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The wind blew strong across the ocean.  It blew off-shore, then side-shore, then died, then picked up again.  The tide was dropping quickly and we knew the reef would soon be exposed.  Storm clouds loomed nearby, and even ice crystal clouds were forming, black ominous clouds approaching giving the appearance they were carrying hail.  The air grew colder as we rowed closer to shore.  It had started out tranquil in our first few hours of fishing - not wanting to return empty handed, we felt we had pushed our luck. The waves were beginning to resemble A-frames, reminiscent of powerful clean winter surf, then periods of mellow summer surf.  It changed from moment to moment, and the changes were not subtle at all, but extremely noticeable as we made slow progress toward shore.  Conditions continued to change in ways we had not seen before.  A full rainbow appeared and we could see heavy rain beyond the Point.  We could not help but find ourselves at the mercy of the elements, contemplating the meaning of life, hoping we would live to see our families again….and be able to take advantage of the big sale that Van Café had in store for us this holiday season.

Yes on sale for December we have

Silicone Hose Kits (syncro / 2.1 manual / 2.1 auto / 1.9)

Power Window Motors and Power Window Regulators (driver and passenger)

Auto Transmission Cooler

Eurolook Wheel Packages  (15" and 16") Lowest Price Ever!

South Africa Mud Flaps (Front and Rear)

Propex Heaters (2000 / 2800 / 2211)

South African Headlight Grill Kits (basic / complete)

Fiamma Bike Racks

Shadyboy Awnings

Stainless Steel Coolant Lines (Syncro / 2.1 ltr / 1.9ltr 1.50" / 1.9ltr 1.25")

Poptop Canvas (cotton / acrylic)

Heater Cores (Front / Rear / Rear Kit)

Mounts (Engine / Trans / Syncro)

We also like to highlight a few new items we have add to our website recently. We welcome back South African Big Brake kits (2WD and 4WD). From England, we are pleased to be offering high quality Sliding Rear Windows (driver and passenger).  Made in USA, we have an improved and affordable set of Delrin Sliding Door RollersLED 7" Round Lights are a great way to improve night vision.  For Christmas stocking stuffers you can check out our new Van-Cafe Caps, T-Shirts and Pint Glasses.  And of course don't forget there are always Van-Cafe Gift Certificates  And if you are still reading, please note the two new segments below - pallets to Alaska and Seattle and clearance on some Nokian tires.

The crew at Van-Cafe wishes you all safe and happy holidays with family and friends.

Racing to Hawaii:

Cold and wet.

Silly in the tropics.



Space is always limited here (yeah, have you heard about rents in the Bay Area !).  We love Nokian tires, but as time passes and certain models get phased out or updated to new versions, we get caught with some stragglers that simply take up space.  As we have not acted on these quickly, some have older date codes (production dates) although they are stored in warehouse with no sun exposure so we are not concerned about integrity but it still needs to be acknowledged and reflected in the price.  These tires are not listed on the site so if any of these interest you, please email us to work out the logistics.  Get yourself a full set where available (and pair with some of our wheels) or grab a spare if you already have a given model.  Here are the odd balls we are trying to move along with prices:

3 x 205/65/15 Hakka C  $75 each  ($124 reg)
1 x 205/65/15 WRC   $75  ($156 reg)

2 x 205/75/15 Vatiiva  $50 each  ($109 reg)

2 x 195/65/16 Hakka C $65 each ($154 reg)

1 x 215/65/16  WRC  $90 ($178 reg)

4 x 195/75/16 Hakka C $85 each ($154 reg)

5 x 225/60/16 Entyre  $65 each ($100 reg) (not the 2.0 - this is the previous version)

4 x 205/65/16 CR3  $90 each ($129 reg)  Simply overstocked on this one - good value




Hmm - hard to find an image to match up with this segment that captures both Seattle and Alaska, but while looking I came across this vintage Golden Nugget ......

ALASKA - We intend to have a pallet of parts heading up to Anchorage Alaska before end of February 2017.  This gives fair amount of lead time so if you're close to Anchorage (which means within 500 miles to an Alaskan) then here is your chance to get bulky items shipped at a big discount.  Arctic Imports has offered to jump in and help with logistics.  Please make contact as soon as you can.  If you are from Fairbanks and willing to shuttle parts for others up there please make contact as you will get extra discount for your assistance. Make good use of cold winter - turn up the heater in the garage and get working on preparing the Vanagon for Spring travel !

SEATTLE - We are excited to partner again with our friends in Seattle, Peace Vans, to help defray shipping costs this holiday season.  Order by middle of February, and we'll pallet up everything and split the shipping costs with Peace Vans as a thank you.  Pallets will arrive at Peace Vans latter part of February, and Peace Vans will work with you on a pick up date at their shop in Seattle. Ask family to toss something on the pallet for you as a Christmas gift (you're doing them a favor - they have no idea what you want unless you tell them).  Grab some heavy parts where the shipping cost has been holding you back.



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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Van Cafe
1823 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(831) 426-1244 |