View original topic: Winston's Radio Restored
msinabottle Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:50 pm

Well, I got the radio working again--the fuse wasn't even blown.

As I mentioned, a friend 'picked' the radio's keys with a welding rod, and the 10 Amp mini-blade fuse wasn't blown... and I found the 'always on' wire had become disconnected. Couldn't find rhyme nor reason to the two connections on the fuse box, but I pulled 'em both and decided to start over and do my own work carefully. Back-engineering what the 'drive in' company that had sold and installed that radio just didn't seem worth it.

So, I had a chat online with a friend who turned out to know... a HUGE amount... about VW battery systems. He suggested that I do an entirely new power connection of the radio to the battery, and sent me a circuit diagram that I can post if there's interest. Basically, a yellow 'always on' wire with a ten amp fuse holder runs to the battery positive terminal and to a three-way connector, from which runs one wire to the radio's yellow 'always on' connector--this maintains the presets--while another run to a center-off SPDT (Single Pole double terminal) switch.

That way, no matter what the position of the switch, the radio always has some battery power to maintain the pre-sets. I ran Winston's new wire down through the hole under the battery tray, when I install his new auxilary battery I'll disconnect the wire from the fuse carrier (I left slack) and move it over and up through the BIG hole in the bottom of the auxilary battery compartment. I came up through the rubber gasket around the heater hoses, there was already a hole there for the mysterious blue wire that runs to an unconnected end in the engine compartment.

I had to pull out the battery to get the wire into that hole, and while I was at it, I took a look at the ground strap. The copper terminal to the body ground was gunky, and when I removed the bolt, I found that gunky and the terminal itself GROUNDED TO PAINT! Auuuugh!

I took the strap down and dremeled the ends, the bolt, and the washer on it until they gleamed, then I struck a grinding stone on my Makita and ground down the paint to the bare metal of the contacting surface. After I got the ground strap back on, I covered the bolt and the terminal end with dialectric grease. Then I replaced the battery and bolted on the new ring terminal and the yellow wire.

To the center pole of the switch is a red 'switched on' wire to the radio's 'keyed' wire connection. To the other pole of the SPDT switch runs a red 'keyed' wire into the 'YOU LEFT THE KEY IN THE IGNITION, IDIOT' circuit, a grey wire that has goes from a door switch to the 2nd relay in the fuse panel. The P.O. had apparently disconnected that circuit, I reconnected it. Winston's first owner had put a 'T' tap into that ciruit and the red 'always powered' wire from the cigarette lighter, I think I know why. I plugged into the T tap on the grey 'Idiot' wire.

I loved the three way connector I got at NAPA--it's got three 'crush on' ring terminals riveted together. I've been told those can corrode, so I covered the uninsulated middle section with dialectric grease and then insulated the whole thing with silicon self-adhering tape covered in adhesive electrician's tape. It'll be hidden behind the duct cover. The people at Radio Shack were looking pretty curiously at me by the time I'd figured out what I needed.

Into the wire running to the "IDIOT" circuit I soldered in a diode to keep current from the battery flowing into the fuse box. The radio probably already has that covered, but insurance at four for $2.64 is cheap. I need to work on my 'Western Union' splices and my soldering. I then put heat-shrink tubing over the solders and silicon tape over the whole thing.

I punched a hole in between the radio and the lighter for the switch and connected it all together. I almost fainted when it worked perfectly. With the switch in one position, the key must be in the igniton--but that's all, you don't have to turn it--for the radio to work. That's the 'driving' position. With the new switch in the middle position, the radio won't work at all, but it will keep the presets. I call that the 'QUIET!' position. With the switch in the third position, you can run the radio with the key entirely out of the ignition. That's the 'Camping' position.

Reception appeared to be excellent, which is vindication for the rubber antenna I mentioned installing. Of course, I've lost all my pre-sets, but I won't reprogram the radio until I get Winston's front heater blower switch replaced--that's the last electrical thing that needs repair.

The remote doesn't seem to be working, probably just needs a new battery. When I get the new auxilary battery, I can connect this same rig very quickly to it. The fuse in the yellow wire needs to be close to the battery to catch any shorts early, I ran the wire under Winston through loops already there and with a few nylon ties to hold it steady. I'd like some grommets in the battery compartments, there's nothing to keep the water out now.

Did I mention I was tired? Thanks very much to Dogpilot for his suggestions.

msinabottle Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:50 pm

Today, just as I was getting ready to go out and see what I could learn, my envelope from SuperBright LED's arrived. They ship fast, it's another thing I like about them.

So, the first thing I did was to install the two BA9s 4-LED Red 12VDC bayonet base bulbs I got in that order into my side running light fixtures, where they were very visible, and that's more wattage saved. Then I stuck two red LED's into my 'FASTEN SEATBELTS' and 'BRAKES' indicators, same notation. It was a bit harder to get the bulb behind the hazard light, getting the connections and the polarity just right took several tries.

I'd never pulled the front panel on the heater levers, but I had to get at that suspect heater switch. I have a little Craftsman mini pry bar, that allowed me to get the thing off without damaging the two plastic pins that hold it on. I hope the ends of the control levers go back on! I took the plate inside and washed it.

Dogpilot's warned me, but I also have two white LED's (I believe he used blue) to replace the two lights behind the heater panel, when the bulb holders I ordered from GoWesty arrive. Then I can reassemble the entire console and put in the new heater blower switch that's in that order, not that I think that will do any good.

I thought I'd found the problem when I found a disconnected yellow wire that clearly went to the switch, but plugging it in made no difference. I checked the power fron the violet-black wire that comes into the switch, it was powered, I put in the switch from the rear heater blower, which does work, and it didn't work, although my old switch worked with the socket for the rear blower. I disassembled and cleaned the old switch, then I jumped power directly from the power wire to the wires of the circuit, no success.

That was depressing.

I may pop the upper grill and see if I can jar the blower cage with a cable, but it looks like it's the 8 hour dash drill--in warm weather--for me.

Well, rather than sulk or mourn, I then completed a drill I'd had planned for days--step by step following Dogpilot's description of how to install a 3rd brake light in the rear window. On an '84, the rear brake light wires are black and red, there are two on the driver's side rear light array. I had to cut away a bit of the plastic conduit that held the wires to the light connector.

Then I tapped in to one with an inline splice, ran a red 16 gauge wire back along the cable with nylon ties and threaded that behind the F.I. control unit up through the empty holes where the air conditioning had been. I covered the tap and the removed section of the conduit with silicon tape and some conventional electrician's tape in spots over that.

All the time, yet more cold, chill winds were blowing. Periodically I'd have to go in and get somethign and do a bit more on cooking dinner. I remembered that the middle of the A/C or central cabinet on a Westy IS NOT the center of the window, thanks to the clothes closet, so I measured the entire thing and centered it. There was no ground wire, I think whoever made it optimistically figured you could ground what was meant to be a truck marker light to the metal body.

Instead, I had to put loop crush-on terminal connectors on either end of a length of green wire, after I ran that through a hole drilled in the back of the cabinet and up to a spot I ground clear on the rear window frame and tapped in with a self-tapping screw. I drilled a hole from the shelf on the central cabinet into the clothes closet, and did a butt joint of my red wire to the power lead on the LED array which ran through another hole in the cabinet. You can only see the ground wire.

Y'know, unless you've got a cheval glass handy, it's REALLY HARD to test the brake lights! I dragged my friend the gearhead out into cold wind, and... What do you know, it worked. Not that I doubted dogpilot's instructions or ideas, merely my execution of them. You can see the new central light quite clearly even through Winston's dark violet window tinting.

Well, get the new parts, try to get the blower working, and put him back together... I don't know if I'll be brave enough to start wiring in the new battery or not. Probably should when we've got a warm spell coming, I'm doing well enough that I may as well keep working until I get Winston where I want him.

Auxiliary battery needed to get, I have a Voltage sensitive relay and a Coleman 1200W inverter. I can rig in the Schumacher battery minder and the microwave at the same time, and then... He'll be pretty much done. Of course, I'll have to run the wires from the radio and the interior lights to a new fusebox and add a new 12v outlet behind the fridge and...

Bed is looking really good, right now.


msinabottle Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:37 pm

A coda:

On my way to this year's Rocky Mountain Westy Camp-out, of which, more, with pictures, later, my Pioneer radio/CD would cut out with a 'beep' and then resume. On the way home, the display went off entirely. I found the 'key on/key off switch lever on Winston's floor.

Since I never really used that switch, which I think the Blazers disabled when they rebuilt the dash/blower/wiper motor, when it disintegrated, I just removed it (the key-on wire was gone!) and put in a male-to-male insulated connection. All radio function, and the presets, returned. I installed a filler plug where the switch had been.

Still a good mod, though.


Alaskaberrys Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:43 pm

Ha! Nice 13 year follow up on the mod :D

DuncanS Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:46 pm

Did you ever fix the front blower motor?

jlrftype7 Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:10 pm

DuncanS wrote: Did you ever fix the front blower motor?
Exactly.... donít keep us in suspense for more than a Decade.... :wink:

msinabottle Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:28 pm

How soon they forget!

Not me, though, I remember all that and wake up screaming.



Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group