Archive for February, 2010

Multi-prong connector tool

Another trivial lathe job…

My ’86 Vanagon fuse box has multi-prong connectors in back. Some are spade, but most are the round prong variety, very similar to “Molex” brand. The individual metal connectors insert into the plastic blocks and are held in by “barbs” on the connector shaft. You can’t pull the connectors out of the block without damaging those barbs unless you have the special tool.

I made a couple of the tools for each size of connector. I used a large nail (spike) for stock and I have to admit to not really having confidence that the idea would work, so the you have to forgive me for choice of material and final finish. I am pretty sure there are commercial versions of this tool, better made and with a nicer finish.

As it turned out, the tools work perfectly well. You just insert the tool into the block, the barbs are pressed back into the body of the connector and the wire can be pulled out from the back of the block. The pictures below show the smaller sized tool. Jeez, I didn’t notice the rust on the little vice until I took the pictures. Winters on the west coast, damp and the workshop is not well sealed….

Update: Google “Molex pin remover” to see some nice and inexpensive commercial and home made versions.

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Sliding door escutcheon

The handle on the sliding door of Vanagons is secured only inside at the lock mechanism. At the outside door skin, the handle shaft passes through a rubber grommet “escutcheon”. This grommet does nothing to support the handle and is there only to prevent water ingress inside the door. The problem is that the forces applied when you use the handle puts a strain on the pot metal handle shaft and can, after some years, cause the shaft to break. I have seen an aftermarket replacement for sale on Ebay (link here) and it looks pretty good, made of black Delrin. I thought I would have a go at making something similar.

I had some

high density polyethylene

UHMW polyethylene rod

I thinks its actually teflon after buying some more UHMW and comparing… I feel dumb.

in the scrap bin and I chucked it up on the lathe and had at it. If I was smarter I would have just made it as a shouldered bushing, but I went to the trouble of making a groove to fit the door skin and then cutting the inner flange to allow it to press in place and remain secured. I don’t think you need to go to all that bother. Pictures below, you can see what I mean. The white poly does look a little daft, but hey its what I had lying around. It really makes a difference on how the handle feels when you use it, no looseness, it feels secure. Oh, also is one pic of the old stock rubber grommet.


Pop top conversion- Mosaik kit

A neat way of doing it. Links below to UK Vanagon owners who have done it:

UK firm that makes the repro kit:

PDF of the original German install:

Gifs of the components:

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Victoria Vanagon meet

Last Sunday afternoon (February 1st), a few local Vanagon (and a couple of Loafs) owners gathered at Ogden Point. Here a a few snaps.

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