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vw transporter t4 common problems

VW Transporter T4: Common Problems Explained

The Volkswagen Transporter T4 was a hugely popular van during its production run from 1990 to 2004. Over a decade since it was discontinued, the T4 remains a popular choice for van enthusiasts and holidaymakers.

However, even the best vehicles can experience problems from time to time, and the Transporter is no exception. Despite its popularity, there are a few VW Transporter T4 common problems owners should be aware of. Since the VW Transporter T4 is such a popular van, there is a wealth of information on common problems that owners may experience.

Fortunately, there isn’t much that we don’t already know about the T4. In this article, we will look at some of the most common issues that owners of the Transporter T4 have reported. We will also offer advice on how to deal with these problems should they occur.

VW Transporter T4 Common Problems

Below are some of the most common problems owners of the VW Transporter T4 have reported. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that you may experience one or more of these issues at some point during your ownership of the van.

Rust Problems

vw transporter t4 rust
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

Rust is one of the most common problems with older vehicles, and the Volkswagen Transporter T4 is no exception. The suspension mount is particularly prone to rust, as are the wheel arches and sills. The sliding door runner rail is also susceptible to corrosion, which can cause the door to become stuck.

In addition, rust can also cause premature wear on suspension components and brakes. Therefore, it is essential to regularly inspect your Transporter for rust and repair it as soon as possible if you find any.

It is vital to regularly wash and wax your Transporter to prevent rust. You should also avoid driving through puddles of water whenever possible. If you live in an area where salt is used on the roads in winter, it is imperative to wash your van regularly to prevent corrosion.

Leaking Roof

vw transporter t4 leaking roof
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

Volkswagen Transporter T4 owners have a common problem with leaking roofs. A leaking roof can be a frustrating and expensive issue to deal with, as water can damage the vehicle’s interior.

One common cause of a leaking roof is a cracked or damaged seal. Rubber seals are used all around the roof; over time, they can become brittle and crack. This allows water to seep in and cause leaks.

To prevent this from happening, it is important to regularly check the condition of the seals and replace them if necessary.

Another way to prevent leaking roofs is to ensure that all drains are clear and unobstructed. The drains on the Volkswagen Transporter T4 are located in the corners of the roof and are responsible for draining water away from the vehicle.

If these drains become blocked, water can build up and cause leaks. To clear a blocked drain, remove any debris that is obstructing it.

If you find yourself with a leaking roof, there are a few ways to repair it. One option is to use silicone sealant to seal any cracks or gaps. Another option is to replace the rubber seals that run along the roof.

Whatever route you choose, it is crucial to take care of a leaking roof as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your vehicle.

Gearbox Issues

vw transporter t4 leaking roof
Photo by: Pixabay

The VW Transporter T4 has been known to suffer from gearbox issues, which can cause several problems. Gears may grind or slip, making the vehicle difficult to drive. In extreme cases, the gearbox may even fail entirely.

There are many possible causes of gearbox issues on the T4. One is wear and tear; over time, all vehicle components will eventually break down and need to be replaced.

Another common cause is poor maintenance. For example, if the T4’s gearbox is not adequately lubricated and serviced, it is more likely to experience problems.

Finally, gearbox issues can also be caused by external factors such as bad weather or road conditions.

Fortunately, you can do a few things to help prevent gearbox issues on the T4. First, have the vehicle regularly serviced and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular servicing will help keep all components in good working order.

Be mindful of the conditions in which you operate the T4; avoid driving in extreme weather or on rough roads whenever possible.

And finally, if you experience any problems with the gearbox, take the vehicle to a qualified repair shop as soon as possible.

Proper care and maintenance can help keep your T4’s gearbox running smoothly for many years.

Starting Problems

vw transporter t4 gearbox problems
Photo by: Pixabay

Another common problem with the Volkswagon Transporter T4 is starting issues. Your VW Transporter T4 not starting can be caused by several factors, including a weak battery, dirty spark plugs, or a faulty ignition system.

In some cases, starting issues can also be caused by a blockage in the fuel line. While it can be frustrating to deal with starting issues, there are a few things that you can do to prevent them from happening.

First, ensure that your battery is in good condition and that your spark plugs are clean. It would help if you also had your ignition system checked regularly by a qualified mechanic.

If you experience starting problems, the best action is to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop for diagnosis and repair. These simple steps can help ensure that your Transporter T4 will start reliably for years to come.

Misaligned Sliding & Rear Doors

vw transporter t4 door alignment
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

The problem of misaligned doors on the Volkswagon Transporter T4 is common. The rear and sliding doors can become misaligned due to various factors, including wear and tear, poor assembly, or accidental damage.

When the doors are misaligned, it can cause difficulty in opening and closing them, as well as potential leaks. In addition, misaligned doors can lead to further damage to the door and the surrounding bodywork. The good news is that you can usually repair misaligned doors reasonably quickly.

First, make sure that the door hinges are correctly tightened and lubricated. You may also need to adjust the position of the door striker.

If you find that your doors are already misaligned, use a rubber mallet to tap them back into place gently. You may also need to loosen the hinges themselves.

If the problem persists, replace the door hinges with new ones. By taking these simple steps, you can help keep your T4’s doors in good working order.

Clutch Problems

vw transporter t4 clutch issues
Photo by: Pixabay

One issue reported by some Transporter T4 owners is a clutch failure. Clutch failure can be a significant problem, preventing the vehicle from moving.

One problem is that the clutch can wear out quickly if the vehicle is used frequently in stop-and-go traffic. This can be a major issue because replacing the clutch is an expensive repair.

Another problem is that the clutch can disengage from the flywheel, causing the engine to stall. Again, this can be dangerous if the vehicle is moving.

It is important to have the vehicle regularly serviced to identify and repair any potential issues before they become serious.

It is also important to avoid using the clutch excessively by shifting gears smoothly and avoiding sudden starts and stops. Finally, if a problem does occur, it is important to have it repaired promptly by a qualified mechanic.


How Reliable Is The VW Transporter T4?

Thanks to its reliable engine and robust build quality, the T4 has earned a reputation for being a dependable workhorse. Many T4 owners report that their vans have clocked up over 200,000 miles without major issues. In addition, thanks to its simple design and easy-to-find spare parts, the T4 is generally easy and inexpensive to maintain.

How Often Should The Cambelt Be Changed On A VW Transporter T4?

The cambelt on a VW Transporter T4 should be changed every 80,000 miles or every four years, whichever comes first. The cambelt is a critical component of the engine and helps keep all the moving parts in sync. Unfortunately, the cambelt can stretch and wear out over time, leading to severe engine damage. As a result, it’s essential to have the cambelt changed regularly.

How Often Should A VW Transporter T4 Be Serviced?

No matter what vehicle you drive, it is crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. For VW Transporter T4 models, this means bringing the vehicle in for service every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. In addition, by staying up to date on scheduled maintenance, you can help to ensure that your vehicle remains in good condition and continues to run reliably.

How Many Miles Will A VW Transporter T4 Engine Last?

The VW Transporter T4 engine is a workhorse known for its durability. Many owners report that their engines easily last over 250,000 miles, and some even say they can reach 500,000 miles with proper care. The key to achieving such high mileage is regular maintenance. Keeping the engine oil clean and fresh is essential, as is ensuring that all other fluids are at the correct levels.


While the VW Transporter T4 is a great van, there are a few common problems that owners should be aware of. Rust and leaking roofs are the most common issues, but there are ways to prevent and repair both of these problems. With some care and attention, your Transporter T4 will continue to be an excellent van for many years.


Sammy is a lifelong gearhead who's been wrenching on cars and bikes since he was tall enough to reach the pedals. These days, he spends his time writing about all things automotive, from new performance products to how to get the most out of your old ride. When he's not behind a computer, you'll find him at the race track or out on a trail somewhere.

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