1989 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Camper 2.1liter wasser boxer from North America


In a class by itself


Had to replace all belts, they were glazed and screeching on start-up.

Replaced tires with Michelins as the ones on the van were old. Tread was okay, but sidewalls were cracked.

Replaced CV joints.

Oil change twice.

General Comments:

I owned a new Vanagon Camper in 1989 w/manual tranny, so I knew what I was getting into. This one is a real cream-puff and garaged it's whole life. Has all the options including A/C. Everything works wonderfully and everything I've done to it so far is standard maintenance. My wife, dog, and I absolutely love it. I plan on a stereo upgrade, Bilsteins, and 15 in. wheels in the future. I think that it handles fine, turning radius is amazing, great ground clearance. We like to cruise secondary roads and I like the power of the boxer for this.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th February, 2004

26th Jul 2004, 07:29

I have just bought a VW Vanagon -Westfalia t.3 1.6 TD. The dream of my life, with an only problem so far. The Factory's manual for both Vehicle /Westfalia equipment is in German language. Would you be so kind to help me by sending me scanned instructions in English by e_mail.

I would be much grateful. Here from Spain, a VW Camper lover. Marisa (email: marisaacarranza@hotmail.com

1989 Volkswagen Vanagon Wolfsburg GL from North America


Best large-family vehicle available


The previous owner had problems with over-heating and eventually had to replace the engine.

We have replaced the cooling fan mechanism because the low-speed fan quit (there are two speeds, the high speed only necessary when it's really hot). Installed a used mechanism for about $300 including parts, labor, and flushing. The engine is in the back and the cooling fan in the front, so there's a lot of coolant to flush.

We have had front-end work done once a year, to the tune of about $300 every visit.

Seals on gas tank failed and needed to be replaced (about $400).

Water pump failed, but was replaced before engine damage occurred.

General Comments:

The vanagon is simply one of the best cars ever made, in terms of comfort and versatility and reliability. It's important to note here that we have a Wolfsburg edition. The seating configuration has the passengers facing each other--two seats directly behind the front that face a bench seat in the back. That means that seven people can travel very comfortably together, with lots of leg room for everyone. Wolfsburg editions of the new Eurovans also offer this configuration.

As with the VW bus, you ride fairly high and there are big windows for a great view. We have a fold-out table that no longer folds out (gotta fix that), and a fluorescent light that keeps the van illuminated without distressing the driver.

We have a family of five, and there is simply no other vehicle which comfortably fits us for long trips. The back seat folds down into a bed and the van itself holds a huge amount of cargo, which always amazes people at Home Depot. You can slip drywall sheets easily through the back and they are kept out of the rain. Try that in a pick up.

We get about 21 miles-per-gallon on the highway, but we aren't going to try to tow anything.

If you have more than two children, you either need a over-sized SUV or a Volkswagen van (bus to Eurovan). The Volkswagen vans all ride high and have no trouble off road (we have a cabin in Montana). You don't need to think before you pack for a trip because there is so much room.

The van has never left us stranded, and we are having a lot of trouble choosing a second car because nothing will compare in terms of comfort and space.

If you drive a Volkswagen bus, all the other bus drivers will wave at you. The vanagon is finally achieving this status in comraderie. Unlike the bus, the air-cooled vans are actually warm in the winter. If you need comfort and space, but not power, it's a great choice.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th April, 2003