New member
See also Transmission & Clutch forum as differential is integral with transmission. Exeption, Syncro 4WD front differential.

hello everyone,

In the process of replacing all the fluids in my 83.5 auto...but can't quite figure out how to fill the differential case with oil. The bentley mentions nothing about it, and the archives are down.

thanx for any help.

johnny t
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Capt. Mike

The differential is part of and integral with the transmission. Both share the same fluid and the change does both.

Fluid type & capacity are listed Bentley page 34.1 & 35.2 and on this site under "Vanagon Fluid Capacities" (TIPS page).

A picture of the transmission is on page 35.2 w/ the filler plug shown. Since the differential is part of the transmission, "how to" access the plugs is already posted on the transmission page.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Gabe Magtutu
Junior Member
posted December 15, 2003 07:56 PM
I have an '86 Wolfsberg day camper, m/t. The problem I'm experiencing is in regard to the lack of traction to the rear wheels. The first time I drove on icy streets I found the vehicle quite squirrely. I, at first, thought this was due to the light truck tires that are installed. I reduced the psi in the tires, thinking this might help. Today, after a brief snow storm, I attempted to back out of my driveway, which is on a very slight incline. My right rear wheel would spin, while the left wheel, which was on gravel--free of snow and ice--did not seem to engage. I would appreciate any advice, insight, etc., regarding a remedy.

I also have a '78 Westfalia, a/t and it moves through snow as if the stuff isn't there.


Capt. Mike

Your differential is working the way it's supposed to -- to disengage the wheel that is not rotating at the same speed as the drive wheel. Necessary to prevent scrubbing in corners, it has the undesireable side effect of disengaging a wheel that may have more traction. Differentials have a dominate axle, one that gets drive power first when there is a difference. The 'apparent' effect may change between A/T and M/T because the torque converter absorbs some shock and is less likely to break-away the tire to begin with. Their differentials are basically the same. You're also comparing apples to oranges. The '85 Vanagon has a different weight & distribution from the '78 Type II.

VW did make limited slips but not for the US market except the Syncros. Finding one would probably be out of the question. It's possible you have a broken differential that is not driving both wheels at all. That's for a tranny shop to investigate. It's so specialized it's not even discussed in the VW shop manual. In all likelihood, VW doesn't supply parts, only complete assemblies anyway.

The squirreliness of driving on slick roads is probably not a result of the differential. You may have 'truck rated' tires but that has little relevence to their winter driving characteristics. And reducing pressure may be inviting trouble because now your sidewalls have even less stability and you may no longer have adequate load capacity.

Westies should get specific winter tires, using chains or studs on ice. Snow tires don't give you an advantage on ice, though some have a special rubber compound that helps. Many of us have a set of junk-yard wheels with winter/studded tires installed for such times. See that topic in the WHEELS & BRAKES forum.
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New member
posi-traction differential

I was wondering if anyone has put a posi-traction differential in a 2wd westy? I am looking for better traction in the snow.

Capt. Mike

:( What year & model? Guideline #3!

A limited slip differential differential was a standard option on most Type II & Vanagon M/T models so should be able to be installed. See your dealer for a look at the parts fiche for what is required & compatible (Guideline#8). Ratios available ranged from 4.83:1 (std.) to 5.50:1

GoWesty has a limited slip in their catalog.
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Capt. Mike

Vanagon Ltd Slip Diff

Parts fiche. Finding the original parts is another matter . . . Guideline #5.


  • Vanagon ltd slip diff plate 058-00.jpg
    Vanagon ltd slip diff plate 058-00.jpg
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VW Type 2 & Vanagon, Limited-Slip Differential

Quaife in Great Britain, manufacture an after-market, torque-sensing, limited-slip differential, for the various rear-engined & front-engined VWs, including the 1968~79 VW Type 2 (plus possibly the 1980~92 VW Vanagon, with 4 or 5-speed transaxles) but at circa £550, some might find it a little expensive!

I believe it is designed, so the one can bolt on, the various factory-stock and after-market combinations, of crown-wheel & pinion ratio sets.

[12/21/08 Moderate Note: URL is http://www.quaife.co.uk/. The T2 differential is currently £645 ≈ $958; VAT, etc., extra.]
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