Maintenance Schedules

Capt. Mike

:cool: I've uploaded my maintenance schudules & work sheets to my pic post site under the Technical Diagrams folder, linked from Home Page. Included are 3K & 6K oil change services; 15K major service, and 30K & Misc services.

I've also put in a 5-tire rotation worksheet to keep track of tires and tread depth measurements. By measuring tread depth at each rotation, and keeping track by tire position on vehicle (I use a spreadsheet) one can find abnormal wear and adjust pressures or alignment to correct before it wipes out a tire. It might also spot a pending failure like shocks or tie-rods.

The final sheet is a supplemental oil change record. Since the owner's manual only calls for 7,500 and most of us do it far more often, this allows you to keep a supplement. I put my schedule (every 3,000) mileage reminders in the blank spots on each side.

Hope they help.
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Capt. Mike

My maintenance schedules are for a '90 Vanagon Synchro Westy. Not all items are correct or applicable for other models. Please check the Bentley Factory Shop Manual for specifications for your model.

Some exceptions:

I change the large metal fuel filter (larger than an oil filter) every 30K; those models with the smaller plastic filters should change every 15K.

Torque on wheels lug nuts is significantly higher than Type IIs and front torque varies with model of Vanagon. Check the Bentley -- torque specs are given with the diagrams for your respective model.

The Synchro is fitted with a pre-filter dust trap and the air filter is the large, metal framed, HD model (P/N 025-129-620B), thus I can extend filter changes to 30K. I clean the pre-filter trap every 6K service. Standard Vanagon air filters (P/N 025-129-620A) have about 1/3 the filter surface and should be changed every 15K.

VW tune-up specs call for measuring CO before the catalytic converter through the port specifically designed for that purpose. It also specifies the O² sensor & idle stabilizer be disconnected. However, EPA specs are at the tailpipe (with everything connected) which only gets measured during state inspections. I use my own gas analyzer at tune-up time but acknowledge many home mechanics do not have a gas analyzer. Therefore I put in entry space for both, along with dates. Nice chance to compare catalytic converter efficiency, too.

I have not yet mustered the courage to throw away the compression gauge, so have set spaces to record both compression & leak-down tests.

My 2 year change of brake fluid also includes the hydraulic clutch.

I record rotor & pad thickness every 15K. These are kept on another record sheet which I have not included as it's basically just a columned ledger page. By tracking rotor and pad wear, I can estimate when the next replacement is due and purchase parts at discount. I have also installed a 2nd view port on the rears so I can inspect both shoes on each wheel. The backing plate has a place to drill this hole and if you drill exactly the size of the original, can use a standard VW backing plate plug. Since the emergency brake arm activates only the rear shoe, it's possible to have one shoe wear out before the other.

Change A/T fluid at 30K miles, same as M/T. Include torque converter.

The entry for repacking 4WD drive shafts is in anticipation of replacing it with a serviceable one if I ever have a failure.
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Capt. Mike

Ha, look long enough and you'll find anything. I didn't have the computer graphics stuff back then, so my '79 Type II maintenance schedule was pretty much straight out of the Bentley, Section 9-3.3 with these exceptions & additions:

Change oil & filter w/ new seal washer every 3K. Even though there is a seperate drain plug, also pull & clean the strainer, replacing the fiber gaskets. Gasket kit P/N 021 198 031.

Adjust valves except hydraulic models '78-'79 & any retrofits.

Rotate tires (recommend 5-tire rotation) every 6K.

Lubricate front axle (5 fittings) every 6K. Pushing to the 15K recommended was often insufficient.

Change rotor & dist cap every 15K. Note, use the correct, rev-limiting rotor. Although regular rotors may fit, it's stupid economy weighed against the cost of a blown engine. Everybody misses a shift or makes a mistake now & then.

Replace air filter every 15K.

Add leak-down test to compression test every 15K.

Replace windshield wipers every 15K.

Record brake pad & rotor wear every 15K.

Change M/T & A/T fluid every 30K.

Replace V-belts every 30K.

Repack CV joints with new boot kits every 30K.

Repack front wheel bearings every 30K.

Although the manual calls for replacing the O² sensor every 30K ('79 & earlier CA cars so equipped), the current 90K should be adequate. You can test the 0² sensor per the shop manual every 30K. A properly working 0² sensor will cause the idle to 'hunt' a little -- vary revs up & down a few while it constantly adjusts the FI mixture.

Section 4 describes variations for '68-'74 models that would pick up such items as the older oil-bath air filters, air pump filters, EGR filters & valves, and repacking early rear wheel bearings.
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Capt. Mike

The link in the lead post was changed by Yahoo so has been deleted. The link from the site's home page and new link in the top tool bar each page is correct and will reach the tech drawings site.

I think GoWesty's list is a starter; M&R (Maintenance & Repair) is an evolving list -- nothing is forever. The items they cover may be sufficient for that first 90K but after that, failures begin to accumulate. I'd much rather put those items into an early schedule so as to monitor their wear and plan rather than wait for them to fail. Most cars are pretty maintenance free except for tune-up & lube items for 90K.

As examples: Read the posts on CV joints. VW's LoBro style all go 30K; some will fail at 50-60K; others go 120K+. If I repack at 30K with new boots, what are my chances of that failure popping up during a trip in the boonies?

VW recommends brake fluid change every 2 years; what makes that no longer necessary? Experience has proven otherwise -- bleed any 2 year old brake fluid and look at the first few squirts in the bottle. I'll guarantee it's not "clean & clear".

Vanagons don't have any brake sensors. Should we not inspect and measure brake wear at some interval? Or just wait until we have metal-to-metal screeching?

Don't get me wrong. Certain things are not cost-effective under other conditions. I don't repack my wife's 190D CV joints. First, they are much harder and more expensive to repack. Second, their incidents of failure are fewer and farther between than VW's. Finally, that car isn't going to be driven into the boonies so a failure is more of an inconvenience than a disaster. So boots are inspected regularly, but I'm not repacking the CV joints.
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New member
Valve Adjustment

I have a 1991 Westfalia GL full camper with AT and 155,000 miles. One of the maintenence posts here indicates to "adjust valves". My mechanic tells me that the valves are not adjustable. Is this correct?


Capt. Mike

I don't know where valve adjustment as a regular maintenance item could have been posted on this site for Vanagons, but it's not in the schedule posted under Tech Drawings or in your owners manual. Your vehicle has hydraulic lifters and the only adjustment necessary is when installing new or rebuilding. It was required on mechanical lifters that VW stopped using on Westies in 1978. See your Bentley §15.22 & 15.23 and "Hydraulic Lifter" topic in Engine forum.
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