The increasingly popular Volkswagen Crafter is now becoming a more familiar sight on UK roads. John Challen details what checks should be made before purchasing a used example
The introduction of the Crafter large panel van by Volkswagen in 2006 signalled the end for the brand’s LT badge after 31 years.
At the time of its launch the new van was powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine with outputs of 88, 108, 134 and 162hp, mated to a six-speed manual ‘box, and buyers had the choice of three wheelbases, four load compartment lengths and three roof heights. It also came with a maximum load capacity of 17m3 and the ability to transport weights up to around 2670kg, while there was ample room for two Euro pallets to sit alongside each other. The Crafter’s sliding door allowed a 1.3m-wide x 1.8m-high opening for easy loading.
The van was given a refresh in 2011, the biggest change being the introduction of the cleaner and more efficient 2.0-litre engine. Lighter than the 2.5-litre, it resulted in a payload increase of 100kg.
There are a few key components to examine when buying a used Crafter, one of which is the diesel particulate filter (DPF), says Used Van Expert, an online resource for those considering buying a second-hand van. When you test drive a Crafter, be sure to check for the DPF warning light on the dashboard. Problems can occur with regular driving in town, or on short journeys, because filters don’t get hot enough to burn off the particulate deposits. In this case, the light will remain on, and the filter will have to be manually cleaned out with a ‘forced regeneration’ – something VW will not perform under warranty. As a result, Used Van Expert advises buyers to negotiate a reduction of £300 off the van’s price.
Be aware that the cambelt service on a Crafter is at 80,000 miles or four years. If the van has passed its cambelt service, the advice is to get an inspection, as there is a high chance of damage to the engine. If mileage is close to 80,000, try and reduce the price by £400.
The Crafter’s engine is known for consuming a lot of oil, sometimes as much as a litre every 1500 miles. Given that it runs on long-life oil, typically only available from main dealers or certain Shell outlets and priced at £15 a litre, be aware of the potential expense and the need to keep an eye on oil levels. Another common fault with the engine is a blown turbo – look for smoke from the exhaust when the engine is hot, and listen for grating and whistling noises from the top of the engine under power. If the turbo is to be replaced, make sure the exhaust gas re-circulation valves are changed at the same time. If the van is under warranty (three years/100,000 miles) VW will fix it for free, otherwise you’re looking at around £1250.
While coolant hosing is cheap, its positioning on the Crafter at the back of the engine means any replacement involves at least five hours’ labour. Used Van Expert advises £450 off the asking price if you spot any leaking coolant, or damage to the hose.
Check the service history to see if the van is due its ‘B’ service (every third service is a ‘B’ service). If you find this is due then try to reduce the price of the vehicle by £360. Also make sure that the service warning light on the dashboard goes out when the engine is running. Servicing on the Crafter is variable; however, the light can come on as early as 9000 miles for heavily used vehicles.
Look underneath the van and check for oil on the floor or around the differential. Should there be any, it may be a sign of a fault with the diff. If this is the case, and the van’s warranty still stands, VW may replace the part for free. If not, get the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic and look for a £800 price reduction.
How much should you pay?
BCA reports a composite auction price of £9125 for 2010 10-plate CR35 LWB Crafters with 46,000 miles, but there is evidence of plenty of price variation. A similarly specified 2009 09-plate model with 75,242 miles is being offered for £10,850 plus VAT by Reading LCV retailer Anchor Vans, while a 61,939-mile model of similar age at £9995 plus VAT is available at the M4 Van Centre in Swindon. For those with a smaller budget, a 188,529-mile CR35 MWB Crafter is advertised for £5795 plus VAT with Austen Trading, a firm also based in Swindon.
• Visit www.UsedVanExpert.co.uk for further advice and information.