Vanagon – sliding window felt and interior light switch

A couple of small things. First off is replacing the window felt in the sliding windows. You can only get at the horizontal felt with the window in the van. But if the entire window is out, then the frame can be spread and the sliding portion removed and you can get at the vertical felt seal. I found some felt seal at a local RV supply store, and I think that auto glass outfits can supply it too. I looked in the hardware store at some patio door felt seal but it wasn’t quite the right size. You might have better luck.

So open your window and at the forward end pull out the rubber seal a little, just so that you can get better access to the seal. Grab the seal and slip it out, little by little as it has to make a sharp turn out to get past the window frame. My old seal was very worn and brittle, kept breaking as I pulled it out. The new seal goes in the way the old seal came out. It is easier than it looks.

The new seal is so much fluffier than the old one and the window initially did not slide very easily. But after a day the felt compresses a bit and sliding is easier.

Picture time. Three felt seals: on the left is the new seal (yeah, not the same colour), middle is a bit of what looks like unused original seal (lord knows where I got it), and on the right is the old seal.

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Back side. And yes, the new dark seal has an peel off backing, adhesive under. I din’t have any problem installing it with backing on.

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An attempt at a side shot. The old seal is very worn out.

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Installed. The dark colour is not that bad.

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Next up is a silly little mod. My van was originally a 7 passenger tin top and so it has interior/cabin light switches on all doors, including the hatch. Factory Westies do not have door switches on the sliding door and the rear hatch. So what you say? Well, when you are camping, and you have the sliding door open then the interior/cabin lights are on whether you want them on or not. Kinda silly during the day, and not really needed at night if you have added lighting on a different circuit. Of course you can turn off each individual light, or you can find some of those door switches that have the little notch in the plunger so you can have the plunger stay depressed, but jings, where’s the fun in that?

So one evening I made a little switch plate to fit where my old Webasto BBW46 control panel was (I gave up on the heater, removed all the plumbing during the head replacement job). I didn’t use the sexiest of switches, but they are what I had. I used two just because one switch looked silly. And the two switches left an awkward space between them, so I added some LEDs.

So what I did with the wiring was to intercept the power wire to the interior lights (on my van it comes out out panel from B12 connection, then splits at connector T2c. That power feed also supplies radio and make-up mirror light. I did not have to worry about power to radio, I’m supplying it another way. Ok, I cut that power feed and connected it across on of the new switches. Just for fun I wired in the amber LED to light up when switch is closed. So to turn off all the door switched lights I just have to flip one switch.

The green LED is connected to my Blue Seas ACR and lights up when the main and auxiliary batteries are combined. The red LED is still waiting for a use, as is the other switch.

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  1. #1 by Marius Strom on June 21, 2013 - 5:38 pm

    I like the switch idea.. though your post makes me want to install a photodetector/photocell to only enable the interior lights when it’s actually dark..

    • #2 by albell on June 21, 2013 - 5:48 pm

      Marius, I actually thought of that too and I have an old photocell switch! But for the life of me I couldn’t get the photocell switch to work on 12V. The instructions in the box (very old NOS) are written for someone who knows what they are doing. I have to get to it and think harder.

      cheers

      ab

      • #3 by Marius Strom on June 21, 2013 - 5:50 pm

        scan the photos and email them to me.. I’ve done electronics before. 🙂

      • #4 by albell on June 21, 2013 - 6:01 pm

        will do.

        ok, just looked at them, the photocell is for AC…what was I thinking? Did I think a switch is a switch is a switch?

        ab

      • #5 by albell on June 21, 2013 - 6:30 pm

        ok, here are the pics Marius

        Is there anyway of using this switch with 12V DC?

        ab

  2. #6 by famillysyncro on June 22, 2013 - 7:10 am

    Everything is possible Alistair but it isn’t going to be simple….
    Here is something easy: http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/glux-accessories/g-lux-series-dusk-to-dawn-sensor–plug-and-play/1344/3095/
    I still prefer the use of a regular switch unless you can find a good place for the photo cell switch and it is adjustable…. wouldn’t like to have full light (powerful led light in our case) inside the van going in a tunnel for example….

    Jerome

    • #7 by albell on June 22, 2013 - 7:23 am

      Jerome,

      you would still have the door switches, the photocell would only control power feed. Door(s) would still have to be opened for the lights to come one, but tit would ALSO have to be dark.

      ab

      • #8 by famillysyncro on June 22, 2013 - 7:27 am

        Right, I missed that part. Sounds good in that case. What do you think of the sensor by superbrightled?

      • #9 by albell on June 22, 2013 - 7:42 am

        It looks good, but don’t you wish it was smaller? You just need a small little disk at the side of the dash. Maybe it is time to search…

        cheers

        ab

      • #10 by albell on June 22, 2013 - 7:48 am

        Here is a circuit diagrom

        ab

  3. #11 by Collins on June 22, 2013 - 4:32 pm

    AB, You’re having way too much fun – keep it up. I enjoy the inspiration. Thanks & when I make it to the left coast I’d like to visit. When I visited David B. in Providence RI this spring he talked of his visit with you; he commented that it’s a good thing that you don;t live closer or who knows what would happen. I for one would like to find out. Dake

    • #12 by albell on June 22, 2013 - 4:56 pm

      Hey, don’t believe everything David said 🙂

      Of course, when you are out this way let me know.

      cheers

      ab

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