1985 Vanagon Crew Cab
Note: Click on thumbnails for expanded images!
In November of 1998, I flew to Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada) to purchase a 1985 Crew Cab
Vanagon. These Vans were never imported into the US, so if you want one, start looking in Canada!
If you are interested in the process I used to import the Van, click HERE.
Tim Smith, a listmember and fellow Crew Cab owner, was my gracious host for the duration of my
stay in Fredericton. He met me at the Fredericton Airport in his Porsche 912, and gave me a ride
to his home, where the owner of the soon-to-be my Crew Cab had agreed to meet us.
When we arrived at Tim's house, my Crew was waiting in the driveway. After swapping in the
US/MPH speedometer, we spent some quality time inspecting Tim's Crew cab and his Subaru engine
conversion project (See my Vanagon Engine Conversions page for more
After having dinner and a few beers at a local pub, I started on the long journey south towards
Washington, DC. Crossing the border back into the USA was no big deal, as I was prepared with
all the necessary paperwork. After handing over several crisp $100 bills for the import duty,
I was back on my way! I drove until midnight, and got a bed at the Super-8 in Augusta, Maine.
I slept in the next morning, leaving Augusta at 10:30 AM. Seems that all the other Super-8
patrons were early risers, as shown in my view of the parking lot at 10:00AM.
The rest of the drive to DC was rather uneventful, with me arriving home at about 11:00PM. The
next morning, I re-arranaged the driveway so that both Vanagons were side-by-side. I hope to
find some time over the next few weeks to fix a few minor problems so that the Crew will pass
the MD safety inspection required to get tags. I can't wait to start drving it on a daily basis!
Crew Cab at work!
Like many other family guys, the garage is no longer just for car stuff. A few lawnmowers,
rakes and an assortment of bikes have crowded into the already tight 1-car space. Over the Labor Day
weekend of 1999, I built a small 8'x8' storage shed in the back yard to help accomodate this
gear. The shed itself is the "Regent"
kit from Handy Home Products that I purchased at
The Home Depot.
The kit ships "knocked down" into a relatively flat 4'x8'x11" tall box that weighs about 575Lbs.
I also bought 2 sheets of 3/4" pressure treated plywood, 5 landscape timbers and 500Lbs of crushed
stone as a base for the foundation. I would estimate that the total payload weighed in at 1250 Lbs!
I have hauled some drywall and framing studs in the Crew, but never anything this heavy. Notice in
the picture to the right how low the rear is in comparison to the front.
The Crew had no problems with accelerating or braking, but steering was a problem. At speeds over
35MPH, the front end wandered so much that it was hard to keep in my lane. It seems that too much of
the load was behind the rear axle, which took most of the weight off the front wheels. I guess that
the Crew is easily a "1/2 ton" pickup, as long as you load it properly!
Bleeding the air!
As owners of water-cooled Vanagons know all too well, having air trapped in the cooling system can
cause the engine to overheat. I just replaced my cracked and leaking coolant expansion tank the first weekend
of October 1999, and needed to get the air out the system. The Bentley manual states that you need
to raise the front of the van 24" to properly purge the air. Those boring Bentley guys probably
assume that you would use a jack for this. Being too lazy and creative (a most dangerous
combination) I took a different route, as seen here to the right.
Last updated: 10/04/99
Please stop by soon to see pictures of my VW's, past and present!