1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Reviews from North America

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Wasser Boxer

Model year1984
Year of manufacture1984
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission Wasser Boxer Manual
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired135000 miles
Most recent distance150000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen GTI

Summary:

Great to own, fun to drive

Faults:

Air intake cracked.

General Comments:

I bought my '84 from my Dad, who bought it from the original owner. It was driven around an area with no salt on the roads, so even after 25 years of Canadian winters it's still rock solid everywhere. Pull into a campsite, fire up the stove, pull the curtains and you're cooking dinner in your living room in 10 minutes... quicker than setting up a tent!

My Dad drove it coast-to-coast and back across Canada, and I drove it nearly coast-to-coast myself, camped very comfortably every night, and it's been our second 'around town' vehicle for four years with only one problem. The intake manifold cracked and messed up the air/fuel mixture causing some really rough running sporadically and one breakdown. After tracking down the problem, one part replaced and we've been good to go since. Could've used duct tape, but didn't want to spoil the pristine condition!

Two new babies and no means to install car seats means her days may be numbered with our family, but she's beautiful, rock solid and a fabulous way to spend some time in the woods! For those concerned about power on hills... what's your hurry?!? Gear down and chill! Get in touch with your inner hippie and relax.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th August, 2009

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon 1.4L

Year of manufacture1984
Engine and transmission 1.4L Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance180000 miles

Summary:

"steady like a train, sharp like a razor"

Faults:

Transmission had to be repaired after about 20 years of use.

Low power up hills, and the gas mileage isn't very good.

General Comments:

This car is huge inside. You can walk around the car and it feels spacious. For this reason, it is perfect for trips, hauling materials, projects, etc.

Some reviewers have called this car unsteady or "like a floating fastball" at high speeds (i.e. over 55 mph). Once on a car trip, we were in our '84 Volkswagen Vanagon on the highway in the desert in eastern WA, and the car was struck by a "dust devil," a small sandstorm or tornado. The car was shoved sideways several feet while driving at around 65 mph, but we never lost control. This car is large enough to be hit by a tornado, and steady enough to weather it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th June, 2007

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon 1.9

Model year1984
Year of manufacture1984
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.9 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired125000 kilometres
Most recent distance128000 kilometres
Previous carBMW 3 Series

Summary:

Never had such fun driving.I'm in love with it..

Faults:

Coolant leak,major problem... on engine heads.

Too cold to run in winter.

General Comments:

Engine really gives nice performances for a 80 hp. When driving such vehicule, think to observe nature around you... (and please respect it)...so keep secondary tracks and enjoy the road.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st February, 2006

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Camper 1.9L

Year of manufacture1984
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.9L Manual
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired69000 miles
Most recent distance135000 miles

Summary:

I would find it hard to get rid of because it is a home away from home. Reliable, too

Faults:

Head gasket leak at 70000 miles was paid for by VW thanks to recall list with the Better Business Bureau.

Air flow meter went out a short while later. Expensive!

Steering rack boot replaced and new ball joints installed.

Gas leak at filler neck. New seal installed.

Rear shocks blew out after a lot of off road travel, but they probably were the originals.

AC has been fixed twice and died again within 6 months of expensive recharge of the nasty R12 freon. Now in the process of changing over to R134 with new compressor, drier and expansion valve.

General Comments:

This van has been a lot of fun for us while traveling throughout the west.

It gets good fuel economy at 19 to 24 mpg and does a fine job of handling rough off road conditions with high ground clearance.

The camper functions well for one or two people and pretty good for three, although a bit cramped. Four is too many for us.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th June, 2004

27th Feb 2005, 16:07

Hi, my name is Ariel and I have a question about your fuel mileage because I only get about 10 mpg maybe 12 mpg on a good day. It is my first experience owning a VW Westfalia, but I'm hooked. I have never enjoyed a vehicle as much as this. How did you get so good of results? Before I purchased it a new long block was installed.

6th Jun 2007, 17:21

Hello. I'm particularly interested in how you got the Better Business Bureau to get your head gasket replaced by VW.

Can you provide any feedback about how you did this, or recommendations for someone else who is looking to do this?

Where did you get this done? city, state, country?

Thanks so much in advance!

11th Jul 2007, 22:20

I am also interested in how you used the BBB for the head gasket work as there does not appear to be a recall for an 84 for this issue or related. Any info would be very helpful. Thanks.

Kirk.

27th Apr 2009, 05:57

What is the upper count on the speedometer? I have looked at one to buy and was told the speedo only clicked up to 100,000 ks and then returned to zero. Am in Queensland Australia.

24th Oct 2012, 00:35

My 84 Westy's tacho doesn't go back to 0; currently 210,000.

3rd Apr 2013, 01:51

My odometer goes up to 100,000, which I have rolled back over to zero twice since taking ownership of it (as the third owner and knowing the two prior owners) in 1995 and I am now working on my third time around... I use my van an average of two to three months of primary living on the road and could never imagine not owning it! I bought it in my thirties, and will hopefully be enjoying it well into my retirement!

Average review marks: 6.4 / 10, based on 8 reviews