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I would sure like it if we could all figure out how to get along better on this little planet.  Most of us do, but I know there is a complexity and history to these things that defy simple solutions.  I wish that our candidates would behave better, act more presidential, and be more tolerant and truthful (and I am not taking sides – I mean all of them).  I wish corporations would be good citizens and act in the best long term interest of the planet as opposed to short-sighted view only on profits.  And while I am on a rant.....let’s see…..I wish Vanagon parts cost a little less.  Now there is something we have control over!  How about we take care of that one and you guys can start working on the rest of that list.

For Spring specials we have put on sale a good assortment of parts:  water pumps, radiators, heads and gasket sets, poptopshock kits, ARB awnings and fridges, brake kits, ball joints, AC compressors, window switches, tune up kits, bumpers, Carrot 16" alloy and wheel and tire packages.

Maybe I am being naïve, but I do long for the old days (and this will date me) when there was half hour of news at 6:00 every night and not a 24 hour news cycle with every source looking for controversy and drama. Elections started during the year that they occur and it was not a gladiator style reality tv show.  I like staying aware but find it more relaxing to minimize all that noise.  All the more reason to put energy into your Vanagon, unplug, and get outside, enjoy nature and time with family and friends. 



We have a pallet of parts heading up to Anchorage Alaska before end of April.  This does not leave a lot of time to act, but if you close to Alaska (which means within 500 miles to an Alaskan) then here is your chance to get bulky items shipped at a big discount.  Our customer is open to sharing a pallet and Arctic Imports has offered to jump in and help with logistics.  Please make contact as soon as you can. 



No, no, not that type of core.  Rebuildable parts - that type of core.  This is increasingly becoming important with the aging of our precious vans.  We need to keep healthy supply of rebuildable parts to keep our rebuilt parts program alive and keep Vanagons running.  What hurts us is when people do not return their cores when they purchase rebuilt please remember to return your cores - you get your core deposit back and you help the next person who needs one.  What is helping us is lots of Vanagon owners do engine conversions and that does free up some of these parts - and if that is the case for you then turn those parts into cold hard cash.  Here is list of items that we are in need of currently and prices we pay:

2.1 Air Flow Meter  $50

2.1 ECU $50

IFlywheels  $40

Speedometer (805's and 1600's) $50

Idle Control Unit  $25

Torque Converters  $50

Pair of 86-91 Front Spindles  $100

Parts must be in rebuildable condition - please email us before shipping to discuss first. AND PLEASE PUT A NOTE IN THE PACKAGE TO DISTINGUISH FROM CORE CHARGES.



Although the vast majority of our parts are supplied to the DIY crowd, we realize that not everyone has the time, tools, or desire to do their stint in the salt mines, slogging through tedious mechanical endeavors. As such, for those who would like some assistance with their repairs and upgrades to improve reliability and comfort, the following is a small smattering of jobs that our shop performs along with corresponding labor charges. (Again - labor charges only)
* Fuel Tank Reseal $200
* Brake Jobs $200 / axle
* Full Tune-Up and Inspection $200
* Windshield Install $100
* Clutch Jobs 2WD/4WD $400/$600
* Propex Heater Install $600
* 3 Window Poptop Canvas Install $500
* Spring/Shock Upgrades 2WD/4WD $250/$350
* Stainless Steel Pipe Upgrade 2WD/4WD $350/$300
For our out of town customers, we take seriously the need to perform our tasks in a timely manner. We are thankful that we are in a town with a variety of attractions and distractions competing for your attention, but we understand your need to get back in your van promptly and back on the road on schedule and will accommodate as best we can. Similarly, we are a small shop with limits to hours in the day and room for parking, so we ask that you do schedule an appointment with some advance notice as drop-in appointments cannot always be indulged.


PARTNERS IN CRIME We wrote a few years back about the healthy developments we were witnessing in the supply of Vanagon parts. Where we first became concerned that parts were becoming obsolete at an alarming rate from both VW and aftermarket suppliers, we were pleased to see that VW understood the staying power of the Vanagon and decided it was worth their while to put many parts back in production. In instances where other holes developed, we found that individual businesses, and in some cases owners of the vehicles out of necessity, found ways to either remake certain parts and, in many cases, improve on the original design in the process. If you have ideas, initiative and the means to fill needs that you are aware of, we invite you to start a conversation with us to partner to sell the product. We will never expect or ask for an exclusive arrangement. We view it best that you control your product and how you want to sell it and the more avenues that products are available, the better for all.  


AND THEN THERE WAS FACEBOOK The young'uns here are telling me it is time to get with the program. Either embrace change and new ways of communicating or be left behind. Hence...Van-Cafe Facebook page has been launched. We realize this will be a way to communicate and share items, stories, and pictures VW related that we hope you find interesting or that you may want to contribute to. We also feel this will be an ideal place to keep you informed on some of these new initiatives such as destinations for our freight ride share program and recipients of our donations. We intend to update you on new items and progress on out of stock items. We will also offer up Facebook specific specials. We look forward to seeing you on our page.

Click here to find us on Facebook!



For a change of pace .... You will probably be noticing that we've switched to a different cookie distributor for our shipped orders. This was not an easy decision. In the news we hear on a regular basis about how overweight people are getting and so we had a moment of concern for our customers. Were/are we contributing to their ill health? Tipping the scales for folks who are hyper-glycemic over to diabetes? Then we thought, nah. They're grownups, they can decide if they want a cookie or not.

But then there's all the genetically modified food debates and the realization that maybe we don't know exactly what all IS in our food? But there is this spiffy new application for your iphone that allows you to scan an item at the grocery store and have it tell you instantly if that company uses or is owned by a company that is a GMO baddie? Ruh roh, the cookies we were shipping appeared on that list!!

So then we thought 'We'll kill two birds with one stone! We'll buy/support a local business here in Santa Cruz, especially one that does not use GMO ingredients. Brilliant!" Many extra calories were gained doing "research", political debates rose and fell, tearful goodbyes were said to the last of the previous cookies, and lo the decision to go with Pacific Cookie Company cookies was made.

Actually, the whole debate started when the local Costco stopped carrying the first and the decision to go with the second seemed like a no brainer. We hope you enjoy the new treat. We will miss the curious stares at the Costco when we roll the dolly full of Famous Amos cookies through the store.

The added bonus is the variety of flavors. Now after four months we have sampled Chocolate Chip, Dr. Midnight, Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal Raisin and we are going with Mint Chocolate this month. Looks like you need to spread out your purchases and get an order once a month :)



Two years ago, we commented on two promising events developing that were supportive of the Vanagon community - the burgeoning presence of Classic VW (Germany) and the entrepreneurial efforts of businesses and individuals to fill in the gaps. During this past two years both of these efforts have flourished. In our opinion, Classic VW has done an excellent job of consolidating original equipment manufacturer parts, new manufacturer to original spec parts, and old remaining stock of new parts to provide the best quality parts available for many essential items that we worried were disappearing for good. We now purchase over 250 part numbers from them and find ourselves on a continuous order cycle, whereby a large new order is placed each time the previous order is received and stocked. And based on the visits we receive a few times a year from Classic representatives (likely additionally influenced by the attraction of our weather), we are lead to believe that the feeling is mutual as they profess their appreciation for the volume of business we are conducting with them. Separately, the efforts of both businesses and individuals to fill the gaps continue. Not long after a part disappears, it seems someone in the Vanagon community steps up with a plan to produce that part or design and manufacture a suitable alternative, and this is separate from the development or adaptation of creature comfort products that work on the Vanagon to improve on the driving and/or camping experience. Following is a list of items that have returned to being available after varying lengths of being absent, along with some new products: *German Mud Flaps front and rear  * Carrot Alloy Wheels 15" and 16" - Wheels and Packages  * Trailmaster Complete Suspension Packages for Syncro Tin Top or Westy  * Iron Man Products - Awnings - Fridges   * Automatic Transmission Coolers  * Emergency Road Kit  * All Complete Coolant Hose Kits - Yes, Syncro - 1.9 ltr - 2.1 ltr manual trans - 2.1 ltr auto trans (quite the juggle to keep all these hoses from various sources (US supply/German supply/silicone hoses) in stock to make these kits complete). And here follow a few other items that we have been out of for a while that will be returning in the near future: German 16" Steel Wheels due in January Pillar Trim (front rain gutter molding) due during December If interested, please feel free to email us if you would like to be contacted when they arrive.


NEWLY DESIGNED AUTO TRANS COOLERS Applying more modern cooling methods that have been developed since Vanagons were originally manufactured, we are proud to be rolling out the aluminum heat sink transmission cooler. These are a more efficient and compact cooling solution than both the stock set up and external cooler alternatives. Lots of details on the site both on our write up and how this offers you some alternative options for your coolant lines (as you eliminate the need for coolant to be run through the cooler - huge bonus), and additional details and pictures from the manufacturer. Please note that this cooler (and the stock cooler) are designed to be used with stock application engine or conversions up to 120hp.  In more extreme cases (such as Subaru 2.5 or some TDI's, it may be necessary to use an external cooler with a dedicated fan. For more details, please go to this link. 


NEW HOSES AVAILABLE FOR 1.9 LITERS It has been a long time since 1.9's have been given some attention.....but those of you who are still rockin' the round light Vanagons are getting a little overdue love. We are pleased to report that the gaps have been filled on the missing coolant hoses (at least for the 85's). For 85's, every coolant hose is now available individually (whether it is VW Dealer product, aftermarket, or reproduction silicone hoses) or can be purchased in a complete kit. If you are an 84 then you have the added challenge of smaller diameter (1.25") metal pipes underneath the van as opposed to the 1.50" plastic pipes found on most 85's. Sorry to report that hoses for the 84's are likely not coming down the pike, but you do have the option of purchasing hose adapters to make the hoses that are available work, or if the need arises to replace those long pipes underneath the van, switch to the 1.50" diameter pipes and the coolant hose kit will then fit without adapters. Next up - exhaust brackets and braces - who would have thought VW would have put these back in production but lo and behold we've got all of them. The exhaust system is fairly heavy and the early vans utilized a fairly elaborate spaghetti network of braces to suspend it. Once one breaks it puts strain on the other braces and on the exhaust components themselves, so it is wise to address broken braces as they occur before it turns into a bigger expense. These pieces are all listed when you view "84 - 85 automatic or manual","exhaust", "brackets".

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