I am looking to buy a 1989 Volkswagen caravelle I would like a review, life expectancy of engine,gearbox and any common trouble the vehicle maybe know for, common rust areas, maintenance and upkeep and where I may find a maintenance book, Cheers sharpy

Asked by Jan 19, 2013 at 08:26 PM about the 1989 Volkswagen Caravelle

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2 Answers


Hello Sharpy, Well, over here in the US, these are called Vanagons. And you understand up front that these vehicles require some specific and regular maintenance. This is because they are an interim vehicle...bridging the timeline between the Kombis and the Eurovan. The power plant is a watercooled flat four with fuel injection, a magnesium alloy engine block and aluminum heads. This combination leads to high galvanic corrosion and requires the use of high quality engine coolant and religious fluid flushes ever two years. The gearboxes are the venerable type IV Kombi transmissions...very solid. The automatics are decent but relay on a heat-exchanger unit that connects it to the engine coolant system...if yo don't take care of the coolant...you risk the transmission as well. The Vanagon is heavy...and high centered. This makes the choice of tires critical. You should never run P-rated tires...C rated or better is what you need for sidewall strength. These are getting harder and harder to find in a 14" diameter. Many folks change out the wheels for 15" ones to allow for a wider selection of rubber. As far as maintance...you must be religious and proactive. If you are, you will be rewarded with a very capable vehicle that can transport 7 people comfortably in all kinds of weather. If you do purchase this vehicle or another like it, be sure to join up with the folks on Vanagon.com It's a forum dedicated to these oft-maligned vehicles and there's so much information there to help you enjoy your Caravelle to it's fullest. FYI, did you know they still made the Caravelle in South Africa up to the late 90's? They had Audi inline 4 and 5 cylinder power plants and 5-speed transmissions. Too bad we couldn't get them in the Western hemisphere. Best of luck to you sir. If you wish to discuss this vehicle...or VWs in general, you can find me on Facebook. Scott DeSanti Sr.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

if you still look for it I have one in good conditions perfectly running 8 seats metal brown with seats in good conditions no rust we are in Italy and the paint of roof is cooked by sun but that is the only damage - I sell for no use marco +39 0341 680346 info@campingvillageriviera.com

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