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84 Vanagon or 83 Westy (air cooled)
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WestWesty707
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Joined: April 28, 2019
Posts: 2
Location: California
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 3:28 pm    Post subject: 84 Vanagon or 83 Westy (air cooled) Reply with quote

I find myself in the position of having an 84 water cooled vanagon and an 83 air cooled Westy. Have to sell one but I love them both. I intended to sell the 84 to help pay for the 83 but I'm not sure I want to part with the 84 she just drives awesome but I also love having a westy back in my garage. Any thoughts on the better one to keep? Both in comparable condition but I've had the 84 longer so I know more about it and am new to the air cooled scene. Thanks.
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Gauche1968
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Joined: April 13, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 3:41 pm    Post subject: Re: 84 Vanagon or 83 Westy (air cooled) Reply with quote

That depends on your priorities. Westys command a premium compared to a hardtop. Aircooleds though, are generally somewhat less sought after, but some people really like them. Parts availability could start being an issue.
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1984 Vanagon GL
1984 Vanagon Westy
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Ahwahnee
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Joined: June 05, 2010
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 4:27 pm    Post subject: Re: 84 Vanagon or 83 Westy (air cooled) Reply with quote

Looking down the road... I think the 84 WBX leaves you with more options if you ever get to the point where the engine needs rebuild or replacement.
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Dickz
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Joined: February 08, 2015
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: 84 Vanagon or 83 Westy (air cooled) Reply with quote

As an owner of a 1980 air cooled, recently converted to FAS water cooled, here is my .02 worth of experience.

I love the charm, utility, efficiency and style of that era Van. Since my wife and I recently retired, our plan was to take several long distance trips around the country with our two dogs. I am not mechanically inclined and do not wish to spend my time maintaining the van.

Our first long distance trip (from MA to TX) was both an adventure and an education. I had my local indie go through it completely to make sure it was trip ready (yes, he is well versed in VWs). Although the air cooled engine was adequate (barely) on the highway, it had some minor issues on the way to TX. Both times the issue was burned points. Both times finding someone to even consider looking at an air cooled engine was quite the adventure. I was lucky to find an air cooled specialist in TN the first time and an "old timer" working in a tire shop (who previously owned a VW repair shop) in MS the second time. Made it to Austin TX, where there is a VW specialty shop and had them go through it for the return trip. Made it as far as MS and had to have the van transported back to MA. Needless to say, these experiences took most of the fun out of the trip and made me question whether air cooled was the right choice.

I ultimately decided it was not, hence the conversion. I could have sold it and got a water cooled, but both my wife and I really fell in love with it. Since the conversion, we have enjoyed it immensely with no stress.

So, my advice is to really think long and hard about how you want to use it and how much you want to work on it yourself. The major drawbacks for us were the reliability concern and the ever shrinking availability of qualified shops/mechanics to handle any issues. If I were going to use it just for close camping trips I likely would not have converted. If I were mechanically inclined or interested, I would likely have not converted either as Samba appears to be a great resource for those willing to DIY.

As always, this is just one perspective. Hope it is useful. Good luck with your decision. As I experienced, you can always go to Plan B.
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WestWesty707
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: 84 Vanagon or 83 Westy (air cooled) Reply with quote

Thanks for the thoughts! I'm likely going to stick with the 84WBX, which I just love driving-every time I get behind the wheel I just absolutely love it.
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