About 2 months and no blog posts, sheesh, the next few posts will be playing catch up.
The 85 model year and newer vanagons have a much improved sliding door. Easier operating and a bit quieter than the old style but I thought it could be even better. I had tried UHMW polyethylene tape on the surfaces that the rollers ran on would be the ticket, blog post about that here. But the tape wore out after a year and a bit.
So i thought about a plastic version of the steel rollers. I made a quick and dirty prototype from some Delrin to try on the middle track (the track under the cover on the side of the van).
Not quite an exact copy and a bit out of focus. Here it is installed.
Verdict? Well it is quieter than the steel roller and it rolls just as easily. But with that track silenced a little, now I could hear the lower track roller noise. So some time later I set about making another middle slider roller and seeing what I could do about the lower track roller.
Middle roller, more care taken. Oh, I should mention that the bearing used in the roller is a 607RS. Dimensions are 19mm OD, 7mm ID, 6 mm thick, and rubber shield.
I took the sliding door right off as I was working on the lower roller at the same time. Here is the stock steel roller.
And my Delrin version installed. See the 2 other bearing above the plastic roller? They run in a vertical channel above the rail the main roller runs on. I didn’t do anything with them, but i probably should have thought about it.
I was going to make a lower track roller from scratch but I found a plastic roller in my junk pile. I think it was from a hanging door, but I can’t remember anything more about it. I wish I did because it is very close to the stock roller dimensions. I just had to reduce the OD by a few millimetres and replace the bearing with a 607RS. It originally had a 6mm ID bearing. The circlip retaining the bearing was a real bear to remove and I accidentally broke a little of the plastic.
here is the stock steel roller. The roller is on a post on the lower assembly , secured by a circlip. The plastic shield can be pried off and the clip removed and the roller pulled from the shaft.
This is not a roller with a pressed in bearing, the bearing and the roller are all one piece.
Has a rubber shield on the inside, the bracket side, face.
Comparison of the stock roller and the hanging door roller. Both have somewhat similar profiles. Close enough for me anyway. But as I mentioned before, I had to turn down the OD of the plastic roller.
Plastic roller with new bearing installed
And showing where I broke the darned thing.
And there it is installed on the door bracket.
So did it make a difference? Yes, it did. Again quieter and smoother. The door still is not as quiet as I would like and I think some of the noise is coming from those vertical bearings on the middle slider, the pair I should have paid more attention to.
You know, this is the kind of project that 99.9% of people would look at and shake their heads, mutter “get a life” and then wander off to chat with someone else. It is only when i sit down and write this post does that realization sink in.
Crikey, forgot to add an important thing… to thank “ZsZ” for posting measured drawings on this Samba thread. I’ll be cheeky and link directly to the drawing.