1985 Vanagon Crew Cab

Note: Click on thumbnails for expanded images!

85 Crew Cab 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's 912 and Syncro 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.

Tim Smith's Crew Cab 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 details).

Crew Cab alone at the Super-8 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.

Vanagons in the driveway 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!
New Shed 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.

Loaded down Crew Cab 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.

Loaded down Crew Cab 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!
Is it high enough? 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.

Webtracker counter Last updated: 10/04/99
Please stop by soon to see pictures of my VW's, past and present!