Questions About a SPECIFIC Vehicle Purchase

Capt. Mike

"Long block" refers to an engine rebuild that is complete from the bottom out to include the heads. One must still transfer over the intake & exhaust systems and all ancilliary systems such as FI, ignition, alternator, P/S, etc.

Tuttle is a brand I've never heard of. None of my searches showed anything beyond a used parts dealer in Tuttle, OK and a generic parts dealer in Ontario. It may well just be a parts dealer house-branding something he farms out, in which case I'd be very sure to find out who the actual rebuilder is. See PARTS forums for some real problem companies such as GEX. However, if it has 43k miles on it, it should have passed through any critical periods. It's still necessary to protect yourself with the many items recommended on this site such as the "Vehicle Check-off List." Have a professional mechanic you trust examine the vehicle and do compression & leak-down tests.
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New member
I am sorry. I know that I am still trying to find my way around here.

perhaps this is the wrong place to post this. but here goes.

I did speak to the mechanic that the owner uses. he says "the van is better than most vw vans, and I am not a fan of them"

I have a weekend to decide and have been on my cell phone at work constantly trying to get all the information I can get. (not doing my job at work:eek:)

finally tracked down the man who owned the van during the tranny repair and the last 10 yrs before sold to present owner.

he says he had the heads redone somewhere in the 10 years.

I guess my question is this. the original feeling of confidence I got from the new engine has been eroded by the idea that this van has had one new engine and one head job in 140,000 or so miles. and I guess I wonder why.

I know the answer is here somewhere, I guess I don't know enough to find it. we leave tomorrow. I have wanted a westy for many, many years. and diligently search every ad for one that I can "afford".

I've decided none are perfect, it may just be compromise.

I did read here that the body and camper condition should be the first consideration. this one looks very nice.

well, either we will join the ranks this weekend or not.

Capt. Mike

'86 was the first year of the 2.1 liter engine and Digifant (digital) fuel injections. The '86 - '01 vintage is considered to be the best of the watercooled boxers. The head and coolant problems of the earlier 1.9's had been pretty well corrected by then, though hard use and lack of maintenance can lead to engine failures in the time frame you're talking about, properly maintained and driven reasonably they often go way over that -- 200K is not unusual. :cool: The leak-down test I recommended will tell you the current condition of the engine. This is one of the things you must include in your outside mechanic inspection. Compression tests tell only half the story, tho' better than nothing. I'm guessing the head job was first if he doesn't remember when and then the engine rebuild because you know the mileage of that. This may be because the head job did NOT fix the original problem. For example, a leaking head gasket can cause consequential damage that fixing the heads alone won't cure.

If you want a discourse on the cooling problems of the early 1.9 water-cooled's, see the TIPS topic "Antifreeze . . .".
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New member
thank you for the info. it turned out the westy we planned to buy was not in as nice a condition as first represented. We didn't get a good feeling about the vehicle, but another one we were going to see felt just perfect.

I think I posted somewhere here about our adventure in Tucson, but I don't see it. :eek: may have posted it in the wrong place or not at all..(previews aren't posts)

we drove it, bought it, packed it up to go home and it sprung an oil leak. hauled it back to the shop we bought it from, they fixed it and the next day the very same thing happened. so we left it there for the issue to be solved properly and drove home. In many ways we feel kind of lucky; that we bought it from a shop that was willing to make it right, and that it started leaking before we were on the road.

today they report it fixed. seems something in the flywheel was causing damage to the rear seal. I still need to have more information. but even tho disappointed about the needed repairs, am very happy with the westy. and can hardly wait to go back and get it!

the motor was previously connected to an automatic transmission. the van it is in now is manual. apparently there was some issues going on in the connection/flywheel area. they have changed the part to one from a manual tranny. hope all is fixed now.
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Capt. Mike

:confused: So what's the question? Bentley §13.37 and §13.40, fig. 9 & 10, show the differences between the flywheel of a M/T and the torque converter drive plate of an A/T. When changing, it is imperative that the flywheel's seal area be perfect without any damage to the seal surface. A used or aftermarket flywheel would be suspect; any damage, out-of-specs, out-of-round or imbalance would quickly ruin the seal. The endplay must be correct per §13.40-13.41.

Please read Site Guidelines & Missing Posts linked in the Notices box at the top of the page. Since you have blocked your email, you will NOT be notified of any cuts/moves/edits.
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New member
I guess my unasked question was how the seal would keep failing under the conditions. and you answered it, thanks!

my son is test driving it around until we can drive back this weekend and pick it up. so far, no problems.

we will be ordering a bentley manual, but thought we'd wait till we actually got the westy.

only one more day.:)


New member
So tempting, but is there a catch?


I've been wanting a Westy since my Aunt had one when I was about 8 and now I have the opportunity. I've found 2 that are within a suitable distance for viewing and saw my first one today. Its a 1986 full camper, automatic, thats had an engine change 5 years ago. Its got a bit of wear and tear, the top has been plastered with filler which is beginning to crack, the canvas looks pretty good and the interior has been well looked after. Its apparently been winter stored each year since the owner got it in 1990 which sounded great. There is a little rust on the driver side beneath the electric hook up but they have been treating it with a spray from top to bottom for the last few years and apparently the rust has not increased at all. I like it, it has a good feel and has seen most of North America by the travel journeys that the owner gave.

Despite the wear and tear, I liked it. My only concern is the mechanics of it. The owner has only just taken it out of storage this week and so it might still be a little stiff from its hibernation. It started up fine, but there is a little white smoke coming from the exhaust - not a great deal, not billowing at all, just a little. Also while it was coming up to temperature it would "squeak" a little when pushing the throttle although this seemed to calm down a bit as it warmed up. The owner seems to have really taken care of it (or at least tried to). My concern is the white smoke, is this potentially indicative of coolant issues, or is this me being overly paranoid and not letting it come out of its slumber?

The price (well, for me) is a little steep and so I'm not keen on buying something that could only last a few hundred miles or so. If the smoke and squeak is not an issue, then I'm hoping to shortly become a proud owner (and send my Aunt a few pics that could take her down memory lane).

My knowledge of westys at this point is weak and although I'm finding myself having to learn super quick, I would appreciate some advice on whether the white smoke should be an instant turn off, or if I should accept it as needing a bit of basic post hibernation TLC?

Thanks guys



New member
May Buy a Westfalia that Caught Fire


Today, I visited a non operating 1982 Westfalia. The asking price is $700. I am not sure what else is wrong with it, but the van caught fire due to a broken fuel line. Plastic has melted, paint is damaged inside and outside, the back window is broken and the current owner( a very nice woman) claims the engine block is salvageable.

I have many questions, but will post just one,

Thank you.


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Mike Robinson

New member
Run fast away from this vehicle

They should be paying you to take it away.

Westys are always a lot of work to maintain and improve. Do yourself a favour and start at a better place.

'82 Westy diesel


New member
too much work!

Mike is right. Too many problems with a burned unit. We found an 82 full camper for half that amount. No rust, no dents, all the parts. Loads of cleaning and hours getting the locks and rollers free but worth every penny.
We run it up and down the West Coast every Spring and Summer. Keep looking, Cheers, Dan:;)


New member
Help buying one tomorrow

Hi All

Hope you can help having thought about this for a long time I am choosing between 2 vans and need to decide tonight
Both 93 T4 westfalia
body on both are equal
both have a great service history and are diesel
both on original gearbox/clutch engine etc.

one is
212,000 kms
all seems good to me but
blows black smoke for a second on start up
followed by a puff of white smoke then fine clear smoke
has 2 worn rear tyres equal but more than the fronts
only significant work is rear ? springs
missing a couple of headrests
surfboard racks with locks

other is 2.4
170,000 kms
slightly better service history
six months limited warrantee on engine from dealer
has headrests etc
surfboard racks with missing locks
no smoke
$2200 dollars more expensive (£1000)

Any advice at all ?


New member
head gasket

please forgive me if this is in the wrong place, I know nothing about the internal workings of a vehicle so I didn't know which system a head gasket belongs to, so I had to post under a general heading.
I am looking into buying a westfalia from a man in town and he said that the head gasket needs to be replaced, it does not run. I know people that are VERY handy, so I just wanted to know if this is something that if possible to do at home, and what would be needed to do this. Is it possible to find a replacement gasket?
This is the information I have on it:
It is a 1982 but has a 1984 jetta motor that rates at about 1800 cc. It ran when he got it. It needed a new head gasket put on. he started the job and just never found the time to complete it. has a water cooled engine.

any input? I just dont want to get myself into something I cant handle.

[Moderator note: This is an engine swap and not an OE engine. You'll have to combine info from both the Westy & Jetta Bentleys.]
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New member
The real Value of a westy like this

Hello Community Members.

I would like to ask for some help. I wanna buy a camper (1986, 270K). It looks good inside BUT has some serious rust.

I am not quite sure; Is it something you can fix, or is the van/chasis pretty much done.

Would love to hear from you –*and your opinion. The owner asks for $6000 Dollars.

What do YOU think?
Wishes from Marc-Oliver

[Moderator Note: See Guideline #9!]


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New member
IMHO $6,000, for a rusty Westy is tooooo much. Looking at the pics I wouldn't even consider buying it. There are so many around in good shape. My suggestion is don't buy a problem ESPECIALLY at that price! Keep looking and digging. I found an 84 Vanagon with NO rust, the $$$$ was higher BUT the one I bought is definitely a future collection item. I feel good about my purchase and my price. Can't wait to get on the road for two month trip mid November. Remember its 'IMHO';)

The only thing I didn't get but would have liked to was a diesel. Oh well, would have been nice but it didn't happen.


New member
Help me decide

Hello all and thanks for any advice you can give. I have been looking for an affordable westie for some time here in NE ohio. I found two great buses from the same seller.
1. 1980 vanagon 7 passenger very clean from CA. repainted 15+ years ago. maybe 3 rust tiny rust spots at most. new tires, new exhaust, 117k

2. 1985 westfalia weekender 138k, decent shape, couple minor rust spots, mostly seem rust, couple minor dents, inside good condition, minor tears on couple seat pads, fridge and rear air not working

Now I was looking for a camper but the vanagon caught my eye because it looks much nicer, My reasoning to buy it would be to add a westfalia interior. My initial concern with the 1985 is its water cooled and that is very new to me, while no expert mechanic I have worked on earlier air cooled motors to some extent.

while not much the 1980 is $500 more which is slightly above my budget.

Thanks for your help


New member
I'm currently looking into purchasing a new Westy and I have found several ones for sale that I like. The problem is I can't make up my mind.

1. One of them in particular is a 1982 with a 1.9L Jetta TDI engine in it with about 100,000km on the engine. Everything seems ok in the vehicle with the exception of some rust that I'm willing to sand down and get a fabricator/welder to fix it. The vehicle mechanically seems to be in great shape, there is a leaky fuel injector which I'd have to get replaced and the engine is smoking a bit of white smoke when the vehicle starts up, probably from the leaky fuel injector.

2. The second one is another 1982 with a 1.6L diesel engine that the guy has converted to take in bio diesel. The guy has taken an incredible amount of care to the vehicle, however there is a bit of fixing that needs to happen to the body because of some cracks on the panels of the vehicle (where the panels are separated ).

This Westy has a ton of internal fixes and upgrades done to it, the guy has basically completely reconstructed how the interior is mounted to make disassembly easier. As an example, he changed how the structuring of the seats and panels are setup so that it's all compartmentalized.

Again, I would probably be fixing the body of the vehicle and getting the vehicle painted.

3. There are a couple of other Westys for sale that are gas engines. All in great condition, however I was really hoping for a diesel engine since they seem to last longer and you get better mileage. Since this will also be my daily commuter as well as my distance driver, I figured that gas money does accumulate and I should take it as a factor.

I talked to the guy selling the 82 with the 92 TDI Jetta conversion and he mentioned that it needed a few repairs. I called one of the shops to get some estimates and it seemed a bit expensive.

A heater fan replacement was estimated at $700 bucks
A windshield wiper motor replacement was estimated at $350 bucks
Leaky fuel injector is leaky (but could be hose or seal) was estimated about $90 bucks each + $85 for service.

There is some rust on the body of it as well.

- Roberto
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New member
zero knowledge


I've just joined and am thinking of buying a 74 westy pop up camper. I have zero knowledge and could use some help in figuring out what a good price range is and any other key tips/factors I should be considering when buying.

I have found one in the US; the pictures look good and it's exactly what I'm looking for. The asking price is $7800.

Type 4 motor ("AW" code)
4 speed transmission, manual
Was a dual carb, replaced with new single carburetor in April/09 (see work history below)
No accidents, clean history

1st owner - bought new in 1974. Regular maintenance, put on 63,500 miles and parked it.
2nd owner - bought in September of 2005 and put 13,500 miles on it - new tires put on at around 7,500 miles; sold it with 77,000 original miles in February of 2007.
3rd owner - bought January/07 with 77,000 original miles on it as of this writing on 2/27/2010, the odometer reades 88,735.3 original miles

Work done by 3rd owner:
02/2007 New CLUTCH, new heater hoses, etc.
04/2007 New belts, new spark plugs, new filters, tune up
06/2007 New BATTERY
12/2008 Tune up, fix of vacuum leak, etc.
02/2009 New electric FUEL PUMP, new clutch cable, etc.
04/2009 New CARBURETOR installed (sinlge instead of double), etc.
06/2009 New SHOCKS, install new REAR BRAKES
03/2010 New FRONT BRAKES, new fuses

All Original Amenities
· Couch folds to sleeper, sleeps 2 people
· Pop top sleeps additional 2 people
· Cot sleeps small 5th person or provides extra storage
· Sink with pump
· Ice box

Complete with:
· original operation and maintenance manuals
· original upholstry and carpet
· custom-made curtains
· am/fm radio with CD player and box speakers

Clean copy of the classic "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot", 19th edition.

Any help is greatly appreciated,
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