1984 Volkswagen Vanagon GL 1.9 f.i. from North America


A multi-faceted vehicle with a lot of lovable quirk$


A tricky question for me, when I purchased the van I Knew it needed brakes, clutch master cylinder, rotors, rear drums and shoes, front pads, and misc hardware and the master cylinder.

Was also aware, the LOUD roar of the broken exhaust pipes was hard to overlook, a need to replace the pipes. The muffler was still good and the catalytic converter was already a hollow tube!

In short, I knew the needed mechanical shortcomings and was willing to repair them having the tools, knowledge and access to repair parts at a good cost.

General Comments:

My van has become a household member, much like a puppy, always willing to go, but sometimes with a surprise or two. Have experienced the "I don't want to run anymore" on an Interstate trip. The cure supposedly a $100.00 wire harness to the air-flow box. My remedy was to clean the switches at the throttle and loosen the cable which at times was holding the engine off idle and negating the no fuel delivery at closed throttle. I'm on the road in a week and will find out if this worked, I hope so, it, s wet and cold now!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th December, 2002

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon 1.9 water cooled from North America


We love our van


Gas tank leaked horribly at the station when we put too much gas in (over-flow?). Don't do that.

Dash lights don't work.

Heater switches malfunctioning.

Expecting trouble with heads and cooling system, but nothing yet.. fingers crossed.

General Comments:

Spunky van for it's size and economical.

Great clearance for off road traveling.

Really nice ride, nice driver position.

Great for playing "bus driver".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2002

23rd Jul 2004, 23:42

It sounds like that is my '84 Westy.

Gas tank seals gone, heater switch, dash lights and mine has a flickering oil light when its hot at idle.

It's a good rig overall. Great with a little kid.

14th Sep 2004, 23:15

I have '84 westy too. Overheats in slow traffic and the oil light comes on when hot. The oil light has freaked me out for a long time. As a vehicle it is much more of a challenge to drive effectively, but as a camper it is great.


7th Jan 2005, 10:35

Great review. The flickering oil light may be due to using Fram or aftermarket oil filters. Try the Autobahn filters that restrict the oil flow less. It worked for me!

18th Sep 2005, 06:28

Try using a heavier weight oil. Especially if your vanagon has over 100k.

30th Oct 2008, 01:47

Just bought an 84 Vanagon, blue and roomy, lots of pep and it seems the usual small bugs to prove it's 24 years old but strong and lookin' fine. I love my new van and if it breaks down I'll fix it, or if it's terminal it'll make a great dog house... The wide steering wheel will take a few days to get used to, but that's my worst trouble so far. :) :) :)

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon GL 1.9 Liter gas from North America


Will $500 dollar you to death


You name it:

The van had 5 coolant leaks. The rad blew while on on a trip. The rad cap failed while on another trip (a simple fix, but 2 hours of down time to find one then repair).

3 fuel leaks. One leak was never resolved (the fuel tank was resealed, but still leaked fuel when filling up to full).

1 oil leak (valve cover gasket). Repaired.

Many other misc. costs that were not normal wear and tear. Some parts are not available from the dealer.

The total cost of repairs and general maintenance until I got fed up and sold it recently: $3000CDN. I owned the van for 6 months!!!

General Comments:

A few good things about it. Lots of room. I had all the seats out and slept in it while on trips. There is 200 cubic feet of storage space inside. If I am correct, there is still not a van on the market today that has this much space.

Very comfortable to drive. The seats are good, and you sit up high. The arm rest are too low, so I pulled them off.

Overall ride is good. Slow down on big curves and make sure you have the right tires (6 ply sidewall min.).

Fuel consumption is very bad. Sucks fuel like a Chev 350. No power up steep hills. You would be lucky if you were able to top 80kph. Don't try to pass other cars/trucks unless you are on a long straight stretch of road and going downhill.

It also has a great turning radius. Easy to park. Lots of clearance underneath too.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd August, 2002

20th Oct 2002, 07:58

Personally, it sounds like you just bought a lemon. I have an 85 with the 1.9-liter Engine and a 4 speed manual trans. I can say that the vehicle is capable of doing 90+mph, and I haven't had problems passing when necessary. I will admit going up hills is a weakness for the Vanagon in general, but keep in mind that the mere 82hp does a fine job of propelling the 6000lb box, I don't see anything else on the road that can compete with that power to weight ratio.

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia 4-cylinder gas from North America


Thank god I kept my Toyota truck. If you buy a VW, get a Toyota or Honda as a 2nd vehicle


Chronic head gasket failures (twice in the 20k miles owned).

Electrical bugaboos (gauges don't work properly).

Engine sometimes overheats on mild uphills (probably due to lack of power).

Needed new transmission on purchase.

Stalls quite frequently if not started at least 2-4 times per day.

A/C does not work.

General Comments:

This vehicle is very slow to the point it's almost a hazard. My 1994 Toyota Truck 4x4 xtracab, even with a 4-cyl, accelerates like a turbo MR2 compared to the van.

The van is roomy and very comfortable and is great for camping trips with the pop-top. That's the only plus about the van unfortunately.

Due to its unreliability, the vehicle has been relegated to recreational status until a more permanent vehicle can be obtained. Might get a Toyota Sienna or Highlander to replace it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th July, 2001