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fuzzymath Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:10 pm

I saw the kit for sale on ebay but I was wondering if anyone knew a cheap way to perform this mod. I took my taillight apart and poked and prodded around a bit, figure I could fabricate some kind of device to hold it in, but it would be pretty Mickey Mouse. Didn't see anything available on any of the vanagon parts sites either. Any ideas?

Captain Pike Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:02 pm

I like it. I was recently "profiled" by a cop whose premise was "no brake lights".When he said they(2 of them) were recording audio and video I started stomping on the brake and laughed about how they were getting it on film. Any way to increase the lighting seems good. I have spares___time to do some cuttin.

fuzzymath Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:40 pm

In a 1/2 hour I fully completed the mod.

Well, it's really easy to perform this mod if you have a spare taillight innard laying around because each one has four of the bent metal spring jumpers that you need to do the mod. You only need two though, one for each taillight so you can mod your other Vanagon if you want to with the spare jumpers.

Well I didn't have any spare taillight innards laying around so I made mine out of a piece of sheet metal I had laying around with a couple pair of pliers, some tin snips and a drill. Basically I pried one of the other spring jumpers out and copied it twice. There you have it.

Pry one of the spring jumpers out, copy it, then put it back in and bend the galvanized "circuit" back in place.

Thanks for nothing. :P

fuzzymath Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:33 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot about power.

There is no power that runs to that bulb, but it has a male quick-connect prong that you can run power to.

If you're lazy like me you use a Scotch connector with a female quick connect onto the Euro brake light prong. Or else you can just solder a jumper wire from the other brake light lead and slather it with dielectric grease or use paint-on electric tape to keep it from rusting or corroding.

Cheers

Christopher Schimke Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:41 pm

Good deal. I swear that Vanagon owners are some of the most resourceful people on the planet. Didja take any pictures along the way?

fuzzymath Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:46 pm

No pics yet but I will try to get some up soon.

The sheet metal I used wasn't spring steel, so it just bends back. I had to stick a piece of foam behind it to keep the pressure applied to the rear contact on the bulb. It isn't as clean as I want to do it so I am going to stop by the junk yard in the morning and see how much they'll sell me a tail light innard for so I can do a really clean install. Otherwise I am going to use some spring steel out of an old cheap flashlight I have laying around.

So you can make this light act as either another night driving/fog light or a second brake light depending on which wire you jump into. I chose to make it an additional brake light, but it makes the brake lights look like an "L" shape(or "J", driver's side vs. pass. side) As an additional driving light it makes the existing wider and brighter. I think I might do that instead and just install a 3rd Jetta brake light at a later date.

Some Vanagon sites around sell the button for the fog lights, which would turn on the front fog lights, I guess, but if you were feeling crazy gung-ho you could wire up this light to work in conjunction with your fog light button, but geez, what a weekend that would be. :D

Have fun and don't do anything like touch the wrong contacts together while the power is applied or else you will be out a another fuse.

EDIT: I made one of the spring jumpers out of an old tea container that I had and it seems to hold it's spring really well. I'm sticking with that for now.

flyingCoyote Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:06 am

loogy wrote: Good deal. I swear that Vanagon owners are some of the most resourceful people on the planet.
I definitely notice a similarity between the Vanagon community and the computer hacker* community. People who enjoy problem solving, appreciate good engineering, and have the creativity and spirit to just "figure out a way" no matter what.


* "hacker", until the word was picked up by the panic-rags of the mainstream newstainment media, meant someone who explores and comes up with creative solutions, not someone who steals and destroys - that guy's called a "criminal".

Captain Pike Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:40 am

That was easy. I have a doner contact plate and harvested the spring contacts(2) and transfered them to mine. Just pry up the tabs and fish them out/install is the reverse. Then run a jumper to the brake hot and plug into the blank spot on the harness. I used a torch to heat a box cutter blade and cut the lenz plastic to accept the larger bulb. Total time 1 hour :D

Captain Pike Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:46 am

I made another set from my doner plate.Who wants them? Posted photos in my gallery.

fuzzymath Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:19 am

On the ebay site selling the taillight mod they mentioned something about upping your 5w bulbs that were installed in the US to the 10w that were used abroad which makes alot of sense because our vans seem pretty dimly lit from behind at night.

I went to Schuck's(major auto parts store) and they had our bulbs made by Osram Sylvania packaged under "European Bulbs". They had a wide variety of wattages ranging from 2.5w, 4w, 5w, 10w, 15w, 23w, 32w all with the neccesary base to fit in our vans. I noticed that two 10w taillights per housing might be a bit to bright and am considering using a 5w on the outside and 10w on the inside. The 5w and 10w bulbs they carried were the smaller size so they will fit inside the little hole.

Schuck's only had one package of the 10w bulbs and I broke one of my taillight bulbs doing the mod so my driver's side taillights were only half lit. I was imagining getting pulled over for asymmetrical taillights but if you think about it, redundancy is actually safer and something we should be commended for.

Cheers.

Captain Pike Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:11 am

You get pulled anyway. in a deep soviet accent"We need to make sure your papers are in order"

fuzzymath Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:30 pm

Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.

Obi-Wan: You don't need to see his identification.

Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.

Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.

Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.

Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.

Obi-Wan: Move along.

Stormtrooper: Move along... move along.

Dogpilot Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:17 pm

I was coming back from a trip to Telluride this year, and passing through Shiprock. I was doing something other than paying attention to my driving and ran a red light. My wife instantly pointed this out to me, I felt quite the fool, especially as a Navajo Tribal cop was behind me. He switched on his lights and siren and roared around me taking off for points unkown. I piped up, "these aren't the droids were looking for!" We cracked up for about ten miles after that.

fuzzymath Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:35 pm

So I went to the VW specific junk yard this morning and bought a taillight. That price included both the lens and the guts. This gave me the opportunity to replace a broken lens as well as harvest the spring jumpers from the guts.

IMHO this is the best way to perform this mod. It is uber clean and was relatively inexpensive, $20. But since there are enough spring jumpers in a single taillight to do two sets, you might be able to recoup your costs by selling a "kit" on eBay for the price that you bought the used taillight.

Instead of using the Scotch connector to bridge the new light into the circuit, I just wedged a piece of thin metal into a crack that connects the two circuits.

Captain Pike Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:06 pm

Did you notice the left and right sides have different pathways? Why would they make 2 different circuit boards? Goofy. I'm on the fence about the ebay sale on the spares I made. I would think you would need the lenzes as well. When you cut the hole for the bulb use a red hot knife to avoid cracking thre plastic.
It was easy wasn't it :D

fuzzymath Sat Jul 29, 2006 6:23 pm

Instead of cutting the plastic I bought the small 10 watt bulbs that fit through the hole.

r39o Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:02 am

Bill's pictures of the mod:

Donor:


Mod:


End effect:

mr_vanagon Sat Jun 30, 2007 7:40 pm

So I just did this tail light mod and this a really easy mod. The trip to the store to get ONE MORE crimp on connector was the longest stage. Why is it that I have thousands of connectors but I'm always out of the one I need? I set it up for tail lights but I might go with brake lights instead.

DAVEURO Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:45 am

Dogpilot wrote: I was coming back from a trip to Telluride this year, and passing through Shiprock. I was doing something other than paying attention to my driving and ran a red light. My wife instantly pointed this out to me, I felt quite the fool, especially as a Navajo Tribal cop was behind me. He switched on his lights and siren and roared around me taking off for points unkown. I piped up, "these aren't the droids were looking for!" We cracked up for about ten miles after that.
That would make you the "(Lucky Dog)pilot" Now I am laughing as I have pulled over to have the fuzz zoom by while my heart stopped beating momentarily.

Timwhy Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:56 am

I completed this upgrade yesterday. Instead of having the unused light go to the brake I used a jumper to the parking/tail lamp. As I already have a third brake light installed, and a bottom brake/parking lamp on my reese hitch. I felt I was in good shape brake light-wise.






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