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Yet another design for an interior hatch release/latch
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Yet another design for an interior hatch release/latch Reply with quote

I've been planning on adding an interior hatch "escape pod" latch to the ol' '84 Westy for quite some time. The project moved to the front burner this last summer when I bent the rear hatch while camping up in Colorado. (Note to self: There's a large blind spot behind the rear cabinets that can not be seen either by watching the three mirror or looking over both shoulders as you back up in a campground. It's just big enough to hide a small tree.)

A number of different rear hatch latch designs have been posted here...

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=317601&highlight=
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=337436
http://www.griffco.ca/interest/vw/HatchLatch.htm
http://www.telusplanet.net/public/gary2a/rack/westy/westymods.htm

... plus one more that I don't seem to have bookmarked. I think the instructions were in German.

So since I had to replace the hatch anyway, it was time to add the interior hatch latch.

I liked the design at griffco but I was looking for something a little simpler to put together. Here's what I came up with:

I went through several permutations of the interior handle and finally settled on an interior door latch identical to the ones up front. Because I wanted the handle accessible on the passenger side and not hidden behind the cabinets I used a passenger-side handle, turned upside down. Besides, unless I wanted some strange pulleys or levers, the latch HAS to be on the passenger side. In the photos you'll see why. I bracketed it to the side and bottom of the hatch, put an s-hook through the hole and then ran 1/8" aluminum cable through the s-hook.

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


I probably didn't need the s-hook but I figured the cable would wear the hole in the handle more than an s-hook would and the hole's "cam" action is essential for the locking feature, discussed below. . I added a turnbuckle to the cable so I could fine-tune the tension between the handle and the lock once the other half was installed.

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


Take a close look at the mechanism and you can see that while the lock itself pushes IN, the lock actually rotates the actuator arm sideways to release the hatch latch itself. I drilled a hole in the actuator arm and looped a cable through and attached it to the other end of the turnbuckle.

The door handle now pulls the cable which pulls the lock actuator arm which pops the latch. Sounds like a Rube Goldburg cartoon but it works quite well.

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


A little bit of adjustment with the turnbuckle and it was done. All that remains now is to cut the rear interior panel and fit the door handle cover. The hatch latch part of the project took about 30 minutes.

But: I also wanted a safety lock so the handle couldn't be pulled by mistake, dumping small children or dogs out on I-40 at 60mph. I have neither small children nor dogs (and the cats hate to travel) but I figured since I was building this, I'd see what I could come up with as a locking mechanism, anyway. Someone else might be interested in including it on their van so I did some R & D. As it turned out the lock was the hardest part, taking about 5X longer than the latch release. It's not not elegant but it does the job. Besides, it's all hidden inside the hatch once I reinstall the trim panel. Others with more mechanical engineering skills than I might be able to come up with something cooler.

I added two eyelets to the door handle supports (Hint: If you are adding a lock, install the eyelets BEFORE you install the handle to the hatch. If I had done that first it would have been much easier). I then used a piece of all-thread and ran it through the two eyelets, with some nuts screwed on that would block the interior handle's arm (where the s-hook is connected) and keep it from moving far enough to pop the lock. This is one reason why the turnbuckle on the cables is essential. This system has a bit of a hair trigger if it's not correctly adjusted. If it's off it either doesn't lock or doesn't unlock. The nut height is critical.

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

This is the handle in the "Locked" position.

There are probably much more elegant ways to do do this than four hex nuts jammed together but this worked and also let me fine tune the height adjustment so the nuts were clear of the handle's arm when it was "unlocked."

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

This is the handle in the "Unlocked" position.

I picked up a door button and it's little plastic liner at the pick-n-pull and ran the all-thread up to it and attached it to the door button, through a newly-drilled 3/8-inch hole in the back lid.

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


I wanted the latch to always stay in the locked position (so it would not open easily) and rather than just depend on gravity, I added a return spring with a couple more nuts and another s-hook so it would pull down into the locked position.

Ta-daaaa! It works! Here's the whole assembly:

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


I would like to say that the little all-thread connectors are an essential part of the overall adjustments, but they there because I miscut the length of the all-thread the first time around. Doh. Still, they work. You'll see I also had to bend the all-thread just a bit to align the eyelet parts with the lock button parts.

So, to open the hatch from the inside you pull up on the lock button to "unlock" the back and, at the same time, pull out on the door handle and push the hatch open. You are now free to escape the back as the bear climbs in through the passenger door. With the lock in its spring-loaded, default position, the back hatch will not open.

I haven't tried this in the wild yet but I think it's a worthwhile addition. I donít expect to use it much except for possible emergency exit or to open the back when Iím horizontal, warm, and too lazy to get up and walk around the van to open the hatch. But I'm glad to finally have it in place. At some point I'll probably add a grab handle for easy closure, but that's not a biggie.

Hope you found this useful.

Safe travels.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent!
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, most excellent!
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:15 pm    Post subject: Chris comes through again! Reply with quote

I think this Chris (Chris is an ancient Saxon word meaning, 'He who is resplendent with Vanagons') should be proclaimed official Vanagon

INTERIOR TINKERER SUPREME!

For he knows just where to cut and move things. He also did a nice job on the refrigerator door mod, and this is my next big project, also. I wonder if you couldn't just run a pin or a bolt through his handle to keep it from opening, just by stopping its movement. I'll have to scrounge around for a nice interior door handle.

Thank you, dear fellow. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to back Winston into the garage.

Best!
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Rob. That's quite a compliment coming from the Poet Laureate (or is that the Poet Lariat?) of Vanagons. Gosh 'n golly (blushes, scrapes toe in dirt...).

I considered some kind of "pin or bolt" (I also considered a 16d box nail, bent over, my usual solution to things I don't want to move) but I wanted the latch and locking system to look as "original" as possible, hence the lock button approach. T'anks.
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floggingmolly
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a nice little modification. I don't know how all you guys find the creativity and TIME to do this stuff. I barely find time to change the oil. Too much overdue stuff to get done. But thanks, I will bookmark it an maybe tackle this in the future. Nicely done!
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davideric9
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:21 am    Post subject: Not of Chris Reply with quote

For those of us who are not Chrised, you can try this VW Part. >$50


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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't know how all you guys find the creativity and TIME to do this stuff.

It's called retirement. I recommend it highly.

Considering what your/my time is worth (plus the 7 trips to the hardware store and two trips to the Pick 'n Pull), you could buy at least five of those Original Part latches for the time and energy I put into my Rube Goldburg invention. Is that the part that is OE on the newer V'gons?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MootPoint wrote:
Is that the part that is OE on the newer V'gons?


yes
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woggs1
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Not of Chris Reply with quote

davideric9 wrote:
For those of us who are not Chrised, you can try this VW Part. >$50


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IMO I like mootpoint's work better.
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Santana
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work! This is a mod that I will definitely be doing. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:46 pm    Post subject: Small Button Deck Lock Reply with quote

Mootpoint
Very cool mod. I have to ask if the cable "pulls" on the lock body at all. What I mean is in trying to create the rotation of the arm,does that want to pull on the end of the lock body? The leverage distance, from the sheet metal to the new hole that was drilled.
The reason I ask is I have a 83.5 with the small button push lock on my rear decklid. i had to replace mine to the tune of $190.I was lucky to find a NOS unit. The last thing I want to do is put any sideways stress on a part that was not designed to take it. I know this mod would not be used every single day but I do not want to buy this part again. Do you think it pulls at all?
Edit: Yours is an 84,so you have the small button lock too?
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Saying that specs are different than dimensions doesn't make sense. Porsche specs/VW specs/engineering specs are nothing but a series of dimensions,sizes,percentages,measurements, etc.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=338946&highlight=
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

70coupyel--

I'm no locksmith but f I'm understanding your question correctly, the answer is no - the lock body itself (the push button / key mechanism) is untouched by any cable tension. The cable tension is ONLY applied to the arm that releases the latch. In fact, there's even about 1/4-inch of space between the lock body and the arm when the hatch is closed and locked; unlocked and open there's even more, maybe a half inch). And given that the arm is about 1/8-inch thick steel, I think it will survive the cable tension.

I'm assuming I have the same "small" lock as you on my '84 and in truth I wasn't even aware that there's a "big" lock on newer models. The hatch that I used to replace my bent one was from an 86 or 87, I believe, and there appeared to be no difference between the two lock mechanisms. Are there really "big" and "small" locks? I had no clue.

Hope that answered your question.
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70coupyel
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

small button type or button that sticks out

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

Large or flush mount

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


A quick search got this

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3182651&highlight=#3182651
FYI Smile
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TheAndante wrote:
Saying that specs are different than dimensions doesn't make sense. Porsche specs/VW specs/engineering specs are nothing but a series of dimensions,sizes,percentages,measurements, etc.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=338946&highlight=
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70coupyel
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

small button type or button that sticks out

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

Large or flush mount

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


A quick search got this

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3182651&highlight=#3182651
FYI Smile
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TheAndante wrote:
Saying that specs are different than dimensions doesn't make sense. Porsche specs/VW specs/engineering specs are nothing but a series of dimensions,sizes,percentages,measurements, etc.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=338946&highlight=
70 KG Coup
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah ha! So like belly buttons, there are "innies" and "outies". My '84 and I both have "innies," thank you.

Looks like the "outie" locks are a lot more complex (they certainly have more cast metal to them) than the flush mount locksets. If you flip the flush mount lockset over, you will see there's a little stub that pushes the arm of the latch mechanism. That arm is where the cable is attached so there's no force applied to the lockset at all.

Since I don't have the smaller "outie" lock, I don't know how my design would work with same. I'll leave that to someone else.

Hope that helps.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:07 pm    Post subject: Oh, can we? Reply with quote

Quote:
For those of us who are not Chrised, you can try this VW Part. >$50


I worked through EKTA rather carefully, and I'm not sure of the NUMBER of that VW part. I'd favor the stock part on general priniciples before attempting Chris/Mootpoint's mod. Can anyone look at that box or with knowledge at their EKTA and tell me what the part number is? Then I can begin the great hunt for a new or used one.

Best!
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Oh, can we? Reply with quote

msinabottle wrote:
Quote:
For those of us who are not Chrised, you can try this VW Part. >$50


I worked through EKTA rather carefully, and I'm not sure of the NUMBER of that VW part. I'd favor the stock part on general priniciples before attempting Chris/Mootpoint's mod. Can anyone look at that box or with knowledge at their EKTA and tell me what the part number is? Then I can begin the great hunt for a new or used one.

Best!


Call Van Cafe, they have a limited number of stock units available.
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well that is pretty slick. so slick I did it myself today! I didn't add the lock though. mine is on the drivers side (non Westy,no cabinet) which also happens to be my side of the bed. I also mounted the handle down low like MootPoint did. I used a handle from a Porsche 928. I also got the cable that goes from the handle to lock mechanism off the 928. I hooked it behind the spring on the lock mechanism on the Van,so it stays in place. it's just kinda roughed in now,will fine tune it this weekend. works great! also added a Vanagon handle right below the middle of the rear window to pull it shut from the inside. hard to pull shut after putting new hatch struts on this afternoon. pics to come. couldn't have done it without MootPoint's post,thanks.
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 2:01 pm    Post subject: Never Got that Part Number Reply with quote

Alas, Van Cafe never responded to my query... So does any body have the part number for the later rear hatch latch with the escape button?

Chris's mod is good, I'm just fond of doing things the easy way.

Best!
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