheels of the vehicle with engine and drive from the front, the van slipped on the front bumper through the measuring section.

The concept developers calculated the limits of the different concepts, the test drivers determined the measurable and tangible differences.

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Comfort for the driver's cabin and passenger compartment - fundamental research on ergonomics

How can a small woman as well as a big man feel comfortable behind the wheel? Decisive for this is the seating position and the accessibility of all important control elements. The commercial vehicle concept development made a fundamental investigation.

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As a lower scale, she took the so-called five-percent woman (only five percent of women are less than 1.50 meters) as the top 95 percent man (only five percent of men are taller than 1.90 meters) , From this driver collective, the developers determined Ergonomiemaße, with which they in turn examined all twelve concepts. Here, the forward control layout clearly had the best conditions, here constructively did not disturb a wheel arch and the overview was optimal: At the end of the windshield also ended the car.

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Compared to its predecessor T2, however, there were also significant improvements. The steering wheel was more tilted (car-like) and the larger and flatter wheel gave a good traffic light visibility and a larger road view.

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Vehicle dimensions - The ratio of traffic area to useful area decides.

The T3 fans perceive the use of space as the main argument for their bus. Especially the private and leisure customers appreciate the large usable interior length. The engine in the rear bothers them little, he is rather felt as practical, because the trunk is at a standing height.

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The interior appears generous, as long as the usable area is considered. The volume does not look quite so good. Here, the rear engine takes its toll. It is not possible to load a pallet from the back with a forklift truck. The optimised proven concept nevertheless brought the most points.

Result - clear victory for the rear engine concept

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After evaluating all the criteria, everything spoke in favor of the proven rear engine concept. Thus, the utility analysis was the decisive factor for the development of the new van. But a look at the overall ranking also shows that the percentage distance to today's transporter concept is not large. With the changed demands and customer wishes to the vehicles also the evaluations of the criteria of a utility value analysis change. It depends on the correct assessment of the mark and the environmental conditions. The success of the T3 attests to the analysis that fit the rating. In retrospect, a vehicle was created in this way, and it was already clear at the end of production that he would achieve cult status. How else was the rush to explain the special series "Limited Last Edition", which was launched in 1992 - almost two years after the launch of the T4.

Gottfried Kunstmann / Jürgen Seeßelberg
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

This is so cool.
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Thank goodness the forward control, rear engine layout won.
There's a reason it's a cult vehicle and not a mini-van.
Now if they had only developed a new flat six to go with it!

Cool info, thanks for the effort.

On a road trip right now; vans been getting lots of attention and good vibes. Cool
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

This needs archived and added to the FAQ guide
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caravelle c
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 5:29 am    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

MsTaboo wrote:
Thank goodness the forward control, rear engine layout won.
There's a reason it's a cult vehicle and not a mini-van.
Now if they had only developed a new flat six to go with it!

Cool info, thanks for the effort.

On a road trip right now; vans been getting lots of attention and good vibes. Cool


They developed a new flat six: http://www.vwpix.org/T3/Prospekte/deutschland/tuning/Oettinger/1990_00_Oettinger_Programm/index.html
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

caravelle c wrote:
MsTaboo wrote:
Thank goodness the forward control, rear engine layout won.
There's a reason it's a cult vehicle and not a mini-van.
Now if they had only developed a new flat six to go with it!

Cool info, thanks for the effort.

On a road trip right now; vans been getting lots of attention and good vibes. Cool


They developed a new flat six: http://www.vwpix.org/T3/Prospekte/deutschland/tuning/Oettinger/1990_00_Oettinger_Programm/index.html

The Oettinger engine was an aftermarket development (along with VW) where they just added a couple extra cylinders to the original Wasserboxer. Some pretty clever engineering and machining, but not an all new engine. (like the Subie six)
Although it's a shame that VW dropped the effort, maybe something better might have developed out of the Oettinger design.
(of course that would have also meant that VW would have needed to develop a better/stronger transaxle)
http://transporterwerks.com/vanagon-101/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HboFOSNBsZI
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

It's not a aftermarket development, it is an VW engine. And it shares just a few parts with the four cylinder. There was a lot of engineering effort put in to the WBX-6 by Volkswagen. You can even find the VW and Audi badge on the valve cover. Oettinger WBX-6 Vanagons were sold thru the VW dealers, with factory warranty.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And Subaru engines are all based on the famous Borgward Arabella wasserboxer engine Cool
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

From a variety of sources:

There were four general petrol engine variants between 1979 and 1991, with several sub-models. All were overhead-valve push-rod horizontally opposed four-cylinder engines. Available engine options differed between regions. Aftermarket VW specialist Oettinger also offered the WBX6, a six-cylinder version.

The German engine tuning company Oettinger Technik GmbH developed a 6-cylinder version of the WBX engine with 3.2L and 3.7L displacement. These engines could produce 180hp with 226lbs. of torque and their design was derived from the 4-cylinder WBX and had many common parts with it. Its development was originally contracted to Oettinger by VW and Oettinger bought the rights when VW decided not to use it.

Oettinger WBX6 (aftermarket)
3.2 L (3,164 cc) (165 bhp) VW-Oettinger Wasserboxer, fuel injected.
3.7 L (3,664 cc) (180 bhp) VW-Oettinger Wasserboxer, fuel injected.
The six-cylinder engine as used in the VW Oettinger WBX6 was developed by VW in conjunction with Oettinger for use in the T3. When VW abandoned the project, Oettinger took the design, refined it and put it on the market. As such the six-cylinder shares many parts with the four-cylinder Wasserboxer.

The WBX 6

By Rod Young and Michael Schymitzek
June 1987

Wolfsburg had just about put the six-cylinder engine on ice. This new development would probably have gone the way of other such worthy schemes and have disappeared into the archives of engine designers, if Oettinger hadn’t taken the opportunity which was handed to them by Volkswagen. What can only be produced economically in large numbers on the assembly lines at Wolfsburg can succeed when made in small numbers at Oettinger’s facilities.

Oettinger, the famous tuning company from Friedrichsdorf, just north of Frankfurt, took only a short time to develop the water-cooled flat six from prototype to production readiness. The engine is now produced by Motogema, a subsidiary of Oettinger, in a village in the south-west of the Federal Republic. The tooling handed over by Wolfsburg is used in modern, computer-controlled machines.

Oettinger, by its own admission, fills holes in the market for products that are too small for the big producers but too big for the small ones, and sees a real chance for profitability with a new six-cylinder. It’s a strong engine straight out of the box, with real reserves.

The close resemblance to the water-cooled four-cylinder is unmistakeable. In principle, what has been done is to simply add two more cylinders to the existing engine, which of course could not proceed without designing a completely new crankcase, crankshaft and cylinder heads. Numerous parts from the four-cylinder are still used. The cylinder sleeves, connecting rods, pistons and valve gear are identical. The hydraulic cam followers are naturally included.

The new engine, which has a displacement of 3.2 litres, has the same bore and stroke as the four-cylinder. Pistons and cylinder heads were designed using the heron principle; that is, with the combustion chamber mostly in the piston. The engine is tuned to run on Euro-Super lead-free (95 octane).

The already proverbial quiet running of six-cylinder engines is particularly the case with the Oettinger six. This is in no small part due to the fact that the six crank throws are arranged symmetrically and individual crank throws are counterweighted.

The greatest advantage of multi-cylinder engines is their greater torque delivery. One of the reasons for this is that with a six-cylinder, there are three firing strokes per engine revolution (every 120°), whereas with four cylinders there are only two (every 180°).

The maximum torque of the 3.2-litre engine is 260Nm. However, the majority of the power increase is brought by the increase in displacement. The high torque with its desired flat curve can only be achieved by a combination of the number of cylinders and their total displacement. What is remarkable about the six-cylinder is that its maximum torque arrives at an engine speed of 3800rpm. The 2-1-litre flat four achieves its maximum torque at 2800rpm.

Since an automatic gearbox is appropriate for such a powerful motor, Oettinger uses the three-speed Volkswagen automatic box on the buses they equip with the WBX 6 motor, and beef them up with the complete gearset from the Audi Turbo. The Transporter four and five-speed manual gearboxes aren’t strong enough for the increased loadings. An approximately 20% longer final drive ratio is used to match the maximum engine speed to the top speed the WBX 6-equipped Transporter can reach. A disadvantage is the noticeable slippage in the torque converter during gear changes – a good manual gearbox would have been better.

During the test drive, the six-cylinder engine performed just as powerfully as we had expected. Zero to 100km/h took 13.6 seconds, and 16.8 seconds more were required to reach 140km/h. Even though far better performance figures could be achieved if a four-speed automatic or a manual gearbox had been available, these times are very impressive. You must consider that this bus with its luxurious ‘Carat’ trimmings weighs in at a hefty 1820kg.

With the additional weight of 90kg of the larger engine and with the test crew and equipment on board, the motor had a good two tonnes to propel. Nevertheless, it pushed this bus to a pretty respectable speed: we measured exactly 181 km/h.



These figures just let you guess what sort of driving experience is to be had in the Oettinger bus. The power in the back allows all-round superior performance. In every situation you have the feeling that you’re driving a sporty passenger car. Rarely have we ever got so many surprised looks and gestures of approval as with this potent vehicle. The exhaust sound leads people to think that the bus is equipped with a sports car engine, and the liveliness of the car only confirms that suspicion. We found the frequent switching on of the loud cooling fan beneath the dashboard, necessary because of the increased heat output of the larger motor, to be a nuisance. Subsequent improvements to the temperature regulation should have fixed the problem, according to Oettinger.

If the 165 horses of this heavy bus are used constantly, maximum fuel consumption is 19.6L/100km. With moderate driving habits we achieved 15.3L/100km during the test. An 85-litre fuel tank is included in the specifications of the Oettinger bus.

The driving impressions are not brought by the engine alone. The stiffer suspension, which is tuned to the higher speeds, and wider wheels and tyres also contribute. On the test bus there were 215/55VR-16 tyres on 7Jx16 rims on the front, and 225/55VR16 on 8Jx16 at the rear. The servo-assisted steering works more directly on these extremely wide tyres, which is of use at high speeds but requires getting used to for some people. Also available is a wheel and tyre combination with 7Jx15 rims and 235/55VR15 tyres.

Special praise is due to the braking system. Oettinger’s WBX 6 has disc brakes on all four wheels, and a 255mm brake servo. The brakes work smoothly but powerfully. The super-wide, 40mm-lower suspension, together with the Oettinger body kit, gives the bus a mean appearance. With such an unusually fast car the front styling is adviseable, especially since other drivers often cannot properly judge the speed of overtaking cars.

For well-heeled drivers who don’t baulk at a figure of 100,000 DM (>$80,000), the Bus from Wolfsburg has become a game without frontiers.
http://www.clubvw.org.au/oldart029#komb01
xxxxxx

In any case it's too bad VW didn't pick up the ball and run with it. A more powerful engine would have helped T3 sales in North America
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Even the then CEO Carl Hahn and his colleagues had Oettinger WBX-6 Carat as a company car Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Volkswagen T3 Development Story - EA389, EA162 Reply with quote

Some of the excellent information above brings back 2 memories of the Vanagon-

In the early 1980's I worked at Wolfsburg's R&D center in the passenger car safety development group. Every few days I'd take a stroll through one of the other workshop halls to see what's new. I remember seeing a Vanagon (T3) on a lift, with none of the usual open space between the back of the engine and the bumper. I looked closer, and saw the engine was a 6-cylinder. I could see weld beads going vertically up the engine case between the rearmost two cylinders- this was where the 4-cyl. VW aluminum case was cut behind the original two rear cylinders, and a back half of another case welded on to create the 6-cylinder. Yep, this was the original VW-built engine which Oettinger must've later purchased after VW abandoned the project.

In the first year at VW, before I landed at safety development, I was in the trainee group (German: Volontaer). A young man about my age from northern Germany started a few weeks later in the trainee program. Rudolf ended up in Transporter Testing. I remember he told me that his department head took him out in a Vanagon in the original Wolfsburg test area that contained the high-banked oval high-speed track. In the center of the track between the roadway was a large flat paved area used for vehicle dynamic testing such as severe cornering or braking. The department head was an experienced driver, and with Rudolf in the front passenger seat, brought the Vanagon to a moderate speed, then hit the brakes hard- repeatedly and with a certain rhythm. The weight transfer to the front caused the rear suspension to eventually bounce, the rear tires left the pavement, and the Vanagon would tilt up at the rear so that Rudolf was unexpectedly looking down at the pavement! Don't know how steep the tilt was, and probably felt more severe inside the Vanagon than if observed from outside.
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