85 Westfalia - 2.5 Subaru, manual, AC

Item Location: Austin TX

Posted by: Daniel Nelson
Last Modified: 03/13/2019

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Warning, this might be a novel, but I just like to disclose everything I can to any prospective buyers. ;) (Also see my photo gallery here on samba for more photos!)

This is an 85 full Westfalia Camper with 113k original miles that’s already had a Subaru engine conversion. I’ve owned many VW campers and this Vanagon with this engine is just fantastic, it has pep than my VR6 Eurovan Camper. It starts, stops, and drives great and is ready for camping as is, but with any vehicle this age it’s not perfect and I’ll list out all the quirks and features.


This is a EJ25 from a 98 Outback with just over 80k miles. Steve Lopez did the conversion with the previous owner and he specializes in Subaru conversions. The power is great and it just sounds amazing. The ECU is located under the westy bed and I use a bluetooth OBDII reader with a mobile app to see RPM, coolant temp etc. Timing belt has been done in less than 1k miles. It is dripping a little oil.


Original 4 speed. I drained the old gear oil and put in Swepco 201 gear oil. Never has popped out of any gear and it has 100% all new linkage. The previous owner put in an aftermarket shifter and I put the stock shifter back in. I adjusted it as best as I could but putting into reverse is a little tight.

Cooling & Heating System:

Looks to be the original radiator, I have seen little weeps underneath it - but no drips. I have seem some drips under the engine. Over new years I drove it a few hundred miles and did have to top off the coolant. Fan runs as it should and temps don’t go over 200 even in stop and go traffic. The cable to the heater core didn't’ seem to let you totally turn off the heat so I installed a valve to shut off coolant going to the heater core. Basically it lets you turn off and on the heater with that valve and be sure it’s totally off.

The heat is fantastic and defroster works great too.

Air Conditioning:

This is the stock unit hooked up to the Subaru engine. It does put out cold air, but it’s located in the rear and blows towards the front. It’s great to have but realized that there’s a ton of cubic feet inside this vehicle and it will take a while to cool down. It’s not as good as my Eurovan VR6.

Suspension & Steering:

All seems good, I did get the Front Suspension Bushing Set when it was on sale from Go Westy, it’s not worn out but the rubber is super old. No need to install these bushings right away but it can be done at some point. It drives straight and steering is good. Shocks were replaced by a previous owner (saw in receipts)

Body, Paint, and Rust

This is mostly original paint with the exception of the drivers door was repainted at some point (new paint has faded to original paint). This has been side swiped on both sides, does not affect the opening or closing of doors.

There’s a little seam rust on the side, but underneath this thing is solid as hell. It’s lived in Texas it’s whole life and never saw a salted road. When you get underneath this VW you will just love how solid the frame and underbody is.

Honestly, I just love original paint on old VWs and didn’t have the heart to think about having it painted. It’s a great candidate for an easy resto, or you can just appreciate how original it is like I did.

Wheels & Tires

I got it with passenger tires on hacked up steelies and made it a priority to fix. It rode like crap on the old ones, I picked up a set of wheels form a new beetle, and has the centers opened up just a tad from a machine shop. I installed new hardware (studs, spacers, bolts). I got Nokian eNTYRE 2.0 which can handle the westy load and they drive FANTASTIC. They are not loud and make a huge difference in how she handled at highways speeds.


The brakes were not great when I got it. And then when I was installing the rear studs I saw a wheel cylinder leaking. I bit the bullet and put in 100% new brakes: new master cylinder (german), new front wheel bearings, new calibers, new pads, all new brake hoses (upgraded to braided steel), new drums, new shoes, new wheel cylinders, and I greased the rear wheel bearings and put in new seals. It stops great, however I can see why folks upgrade to the bigger brake kit, it stops way better than my Eurovan camper or 71 camper but it’s still not like a modern car. Handbrake engages as it should holds the camper.


Fixed a blinker and brake light, all electrical works as it should. The odometer works and I do believe it’s accurate and never stopped rolling, however the trip odometer isn’t working.

I put in a auxiliary electrical system, I have noticed that the aux battery doesn’t seem to be holding a charge as I would expect. It runs the radio, interior lights, and sink/fridge. I installed new JBL speakers in front using the original locations.

Horn wasn't working so I installed a dual horn kit, this thing is LOUD!


It’s fantastic, you won’t be disappointed. Front seats (even drivers) is not worn. Original curtains are in good shape, I had to replace some of the hooks and snaps. Seems good, I don’t think it ever had a smoker. Fridge and stove are super clean. Sink, stove, and fridge works. Original propane tanks is in good condition and filled.

Poptop has original canvas in good shape, both beds are clean. One issue is the interior window latches, I got the kit from go westy but haven’t installed it yet.


Comes with a huge mound of receipts going back to the 1990s, original owners manual, and the good ole Bentley manual.

Test Drives & Sale

I live in Austin but I keep it at my fathers house in San Marcos so it can be garaged. Happy to meet you down there for test drives. If you aren’t local or need to work with financing I’m happy to work with you as best I can.

I just need either cash or a wire to clear before I can release it - I have a Texas title in my name ready to sign over to the new owner. :) $18,500 OBO. If you can pull $18,500 it's yours otherwise feel free to make and offer. :)

This rig has a ton of life left and will continue to appreciate in value over time. I wish I could keep her, I just need to get down to one vehicle and save up money.

I will consider trades - not looking for anything specific, but if you have a good daily driver I would consider it plus cash. Need to probably get 10k in cash plus the trade to make it work on my end. Looking for a modern car that I can drive daily, but I'll consider aircooled/classics too.