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MECHANICS AT WORK

MECHANICS AT WORK

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

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

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!

A CHANGE OF TASTE

A CHANGE OF TASTE

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 :)



PARTS BACK FROM THE DEAD!

PARTS BACK FROM THE DEAD!

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

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

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". Finally, Bosch also threw their hat into the ring. We have always been pleased with the reliability of our rebuilt ECU's for the 86 to 91 models but there must be something inherently challenging about rebuilding the earlier digijet ECU's as we'd had enough trouble with them that we choose not to offer them. As such, we are relieved that we were able to come up with some brand new 1.9L Bosch ECU's. Now we understand that you don't just go and pick one of these up on a preventative whim because they are pricey, but if you've got a bad one and you are committed to your van for the long haul we think the new one would be a good investment. We'll continue to do our best to stay vigilant in sourcing hard to find parts to help keep you on the road within your budget.

SYNCRO MODELS - ALL HOSES NOW AVAILABLE!

SYNCRO MODELS - ALL HOSES NOW AVAILABLE! We are very pleased to report that we are now having the five hoses manufactured that had gone obsolete for Syncro models. These hoses are
251.121.072.SIL
251.121.073.SIL
251.121.102.SIL
251.121.103.SIL
025.121.108H.SIL
If you had previously purchased a Syncro hose kit that was missing these hoses, you can purchase the 5 "here", and if you are interested in the currently complete hose kit for Syncro's then "here"you go. These hose are made of silicone and will last longer and hold up better to heat and the elements than conventional rubber. Lots of things brewing at the Cafe.....

THERE ARE VANAGONS DOWN UNDER!

THERE ARE VANAGONS DOWN UNDER! We sit here in our little neck of the world and ponder where else in the world did VW export Vanagons back in the day, that might give life to still thriving Vanagon enthusiasts and communities today. While we slave away here packaging all manner of Vanagon parts to send out to various obscure corners of the planet, some destinations will reoccur with more frequency and let us piece together where they are all hiding. Well, if we had ever wondered if our right-hand drive friends down under knew about Vanagons, this was the year we heard a resounding yes that the Vanagon is alive and well there. When I visited your fine country in the 80's everyone seemed to drive a Holden, so I am happy to hear there's a little more variety now. First and foremost we would like to thank all of our Australian customers for their business and support this year. We do realize that shipping costs are a major factor and we work hard to figure the best, affordable option in each case. We do want to highlight a few initiatives we have been working on. As you may already know, for many smaller, light weight items US Post Priority Mail cannot be beat (especially when it fits into their special flat rate boxes). But for packages over 20 lbs and slightly larger dimensions, we have recently negotiated more favorable rates with DHL for our international shipping - they are fast and have the added bonus that, although they will collect duties, they are not charging a brokerage fee (as UPS and Fedex tend to do). Additionally,we know that each individual international transaction carries costs and we are aware that there may be other items in the US that you are interested in purchasing. We are always willing to accommodate your needs. Want to purchase something on ebay? Win the bid and have it shipped to us. Want something from one of the other Vanagon vendors that we don't offer - just let us know and we'll get it for you. Same for items that have nothing to do with Vanagons (but do discuss it with us first). We will consolidate your orders and ship it all as one order. We appreciate your business and will do what it takes to earn it.

THE GERMANS VISITED!

THE GERMANS VISITED! You'd think the Queen was coming with the frantic shop clean up that took place last month. But we didn't say the British are coming and we understand Her Majesty had other commitments last month. No, the effort was put forth for the Germans. We wrote months ago how pleased we were that VW was putting resources into a division called Classic VW for the purpose of supporting models from the past - a very positive development for both owners of Vanagons and the businesses that provide for them. We rejoiced in the ability to purchase previously thought obsolete parts such as factory fiberglass bumpers, power steering lines, mud flaps, fan resisters, and more.... along with the prospect that there will be other parts in the future coming back from the dead.
To show the depth of their commitment to this program, representatives from Classic VW have come to the US to visit shops to both elaborate on the direction they are going and to let us know about products they have in the works. In a two-way conversation, the reps were very receptive to our requests and observations regarding important parts that we feel they should consider working on. We are humbled and honored that we are on their radar and that we were included as one of their stops. We do realize they are visiting other important vendors while they are here and we applaud their business sense and this strategy as we are all in this together and it again bodes well for both the health of our Vanagon-centric businesses and our ability to provide the parts you need.
I do have to share that the visit was very rewarding personally. From years ago purchasing my first VW bus and learning how to maintain it, using those skills to put myself through college, and then starting the shop, a visit by representatives of VW of Germany was kind of like the Queen visiting. Now, I'm still not sure I'm ready to forgive these guys for their legal department coming after us for our original name, Volks Cafe, but this did go a long way toward evening the score :)


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