Stuff, mostly Vanagon stuff, aeroplanes seen, and other info. My old website still has a ton of vanagon tech and mod info if you are interested.

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  1. #1 by David Fowers on April 14, 2011 - 2:40 pm

    I have a vanagon question for you and wondered if you would be willing to help me out with it. I have been wanting to add a poptop onto a hardtop syncro and have checked out info on the samba and on the brickworks and found you leaving posts in both places. I was wondering if you know where you can get the new bed platforms that are modified for this purpose. VWelevation does not appear to be in business any longer. I appreciate your blog and any information you can provide. I can always try to manufacture a platform myself but if I don’t have to that would be good.

    • #2 by albell on April 16, 2011 - 8:25 am

      PM sent


  2. #3 by Scott on May 13, 2011 - 7:49 am

    Just wanted to say a big ‘Thank You” for your article on VanagonWiki for the lights left on buzzer, it was simple and worked perfect. I have been searching for a simple solution since I bought my 1984 Westy 2 years ago and got stranded when I left the lights on down a forestry road while camping. The only mod I found on GoWesty did not work for my light switch. You site is simple, clear and tons of great mods.thanks!

    • #4 by albell on May 13, 2011 - 8:05 am

      Thanks, but… if you have an ’84, didn’t you have to use Mr. Squirrel’s method on the vanagon wiki?
      As an aside, I much prefer the ’85 on fuse panel. That and the improved sliding door 🙂



      • #5 by Scott on May 13, 2011 - 8:12 am

        Your right..it is Mr.Squirrel’s! But I am glad I clicked on your name on the bottom as it lead me to your great site. I will be checking back on it often, I love all the mods Westy owner do to make the vehicle their own.

      • #6 by albell on May 13, 2011 - 8:24 am

        If you have any mods you want to share, let me know.


  3. #7 by Keefe on June 26, 2011 - 7:57 am

    I have a vanagon question for you and wondered if you would be willing to help me out with it. I have been wanting to add a poptop onto a hardtop syncro and have checked out info on the samba and on the brickworks and found you leaving posts in both places. I was wondering if you know where you can get the new bed platforms that are modified for this purpose. VWelevation does not appear to be in business any longer. I appreciate your blog and any information you can provide. I can always try to manufacture a platform myself but if I don’t have to that would be good.

    • #8 by albell on June 26, 2011 - 9:30 pm

      I’ll have more info on doing it soon, hold tight.


    • #9 by albell on July 5, 2011 - 8:29 am


      I can’t tell you where to find a “bed platform” a la mosaik/vw elevation. I am sure you must have read this thread on the – samba http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=451166 – I’ll be doing the same as he id for a bed support. Also, Mark (http://www.bustoys.nl/) has posted some measurements of hole in roof dimensions. It is on the link about how he made the tin top into a pop top.
      hope this helps


  4. #10 by mikeinjersey on January 4, 2012 - 3:06 am

    Hi there.

    Found your site through the brick yard and i love it. So intresting and i love all the tech.

    My wife and i are in the final stages of emigrating to Canada and were hoping to spend the first 6-8 months travelling the country and sampeling what each province has to offer us. I’m an Electrician and my Wife an office worker.

    I have been looking at buying an RV to use for our travels however my love has always been for the T3. Up to now i haven’t had a syncro but i do take a massive interest in them and will have one in the future.

    I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me?

    Do you think my Wife and i could comfortably travel for 6-8 months in a T3?

    Do you think a syncro is required for travelling Canada or would a 2WD be sufficient?

    Should i buy a turbo diesel camper here in Europe and ship it over or are there plenty of good ones in Canada?

    How easy it it to buy a T3 in the USA and drive it to Canada and register it there?

    Thanks in advance!

    All the best.


    • #11 by albell on January 4, 2012 - 7:38 am

      Hi Mike,

      Quick reply, I’ll email you later today.

      – 6-8 months travelling together is possible, I’ll not give marriage advice :), but consider the seasons and how your route will run. Out here on the west coast, specifically Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island, are the warmest/mildest winter spots in Canada. Have a look at the weather this time of the year, link here to Victoria 5 day forecast, other Canadian towns selectable (http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-85_metric_e.html).

      – 2wd would be sufficient, unless you want to travel extensively in the snow, or take some off-road trips. But even so, a well sorted 2wd (with good tires) would do (you wouldn’t be doing any crazy trips).

      – the only turbo diesel T3 in North America are either imports or owner-installed. A late model high top turbodiesel (joker or atlantic for example) in good shape are expensive here. I have seen syncro versions asking price of $25,000 – $30,000. Even saw a 2wd listed for 40k this last fall (can’t believe owner got that much). So a plan could be to bring one over and sell at end of trip – but a lefthand drive one.

      – it has been 20 years since I brought a van in from the US (the ’82 diesel in the pic on this page). I can’t give you any help there, sorry.



  5. #12 by peterpilz on March 11, 2012 - 10:04 pm

    hi !!

    i live in austria. very secluded up in the mountains.i own and drive a ´89 multivan, syncro with DJ-engine. there would be no food shopping in winter without it. i also have a fiat panda (manual) 4X4 mj.: ´92. it only weighs 780kg. with (4) chains it goes almost everywhere.
    i´ve been following your site for quite some time now. i find it very interesting and in many ways helpful. i also appreciate your writing style. it is so much different from german.

    regards, peter

    • #13 by albell on March 12, 2012 - 12:52 pm

      hi Peter,

      I’m glad you find the blog useful. I’ll try and continue posting what i do to my van and I also would post any info or pics of what you have done to your vanagon, or some nice pics of the van in action in the mountains in Austria.



  6. #14 by EMILIO on October 18, 2012 - 2:45 am

    I really like your blog, it has given me many ideas. I invite you to mine, on T3 – Vanagon. a hug from Spain . http://hippitifaldi.blogspot.com.es/ https://www.facebook.com/todosobreT3

    • #15 by albell on October 18, 2012 - 4:48 am

      Hi Emilio,

      I’ve just started looking through your blog and there are lots of things to see! One thing that I have come across, and I don’t think I have seen before, is the digital thermometer on the steering column.

      Did you make this up from a seat heater control part?



  7. #16 by Jacques Blouin on July 10, 2013 - 4:44 pm

    Hi, just few words to say you are on my blogroll. I like your site! Go ahead !

    Jacques Blouin



    • #17 by albell on July 10, 2013 - 5:25 pm

      Hi Jacques. I just had a quick look at your blog – nice, very nice pics and travel stories. I have to use translation, you know how us western Canadians are with French 🙂



      PS is that an Atelier spk made pop top canvas you have?

    • #18 by Rob Wood on May 12, 2015 - 8:29 pm

      Did you ever find out where that steering column temp gauge came from that you were asking about? Let me know ok? 123Lwood@gmail.com

      • #19 by albell on May 12, 2015 - 9:17 pm

        Forgot all about it, sorry, will get back on the ball


  8. #20 by Jacques Blouin on July 10, 2013 - 6:11 pm

    You’re welcome Alistair.

    Ho, you realy recognize who has made my canevas? Are they in your county?

    PS I use Google trad many times too 😉

    • #21 by albell on July 10, 2013 - 6:13 pm


      I have never seen one first hand, just pics on the web. They do have the reputation as being the best aftermarket canvases around.



  9. #22 by Mike Bryan on August 16, 2013 - 1:11 am

    Hi David, I have seen your site on occasion, and recently I have been dreaming of installing the big brake kit to my 91 Vanagon (2WD). But like you, I am overwhelmed at the prices for the bolt-on kits from Van-a-gain, Van Cafe, Go Westy …etc.
    I can’tor don’t want to spend 1500 to replace my brakes. I see your system allows for 15″ wheels, fitting your big brake kit well. Where do I go from here to buy the necessary parts (have any recommendations)?
    Also, I am curious in the in-line I4 Tiico conversion, though few vanagonians are going that way, mostly I see the Subaru, diesel or Zetec conversions done. I was curious which you thought more feasible/economical?
    Not quite retired from work / but almost ready to plunge into my Vanagon engine conversion (just wanting to do as much of my homework as possible),
    I am aboard in the former USSR (I’m not Russian) just currently working the summers with friends.
    I will need to make a game plan for this when I return! Have you ever thought of taking a trip through Russia? From Smolensk to Vladivostok? It’s rugged country to be sure, but in some places Russia is beautiful and unexplored!
    Thanks for you time and patience, will wait for your reply, not in real big hurry!
    Mike (Seattle WA)

  10. #24 by Mike Bryan on August 16, 2013 - 9:36 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up! I was getting your site and Dave’s mixed up, will correct that. But apart from that, I was reading in your Vanagon engine conversion page about your Tiico conversion?

    Or, am I barking up the wrong tree on this too? I think you spoke in your archives about your 82 Tiico conversion?
    That has me wondering, as I am seriously looking into swapping out my Vanagon engine, but would like to keep it as original to VW as possible. Diesel sounds great but expensive having to switch out a lot of things, tranny, tank, fuel system, etc, The Subaru is great, but I am not that mechanically inclined, the electrical aspect is a bit over my head. And I really can’t afford to have the whole thing done, so I am searching out viable options that will help me achieve this goal.
    If you have any suggestions I would appreciate it. Thanks again for your time … mike

  11. #25 by flo_regler@web.de on September 16, 2013 - 5:46 pm

    hi alistar,

    i´m from germany and at the moment me and my syncro are in vancouver.
    can you explain me the way to the place form the first picture on vancouver island?
    can you give me some over advice for vancouver island to go with my syncro?
    regards flo

    • #26 by albell on September 16, 2013 - 5:54 pm

      Email sent


  12. #27 by Garret Dietz on September 30, 2013 - 10:13 pm


    I just stumbled across your blog and I have to say your skills, craftsmanship, innovation is incredible! Have a few questions for ya and would really appreciate your time!


  13. #28 by Tim on December 30, 2013 - 2:03 pm

    First, love your pictures. I have begun to study your article on the window regulator and it’s impressive. I want to understand the regulator and have no real experience, but I can pump my attitude up a notch or two to compensate. Thanks! Tim

    • #29 by albell on December 30, 2013 - 7:03 pm

      Hi Tim,

      You know, I was just as ignorant of how the mechanism worked as you were before I took mine apart. You can see in y post how I buggered up one part of the gubbins but I supposei was more carefree as I had a spare unit to swap in. It all seemed so easy after the fact 🙂

      Good luck


  14. #30 by trft on January 2, 2014 - 11:49 am

    You’re looking at a happy message. I now know how it works and I have the metal part off. Those “tabs” took a lot of convincing to come together! Now I have to make a “plastic washer”, reasonably doable, and reassemble. Again, thanks for the inspiration. 😉

    • #31 by albell on January 2, 2014 - 11:51 am

      Hey, good work.

      Going to try a bit of polyE cutting board to make the new plastic bit?



  15. #32 by onemanspanner on January 31, 2014 - 10:45 am

    Hello Man! This is Mike from onemanspanner.com / onemanspanner.wordpress.com. I need advice with my van. My 1.9l WBX is running like crap right now. Actually it can’t rev above 2500RPM. I think it is something to do with the intake manifold and carb because the fuel pump is new and fuel filters new. I would prefer a Subaru swap but the overall costs are going to be too prohibitive considering I use the van weekends only and the occasional trip. An estimate comes to about 5000USD with me doing all the work. Do you have any kind words for the 1.9lWBX? Is there anything I could try to get it back up? I am thinking of swapping carburetors and intake manifold to Webers and doing an engine rebuild but I am in need of advice because I fear this might not cure things after all. What I need now is a solution to last me 2 years as I get ready for the Subaru swap complete with a subarugears.com gearbox. Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this 🙂

    • #33 by albell on February 3, 2014 - 4:03 pm

      Hi Mike,

      sorry about the delay. I don’t have any experience with carb’ed wasserbozers. All I can advise (and believe me it takes me a while to realize this simple fact) is to go through the troubleshooting guide in Bentley. I’d be sure that the timing is spot on, the fuel pressure is to spec, the valves adjusted etc. It is surprising how timing and valve adjustment really affects things (and Im not talking about wildy out of spec conditions).

      Also make sure the advance mechanism on the distributor is working. You should see that when you time things. Letme know if you need timing hints.



      PS the 1.9 is a strong engine when running right

  16. #34 by Richard S. on May 27, 2014 - 7:45 pm

    Hi there, you don’t by any chance have an extra pair of the center seat channels laying around you would be willing to sell do you? We have a 91 Syncro Westie and have access to a center seat our of an 84 Westie Wolfsburg addition and the original owner isn’t keen on having me disassemble his cabinetry to get at the rails.

    Many thanks in advance.

    • #35 by albell on May 27, 2014 - 7:52 pm

      Hi Richard,

      I’m not sure, I’ll have a look ie mess. I don’t mean mess in the sense of a dining ares 🙂

      I’ll let you knwo iaday or so.


  17. #36 by Richard S. on May 27, 2014 - 8:09 pm

    Alistair, many thanks for looking in the (not-dining-area) mess. I know how those can grow for anyone with a Westie. You don’t throw anything away. 🙂

  18. #37 by fireballm on November 23, 2014 - 3:59 pm

    I came across your page when searching for Vanagon pop-top parts. I’m in the process of building a camping trailer and have been searching for a place to purchase the hings, manual lifting mechanism, and canvas for a VW pop-top which I plan on using for the trailer pop-top. I’ve found plenty of places that carry the canvas replacement, but I am coming up dry when it comes to finding the hinges and lifting mechanism. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got the bits and bobs you used in your Synchro modification?

  19. #38 by Mike Dobreski on July 25, 2015 - 10:55 am

    Hi Shooftie
    I greatly appreciate your vast skills in improving your Westy.
    You’re very impressive and your work is outstanding.
    I was wondering if you’d be willing to send the measurements for your rear bumper.
    I’d greatly appreciate it.
    My email is
    Thanks and happy trails.

    • #39 by albell on July 25, 2015 - 3:42 pm

      Hi Mike,

      I would if I had any. But I made it up as I went along, no drawings nor did I keep notes.


  20. #40 by OneMan Spanner on July 29, 2015 - 1:19 am

    How are you doing man. We’ve been blogging about the VW Vanagon for years. I have been inactive for a year and I really want to get back to doing what I love. Please post this indegogo campaign I have to help me restore the van: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/restoring-an-icon–3/x/10997929#/story

  21. #41 by John Bruckmann on August 24, 2015 - 8:02 am

    Hi Alistair, may I ask, did you ever get your Propshaft vibration issues solved from a few years back? If so what got it right? Regards John

    • #42 by albell on August 25, 2015 - 7:50 am


      We’ll I got the vibes down to quite a low level, not perfect but pretty good. I never managed to get the original driveshaft balanced well. Turned out thy the holes in the yoke of the u joint at one end were ovalized and despite two trips to driveshaft balancing shop and new bearings the shaft wouldn’t run true.
      I used the other propshaft, the one shown in comparison pics. You know I made delrin internal bushings for that one.
      And I spent a lot of time trying to equalize flange angles of the front diff and transmission. If I recall correctly the transmission flange angle was around 4.2 degrees (flange face pointing down) and the front diff flange was less. I wanted theflangeangles to be equal. I wondered if the transmission rubber mounts were worn out, and I will replace them sometime. But in the meantime I added a 1/4″ shim back at the engine carrier so the rear of the engine sat a tad lower thus the flange would be rotated up to an angle less than 4 degrees. I don’t think I equalized the angles but they are closer and it seems to have worked well enough.

      When I drop the transmission and engine and put a new engine in (ha, someday) I’ll replace the transmission rubber mounts.


      • #43 by John Bruckmann on August 30, 2015 - 11:19 pm

        Thanks for the reply Alistair.

        It seems the last prop I ever got to work was an original VW one ordered form Germany back when one could. It just plugged straight on and ran perfectly. I didn’t align or do anything. Then many years later I changed motors. Ever since then it’s been a nightmare which leads me to believe it’s about the angles and set up and engine type (different resonances etc).

        Unfortunately my old good German shaft is long gone and worn out and no-one in South Africa seems to be able to make a really true shaft. I think most people this side of the pond are running with props that vibrate at some level or another and they don’t know or don’t care. I can’t do that, it drives me nuts!

        I have a 2.6 5cylinder petrol VW in my vehicle now which is all perfect except for…the propshaft! VW South Africa made two factory 2.6’s before the Syncro T3 was scrapped and we have both of those at hand. They both run normal slip joint type shafts. I have measured their factory set up and emulated it and cannot get the prop to run correctly! Completely baffled!

        A couple of non factory 2.6 private conversions have gone the 3 joint or 2 piece shaft with a carrier bearing route and it seems successful. I am in process of making one up. Should collect it this week and time to fit it! I almost don’t want to because if it doesn’t work I think I will have a nervous breakdown. I will seriously then sell the Syncro as I don’t want a 2 wheel drive bus, and cannot live with bad shafts! And if I sell the Syncro, that will be the end of my longest standing relationship!!


      • #44 by albell on September 5, 2015 - 8:25 am

        Hi john,

        Sorry about delay in replying. Yes, it sometimes, well it seems most times, the propshaft vibration problem is a bit of a mystery.

        My friend has a 91 syncro with a subie 2.5 motor and he has a very smooth running shaft. Why eh? He did the engine swap at home ( kit from vanaru) and I don’t think he paid any attention to shaft alignment etc.

        We have even dropped the transmission to do some fuel tank work and that didn’t affect the shaft at all.

        So it seems that’s good stock shaft can accommodate an install that is not text book perfect.

        You know the parts of the shaft that are important. The bearings in the u joint, the fit of the bearing cups in the yoke of the joint ( holes in yoke mustn’t be ovalised) , the rubber giubo, the internal bushing. And the shaft itself. Straight and balanced.

        There is a guy in California that has a tow part shaft with mid point bearing carrier. Probably others have done same. I can’t find the web reference though.

        I’ve thought about cv type joints in the shaft. I’ve seen that on other vehicles. You can buy the joints specifically for prop shafts, designed for that application. This might be a thing to consider, those joints may allow for a greater range of input and output angles.

        It still flummoxes me that VW has very little to say about shaft alignment in the van.

        Please let me know what you think, or what you end up doing.




  22. #45 by John Bruckmann on September 7, 2015 - 12:22 am

    Thanks Alistair, I will let you know how the two part works out. Nearly finished, I should get it this week. I am using a new Isuzu double cab/pickup as the center carrier bearing as easy to find another one should this ever fail.

    The friends Syncro from whom I copied this one, and had worked perfectly (he says), and had the same 2.6 5 cylinder VW (Audi) motor in, now seems to drone at high speed when we put it back in. I made the mistake of re balancing it when it was out and replacing a UJ which was completely shot! When I drove it before removing it I couldn’t find fault with it either, take it off and find a UJ had about 2mm play in it! Solve that as a service and thank you to him and now that its back in it drones!!!!!

    Things we go through for the love of these vans!

    • #46 by albell on September 7, 2015 - 9:08 am


      We have one shop I know of in the area that balances shafts. They do a good job and I’ve been happy with what they have done with my prop shafts. But the lathe they use is not capable of high speed balancing. I can sort of imagine a situation where it would be helpful to spin the shaft at 3,000 rpm plus .

      And for goodness sakes, propshaft technology isn’t a new thing is it? Should it be so unpredictable with the van?

      If it’s possible I’d love to see pics of the new install you are doing.




      • #47 by John Bruckmann on September 7, 2015 - 10:42 pm

        I agree, I keep telling myself that Propshaft and or cardan joint technology is not rocket science and every pick-up (we call them bakkies in SA, Afrikaans derived word meaning bucket or carrier or holder) I see on the road has one! How can I have been working for 3 years on this and not got it right yet???

        I will post pics for sure

      • #48 by John Bruckmann on October 13, 2015 - 7:19 am

        Hi Alistair,

        So finally after 3 years I have got a prop-shaft that my pedantic self is happy with. 2 piece shaft as I said with centre carrier bearing. Although it was made brand new for me, (as were the other 4!) I still took it back 3 times telling them that it wasn’t good enough. Funny that they always claim it’s definitely within acceptable specs but when I insist they check for run out and re-balance they end up admitting that it “wasn’t quite right” and get it better.

        Anyway operating angles now very shallow at 1.6* each at tranny and front diff end and the centre bearing or third operating angle at 1.4*. Tried to get under 1.5* as Spicer say for multiple shaft set up but had to raise rear mounts of front diff quite high already and dropped rear of engine as far as I could to get this shallow as is. I figure the 0.01* ain’t gonna make it any better.

        I got rid of the drone too at 120km/h so she runs perfectly through all speeds to 140km/h with de-coupler off. When the de-coupler is engaged she is smooth and noise free except for a window at 110km/h to 120km/h and then it disappears again. I figured I can live with that as I don’t often run at highway speeds with de-coupler engaged and if it rains and I want the all-wheel drive I can slow down slightly, as one should as it’s raining anyway and there we go, it will run quietly.

        I have some pics for you but have no idea how or where to add them to this site of yours?



      • #49 by albell on October 13, 2015 - 6:56 pm

        I’ll email you .



      • #50 by trft on October 17, 2015 - 2:12 pm

        pedantic – I’m not going to cheat and look in the dictionary. Proposal 1, pedantic means one who proposes and reproposes unti technolgical shifts, or Proposal 2. pedantic means one nudges the grovel of grut up the hill until it rolls back down and the one again nudges the govel of grut. Anyway, I’m up for an image of a prop shaft, please.

  23. #51 by John Bruckmann on July 28, 2016 - 8:23 am

    Hi Alistair,

    Propshaft fitted with cv joints instead of U J’s….you may remember the conversation a while ago as we (Syncro obsessive compulsives) search for the ultimate Propshaft, even though my existing one works! I digress, I was at a Syncro scrapyard/ workshop place the other day and came across the Syncro T4 Propshaft. They are already made with cv joint ends instead of uj’s and the flange appeared to be the same size as the T3’s! In which case the work of making up a whole cv joint end process is already done and fits our busses. Thought I would just mention it. Their shaft is a 2 piece center bearing type but one could do that or create a new single one and the ends are already done. Just out of interest.

    Cheers John B (South Africa)

    • #52 by albell on July 29, 2016 - 9:25 am

      Hi John,

      Interesting about the T4 shafts. Unfortunately they weren’t imported officially into Canada and the US. That said, I’ll have to do a parts search online and see the shaft and parts. And it’s a centre bearing eh?

      But there are CV joints available for propshafts. You know that of course. A little different with one end of the cv joint blanked with a cap.

      I have a couple of 108mm joints and a half axle in the workshop, sitting around, taunting. From some sort of Audi I think. Keep wondering whether it’s worth it to make up a joint from end of the splined shaft and the cv joint and attach to my spare propshaft. You know how it is, lots of wondering, no action. Cheers



  24. #53 by joel Salter on January 29, 2017 - 9:49 am

    Hello Alistair, I’ve for several years not very much enjoyed reading your posts. I don’t know how you do it all but very impressive! I have a question and mystery that concerns an originally Canadian Vanagon Multivan (think Day Running lights). A while back I was changing the bulb in the map light, above glove box. It shorted on the damm opening. I then note my interior lights are not working, simple change fuse.. . at least that is what I thought. No fuse blown. But I checked them any way. I dropped the fuse holder and noted that my DRL wires had shorted and melted (yellow, red stripe). I disconnected them and started up the van. Side lights and tail lights work, no DRL. The head light switch activates the lights as designed. All seems well. But, then I notice the voltage on the battery (using cigaret lighter meter) is showing 12.5 volts when running and drops when a headlight or fan is turned on. With multimeter i checked the Alternator, 14.3 volts. I measured at the Starter, also about 14 volts. I measure at the starter battery, 12.5 or less it loaded. New battery, aftermarket nearly new alternator. I also have a gowesty second battery set up, with isolator and “circuit breaker”. I don’t see a reset on the circuit breaker, so not a fix. I have the South african up grade head lights including relays.

    Question: Any thoughts on how voltage could not reach starter battery? I thought it is connected from alternator via starter to the battery. The vehicle with start with that connection. but charge is not delivered. Could isolator be switching off the charge ability?

    Is there a Canadian relay that prevents disconnection of the DRL that could be suppressing the charge?

    Cheers, and thanks for your Canadian perspective. I’m in Portland OR. I could provide pictures.


    • #54 by albell on January 29, 2017 - 11:05 pm


      Some first thoughts…

      I’m only a little familiar with the drl circuit, good friend Simon has it on his 91, I don’t on my 86. If I remember correctly there is an inline resistor on one of the power leads and that is what drops the voltage to create the dimmer headlight for drl.

      Why your circuit fried is hard to say. It is worrisome. I have a hard time thinking it was due to the glove box light short, but maybe I should look at the circuit diagram again.

      The glove box light inmy van, and I thought all 86+ vans, is protected by fuse number three. And yes it’s easy to pop that fuse when pulling the glove box light assembly. But you say the fuse was not blown?

      The voltage drop at the battery compared to starter and alternator would be due, on the face of it, to bad connection of the big cable from starter to battery. Check the battery end first as it’s easiest. Is the cable corroded where it goes I tot he clamp? Is the clamp and battery terminal shiny? And it the battery ground good?

      Also check the P terminals on the fuse panel, the back of the fuse panel on the left hand, outboard , side. Make sure the female spade connectors are tight and clean.

      Do you have a Bentley manual? Do you need some circuit diagrams?

      Good luck and get back to me,



  25. #55 by Rob on May 29, 2017 - 4:15 pm


    Great site – from a new Westie owner in Vancouver. Lots of inspiration. I arrived here from google after searching for head rest solutions and came across your head rest sockets. I have a Weekender rear bench I need to upgrade for more child-friendly transport with two headrests. I was wondering if you make things like the insert pipes to order?

    Thanks, R

    • #56 by albell on May 29, 2017 - 6:12 pm

      Hi rob,

      Yeah, wade through the dross on the blog and you will get some ideas. The headrest sockets? I think you can buy the more authentic version from bus depot. If you spget stuck let me know. The aluminum ones were fussy if I recall correctly, oh wait I remember, had to file off tabs on the plastic insets.

      Anyway, let me know if you can’t find an alternative.



  26. #57 by syncro26 on February 23, 2020 - 12:34 pm

    Hi Alistair, different subject for fun. Just completed build of portable battery pack using 100a/h Lithium Iron battery linked to dc-dc25amp Charger. First time playing with Lithium, doing Lesotho trip in April which will be test run for new system. Very excited.
    Have pics but don’t know how to send to you.
    Cheers John (Syncro South Africa)
    I’ll email you directly.

  27. #58 by Carl on August 20, 2021 - 6:48 am

    Hi Alistair,

    I’m very impressed with your website and all your cool modifications.

    I’m stuck on something much more elementary. I’m trying to reassemble my front dash after an engine upgrade. I drive a 2WD, Automatic, 1989 Westfalia.

    I got overenthusiastic with the cleaning. I removed a vent hose that is troublesome to push back behind the wheel, as per original routing.

    It’s a traffic jam back there! I removed the front heater core (again) to try to buy myself some extra working space. I’m still struggling. Do you have any tips on how to ‘re-thread,’ this hose?

    Any help would be appreciated.


    • #59 by albell on August 20, 2021 - 7:23 am

      Hi Carl,

      I just saw your pics on the samba, and now I can exactly what whose you’re talking about. The “S” shaped rigid plastic one with the anti rattle fabric sock on it.

      I honestly can’t recall any problem with it during my dash off times. I’m drawing a blank…



  28. #60 by Carl da Silva on August 21, 2021 - 8:28 am

    Hi Alistair,

    I managed to get the hose fit back on properly. Thanks for your reply.
    The longer my Westy work drags on – the less confident I feel about my wrenching skills. I thought it was supposed to be the opposite, haha.

    • #61 by albell on August 21, 2021 - 8:35 am

      Good news Carl,

      Was it “just” a case of getting the right angle and wiggle and twist etc?

      And yeah, some jobs kinda knock the wind out of you. It is supposed to be fun working on the old vans, isn’t it?


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