Live Chat from Jan. 1st, 2004

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Capt. Mike

Jan 1, 2004: 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 above; 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; have a great Westy year!

Capt. Mike Tech Writer posted July 01, 2003 08:32 AM

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

The Bentley

Posted February 03, 2003 06:36 AM:

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. 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,

Posted 28 February 2003 10:46 am.

In commemoration of's 7th 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

Posted 1 March 2003 09:13 AM.

A. Cooper: Many thanks. I hadn't realized it's been this long. Is it going to be like my old Porsche? The next thing we knew was that we'd become antiques together.

I hope others 'catch the fever' as I'm sure John can use the financial support. Costs of the server (no longer a freebie from his old company), bandwidth and software keep climbing. And I know he's still into his own pocket because he never has any surplus for me! Just kidding; I do this for the love of the hobby. It's my therapy and God knows I need it lately.

Cool idea -- for every dollar you save from the site, donate a small percentage! It'll probably never sell. I still get some that bitch at me because I'm not fast enough, they don't like the answers, and as more than a couple have said, "I don't have time to read the whole site." Ah, the expectations of a "free" Internet solution to everything.

Unhappy first time user . . .

vw lovers Junior Member posted April 27, 2003 05:33 PM

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

. . . and a member's response.

zookz Member posted April 28, 2003 03:52 PM

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

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

Chuck (CA)

New member
Could the entire be put on one or two CD's? This could me a money maker for John and others.

Has this subject ever been addressed? Would it fit on one CD? Sure would be nice to be able to refer back while on the road.

I've even thought about printing the site out. Wonder if there are any short cuts, rather than having to go through each thread and topic.

Sorry for so many questions.

Capt. Mike

I don't know. John??????

Of course I wonder how you'd address updates and the fact that it changes, including revisions within topics or the adding/deleting/moving of topics as they take shape. An annual?

I'll email this to John to see if he's got any thoughts on the topic.

Capt. Mike


What a great idea,

One could get a c.d with a proper donation, and an upgrade yearly (or monthly or whenever) with other donations. Unfortunatly I see a headache for John and Mike, but perhaps some it whiz could figure out how to manage it. (I just returned from a trip through B.C. and had the gremlins attack, and while I didn't need help, I'm home tonight checking into cause/effect. What a resourse to have without a web connection.)



New member
Oh Captain, my Captain:
(Dead Poets Society, just in case you missed the reference). First, let me say THANK YOU for this website. It is very extensive and many questions are answered here for newbies like my partner and myself. I took your 'mantra' seriously "Most questions are answered if you spend time looking at the various areas".

Moderator Note: Tech question moved to Speedometer/odometer thread in ELECTRICAL forums.

Thanks, Sande

[This message was edited by Capt. Mike on February 05, 2004 at 08:17 AM.]

Capt. Mike

The site has now been cleaned-up. The Infopop admin functions had been down since January 6th -- so it was quite a job. If your post is missing, and you didn't get an email -- you have a bad address posted in your Member's Profile. See the "New Boards" and "Disappearing Posts" topics in JUST CONVERSATIONS.

We have finished our latest ice-storm. 2" of snow followed by an inch or so of sleet, then freezing rain. Needless to say, sheet ice! I tried to stay in and watch the live entertainment on TV. What a Redneck in a 4WD pickup truck can do on ice reminds me of the Wiley Coyote cartoons. They've got just enough 'go' to get out where they don't belong, to discover they don't have any 'turn' or 'stop'. In Rocky Mount NC, an ambulance was loading injuried people from one wreck when two other yahoos ran into the ambulance and a third hit the existing wrecks! Another wrecked her car big time because, as she told the highway patrol, she got thirsty for a slushy when she couldn't go to work. I love the one that, with no collision insurance, wrecked his car because he couldn't afford to take off work -- from his $6 an hour minimum wage job! $48 before taxes vs. a $100 tow and several hundred in repairs -- and he didn't make it to work anyway. Schools were closed for 4 days because both our snowplows were busy with the Governor's driveway.

When I did finally have to go out, my VW Syncro Westy with a set of studded M&S tires did its usual flawless job.

Chuck (CA): Still like your idea of putting out the site boards on a CD. Anybody out there know the technical side to do so? Those CD-R's are so cheap now, the cost would be in time. If it could be exported to a file, it wouldn't be too hard to burn a CD -- on request for a fee, of course. Annual update ought to be sufficient.

Or if the export feature puts it into a .PDF file, it could be re-exported even more often. The Admiral & I publish a magazine and couple of newspapers. They get distilled to Adobe .PDF files to go to the printers and to post on their respective web-sites. The distill isn't all that hard or time consuming. Mine gets distilled 2-3 times as that's how I transmit proof copies and upload and I don't find it a big deal. The files get pretty big because of all the color photos -- one hit 186MB -- but that's still way below a CD-R capacity.


New member
I apoligize if this isn't the right way to do this but I would just like to know if anybody knows were i can find a web site that has price chart for westfalia's I have found some for ghias and bugs that are very specific with prices for all years and models but have been unsuccessfull in finding a bus one, if anybody could give me some info that would be great thanks

Capt. Mike

The market value books like NADA and Kelly usually carry the list price but I find Edmunds the best. Old Car Price Guide has amassed the data but doesn't print it in all issues -- ask them direct. I've found them most cooperative.


New member
I'd go with Old Car Price Guide only. I followed the link to Edmunds and entered the data for my clean '89 2WD Westy with 159,000 miles, including my ZIP code. They don't seem to have all Vangon models listed ("GL Camper Passenger Van" was the closest match), and gave me a price of $2400 or so. Vans like mine (and there's a surprisingly good selection in Western Oregon) regularly sell for $9 - 12 thousand. So, while they might be better than KBB, etc., I don't think they give an accurate value for such a special-interest vehicle.

Capt. Mike

He was asking new MSRE, not current market values. I'd have been cutting the post if it was market values -- the site's not supporting marketing. However, many of the market value books list the original manufacturer's MSRE price. The one Edmunds I used a while ago did, which is why I suggested he head there. Old Car Price Guide used to list the MSRE and 4 classes; they expanded five classes to add parts cars, but dropped the MSRE out of their monthly listings -- I presume for printing costs. So you have to ask them.

[This message was edited by Capt. Mike on February 16, 2004 at 06:08 AM.]

Capt. Mike

Site housekeeping doesn't just mean cutting mis-posts, though I'm accused of that a lot! I had a little slack time as we're just clearing out of a mini-snowstorm so I pulled OE Wheel posts out of the older OE & OEM wheels & tires topic. The topic was getting too big. Thus questions on the wheels now have their own topic and the previous is now limited to OE & OEM tires only. It's still big -- into its 4th page -- but it's very comprehensive about the Westy tire debate. IF one reads the whole thing, they have more than adequate info to make a wise and safe choice on their next tire purchase. Tire models come & go, but the concept and specs rquired remain the same. Demand to see the numbers behind the sales pitch!

A reminder -- the recommendations are just that -- personal preferences of members. Some do NOT meet Westy specs; all are a compromise and should be considered in line with your intended use.


New member
Hi everyone who posts here! I just bought a Westie this weekend. It's my first one, I'm really stoked about buying it. I was wondering if anybody has any great stories about some good trips they have taken in their respected Westies that they wouldn't mind sharing? I'm planning on driving to Tennesse this summer and am looking forward to the trip. Does anybody know where I can buy a service manual for an '83? Thanks, Alex

Capt. Mike

Read the site guidelines, especially #1-4; there is a complete forum on 'great Westy trips' entitled VACATIONS & DESTINATIONS. Manuals are expected to use the site. There are numerous sources posted in both PARTS & SUPPLIERS forums, including direct link to the publisher. The site does not support parts wanted or "Where can I get" posts.

Capt. Mike

Capt. Mike will be "out of the office" for the next 2-3 weeks. Long overdue vacation. Going to destress in the snow of the N. Wisconsin woods and replentish my supply of Wisconsin micro-brew and cheese. (The real reason for the trip, if it be known!) We've been doing some house refurbishing and wood splitting, which has taken a heavy toll on my supply of Leinenkugal!

You can make the site housekeeping when I get back by following this simple rule of thumb: If you are thinking of posting a new topic -- don't! Guideline #1! Newbies: Guideline #4! Chances are it's already here.

Oh, we're not taking the Westy. No camping involved and my wife has this unreasonable expectation of the heat actually working in sub-feezing temperatures. Plus we're driving the 1,100+ miles straight through and the big ol' diesel in Redneck Pickemup thrives on the 65-70 mph Interstate limits. Volksrat is old like me so gets winded at that pace. 'Sides, there's the consideration of the return load with all those WI essentials!

Catch up with y'all when I get back. Happy Westying. And no, I don't check my email or answering machine from the road -- that's what the heck I'm trying to get away from!

Chuck (CA)

New member
What is the new subscribe feature at the bottom of the forum homepage...6 mos $15...1 yr $25...what do we get...Why...Thanks...Chuck


New member
So, yesterday I'm at my mechanic's, and he shows me the most destroyed engine I've ever seen, out of a later Vanagon. It seems the owner had recently had a rebuilt 2.1 installed (I won't mention the engine supplier since it's hearsay, but you've most likely heard of them - read the "Parts" thread). The story I got was that out on the interstate the driver began to hear what he thought was valve lifter tapping, and a loss of power. His solution? Drive faster! Long story short: the noise was most likely a rod knocking, and the insides of the engine look like a bomb went off in there. Broken pistons, twisted connecting rods, the crankshaft in 3 pieces, etc. I cannot imagine the noise it must have made when it came apart. The really sad part was just how clean everything looked - clearly a very low-mileage motor.

So, be a good listener to your engine, especially when new. And be careful where you get your engines.

Capt. Mike

Well, Capt. Mike & the Admiral have done it again. Another addition to the family. This time a hazel-eyed blonde of 15. Years that is, not inches or pounds. Sister of the one we've had custody of for 2 years. The orphanage in Oxford NC has pretty well gone to hell and was no longer a fit place for her safety & well-being. The father asked me to invoke our custody and remove her to our protection. I call her M&M -- Moody & Messy. The typical teenager. Grocery bill has skyrocketed and her room looks like the "after" shot from Iraq. My wallet has a perpetual leak. Jean & I had just finished Therapeutic Foster Parent certification and now it looks like we'll get a chance to put it to use earlier than expected.

She's now got her begger turned up on high about getting a pet. Not just any pet, mind you, but a cat! She's been babysitting a new litter of kittens for a neighbor. At the risk of offending our cat-lovers, me and a N. Korea deli have about the same opinion of cats. I've got a yard full of squirrels, deer, birds, racoons, possums and even a woodchuck. She has to pick a cat. We're negotiating for a cage animal like a bunny. For that, I've got a great recipe if it doesn't work out. You know the difference between a Yankee zoo and a Southern zoo? The yankee zoo will have the common name of the animal and then the fancy Latin name underneath. The Southern zoo will have the common name of the animal and a recipe underneat. Blame that one on Jeff Foxworthy.

That ought to keep things lively. I'll get all sorts of hate mail. Just kidding, folks. If we take ourselves too seriously, we forget what Westyville is all about.


New member
Dale Earnhardts birthday is this week . I have aquired what appears to be a Manx 2 bodied VW .. 1970 Gold metal flake .. also in salvage lot is a 70S saab sonnet


New member

Congrats on the new daughter. Condolences on the cat battle. I just lost my own with my wife for a SECOND one ("to keep the other one company!"). I was able to hold out long enough to extract concessions in other areas of our domestic life, fortunately.

And she continues to tolerate my dog.
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