Volkswagen Thing I Finding Parts, Common VW Thing Problems

If you've got a Volkswagen Thing, you're probably interested in restoring vintage cars. Your VW Thing is something of a cult classic, and it will need special attention. The Thing requires special-order parts and a devoted owner interested in keeping this 1973 beauty in top condition.

Finding Parts for Your Thing
When looking for parts, you'll need to know that this vehicle was called The Thing only in America. In other countries it was called the Trekker, the Safari, the Type 181 or Type 182, depending on which side had the driving controls. The Type 181 has the driving controls on the left-hand side, while the Type 182 has the controls on the right hand side.

The VW Thing is made up of parts from the VW Beetle, VW Bus and VW Type 3. To properly identify what parts you need, you'll need to purchase an exploded parts view book specifically written for the VW Thing. When shopping for VW Thing parts, you can find them from one of these three suppliers:

  • German Motor Works714-534-1841
  • The Thing Shop in Arizona: 1-800-898-4464
  • Things Unlimited: 518-630-0173

Common Thing Problems
One of the biggest problems you'll find with the Volkswagen Thing is rust, everywhere. There are certain parts of the Thing that are particularly susceptible to rust, including the area under the battery and the lower rocker panels in front of the rear wheels. You can purchase replacement battery tray panels and floor pans, but you'll still need to rustproof all areas of your Thing before the rust progresses, then keep an eye on these rust-prone areas. Try using a layer of fiberglass cloth and paint, or a spray material for coating truck beds. Another good rustproofing product is POR-15. After you've used a rustproofer, cover the area with a coat of paint to match the vehicle.

You'll want to add some performance-monitoring equipment. One issue with the Thing is how quickly the oil can overheat. You'll need an oil temperature gauge and a high-volume oil pump that will improve oil circulation, giving it a chance to cool down.

You should also put in a voltmeter to keep track of the volts put out by your electrical system.

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