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VW Bus T3 maintenance costs: screwdriver-friendly Bulli

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VW Bus T3 maintenance costs
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D he third generation of the VW van came on the market in 1979 and initially had air-cooled engines. This episode is about the more common versions with water-cooled engines, with the focus on the diesel unit. The diesel version of the VW T3 was available from 1981. From the end of 1984 a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine with the type designation JX was available, to which the prices in the service table on the third page refer.

With a few exceptions very easy to repair

One thing first: The Bulli T3 is not one of the capricious cars, although it does certain repairs require technical experience and specialist knowledge. 'This includes, for example, a gearbox overhaul', states VW T3 specialist Carsten Brunotte from the police headquarters in Kreiensen in the southern part of Lower Saxony.

Of course, the VW T3 scene also consists of a large number of hobby screwdrivers together. But if you don't have the talent or the time to screw, you have to rely on workshops and should know what costs can be expected. But regardless of the repair-friendliness of this car, 'not every workshop knows the T3 very well,' says Uwe Hennigs, who already had a number of examples in the form of improperly looked after T3s in his farm in Ummendorf near Biberach an der Riss.

Prefer maintenance from the T3 experts

So if you don't want to take the maintenance of your VW T3 into your own hands or should first look out for a competent fitter. And then he should get a not too cheap and demonstrably regularly serviced copy. It is important to know, for example, when the timing belt was changed, which drives the camshaft and the injection pump in the case of the 1.6 TD.

According to the factory, the belt should be replaced every 100,000 kilometers or every eight years. Because this work, including new tensioning pulleys, can easily cost more than 300 euros, it is financially clumsy and T3 drivers who are ignorant of screwing tend to put it on the back burner.

They can then also be found with an irregular run or poor Performance of your diesel. 'When investigating the cause, 90 percent of the time you come across injection nozzles that drip and with a faulty spray pattern or leaky injection pumps,' explainsBrunotte. In the case of the nozzles, he helps out with tested used parts and has the pump of the VW T3 overhauled. If there are no problems, the customer can get by with less than 200 euros in the first case and with an amount of just under 500 euros in the second.

It should also be noted that a defect in the pump cannot be precisely foreseen , 'Some pumps still work as they did on the first day, others are broken after a few years', says VW T3 specialist Brunotte.

Bulli repair prices mostly cheap

Other jobs like renewing a V-belt or replacing an air or fuel filter are quite cheap with the VW T3 turbo diesel. When checking the valve clearance, there is very seldom a need for action, although a special tool is helpful for adjusting the clearance using adjusting washers according to the repair instructions.

Even replacing the water pump on the VW T3 costs around 150 Euros are quite cheap, although another special feature of the TD is worth mentioning here. This version has an electrically functioning auxiliary water pump, which allows the cooling water to continue to circulate after the engine has been switched off if it should have become too hot. But this pump is rarely defective.

You have to dig a little deeper into your pocket if the turbocharger of the VW T3 is worn out and the blue clouds of smoke escaping from the exhaust ensure increased oil consumption. Then costs between 650 and 850 euros are incurred.

Continuous full throttle, especially with diesels critical

Those who use their diesel Always chasing up kilometer-long motorway inclines at full throttle risks overheating of the engine and thus serious damage, for example in the form of cracked cylinder heads. The installation of an AT engine on the VW T3 can easily cost over 3,000 euros, but some people prefer to invest in a completely different drive. Because the desire for more stable and more powerful diesel engines, which are especially suitable for a green environmental badge, favors the conversion business. '1.9-liter turbo diesel or TDI engines are popular,' says Brunotte.

As I said, this is mainly about the VW T3 with a diesel engine, but one shortcoming of the petrol-powered water boxer should not be concealed: ' The leaking water jacket seal ', explains Hennigs and adds:' A replacement is tricky and requires an experienced specialist. '

Leaky gear and rusting spring plates

With leaks, the four and five-speed transmissions installed in the VW T3 become noticeable over time. Often the bearings and the synchronizer rings are also worn out, which means repairs in the 1,000 euro range. Problems with shifting can possibly be solved by a revision of the shift gate,for which an overhaul kit is available.

Particular attention should be paid to the condition of the rear axle swing. On these are the spring plates for the coil springs. The plates are provided with drainage holes for the splash water that collects there, 'but the holes are often blocked and the wings of the VW T3 begin to rust,' warns Brunotte. He offers the installation of intact, sandblasted and painted swing arms for around 1,000 euros. But it is also new on the market, whereby a swing arm with rubber bearings alone costs around 750 euros, plus assembly.

Due at some point because new tie rod joints or new support bearings are also due to wear. While the first repair can be done for around 150 euros, the costs for the support bearings add up to at least 250 euros. A special case, at least when it comes to the powertrain, is the VW T3 Syncro model. Additional parts can wear out here, such as the viscous coupling, which costs around 650 euros in the AT, as a new part 1,600 euros.

Installation from overhauled power steering around 400 euros

Incidentally, the installation of an overhauled power steering on the VW T3, which tends to leak over time, is also not cheap. This work costs around 400 euros, provided no lines are rusted and therefore need to be replaced.

Speaking of work. Unlucky is anyone who registers a defective heat exchanger or a defective brake booster on his VW T3. In both cases, the instrument panel has to be dismantled to replace the components, which gives the workshop at least one day of work and the owner a bill of around 500 euros.

At least, except for special things like the side paneling for the VW T3 Carat can be easily obtained for the T3 almost all parts. This and the ease of maintenance are the most important conditions for being happy with a T3.

Service tip for the VW T3

The VW T3 is a very modern car and therefore has no grease nipples. Regular maintenance is limited to the usual work. With diesel you should drain the condensation in the fuel filter about every 15,000 kilometers.

The filter of the VW T3 is renewed every 30,000 kilometers. There is a lively amateur screwdriver scene among the T3 drivers, who also exchange their experiences in certain forums. On the IG T3 page ( www.ig-t3.com ) finds there are several links to the corresponding forums, while on the page www.t3-infos.de a lot of useful information can be found. In addition to the workshops mentioned, Volkswagen Classic Parts also takes care of the parts supply ( www.volkswagen-classic-parts ).

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