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Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper?
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Should I get it?
Jump on it
3%
 3%  [ 1 ]
Run away!
96%
 96%  [ 25 ]
Total Votes : 26

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Muftobration
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:34 am    Post subject: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Hi all

I'm hoping to get some buying advice on a 1985 GL Westy full camper that's available in my area for $4500. The van has some rust issues and needs lots of exterior work, but the interior is very clean. It has no engine installed, but comes with a 2.1L and "all the parts" to do the install, according to the seller. I can get the engine installed for 8 hours of labor at a local VW specialist. I'm trying to gauge if this is a fair deal. Here are the pics:

Tent needs to be replaced (you can see the 2.1L engine inside):

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


Some bad rust along the front bumper area:

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Fiberglass luggage area needs repair:

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Not too much seam rust below the fill ports:

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


Other rust:

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

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

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


My recently-minted wife and I (just married Saturday!) want to start our camping trips soon, so I'm looking for something I can get running without too much fuss. She hates the look with all the rust, so I'd have to address that somewhat. My local shop said they could do a complete, thorough rust repair for at most $10k. I would not like to do that quite yet, but I'm willing to drive it rusty for a year if this is a good deal.
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mikemtnbike
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:44 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Here's a good example of what I consider to be a possibly good deal in the east part of the country:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2189002



That van...is not.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

your new wife will require 2 things.
one that it runs, and is reliable to not break down in hillbilly, Ky
two that it looks as newly minted as her affection for you.. this van will tarnish that view.

this is not the van for you.
Like your wife, the right one will come along.


edit: and the best deals are often the most $$$ in the end.
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Yellow Rabbit
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:51 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Reason #1 not to buy this van:
Muftobration wrote:
(just married Saturday!)


Reason #2 not to buy this van: Itís a $500 van at most.
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E1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:55 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

I typically hesitate dissuading anyone buying a van here.

But in this case you have to wonder where it's been and how they kept a tree from growing through the roof.

Parts don't like inactivity, and longevity value never originates in lack of care. I'd keep looking, and be patient, it took over a year to find ours.

Best of Luck, the harder you look the easier it will come to you.
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Muftobration
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for the advice, guys. As you've rightly pointed out, it's a bit early to be putting rusty dampers on our marital bliss. My father is a mechanic (about to retire after 30 years), so I'm not too afraid of mechanical issues; however, I have no experience with body work, nor access to facilities, so I'd have to pay a pro.

I'll keep looking for a clean van and adjust my budget accordingly. I'd ideally find one that's been in use up to today and has a good body. Here's another local one that's a bit beyond my budget (~$15k) but looks great: https://boston.craigslist.org/sob/cto/d/1991-vw-vanagon-westfalia/6615641737.html
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Yellow Rabbit wrote:
Reason #2 not to buy this van: Itís a $500 van at most.


I agree that it is not worth the asking price, but it is certainly worth more than $500. I would say it is more in the $1500-$2000 range just as a full camper parts van. Search eBay completed listings for a somewhat reasonable take on what vans actually sell for.

For example here is a non-running '85 is a little bit better condition that sold for $2,275.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1985-Volkswagen-Bus-Vanag...mp;vxp=mtr

Here is a completely rusted out '81 air-cooled with no motor that sold for $1,250.
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E1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Muftobration wrote:
Thanks a lot for the advice, guys. As you've rightly pointed out, it's a bit early to be putting rusty dampers on our marital bliss. My father is a mechanic (about to retire after 30 years), so I'm not too afraid of mechanical issues; however, I have no experience with body work, nor access to facilities, so I'd have to pay a pro.

I'll keep looking for a clean van and adjust my budget accordingly. I'd ideally find one that's been in use up to today and has a good body. Here's another local one that's a bit beyond my budget (~$15k) but looks great: https://boston.craigslist.org/sob/cto/d/1991-vw-vanagon-westfalia/6615641737.html
Ultimately you want a van that somebody's taking a bath on rather than in. Wink

The more parts put in over the last few years up to a decade means less to replace later -- provided they're good German parts in most cases.

Vans that are near-mint and mostly original parts look great but will need parts when a new buyer gets it out more than a weekend-only owner did. In my opinion, mechanical is what leads to money pit potential, if a lot's been replaced and there's little to no rust that's a great baseline in my view.

If no rust, in my opinion paint and body is what you do last, not first. Groovy needs no makeup.

I'd also be careful with some pricing, wealthier urban areas are prone to elevated pricing.

If you can locate Dennis Haynes in your area he might be a great resource of sound judgment. He's a regular on the Vanagon.com email-based "chat room."

If you're mechanical that's a big plus. We've hired a lot out and it's expensive unless living in it like we do to justify expenses.
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bobbyblack Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Um... hate to ask, but have you ever owned a VW (Im talking pre-1991) before? Also, has your bride said that they are actually interested in a work-in-progress and pesky third member of the new family barging in on you at the most inconvenient time? I've been lucky to have had a spouse who grew up VW, knew what to expect, and was game to help fix whatever happened, whenever it happened, wherever it happened, and not want to kill me or leave me right on the spot. Also, just to mention, she took our (newest) VW Westy, drove off into the sunset, and just to spite me, sold it for nearly nothing. Look for an angry divorced lady who is bound by agreement to 'give the old man half' of the sale, which she'd be laughing while handing his lawyer the 50 cents she owed him for the dollar she sold it to you for.

If your bride is up for that stuff, then why not? On the other hand, you already let the cat out of the bag that you seem willing to spend $5000, and put in $10,000 more for just the rust repair. Now add the engine install, and the needed $780 to $1880 exhaust, a probable replacement gas tank and seal kit and sender, gas lines, radiator, coolant lines, steering rack, front end bushings job, front and rear bearings job, clutch pivot pin and linkage refurb, proper tires, and probably the mouse family chased out of the front air box which will stink you out every mile you go, 'kuz theres no way to shut off the inflow of air into the cabin...

Well, thats probably more $'s than you can find one for that's been driving, and mouse free. Mind you, I would not say no, but like ?W? says, perhaps a $1250 van there.

$15,000 for a decent runner with 1/10th the rust you show here would be a good deal compared to your pictured 'builder'. Got to be able to take whatever rig you are thinking of for a 100 mile test drive, and have zero glitches. Then $15K might be OK.
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Abscate
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

$450.0

All the hallmarks of a project that ran into major problems and now wants to unload the turd.



Assume the engine and transmission are non-working until proven otherwise

Quote:
Ultimately you want a van that somebody's taking a bath on rather than in. Wink


Brilliant, by Renaldo....E1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Third option should be:
Suggest a counter offer

and I thought "half the ask" assuming the cabinetry is not a grody as the exterior (is the top moldy? does everything look like a good cleaning will get it or are you talking about a hazmat job?). If you want a van to use, this isn't the one, at least for some time.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

I sold this barely running van for $3K. No bondo and a small rust spot under the windshield. That 4,500 van is not an awesome starting point.

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

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JudoJeff
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

You may want to check out Bostig conversion Westfalias, a very nice one just sold for $16,500
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

I just can't help myself say again, mouse mouse mouse!

You can't imagine how easy it is for a mouse to get in.

After one mouse gets in, more come on the same trail, because mice leave trails of scent so they know where to go back.

Even if you think every hole has been plugged, you'll still get a stray once in a while, even when stopped for just a night or two. Considering that this has sat, the likelihood that there is or have been mice, is a near 100% deal.

There's no better way to assess this than to go sit in your future rig. Its a virtual guarantee that your spouse will have a better sense of smell than you do. Also, it's just a strange fact that women seem to have better notions about what feels right. If it doesn't feel right now to them, it most likely never will.

Not a VW guy, but a friend, who bought his dad's Ford truck back found out EXACTLY what getting a mouse infestation "fixed" took: entire strip of every single panel, cover and down to bolts and nuts, then either sand blasted or soda blasted (per application) and down to 100% bare metal, and THEN start building it back up. All new fabric, foam, headliner, everything.

Most guys doing a build thread from a similar looking rig that I have read here have posted pictures of the nests they have found. The ones who have not shown the nest piles have either been too grossed out to re-live the event that they did not take or post a picture, or have simply found a way to put it out of their mind. One recent thread I follow took the guy more than 30 months to finally find where the smell was coming from.

Also, have to tell you, over dozens (more than 30, actually) plus of VW's I have had there has not been a single one that I have not found some evidence of a mouse having been in. It's just a fact of life if these things sit any length of time. And this one will completely blow your mind: I've lived in a Westy I drove then parked and lived in for only a couple weeks, only to see mom and her 5 tots wandering along the spice rack one beautiful morning. My fiancee said I could come with that minute, my option, she was moving out.
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E1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Per mice, have started a devious planÖ

Instead of a live trap once in, which is really rare now that holes are plugged, we put a second one under the van to trap them before they do. Discovered they do use expletives.

And now back to the thread...
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Yellow Rabbit
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Iím not sure any Vanagon, running or not, is a good idea in the first year of marriage.

I stand behind my $500 price on this one. This thing is just a $20,000 investment away from being a $10,000 van.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

falls into the "if it's so valuable, then why didn't they take better care of it" class.
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E1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Yellow Rabbit wrote:
Iím not sure any Vanagon, running or not, is a good idea in the first year of marriage.
Only if one marries badly. Wink
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I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
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levi
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

Wow.

This thread has more great one-liners than most movies! Shocked Very Happy

I agree with the 500 , but only if the van is intended as a throw-away after you've made a couple runarounds.

First you have to decide if you're buying a van to keep (and maybe resell one day), or if you're buying just to use for awhile.

A rusty cheap piece-o-crap is just fine for the later. You can have just as much fun in that, and camp in it like any other van.
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E1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying advice - good deal on this '85 full camper? Reply with quote

One-liners?:

As I posted on a racing forum early today:
"Super depressed today...

I've used the same mirror for decades, but just realized it was a photo of Brad Pitt."
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1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
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