Problem with engine overheating.

Asked by Apr 30, 2012 at 12:39 AM about the 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I bought a 1984 Vanagon for my daughter last summer and recently it started having problems overheating. I had a garage mechanic take a look at it and he replaced the water pump which was leaking and the thermostat. It worked great for about a week then started overheating again, this time pegging the gauge. It appears that the radiator fan isn't working. Would replacing the fan fix this problem or are there other items related to the fan that should be looked at as well.

5 Answers


There is a thermo-control switch in the radiator that is likely at fault. Also, there's a pretty complex procedure when filling the cooling system. The nose of the vehicle has to be raised up almost 2 feet to allow air in the system to collect at the radiator...there's a bleed petcock there to open and let the air out. Takes some work. Also, don't skimp on the antifreeze...get the pink stuff. The Vanagon engines are aluminum heads mated to a magnesium block....this make for a lot of use the the right antifreeze...and flush it every two years. I got alot of my help with my 1986 Vanagon from the website You should check them out...soon. PS. The worst part about repeated overheats and using cheap antifreeze is the cylinder heads will adhere to the engine don't want that. Best of luck.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

Also, invest in a Bentley manual...and/or find a good VW mechanic.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I do have the VW Repair Manual on this vehicle, it came with the van when we bought it in Montana. I did look at the thermo-control in the book last night. I will look into replacing the thermo-control unit. The van ran great for 1 week after replacing the water pump and theromstat, very interesting procedure about refilling the fluids. Your response was very helpful. Thanks.


Anytime...don't forget to check out I got immense help from folks on there.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Helping my friend fix her 1991 vanagon the battery is getting shocked and is shorting out if you have had any thing happen to you van please tell me some places to check I am not use to working volkswagons

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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