Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vanagon Features

Information taken from Wikepedia

With the engine and transaxle mounted very low in the back, the Vanagon had much larger disc brakes in the front, and drums in the rear. Axle weight is very nearly equal upon both the front and back ends of the vehicle. Unlike the Microbus before it, the Vanagon was available with amenities such as power steering, air conditioning, power door locks, electrically controlled and heated mirrors, lighted vanity mirrors, and a light above the glove box (most of which were essentially standard equipment in later models).

The Vanagon did have A/C althought the air conditioning was, rather un-conventionally, of the "hanging" type. That is, all components of the air conditioning system on the Vanagon camper were internal to the vehicle hang from the ceiling. The air conditioning housings are infamous for cracking and falling down after the vehicle has gotten older, and there were even recalls issued to address the problem.

Starting with the 1986 model year, there was available a greatly improved air conditioning system that not only does not suffer as badly from the cracking housings, but also does a better job of cooling the interior of the van on hot summer days. This later system features an "airliner" style plastic duct that runs the length of the Vanagon in the center with adjustable outlets at set intervals, rather than cooling the entire rear section via a single bank of outlets facing aft above and behind the front seats.

The controls of the Vanagon camper are above the sun visors in the front of the vehicle for both systems until the 1988 model year when they were moved to the dash. The air conditioning ductwork for the 1988 and later years was, arguably, a much more attractive color, being grey instead of beige. The grey color housings hold their color better than the beige, which tends to yellow considerably over a several year period.

This was one of the few campers that ever in which the automatic transmission was tougher than the manual transmission, which was caused by the fact that, up until the 1990 model year, the 3-4 Gear Synchro Slider Hub was of a flawed design. This could result in cracking, or even breakage, causing the transmission to get stuck in 3rd or 4th gear. A new 3-4 hub design less susceptible to stress fractures was implemented sometime in late 1989, first showing up in early 1990 model year vehicles.

The automatic was a standard hydraulic 3-speed unit, the same 090/010 unit as used in Audis of the era. These featured an aluminum case for the transmission section, and a cast iron case for the final drive section.

The 091 manual transmission was a 4 speed unit, featuring a lightweight aluminum case.
The automatic features a 1.0 ratio top gear, while the manual features a 0.85 top gear.

The Vanagon ford have some unusual features, such as the fact that the brake master cylinder is inside the dashboard. The battery in gasoline-powered models is located under the passenger side front seat, to protect it from the elements. There is a compartment of slightly smaller size under the driver's side seat, for a second battery, which wasn't present except in the case of certain "Weekender" camper models.

The oil filler tube for the engine is located behind the flip-down license plate door, and this requires extra care when pulling into a full-service gas station, as the gas station attendant will most likely try to put gasoline into the oil unless instructed otherwise, as the caps are not clearly marked. Most early vans had a twist-on/off gas cap right on the outside just under and behind the passenger side door. A locking cap was optional for the Vanagon, but like other amenities, became very common on later models.

The spare tire lies in a tray under the very front of the van (as the engine is in the back), just below the radiator. To get the spare out, one must undo a 19 mm bolt in the bottom of the front bumper, pull a small latch back, and swing the tray down.

Overall, these vw campers have exceptionally well-built and strong chassis (frames) that are often found to be as good as new underneath, thus creating a platform with good scope for very long life if given even the minimum attention annually.

The Vanagon History

Info taken from Wikepedia

The Vanagon was built to be the modern successor to the Microbus. The vehicle, unfortunately, was underpowered given its curb weight. Different versions of the Vanagon were produced in South Africa from 1990 until 2002 featured a 5-cylinder Audi engine which helped performance greatly. Installing engines from more powerful vehicles — including gasoline and turbo diesel inline-4 Volkswagens, Subarus, Audis, and even Porsches — is a solution pursued by some owners.
The predominant variant to the Transporter configuration, the Westfalia camper conversion, was available throughout the production of the Vanagon. This option was quite popular, and included an array of creature comforts for a family to enjoy on a weekend outing including a pop up roof, refrigerator, sink, and stove.

1980 to 1985 vans are easily identified by round headlights and chrome-plated steel bumpers with plastic end-caps. Air-cooled models (1980 to Mid-Year 1983) lack the lower grill above the radiator of the water cooled models, except on models with factory air conditioning installed.
1986 model year vehicles received several revisions, which included a more luxurious interior with a tachometer, more fabric choices, redesigned air conditioner, larger water cooled engine with a more advanced engine management system, and redesigned transmissions including an optional Syncro all wheel drive. Exterior changes to the Wolfsburg camper include rectangular headlights, which are probably the most notable change, and different paint options. Alloy wheels, larger and squarer plastic bumpers with trim along the rocker panels were options and standard equipment on Wolfsburg Edition vans.
For 1990 and 1991 model years a "Carat" trim level was available which included all available options (except Westfailia conversion).

All 1980 and some 1981 models had 8 welded-in metal slats covering the engine ventilation passages behind the rear windows. Later models had black plastic 16-slat covers that slotted in at the top and screwed down at the bottom.

Monday, October 20, 2008

VW Camper Future

If you are curious about the vw camper future, Volkswagen is looking to make some huge innovative improvements to their westfalia campers. In 2007, Volkswagen had a design contest for the future vw camper and they received thousands of amazing designs.

Here are some videos of what the future of the vw camper may bring:

As you can see many new additions would be brought to the vw campers. Special aunnings that include a screened in area, solar features, a grill that can be transported outside, many new storage compartments, and so much more. This is exciting to all those who are looking for a new camper, or loved the old vanagon campers and westfalia campers from volkswagen's past.

For more information on volkswagen campers and their future visit

Colorado VW Campers

If you are looking to buy a vw camper in the Denver area, there really is only one place to find the best volkswagen campers in the state of Colorado. JDB Imports has the cleanest vw camper inventory in the country and specialize in vanagon, eurovan, and westfalia campers.

JDB Imports is located in Northeast Denver and has three warehouses full of vw campers for sale. They have been selling volkswagen campers for over 20 years and are truely the countries best vw camper dealer. They only work on vw campers and specialize in restoring old models into beautiful campers.

If you are looking at purchasing a motorhome or camper soon, you need to look into the inventory that JDB has. VW campers are the most fuel efficient, user friendly camper on the road today. Most models at JDB Imports range in year from 87-04' but all have brand new interiors. All of the campers at JDB Imports go through a 100 point inspection before becoming part of their inventory. The mechanics at JDB Imports specialize in vw campers and are the best in the country. There is not another vw camper dealer out there that has the experience or expertise of westfalia or vanagon campers which sets JDB Imports at the top of the list.

If you know you want to purchase a Vanagon, Eurovan, or a Westfalia camper you should test drive one from JDB Imports in Denver, Colorado. Call them today (303) 287-9797

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Buying a Camper in an Auction

You need to be clear on the type of motorhome or camper you need and purchasing this way is not recommended for first time buyers as you need to know how to put an accurate value on a camper in a short time. The prices in the 'Blue Book' or 'Nada' guides are not all that accurate because it is difficult to value a camper as they have the vehicle side of things and the living side as well. The book guide prices are based on the vehicle age, condition, model and mileage. The fittings and fixtures in a camper along with the overall condition of the living space affects the price to a great extent.

To find the value of a camper, the only real way to do this is to compare it with similar vehicles with similar features and fittings. You will need to check out the press and the specialized magazines in order to find similar campers to give you your guide prices.

To be able to bid with security you need to put a price on the camper you will be bidding on. When the bidding starts the opening bid is usually quite low. Often the price won't rise much more and you will end up getting a motorhome at a fraction of the price it is worth. At other times however the bidding will be fierce and the price will quickly rise up to and beyond your calculation of what the vehicle is worth. This is why it is so important to work out the value of the vehicle before bidding starts. Also bear in mind any repairs or modifications that you will need to do and remember that the auctioneers will take a percentage of the sale price too (usually around 10%)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Brief History of the VW Bus II

The first generation of Volkswagen buses were built from 1949 to 1967, and are known as split-window buses or 'splitties'. Buses built after 1967 are known as the 'bay window models'. Where these offspring may lack the personality of the originals they feature modifications including winding windows and a top speed of 80mph. After 1979 more modern versions were developed and these became known as 'wedges'. For the original Type II devotees the charm was lost and the cosy vw camper had become a bungalow on wheels.

The splitties sported a split windscreen (obviously) along with a sweeping v-line front and a large VW emblem. These buses were 170 cubic feet (about 4.8 cubic meters) in volume and were spacious enough to hold a 15-hand horse. The vw bus had the engine and axles of the Beetle but had a unitary construction supported by a ladder frame instead of the central frame platform. The payload was roughly 750kg and the engine had a cubic capacity of just over 1100cc with an output of 18kW at 3300rpm (very low!). The terms 'ladder frame' and 'central frame platform' refer to the construction method of the chassis. The ladder frame is two longitudinal parallel girders or beams upon which the suspension, engine, transmission etc are mounted (hence the name).

The VW bus is good for carrying direct loads. The handling is poor, partly due to a lack of torsional stiffness so it performs badly when cornering. The central frame is made of a central spar with ribs to which the engine, suspension, body and so on are attached. The load carrying capacity is not high, but the torsional stiffness inherent in the design ensures that the handling is good. This contributed to the poor handing of VW Type IIs but also explains their usefulness as transporters.

The VW Transporter can carry up to eight people and the two rear rows of seats can be removed in order to transport greater loads. As the design was so elementary, Volkswagen turned out 90 different body amalgamations over the first five years. These variations included buses, pick-ups, fire engines, ambulances, beer wagons, refrigerated ice-cream vans, milk floats, mobile butchers shops, bread vans, mobile grocers, ordinary delivery vans and the more familiar camper (the last variation).

50 years from original production, VW buses are as popular as ever, and they are enjoying a renaissance among the surfing community (as well as others). Presumably this is because they offer copious space to store boards, equipment and friends along with a cool sense of freedom. The Volkswagen bus owner must be prepared to frequent second-hand specialists for parts and to spend a great deal on fuel (expect no more than 25 miles to the gallon) but the rewards are great. There are also numerous customisation opportunities including lowered suspension, tinted windscreens, adding a V8 engine and the groovy paint job.

There are now plans afoot to develop a new generation of bus in the same vein as the new Beetle. Called the Microbus, it is to include a table with games console and Internet access and a camera at the rear above the license plate. The actual engine spec and performance have not been released.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

JDB Imports - Denver's Leading VW Camper Dealer

If you are looking for a volkswagen camper, there is only one place to look! JDB Imports is located in Denver and has more vw campers than anyone in the state of Colorado. They have a great selection of several Vanagon, Eurovan, and Westfalia makes and models. Not only do they have a great selection, all of their vw campers are very clean. Their entire inventory is in great condition and honestly some of the cleanest vw campers out there.

John Bigelow is the owner of JDB IMports and has been working with German automobiles for over the 35 years. As a former BMW Technician himself, John has a great knowledge of the workings of German autos.

JDB Imports specializes in VW Eurovans, Vanagon Campers and Westfalia Campers. All of the inventory is typically 1984 and newer. JDB Imports also has recent trade-in's that are for sale, make certain that you check out their vw inventory for both of our "VW Campers for Sale" and also their "Recent Trade Ins".

JDB Imports is a family owned business in the Metro Denver Area and has been in good standing with the Better Business Bureau the entire time they have been in business. There is not a fleet of fancy talking salesman at JDB Imports, and there is not a special of the day. JDB Imports takes the time to really inspect every vehicle purchased, and goes through a full "reconditioning process" for every VW Eurovan that they purchase and sell to their customers.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

History of the Vanagon

In April 1947, the Dutch VW broker, Ben Pon, drew a sketch of a transporter bus based on a VW beetle chassis.

Actual drawing, still inexistence, of Ben Pon'soriginal concept of the transporter bus.

The public got a first glimpse of the "Vanagon" in an article in a popular German car magazine, November 1978.The article heralded the introduction of the vanagon: The VW bus, built for over 25 years, and affectionately called ”Bulli“, (German for little bull) by the public, will be replaced this year by a modern successor. The modified and stylized mini-transporter will receive a newlydesigned body with stronger lines and more interior space. VW continues the proven concept of the rear-engine bus. Air-cooled and water-cooled engines will be offered, andmany different versions will be available.

The first vanagon left the Hannover factory in the spring of 1979. The new design included much improved passive safety.Crash tests helped with the design of crumple zones, which in thecase of a front or side impact, absorb energy. The driver and passenger are protected by an impact protection beam at knee height inside the front passenger compartment. Integrated in the doors are side impact beams.

Body reinforcements. Hidden from view, additional impact beam inside passenger compartment.
Handling has been much improved, and the vanagon is less side wind sensitive than its predecessor. The first engines: 1.6 liter 50 Hp, and a 2.0 liter 70 Hp, air-cooled.In the U.S., VW sold the mini-bus, multi-van, and campers. 1981, introduction of the 1.6 liter diesel, 50 hp.1982, introduction of the water boxer motor, with 60 and 78 hp.1985, VW considerably modifies the engines. Newly introduced, the 70 hp turbo-diesel and a 2.1 liter fuel-injected version 95 hp water boxer.

History the of VW Camper

Article taken from Volk West

The history of the Camper van really goes back to the end of the 2nd world war, and the British found themselves (right) running the VW factory in Wolfsberg in Germany. To ferry parts across the massive factory stripped down VW Beetles were turned into little transporters, (below) a good idea thought Ben Pon a Dutch VW importer who in 1947 sketched his idea of a Beetle based van. (below left) Two short years later it was launched at the Geneva Motor Show as the modern equivalent to the ox and cart.

They say most ideas are simple ones, the one behind the VW bus is as pure and simple as they come. It started life off as a box on wheels and what a big box, 170 cubic feet and enough room to hold a 15 hand horse. It was meanly simple and in the next 5 years VW would turn out 90 different body combinations from, refrigerated ice-cream vans, half a hundred delivery vans from mobile milking machines to bakers bread vans, scores of milk floats, florists, vetenary surgeons , beer wagons, butchers shops, mobile grocers. Then there were the police wagons, fire engines, ambulances, the pick ups and last was the vw camper van. The first big sale was in America , in the mid 50s with dinky sinks and cozy cookers it was the home from home. By 1963 America had purchased 150,000 of these vw camper vans. The splitty was replaced in 1967 by the bay window model and what the bay lost in personality it gained in refinements with having windup windows and a top speed of 80mph. The bay window made the VW a success and by 1975 the Hanover factory had turned out 4 Million of these vehicles. Not bad for a van that started life as a box on wheels.

A different choice of engine sizes were available from the 1600cc, 1700cc, 1800cc and 2000cc. VW had been giving away gold watches to anybody who got past the 100,000 mile mark, but had to stop when the bay window model arrived after giving away 160,000 watches, because it became more reliable. But in 1979 all that personality stopped be replaced by the wedge, the comfy camper became a bungalow on wheels (hope this does not offend any T25 owners). There are 5 Million of these vehicles made by VW so they must have done something right when they made the Camper Van.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Preparing for a Road Trip in your VW Camper

There is an old adage that if you go back-packing you should only take the absolute minimum amount of possessions that you think is possible, lay everything on the floor and then half it! Well we are not sure at Class Campers that this applies to taking a trip in a VW Camper but there are lessens to be learnt from this. Firstly, it is worth thinking carefully about what you pile in to your bus. Ours was a classic example: portable satellite dish/receiver and 12 volt TV; 3 different tents and a swing ball for entertainment! All this and we forgot to take any plates or eating utensils.

Secondly, too much weight will effect the ride of your vw bus and decrease your fuel economy, which to be fair isn't very good anyway. I once asked on a VW Camper forum how I could make my bus faster whilst increasing fuel economy. The reply was "add lightness", a suggestion that I have never forgotten.

How does one remember everything that you might need on a Volkswagen Camper road trip?
Some advocate a simple system by sticking a checklist to your fridge a week or two before you leave and then just add to it every time you have a thought! Others suggest that one should have your traveling equipment in your bus at all times. Thereby, each time you go on a trip you can add to your supplies, after several road trips you should have everything you will require.
Well although both of these methods work to a certain extent the first suggestion is fraught will problems and will inevitably leave you without something you really need. Like bog paper! The second suggestion is one that I have used for years. I cleared out my camper only a couple of months ago and there must have a ton of crap in there! Most of which had no use at all. And after which my fuel economy got noticeably better. So here's how you do it! Well its how I figure is the best way.

Write out list of everything you think you might need and throw it away! Then get a pen and write a list of everything you will need to cook your breakfast/evening meal and make tea and coffee! Right that's nearly everything you need. Then write out a list of everything you need to have a shit/shave and a shower. What you should have now is all the absolute basics but enough to get you through a day or two. Now think about location specific stuff that you might require. Are you going to the Lake District or to New quay- Cornwall, because if you are then you are likely to be going walking or surfing so think about what you might need for these trips. Remember don't overload your VW bus, there is absolutely no need to take 6 surf boards with you.

Finally, what will you need if something happens to your bus, it breaks down or you have a crash? Now this might not be so obvious to some folks out there so I have included a five part checklist at the end of the article. Suffice to say that your emergency equipment is more important than anything else. If you forget to take your plates you can always buy some. But if you have an emergency and you don't have any kit it will be too late to do anything about it.

Travel Checklist

Everyday items:
Knives/forks/spoons/corkscrew/plates/bowls/serving spoon/mugs/glasses
Tupperware for storing food
Washing up liquid/tea towel/scrubber
Soap/shampoo/flannel/towel/toothpaste/toothbrush/shaver/shaving foam
Toilet Paper/girly stuff
Black Bags
Water Container
Prescription Medication
Sleeping bag/duvet
Pen Knife
Travel alarm clock Safety:
Small Fire Extinguisher
Fire Blanket
Spare batteries
Warning Sign
First Aid kit
Hi-vis Jacket
Mobile phone/charger

About JDB Imports

It's really simple! We do only 2 things at JDB Imports:

We purchase and recondition VW Eurovan, Vanagon Full Campers, and Weekenders and then after thoroughly pouring through the vehicle, we offer them for sale to enthusiasts looking for the finest campers in the market.

We offer service and support to our clients for their VW Eurovan, Vanagon Campers and Weekenders. At JDB Imports we know that families are buying our revreational vehicles so that they can have the "perfect family vacation" and so it is critical that we are there for them.
If you are new to VW Campers and are just beginning to research this rare vehicle, than you will learn that these are a limited vehicle. JDB Imports does not sell new VW Eurovans because they are no longer made by Volkswagen. The vans sold by JDB Imports are in excellent used condidtion and nothing less than the best Vanagons and Wurovans available in the United States.

Our technicians thoroughly check and review each new van that we purchase at JDB Imports so that we can be assured that the vehicle we are selling has been thoroughly cleaned and all camping equipment has been inspected and repaired if needed. Our technicians inspect the wheels, cooling system, compression, undercarrirage, brakes, interior, body damage and mechanical aspects of the vehicles that we purchase.

JDB Imports completes an entire review of each and every vehicle so they will be able to detect and repair any mechanical problems before selling the vehicle to it's new owner. JDB Imports does not deal with frame damaged, storm damaged or salvage title vans with significant body damage. We never risk our reputation by allowing the wrong vehicle to be sold to one of our customers. All of our vehicles are 100% road ready and ready to go camping!