From: Joel Walker
Symptom(s): new vanagon owner
it would be a very good idea to do the following things to any
'new-to-me' bus ...
- replace ALL the rubber fuel hoses. NOW! German rubber hoses become
brittle and can split and spew gasoline under high pressure (45psi in
the fuel injection system), which can cause a fire very very quickly.
www.vanagain.com has a kit he sells with the hose and new clamps. it
is extremely important that you get only hose that is rated for fuel
injection pressures ... hose that is rated only for carburetor
pressures will balloon up and burst under the pressures of fuel
- replace the brake fluid. it NEEDS to be replaced every two years.
brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air, and turns rusty colored.
new brake fluid is clear to honey-colored. if you have a 4-speed
transmission (or a syncro 5-speed), you have FIVE (5) places to bleed
the system: four wheel bleeders and a fifth on the clutch slave
cylinder. automatic transmissions have only the four wheel bleeders.
- replace the coolant. NOW. this is a real mess, but can only help you
in the long run. antifreeze has additives in it .. they prevent
corrosion and lubricate the water pump, among other things. these
additives wear out .. become depleted .. over time. it takes about 3.5
to 4 years to become completely depleted. so the schedule is to
replace the coolant every two years. that gives you plenty of cushion.
new antifreeze contains fresh additives and protects your engine.
- clean and regrease the cv joints. really messy, but not very
difficult. and doing so will afford you problem-free (at least, with
respect to the cv joints) driving for at least a couple of years
(depending on how much grease you use. i use more than specified and
get about 60,000 miles out of each cleaning/repacking).
- clean and regrease the three sliding points of the sliding door.
makes opening/closing a lot easier and quieter.
- check the rear hatch gas struts/shocks. open the hatch and leave it
up for a while. see if it sags down. if so, you'll need to replace the
struts. about $20 each. otherwise, you'll whack your head when turning
back around to get something out of the back one day.
- replace the wiper blades. just so you KNOW when it was last done.
this is called Paranoid Maintenance. "if it looks like it could
break, replace it!"
- replace the three v-belts in the engine compartment. again, just so
you KNOW when it was done.
a few tidbits to help you ...
- no owners manual? get one from these folks ...
Out-of-Print Service/Owners Manuals
Volkswagen United States if it's still available, they'll
1-800-544-8021 it to you. $16 each.
be SURE to ask for the Camper Supplement!! it's no extra charge, but
if you do not ask, they won't send it.
- where's the battery!?? under the front passenger seat. yup.
you'll have to slide the seat all the way forward and swivel it 90
degrees to get at the battery. it's a really tight fit in the campers.
- where's the windshield washer fluid? well, you can see the one for
the rear hatch window ..it's sticking out of the wall on the passenger
side, just behind the rear seat. but the front one, ah, that's a
mystery. if you look under the carpet, where the driver's left foot
normally rests, there it is. now, if you fill it and you hear or
see the washer fluid flowing out onto the ground, don't despair.
that's normal. after about three years, the gasket between the tank
and the filler neck shrinks, leaving a gap. all it means is that the
tank is full when you hear/see the fluid hitting the ground: stop
pouring. either that or go through all the hassle of getting a new
gasket and having the same thing happen three years from now.
- where's the brake fluid reservoir?! well ...it's hidden even
better. it's inside the instrument panel/pod ... between the
speedometer and the tachometer. yup. you have to pull that cover off
the pod to even see the reservoir. you pull it off by sitting in the
driver's seat and reaching over the steering wheel and putting your
fingers in those two little grip-holes back there (you can see them
through the windshield). then pull toward you and up ... it can be a
tough pull if the cover has never been off before.
other stuff you can find in the vanagon list archives. check out
www.vanagon.com and click around till you get to the Archives search
good folks to buy from ...
www.eurocampers.com ... camper accessories and manuals and spare parts
www.steveslockshop.com ...for any key or lock problems,including those dippy little locks on the water/electricity flaps on the side of the camper.
www.vanagain.com ... parts and repair kits.
www.telusplanet.net ..really neat and high quality bike racks and cargo racks for the rear
all those above folks are also on the vanagon list. all good folks,
hope it helps. good luck!
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