The Volkswagen Crafter is a three-to-five-ton large commercial van that was first introduced for the 2006 model year and has since been in continuous production. The 2nd generation of the VW Crafter came out in 2017. The Crafter van is based on the VW MNB Modular Light Commercial Vehicle platform which is also being shared with the MAN TGE.
In this article, we are going to go through all the VW Crafter problems which include both causes of these problems and their respective solutions. We will also mention notable recalls in order to give you a broad understanding of what you can expect when buying one of these.
The most common VW Crafter problems include injector issues which can cause the engine to fail prematurely. The 2.5L TDI diesel engine is likely the most popular engine with Crafter owners, but this engine is also known to suffer from turbocharger issues which can most easily be noticed due to whistling sounds coming from the engine bay area.
The DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) is also a notable mention as many VW diesel engines experience issues with these filters, some of which can be really expensive to fix. Lastly, we also need to mention problems with the rear suspension, more specifically, the rear axle.
If you sense your Crafter exhibiting loss of power or it refuses to start, chances are that your injectors are the reason why. These can also lead to jerky, inconsistent accelerations and potentially a noticeable fuel odor in and around the car. All four of the injectors can be a problem which is why you should inspect these if you are in the market for a used Crafter.
It is said that these should be able to last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. However, if the fuel filters become clogged, these are known to fail even earlier which means that you can be faced with these problems multiple times during the van’s lifespan. It’s highly advisable to replace all four of the injectors at the same time whenever these issues occur.
2.5L TDI Engine Problems
The 2.5L V6 TDI is likely the best and most popular engine with the Crafter, but it can suffer from a few notable problems as well. Firstly, the turbocharger is known to blow on these which can most easily be seen by the van emitting whistling noises, especially during acceleration. The EGR can also fail while the flowmeter can follow suit.
All in all, you ought to take proper care of this engine if you want it to last a long time. Thankfully, those that do maintain this engine well enough, tend to rely on it for hundreds of thousands of miles. VW designed this engine to be able to withstand continuous stress and abuse which is what makes it so good for commercial use.
DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) Problems
The DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) is tasked with getting rid of all the harmful particles before they leave your exhaust which then leads to a smaller CO2 footprint. This is essential for diesel engines as the current era of strict emissions regulations requires automakers to make their diesel engines are clean as possible.
However, the problem with the Crafters TDI engine palette is that these don’t have enough time to heat up properly which means that they can’t burn off all the hazardous particles if they aren’t driven for extended periods of time. This can lead to clogging which will require you to either clean the DPF (if possible) or replace it with a new one which isn’t affordable.
Rear Suspension System Issues
The suspension system on the Crafter needs to be able to carry immense weight for years without failing which is indeed a difficult task. As such, the rear axles tend to fail most commonly which was also the reason why VW recalled the Crafter back in 2014. Vans equipped with air suspension are even more problematic as the air suspension system can cause the van to sag to one side or the other.
Another suspension-related problem with the VW Crafter is one where the 2016-2018 Crafter is prone to the Cardan shaft breaking off the van and thus causing an accident. This also led to a recall back in 2018 when VW took care of this issue for the most part.
Is The Volkswagen Crafter Reliable?
The Volkswagen Crafter enjoys a fairly consistent reputation for being reliable and long-lasting which is partly why these are so popular in the 2nd hand market. As most of these are being used for commercial fleet purposes, they tend to be maintained whenever necessary which makes them able to last years after years without any major overhauls.
However, there is also a decent amount of these that haven’t been maintained as well which eventually led them to fail prematurely. As such, if you are in the market for one of these, make sure to do a pre-purchase inspection.
Which Vans Rival The VW Crafter?
The VW Crafter is not the only van in this segment which means that it is rivaled by the slightly more expensive Mercedes Benz Sprinter and the slightly less expensive Ford Transit. All three of these are immensely popular and are likely to remain that way for a long while to come.
The 1st gen Crafter and the Sprinter do share a decent amount of parts with each other which means that they are remarkably similar. We also need to mention the Fiat Ducato and the Renault Master as the other two VW Crafter rivals.
Is The VW Crafter An Electric Van?
For the 2017 model year, VW came out with the e-Crafter which is one of the very first electric vans in this segment. The e-Crafter uses a rather small 43kWh battery which is enough to give you between 100 and 130 miles of range. The cargo space is listed at 11.3 cubic meters, it houses a single electric motor with 136hp and 214lb-ft of torque.
VW is likely going to update the e-Crafter soon with a larger battery, likely the one you can get with the brand-new VW .ID Buzz.