What's the best method of accessing the radiator in a 1985 VW Vanagon?

Asked by Sep 04, 2013 at 11:09 AM about the 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon GL Passenger Van

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have no repair manual as I just recently purchased a 1985 VW Vanagon GL. Apparently
there is a leak in the area of the radiator and I'm not sure if it's the radiator or one of the
hoses. What is the best method to get a better/clearer view of this area? Will it help if I
were to remove the grill(s) in addition to checking from underneath?

6 Answers


removing the grill is a must. common leak points are hose junctions, the bleeder scew, and the thermoswitch unit. I wholeheartedly recommend replacing the switch, and flushing and filling the coolant system per the manual. If you private message me on FB, I can send you PDF of the procedures.

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Best Answer Mark helpful

Thank you very much Scott. I was able to remove the radiator and it appears to be okay. The hoses seem to be okay as well (the look to be newly replaced). I fully intend to change the switch as well as the thermostat. By all means send me the PDF!!


Do you have actual evidence of leak at the front (ie. puddle, drip stains, antifreeze smell up front)?


send me an email: scott.desanti@gmail.com I can arrange PDF sharing.


Haven't seen an email? Still need docs?

Thanks to all you guys here on this site. Your advice and information here has been incredible. I was able to solve the removal of the radiator, which had a pin hole leak. I ordered a replacement, installed it and, then the expansion tank sprung a leak. I got a replacement, pit it on and released the bleed screw on the radiator. Everything seemed to be working correctly but the temperature light never stopped blinking, nor did the temperature hand on the gauge move. I test drove it, everything seemed fine, but again the light never stopped blinking and the temp hand never moved. I then checked the bleeder on the radiator, and it was leaking coolant. I tightened it down, the light stopped blinking and the temp hand began to move accordingly!! Thanks for all the help from you guys and/or gals out there. I should get my repair manual (ordered over a week ago) sometime early next week and that will allow me to be able to answer some questions as opposed to asking them! Peace

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