If you are trying to keep one of these noble vehicles on the road, one of your big problems is spare parts.
What can you buy new? Parts such as spark plugs, windscreen wipers and brake pads are freely available in any auto parts shop. A few original parts are still carried by Volkswagen agents, though the cost now tends to be high for the parts which are still stocked. More recently established agents often do not even have the parts lists (or microfiches) and cannot help at all. (Sorry to say, if an agent who hasn't got the part numbers tells you a part is unobtainable from VW, they may just be being lazy - don't take their word for it: but if they can give you the part number and then say VW don't have any left, it is probably true.)
From time to time, third party manufacturers produce parts, often in small runs, so sometimes you can get various sealing rubbers, sills, wings, etc, and sometimes you can't. You should be warned that while some of these aftermarket items are great, a few are not very good and don't fit properly - it is best if you can check they fit before you buy.
Some parts are the same as fitted to other cars, especially the Beetle, and are therefore easier to obtain. Some of these cross-fittings are less obvious, where another motor manufacturer used a similar or identical technology later than VW. Their mechanics may be trained in the parts, whereas there are few VW mechanics left who remember them. For Type 3 Fuel injection systems go to a Toyota agent. For the Type 4 petrol-burning heater, try someone who services Mercedes vans.
One source of second hand parts is scrapyards, though few will have a specimen of your model in stock. A lot of parts turn up at the big VW shows, though the sellers often don't know what their parts are and you have to identify what you want for yourself, rumaging through their stock. The Type 3 and 4 Club stand is present at many of the bigger shows, and there are usually a few parts on sale, mostly being handled on behalf of individual members: if you are lucky the part you want may be there. These are all good sources if you happen to be lucky and see what you want when you want it.
The Club's newsletters and magazines carry free small ads for members seeking to buy or sell parts. You will need to contact the Editor, Dave Hall; if lucky, a publication will be scheduled shortly!
If you are still looking for elusive spares, telephone Jane Terry (0130) 384 0241 (Kent) who has extensive stocks of parts, or Club's Spares Secretary Jim Bourne (01273) 400463 (Sussex) who keeps lists of members with spares for sale. Our Northern Secretary Malcolm Davison (01325) 313984 (Co. Durham) or our Scottish Secretary Rhodd Grubb (0131) 333 4854 (Midlothian) will be more convenient for some.
Please remember, however, that all these people are unpaid volunteers who kindly offer to help fellow enthusiasts, and be reasonable when you ring. They may be able to help non-members, but helping members will take priority over non-members. (Time you joined?) They may also be able to help or advise if you have valuable spare parts yourself which you could offer to others.
The best known specialist dealer is Type 3 Detectives who will seriously try to track down anything - but be warned, it is an expensive affair so the service is not cheap.
Return to : Type 3 & 4 Club homepage
(c) VW Type 3 & 4 Club; October 1997