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

az7000'

Active member
My favorite feature was the cruise control when the dog went to sleep on the accelerator.
I used to run a baseball bat pinning the accelerator, young and dumb I would rest my legs on the passenger seat!
PS, AZ7000, I knew the BAP in North Tempe very well......
I was more of a 7th street at the canal store. Here's a good one, I've bought 3 TDI's (for sell back purposes) from LeSuer car company, they are still there in tempe since 1975 where they sold bugs. www.usedvwaudi.com mostly sell dealer buy backs with just a few thousand miles but the best experience buying a car you will ever have!
 

brucedog

Member
Not surprised to see how many VW owners we have on this forum :)
First car was '69 Squareback in 1977...got me to school and surf breaks (usually)
84 Vanagon Weekender...most comfortable bed in any VW. Porta crib fit in front of the bed too
93 Eurovan Weekender with pop top, 5 cylinder motor, 5 speed transmission. Real workhorse, towed a small boat while fully loaded with kids and gear.
99 Eurovan Weekender, no pop top. Great motor, great kid car. Sold to move on boat in 2001 :)
03 Eurovan Weekender, same as above. Handed it off to my son when he turned 16. Sold in 2015 with 228k miles and still going strong.

We loved our Volkswagens for raising kids but the Sprinter is superior in every way. We talked out niece and her hubby into one for their baby hauler and they are in heaven...143 4x4 passenger with one row of seats and permanent bed in the back. Don't bother folding up the stroller...just toss it in!
Cheers
Bruce
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
A VW-sold (but exceedingly rare) option in the Squarebacks was the "sleep-in space expander"
It replaced the rear seat lower hinge with a simple mechanism that let you move the seat bottom straight forward, then drop the (normal hinge) seat back down to fill the vacated space.... which yielded a 6 foot sleeping area!
The Boston VW Dealer got some in (upon request :wink: ) and i moved mine from Squareback to Squareback (and they're lost in the basement somewhere, even now) across the years.

--dick
 

3Play

Active member
I didn't know about that seat option, would have found one. Square backs make excellent off road wagons.
The only reall drawback was no good way to air condition them....

I bought my 67 bug from LeSuer's, A friend bought a Toyota, he was a wheeler dealer, but was fair for sure.
 

fosterama

Member
Necessity is the mother of invention, in my 1977 VW Westfalia the accelerator cable broke, so I temporarily use a rope run through the upper engine lid to the driver seat, challenging but doable to get me home. Better than 10 starts limit.
Had the accelerator cable break on my '72 god awful bright yellow vw bug driving back from Canyonlands towards Grand Junction on I-70 in Utah and used tied together shoelaces from the carb thru the back vents back to the drivers window to accelerate. Tighten it up till highway speed, roll up the drivers window on the cord and voila, cruise control..
My 1968 VW green and white hippie camper van was a delight to drive but a pain with multiple breakdowns.
Had a foam pad in the back and window curtains and that was my build.
In the early 70's sped up in San Diego at a yellow light left turn at an intersection.
My friend and I had on a AM radio station with a fire and brimstone preacher raising hell.
We were making fun and saying hallelujia and praise the lord in a call and repeat with him.
David was resting on the double back doors eating an apple and I heard a bam as I accelerated thru the turn, I looked back to see my him gone and the back doors wide open.
Locked it up at the curb and there was my my buddy, slightly dazed, in the middle of the intersection but OK.
Picked up the various stuff that had fallen out (including David) and went back to the bus with drivers at the intersection, green light both ways, still stopped and and trying to digest what they just saw.
Not sure where that apple is now, but I'm still friends with David.
Loved driving that bus but enjoy the power, safety, and room of my Sprinter a bunch more....
Dan
 

davisdave

2005 140 tall passenger
My first vehicle in '86 was a '74 Thing. Parents had bought it new. Army green. Some years later got an A1 Jetta. Young, poor, and dumb...no place to store it...sold the Thing. Wish i still had it:cry:
 

tom2turbo

Member
A green 61 23-window Bus was in my life for the 1970-1971 time period. We fit a lot of folks into her for the carload drive-in movies and Wisconsin rock festivals. My 06 140 high roof while a lot bigger seems small built camper.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
My first vehicle in '86 was a '74 Thing. Parents had bought it new. Army green. Some years later got an A1 Jetta. Young, poor, and dumb...no place to store it...sold the Thing. Wish i still had it:cry:
I was travelling in Norway in 1972 (driving a friend's boss's Squareback down from Narvik to Trondheim) and stopped in at the VW dealer in Trondheim.
They had a "181" (Thing/Safari) in the showroom. My wife and i asked if we could take a significant look at it. They said "Yes".
(i was in a sport jacket) We clambered all over the thing ... "Oh, look! The windshield folds down... you can take them off!", "the doors come off" (did so), the hood, too (ditto), "Oh, drat ... it doesn't have the end-of-crankshaft nut that lets you mount a water propeller (the Schwimmwagen version of the Kubelwagen)" , checked out the skid pan from underneath ... it had the end-of-axle transfer gears!! ... we spent about 20 minutes with it, and then also admired the K70 (an Audi-powered sedan that never came to the US). At the end of the visit, they asked if i'd like a job at VW's central Norwegian engineering facility. My wife and i seriously considered it, but we regretfully declined.

--dick ("181" was the European name for it... the wheelbase was 181 centimeters.)((or was it the track width?))(((71.25 inches)))
(neither: Wikipedia says the wheelbase was 2400 mm and the width was 1640 mm))
They removed the end-of-axle gears in 1973.
1617496452969.png
 
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RVBarry

Well-known member
Cool.
Those are often called portal axles, BTW.


How fast could those go? Portal systems can overheat at speed.
 

3Play

Active member
Cool.
Those are often called portal axles, BTW.


How fast could those go? Portal systems can overheat at speed.

We use to use these on off road desert rail type race cars.
There was a kit that mounted them at a 35deg angle downward to increase ground clearance without the hop associated
with mounting vertical. I believe the original stock orientation was horizontal with no height gain.
The axles spin backwards, the ring gear is flipped and when you accelerate hard the rear end rises!!!
Great memories.... thanks for the thread and all the awesome pics!
 

3Play

Active member
We use to use these on off road desert rail type race cars.
There was a kit that mounted them at a 35deg angle downward to increase ground clearance without the hop associated
with mounting vertical. I believe the original stock orientation was horizontal with no height gain.
The axles spin backwards, the ring gear is flipped and when you accelerate hard the rear end rises!!!
Great memories.... thanks for the thread and all the awesome pics!

PS, they lowered top speed by about 15% I think, but we always ran them with huge wheels and 34" tires, so it worked out well.
 

Davidboco

New member
In 1973 I had a '71 westy - great bus - the engine blew over labor day in Missoula and I was late to school that year
then I had a '75 tintop bus in Northern Wisconsin - no heat and we were cold - engine blew and i sold it to an ironworker I worked with
next was a '99 eurovan camper - different animal but loved how modern it was
and now have a 2016 144 low top poptop sportsmobile - we love it
I still remember intimately what it feels like to have a VW engine seize!
 

SprinterSnale

'05 T1N 3500 - NorCalSprinterCampout
Bus.JPG
This '68 Station Wagon Deluxe purchased by my Dad new for $2000. A darn solid 1st year model replacing the split window. The independent suspension was great on the dirt. I took over in 1986. This pic the day before 3k mile grad trip to the Rockies,1989. Note transaxle out second time in a week due to pesky shift fork failure. (I grew weary of the bungee cord 4th gear workaround.) Second time was a charm swapped in a morning. One tale out 190,000 miles and 25 years being in my life. I rode and slept on a foam pad above the engine compartment until I was ten...now that's an adventure wagon!
Just about everyone 40s or older who comes to the Sprinter Campout has owned a VW. It's a popular topic of camaraderie, practicality, adventure, joy, sorrow and patience.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
POP QUIZ!!!

Identify the tool and its purpose:

VWtools.jpg

I rate #1 , 2 and 3 the hardest....
hints: #1's square hole is 7.5mm wide, #3 is sized 17 mm

I couldn't quickly find my (was is 17 or 19mm?) Hex Allen wrench (for transmission drain/fill plugs)

--dick
 

glasseye

Well-known member
_SFP5258_59_60_61_62 Bus 1200 px.jpg
Yup, guilty as charged. I've owned nearly nothing but vans in my nearly 60 years on the road. Only a TR4 and a Datsun 2000 mar my vanlife record. A 67 Dodge Transivan, a half dozen F*rds, two Asstros and this:

This '74 was left in my barn by my father in law. Abandoned due to a slipping clutch, with only 55k original miles, it was pristine.

Nearly 40 years later, I resurrected it, hopeful of a road trip adventures vehicle. But I soon found out that it was an anachronism, unfit for the kinds of duty I had in mind. The boys on the Itinerant Air-Cooled forum sometimes reported with pride that they'd completed road trips of up to 300 miles without issues. Frito shrugs off trips ten times that long, burns less dollars per mile, is WAY more fun to drive and I can walk around inside. :rad:

The best part of my brief driving experience with the bus was all the peace signs flashed by those who saw us drive past. Nobody does that to Frito 'n me. :idunno:

A near death experience in high winds in the Columbia Gorge convinced me of the innate instability that results from near-zero weight over the steering wheels. :doh: As I grazed past the oncoming semi, I realized that this was not the vehicle for me.

After the clutch fix, and a few other minor repairs I sold the bus for an unconscionable figure to a collector who was over the moon to have purchased it. Like in any good business deal, everyone wins.

20080613_1547 1200 px.jpg
I shot this from the passenger seat of my bus somewhere in The Palouse. We were all bound for a VW rally in Maupin, OR.
 
POP QUIZ!!!

Identify the tool and its purpose:

View attachment 177049

I rate #1 , 2 and 3 the hardest....
hints: #1's square hole is 7.5mm wide, #3 is sized 17 mm

I couldn't quickly find my (was is 17 or 19mm?) Hex Allen wrench (for transmission drain/fill plugs)

--dick
OK, I'll bite: I think #1 is for a splittie engine lid lock. #6 possibly for the flywheel nut? #4 slipped over a crankcase
stud, engaging the flywheel teeth while using #6? Been awhile...
Michael
 

calbiker

Well-known member
I had a van that era. Never had any big issues with it.

Gol353.jpg

Gol355.jpg

Baja winter in the 1980's.

I've seen the VW gathering at Maupin. Saw some very cool vehicles as I drove by.

Nearly 40 years later, I resurrected it, hopeful of a road trip adventures vehicle. But I soon found out that it was an anachronism, unfit for the kinds of duty I had in mind. The boys on the Itinerant Air-Cooled forum sometimes reported with pride that they'd completed road trips of up to 300 miles without issues.
 

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