Archive for the ‘Vanagon Westfalia’ Category
One of the bigger interior projects in the Westy we did just last weekend. We replaced the original refrigerator with a much more modern Truck Fridge.
The original Westfalia refrigerator was kind of impressive. It ran on your choice of 3 different power sources. It could use the auxiliary battery, the plug in shore power, or propane gas from the tank under the van. This may make you wonder why in the heck would anyone want to replace it. Well, it turns out none of those power sources worked particular well. We only got it working on the plug in shore power. Even when we got it working it would at best only stay internally 20deg cooler inside than the temperature outside.
The Truck Fridge on the other hand is a much more modern and efficient refrigerator. It runs both AC and DC power so we still have the option to run auxiliary battery or shore power. It also happens to be (almost) a perfect fit in the space left vacant by the original fridge. This only requires you to trim the cabinet frame and ad some posts to screw the flanges of the fridge into. Oh, there is also one other small issue. The Truck Fridge is only sold in black. This requires you to orders matching reproduction laminate for the fridge door, and then mask and spray the rest of the fridge to match the molding in the van…. So I did that.
I wish I took more pictures during the install but it turned out to be a full days job
I’m dating this post to match the day we bought our Westy. On June 27th Kate and I did a very un-KateandPaul thing. We drove to Newbury Mass. and bought, pretty much sight un seen 1987 Vanagon Westfalia. The Vanagon Westfalia is a camper van. It holds 4 people both riding and sleeping. It’s endlessly customizable. It is also our ticket out of the little NYC bubble we live in.
That might sound crazy but after 10 years in NYC it just like anywhere else. The path we run to work and back is well worn and difficult to break free of. The Westy is for that.
There are a few challenges. Vanagons are notoriously under powered and unreliable. The Westy tops out at 65mph on the highway. That, I don’t mind. There is an ease in knowing the slow lane is for you and passing is a non issue. The real challenge is the simple fact the engine is almost 30 years old and reality of a part failing and canceling a trip is inevitable. It’s a good lesson in patience and dealing with disappointment, but the future is most likely a Subaru engine conversion. Giving us 100 more horse power and a modern engine that most mechanics can quickly find parts for. Not to mention a level or reliability we will never have with the very old VW engine.
The previous owners really only used Westy as a sleeper. They didn’t take advantage of all it has to offer or all you can do with it. This is the most exciting part for me. On our very first trip to the Poconos Kate and I Installed the Go Westy Aux Battery Kit. This is a second battery besides your main car battery that runs all the electronics for the van. There is also a 14 gallon water tank built into the van that is used by the sink. The water lines for that need to be replaced. There is also a fridge built it. It’s suffering from old age and can be replaced with a Truck Fridge that runs on both AC and DC power. Hoping to make that upgrade soon.
Check out some pictures we’ve taken so far.