Who here has owned both a VW bus and a Sprinter?

az7000'

Active member
Mine was a 1971 Westfalia with a 1973 front end, I rear ended someone on day 10 of driving in 1983. Blew up a motor the next summer and got a new one for $395 at BAP in AZ. Swapping that out with the cartoon VW repair book was how I learned to work on cars. My dad bought it new, we used the heck out of that thing.

Currently a 2007 motorhome on a T1N with 62k miles, seems like a newer version of the type 2. Tinker with it, endure the quirks, take care of it and it will most likely take care of you! You may spend a few unplanned nights too??

Seems like I have read of others that had both. Anyone else?
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
Not VW bus, but I did own about 5 VW before I switched to MB.
The diesel VW from 1980's would need downshifting with strong wind.
You'd speed up on 3rd gear, switch to 4th and then it would gradually go slower and slower, so you had to downshift to 3rd and keep repeating.
I heard the bus, being bigger even with more powerful gas engine was the same.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
I owned a 1966 window wagon. Purchased with a blown engine. It never did get another 1500 bus engine while I owned it. A couple random pulled from Beetles 40 hp and a 36 hp installed in Savannah GA where the 40 hp engine blew while we were headed back home to Niagara Falls. We traveled quite a bit in that van. It was key for many fun times.

I had forgotten how small that wagon was. On one of our Florida Keys trips we ended up with our 140 2500 pacing for a time with a Type 2 bus in Miami area. We were literally kinda looking down on a midget van. It was dwarfed by the Sprinter.

:cheers: vic

Added:
1966 VW Type 2 window bus
1974 Dodge B100 cargo van 225 6
1987 Dodge B150 passenger wagon 225 6
1994 Dodge B250 passenger wagon 318 8
2001 Dodge B250 passenger wagon 360 8
2004 Dodge Sprinter 2500 140 2.7L
2006 Freightliner 2500 140 2.7L
 
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ECU

Well-known member
1962 VW bus Left for dead near Diablo
1964 Ford Falcon van Sold Tacoma
1968 Dodge van Stolen LA
1971 VW Devon camper Rolled in Pocatello, left for dead Boise.
1977 Dodge. traded for the 1968.

The T1n has the fuel economy of the VW with the windshield of the Ford.
My camper was a bit unique, full pop top. Made in Europe, no idea how it got here.
I did about as much camping in my '68 Dodge even though it had nothing in it, just an iron tent.
The '77 was my 1992 LA battlewagon. Imagine driving round in the US with TV soaped on your windshield.
The '64 Ford was fun. A gal riding in it realized a pedestrian at the crosswalk was looking up her dress, the windshield went so low.
The VWs needed new engines about every 1500 miles. It got real boring. One tip. Never break down in front of a nuclear power plant.
One night I ran out of oil on Snoqualmie pass. Over the CB radio, a trucker going the other way had some to lend. Then over the CB came, "Breaker, this is WHP. Do not attempt to cross the median there. It is a 90 foot drop between lanes."
 
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rjmh

Member
1970 VW window van was my first vehicle - twas awesome! Purchase was inspired my wife's grandfather's Westphalia - I could never imagine being able to afford one of those. My favorite feature was the cruise control when the dog went to sleep on the accelerator. We rolled it in a cross wind on an icy highway. (cruise wasn't on!) Pushed it over filled up the leaking oil and drove it for another 3 years. Gave it to my brother in law.
The van spawned the move from British to German cars that continues 43 years later. I will say that while the sprinter needs some patina and experience to get to that awesomeness, the bus and the grandfather's Westphalia were the reason we got the Sprinter.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
used 65 VW van Took out center seat and made many trips with two kids and their toys in a playpen. Seat belts and special car seats had not been invented.
new 72 VW van engine inhaled part of a carburetor and holed a piston
used 78 Dodge Tradesman 318 V8 & 4 speed on the floor
new 2008 Sprinter
new 2015 Transit
 
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RVRover

New member
I bought a 1970 blue VW Khombi Blue Bus, Took the back seat out at a reststop just west of Junction City ,Kansas. Got new blue Sprinter too.
 

calbiker

Well-known member
Still have my '90 VW Westfalia that I purchased new. Terrific vehicle. Not long ago I removed the propane fridge and replaced it with electric & a LiFePO4 battery.

Also have a Sprinter Winnebago MH.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
1977 New VW Westfalia

1985 New VW Westfalia vie European delivery

1987-2013 various RVs and boats.

2013 144WB” New Sprinter modelled on Westfalias layout plus a cassette toilet in a pottoman. A German fellow peeked in and called his friend, look at this one, looks like a modern Westfalia.
 

Slavy

2017 2500 4x4 6 cyl. with 20,000 miles
1971 Westy - owned for 3 years and lots of adventures - blew the valve on 3rd cylinder climbing Altamont pass - sold it
1990 Westy - owned for 10 years - loved it and went everywhere in it. Less worried about going into places that were a bit dicey as it was easy to dig out. Sold to get something with a bathroom.
1998 4x4 Tioga RV - many trips in it - but a beast to drive and gas mileage pretty poor.
2017 4x4 170 Sprinter - learning to love it but miss the ease of the Westy
 

VWbrad

New member
Had 2 different 91 Vanagon Westfalias over the last 25 years and several other air cooled one. Just sold recently to fund the Sprinter. Drove them all over the country. Loved them, but we’re not big enough to carry all my outdoor gear. ( mountain bikes, kayaks, backpack gear etc). I love my VWs, also have a 64 beetle, a 66 Single cab and the ms drives a 14 new beetle. The Vanagon was Subaru powered and I put every upgrade possible in it to make it drive more modern. ( big brakes, urethan bushings, 16” tires, different gearing etc) over 30 grand in upgrades, got most back when I sold it. I will eventually buy another one.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Oh, dear ... where to begin?
Three $300 VW Type 36 Squarebacks (the first one bought and sold in a week (after correcting a brake and suspension problem), then a 1963 (in 1973), then a 1965 (somewhen after 1976))
Somewhen (roughly 1969) bought a Beetle. Chopped the beetle body into pieces to throw away at the local dump. Took one foot of length out of the floorpan to build a Myers Manx dune buggy ... except it was intended for the forests of New Hampshire.
For that purpose i bought the undercarriage of a pre-1967 VW bus ...
For those unfamiliar with the breed, they had "transfer gears" at the ends of the in-a-pipe rear axle ... which put the actual center of the road wheels about 8 inches lower than the differential's axles. To match the lifted rear end, i mounted the bus' front suspension to the nose of the beetle's floorpan. Add a set of 18 inch Porsche wheels and Michelin tires and we had a buggy with 14 inches of ground clearance under the differential and engine's skid pan. We could walk over fallen tree trunks.

In the meantime, i spent a few years repairing "exotic cars", which somehow included VW buses (plus had many friends with vintage buses ... i spent one frozen night helping drive a 25 HP bus down from New Hampshire (to Boston) in a howling blizzard. No heat. We stopped at the Hookset toll booth's rest room and turned on all of the hot water taps to warm up the building. Some friends had many VW buses.
A 1300 cc VW engine weighed about 250 pounds ... we'd roll a beetle backwards over a strong friend lying on the ground, unbolt the engine and he'd bench-press it. The rest of us would lift the beetle up and over the engine. He'd then hand us the engine. Non-swing-axle Buses were easier: remove rear bumper and one piece of sheet metal, put cinder blocks under the engine, unbolt it and push the bus forward leaving the engine standing on the blocks.
Over the decades i've preferentially rented VW Kombis in:
... 1973: Kenya (air cooled, the battery split in half 4 days before we returned to Nairobi ... it barely slowed us down (we simply wouldn't turn off the engine while we took hikes and animal walks) Starting in the morning was merely "push 5 feet and dump the clutch" ... putt putt putt), I helped repair other buses we encountered.
... 2013: South Africa (the radiator split in half (Audi engine))
... 2014: UK (a VW California ... think "Westy").

My first test drive in a Sprinter revealed the heart of a VW Kombi on steroids.
The first attempt to park was very bus-like "Oh, i like that space i just passed (crank wheel, drive straight in)"

--dick
 

tinman

Well-known member
1993 VW Westphalia (Eurovan), new, European delivery.
2006 Sprinter motorhome (2005 chassis) bought used with -30,000 km.
First car was a 1960 bug, got it up to 90mph downhill with a load just before the engine blew up. Many adventures in that and friends' VW buses in '60's Europe. Some I even remember.
 

3Play

Active member
62 2 door Falcon wagon, lifted w/large wheels, custom panel wagon like back, sort of a surf wagon for off road..
78 Branwood desert rail, street legal, 1835 dual carb type 3 pancake engine.
63 Wayne 32 passenger Bus, 402 V-6 5spd. trans. 2 spd transaxle.
72 VW transporter, type 4 1700 engine. (Wolfsburg Blue) Great van after fixing the heads....
68 VW baja bug, 1800 w/2 stage webber and other goodies.
67 Corolla, cut off roof, 4 seat conv.
68 fuel injected VW Square Back.
69 Fast back, Impe suspension, 1835 dual carb.
72 VW Fastback mazda 13B rotary powered, holley 360 Vac. seconds, Impe suspension 85 in second gear 145 in 4th.
71 F-100 pickup 302, put 200K on it, lots of Hood River windsurfing and trips to the PNW.
67 VW Bug.

PS, AZ7000, I knew the BAP in North Tempe very well......

72 Volvo Wagon.
65 Turbo Corsa Corvair.
85 Mercedes 300TD diesel wagon, (currently on second life as off road beast)
93 Geo Metro 3cyl.
1957 PD 4104 GMC Greyhound Bus, converted to Shop/RV with solar power sys.
96 Geo Metro 3 cyl.
94 Altima, 96 Altima, 97 Altima.
96 Geo Tracker 4WD-4 door, slightly lifted.
2004 Sprinter 2500 Cargo w/solar, sprayed foam ins. Solar rear AC, still getting upgrades..
 
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Gung

New member
A nostalgic view of Winter 1985, in my 1969 'microbus' with a frozen, rusted shut, long sunroof. At the time, I was studying geology at Santa Barbara City College, working/living at Refugio State Beach and El Capitán State Beach (opposite Reagan's ranch) as a seasonal maintenance worker, keeping costs down and saving for the incredible geology field study trips to Death Valley, the eastern Sierra, the Grand Canyon and Utah's San Rafael Swell. Later that year, I blew the engine summiting Conway Summit heading north on Highway 395 and coasted a bunch of miles down to the turn off to Bodie State Historic Park, my destination, to live another season there as a park interpreter. Very cool place if you get the chance and don't mind washboard road.

Then I got a motorcycle. Then a few dozen other vehicles since then.

Today, I now have a red-ish, equally problematic 170 hightop. Kinda similar to the old '69...sorta
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Rocksnsalt

There Can Be Only ONE
Had an 80 Westy (Hitlers revenge) but had some good times in that thing.
A 70 bubbletop camper. Meh.
An 82 diesel westy which was grossly underpowered- I converted to 1.8 fi gas from a donor rabbit. Easy drop in, same mounts, Change fuel system.
Absolutely bomb proof with great torque.
an 83 diesel westy which had a way cleaner body and I did same conversion to fi 1.8 gas. Bombproof.

and 2 1990 westys. A white one and a blue one. Blue one was owned by a family of 5, food stains all over from kids in back. a filthy clean and flip.
The white one was super clean, kept it a few years but was living a block from the beach and it was just starting to rust. I wasn’t traveling much at that time and usually surfed my home breaks so it was basically an expensive surfboard / wetsuit closet... so I sold it as I couldn’t bear to see it rust away.
I always wanted to find a clean Synchro Westy and convert it to the 2.2 L 130 hp South African engine (Golf), or the Suburu kit, but never found one.

Of all those VW’s the only ones I felt confident in on a road trip were the two that I converted to the 1.8 gas rabbit/golf engine. I’ll say it again. Bombproof.
Used to pass other westys going up hills and those drivers always looked over at me as I pulled past them like how the €*#% are you doing that??!!
 
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irvingj

2015 RT SS Agile (3.0L)
The only air-cooled flat-four VW I ever owned was a bus, approx. 1965 vintage, that had been set up as a home-made camper. Guy came up to NH from CT and the engine blew. He couldn't afford to have it towed back to CT so I made him an offer.

Only reason I bought it was to overhaul the engine and then sell it, which I did. Saw too many air-cooled VWs with #3 exhaust valve broken off to ever want one for myself. Really hated that engine, but absolutely loved the 2 Rabbits I had!
 

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