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Tips/info wanted buying a t3 transporter..
jake123 - December 18th, 2009 at 01:49 PM

Hi everyone. I am currently lookibng to get a t3 transporter, and was wondering if any of you gurus out there would have some tips about these vehicles, what i shouldbe looking for, are there any common problems particularly because i need this car to be reliable as it will be my only car. I bought a t3 syncro a few years ago, didnlt know much about them.. found out after tha it was in need of a new gearbox, (apparently a comon problem with the syncros) I Have sinse gotten rid of the syncro but am now looking to get a normal 2 wheel drive transporter. I have a limited budget (poor uni student).

I saw this one one carsales in ViC. What do you guys think?? I know it doesn;t say anything about the motor which i am a bit suss on but contacted the guy and he said it was regularly serviced by his dad who i s a mechanic..

Bizarre - December 18th, 2009 at 02:44 PM

Get a 2.1L - MUCH better

They are the square headlight ones - but that is the slightly expensive part. Round headlights and grille MUCH cheaper

Personally I like the autos. Very heavy duty. First gear is a bit weak in the manuals

Try and get one with all the seats now. Can be expensive to add

When you start it up make sure the oil and coolant lights flash

Biggest problem is leaks.

Second biggest problem is leaks.

Third biggest problem is leaks

That one is on the money
They dont hold their value well compared with bay windows

A 2.1L 7 seater with air con, electric lock and mirrors, and power steer etc etc would be about $5k for a good one to $10k for a pristine shiny one

The 1.9L are generally cheaper

Oh - did i mention the problem with leaks??? :no:

Seriously you need to stick your head right in there and see if there is anysign of coolant leaks on the heads.
Fluid needs to be G12++ and have been regularly changed

I should be seeing my old man on the week end and i will ask the neighbour about his camper if it is still for sale

vw54 - December 18th, 2009 at 03:29 PM

yeah the coolant system is exey to fix the stock type thers about 3 k of hoses on the bloody things

Scottkombi - January 5th, 2010 at 08:45 PM

Watch out for corrosion around the base of the front panel just above the bumper where all the panels join. Also seam rust is a common problem.

The 2.1 motors are usually reliable but there are some duds out there but they usually show signs of leaking. Take it for a test drive then get under and have a look for dripping coolant.

Good luck.

Phil74Camper - January 12th, 2010 at 03:11 PM

Congratulations on wanting to buy a T3 Transporter, which I reckon is THE most under-rated classic VW. That one on Carsguide looks great and would be worth a closer look. They didn't sell many T3s in Australia due to problems with the importers (LNC Industries) going broke, so there aren't many of them around. Maybe VW enthusiasts won't really appreciate them for another 10 years (good T2 Kombis were common and cheap 10 years ago - look at them now).

Like any 25-year old car, a T3 will need looking after and some TLC and money spent on it to keep it tip top. Both the 1.9 and the 2.1s are good motors but most Transporters they were worked hard and might not have got the regular servicing they needed. Putting cheap shitty coolant (or even straight water!) into them is a sure way to ruin them, and give them a bad or unreliable reputation they don't deserve. They are infinitely better machines than say a Hiace or Urvan or Express from 1985 !

Engine and mechanical parts are still easy to get, but body and trim can be difficult. Find a good Volkswagen mechanic in your area and have your T3 serviced regularly.

jake123 - January 14th, 2010 at 03:59 PM

Thanks Guys, Just picked up an 85 transporter with a subaru ej20 conversion in it. I'm pretty happy with it, seems to be hardly any rust, straught body and (hopefully) the engine is pretty reliable. Fairly empty at the moment, but plan on decking it out as a semi camper. I agree with you Phil74Camper i think they are a very underated vehicle. Happy i've finally got a t3!

Bizarre - January 14th, 2010 at 05:23 PM

complete with engineers certificate???

jake123 - January 15th, 2010 at 08:55 AM

Yes! with engineers certificate. Got it from a Guy up in brisbane was very helpful and his son drove it down here (newcastle) for $200.Good guys. Just in the process of getting it ready for a blue slip now. Only a couple of minor things. The horn only works intermittently and i need to get a new windscreen washer pump. Should be on the road soon

Scottkombi - February 2nd, 2010 at 09:06 PM

Photos please

jake123 - February 17th, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Ok heres a link to some pics: (hopefully this works) 

kombivan - April 18th, 2017 at 12:50 PM

I used to go through cars like toilet paper 13 one year longest was 2 years then in 1995 I got my first T3 still have it + 5 more now 2 of wich are parts vehicles if you get one with a rebuilt engine that leaks problem won't be any longer as VW sorted that in 1989-90 most realiable car I've ever driven and also very safe car indeed plus there is the other aspect I never hear about on the net non of the other drivers try to bluff you ever driven a small car after a T3 its shocking what other drivers will do if your in a small car. :tu: