1978 VW Van Specs

by Thomas West
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The Volkswagen van, or Type II as it was referred to by Volkswagen, was conceived in the late 1940s after World War II. Using the Beetle platform, engine and other mechanical components, the Volkswagen van was rolling off of assembly lines in Wolfsburg, Germany starting in 1950. By 1978, Volkswagen vans were improved over their original counterparts, but their outward appearance still looked similar to earlier models.

Exterior Dimensions and Capacities

The 1978 Volkswagen Type 2 van had a wheelbase of 94.5 inches, the same as the Beetle sedan. The overall length from bumper to bumper was 177.4 inches. The overall width was 67.7 inches. The overall height without cargo or passengers was 77 inches for station wagon or Kombi models, 80 inches for the Campmobile, and 77.2 inches for the delivery van. The fuel tank held 14.6 gallons of gasoline with a one-gallon reserve.

Weights, Cargo and Trailer Towing Capacities

The weight of the station wagon was 3,042 pounds with a cargo capacity of 1,918 pounds, for a total gross vehicle weight rating of 4,960 pounds. The Kombi weighed 2,921 pounds and had a cargo capacity of 2,149 pounds for a GVWR of 5,070 pounds. The Campmobile weighed 3,296 pounds with a 1,655-pound. cargo capacity for a GVWR of 4,961 pounds. The delivery van weighed 2,744 pounds and could carry 2,326 pounds of cargo, giving it a 5,070-pound GVWR. The cargo capacity of the roof-mounted rack was 220 pounds for all models but the Campmobile, which was rated at a 110-pound roof-carrying capacity. Total weight of a trailer without brakes was limited to 1,322 pounds, whereas a trailer with brakes could weight a maximum of 2,645 pounds on vans with manual transmissions and 1,322 pounds on vans with automatic transmissions.


The rear-mounted engine in Type 2 vans was air cooled by a cooling fan connected to the engine crankshaft. The four-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine displaced 1970 cc and had electronically controlled fuel injection and self-adjusting hydraulic valves. The cylinder bore was 94 mm and the crankshaft stroke was 71 mm. The compression ratio was 7.3-to-1 and the output was 67 horsepower at 4,200 rpm and 101 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm. Required fuel was regular low-lead or unleaded, except for vans sold in California, which used unleaded fuel only.

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