Live Chat from Jan 1, 2008 -- DO NOT start new chat; add to this one w/ 'Reply'

Capt. Mike

Jan 1, 2008: Happy New Year and best wishes for a safe, prosperous, travel through Westyville.

Continue the 'chat' by using the "Reply" button, whether you are responding to or starting a new comment. See the site Guidelines; this forum is for miscellaneous thoughts that are temorary in nature and not technical questions or related to the established message boards. "New topics" will be removed; tech topics and other posts that have existing topics will be removed or moved.

This is one forum that contains archives and they are full of good stuff -- spend some time browsing through them.

Please read the site Guidelines and Missing Posts? links (Tool Bar); have a great Westy year! The Missing Post seems to be the largest frustration of new members. We tightly moderate into specific forums for ease in locating a subject. That allows the Index and Search Engine to quickly find almost any conceivable subject. Although I'm sure your question is important to you, it has probably happened to someone else before and the applicable topic is already established. "Post New Thread" will almost surely result in a cut/move/edit and the moderator's form email telling you where your question is already or should be posted. Unfortunately, many do not post, or post an invalid email, and therein lies the source and frustration of the "missing post." Read the Guidelines before posting, especially #1-4.

Here's a couple of carry overs to start with -- and some valuable info for new members.

The Bentley

The "Bentley" is the VW Official Factory Shop Manual and is far & away the best. It is expected if you want to use this site. The site book store sells them at discount, they are available from all VW dealers, and there are numerous other sources. Bentley is the name of the publisher that produces them for VW and they have their own topic in the SUPPLIERS forum.

Although there are used versions out there, I'd suggest you get the latest you can obtain as it will incorporate VW's revisions, updates and tech bulletins. For example, the Bentley for Vanagons was published annually from 1980 through 1991 with those updates for each new model year.

The Bentley assumes a basic knowledge of automobiles & mechanics and a proper set of tools so doesn't contain step-by-step instructions on many common procedures. There are others that may be more user-friendly but accuracy has been a problem with them and they often do not have the important specifications and testing references of the VW.

Happy Birthday,

In commemoration of's 11th anniversary, and as an expression of my appreciation for all I have learned here, I have made a monetary contribution using the "Make A Donation" button which appears on the top of the main pages.

Let's face it, a Westfalia camper van -- of any era or type -- is a bit of an oddball vehicle. And running and maintaining one is an oddball pastime, performed by oddball owners. So the luxury of being able to visit here and converse with other oddballs, learning new things and exchanging tips or just chatting, represents a sense of community I have come to value quite highly.

Upon reflection, it occurs to me just how much I have learned from the likes of Capt. Mike, and how much I appreciate the efforts of site owner John Babiak, and other members here. The advice, the knowledge, the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, even the humor are things a Westy-owner can find nowhere else.

Even from the perspective of cold, hard cash, I cannot calculate the money I have saved over the years by preventing mechanical breakdowns, and by doing many of my own repairs to avoid expensive shop bills, thanks largely to the advice offered here on If I can return even a modest fraction of that money to the site, to help pay for its operation and maintenance, I will feel I have done at least something to help it continue. And I hope to do so again in the future.

If other members feel the same, if you appreciate the well-organized information, the guidance and advice offered here, please consider making a donation. It is a small price that will go a long way to help "keep those Westies rolling."

A. Cooper

I was recently posting some of the many comments passed on to me about the site. TWO of those posters commented on site support & intentions to make donations.

It kind of brings home that the Free Internet is not FREE and there is no Free Lunch. Somebody (Site owner John Babiak) bears the cost of this site out of pocket. Rest assured any sponsorships or donations received do not line staff pockets -- it's all plowed back into license, software, server time or reference materials. As it is, most of the volunteers still invest large amounts of personal money into reference materials or the computer & shop expenses that provide you their shared knowledge. Not to count their time & labor!

So let me ask you this question? Has this site saved you money & time on your Westy & Westy repairs? If so, how much have you reinvested? Then ask yourself if you have used the Paypal Donation link top of the main index page to put just a tiny bit of that savings back in?

In most places, if you took a job to a shop, besides higher cost, you'd pay some sort of sales tax or VAT. And not think twice about it. What if you put that "tax" back into every savings this site has given you? Ex: You just replaced the torn boots and repacked your CV joints; you saved $80 over OEM parts from vendors you learned about on site and about $300 in shop labor. (You probably also saved a healthy tax.) 5% would be ~$20. Think about it while you get ready to break out your Westy for a summer of Westyville. Thanks.

Capt. Mike

We're a big boy now!

The Westy site continues to grow in size and reputation. It is now considered one of the leading technical resources for VW vans anywhere. We're no longer a 'small club'. The site has over 13,000 members and receives as many as 60,000 or so hits a month. Congratulations go to site owner John Babiak and the many volunteers and members that have made it so.

Capt. Mike

Unhappy first time user . . .

i was upset that my post was removed all because we are just buying our first westy and thought this was the place to talk to other owners and to get some advive as to what to look for and what not to thanks for the help everyone and keep your little club all to your selves because i would never recomend such ingnorant people,,,,very dissapointed with web site and super mike

vw lovers

. . . and a member's response.

Before trashing Capt Mike, this site, and the entire membership, you might want to consider a few other possibilities about whatever happened to your post:

1) Technical glitch which resulted in an inadvertant deletion of your post;

2) The possibility that your post was moved from one section to a more appropriate section;

3) That your post was not in alignment with site guidelines;

4) Post redundancy. You repeated your post in several sections. The guidelines address this phenomena and the resulting consequences.

5) That your question required a purely subjective answer; and

6) Any other possibilities that you can imagine which does not include trashing Capt Mike whose selfless dedication to this site has made it the invaluable cost and time saving resource that it is; nor the trashing of an equally generous and knowledgable membership community.

Be advised: this is NOT a little club, nor are the legions of members ignorant, by any stretch of the imagination.

You might think about staying with this site, it might be worth your while, it might even result in a positive attitudinal adjustment.

'87 Westy

Moderator: Or that he violated several of the guidelines in a post already answered in detail in its respective forum AND posted an invalid email so I couldn't tell him!