Bay window camper vans age really well, and there are lots of great examples around. But could you tell the difference between a solid example ready for the road and a rusty heap ready for the breakers?
This VW Bay Window camper van buyers guide should help you find a great example.
When buying any camper look out for…
- Rust, particularly on the bottom 6 inches all around…
- Rust on chassis box sections
- On front and rear outriggers
- On roof guttering, sills, wheel arches
- On floors in front of the rear wheels
- Behind front seats
- Under cover plates which can hide a horror story of trapped moisture and rust
Be careful of campers with suspension lowered to make them look cool…
- The ride can be harsh
- Visibility is reduced
- You can’t crawl underneath to do repairs
Check the engine carefully…
- Oil leaks near the gearbox flange usually mean an ‘engine out’ job
- In gearboxes listen for bearing whines
- Check all gears work and don’t jump out of gear (a floppy gear change is normal)
- Pull and push the bottom pulley wheel: if you feel a loud ‘clunk clunk’ the engine needs a rebuild. Very small movement is OK
Other things to look out for…
- Inoperative heaters and controls – requiring new heat exchangers,
- Smell of petrol inside the vehicle usually means rubber pipes need replacing
- Tanks can also rust through where they come in contact with more rust
- Steering should be direct with hardly any play. If not check the steering box Get repairs advice from…
- Any experienced VW camper repair shop that’s been there for more than 5 years
- Inspect a car they’ve restored or get a customer reference
Get spare parts from…
- eBay.co.uk, www.justkampers.co.uk
- Alan Schofield for most body panels.
- VW Motoring magazine for other leads
Prices you can expect to pay for a Bay (1967 onwards)…
- Totally original and unrestored with MOT £5000 – £15,000
- You can still buy new Bays built in Mexico, vans (c £10000), minibuses (c £13,000) or campers (c £30,000) – see VW Motoring or Volks World for prices
- Restored with MOT £5000 – £15000 (Watch out for hidden patched over horrors)
- MOT’d but needing work £2000 – £6000
- A ‘basket case’ £1000 – £2000
Reasons why you shouldn’t buy one…
- Because it looks cool or restored but you haven’t looked underneath and don’t want to constantly maintain it
- It has a six volt system when you want reliability, though conversion to 12 volts is easier than people realise see www.nls.net/mp/volks/
- You think it will be fast and/or economical
1973 bay needs new front seats
I am trying to get hold of new front seats for our 1973 T2 bay camper. We are just starting out on her renovations and want to return her to an original condition….. Can anyone help as to where to get original front seats please?
Hi do you know the difference between a T2 continental and a T2 malaga
A lot of MOT people dont seem to know what counts as structural on a camper (1971 bay window). For instance, a front wheel arch panel replaced a couple of years ago was pointed out as a failure this year because it was not welded all the way on the inside by the door.
This was a second MOT place’s advice after the first one aborted an MOT because I had put some fibre glass under the wheel arch to protect from rust.
Has anyone got any guidance or experience on what genuinely needs welding?
also , gently lever out the rubber seal around windscreen at the bottom edge , a USUAL & BAD BAD place to have to repair / replace,