What questoins to ask seller of a 1983 Volkswagen Vanagon L

Asked by Oct 17, 2009 at 08:05 PM about the 1983 Volkswagen Vanagon

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Hello to all.
I miraculously found a 1983 Volkswagen Vanagon L in my area's craiglist and it is rather cheap for about $600, which makes me a bit skeptical. The description is rather ambiguous, reading: "I am selling this 1983 Volkswagen Vanagon L with 100k miles. There is very little rust. It ran about a year ago when it was parked here. Probably just needs new battery and gas." I contacted the seller to see if it was still available and got a "yes," and contact info. Now, I feel like my next step should be to (obviously) call the seller and ask a couple questions. This  being my first ever vehicle purchase, I want to know what questions I should ask for a van of this type (considering its 25+ years old) and also what I should look for when I actually meet the seller. I'm also concerned about the difficulty of this passing inspection...

Please HELP! Any answers would be GREATLY appreciated.

Reply here or to my email, stgomez91@gmail.com

3 Answers


hi, these vans are solid but there are of corse some things to look for it. starting at the drivers side front left look behind behind the bumper on the front panel. if there is rust or dents or kind a waved metal surface it will mostly come frome a little front accident and is a lot of work. going to the drivers door check the step from undernease. this is a typical place for rust. turn the wheel to eather side to get access to the rocker arms. check the balljoint and all rubbers,.. this is pain in the a.. to replace them. going on try to have a flashlight with you and try to get a look between body and tank that is placed in the front behind the front axle. there are sometimes rust holes on the top of the tank. going further check the side panels for rust bubbles at the groove area from the upper panel to the quarter panel. rust here is very often for campers about condensating water from the inside,... means,.. when allready rust to see it comes from the inside,.. means ,.. a lot of work because that has to be welded (unibody). take your look by this up to the window frame... rust here is not that worst but still work and you have to do it because water is running inside down the panels,.. this is recommended for all windows. go to the rear wheel and check the rubber sleeves (all 4)on the driveshaft, if they are damaged they have to be replaced. driving with a damaged can kill your u-joints. ask the seller if he ever did the brakes or wheel bearings on the rear. if so ask if it was done by profs. because there is a huge torque needed to tighten back up the center screw. one point is to check the lower corners of the windshield about rust bubbles. the windshield frame sometimes start rusting from the inside about condensating water that comes inside from the roof about bad rubbers. this are not all points to look at,.. you have to check of curse all the usual things like brakes and tires and how the engine and transmission works,.. if the van is original and complete,.. are there upgrades ore even downgrades. a lot of things to look for. like you say,.. its 25 years old and there are a lot of things to consider. those vans can kill your budget easyli if you overlook something and you are not able to work yourself on it. please make a used car check plus this some specials. and remember,.. this is not a frame with a body on it,.. the hole care is ment to be the frame (unibody) so watch for rust underneath. holes have to be welded. i hope this helps a bit.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

A very late thanks a lot for the reply. I was unfortunately unable to buy this one at the time, but this info will definitely help me in the future when I'm able to buy one and invest in one.


The 1983 T-3 vanagon westfalia air cooled is a rear very raer van I payed 16,000 for mine in mint cond. And only 60,000 miles so if it the same kind chk.it out good that's a great price the air cooled models are great but the water cooled models are a lot of trouble .what kind was it 1983 is the last of the air cooled models......Jamie

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