How to Thaw a Cold Weather Frozen 87' VW Vanagon Engine

Asked by Nov 15, 2014 at 02:25 PM about the 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon GL Passenger Van

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Recently I traveled from California's central
coast to Oregon and ran into a massive
winter  storm. My Vanagon is now stranded
with frozen water boxes, lines, and hoses.
What's my first step in making her road
worthy again? I've only had my Lucinda for
three months. She is a California  native
and I'm not sure what to do to get her back
on the road. Please help with any and all
suggestions. Thanks!

3 Answers


Well a good place to start is asses the damage. What had water in it exactly and what has ruptured. Your going to have to crawl under it and check all the fuel and brake lines to make sure none got ruptured from water expansion. If your rad was full of water this could mean bad for your engine as it would expand and possibly crack the block or heads as well as the radiator. so get under the hood and check for any signs of leakage. and if your vehicle does infact have water in the radiator system and no proper coolant you will have to get it indoors and thawed out which could take up to a full day or more in a warm enviroment. so you can flush the lines out and put the proper fluids into it.


There specific procedures for draining,filling, and bleeding the coolant system. Get yourself to Vanagon. com and Vanagonauts. com and start reading the articles and tech tips. DO get yourself a Bentley service manual... it will save you time and money immediately. Oregon is VW country... there are several clubs in that state...all of which can provide much needed support and information...JOIN ONE! You won't regret it. Private message me if you need more information and assistance. I had an 86 Vanagon and went through ALL the known problems with it.

Best Answer

Thank you for both answers. Scott I truly appreciate you extending the extra support. It puts me at ease knowing that my van will be cared for properly if I connect with the right groups. I will be in touch with updates questions and suggestions Thanks again

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