Base Vehicle: Volkswagen Crafter 50

By: Mike Stock


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Volkswagen New Zealand is taking the long wheelbase route for its 2009 motorhome chassis, offering manufacturers and custom-builders two models based on the Crafter 50 cab/chassis

Base Vehicle: Volkswagen Crafter 50
Base Vehicle: Volkswagon Crafter 50
  • The Crafter 50 Single Cab cab/chassis is 6842mm long, 2370mm wide, and 2426mm wide
  • The Crafter range is VW’s largest light commercial and is sold in van, truck and cab/chassis variants and in short-, medium- and long-wheelbase forms
  • Volkswagen New Zealand offers the Crafter with a three year/100,000km mechanical warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion
  • VW’s 2009 Crafter 50 LWB is powered by a 2461cc five-cylinder common-rail direct fuel-injection diesel that develops 100kW of maximum power at 3500rpm and 300Nm of peak torque at 2000rpm
  • Ventilated disc brakes are fitted to all wheels, and an ABS anti-lock system is standard, along with an electronic differential lock (EDL) and electronic stability programme (ESP)


Both the cab and chassis models have identical engines, but offer a choice between manual or automated manual double-clutch gearboxes. The latter adds about 6kg to GVM and payload weights.

VW’s motorhome starting point is the Crafter 50 cab/chassis with a 4325mm wheelbase and dual rear wheels on each side.

The Crafter range is VW’s largest light commercial and is sold in van, truck and cab/chassis variants and in short-, medium- and long-wheelbase forms. It goes toe-to-toe with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and the two German trucks are also rivals in the motorhome field, with New Zealand manufacturer, Coachcraft, offering a choice of Volkswagen or Mercedes-Benz chassis and running gear for its new Coachburg 770.

It uses the VW Shiftmatic gearbox rather than the manual, and fits its Mercedes-chassised Coachburgs with five-speed fully automatic gearboxes.

VW’s 2009 Crafter 50 LWB is powered by a 2461cc five-cylinder, common-rail direct fuel-injection diesel that develops 100kW of maximum power at 3500rpm and 300Nm of peak torque at 2000rpm.

The motor meets Euro 4 emission standards and has a diesel particulate filter to clean up the exhaust. A variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbocharger boosts the engine, and an intercooler is standard.

VW specifies rear-wheel drive only, and with single cab, the LWB Crafter 50 chassis has a GVM of 4490kg, maximum payload of 2502kg, and an unladen weight, including the driver, of a maximum of 1988kg. Front gross axle weight is 2000kg, rear is 3500kg. Crafter 50s are also available with a GVM of 5000kg.

Steel wheels measuring 16-inch by 5.5 inches are fitted all round, with dual wheels at the rear. Black wheel centre covers are fitted front and rear, and the tyres are 195/75 R16 C.

Front and rear suspensions are beefed up to meet the greater weight of a motorhome body. At the front, there’s an independent damper strut set-up coupled to a transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring and an uprated stabiliser bar. The rear uses a solid axle with telescopic gas shock absorbers, a stabiliser bar and longitudinally-mounted semi-elliptic leaf springs. The suspension modifications allow the front axle load limit to rise from 1800kg to 2000kg to make it capable of carrying the motorhome.

Ventilated disc brakes are fitted to all wheels, and an ABS anti-lock system is standard, along with an electronic differential lock (EDL) and electronic stability programme (ESP).

The steering is power-assisted rack-and-pinion and the turning circle is 15.6 metres.

The bodywork for the motorhome chassis is an adapted version of the regular cab/chassis, without a rear cab panel. The mirrors are mounted on extenders to enable viewing past the custom motorhome bodywork. Mudflaps are fitted behind the front wheels only, and the plastic fuel tank holds 75 litres of diesel.

The cab retains twin sun visors, storage boxes above the windscreen on both sides, extra sound deadening, moulded headlining and roof-mounted interior lights. In basic form the truck has a four-speaker sound system with CD player, heated power-operated exterior mirrors that fold flat electrically for parking, remote radio-controlled central door-locking with deadlock, and an engine immobiliser.

The seats are height-adjustable and the steering wheel can be adjusted for height and reach; climate-control air-conditioning is standard. The motorhome chassis spec includes a fuel sender for the later fitting of a parking heater. Passive safety kit runs to front airbags for driver and passenger, lap/sash seatbelts and seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Volkswagen New Zealand offers the Crafter with a three year/100,000km mechanical warranty, a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and says service intervals between oil changes can be as great as 40,000km.

From the factory, the Crafter 50 Single Cab cab/chassis is 6842mm long, 2370mm wide, and 2426mm wide, though naturally those dimensions change when a motorhome body is fitted.

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