The mounting bracket for the stock coolant expansion tank on a 1983 diesel Vanagon is prone to forming stress cracks and leaks in the plastic tank, due to the way it attaches to the bulkhead just forward of the battery platform.
During the course of an engine replacement, I upgraded to a complete set of silicone coolant hoses. These new hose diameters necessitate using a coolant expansion tank from the 1986-1991 gasoline Vanagons. While these tanks are of a better design and more readily available, they will not fit into the stock 1983 diesel mounting bracket.
So I took the opportunity to further improve things using a tank mounting bracket from Van Cafe/Rocky Mountain Westy. This design provides better support for the tank, eliminating the stress cracks.
Unfortunately, the original tank mounting flanges on the bulkhead interfere with the surface mounting of the new bracket. I suppose one could simply bend and hammer these flanges flat, but I generally avoid such permanent modifications and molestations to original bodywork.
So I fabricated a short standoff to fit between the flanges on the bulkhead, and to extend the mounting surface. I made a few extras, so if you’re making this upgrade to your diesel Vanagon, this will help.
Install the bracket with standoff, mount your new coolant expansion tank in the bracket, and connect your hoses.