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Volkswagen Camper / Transporter

Published: 6th Feb 2012 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Volkswagen Camper / Transporter
Volkswagen Camper / Transporter
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The old air-cooled VW Transporters from the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s have built up a cult following in the UK, mainly thanks to their versatility in campervan form.

This huge following has ensured that, there is now a huge number of companies producing spare parts and body panels, enabling you to maintain or update your Transporter with fair ease. Here, we look at some of what’s available to make yours better.

Engine Output


If the twin carbs have worn out on a later Type 4 air-cooled two-litre engine (1970s bay Window models and early 1980s T25 ‘wedge shape’ Transporters), Just Kampers ( sells a Weber single Carb Conversion Kit for £301, which will improve performance and smoothness. The company also sells an Empi Carburettor Kit (with twin 44 IDF carbs), which will upgrade the performance of a 1600cc air-cooled engine. It costs £745.


Due to the fairly modular nature of these engine, it’s possible to replace individual parts so that, for instance you can change the barrels and pistons without changing the heads or bottom end if you don’t need to. Just Kampers sells a barrel and Piston set for the 2000cc T2 (Bay Window) Transporter for just £295. The company also sells a top end 1600cc rebuild kit for £470.

Bottom End

Mod sells a Super Race Crankcase from Auto Linea, for £840. The company will also sell you an Eagle Racing camshaft for £76.99; you’ll also want to fit new bearings and crankshaft oil seal.


There’s a competitive market in recon air-cooled engines as it can be relatively inexpensive to replace a worn-out unit. For instance, Just Campers sells a reconditioned 1600cc engine for £1231. Reconditioned twolitre engines cast from £2032.

Front Suspension


A popular modification is to fit a heavy duty anti-roll bar, to improve roadholding and stability. http://www.justkampers. com sells a Front Heavy Duty Anti Roll Bar for £80. At the same time it’s worth upgrading the shock absorbers and the company sells a Heavy Duty KYB Gas Shock Absorber for £56.


The torsion-bar of the air-cooled models provides a solid base but, like any vehicle wear and tear will eventually take out the ball joints and the shock absorbers. Luckily all these components are easily available and, for instance, sells a Ball Joint Overhaul Kit for the 1968-79 Bay Window Transporter for £140.



A popular and relatively simple brake upgrade is to replace flexible brake hoses with stainless steel pipes, to eliminate spongy braking. To this end, Just Kampers sells a Goodridge Front and Rear Flexible Stainless Steel Brake Hose Kit for £99.


Companies have stepped in where original brake parts have dried up. Just kampers remanufactured disc calipers for the 1971-2 Bay Windows, when original supplies dried-up. The kit costs £209 and has components to upgrade both front brakes. Kits are also available to replace work rear drum brakes and Just Kampers sells a Rear Brake Kit, including brake shoes, for £102.

Gearbox and transmission


The gearchange on rear-engines is notoriously sloppy. Renewing the bushes in the linkage can make a dramatic difference and, at the same time, upgrade to one of the ‘flashy’ gear shifters sold by specialists. Just Kampers sells an Empi Trigger shifter for £70.50, which gives a more positive gear selection.


Boxes are available in an exchange basis. Just kampers sells a reconditioned IRS gearbox for 1968-1976 Bay Window vans (with 1600cc engines) for £699. The company also sells new driveshafts (complete with CV joints) for £122.

Body and chassis


Thanks to the popularity of these classic vans, it’s even possible to include modern-day modifications. For instance, Just Kampers sells an electrically heated front windscreen for £188 (a worthy mod since the heating is notoriously bad in these vehicles!). It’s also easy to buy towbars, roof racks and finishing touches such as EMPI mudflaps (£63 from Just Kampers).


A mix of original panels and remanufactured panels, means you can practically build a new Bay Window Transporter (less so with the earlier Splitties). Just Kampers sells a Britishmade Lower Rear Corner Repair Panel for £365, and a Wheel Arch Bundle Kit for £357 which includes front and rear wheelarch repair panels for 1972-1979 VW Transporters.

Interior and exterior trim


The original VW seats were basic, so many choose to upgrade. What about a luxurious Newton Suffolk reclining seat, with armrests, for £599!


Most trim, such as the all important VW front badge, is still available (more so for the Bay Windows than for the earlier Splitties). A lot of the original- style trim can also be bought new, a complete trim kit, with vinyl-covered panels, for £688, to fit the 1968-79 Bay Window VWs.

Rolling stock


Many people choose to upgrade the wheels, especially those after the cool surfing dude look. If this is you, then www. will sell you a Porsche style alloy for £94, or an EMPI five spoke for £80. Or a classic white wall trim for £50!


Original-style wheels and trim are easy to get hold of. For instance, Just Kampers sells a basic black steel wheel for £70, while a chrome domeshaped hubcap costs just £15.

Rear suspension


If you’re after better handling Transporter, Just Kampers sells a (for the Bay Window models), which includes a full set of KYB shock absorbers and a front and rear anti-roll bar, for a total price of £407.


All of the components you need to repair your rear suspension are readily available, and at competitive prices. For instance, an OEM rear bump stop costs just £10.50 from Just Kampers.


Parts supply isn’t an issue but aftermarket quality may be so buy with care. Being air-ccoled, the engine oil has a double job to do and so earlier than recommended changes is always a good idea, especially for infrequently used classics. Depending upon model there’s something like 13 grease nipplies which reqiuire regular attention. heater okay? It takes its warmth from heat exhaust heat exhangers so it’s vital these are in good order and not leaking – for obvious reasons.

Top Tips

  • Engine oil: SAE 30 mono or 20W/50 (see a specilaist on the best type for your needs and engine) 4.4 Pints
  • Gearbox: SAE 90 6.13 Pints (note fluid to be changed every 24,000 miles)
  • Spark plugs: 14mm Bosch W8AC or equiv 0.024in-0.028in
  • C.b points: 0.016 (dwell 54-58 degrees)
  • Timing: Depending upon engine - starting point 7.5 degrees BTDC
  • Valve clearances: In/ex 0/006in
  • Given the restoration costs that can engulf a Camper, buying a top model from the outset looks the most sensible policy – unless you like rebuilding one to your standard and spec. Typically a good ‘Split Window’ model sells for around £20k+ while the later ‘Bay’ versions can be picked up for half this. Although you can pick up rusty projects from under £5000. LHD models are around 10 percent less.

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