Can someone tell me the “standard” replacement needs when doing a head replacement on an '87 Westy camper? Heads and gasket set - but what else should really be done if everything else seemed OK when the head gave out? Is it true that refurbished/reconditioned heads are not worth saving money (i.e., one should only install new heads?
Have you asked over at TheSamba and VWVortex Westy boards?
While I’m no VW expert, this is what else I would recommend
Water pump (assuming it’s got some miles on it, now is the time to do it)
Timing belt if the motor has one
Timing belt tensioner
Timing belt idler
Put a straight edge on the block and make sure it’s not warped
Make sure the head bolts haven’t stretched past their limit . . . if in doubt, replace them
I know this may seem excessive, but if you’re going to be removing the timing belt and head, now is a good time to do that other stuff
If severe overheating was involved then there’s a good chance of piston ring damage which can translate into oil consumption.
Replacing the heads with new or rebuilt may not solve all problems.