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Buyers Guide to:

Volkswagen T4

Useful Info

Also Known As

Transporter (T4), Caravelle, Type 4, Eurovan, T4a, T4b


1990 to 2003

Fuel Types

Petrol, Diesel

Engine Sizes

1800cc, 1900cc, 2000cc, 2400cc, 2500cc, 2800cc

Engine Type


Drive Configuration


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1990 saw the introduction of the Volkswagen T4, ensuring the long-running range of T-series models were much more up to date. Rear engines had disappeared, the T4 featuring front-mounted engines and front-wheel drive, surrounded by a stronger monocoque body shell. Once again, various styles were offered including a panel van and Kombi, along with the Caravelle that could seat up to nine people. Available in short and long-wheelbase versions, buyers could choose from a range of four, five, and six-cylinder engines – the latter using the smooth and punchy VR6 unit. A round of revisions for 1996 also saw the introduction of a torquey 2.5-litre TDI diesel motor which was perfect for load-lugging duties, and proved usefully economical if not especially refined.

  1. 1. Front crossmember
  2. 2. Front wings
  3. 3. Front wheel arches ahead of the doors
  4. 4. Sills, inner and outer
  5. 5. Door bottoms and panel edges
  6. 6. Floorpan
  7. 7. Rear wheel arches
  8. 8. Bottom edge of the tailgate

The Checklist

  • The bodywork for scuffs, dents, and corrosion caused by abuse and neglect. Bonnets suffered from stone-chipping allowing rust to take hold. Vans, especially, could be subjected to hard use so avoid anything too battered
  • The service history. Even the most recent models are more than a decade old, so regular maintenance may have become non-existent
  • For signs of head gasket failure on diesel engines. Oil or water leaks, or poor running are warning signs
  • That TDI diesels have had the cambelt changed on time. The water pump should have been done at the same time, so be wary if there’s nothing in the history to suggest recent replacement
  • For a noisy engine vacuum pump on oil burners. A tapping noise means it’s probably in need of replacement
  • For warning lights on the dash indicating issues with the engine ECU or sensors. Parts are pricey, so don’t assume it’s something minor
  • The gear box is healthy. An obstructive shift or noisy synchromesh are the most likely issue on high-milers, while worn differential bearings will cause a whine
  • That the clutch isn’t slipping, and look for evidence of clutch fluid leaks in the driver’s footwell
  • That the instrument panel is functioning correctly. There’s a voltage regulator than can fail, leading to dial readings going awry
  • The power steering for signs of fluid leaks, or a noisy pump
  • The effectiveness of the brakes. Watch for scored brake discs, seized rear calipers, and an ineffective handbrake
  • For rattles from the suspension. Anti-roll bar bushes and worn drop links are the usual culprits, but are inexpensive to fix
  • For electrical issues affecting the central locking and electric windows. They are prone to failure and previous owners might have just ignored it

Everything Check Out?

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