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Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi/Camper (Split-screen) (1949 - 1968)

Last updated 22 March 2019


Buying Guide


  • Cool
  • Usable
  • Highly versatile
  • Massive selection available with prices to suit almost all budgets


  • Rust is an issue
  • Restoration is not straightforward and costly
  • Underpowered unless tuned
  • Wobbly road manners unless upgraded


  • On campers, check the quality of split charging systems or leisure batteries, and also any aftermarket add-ons that have undoubtedly been fitted along the way.
  • As for interiors - repro and custom trim is the best way of getting immaculate insides, as originals are now near-unobtainium. Original seats are rare, but re-trimming is straightforward.
  • Servicing is easy and straightforward - engine removal is relatively simple for larger jobs.
  • Gearboxes cause little problems at all.
  • Check the engine for signs of wear - blue smoke is a giveaway for worn rings or bores. Rebuilding is easy and cheap, and secondhand engines are plentiful. You can swap engines between models simply.
  • Pre-1960 Type 2s with the 1192cc engine brake that rule - the earliest parts are harder to find and much more expensive.
  • Check for signs of overheating - good flat-fours can run all day without getting hot.
  • Pulling on the fan belt pulley to check for crankshaft float - if there's visual movement, the main bearings are shot and you need a rebuild.
  • Make sure the oil has been changed every 3000 miles.
  • Check for rusty heat exchanger - you know because the heater won't be working and the interior smells of exhaust fumes.
  • Check the steering for free play, but if the bearing needs looking at, it's easily adjustable.
  • If it's the kingpin, repair kits are available, complete with all bushes, bearings, shims and seals.
  • If it's lowered, make sure it's been done properly - if the beam axle has been cut, check the quality of the weld is good, without stress or cracks etc.
  • Check drum brakes aren't suffering from leaking wheel cylinders - easy to fix, but not always cheap.
  • Rusty panels - new ones are all available off the shelf.
  • The main places to check for rust are the sills, wheelarches, door bottoms and front valance.
  • Closely check the floorpan, most notably, at the front.
  • Chassis rails are also worrisome, which is a problem as they are tought to repair properly.
  • Other rust spots: inner wheelarches, battery tray, and the leading edge of the roof.
  • Check the cotton-covered rubber hose for sign of perishing - it's a complex and sometimes hot run from the petrol above the rear axle to the engine - this should be changed regularly.
  • Pre-1966 six-volt electrics particularly susceptible to poor connections and bad earths - most will have been upgraded to 12-volt systems.
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