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New to this. All help appreciated
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angelstar1007
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Joined: January 03, 2021
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Location: Georgia
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:12 am    Post subject: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Hello to all. Iím new to this so I apologise if Iím not posting correctly. Many years ago I had a type 2 1972 Westy. Her name was Bella. This was in the U.K.
I moved to the USA about 5 years ago and am a little older now. I want to buy another bus and travel this huge country in a year or so.
I donít know what to buy. Obviously I have a fondness for the type 2 bus!
Iíve been reading these forums for a few months and I hope that by becoming a member I will be lucky enough to get a wealth of knowledge and advice before I commit to buying my dream.
So far I have seen
*1971 bus not camper with an original flat 4 for $5000
* 1981 westfalia camper with 2l air cooled for $12000
* various buses/campers located in Brazil
* several Craigslist and eBay ads at varying prices.
Itís a rabbit hole. Iíve lost several days already.
Does anyone have any good advice or links to where I can find advice on what to look for and what would be a good buy? I really donít want to get taken advantage of. Iím very easily led by pretty things and donít know what Iím looking for. Sweet talkers and bargains are my weakness. Please help.
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rcroane Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Welcome!

First question....what's your budget?
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

One adaptation you have to understand.

There is no MOT in the US. Each state has its own program of inspections, some states donít inspect at all. There is little regulation on reselling cars so you can buy a manifestly unsafe vehicle and have no recourse.

There are people who change ID numbers on cars to hide that they are stolen. These numbers appear in three places on each car, if they donít match it can be a big problem.

Basically, treat buying as a free for all of unregulated commerce compared to the UK.

Good running T2 Bay Bus will be about 10k
Good running T3 Camper about 20k
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vwinnovator
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

If your planning on traveling the country, you might want to start with a decent "core" and have it reconditioned.

As these are now 40,50, 60 yr old vehicles, there are lots of worn, overlooked, "just getting by", components that work ok for 10-15 mile trips, but most likely will fail when put to long tests.

fresh engine, fresh trans, fresh brake(ALL components), suspension, steering, etc...

Focus your budget on the mechanicals as the cosmetics(paint, interior..)won't leave you broken down middle of nowhere
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angelstar1007
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Wow you guys are quick!! Thanks.
I have a budget of about $5-10000 depending on what needs doing. I appreciate the advice about the MOT and itís a new concept to me that people can actually sell the vehicles that might blow up at any moment.
I am not afraid of hard work or learning new skills. I quite like the idea of spending half my waking hours tinkering around with my little dream in the garage. Of course I have no experience of anything other than changing oil and filters but you are never too old to learn right?
I think Iím more worried by rust and holes and ďwobblyĒ vans than I am about the mechanics of it. I feel like rust could cost more to fix.
Please correct me and advise!
Do you think itís possible to get a driveable van thatís quite nice for under $20,000? Even if I buy it at $5-10,000 and invest in repairs to make it so?
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rcroane Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:27 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Disclaimer....I know nothing about vans (I'm a bug guy), but this one caught my eye. I realize it's in CA so you'd have to factor in the cost of shipping. I would trust a Samba seller before CL, Ebay, etc. This seller seems to have good feedback, too.

Good luck!
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2438933
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Cusser
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:34 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

angelstar1007 wrote:
Hello to all. Iím new to this so I apologise if Iím not posting correctly. Many years ago I had a type 2 1972 Westy. Her name was Bella. This was in the U.K.
I moved to the USA about 5 years ago and am a little older now. I want to buy another bus and travel this huge country in a year or so.
I donít know what to buy.


Georgia and SE USA vehicles can have significant rust, maybe not as bad as the north and northeast, so rust is definitely something to avoid. This is why California, Arizona, New Mexico vehicles are in demand, and typically have less rust than those in other parts of USA.
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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Good luck on your search for a $5,000-$10,000 bay worthy of any sort of road trip.


Remember, be REALLY suspicious if itís got fresh paint.
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CanStan
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:42 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

angelstar1007 wrote:

Do you think itís possible to get a driveable van thatís quite nice for under $20,000? Even if I buy it at $5-10,000 and invest in repairs to make it so?


I think you're being reasonable there with your budget. I've always told anyone looking for a VW Van / Bus that they will spend at least $20,000 on it before it's a reliable road trip vehicle. Whether that's $1,000 now and $19,000 later, or vice versa.
That being said, it most often makes more sense to spend the most you possibly can now. Let someone else take the loss on all the parts and labor to get it nice. The person selling a Van for $20k might have put a lot more than that into it.
Spending a lot of cash on a Van is no guarantee of it being perfect, but you will likely be a lot of time and money ahead for doing so.
There are some highly respected people here who (for a fee) can do a pre-purchase inspection on a vehicle you're considering. It will be the best money you can spend if, as you admit, you don't know what you're looking for. Spending $300 on that could save you $10,000 and a lot of headache.

Also, as another thought, having 1 year to prepare for a trip around the USA really isn't a lot of time. Even if you were comfortable working on it yourself, there's a lot of learning to do, and you don't want to get the project finished the day before you leave. You'll need many months of drives close to home, followed by some longer, then even longer trips to work out all the inevitable kinks and make sure things are working properly. There's something to be said for knowing your vehicle inside and out by having done all the work yourself, so when you have an issue 200 miles from civilization, you can (hopefully) overcome it. But since you're in a bit of a learning and time crunch, my vote is to spend the top budget you can right out of the gate.
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61SNRF
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to America!

The VW passion runs rampant in this site but please be aware the VW transporters of all years were/are a foreign car here. That means parts and service can be a specialty not widely available across the country. Parts are one thing but some service centers may simply refuse to work on them.

Not to discourage you at all but in harsh honesty if you just want to get in and drive happily across the country you may be better setting off in an American camper conversion van.
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CanStan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:42 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

61SNRF wrote:

Not to discourage you at all but in harsh honesty if you just want to get in and drive happily across the country you may be better setting off in an American camper conversion van.


If you were planning a 2 week or month long trip, I would agree with this. But if youíre planning on spending a year on the road, and can handle the possibility of being stuck somewhere for an unknown amount of time waiting on parts or service, I still say go VW. I donít mean that to sound backhanded or anything. Itís the reality of an old car. It could take a week to get a diagnosis on an issue, a week to find and ship parts. Then some time to fix it. If thatís just part of the adventure, and doesnít make you feel like it destroyed the trip, go for it. Iíve made some really great friends and memories from some of my frustrating break down experiences I would have never had driving a Chevy Astro Van.

The last 2 month long trip we did, we mentally prepared for 3 breakdowns. That way, you canít get angry or upset when it happens. (By the way, we only broke down once, and I was able to fix it with my spare parts I brought along.)
This isnít to say youíre necessarily guaranteed breakdowns, but sometimes things happen to even the best maintained 30-50 year old cars.

Bring along lots of tools and spare parts. I kept the underside of my rear seat packed to the brim with extras. Even if youíre not comfortable fixing it yourself, having the parts can mean the difference between being stranded for an hour or a week. Also make sure you budget for catastrophic issues that wonít derail your trip. Last year someone was travelling through my area in a Syncro Vanagon several thousand miles from home. The transmission went, and they couldnít afford a rebuild or find a reasonably priced used one. They ended up abandoning the Van and got home somehow. Now they are trying to sell a non-running van from across the country.

Again, non of this is meant to scare you off. Itís simply some realities of what Iíve experienced and witnessed others go through.
I hope you have a great adventure. It sounds like a blast to do a trip like that. Keep us posted with what you decide. Thereís a lot of knowledge in these forums.
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FarmerBill
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:59 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Yep, lots of spare parts are needed on board now. Gone are the days of every FLAPS having even the most basic air-cooled VW parts. When I drove my 71 bus cross country in the mid 90s you could still get most of what you needed either off the shelf or in a day or two. I still carried a spare distributor, carb, fuel pump, assortment of seals and gaskets, one good used head, etc. The idea was to swap a failed part as quickly as possible and get back on the road.
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oprn
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:29 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Not to discourage you but on major freeways these days with the speed most people travel a Bus is going to be a source of frustration for all involved. Of course that would give you licence to take all the scenic routes... Very Happy
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angelstar1007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:26 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

I am not discouraged quite yet. I have no plans to make a plan! If i get stuck I will adventure!! So much useful advice though. I am grateful. Iíll keep looking. Perhaps my time plan is a little over hopefully perhaps I should look at a trip in 2 years. I like the idea of testing it out close to home first.
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vwinnovator
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:51 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

oprn wrote:
Not to discourage you but on major freeways these days with the speed most people travel a Bus is going to be a source of frustration for all involved. Of course that would give you licence to take all the scenic routes... Very Happy


maybe for a stock worn out old bus...

But, with a nice engine, proper gearing, good suspension...70mph cruising isn't too difficult. (aside from windy days Laughing )

Plan your drivetrain/ suspension for it's use.

will it be flat driving? lots of mountain areas? off road adventures?
will the bus be loaded down with 100's of lbs of gear? or bare minimum essentials?
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Blue Baron
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Here's some advice.

When you buy a bus, have some sort of temporary warranty written into the bill of sale, and signed by the seller. All used car sales are normally "as is" unless there is some form of warranty.

I was watching one of the judge shows on TV, and the buyer smartly had written in that the seller would take back the car and refund her money if repair estimates totalled more than $1,000. She took it to court, and the judge enforced it.
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CanStan
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:24 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

Blue Baron wrote:
Here's some advice.

When you buy a bus, have some sort of temporary warranty written into the bill of sale, and signed by the seller. All used car sales are normally "as is" unless there is some form of warranty.

I was watching one of the judge shows on TV, and the buyer smartly had written in that the seller would take back the car and refund her money if repair estimates totalled more than $1,000. She took it to court, and the judge enforced it.


Who would sell a vehicle under those terms other than a dealer? I think if youíre concerned about the cost of repairs, you pony up for a pre-purchase inspection and determine those issues before cash and the title change hands. Iím not refunding someoneís purchase price if they lug a Bus up a hill and overheat it a week later.
I would never sell something without disclosing known issues. I donít need the bad juju. But if youíre buying a 50 year old vehicle, things are bound to happen.

And unless youíre trashy enough to guest star on Judge Judy, youíre going to have to spend a lot of time and money taking someone to court if youíre unhappy with your purchase.
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Blue Baron
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:45 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

I agree, the first option is getting it inspected. In this instance, the buyer was prevented from getting the car checked out, so she added the provision to the bill of sale.

I'm looking at it from the perspective of the buyer, not the seller. All I said was it was an idea to consider. It would depend on the circumstances. You'd be surprised what a seller will sign, especially when there is cash being waved around and no other buyer in sight. If someone boasts their bus is good to drive cross country, let them back it up.

And yes, judge shows are full of asshats. Laughing
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:50 am    Post subject: Re: New to this. All help appreciated Reply with quote

On your timeframe I would seek out a dry west coast camper and have a inspection done out there ( cost $300-500) before finalizing the deal.

From there you can either ship back or make it leg one of your journey around the US

Itís a great time to be getting ready as we are locked down with the Covid for a few more months

Robbie here on Samba ( user airschooled) is west coast based PPI candidate.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:17 am    Post subject: Not gonna happen Reply with quote

You are not going to find a roadworthy vehicle for sale
Online for $5000 to $10,000

Your budget is unrealistic
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