Volkswagen Lt35 Horsebox

donkeyindisguise

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27 October 2011
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Hi all,

Appreciate that 3.5 horsebox threads have been done to death, and I have been using the search facility to find out as much as possible, however most threads about this particular model seem to be a few years old and I could do with checking for some current thinking on them :)

In my endless hunt for a 3.5t box for me and my little mare, I have come across the VW Lt35s. They generally seem to get really good reviews on here, I like that they generally look like 'little lorries' :p and being a VW should be pretty reliable (German engineering and all that...!)

My main query is what are parts like to get hold of these days? The one I have seen is a P reg (96) previous threads state it was getting harder to find them for pre 96 models, but they were old threads, so there's not much point me getting excited about this box being the 'right' age if I'm going to find it impossible to fix should I buy it and anything go wrong


hope my morning ramblings all make sense, I'm not fully awake yet!
home made brownies on offer

thanks in advance! :)
 

ihatework

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7 September 2004
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15,355
They are good engines, I used to have one and it was very reliable.
They are however generally heavier and with a higher centre of gravity than the more modern 3.5T boxes so really only 1 horse or 2 ponies.
As for part availability your best bet is to ask your Horsebox mechanic
 

TheMule

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14 October 2009
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I had an 85, it died 4 years ago but it was amazingly reliable until then!
If you have a good mechanic then it's a very affordable way to own a 3.5 t
 

Girlracer

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11 September 2008
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Worcestershire
I have a 1987 E reg LT35 PETROL!!

I honestly absolutely love it, it is pretty slow but gets us from A - B. I have had it about 2 or 3 months and have been all over the place with it. VW's are massively popular, not just in the horsebox world so I feel quite confident about parts as and when we need them.
 

catroo

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I had a VW Lt35 for a number of years and loved it. We did 10k miles a year in it driving all over the country. The only time it 'broke down' was a blow out on the motorway.

They are very heavy so payload can be an issue, they're also slow and very thirsty. But servicing was easy and parts cheap.

Make sure you get it weighed before buying it, ideally get it weighed when your on the test drive. I know of an instance where one had a certificate of 1T but it turns out they had literally stripped it bare, no water, just fumes in the tank, partition taken out etc
 

sychnant

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4 February 2009
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Welsh Borders
I had an LT50 and some parts are just not available. We ordered shocks and brake parts from Germany which arrived very quickly, but had to replace the brake pressure regulator with one from a Unimog as you can't get an original or new one for love nor money.

What finally did for ours was not being able to find brake drums. We had replaced every other part of the braking system but the brakes would not balance enough to pass the MOT.

I appreciate that the LT50 is ot the same as the LT35 and you may find that parts are more readily available, but please do your research before you buy or you could be left with a useless lorry!

Agree with those saying check the payload too. LT35's often have a very small one!
 

donkeyindisguise

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27 October 2011
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55
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Lincs
thank you all for your thoughts! :)

have asked seller if it can be taken it to a weighbridge, however the idea of taking it whilst on test drive is not one I had thought of and is a really good idea, thank you :)

I only need enough to take my 15.2 welshie (plus all equip obviously) but she's quite a distance from me so needs to be worth a trek

luckily, I work in the motor trade, for VW group too, and am good friends with a few 'tame technicians'

sounds pretty promising so far

:)
 

MyBoyChe

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17 April 2008
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Just be really careful on payload then! I have an 04 renault van with a fairly healthy 1.1 available. However, with a 14.2 highland, half a tank of diesel, all his tack, container of water, me and sometimes OH + jrt, we are only just OK. Its surprising how stuff adds up and as these are quite heavy little lorries, you might not have enough load :( We looked at a few when we were searching and found they were a bit too slow, painfully so uphill and I really didnt like the higher centre of gravity!
 

glamourpuss

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18 January 2006
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2,837
I have an ancient LT35, its heavy & slow but I bloody love it.
Don't be put off by the high centre of gravity, they are a lot more stable than other builds of this type.
My advice is to contact a local VW group, they love keeping old VW's on the road & will know who is best to go to to get parts.
My lorry gets seen by a classic VW mechanic once a year....he always despairs at it being a horsebox & not a camper 😂
 

donkeyindisguise

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27 October 2011
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Lincs
I have an ancient LT35, its heavy & slow but I bloody love it.
Don't be put off by the high centre of gravity, they are a lot more stable than other builds of this type.
My advice is to contact a local VW group, they love keeping old VW's on the road & will know who is best to go to to get parts.
My lorry gets seen by a classic VW mechanic once a year....he always despairs at it being a horsebox & not a camper 😂

Oh that a fantastic idea re the VW group, thank you!!
And to everyone for your advice, much appreciated
 

Scarlett

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7 August 2006
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Surrey
I worked for a VW specialist for a few years, we looked after a few LT35 boxes and they were, on the whole, super sturdy little boxes but there were certain parts that we struggled to get and one was written off in the end because we couldn't get a set of springs for it anywhere.

I do borrow an LT35 and in return I help keep it maintained and so far I have no issues getting bits for it, not that it has needed much! It's a lovely little box and the horses I have travelled in it have travelled well. My only issue with it would be that its the non turbo version and even with just one small horse in it it is quite slow on hills, the payload is 1100kg but I doubt it would make it up anything steep if it was actually carrying that!
 

AandK

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24 July 2007
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West Sussex
I had one for 5yrs and it was a great little box, mine was a petrol so not the quickest uphill but so very reliable and took me and my horse all over the place with no issues - mine was ancient as well Y reg with the Y at the end of the reg number! (so I think from 1982?). However, I sold it over 7yrs ago so cannot comment on the availability of parts these days!
 
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