what is the biggest weakness?

Asked by Feb 02, 2007 at 10:50 AM about the Volkswagen Vanagon

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

My son is looking at possibly buying one of these for a lengthy trip with his girlfriend (he's 22).  It has only 17,000km on a rebuilt engine but the vehicle has 221,000. Auto trans and some camperizing by a private company.  Don't know much else about it's history but it's nice to drive and in good condition. He's quite keen about it even though I've read a lot of dark stories about what can go wrong.  
I'd like to send him off as prepared as possible if he chooses to buy it.  

4 Answers

30,925

Hi Paul, There are a few problems reported with the Vanagon. The Vanagon is water cooled which can result in head gasket leaks. This is the biggest problem you are going to want to look out for because to fix a head gasket leak can be several thousand dollars. Also there have been reported oil pressure problems with the vehicle. I'm going to refer you to a user review on carsurvey.org where the owner of a 1987 Vanagon highlights the problems he has had with his vehicle. Good luck.

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Best Answer

Thank you. I actually ended up changing the year after posting the initial subject but I guess it didn't take. It's an 89, though I don't know if that makes any difference. Also, what can we do to prevent such disasters?

I just saw this under the 89s at Carsurvey. "GoWesty recommends replacing the AT/coolant heat exchanger every 10 years to avoid the inevitable breach and mixing of coolant and AT fluid." That sounds like it maybe.

30,925

There wasn't any major changes to the Vanagon so the 89 would most likely have the same reported problems. As far as preventing the problems from occurring I think your best bet is to take the car to a mechanic to have him check over the things listed above. Autozone.com has a good page on how to identify head gasket problems, as well as other problems. Here is the direct link to that page. http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/05/13/c6/0900823d800513c6.jsp here is a link regarding the oil pressure. http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/04/f8/8a/0900823d8004f88a.jsp If you have any more questions at all don't hesitate to write back - Colin

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