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Thread: 1981 VW Westfalia

  1. #1
    OLC Member MatS's Avatar
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    Default 1981 VW Westfalia

    So last September I bought a Westy off Craigslist here in Langley. Originally a California van which was rough but virtually rust free, seams look as good as they did new. Cheap enough that it was modifiable and had some spending money to redo the interior.

    Repairs and modifications so far;
    Schwenk springs for a small lift approx 2"
    195/75R14 BF Goodrich All Terrains - now discontinued
    Fox shocks from GoWesty to handle the logging roads
    All new steering and suspension components
    New brakes, pads, rotors, calipers and lines
    Shifter bushings and parts replaced
    Fiberglass insulation removed and replaced with updated stuff
    Weather barriers behind all interior panels
    Removed and remade all interior panels
    Eurovan seats for the front with armrests and seat heaters
    Full interior upholstry replaced and necessary foam replaced
    Cupboards all removed, cleaned and painted
    Aux AGM battery with isolator for house equiptment
    Blauphunkt radio and 5.25" door speakers for some noise
    Engine is a little leaky of course, maybe in a year or 2 will remove and rebuild
    Replaced some leaky pieces and gaskets so far on the engine
    New ignition coil, module, plugs, cap, rotor, wires and other maintenance

    It's been a long slow process but just this week I finished the exporting paperwork and have the vehicle registered in BC in my name. Drives decent for now but I got a few more things to pick away at, vacuum leaks and such. Got some pictures scattered on different devices I'll round up and show the progress but so far it's been pretty cool to fix up.

  2. #2
    OLC Member MatS's Avatar
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    These are from the day I shoved it in the garage












  3. #3
    OLC Member cruiserpilot's Avatar
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    I like that! Very nice, 5 spd or auto? I see shifter bushings now, so I'm thinking 5 speed. Keep an eye on it, the 5 speeds seemed to have issues if memory
    serves. Usually people not downshifting early enough,

  4. #4
    OLC Member vicali's Avatar
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    Sweet, the aircooleds are much simpler to keep going.. Keep the oil on the inside and they never stop..
    Our 86 wasser was all about keeping the coolant where is should be.
    Did you replace you fuel lines yet? Highly recommended!

  5. #5
    OLC Member MatS's Avatar
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    4 speed standard, I've heard the normal issue with those are syncros wearing out in 3-4 but transmission seems to be functioning just find now that you can actually find the gears. Although I think I might but a bend in the shift rod due to 3rd requires me to touch the dash just below the radio and that's just annoying.

    Fuel lines, fuel tank, fuel level sendor, fuel filter/fuel pump, crossover pipes, expansion hoses, hard plastic lines and any fittings have all been replaced.

    Forgot about that, also replaced the starter and a new battery cable (2 gauge) at the same time due to having access with the fuel tank removed. Battery has been replaced as well with the largest group 41 that fits in the battery box under the passenger seat.

  6. #6
    OLC Member MatS's Avatar
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    These are it's christmas decoration wiper arms.... I actually lost the wiper arms somehow in the garage and had to order new ones like a champ.


    Gutted and wired for speakers and radio. Blower motor replaced at the same time due to access. Cleaned all the rat business out of the vents and pipes.






  7. #7
    OLC Member MatS's Avatar
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    Clean frame and all the hardware came apart without a torch or breaking a single bolt.



    Not bad condition for 35 year old metal. Everything that cleaned and painted with it was removed, those pieces that weren't replaced obviously.






    I swapped the white letting inside after I tested the first wheel fitment, didn't like the look of it. Polished the centers caps after.


    This was before I got the new replacement H4 headlights, came with high watt bulbs but I currently have regular 55/60watt bulbs in them.


    Haven't taken the rear apart yet due to that axle nut bending the **** out of my tools.... AMAZINGLY tight that one.


    Finally rolled out of the garage after several months.... ended up taller than my garage door so I had to flatten the tires and hang off the front bumper in order to get out


    Doing more prep work on the under side and brought it to work for all the fuel system replacement. Really happy with the way the undercoating made it looks. Little bit of body work was done before it but nothing serious just for protection.

  8. #8
    OLC Member ol yeller's Avatar
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    Nice project Matt! You need the axle nut tool that takes a breakerbar and has a spot to slug with a big f'n hammer...works great, I've had lots of drums off vw's over the years.

  9. #9
    OLC Member MatS's Avatar
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    haha Ya I've seen the tool on the van websites. I had a breaker bar and a torque mutiplier when I was trying in my garage but my support bar to hold bent in half so I said screw it.

  10. #10
    OLC Member MatS's Avatar
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    Thought I'd update on this beauty of a van, nothing has really happened with it since early summer. Ended up buying a place so priorities got swapped but fear not, I finally brought the van to my new garage yesterday!! Bonus part was I didn't have to flatten the tires to get into the new townhouse. This winter I'm going to ditch the FI system and install a set of dual-webers from Aircooled.net, I think some new pushrod tube seals will be enough to slow down the oil leaking and HOPEFULLY if my 04 Jetta sells for decent money replace the exhaust system with a new federal system to get the california **** out of there.

    SLOW PROGRESS but it's progress none the less.

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