1980 Volkswagon Vangon Restoration

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Vanagon received product

In 2017 I purchased a VW Vanagon campervan, named Stella, with the intention of reworking the body and engine slowly over time. After attempting to drive it 150 miles to Austin, Tx the engine overheated and seized. My plan of reworking the van then became greatly accelerated.

Rebuilding the Engine

One rationale for choosing Stella as my first restore was its simplicity in its engine design. It did have fuel injectors and a very simple computer, but the engine was aircooled and had fewer parts which led me to believe it would be easier for me to disect and rebuild.

Vanagon final product

After dropping the engine I began the task of taking everything apart and inspecting. The engine had about 80k miles on it, which was near the service life for these cars. The engine case was within spec, but I opted for new cylinder heads, new pistons and new cylinders. As well as replacing just about every piece of rubber as I could. I actually replaced so many parts that it would be pointless (and impossible to recall) them all here. I will note that I opted for a new electronic / magnetic based PerTronix distributor. This was a good move.

Vanagon final product
Vanagon final product
Vanagon final product
After reassembly and much trial and error, the engine was ready to go back in the van. After a few hiccups (a loose bolt in the cooling fan making a racket and a loose fuel line sending fuel on the ground) the van croaked to life.
The following summers I traveled along the east coast.

Vanagon final product

Body work

A couple years after the initial engine work, I decided it was time to put an end to the rust that was slowing eating away at Stella. Again, never having painted or done body work on a car, I was in for a week of learn-as-you-go. Indeed, much was learned. I look forward to not making the same mistakes on my next project car.

Vanagon final product
Vanagon final product
Vanagon final product
Vanagon final product
Vanagon final product
Vanagon final product

Vanagon final product