The Volkswagen Dictionary

Bus Terminology

Mailing List Slang

(All years are by definition for U.S. Models. European, Canadian, and Australian years and models may vary slightly.)

Bus Terminology

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 



Anti-Locking Braking System. a computerized method of helping to prevent wheel skid/lock-up during braking. it does not prevent spins, nor does it allow you to stop in a shorter distance. it does allow you to steer the car while braking as hard as possible. available as an option on some Vanagons and EuroVans in Europe during the late 1980's-1990's.


Air Flow Meter. the silver box next to the air cleaner box on the fuel injection model buses. it measured the volume of air entering the intake system, and allowed the computer to adjust the amount of gasoline required.


Special model of the bus, based on the Standard bus, first available in 1951. The most notable feature was the smaller engine lid than the previous Barndoors, and a rear hatch hinged at the bottom, which allowed stretchers to be loaded into the interior of the bus. The gas tank and spare tire were moved in order to accomodate the rear hatch.


(Automotive Services Inc.) A U.S.-based camper conversion company out of Washington state. Manufactured a Vanagon camper conversion called the Riviera with a straight-up pop-top.



Buses made before mid-1955, whose major characteristics are the oversized engine lid and the lack of a rear cargo hatch. These also did not have the ventilation eyebrow above the windshield/windscreen.

Bay window

Another name for the buses made from 1968-1979. So called for the large single-piece windshield.


  1. Vanagon model Transporters.

  2. Any VW bus or Transporter.

Bread loaf

Usually refers to the buses made from 1968-1979, due to the resemblance of the body shape to that of a loaf of bread

Bulli or Bully

The German nickname for the original VW buses. loosely translated, it means "work horse" or "oxen" (some sort of strong animal used for pulling heavy loads).


  1. Any Volkswagen Transporter of any model and any year.

  2. Specifically those VW Transporters from 1968 to 1979, distinquished by a large one-piece windshield and rounded body contours. all had double-jointed independent rear suspension. also called T2 Transporter.



Cold Cranking Amps. a bogus number printed on the sides of automobile batteries to confuse the buyers. generally, the bigger this number is, the easier the battery will crank your car when everything is frozen. assuming everything is in perfect operating condition, of course.


A model of bus that contained interior features such as a bed, stove, cabinets, and in some versions, a refrigerator. some versions had a pop-up roof to allow extra room, ventilation, and sleeping room 'upstairs'. Some of the many companies making campers are Westfalia, Winnebago, Devon, Country Homes, Dormobile, and TRAKKA.


Another name for camper versions of the VW Transporter. For whatever reasons, this term seems to have been dropped for the Vanagons, except in Canada.


Catalytic Converter. a large, usually round cannister in the exhaust system. it helps convert emission gases into more harmless, less noxious vapors.

Crew cab

Another name for Double-cab pickup trucks.


(Constant Velocity Joint) One of the small circular devices at an end of an axle on a bus. Buses, Vanagons, and EuroVans have four of these, while the Syncro Vanagons have a total of eight. These are necessary to allow the axle to move up and down while still turning to propel the car. the joints need to be keep greased to function properly. when they are worn, they make a knocking-noise that strikes fear into the hearts of bus owners everywhere. Microbuses do not have CV joints, but use a 'swing-axle' and reduction gear box instead.



Department of Transportation. an agency of the U.S. Federal Government that has authority over some aspects of auto- mobile construction, especially in the safety-related areas.


A model of early buses that had the highest level of interior features and trim levels. Usually with the small sight-seeing windows in the roof and either 21 or 23 side windows. Also a HUGE fabric sunroof was available as an option.


An English company that made camping conversion VW buses.


A form of fuel injection found on VW Vanagons/Transporters from 1986 and later. A later variation of Digijet. Also reported to be a slightly less complicated version of the Bosch Motronic fuel injection used on BMW's and Porsches.


A form of fuel injection found on VW Vanagon/Transporters from 1983.5 to 1985. characterized by a digital 'map' of the 'proper' fuel quantity vs engine rpm and temperature.


The German name for Double-cab pickup truck.


Another company that made camping conversions of VW buses.


EuroVan double-cab pickup truck The VW pickup truck characterized by seating for five or six and three doors. A ½-ton vehicle.



Electronic Control Unit. Generally refers to the 'computer' that controls the fuel injection system.


Electronic Fuel Injection. Computerized metering and squirting of fuel, replacing the carburetor systems. introduced into the buses in the mid-70's.


Exhaust Gas Recirculation. One of the emission control techniques, in which gases are sucked from the exhaust pipes (before the muffler) and re-circulated through the intake manifold (to be 'burned' again). the high heat associated with exhaust gases required expensive metals ... so replacing/repairing this system can be costly.


Environmental Protection Agency. Another agency of the U.S. Federal Government that gets involved in automobile construction, especially in the engine emissions area.


Shortened nickname for the EuroVan.


Slang term for the Volkswagen EuroVan camper, which was converted by Winnebago.


EuroVan Winnebago camper Any of the Volkswagen Transporters from 1992 to present. some were sold in Europe in 1991. generally characterized by their engine located in the front of the vehicle, driving the front wheels, and their very rounded shape and huge rear hatch.



Fahrvergnügen is a made-up German word meaning 'pleasure of driving', and Volkswagen marketting claims it can only be experienced in a VW automobile.



A Transporter model with a raised roof, allowing for greater area within the van.



Independent Rear Suspension. A form of rear suspension that allows the rear wheels to move vertically up and down, independently of each other, to compensate for bumps and road surfaces. uses a double-jointed rear axle, with cv-joints at each end.



Kilometers per Hour. Speed measured in the metric system.


Generally accepted to mean a mid-range trim model of a Volkswagen Transporter. That is, not a utility/commercial truck, and yet not a Deluxe model with all the bells and whistles of luxury and convenience. usually, a Kombi has windows along the side, seats, and some side paneling. Kombis also had fibreboard overhead instead of a headliner.



Liters per 100 Kilometers. a measurement of fuel economy in the metric system. note that this is exactly backwards from the American system of miles/gallon. the metric measurement denotes the amount of fuel required to go a certain distance roughly, 10 L/100km = 23.5 mpg.


Light Emitting Diode. those little red/green/yellow 'lights' that almost never burn out. sort of solid plastic light bulbs. and they use very very little amounts of electricity.


Liquified Petroleum Gas. The stuff that the stove and refrigerator use for fuel in the campers.



Miles per gallon. The American measurement of fuel economy, denoting the distance traveled for a certain amount of fuel. roughly, 20 mpg = 11.75 L/100km.


Miles per hour. the American measurement of speed.


Any Volkswagen Transporter from 1949 to 1967, characterized by a split (two-piece) windshield and rounded body contours. all were powered by beetle Type 1 engines and all had 'reduction gears' on the half-axles. known also as T1 Transporters.

This term is also used by VW SA for the present 5 Cyl. (Vanagon-style) van without exclusive options.



New Original Stock (not rebuilt, and not manufactured by some non-OEM company).



Original Equipment


Original Equipment Manufacturer


A nickname for the Microbus.



Positive Crankcase Ventilation. A method of reducing the pressure inside the engine crankcase (the middle part where things are whirling around, but nothing is exploding).


A model of bus that has no side windows behind the front doors. usually a commercial model.


A model of bus that had a flat load bed with no fixed roof over the rear half of the vehicle. Optional canvas tents were available to cover the rear flat bed area. (See Single-cab and Double-cab.)


Another name for the Single-cab pickup truck.



Winnebago Rialta motor home Winnebago converts some EuroVans into mini-motorhomes, by adding Winnebago's own body (aft of the front doors) that's about 20"-24" wider than the normal EuroVan. Inside they install sink, stove, refridgerator, toilet, bed, & cabinets. The Rialta is sold through Winnebago's own network of RV dealers.


A type of camper conversion done by ASI.


Safari windows

A type of front windshield that tilts outward for additional ventilation. found only on Microbuses, and usually only on on those in equatorial/tropic countries.


Usually refers to the Microbus Deluxe Station Wagen, with 21 or 23 Windows and a Sunroof.


The ¾-ton version of the VW pickup truck. seating for three people.


The Microbus, made from 1949 to 1967. also called a Split-Window.


Upper mid-range model of the bus with nicer interior components than the Kombi, but without the extra trappings of the Deluxe model. Standards have headliners, while Kombis and Panels did not.


A type of rear axle that is 'fixed' at the wheel (that is, it is not able to flex up or down), but is able to move up and down at the transmission end. It required the rear wheels to move in an arc, rather than vertically, when hitting bumps. in some cars (beetles and corvairs and some early porsches), it could cause the wheel to tuck under the car during high speed cornering.


The four-wheel drive version of the Vanagon, made between 1986 and 1991. using a viscous coupling arrangement, the front wheels could be made to automatically provide pulling power (at any time the rear wheels began to slip or spin).

This term also applies to the four-wheel drive EuroVans, which are unfortunately not imported into the United States.



The first generation of Transporters, from 1949-1967. Note that this is not Type 1, but just T1 (for Transporter 1). Strictly speaking, it should be Type 2, T1. Known as the Station Wagon or Microbus.


The 2nd generation of Transporters, from 1968-1979, known as the Station Wagon or Bus.


The 3rd generation of Transporters, from 1980-1991, known in North America as Vanagon, and elsewhere as Caravelle or just Transporter.


The 4th generation of Transporters, from 1992 to the present, known in North America as the EuroVan, and elsewhere as Caravelle or just Transporter.


(Technischer Überwachungs Verein) An agency of the German Federal Government. sort of a combination of DOT and EPA, as well as being responsible for inspecting cars every few years. They very thoroughly checks the car's safety features (breaks, body rust, steering). Older cars often fail, so they head for Eastern Europe, while Germany is left with only spic-and-span cars. Some people believe there is a collusion with car manufacturers to increase turnover.


Any of Volkswagen smaller trucks and vans. known as Type 2, they evolved through four (4) 'generations': T1, T2, T3, and T4, but the entire line of vehicles has always been called 'Type 2'.


An Australian manufacturer of EuroVan camper conversions.

Also see: TRAKKA web pagethis link leaves


  1. An affectionate name for Transporter.

  2. An American slang term for 'transmission'.

Type 2

Any Volkswagen Transporter. Since the Beetle was the first car produced by VW, it became known within the company as the Type 1. The bus or transporter was the second type of vehicle produced, so it became known as the Type 2. The Squareback/Fastback was the Type 3, and the 411/412 was the Type 4 (which had the same engine as the 1972-1982 Type 2's (buses).



Vehicle Identification Number. This is a number that uniquely identifies your vehicle. It is usually located in several locations on the vehicle, the most common being under the windscreen just forward of the driver (and intended to be viewed from the outside of the bus.) You'll also find the VIN on the frame rail under the van near the front edge of the sliding door.

Also see: Table for interpretting the Vanagon VIN


Any Volkswagen Transporter from 1980-1991, distinguished by squarer body contours and extremely large windows and windshield. Also known as T3 Transporters, or Caravelle.



The engine used in the water-cooled Vanagon. The term 'Wasser' is german for 'water'. 'boxer' refers to the flat opposing piston structure of the engine (i.e., the pistons are boxing with each other.)


Another name, usually British, for the Vanagon body series.


An accessory package originally available on the Vanagon that bridged the gap between the passenger van and the camping-oriented Westfalia model. With the included rear bench that folded into a double-bed, fold-out table, and privacy curtains, an owner could easily move seven people during the week and provide sleeping space for two on the weekends. This idea and name have just been reintroduced as a model of the revamped Eurovan called the MV Weekender.

Westfalia or

One of many camper versions made from a basic VW Transporter usually the only camper version imported into the U.S. by VW and sold at their dealers. Westfalia also converts EuroVans into full camper units for sale in Canada and Europe.

Winnebago or

An RV manufacturer chosen by VW to convert basic EuroVans into full camper units for sale within the United States. Winnebago also manufactures the Rialta from the standard EuroVan body.


Wolfsburg Editions are models with a higher level of trim, and are probably intended to stimulate sales late in the model year. In addition trim upgrades, they usually include some options without any extra charge (power mirrors, power door locks, and power windows, etc.) The true Weekender is usually also offered as a Wolfsburg Ed. (It's believed that the Westy Weekender only came as a Wolfsburg Edition.)


Mailing List Slang

(abbreviations & acronyms)


By the Way


Dreaded Previous Owner (the sorry so-and-so who owned and mistreated YOUR bus before you bought it).


Friendly Local Auto Garage


Friendly Local Auto Parts Store/Supplier/Source


Friendly Local Auto Repair Shop


Friendly Local Auto Tire Store


Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition


For What It's Worth


For Your Information

IIRC If I Remember Correctly
LOL Laughing Out Loud


In My Humble Opinion


Situation Normal: All Fouled Up

ROTFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing
TANSTAAFL There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch


Thanks In Advance


Ta-Ta For Now ('so long until later')


With Respect To... ('in regard to ...')


Your Mileage May Vary

Copyright © 1997–2017 Ron Lussier. All Rights Reserved. is not affiliated with Volkswagen of America, Volkswagen AG, or Westfalia AG. 'Vanagon' and the VW logo are trademarks of Volkswagen.