Recently a high-top syncro camper came up for sale locally and I was fortunate enough to buy it. It is a Get Away camper van conversion. Get Away vans was a company based in Richmond, BC that converted various full size vans as well as some Vanagons to campers in the ’70s and ‘80s. I am not sure when they quit doing that but apparently the name was bought by a similar company in the Fraser Valley that now makes Get Away sprinter van conversions.
It seems Get Away vans did some nice work, adding the high-top and camper equipment including a 2 burner propane stove, a Dometic fridge, similar to the ones in Westys but bigger, a sink with a manual water pump, a “Power Center” which has a built in battery charger hooked up to charge both the starter battery and the ‘house’ battery when the van is ‘plugged in’. It also has a propane furnace (sort of like the Propex unit I will install into the blue westy one of these years). The Get Away van has an ‘upstairs’ bunk as well as the lower bed but the upstairs one is rather small as there is a cabinet up there using some of the space. (I’ll add some photos a bit later.)
This particular ’86 syncro transporter had what to me in an interesting option: a Webasto coolant heater. I haven’t tried it to see if it works but am interested to do so. The guy who sold me the van owned it from 1988 until last week and he gave me all the paperwork and instructions that originally came from Volkswagen and Get Away vans so I just need to read up on the Webasto before trying it out.
The van has just over 100,000 kilometres on it (just used for camping trips and the occasional furniture move, never was a daily driver) and just has a very small amount of rust. The diff lock works perfectly and the transaxle shifts nicely. It idles smoothly and runs strong although when I got it the coolant temp. gauge didn’t work at all. That was just a bad connector on the sensor and has been fixed now. I still need to fix a few other little things and it will be ready for a trip: things like a missing window winder handle, cupboard door struts needing replacing so the door can stay open (hinges upward like the van’s rear hatch). Long term I need to get a bit of rust under the windshield repaired and a new windshield installed, might need some exhaust work too. It appears some rain may have made its way in near the skylight at some point as well as into the storage area above the front seats so I’ll check that out soon. It has original paint so I think I’ll just get the paint repaired where needed as opposed to a complete paint job. Our almost-7-year-old is very excited to sleep up in the top bunk.
Well, it is apparent… I have syncro disease.