My Van Search – Take: Five

Still depressed from the last viewing of the afternoon, I’m sitting with Claudia, it is close to 7:00 p.m. On the cell phone I sort myself for the evening – TV program without anything of interest.
Message on the mobile phone: “Your search yielded a new hit.”

The candidate

I call up the (probably very “fresh”) advertisement. A 2014 VW Crafter from Automobile Jörg Lausch (in Warendorf). 4325mm wheelbase (so a total of approx. 7m long) with 163 hp and fully loaded.

The Sprinter has a mileage of around 280,000 km and is available for € 10,842 (gross).
All service documented. But we’ve heard that before.
But maybe this candidate has a traceable service history.
The pictures give hope:

The organisation & journey

A quick look at the clock – 7:10 pm. Maybe I can leave a message. I call the number and get Mr. Lausch on the phone. Respect. I’m supposedly the first one to call – I get some details about the vehicle and all that sounds really good. We arrange to meet for the following day at 11:30 am. Temp plates are mounted, I’m looking forward to my visit. Somehow different from most previous appointments.

Arrival on April 9th. Easy drive, approx. 100 km, no traffic jams – relaxed.

A first impression

I arrive on time and see a commercial area, the Crafter and I turn my Yaris around to park it a bit out of the way.

We had already talked about the Crafter the day before and the condition of the vehicle corresponds to the description.

  • The paint exposed by the removed stickers explains the origin of the vehicle: A company specializing in noise protection.
  • Small quirks on the door, a few hail Impacts on the side walls, a long scratch on the driver’s side, the rear doors pretty much done for.
  • A fog lamp with crumbled glass, a bumper corner in the back needs attention.
  • Rust is not an issue at all, only the usual spot on the side door rail is noticeable.
  • The brakes are good and hardly run in.
  • Tires appear new.

In detail

Mr Lausch appears, introduces himself, and we start a relaxed conversation. Big white is unlocked.

  • The interior is one of the dirtiest I’ve seen thus far. Gloves and full body condom. On the seats are semi-permanent fixed blankets, underneath seats with similar “experience”. The driver’s seat is worn on the usual outer edge.
  • The dashboard and the door panels tell stories of 7 years of construction, lunch breaks on the shelves, including spilled and long-fossilized sugar-laden pop.
  • Loading area and wheel arches still look good, some rust on the right wheel arch.
  • 4 factory-made alloy wheels frame the vehicle, all with some damage and efflorescence – but always more stylish than the usual steel candidates.
  • The starter turns willingly and starts the engine, which runs smoothly at idle.
  • Wiper and washer ok. The horn makes noise.
  • The radio works.

Short lighting check:

  • Everything intact except for the previously mentioned fog lights.

Key test:

  • Set complete.

I do not open the hood (???).

TUEV and AU were made last year, and many parts were replaced (documented). There is also a current service booklet. Wow.


I sit down on an ISRI seat. It bounces and that’s irritating at first. The clutch appears to be more difficult to move than in the other, previously tested candidates – a matter of getting used to, I suppose.

First gear, we’re moving. The gear ratio is sooooo short, 2nd gear follows immediately. I’m still a little unsure during the first few meters – that goes away quickly. Mr. Lausch gives directions – we are soon on a country road. The Crafter runs – well. Acceleration, braking, steering. Nothing particularly noticeable. What I do NOT notice during the test drive in the general excitement are the somewhat crunchy changes in gear 2, 3 and 4 and also the unusually hard clutch engagement – more on that in one of my next posts. After approximately 10 minutes we turn around in a driveway.

On the way back I want to accelerate, but beyond 2,000 rpm there’s nothing happening. Gear does not matter. The diesel preheat symbol in the instrument cluster flashes: We are in the emergency program. Mr. Lausch doesn’t understand any of this – that would be a first for him too. I trust him on that. The seller’s worst case scenario – because the vehicle is getting cheaper every second. But the problem is there. We agree on a stop at the next bus stop and hope for the Ctrl-Alt-Del procedure – in this case engine off, wait 10 seconds, start engine.
The problem is – gone. Hmmm.

We had previously talked about the possibility of having the car checked by the TUEV – and we are there 5 minutes later. They appear to know each other well. The nice inspector had just driven a semi-integrated motor home off the pit and is taking the key for the Crafter from me. He drives the car on the brake test stand. Mr. Lausch waves excitedly – “… he doesn’t need a new TUEV inspection!”. The TUEV employee winks rather amused and says that he’ll do this for me after all – since I’m already there. Braking test with minimal deviations in the handbrake – otherwise everything is OK. The vehicle goes onto the pit. I can go down in there and look at the Crafter from below.

I register new ball joints, various new steering parts, stabilizer links, brakes, brake lines, tires and rear left axle bearing.
The documents also show a change in the rear lights and the windshield.
A thin blue, still clean line to a small pump is evidence of a diesel heater installation that was not long ago.
The power steering pressure hose is sweating, otherwise the substructure is bone dry. And without rust.

While I look at the van from below, the TUEV person has already connected the tester and is checking on error codes. If there were any. “There is only a note about the last reading about 11,000 km ago. Probably the last inspection.” He too is taken aback. The emergency run should have had to register itself somehow. No matter. You don’t always have to understand everything.
I still look at the bottom for a “red herring” to explain the dropout – but I can’t find any clue there either.

We thank him very much for the trouble we have been and drive back to the starting point.

We stand silently for a few seconds at a Corona-compliant distance on the side of the vehicle. I break the silence with the classic announcement by Jean Pierre Krämer and Sidney Hoffmann (aka the Dortmund “PS Profis”): “Let’s hear your price.”

And due to the increased risk with the “unexplored problem” during the test drive, there is a price that no longer needs to be negotiated at all and with which we can both live quite well. Contract, deposit.

And I still haven’t looked under the hood.


Bild von Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay

After all the dubious encounters of the third kind with bored salespeople, the offered scrap metal and the empty claims, this was refreshingly different and relaxed.

The vehicle was as described, honest and with all documentation.

100 km that were worth it in every respect. Next hurdle: The registration lottery in Herne. And then the pickup.

See you soon.

Thank you Jörg Lausch. Everything done right.

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