How Much Have You Spent On Your Vanagon?

Have you spent more on repairs and general maintenance than the acquisition cost or MSRP of your Vanagon? Every Vanagon owner will eventually face one of three large repair bills: Heads - $1300; Top end rebuild - $2500; Re-manufactured long block rebuild - $5,000 - 8,000.

Based on some of the copy written in the classifieds on Craiglist or the popular VW forums that certain owners have reached their breaking point with regard to certain repairs. One way to mitigate some of the risk when purchasing a Vanagon is to obtain a cylinder compression test, and check if the previous owner has a detailed provenance of records dating back before their ownership. Watch out for classifieds that drop too much Vanagon vernacular. How many times have you read:

The preferred Wasserboxer
Only 90,000 original miles
It's a GL, the Luxury model of Vanagons
Great shape mechanically - needs cosmetics
No motor - everything works great
This van could use a good cleaning

Many Volkswagen owners must rely on third parties to perform all their service and repair work. While most parts are sold with minimal markup, its the labor cost which is billed out a book value that jacks up every repair. Here is a sampling of one of our Vanagon's repair history.

Here is a sampling of repairs done to a Vanagon. Only operational and mechanical running items are listed, omitted are oil changes (2-3 per year $25, improvement products such as the Herculiner used, Peel & Seal, etc. Just about every repair was performed by an outside shop.

1991 Volkswagen Vanagon MSRP
Carat $19,190
GL Camper $22,260
GL Passenger $17,490
Syncro 4wd $27,100

$3400 Vanagon GL purchase
$6500 Re-manufactured long block rebuild

$500 4 shocks and rear brakes
$300 Upper ball joint
$100 New front windshield (insurance deductible)

$795 Ignition-distributor unit replacement
$690 Brake master cylinder
$110 New battery installed
$47 Wiper arm
$20 Front window crank arms
$40 Radio antenna
$147 Alternator belts

$685 Water pump
$140 Rear heater core (Parts Only - DIY install)
$140 Drive belts

$13,619 Total

What has been your largest Vanagon expenditure?

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