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Vanagon ‘floppy mirror syndrome’ CURED!
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HerrBGone
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:32 am    Post subject: Vanagon ‘floppy mirror syndrome’ CURED! Reply with quote

The mirrors that were on Thunder when I bought him were old and the adjustment had been cranked down so tight that the socket part of the ball and socket joint had split and cracked in several places on both mirrors. They would not stay adjusted to save themselves. The silvering was old and pitted and not all that great. Also, they were the brown plastic that several people have mentioned tend to dry out and crack much worse than the black versions of the same parts.

After posting that I was thinking of replacing them with aftermarket junior west coast small truck mirrors, I was offered a set of brand new Vanagon mirrors. “Keep it original!” everyone said, so even though I was feeling kind of guilty about it, I accepted. They’re great and the look right on the van. Thank you again! Wink

The new mirrors stay put much better than the worn out originals ever did, but particularly the drivers side still had a tendency to readjust itself if I got passed by a semi going the other way on a two lane road. After thinking about this for a while I have come upon a solution! Think Idea Very Happy

The feature that allows the mirror to be adjusted is a ball and socket joint, much like a hip joint. The one thing that a hip has that our mirrors do not have is cartilage. In a hip the cartilage absorbs some of the shock of walking, lubricates the joint and prevents bone from grinding on bone. What I installed in Thunders new mirrors does a similar job except for the lubricating part. Instead it introduces just the right amount of additional friction to keep the mirror in place while still allowing it to be adjusted and to move if whacked, thus not getting broken. What is this miracle substance you ask? It’s a .35˘ rubber washer from the plumbing isle of your local hardware store! After opening up the hole slightly to fit onto the stud in the mirror and torquing the assembly just slightly more than you should without the washer the mirrors work as the Volkswagen engineers whish they had all along. The driver’s side has not moved since I adjusted it on Saturday in the parking lot of Ocean State Job Lots in Gardner where I installed the washers. I had to reposition it three times on the ride out there. The passenger side mirror has only needed to be adjusted once and that was after the klutz in the pick up parked next to us whacked it with his door. No harm to Thunder but the mirror left a black streak on his paint. Hope each time he sees that mark it reminds him to be more careful. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

Anyway, another Vanagon mystery solved! Dancing


Edit: Very minor edit to make one line scan a bit smoother.
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Thunder, '85 Vanagon Westfalia (full camper)


Last edited by HerrBGone on Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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85jacamper
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what size rubber washer did you use?

Dennis
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Paintedbus
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice. Very Happy i will be doing this shortly as i have mismatched mirrors on the vanaogn right now... one power mirror (not correct) and one manual mirror. since i have another (very loose) manul mirror in the house, i will find a rubber washer and try this out.

thanks HerrBGone! I will let you all know how it goes. Wink
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HerrBGone
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It’s like a fender washer. The OD just about matches the inside lip of the socket and the ID needed to be opened up to fit on the stud. I think it’s about 3/4” to 1” in diameter with a slightly smaller than 1/4” hole – probably intended for a #8 or #10 screw. The washers I used are about 1/8” thick. (I should have measured them up before installing them…) If you can get them a little thinner they may work even better. I used a flat washer. They have washers with one side that is cone shaped. I would not use one of those. You want a washer that will conform to the shape of the ball and socket joint when compressed in the assembly. This is a standard plumbing part that they had in quantity at Aubuchon Hardware. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be used for, just that it works great in this application.

Edit: Here's a crude little drawing showing where the washer goes in the assembly:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Note: Shown is the driver’s side mirror assembly with the mirror lying flat on its back as on your workbench.

Edit 2: I added a little detail and (hopefully) clarified some of the text.
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HerrBGone
(AKA: Dave)

A fellow wanderer on the road less traveled

Fritz, '71 Superbeetle
Galileo, '98 New Beetle
Thunder, '85 Vanagon Westfalia (full camper)


Last edited by HerrBGone on Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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keppe
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 3:41 pm    Post subject: side mirroe excellence Reply with quote

awesome. major karma your way.

me, i'm of the " tighten till it breaks" school. will perform cartilage-ectomy ASAP.

thanks.


[quote="HerrBGone"]It’s like a fender washer. The OD is just about matches inside the lip if the socket and the ID needed to be opened up to fit on the stud. I think it’s about 3/4” to an inch diameter with a probably 1/4” or slightly smaller hole. The washers I used are about 1/8” thick. (I should have measured them up before installing them…) If you can get them a little thinner they may work even better. This is a standard plumbing part that they had in quantity at Aubuchon Hardware. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be used for, just that it works great in this application.

Edit: Here's a crude little drawing showing where the washer goes in the assembly:

[img]https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/262190.jpg[/img][/quote]
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gonewesty4good
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the tip, I think I will do this until I can get ahold of some of the non-power late-mirrors, anyone got a set for sale?
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85jacamper
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Dave for the drawing.

Dennis
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:54 am    Post subject: Did This Reply with quote

Did this. Worked perfectly. Winston's new mirrors were flattening in the slipstream. They don't budge a bit now.

Many thanks.

Best!
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would add that the originals had the stud pinned into the body of the mirror. All of the aftermarket ones that I have seen do not. Because there is no pin, the stud can fairly easily be pulled out of the mirror when the nut is torqued a bit to remove the flop. The solution, of course, is to use a drill press and pin the new ones. Great tip on the rubber. The combo of pin and rubber should make the mirrors function great and last a long time.

Andrew
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j8
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:56 am    Post subject: sweet Reply with quote

This is on the list for next spring. Thanks!
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DWC
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wing windows would not stay open and did the same trick to them as
HerrBGone did to his mirrors. I just took apart the wing window and added a small rubber o-ring (plumbing part) under the shaft that goes into the door. It applies just enough pressure to keep the window open at highway speeds now.
DC
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, DWC, can you describe the disassembly of the wing windows to accomplish this? My driver's side is OK (for now) but the passenger side wind wing is floppy as a fish. I've used a bungie cord to keep it open but I'd rather have it be right.

Don't just just miss wind wings on all your other newer cars? I remember riding across the desert in our '54 Ford when I was growing up, wind wing opened to the max blowing air on our stinky, non-air conditioned bodies.

I think the concept of once again having wind wings was one of the major reasons I bought the Westy!
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DWC
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>MootPoint
>>Hey, DWC, can you describe the disassembly of the wing windows to >>accomplish this?

Moot,
It's a super easy 5 min per side job.
You'll need a star driver (I think that's what they call them.)
1st, open the wing window a little and unscrew the the screw at the top of the wing window. Once that's out, open the window until it's 1/2 open, then pull the wing window up and out. Slide the rubber O Ring onto the bottom window shaft & reassemble. You may need someone to help push the window down to compress the washer as you align the top screw hole since the window will sit a little higher until you get it screwed back together.
I got the O rings in an assortment pack in the Home Depot plumbing department for about $3.00.
DC
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hiram6
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did this mod today on my mirrors. I found a rubber washer that fits perfectly with no trimming needed.

Bought mine at Lowes, Hillman brand, size 3/8 x 7/8 x 1/16, as indicated on the package. SKU # 00823670763 Grand total of 75 cents.
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kayakwesty
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This deserves a sticky!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kayakwesty wrote:
This deserves a sticky!


Actually it already is!!
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albiwan
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love it when people come up with brilliant yet cheap solutions to maddening problems such as this; I've pulled off the road several times, socket set in hand, tightening the hell out of the drivers' side mirror; hoping not to strip anything...

I'm going to try this for sure.

Thanks for the tip.
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Neptuno
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well this will take me into my tool box in the morning Cool
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vwtopia
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to fix my driver side mirror but can't loosen the two phillip screws. I was thinking of trying an impact wrench with a phillips bit but don't want to damage the door or mirror. This is the only way or can someone tell me another/better way? One screw is starting to get it's head messed up from me trying with a screwdriver.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be real sure you're using the correct size Philips bit. As I remember it (too snowy out to look) you need a number 3 Philips which is bigger than the common size #2 used for 90% of Philips applications. Try WD-40 or a rust blaster & let it sit a couple of hours.
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