April 1, 2010… I edited the original post. I must have been all hepped up on goofballs first go round as I based the instructions on a bench disassembly rather than the “real life in front of the dash how the hell does this come out” situation. Apologies to all who may have been misled.
Quick post showing the Vanagon stock lighter. Its a little tricky to remove from dash when you want to replace it (I found that accessory plugs do not fit as tight as I wanted, especially the iPod dock on a stalk gadget I use).
Warning, disconnect electrical power before mucking around lighter! (either main battery cable or fuse #3 which serves to supply juice to door lights, radio, and lighter in ’86 and up vans).
Really, don’t do any of this with power supplied to lighter.
The lighter has a plastic plug electrical connector on back. Go ahead and remove that first, accessing from behind glove box (and yes, spill of all that stuff you have collected over the years when removing the glove box).
You can see the socket comprises of two parts; the illuminated green plastic ring, and the metal socket proper. The green ring has to be slid down the shaft of the socket first, or rather the metal body is slid out forward from dash. It is held in place by 2 tiny tabs that can be depressed from the inside of the socket. Once the metal body is out, the green ring can then be wiggled out of the dash, from the front, it can be tilted to get through hole.
In the pictures I have pointed out the slot in the metal socket that the green plastic tabs fit into. Its the slot beside the 2 elongated slots. Again, you depress the green plastic tabs from inside the socket and pull the metal socket forward and out.
I hope this helps, I know the assembly and fitment can be a bit puzzling first go round.