Vanagon – hosed!

Finally, and just as the weather turns from the driest and warmest for years to showers, my wife and I get going on a trip to the places we like to go.

Of course I was nervous, after having engine and trans out. But driving around locally the van was fine.

But… we get maybe 30 min from home, driving thru Langford, I see steam in the rear view mirror. I get off the road at suitable spot and sit, contemplate, let the steam die down, before popping the engine hatch.

Was wetness at the rear of engine. Spray pattern, you know. Couldn’t see anything until I poured water into expansion tank. Then we both saw the leak. End of the hose from expansion tank to the left side pipe. The branch of that pipe just adjacent to the water pump. Ironically ( not sure if this is good use of that word) I had replaced that pipe with stainless version.

The hose down there was split at the clamp. Was able to push more hose down over the barb, get more water into tank, and drive back home.

The ess shaped hose is quite VW specific. Instead of going to dealer ( thinking would be an order in part) I went to local NAPA store. Beacon Auto. I like the place, good service. Thought I’d cobble up something.

Stock hose is nominally 1” ID at one end, 3/4” ID the other. They didn’t have anything but I bought a 1” right angle hose and some 3/4” hose. They didn’t have adapter nipple. But I said to myself … I’ll go back to work and make one…

Didn’t have the stock on hand at home to make .

Suffered the teasing at work 🙂

Made adapter, hose barb looks small , was a guess and worrying about stiffness of new hose, worked out fine. Original on left, shortened at the failed end.

I’d have liked to have spring clamps all round, it used one gear clamp ( rolled edge though )

Installed. Looks clunky but believe me it’s tight .

  1. #1 by gneiss9gmailcom on August 27, 2021 - 6:24 am

    I hope this didn’t completely cancel your camping trip Alistair. This fix probably took 12-24 hours to dream up and put together so I imagine that the trip was put on hold. I know the feeling though as my van broke down in the driveway last September on the morning of departure of a week long trip we had planned with another couple. …it got cancelled due to that breakdown.

    • #2 by albell on August 27, 2021 - 8:00 am


      Didn’t take that long to fix. And yes, we are trying again to go on the trip 🙂



  2. #3 by Leon Korkin on August 27, 2021 - 9:39 am

    You are so lucky it happened at home. I was loooong way from home when it finally became clear my rear wheel bearing was toast after trying to convince myself it was just brake shoes wearing thin. They were thin but din’t make noise. Had to accept bad news. Made to Missoula, Montana thinking it is big town(by Montana standard, it had Costco!) and i will just call local shop and get it done in a day or 2. Lone VW shop was closed. Euro service guy told me to wait a week before he would even look, the rest was too dangerous to go to. Realized there was no choice but to do it myself. Main goal was to find place to work. This part worked out well, found perfect place behind closed chinese restaurant, near gas station and stores, close to NAPA store where. Didn’t attract much attention. Fortunately NAPA had SAE equivalent of 46 mm socket and could press old bearings out and install new. I had a full set of spare bearings and seals in my Vanagon, this sure saved my lots of headache. It was the end of day when i arrived in Missoula so had to spend the night in noisy bright place but next morning i got new bearings installed and finished the job. Started driving listening for noises, fortunately none i could hear. This was relief and me and my wife continued our trip.

  3. #4 by edbee on August 27, 2021 - 5:47 pm

    Best wishes for your trip and as Leon said, great that this happened close to home. And great to have the skills to fix pretty much anything.

    We had a bit of excitement on our recent trip and I am a bit embarrassed to go into the details. I will say though that in included another driver pulling up beside me and letting me know there were flames coming out of the back of the van! Good news though is that nobody was hurt and nothing damaged (other than my pride) and I was able to make a repair and we were driving again a bit over an hour later. I guess I can share… the repair was tightening a hose clamp on the power steering system on a hose located about a foot (directly) above the muffler. We were driving up a very long mountain pass on one of those super hot days. The muffler was apparently hotter than the ignition point of power steering fluid! The rest of the trip (about another 1800 km) went without incident.

    • #5 by Leon Korkin on August 27, 2021 - 7:33 pm

      That was close call. Vanagons are so exciting sometimes

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