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T25 VW Campers

VW T25 - Essential Manual

May 8th, 2009

VW Transporter (82-90) Service and Repair Manual

Most T25’s are more than twenty years old now - and although they’re a great value camper, you’ll end up doing more maintenance than with a modern vehicle. This is THE manual for water-cooled engines, 1982 onwards.

As you’d expect, it’s comprehensive and clearly laid-out, following Haynes workshop manual’s tried and trusted format. It’s a good buy just to help you understand your VW T25, even if you’re not planning any major repairs or restoration. You’ll be able to do your own servicing (they’re not complicated vehicles), and be alert to potential problems.

The manual also makes a good companion to our VW t25 Buying Guide, so you’re clear aboiut about problem areas before you buy. Once you’ve bought a VW T25 it will give you all the information you need to understand rust and bodywork issues, and deal with mechanical and electrical problems.

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VW T25 - Key Books You’ll Need

March 25th, 2009

If you’re a VW t25 owner, or are thinking of buying one, some basic books could save you a lot of time and money. This selection has proved essential for maintenance, interior work and larger-scale projects such as van conversion.

VW Transporter (82-90) Service and Repair Manual (Haynes Service and Repair Manuals)
This is the Haynes manual you’ll need for your VW T25. It’s a good buy for all maintenance jobs - whether you do them yourself or need to talk through work knowledgeably so you can get someone else to quote for doing it.

VW Camper, The Inside Story: A Guide to the Various Camping Conversions and Interior Layouts Used for VW Campers 1951-2005is a really comprehensive guide to the models and seemingly endless interior conversions and configurations. Great for tracing history and background of models when you’re buying, or assessing a VW T3. Goes up to 1990.

VW Camper Inspirational Interiors: Bespoke and Custom Interior Designsis a new book that is proving very popular. It features a huge selection of interiors from simple originals to the truly bizarre and some great ideas in-between. If you’re planning an interior project it’s ideal – it oozes VW appeal if you just love campers and it’s practical as well.

Volkswagen Air-cooled Vanagon 1980-83 Owner’s Workshop Manual (Haynes VW Vanagon (Air-Cooled) Owners Workshop Manual)This is the one you’ll need if you already have or you buy buy an air-cooled

How to Convert Volkswagen Bus or Van to CamperIf you are thinking of tackling a van conversion, this is essential. A comprehensive step-by-step guide, clearly presented, that will save you days of frustration!

Click through for more details.

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VW T3 Syncro Lift

June 26th, 2009

If you need to transport your VW T3 and can’t drive it onto the trailer, it’s useful to know how it should be lifted onto the trailer.


How to lift a syncro on to a trailer.

Duration : 0:1:6

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T25 Subaru Conversion

June 18th, 2009

This is a popular engine to fit in a VW T25 - it firts the engine bay, and is an efficient and relatively economical engine


Subaru EJ22 fitted to a VW T25

Duration : 0:0:24

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VW T25 High Days, Holidays and Festivals - Creature Comforts

June 10th, 2009

OK, so we did the VW T25 mechanical checks and maintenance in the last post, now it’s time to sort out your creature comforts.

Keeping the peace

Does the stereo work? The TV? Do you have adaptors for IPods, phones, MP3 players, laptops etc? Does the cigarette lighter socket work? Do you need an inverter for mains powered devices? For those with smaller children, are favourite games, toys, teddies, blanket corners on board?

Staying alive

Fire extinguisher? Reflective vest? First Aid kit? Spare bulbs and fuses? Warning triangle? GB plate? Green Card, Medical Card? Headlight adaptors? All are a legal requirement over the water. Of course we hardy Brits don’t need any of that on the mainland do we???? Sunglasses are vital for early morning and late evening sun when flogging down the motorway, buy a £2 pair from el Cheapo and leave them in the glove box. Sun visors naturally work perfectly, don’t they?

Snacky supplies

A bottle or two of water, non-melting snacks, savoury or sweet, are life savers in a traffic jam (have you ever taken the wrapper off an overheated Mars Bar?). Then there’s stocking up on the basics for the trip - do a checklist first, it saves time (and tempers) later.

Other vital fluids

Does the fresh water pump work? Flush the tank and fill it with clean mains water. Check the Chemi-khazi for leaks and fill the tank with a fresh charge of blue fluid. Especially check the Porta-potti bellows for splits and pinhole leaks otherwise you’ll never be flushed with success.

Check the roof

Does the roof pop-up or tilt easily. Any splits or tears? Hinges, stays, catches and runners all in order?


Get the bedding out. Is it tcomplete, does it smell like an old friend?


Gas bottle full? Fridge and cooker work? Back up box of matches?

Getting there

Got a current map of where you are going? Updated the Satnav software? Clean the van right through, it’ll look like a refugee camp at the end of the holiday so you might as well start right.

Finally, take that bottle of nicely cooled fluid from the fridge, reach into the drawer for the opener (you mean it’s not there?) and relax knowing that it will still be your fault but at least you tried.

Happy touring!

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VW T25 High Days, Holidays and Festivals - Don’t Break Down

June 8th, 2009

Summer is here and we’re all looking forward rolling out of the drive and on to better things Rock, wine, beer, folk festivals, touring the Continent or seeking the ever-elusive perfect wave. But why do the shrinks agree that these are among the most emotionally exhausting times in partner and family lives? Well, some of the drama can be taken away with a little forethought so here’s a checklist to give you and your VW T25 the best chance of success.

Off the beaten track in Devon



Check the tyres for legal tread depth and add a little if you are planning a long trip, tyres do wear out. Inflate them to the correct pressure for load and speed, greater comfort and fuel economy are the prizes. Remember, new tyres are more resistant to punctures by virtue of greater tread depth so if things are a bit marginal, spend now, not stuck by the roadside in Uzbekistan. Don’t forget to check the spare too!!


You’ll have maximum load so what stopped you on a run to the supermarket might not do so well running down a mountain pass…..Check pad and shoe wear now and replace as needed.



Oil, filters and plugs

They are cheap so if you are near a service interval, treat the old girl. Look for signs of leakage around hoses and the radiator if you’ve got a ‘wet’ VW. Wet or dry, a look at the battery is next, are there whitish stains anywhere indicating acid leaks? Is the battery a sealed for life type or does it need topping up with de-ionised water? It helps to undo the battery terminals brush them clean, smear them with petroleum jelly and re-assemble them to ensure the best charge from the generator. But take care or you might get an expensive shower of sparks if the spanner touches the bodywork when working on the live terminal……

Drive Belt etc

Essential on an air-cooled VW and utterly vital on a wet one is drive belt tension and condition for generator, fan, and (some) water or power steering pumps. Any sign of cracking or fraying of the belts means spend money now not stuck in some out of the way place. Remember a breakdown might take 6 hours by the time you’ve got a mechanic or the bits and that is a big percentage of your holiday wasted let alone missing that magic solo riff or that monster wave everyone but you rode.

Fluid Levels

If any fluid levels need topping up, ask yourself why and find out.


Wipers are cheap to replace and screen wash fluid in the washer bottle will more easily remove oily traffic film and the summer dead fly scourge.


Exhaust fumes are deadly so check for exhaust leaks. Run the engine while holding a rolled up rag over the exhaust pipe outlet and listen for signs of ‘chuffing’ noises from silencer and joint leaks.

Light checks

Do these next, not forgetting brake lights (If you are solo, park near a supermarket window at night and check for reflections.). Don’t forget the number plate lights and trailer socket. Check the trailer board and trailer lights at the same time- avoid delay on the 1st day when you hitch up. OK - so that’s the mechanicals done, next post sorts out the interior and essential supplies.

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1989 VW Vanagon 4X4 Syncro Camper Walkaround

June 1st, 2009

This is an example of a clean-looking syncro - can you spost any rust? A good tour round the bodywork which will help you when you go out looking at VW 25’s to buy.

It’s worth viewing with the buying guideVW T25 Bodywork”> for checking VW T25 bodywork so you can check back to the guide as the camera pans round different parts of the van.


1989 VW Vanagon 4X4 Syncro camper walkaround video.

Duration : 0:2:33

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VW Syncro Uphill

May 21st, 2009

Climbing a sand hill on Beaver Island MI … VW Vanagon syncro 4×4 hill climb

Duration : 0:0:22

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VW T25 in The Lakes 1

May 19th, 2009

It’s beautiful in the UK at the moment - makes you want to get out and explore.

How about the lake District?

out and about in the lake district in the camper

Duration : 0:7:31

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VW T25 – Your Buying Guide to Checking Bodywork

May 4th, 2009

Tips for Checking Bodywork

Do your research

The VWT25 is still a popular van and the camper model is larger and cheaper than the older type 2 splittie and bay window campers.

The T25 was produced from 1980 to 1991 and you will find the same model described as the Volkswagen T3 and Vanagon in the US. The water-cooled engine replaced the air-cooled engines in 1982.

It pays to do your research and look at a number of vans before you buy. This guide to checking the bodywork is worth taking with you when you view.

Talk to the owner

If you talk to the owners you’ll get a feel for how the vehicle has been used and maintained. Find out how often it has been used and when. You want to hear that the vehicle is used every day or (if it’s a camper) holidayed in regularly. Take your time and you will get to know what you can expect for your money.
Take a ladder, torch, magnet and some old clothes. Always test-drive the vehicle and always view in good light in the daytime.

First bodywork check

Now down to the inspection. T 25 vans are all 15+ years old – so the bodywork is unlikely to be perfect. First check for marks, dents and ripples in the body panels by looking along the sides.

The use your magnet if you find any suspicious marks or lumps to tell you how much filler there is under the paintwork. It’s possible the vehicle may have been in a serious accident and a more rigorous inspection may be sensible.

Decide if you can live with minor imperfections or you are happy to pay to get the work done.

Check the seams

Check the body seams. Most rust on VW T25s can be found between the body panels, bubbling up under the paint. The only way to do the repair is by sandblasting out the old sealer between the panels, treating the area and re-painting.

Also check that all the seams that should be there are there. Some owners may have had them welded up or filled (use the ‘fridge magnet again) and this may be hiding something.
Get on your ladder and check the roof gutters – they can be another problem area.

Wheel arches

The chassis is very strong and rarely suffers from serious rust problems, apart from the front steps and the rear wheel arches and battery tray, so check these carefully. Also check for rust under the front wheel arches. This can cause rust within 30cm of a suspension or seat belt mounting, so it can be an MOT failure. Lift carpets to check seat-belt mountings are sound.

Check the fuel tank too as they can rot on the top! They catch dirt and damp then rust in the hollow on top designed to fit some model variations.

Check the windows

Check window surrounds as rust here can be a problem and look closely at window rubbers that have deteriorated with age. They are not a problem to replace but they expensive to buy. Leaking windscreen rubbers can cause water to lie in the foot well, so lift the mats to check for rust.

So there you are – a quick but comprehensive guide to checking bodywork and rust when you’re looking to buy a VW t 25 van or camper.

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