Skip to main content
0 items

VW T4 Transporter common problems (1990 - 2003)

VW T4 Transporter

Do you own a VW T4 Transporter or are you looking for a VW T4 for sale? Haynes can help you keep your running costs down by showing you how to repair and maintain it yourself. It’s easy, so read and find out how we at Haynes can at least help you minimise the cost of running your Volkswagen T4 Transporter T4 (1990-2003).

We’ll list some of the main problems you might encounter, and how to fix it. So, if your T4 suddenly starts to make a noise that’s different from the usual symphony of sounds, or if it starts to cough and splutter, we can help you to diagnose the issue and sort it in a jiffy with the minimum expense. It’s an easy way to save loads of money.

The T4 Transporter (1990 - 2003) has weaknesses that include a fuel gauge and temperature gauge that show incorrect readings, and a loose driver’s airbag inflator housing.

The good news is that the procedures to repair these issues are both simple and cheap. Just follow our lead and your T4 Transporter will be back on the road very shortly.

VW T4 routine maintenance guide (1990 - 2003)

VW T4 Transporter

What recalls has the VW T4 Transporter been subject to?

The VW T4 Transporter is no different from any other vehicle in that it has been the subject of the odd recall throughout its extensive life.

First up, it was recalled because water could seep into the fuel injectors. Then it was recalled because the steering column clamping bolts could become loose.

A chafing wiring harness caused another recall, and a handbrake that could suddenly release prompted another return to dealerships.


What common problems does the T4 Transporter have?

Some examples of the T4 Transporter have been known to suffer from a sticky lower running rail on the sliding side door, while higher-mileage examples might be in need of a clutch swap before too long, although standard clutches can last up to 160,000 miles. An oil-pressure-warning light flashing is an issue on some 1.9-litre turbodiesel models.

The headlights are a known weak area, and benefit from an upgrade, which is easy to carry out. Models with electric windows and mirrors can also suffer from chafed wires, leading to them failing to operate. And the oil cooler can become damaged.

However, there’s little to worry about if you have a Haynes T4 Transporter 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

VW T4 Transporter dashboard

Does the T4 Transporter have sliding door problems?

Yes. The T4 Transporter has a sliding side door, and the lower rail is often exposed to the elements when open.

This can cause the operation of the door to become sticky and if left unattended can cause corrosion, which is a whole lot more serious and expensive to fix.

If you notice that your sliding side door doesn’t move as freely as perhaps it once did, make sure you clean out the rail and give everything a good squirt with WD40 or similar every couple of weeks.

You can easily see how to maintain the sliding side door and rail in the Haynes T4 Transporter 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.


Does the VW T4 Transporter have headlight problems?

One of the major weak points of the T4 Transporter is its headlights, which are recognised by owners and fans as being not bright enough.

However, many aftermarket suppliers offer a plug-and-play headlight upgrade, which you can easily carry out yourself using the relevant headlight replacement procedure in your Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

If you just need to change a bulb, check out our FREE bulb-replacement video below.

Does the T4 Transporter have clutch problems?

The T4 Transporter is undeniably getting on a bit, and many examples will have covered a higher mileage. While the clutch in 1.9-litre diesel and 2.5-litre diesel is known to last up to 160,000 miles, you’re going to have to change it sooner or later.

Happily, this is a job that’s covered in full in the Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

VW T4 Transporter

Does the T4 Transporter have oil pressure problems?

The good news is that the T4 Transporter tends not to have oil pressure problems. However, the oil pressure-warning light has been known to flash when the engine is running.

The cause is not the engine, rather it is damaged alternator wiring near the alternator itself. A further clue that this is the problem lies in the fact that the battery charge warning light does not illuminate.

You can trace the wiring down near the alternator using the relevant alternator procedure in the Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

Does the T4 Transporter have electric window problems?

Higher-spec version of the T4 Transporter came with electric windows and door mirrors. However, the wiring for these sits inside the door and is known to become frayed over time, mainly through the vibrations caused when driving.

Getting inside the door to find the offending short circuit is comparatively easy, using a set of trim removal tools and the relevant procedure in your Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

VW T4 Transporter

Does the VW Transporter T4 have oil cooler problems?

If you notice one day that the oil and coolant in your VW Transporter T4 are mixing at some point, the cause could well be a damaged oil cooler. It has thin fins which are easily damaged, and could require replacement.

It’s a comparatively easy job to replace the cooler, and it’s covered in full in your Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.