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1987 Volkswagen Westfalia Biodiesel


This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.


We’ve seen some great diesel Westies here, but today’s brings the added benefits of a biodiesel conversion. Built by a reputable Bay Area VW mechanic for himself, it’s clean through and through and has a nearly-new TDI swap. Now you can get over 30 mpg in your camper AND have the delicious smell of french fries follow you wherever you go! A solar roof adds to the green credentials, and some other nicely refreshed parts like a new tent make it a pretty great package. Bidders are going a bit wild, with a huge amount of bids pushing this up into top non-Syncro territory.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Biodiesel on eBay

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Year: 1987
Model: Vanagaon Westfalia
Engine: 1.9 liter biodiesel inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 28k on engine/trans, 250k on chassis
Price: Reserve auction

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Free Fuel from Restaurants (if using recycled Vegetable Oil)

Carbon-neutral (if running on recycled Vegetable Oil)

Location: San Francisco CA


1987 white Westfalia (full Camper)

4-Speed manual Transmission

TDI Turbo Diesel Engine (ALH, from a 2001 Jetta), fully rebuilt (as new)

120 Horse Power (est.)

200 Foot-Pound of Torque (est.)

28 K Miles on rebuilt Engine

28 K Miles on rebuilt Transmission

250 K Miles on Body

Biodiesel compatible

Elsbett Kit to run on pure Vegetable Oil (SVO)

30 – 35 Miles per Gallon

Solar Roof powers 2 Batteries and Refrigerator

16 Inch Aluminum Wheels with Falken Tires

Tow Hitch (2 Inch, Powder-coated), that will easily hold a Dirt Bike on a Rack

Euro Body Kit (Bumpers, Side Panels and Front Spoiler)

New Paint ($4,500)

New Window Seals all around

Tinted Windows

Insulated Walls

New Tent Canvas (from just installed ($1,200)

20 Gallon Tank (replacing Stock Tank)

12 Gallon 2nd Tank for Vegetable Oil

Air Conditioning (freshly charged)

New rear Brakes (everything: Drums, Shoes, Calipers)

Selling only because I am moving back to Europe !

The Bus was built by Detlev Hanschke (of European Auto Service in Livermore CA), considered by many to be the best TDI Conversion Specialists in California if not the U.S.
Detlev built this Bus for Himself, so no Expense was spared, and everything is the Best of the Best !

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I like the idea of puttering to a restaurant, snagging some oil in the auxiliary tank, going home to process it into fuel, and being ready to cover a lot of miles while getting great mileage. The biggest turn off here for me is the “did you cover the windows and grilles? Cool, spray EVERYTHING ELSE” paint job that makes it look more Maaco than $4,500. Still, that doesn’t seem to be deterring anyone, as it could easily break $40k by the time the auction is over. I haven’t seen any as fully built for Biodiesel as this!


One Comment

  1. markiteight
    markiteight April 10, 2015

    For modern diesel engines such as this one there is no such thing as a biodiesel conversion. The entire process of converting a TDI to biodiesel involves filling the tank with the liquid gold, turning the key, and driving away. Some older diesel engines that use natural rubber seals in the fuel system will need them swapped over to Viton synthetic, but that’s it.
    Running on pure vegetable oil is a completely different story, however. You have to start and warm up the engine on conventional (bio)diesel and then switch over to the vegi oil supply. That obviously takes a separate tank, fuel supply, and change-over valve. And it’s a BAD IDEA on a TDI. The injection pressures are just too high in a modern diesel engine to handle the high viscosity vegi oil. Your injectors will be trash in a matter of miles. Additionally the seller claims this motor has 120/200 hp/torque, and while the method of achieving that power is not mentioned it most likely has upgraded Fratelli Bosio injectors. They’re very nice pieces and it would be a bummer to ruin them.
    The seller claims that the guy who did the conversion is quite possibly the top TDI swapper in the country. But considering the presence of the WVO kit and the absolute MESS of wiring in the engine compartment I seriously question that claim.
    Also note that the engine compartment has been raised to accommodate that wiring mess (and the ECU is mounted IN the engine bay?!?) which means the lower bunk is useless…kinda defeating the whole point of getting a camper van in the first place. Why he raised the rear deck is beyond me. The ALH fits under a stock height hatch with zero clearance issues.
    I agree with you about the paint job. It seems that whenever someone attempts to “modernize” the look of their van by painting the bumpers body color the result is quite hideous, no matter what the color. At least keep the black rub strip black to break up the monotony. I had a white Multivan with trashed bumpers and side cladding. I refinished and painted them black and it looked brilliant.

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