The VWT25 is a popular van and camper, partly because it is bigger and cheaper than the older Type 2 Splittie and Bay Window campers. It was made from 1980 to 1991. You will find the same model described as the Volkswagen T3 and Vanagon in the US.

But many VW T25s are over 20 years old, so it really pays to do your research and look at several trucks before you buy. Rust and rot can cause problems and be expensive to repair, so take this guide with you to check for rust and rot when you see.

ask the owner

By talking to the owners, you’ll get a good idea of ​​the vehicle’s history, how it’s been used, and how it’s maintained. Find out how often you drive. Has it been taken off the road for some time? You want to know that the vehicle is regularly used or vacationed. Take your time, look at a number of examples, and you’ll know what you can expect for your money.

Grab a ladder, a flashlight, a magnet, and some old clothes. Always test drive the vehicle and always view in good light during the day.

First body inspection

Now we go to the inspection. The T 25 vans are over 17 years old, so the bodywork is unlikely to be perfect. First check the body panels for scuffs, teeth, and ripples by looking to the sides.

Then use your magnet if you find any suspicious marks or bulges, to find out how much filler is under the paint. The vehicle may have been in a serious accident.

Decide if you can live with a few blemishes or if you’re happy to pay someone else to do the work.

check the seams

Check the seams of the body, this is important. Most of the rust on the VW t25s starts between the body panels and you will see it coming out from under the paint. To make the repair, you will need to sandblast the old caulk between the panels, treat the area, and repaint it.

Also check that all the seams that should be there are there. Sometimes they have been welded or stuffed (use the fridge magnet again) and of course there may be something nasty lurking underneath.

Another key area to check is the ceiling. Climb up your ladder and look around the roof gutters; they can be another problem area for rust. if there is a pop-top, check where it is connected; this can also be a problem, especially with less professional and DIY conversions.

wheel arches

The chassis is very strong and does not usually have serious rust problems. But the front steps and rear wheel arches can be affected, as can the battery tray, so check those carefully. Also check for rust under the front wheel arches. This can cause rust within 30cm of a suspension or seatbelt mount, so it may be an MOT fault and make the VW T25 illegal. Lift the floor mats to see the seat belt mounts and make sure they are not rusty.

Also check the fuel tank as they can rot on top! There is a recess at the top designed to fit some model variations which is great for trapping dirt and moisture, then it rusts.

check the windows

Take a careful look at the window frames, as rust can be a problem here, and also check that the window rubbers are not deteriorated. They can be replaced quite easily, but they are an expensive item. Check for long-term leaks, as they can damage internal fixtures such as cabinets or seats, as well as provide a home for rust to start and spread. Up front, leaking windshield rubbers can mean there’s been water in the footwell, so lift the mats to check for rust.

There you have it: a quick but comprehensive guide to checking bodywork and rust when looking to buy a VW T-25 or Vanagon van or camper.

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