Nice! Westy Camper w/ Subaru EJ22 Engine – $27k – Los Angeles, CA

1987 VW Vanagon Westfalia Camper Subaru EJ22 Engine Los Angeles, CA - $27k

1987 VW Vanagon Westfalia Camper Subaru EJ22 Engine Los Angeles, CA – $27k

Here’s a find that caught my eye mid work day, so here I am to tell you about it.  Yes, it’s got a high sticker price, and some will balk at it, but for the right buyer, there could be some value here. This van is a 1987 VW Vanagon Westfalia Camper with 154k miles on the odometer, 15k miles on a fresh Subaru EJ22 engine swap, stock automatic transmission and some overall good looks.  It’s available on craigslist in Los Angeles, CA with an asking price of $27,500.

Here’s the thing.  A good EJ22 Subaru swap done by Bus Lab is at least $16k, and it comes with a warranty, not sure what the status of this current build is. It may or many not have come with a warranty. This is also a CA smog compliant swap, as it was in California, by Bus Lab, with the Kennedy Engineering parts.  I’d be sure to run a CarFax report to see what comes up for this Westy’s past, the seller provided the VIN here ( WV2ZB0259HH025620 ).


Aside from the awesome engine upgrade, the seller claims to have done a ton of other awesome upgrades including… A/C service, tinted windows, 15″ wheels, new propane tank, new water tank pump, gas tank reseal (important!), fresh 3 window tent and pop top seals, new springs, new stereo, new carpet and nice looking 15″ wheels. The sink, stove and fridge are implied to work, but be sure to check on the specifics here as well.

Potential Cons.

When a tired old original transmission with 140k miles meets a fresh engine with 50% more horsepower, know you’ll probably be investing in a new transmission with 50k miles, if not much sooner.  The seller also mentions it has a trailer hitch, be sure to ask why they towed with it.  Anything more than a bike rack is questionable.

I personally wouldn’t buy an automatic transmission, though I do see the major bonus being that it’s easy for others (friends, family) to drive it on road trips, as the manuals are a bit tricky for newbies. If I bought this van, I’d start saving for a rebuilt automatic trans from German Transaxle, and add the Peloqins for another $1,300.

All in all, I think for the right buyer in CA this is worth at least $25k, depending on many of the factors mentioned above (warranty? auto trans, etc). What do you think it’s worth?  Spill your beans in the comments below, or head on over to the individual discussions about this Westy Facebook Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest and share your wisdom there!

Craigslist Link

  1. I did my own swap with a 06 2.5 forester. Including a subaru gears 5 speed. here is how it broke down.
    $3K for donor car
    $2.5K for engine rebuild
    $4K for Subaru gears rebuild
    $1K for 5 speed shift kit
    $2K Small car conversions parts
    $1K New rear cv+axles for transaxle
    $1K Misc stuff for conversion

    so around 14K in and all labor was done by me except engine cylinder bore, head reman and trans rebuild.

    I upgraded other stuff too while i had everything apart like the coolant tubes, power steering tubes,suspension parts etc… those costs are not included.
    Misc parts and services

  2. Um, $27k? Let’s put it this way, if your house is not paid off, and you have $27k to dump on this, you’d better think about your financial future. My house is paid off and I still wouldn’t pay $27 or even $17k for one of these. C’mon guys, priorities!

    • So let’s say you wanted a really nice, clean, reliable, full functioning, late 80s Westy with a 2.2L Subaru swap, that was smog legal in California. How would you go about buying, or building one? How would you do it for under $20k?

      • I’d likely do what my neighbor did. She had an 85 with a decent running WBX. Her local mechanic found a 40k mile 2.5 out of an 04 Forester and used the Small Car Kit. Motor $1500, swap $6k. Her van was orig $6000 4 years ago and is mostly straight.

        That is under 15 grand, she’s got a 5 speed, warranty on the motor.. When I see someone dropping $16k for a swap I wonder why it would be so much? Even with a brand new engine, still seems pretty expensive. How much hourly are they getting??

  3. 27-16= 11k, which is a good deal on a WBX 87 Westy. The additionals are a bonus. This isn’t a screaming deal by any means, at 27k, it better have at least a 10-20k warranty. Otherwise someone might be better off buying one, having the conversion done, and having a warranty. But if they go down to 23 grand and it’s as good as they say? Worth srsly considering. Big negative is that transmission. I wonder why the Bus Lab conversion is double the price of the Small Car one to have done?

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