The Two Most Common Complaints with the Volkswagen Vanagon
With a great deal of versatility and all of the reliability of anything made by Germany, the Volkswagen Vanagon is quite a legend among collectors. It's pretty understandable then, that the line has continued well into the new century. All in all, it's very difficult to spot any problems with the Vanagon. No matter where it is used all over the world, people remark about how very efficient it is and how not prone it is to breaking down. Still, no ride is ever truly perfect, and after much effort, we managed to find at least two problems that might plague you if you own a vanagon.
Cooling fan problems
It is a Volkswagen Vanagon from the very last year of its production run-2002-that manifests this particular set of difficulties. In the best cases, it simply breaks down and leads to a bit of inconvenient overheating. At the very worst of cases-which was actually kind of rare-the radiator fan would completely disintegrate and tear off a chunk of the radiator as it did. It might be rare, but it's a serious-and expensive problem-to deal with nonetheless.
No recall orders were issued for this particular problem, and it remains fairly rare. If you encounter it, it might be a good idea to bring the van back to the dealer. If you opt to have repairs or replacements done, be warned that it is very, very costly.
Though related to the above-mentioned problem, this is actually unique to an earlier release of the Volkswagen Vanagon-1998, to be exact. It never reached the same levels of sheer seriousness as the 2002 problem would evolve to be, but did affect a far greater number of owners. In nearly all cases, the affected engine was the original Audi 5-piston, 4-gear engine.
What proved to be the solution was a replacement of the radiator, radiator cap, and the water pump. Upon doing all of that, a greater majority of users reported that the problem went away completely. If your 1998 Vanagon is covered by the recall, the replacement is done for free. Otherwise, be ready to shell out quite a bit depending on the replacement brand that you get.