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South Africa Grille Install
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fyrgrrl
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject: South Africa Grille Install Reply with quote

I just got my SA grille kit from Van Cafe and it didn't seem to come with any instructions. Is there anyone out there that has done an installation and has any tips or hints for me before I go tearing into the front end of my van?

Thanks,

Heather

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1987 Vanagon Westfalia (manual) - "Van Hildegaard"
1987 Vanagon Westfalia (auto)
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (auto) - "Blau Frau"
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (manual) - "Braunkuh"
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback (auto)
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heather,

Start here:
http://users.qadas.com/~kanas/Vehicles/Syncro/South_African_Grille_Procedure.html

Don't forget to put in a relay kit. It will make the new H4's a whole lot brighter. Also, did you source the round buckets? You will need them to do the install. Put a blanket or pad in front of the van, that way, when you drop one of the lights it will not break.
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Last edited by Dogpilot on Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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fyrgrrl
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heater??? Must be that pilot side of ya talkin' Dogpilot!!

Anyway...i got the headlight improvement kit a few eons ago, and i think that came with the relay and everything else that was needed for the higher output lightbulbs.

ANd Va Cafe came thru with the round light buckets (I love those guys!). So when I bought the kit from them...I went whole hog. Got the big 7" Hella light housings (glass) too from them.

DROP ONE OF THE LIGHTS!?!?! Gawd...I hope not!!

One question is about the electrical connections....do I dyke off the original lamp connectors or do I leave them in place and just use the little squeeze thingies to make the new connections?

But let me read the info at the link you posted and I'll be back if i need more help.

Thanks again Dogpilot.

Heather
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1987 Vanagon Westfalia (manual) - "Van Hildegaard"
1987 Vanagon Westfalia (auto)
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (auto) - "Blau Frau"
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (manual) - "Braunkuh"
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback (auto)
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pilot's don't talk, we grunt in morse code or use witty catch phrases in strings to make us look clever.

You do have to cut off the old connectors. You also have to make up a bit of harness to connect the driving lights to the bright circuit and the ground. The H4's have their own bright/dim circuit, so you have to put a parallel one in for the driving lights. You may have to do a little shopping trip to the auto parts store to get the proper connectors, and get the butt crimp connectors that let you heat them up and seal. Since these are out front in the weather they will corrode, so the sealing type connectors give you a longer life.

There is a phase in this project where you have to kind of tape the new holders and bulbs in place to make sure you have them located properly centered in the grill. This is where you may have one make a break for freedom as you remove the grill.
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86 Syncro Westy AKA "The Bughunter"
98 Disco I
08 Range Rover SC
08 VW Rabbit S
1951 O-1G
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fyrgrrl
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK....gotcha on the escaping lights. Will secure them mightily!!

Here's another one for ya...are round lights better than rectangular/square lights? I mean....what's the point? Of course...I have asked the question AFTER I have bought 2 kits. Embarassed

Heather
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1987 Vanagon Westfalia (manual) - "Van Hildegaard"
1987 Vanagon Westfalia (auto)
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (auto) - "Blau Frau"
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (manual) - "Braunkuh"
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback (auto)
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Optically the math to work with a round reflector works out better. So the designers should be able to control the light placement with greater precision. The bulbs put out a potential of light, the lens focuses it. So more precise focusing should mean better utilization of the available output from the bulb.
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86 Syncro Westy AKA "The Bughunter"
98 Disco I
08 Range Rover SC
08 VW Rabbit S
1951 O-1G
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Crankey
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fyrgrrl wrote:
OK....gotcha on the escaping lights. Will secure them mightily!!

Here's another one for ya...are round lights better than rectangular/square lights? I mean....what's the point? Of course...I have asked the question AFTER I have bought 2 kits. Embarassed

Heather

it also looks COOLER Cool Laughing

hey, just got mine too tonight in the mail.

did ya read that instruction page ? what the heck is up with all the question marks ?

as far as I can tell, on an '85 which already has round outer lights, theyre already in the right place right ? anyone here do this on an 85 and earlier vanagon ?

as far as I can tell, this new grill just snaps on or off ? does it come out without getting really close to breaking ? it'd suck royally to break this $300+ piece of plastic !! ( I got the upper and lower grill package from Tiico) anyone think it'd be a good idea to reinforce a pry point for grill removal ? it'd suck to have a mechanic bust it trying to service something behind it...maybe make a special tool ? the stud locations look kinda fragile.

I was looking at the nice Hella lamps for the outers...but then I saw thiese cross hair lamps with these cool target crosses in them...or the angel eye lamps...anyone run those ? any good ?

this'll be a sweet setup but I wish they made a badgless virsion Rolling Eyes Wink
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ckissick
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put the upper SA grill on my '83 about 3 months ago, and I seem to remember drilling new holes for all four lights, because the outer lights go in a different holder. It's real easy to do, though. To do the job, you have to install and then remove the grill a few times to get the fit right. I also had to re-do some wiring. So I took off the grill at least 5 times.

The very first time I took it off, one of the posts broke right off. It was not an outer post, so it still fits right, and is pretty snug. Instead of the hassle of replacing it, I'm keeping it. But I get nervous every time I have to take the grill off. Last month I replaced a broken antenna, but it went smoothely. I wish they used screw-on posts like the old grill.
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Wellington
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I installed the SA upper grill on my 1985. The outer lights were in the right spot, the inners you need to detrmine where they mount by temporarily placing the SA grill on the van, then drill the locating holes. At the same time I replaced the outers with Hella 7".
Removing the grill is a stressful situation, so far I've been lucky, but I could sure see it breaking. I try to pull exactly where the pins insert into the holders on the body, I'm still thinking of a way to mount it better. One good thing is I can get my 13mm wrench on the rad bleeder through the grill to bleed the cooling system, no need to remove the grill.
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Crankey
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey thanks guys, I'm gonna try it on today. hopefully it'll fit my '85 crew without re locating the outer lights.

for some reason I'd thought the grill was made of a more flexible plastic...something that might resist rock damage...kinda disapointing how fragile it is. I think I will look into adding some reinforcing to the pegs. maybe JB Weld some bracing on them...possibly file on the metal peg tips so they arn't quite as tight.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since they are from SA, they should be able to take a hit from a Bongo and bounce back.

It is not as solid as the origional, but in the 18 months I've had mine it has not had any issues. You do need to carefully pry from the back side the grill off. Put something on the painted part of you vehicle to keep from scratching it, like a small chunk of cardboard.

I really do appreciate the additional light they provide. I just did 8 hours back in horrible winds from CA on sunday. The additional light was welcome on my tired flu ridden eyes. Good thing I wasn't held up in one of those profiling the van stops, I was doing lines of Theraflu Daytime to make it home. I looked like a red eyed haggard addict.
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86 Syncro Westy AKA "The Bughunter"
98 Disco I
08 Range Rover SC
08 VW Rabbit S
1951 O-1G
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chris32
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crankey wrote:
Hey thanks guys, I'm gonna try it on today. hopefully it'll fit my '85 crew without re locating the outer lights.

for some reason I'd thought the grill was made of a more flexible plastic...something that might resist rock damage...kinda disapointing how fragile it is. I think I will look into adding some reinforcing to the pegs. maybe JB Weld some bracing on them...possibly file on the metal peg tips so they arn't quite as tight.



yea dont try removing the SA grille when its under 32 degrees out..... Rolling Eyes
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Crankey
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah I can see that. I'm gonna reinforce the peg areas before I stick it on.
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fyrgrrl
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok...now that I have some time and gotten some courage, I am finally tackling the SA Grill upgrade. Everything was going swell until I looked at the wiring. So DogPliot mentioned that the headlamps are really both dim and bright and the two inner lamps are just driving lights. Do I have that right?

The inner lights came with plugs that have one red wire and one black wire out the back. So where do they go? There is a brown wire and a white w/ black stripe wire jumpered to the headlight....I take it that I don't do the same with the upgrade????? Two separate circuits??

HELP! Brick wall
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1987 Vanagon Westfalia (manual) - "Van Hildegaard"
1987 Vanagon Westfalia (auto)
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (auto) - "Blau Frau"
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (manual) - "Braunkuh"
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback (auto)
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hiram6
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't done this mod yet, but in my scheming mind, the solution for providing a seperate switch for the driving lights would be to source one of the OEM-style foglight switches as sold by Van-Cafe or GoWesty. It mounts in the blank spot on your instrument panel on the right side. Wire this up to act as your on/off switch for the driving lights, while upgrading the original high beam/low beam wiring with your relays, etc.

Another option may be to wire the driving lights to come on automatically with your high beams.

No, I'll humbly step aside and let someone who has actually done this mod contribute. Cool
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fyrgrrl
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NEVERMIND.....I just diked off the three wires going to the headlamps, pushed the terminals out of the inner light plugs, butt-spliced the new headlight plug, plugged both lamps in and VOILA!!! I have light! So I think I will run with this right now and maybe make mods later to turn the inner lamps off of a switch. At least I can get on the road with what I got right now.

Hehehehe....I still have to get the grill off the '85....I am too chicken to pull it off until I have to.....which is gonna be soon so I can line up the inner lights....AARRRGGHH!!
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1987 Vanagon Westfalia (manual) - "Van Hildegaard"
1987 Vanagon Westfalia (auto)
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (auto) - "Blau Frau"
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (manual) - "Braunkuh"
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback (auto)
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so...you've done this wire cutting through the open holes where the second pair of lights go without actually mounting the lamps ?

if those holes where the second lights are open, can you get your hand in the holes and push the grill off from the inside ?
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fyrgrrl
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uhoh...I mentioned the grill fiasco in another topic. I am doing the upgrade on my 1987....I wanted to see how "cool" the grill was gonna look so I pulled the grill off the 1985 and stuck the SA grill on it. So....it looks way cool but.....now I have to get it off the '85 without breaking it and put it on the '87. Embarassed I had no idea that it was gonna be that tough to pull off....altho I see there was fair warning from others in this topic. Oh well....live and learn.
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1987 Vanagon Westfalia (manual) - "Van Hildegaard"
1987 Vanagon Westfalia (auto)
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (auto) - "Blau Frau"
1985 Vanagon GL 7-passenger van (manual) - "Braunkuh"
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback (auto)
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RicoS
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogpilot wrote:
Put a blanket or pad in front of the van, that way, when you drop one of the lights it will not break.


While I have yet to break a headlamp, this post brings to mind a long-standing question I have had: Where can a replacement be found for the unique, inner, high beam lamp used with the SA grille?

Rich [/youtube]
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RicoS
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RicoS wrote:
Dogpilot wrote:
Put a blanket or pad in front of the van, that way, when you drop one of the lights it will not break.


While I have yet to break a headlamp, this post brings to mind a long-standing question I have had: Where can a replacement be found for the unique, inner, high beam lamp used with the SA grille?

Rich [/youtube]


My second question is: From where in the hell did that "[/youtube]" in my signature come???

Rich
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