Archive for category vanagon mods

Vanagon – boring steel wheels

Old Simon, yes the guy who has the hi top 91 Westy and recently the syncro double cab, bought another vanagon a month or so ago. I haven’t posted about it yet, I’ve been waiting for some of the little improvements to it to be finished.

One of the improvements is better wheels to replace the stock 14″ that the van came with. Simon found four 15″ steel wheels but the dolt went ahead and had tires mounted before the centre holes were opened up. I’m still cursing him for that. Without the tires I could have mounted the rims on the big lathe and the job would have been a snap.

The original bore hole size was something around 56 mm diameter. We needed to have them opened up to at least 66.4 mm. I fussed around with making a dedicated boring tool to use in the mill, but I ended up using a roughing endmill and the big rotary table.

I should mention that I haven’t done this job before, take my technique and approach with a hefty grain of salt.

As big (and darned heavy) as the rotary table is, the tire and wheel is bigger. Wheel on the table with inside face up, and the outside face sitting on blocks on the table so that the tire is taken out of the clamping set up. Not a great shot here, but you get the idea.


Oops, I skipped a step, the rotary table has to be centred directly under the spindle of the mill. This particular table has a #4 Morse taper hole and I stuck a little lathe live centre in there and indicated off that. Ok, I have to state right now that this entire boring process does not need to have super precise set up. The wheel is lug centric, the centre hole is just a clearance hole. Still, it was worth it to go through the motions to be semi precise. I centred the table to within about 1-2 thou. Good enough.


Then the wheel is humped up onto the table, on blocks, and loosely clamped. I discovered that the collet holder bevelled end fit into the unbored wheel well enough to get a rough centre alignment.


Clamped the wheel down onto the table just lightly and then I indicated the hole, got it pretty well centered ( again, around 1-2 thou) and, as the British would say, nipped the cramps down firmly.


Ok, endmill inserted, it’s a 7/8″ HSS roughing endmill. Moved the mill table over until the cutter touched the side of the hole, set my dial on zero. Yeah, no DRO on this mill yet. I had calculated a total depth of cut of 0.217″/5.51mm on the radius. That would give a diameter increase of 11mm, making the enlarged hole nominally 67mm.


So once touched off, I cranked in a depth of cut ( that varied between 0.070″ and 0.020″, I did a finishing climb cut at the smaller value). I cranked the rotary table and the wheel rotated and the cutter cut. I have a shaky video of that.

Exciting stuff eh?

In the end, the wheels turned out pretty good. The surface finish with the roughing endmill was acceptable. How about before and after shots?

Unbored

Bored (aren’t we all?)


This was one of those jobs where the set up took far longer than the actual machining.

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Vanagon – Westy fresh water pump experiment 

Bought a cheap water pump from banggood, this one. The original Westy in tank water pump had bit the dust a few years ago and I have been getting by using a small bilge pump similar to this.


It works ok I guess, had to adap the outlet to match the Westy plumbing. But it didn’t push as much water as I had hoped. For years I have been using a Eurovan Westy extendable faucet and I had dreams of being able to pull the faucet out through the sliding window and get a refreshing blast of cooling water on a hot summer day. Especially because the faucet has a spray setting. With the bilge pump, and the stock Westy pump before, the promised spray wasn’t that impressive.

I know that many sailboats and RVs use a pressurized water system with a pressure activated pump and an accumulator. Tempting to try this I thought.

So I buy the banggood pump, and arrived the other week. Supposed to produce 100 psi ( well that’s the switch cut off setting) and 4 L/m volume. I rushed out and did a quick install just to see if it will make my shower dreams come true. I simply plumbed it inline and connected its power lead to the switched side of the Eurovan faucet wiring. So the pump comes on when the faucet switch closes. Not a pressurized system and no accumulator. 

Note that I did mount the pump at a slight angle to ease stress on the tubing.  It had nothing to do with the awkward position I had to assume to get in there and screw. Nothing at all. I might find a better spot for the pump.


Does it improve things? Hell yeah. 


Shot of the extension of the faucet. Has to be stored like this to allow the lid to close.  It’s too tall when in its mounting hole.


It is noisier than the in tank pump alone. Yes, to be clear, the in tank pump is still connected and runs in tandem. I’ll pull it out of the tank later. 

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Vanagon – Propex heater install part III

Finally, it’s done. The last bits aren’t as neat as I had hoped, but hey, it works. The console port for the heated air outlet really doesn’t look great. Problem was the console itself is made from such cheap material that it couldn’t stand up to my hacking.


Now the thermostat, where to mount it? Constraints be two. First is I couldn’t be arsed to find some replacement 5 wire cable so I reused the original but with the fire damaged section cut out and the the cable spliced. So the shorter cable limits the range of thermostat placement. Secondly, the cable enters the thermostat from the rear, to make a clean surface mount. That means a hole drilled somewhere and the cable routed through God knows what. Instead of a surface mount I made up a very crude swing away mounting plate from some stainless and added crash bars. Mounted this on the forward face of the kitchen unit, right behind the driver’s seat.

 

It’s held back by a magnet. Swung out its pretty accessible .


So is this a good spot to monitor cabin temperature? 

I’m pants at running wires neatly. Start out with the best intentions but it ends up looking slapdash.

The heater really throws out the hot air. Without a diffuser on the outlet it’s an air stream like a hairdryer. And it’s not whisper quiet. But it will heat the van and that’s the important thing

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Vanagon – Propex heater part two

I mentioned before that Simon had installed his heater inside his between seats console. I was planning to do the same but I got sidetracked by another idea. I needed a box to enclose the heater, a barrier between the heater and the console. Once again the scraps of aluminum honeycomb material I got from Donovan at Western Edison popped up. I wanted a box that wild be stiff enough to take someone standing on it and the honeycomb was the obvious choice for stiff and light.

Here it is, just butt joints all round with a fillet of PL Premium polyurethane adhesive holding it all together. Some of the exposed honeycomb I filled with bondo. I scuff sanded it all over.


And then I must have had a mini stroke as I decided to try sticking on some old veneer I have had hanging around for years.


This is the first time I’ve tried veneering anything. Back in the day when I did woodworking as a hobby I was fully into oldtool, split, hew, and plane type of work. Thought that veneer was somehow dishonest. Oh the arrogance of youth. 

The bit of veneer I had was not large enough to be able to match grain direction so it turned out to be a bit of a dog’s breakfast. And the corners and edges were not perfect. I hit the corners with sandpaper enough to let a thin line of aluminum show.


Mid century moderne? Late sixties early seventies British speaker style? Drunken Dieter Rams? You might have a better description 🙂

I attached a rare earth magnet to the inside of the box and that really helps to hold the box in place as it grips the heater. Heating air intake is drawn from through the mounting plate and in from the gaps at the rear most part of the plate. The floor slopes away so it turns out that the gap is pretty well equal to the air intake opening.


I could just use the heater as is, but then I would loose the console storage. So I decided to cover up my lovely creation (!) with the console. I took it apart and cut sections out of the cubbies, welded ( hot air and a screwdriver , yeah nasty) the cubby bases back in. Now the console fits down over the box, albeit with less cubby storage room.


No, the hot air ain’t going to come up out of that opening. I’ll cut out the rear end of the console.

Oh, almost forgot about how the heater combustion air intake and exhaust lines are routed. It’s a bit of a pain to connect them up over the front diff, but the intake comes back down and is secured to frame rail near propane tank. 

Hey you see the un-secured gear clamp on the black intake line? When I took the pic I hadn’t got that bugger forward and up into place.


And the exhaust line comes back down on the passenger side to end up at the forward edge of my lateral skid plate.


I’m finishing up the thermostat mounting and wiring, and doing the console rear end mod. That’s for the next post.

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Vanagon – rear shelf support

The interior cabinetry in my van is pretty tired. Don’t forget it’s from my old 82 Westy, I swapped it all into my 86 tin top syncro when I converted it to a camper. One of the more distressed parts is the rear overhead shelf. The laminate is cracked and the entire span was sagging. Doesn’t help that I carry and axe and other heavyish stuff up there.

So I cut some 1/8″ thick aluminum plate, drilled holes for screws and milled larger ones to reduce a bit of the weight and give it some visual interest. I also drilled a hole to mount one of my new led dimmer switches ( same as the ones I showed in recent post). That switch replaces one that was mounted to the wall. It controls the strip of led lights attached underneath the shelf, right at the rear edge. You can see the edge of the aluminum U channel that the strip is mounted in right below the new support.

I’ve used Robertson head sheet metal screws to attach the plate. I hate Robertson headed fasteners, yes it’s irrational, but I hate how they look. I didn’t have anything else on hand, but I’m thinking I’ll replace them with oval head Phillips machine screws with nuts on the inside.

Should I paint it? I don’t know. Maybe just some more rubbing with maroon scotchbrite and some wax.

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Vanagon – new led strip light dimmers

I’ve modified my led light set up in the van a little since last update here, one change was to move the strip above the sliding door to a higher position and to contain the strip in a channel and add a diffuser cover to it. And the other day I replaced the dimmer switches with what I think are much nicer units.

Got them from Banggood, link here.


Annoyingly, I didn’t get the nut on the threaded shank shown in the the image. Looks to be a M20 x 1 thread. I managed to cobble up retainers to hold the switches in place.


Made an aluminum mounting plate and mounted that to rear most air vent. Switch action nice, light touch turns on or off, long hold dims or brightens. Blue glowing ring so you can see them in the dark. I tried measuring the current draw for the glowing light, I got 2.5 mA reading but the number crept up to 11 mA after a few seconds but then dropped back to 2.5 when I touched the switch. Must be something to do with the capacitance switch gubbins. The blue glow is not bright enough to be obnoxious.

They are made from plastic, chrome plated, but they seem to be good quality. They did come with the connectors as shown, the same type I had to buy separately for the old switches.

Only 2 switches wired up so far, one for the strip above the sliding door ( can see that in the pic) and the other fro the strip above the kitchen. The two spares for future lights.

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Mods – quick and dirty solar panel stand

Friend Donovan at Western Edison let me have some scraps of 3/8″ thick aluminum honeycomb material. One of the bits was large enough to cut out a simple tab and slot stand for my solar panel. As crude as it is, it worked well enough on our trip last weekend. 

The panel is an older model Siemens 75 W unit. Good friend Dave gave it to me last year. He bought a pair for an ungodly low price. And just last week he gave me the other one ( he was toying with me). So I have two of these panels and that’s forcing the issue of whether to mount one on the roof. On last weekend’s trip I had one on the stand and one sitting on the luggage rack, might be better to have one on the roof racks at least during the summer, I don’t know.  Btw, they both connect to the same charge controller.

I never planned on having the solar and battery set up I have now. To be honest it’s way more than I need, but it’s interesting to play around with the set up in the van.



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Trip – warm and clear weekend in June 

Last weekend was quite warm, but unlike later in the year there was no fog or even haze in the west coast. The air was clear enoug that you could make out the buildings on Tattoosh Island.


Again, just to bug Simon, a shot of the super useful “Swellegant” table mod. 

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Vanagon – making a new roof rack

I get these ideas sometimes and for better or worse I follow through. Even though I have been using a perfectly good Thule rack system ( the type that has pads that sit of the roof top and hold down clamps that grip that black rail thing I installed for the purpose), the airfoil section aluminum spar material that was lying around the shop was too tempting.

Here’s the old Thule rack.

It’s the type of spar material you see used as spreaders on sail boats. This version is pretty stout, 1.5″ at thickest and a chord length of 5.5″.

The idea was to have two racks and not have them wider than the pop top. And the Thule ski box I use would be attached directly to the rack, not using the stock U bolt set up.

I cut the spars to 53″, and cut some shorties to act as pedestals. I coped the short bits to fit the airfoil section and welds them to the cross pieces. I also cut out some 1/8″ aluminum sheet and used that to close up the ends. This pic shows one with end closed, the other still open. You can see the slightly thicker section of the spar in the open end. All my attachments go to that thick section.


I glued some rubber sheet to the bottom of the closed in pedestals/feet later.


That groove running along the lenght of the spar falls pretty well on the middle of the thick section. On one end of the soars I drilled and helicoiled holes for the Thule box attachment. On the other side I used some 5/16″ riv-nuts as anchor points for eye bolts in case I need lash points for some future thing. Blanked those holes off with plain bolts for the time being.

And this is how they sit on the van.


The hold down mechanism took me a while and I ended up with a simple, if a little clunky, solution. For now the stainless brackets hook onto the rail, but when I am happy with the position of the racks I’ll bolt them to the rail and cut off the hook end. It’s a 5/16″ bolt attaching the bracket to the spar (helicoil in spar), I know it looks sort of week, I think it’s strong enough. It certainly pulls the rack down hard to the roof. Later you’ll see that I put in short sections of rubber hose to cover the naked bolts and make that part look less flimsy.

I am planning on painting the rack white, same interlux briteside one part polyurethane I used on the pop top itself. When it’s painted I think the rack will blend in with the roof, take away the raw industrial look.

It’s funny, the box still looks like it tilts towards the centre of the van. The cross spars are level, maybe the box itself is warped.


It’s not that bad looking, try to imagine it painted white. The painting will happen when the weather warms up, maybe this week. Oh and one more thing, the new rack lowers the box an inch or more.

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Vanagon – a ladder, not a tire carrier

Someone I know needs to be able to get to roof top carrier. She’s been humming and hawing about the options available. The RMW ladder that fixes to the jack points wasn’t that appealing. I made this today and if she doesn’t like it I’ll keep it. It actually works.

It folds up, pieces are connected with bungee cords just like tent poles. Fits into luggage rack on Westy.


Unfolded.


Hooks onto gutter.

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Vanagon – still testing the 7 rung tire carrier

I didn’t deliver it to the customer when he wanted, I wanted to test it out in my van for a spell. I’m sure it’s annoying to be told you can’t have something yet, but hey, I’m the boss 🙂

So the experiment of many rungs, what do I think? I think seven are too many. I mean there is nothing wrong with that many apart from maybe it looking a little busy. And the extra rungs are useful for lash points. The wheel carrier unit is remove able and can be shifted a couple of inches to one side of the rungs if so desired.

Here are the pics, I still have a little fussing here and there to do, some radii on sharp corners etc. That lanyard hanging from a rung is some 1/2″ Spectra line, using it as a safety back up to the wheel. It’s not needed, it’s just me being conservative. And of course the carrier is on the wrong side of the van, doesn’t matter for testing purposes.

And I’m thinking, I’m thinking of cutting the bottom rung and verticals to just below the bottom hatch attachment point. 


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Vanagon – one more hatch ladder/tire carrier

I’m rushing to finish this one so I took some pics while I still had the presence of mind to do so. Shooting into the sun and using the iPad, not the best formula. 

Still prototyping and fooling around. This one has more rungs. Perhaps more than you need but the request was for a tire carrier that might at some time be used just as a ladder. The tire carrier unit clamps onto a pair of the rungs, but only at one location.

That’s a stock 14″ rim on there, just to give an idea of where wheel sits.



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Vanagon – can you remove the covers of the adjustable arm rests?

Yes you can.

We’re talking about the adjustable armrests. The procedure is pretty straightforward but there is one important warning. Do not unscrew the adjusting knob. Please don’t. I did do that (on one of the armrests I got on the old skanky seat I bought a  couple of weeks ago ) and I haven’t managed to get it screwed back in. Unscrewing the knob (armrest on the bench, I don’t think you can unscrew all the way when armrest is on the seat) releases some part of the adjusting gubbins that appear to be inaccessible.

So don’t unscrew the knob.

Ok, on to the procedure. You know that you have to drive out a roll pin to remove the arm from the seat. It’s a little awkward as the upholstery gets in the way.

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Then lay the arm upside down on the bench. The knob is pressed onto the end of the steel shaft. There are splines, and it is tightly pressed on. This picture taken after I had the knob levered al,out all the way off.


I used a big screwdriver to lever the knob off.


Now that the knob is off, remove both screws holding the plastic trim to the arm.



Dig out the staples and the cover will come off.


That’s it!


This naked arm is going to a friend who has a broken arm, you know what I mean, and her old arm cover put on.  I’m digging into the other arm, the one that I unscrewed the adjusting knob all the way – don’t do that! – and so far it doesn’t look too good that there will be an easy way to get into the mysteries. The foam is cast around a plastic shell and a beech wood stiffener. Maybe more on that mess later.

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Vanagon – a pretty darn good site for mods and improvements 

Abel has been posting really good stuff here, Texas Vanagons.

Definitely worth a good look.

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Vanagon – USB outlet, voltmeter, custom vent

Bought one of those ubiquitous voltmeter and USB combos from bangood.com. Thought I would modify the vent on the fridge cabinet to install. But the old grill on the rear face of the cabinet had peeling paint and I didn’t like how the install looked. So I made a new grill from some 3/32″ thick aluminum plate. I milled slots, 3/8″ wide, on 1/2″ centres, 7 slots in total. And I milled a hole for the voltmeter/outlet combo.

The grill turned out a bit “gappy”, a bit too open perhaps. But as you don’t really look at it face on too often it’s good enough. The outlet and meter are wired to my auxiliary fuse panel under the driver’s seat. I thought about a switch to turn the thing off when not needed but I didn’t have a switch that would suit. I might add one later, but right now my big assed house battery will take any parasitic drain.

I’ll replace the mounting screws with the ones that will accept a plastic cap when I can find some.

  

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Vanagon – Nathan meets very nice syncro tin top

Addendum April 16, 2016. Very nice install of  Garmin Nuvi 44LM in ashtray, pics at bottom.

Pics sent to me by Nathan, he met local owner of this really nice blue syncro tin top. The pics tell the story.

   
    
    
   

   
   

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Vanagon – Nathan’s new wheels

I think they are 16″ Mefros. I’ll have to ask about the tires. Certainly looks perky. Hey, and note the tire carrier 🙂

  

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Vanagon – trip to wreckers scores big, well fairly big

I had the morning free to head up to Malahat Auto Wreckers here on the southern part of Vancouver Island, and I got lucky. There are fewer and fewer Vanagons in the wreckers these days, a big drop from the halcyon days of the turn of the century. But I found a tin top, year of manufacture 1991. Pretty rare here to see a 92 model year T3. The sticker said it was assembled in Austria. You know the story, the Hannover plant switched over to making T4 models and the Graz plant continued for a while to make both syncros and 2wd vans.

The van was in rough shape but it had the heated drivers seat intact, plus all the electrics for same. I had already scored the column mounted controller, housing, and relays some years ago but this time I got another set plus the wiring to the seat and the seat itself. The seat is pretty skanky ( and it’s blue, wouldn’t match my other seat even if it was in good shape) but I think the heating pads are salvageable.

 

Taking the seat apart I found that the wiring to the seat base  was broken. Almost looks like it was cut. Everything else was intact and looked stock so I wouldn’t be surprised if the break was the result of some pinching and flexing. Nasty stains on the seat pad, ugh.
  
The seat back pad is fine.

  
My plan is to clean up the pads, test for continuity, remake the broken wiring, and install in my current driver’s seat. The other finds at the yard were some plastic trim pieces and the rarest of rare things, the little light above the glove box with an intact switch!

  

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Vanagon – small led light bar

I’m getting a lot of guff about this light bar. 

“oh it’s so cute” 

” hey you know the front of your van is starting to look like you”

” you call that a light bar?”

And then I get this, not for the sign, but Bender’s face.

  
And this.

  
But the best one is this.

  
Yup, that’s it.

  

It’s this light bar from Banggood.com

54W 18LEDs Car Work Light Bar Spotlight White Projector Lamp

I chose it for its small ( yes, I chose small) size, had decent reviews, and had IP68 waterproof rating. It’s also a spot rather than flood beam pattern but saying spot does not imply that it is a carefully focused beam. My thinking was that I wanted a spot beam to project down trails/logging roads. And also I was pretty curious about these light bars. And god knows you see a lot of them on burley trucks around here. Multiples of the smaller ones, long ones that almost span the width of the truck, on bumpers, above cabs, you know the scene.

I mounted the light bar to what I call the light bar on my bumper ( getting confusing now ), power wire routed internally, ground wire attached to bumper. And I noticed that it’s missing one of the M3 socket headed cap screws on the face plate, sheesh.

   
 
Couple more pics of the ludicrous look.

   
 

Back to the wiring. Ran the power wire up into the dash, to a relay and fuse, and it’s switched on the second position of my fog light switch on dash. That’s why you see the aux lights on in the pics. They are on the first position of the switch.

So how bright is it at night? It’s bright but not life changing bright. I took some pics but you know how that works, never really gets things right.

First pic is the aux lights alone. These are tired 55w bulbs and I have aimed the aux lights low and a little bit to the right. The aiming is little bit of an attempt to catch any suicidal deer.

  
And this pic the led light bar and aux lights on. The led bar could be aimed a tad higher. It’s hard to believe from the pics but you could drive easily with this light combo.

 
And in this pic I’ve added my main lights (high beam). 

 

Am I happy with the light bar? Well yes, it’s fine. Good old high quality halogen spots would beat it, but for the power draw and the price I think it will do what I want it to do .

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Vanagon – another ladder/tire carrier prototype

Still haven’t got a production model yet, still trying things out. This one has offset tire position which I thought was a good idea, but looking at it installed I’m thinking it’s awkward.

It’s on Nathan’s van. Pic of Nathan’s van beside my van kinda shows the offset and that the tire is a bit lower on the ladder. Oh and I did away with the curved bottom on this one.

  
  
Yeah, that offset looks a little odd.

  

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Vanagon – T4 grounding crown

Hey, did you know you can just squeeze in a T4 grounding crown in the aft position of the pair of stock crowns just to the left of the fuse panel?

It’s tight, but it gets in there.

I mangled the stock crown a little getting it out. But look, look at the abundance of connections on the T4 crown 🙂

 
Not a great pic, but here is installed.

  

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Vanagon – 2015 Dodge Caravan town and country second row seats

Addendum April 10, 2016. Drivers seat installed today. Simpler install, four bolts welded to stock swivel plate, 1×2″ steel box section fits onto those bolts, box section bolted to Chrysler seat. Pics at the end of the post. Oh, btw, sitting in the drivers seat is a big improvement over the stock seats. I’m 6-2, I still have a finger width or two head room to ceiling, and for some reason due to the seat adjustment or whatever, I get a much better view of the speedo and tach than I do in my van. This alone makes me want to have the seats in my van.

Addendum April 13, 2016. Some more pics taken by Simon of seats in his van, added at bottom of post.

Addendum June 14, 2016. Added some pics of the aluminum rails I made to mount the passenger side seat.

Quick post, I hope to show more details later. Adapted one of a pair of seats to fit on stock seat slider. There is a samba thread about this seat and the pioneer (link ) only used the Caravan slider mechanism in the install. Good fried Simon liked what he saw in the thread and bought a pair of seats and had the necessity of being able to move the passenger seat more, ie incorporate the stock sliders. With both sliders in action you can get a good range of fore and aft movement.

I just finished making the adapter and doing test fit in my van. The seat is more comfy than the stock seat. And it’s leather,  and has heating elements ( connecting the heaters is a chore yet to be enjoyed).

   
    
   

  
  

  

   
   

Here are some shots of the aluminum rails I made to allow stock seat sliders to be used. Note, the aluminum stock was left over scrap, the single holes in the vertical face have nothing to do with the install.

Laying on the stock sliders ( sliders salvaged from a spare seat, a couple of bars laid in the recesses just to show where the Chrysler seat rails will fit. I don’t have any more pics right now of the completed assembly including the slider release mechanism made to allow the stock slider rails to move ( the Chrysler seats have integral slider mechanism. Having the stock one too was really just to secure the stock rails). I’ll try to remember to get pics.


The longitudinal bars sitting in place. They have yet to be drilled to match the Chrysler seat bolts.

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Another tire carrier

Made another carrier, for good friend Simon. Some changes made from my original. I think I have a much better hatch grabbing arrangement at the bottom. Little forward pressure on the door panel but lots up vertical grip. Tire is very solid to the ladder and the ladder very solid to the hatch. Also I repositioned the tire placement to be about 3″ lower than my original so less intrusion into the rear window.

Having the tire on the hatch is a compromise. You do need to have special hatch struts to make opening the hatch an easy process. Simon has a pair of very beefy 1250 N struts that raise the landed hatch with no effort.

The top hangers and the bottom grabber assembly is made from 0.120″ thick 316 stainless. Bolts are stainless. But the lug nuts and the mounting studs are steel. 

I’m going to make some more, with some further refinements.

During the build, comparing tire placement with my original ladder.

  
Ditto.

 
It’s 1″ tubing, 1/8″ wall thickness, 6061 aluminum. Joints coped and tig welded.

   
On Simon’s van. The stainless steel hangers and bottom grabbers have been painted, but the ladder itself untouched. Simon is going to paint it later.

 
It still works as a ladder with the tire on. Step up from the RMW bumper onto the tire.

   
    

 

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Syncro – propshaft with intermediate bearing support

John B. sent along some pics of his new propshaft. He was having some difficulty in getting the stock set up running vibration free so he went this route.

Due to some errors on my side, I can’t find his emails where he described the set up. Until I get that info I’ll post the pics as is.

   
    
    
    
    
    
   
Addendum.

In reply to Hans’ comment about CV jointed prop shaft. A couple of pics. First is the flange of my spare propshaft. Approximate measurements make it a 74mm bolt hole circle, the recess is 47mm diameter and about 2.5mm deep.

   
Stock 100mm diameter cv joint has a 6 on 86mm bolt hole circle.

 
A 108mm diameter CV joint, has a 95mm bolt hole circle.

   
I have the half shaft for that 108mm diameter CV joint. One could imagine cutting the spline section off and mounting it to a flange that mimics the stick propshaft flange, then the slides connecting to the 108mm diameter CV joint bolted to the propshaft. I hope you understand this is all just free thinking, just for discussion.

 

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Vanagon – front bumper pics

I’m declaring it done, well almost. Still fussing with ideas to cover the exposed bolt heads. I’m going to give it an 8/10. It is doing what I wanted it to do, but I really don’t like the end caps very much. I found it hard to enclose the “C” shape of the bumper because I carried the bottom angled section of the bumper right back to the standing seam on the body. It made for a big cross section to enclose at the ends. I added facets to the endcaps that really don’t do much for looks. Also noticed after painting how my casual approach to finish grinding and a little warping due to welding gave the top surface the hint of downturn towards the ends. Mostly this is a visual due to the sloppy finish grinding on the top edge. But now my eye is drawn to it and I get that pang of regret.

Oh well, that’s how it goes, I have to see the thing made then decide what I like and don’t like 🙂

The light bar worked out ok. Places the lights approximately in front of the metal section between the upper and lower grills. One could argue that the lights are too close together, but I’ll leave that conclusion until I aim the lights and do some night driving.

As for the lights, I did manage to shoehorn the 6.5″ H4 lamps into the housings. Right now I have it wired to the fog light switch and only connected to the low beam filaments in the lamps. I plan on connecting (yes, of course relayed) to the hi-lo stalk switch so I can have both high and low beam auxiliaries. The lamps had city light bulb holders in them. I replaced them with 2W led eagle eyes. I wired them to come on with key on, thinking they might make DRLs. Not quite bright enough, but certainly noticeable. The night shot shows them on, appearing more brilliant than they actually are. I’ll see if I can dig out some pics I took months ago showing the eagle eye install. I’ll update this post then.

Wiring to the aux lights runs inside the light bar and out behind the bumper. The nice flat top surface really makes it easy to stand on to get things on the roof. The paint is rubberized rocker guard paint. Yes, not bedliner. I thought it would be be a better choice for touch ups after the inevitable scrapes on rocks. Certainly less expensive than bedliner. About ten bucks a can, took two cans to do the bumper. Aluminum was prepared by scuff sanding and acid based aluminum wash. Then one coat of self etching primer and about three coats of the paint.

I should mention how I mounted them to the sub bumper. The stock mounting holes (M10x1.5 I think) got reworked with helicoils for M11x1.5. I made a stainless steel bracket, like two “C” shaped pieces connected by a straight section out of 1/8″X1.5″ bar stock. The “C” parts fit over the sub bumper and are held onto it by two bolts running vertically down through drilled holes in the sub bumper. The bolts hold the brackets in place and also pinch the sub bumper a bit, pretty solid. On the back of the rackets I welded nuts for the M13x1.75 bolts that go through the centre section of the bumper. Trust me, the bumper is on there solid.

   
    
    
   

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Vanagon – soft shackles on tow points?

It might be a good idea, it might not. 1/4″ Spectra soft shackle to be used on the rear tow points of my bumper. On this example I have yet to trim the tails, I need to give the shackle a good pull first. one nice thing is that they pack into small spaces unlike a steel shackle. Note: 1/4″ Spectra has breaking strength of 6,000 lbs. tests have shown a soft shackle doesn’t decrease strength (infact, it can be 175% of single line strength). But, 5/16″ Spectra tests at 9,000 lbs, might be better to use 5/16″.

 

Here is link to instructions to tie this particular style. 

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Vanagon – aux battery, solar, and aux wiring diagram update

Whoops! Uploaded the wrong diagram, hold on….fixed

I redrew my schematic to show changes made in the last year. I dropped the Doc Watson meter, added solar panel controller, and added large fuse at the big aux battery. And I added a 15A fuse on the small wire that runs from the ACR to neg return. It’s a safety in case of an internal fault in the ACR. Also, I corrected mistake in last diagram where the ACR was connected incorrectly to the aux fuse panel. Now you see it is fused at panel. I should make it clear that I do not have a power feed to the fridge cooling system. I may add that later, but I don’t miss it.

  

 

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Vanagon – rear side marker light guards

i made a few prototypes, aluminum with quick spray bomb paint. What do you think, silly, sensible, or none of the above?

   
 

Update, in a way.

Still fooling with the idea. Made this version to see how a swing away guard would work. The proportions are a bit screwy but I like it enough to to try again.

   
 

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Vanagon – front bumper build pretty well done

I’ll get better pics and notes when I wire up the auxiliary lights on that light bar.

   
   

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Vanagon – hatch mounted spare tire carrier

Last spring I finally gave up on my swing away tire carrier project. I couldn’t get it stiff enough for my liking. I’ll post something about that fandango and my new front bumper later. The stock location for the spare was taken over by the big assed battery so I have been using a paulchen rack to carry my spare. I really didn’t like that and last week I made a quick and dirty aluminum ladder type rack to carry the spare. I’m going to give it a bit of testing before clean up and painting, then I will post more on construction details etc.

  

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