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Headlight Big Amp Relay kit installation - with pictures
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hatchb4ck
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:19 pm    Post subject: Headlight Big Amp Relay kit installation - with pictures Reply with quote

I just performed the installation of Terry Kay's Big Amp Relay kit for headlights on my Carat and thought I would share some pictures and a write up. This is not to say that Terry's instructions aren't good, I would say they are excellent, but some people find pictures helpful.

I searched to see if this already existed but didn't get any results. If it is a duplicate, moderators feel free to delete it. Otherwise, please enjoy.

Basically, the contents of the kit from Terry Kay are 2 relays, 2 pre-wired relay holders, 2 zip ties, and a set of instructions.

To begin with, you need to remove the fuse panel cover. Followed by the removal of the screw at the bottom right of the fuse panel.

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


Then, remove the lower cover from the steering colum by removing one screw from each side of the column.

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

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


It will take a small bit of pulling to remove the cover. The reason for this is that the bottom of the cover is held on to the colum using a spring clamp. (It would best be described as a piece of metal shaped like a "C" which can be slid around the metal tube of the steering column.) Remember that even the youngest Vanagon has plastic that is atleast 17 years old and it can be brittle.

With the fuse panel dropped down and the steering column cover out of the way, the yellow and white wires (86 and later?, yellow/black and white wires for older Vanagons) need to be located. You can find these by looking at the left side of the steering column and following the sheathed wire bundle down from the turn signal/lo-high switch to where it goes under the dash. It is the sheathing that my finger is touching.

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


I followed this to the right side of the colum just below the dash. This is where the sheathing ends and the wires can be seen. In the picture below, the yellow and white wires can be seen coming out of the sheathing. They are the wires located half way between my hand and the steering column.

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


Once located, trace these wires to where they reach the back of the fuse panel. On my 89 Vanagon, the white wire went to the left side of the panel and the yellow wire went to the right side of the panel.

Now, you need to cut a couple of zip ties from the existing wire bundle to give yourself enough slack to work with the wires. In my case, I had to remove 3 zip ties. I started with the white wire, but you can start with either one as the process is the same for both.

Cut the wire, I would suggest doing this one at a time rather then cutting both at the same time. It makes it easier to ensure that you don't cross connect anything. As far as where to cut is concerned, I cut the wire about 4 inches from where it goes into the fuse panel. This gave me enough wire to work with later on.

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


With the wire cut, you need to strip the wire and crimp on the provided connector. I usually only strip about 1/4" of the wire because crimp on connectors aren't very deep.

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


I did the end of the wire from the steering column first and connected it to the wire of the same color labeled "IN" on the relay holder. Then, repeated the action on the other piece of the wire and connected it to the "OUT" wire.

Perform these steps for both the yellow and white wires. The "IN" wires on the relay holders connect to the wire from the steering column. The "OUT" wires connect to the wire going into the back of the fuse panel.

In this picture, the "IN" wire is the wire on the right, the "OUT" is on the left.

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


We're done with the toughest part, now we just need to connect four wires to already existing connections and attach the relays to the fuse panels.

To connect the two black ground wires, look up under the dash and towards the drivers side door for these.

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



Take the two black wires and connect them to two available spade terminals.

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

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The power wires need to be connected to two available spade terminals on the back, left side of the the fuse panel.

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

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


With all the wiring connected, it is now time to mount the relay holders to the fuse panels. Since this kit comes with genuine VW holders, this part is like playing with legos. On my fuse panel, I had to do a bit of re-organizing to get the new relays where I wanted them. Here is an original picture of the relay mounting area on my fuse panel. Notice I have only one free slot on the left side.

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


I took the relay in the second slot from the left and moved it to the top of the half height relay two slots over.

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


Then I placed the two new relays in the available slots.

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


You don't need to move around existing relays to mount the ones provided in the kit, but I did find that the power leads were a bit short and mounting the relays any farther to the right put some tension on the power leads that I didn't want. It's really user preference on the mounting.

I would suggest testing your wiring job prior to putting the fuse panel and steering column cover back in place. If everything works good, then just reverse your steps to install the cover and the fuse panel.

That's about it. Takes all of about 20 minutes if you really take your time.
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Last edited by hatchb4ck on Tue May 19, 2009 12:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
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wasserbox
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Amp Relay installation - with pictures Reply with quote

hatchb4ck wrote:
I just performed the installation of Terry Kay's Big Amp Relay kit on my Carat


This is for the headlights, right?

Be good to mention what electrical items you are relaying in the writeup... Smile

Yeah - when I did this I had about 5 different sets of instructions. Confused myself trying to combine the info in all of them... Some pictures would have been really helpful!

Then I got in there, started poking at wires and was amazed how easy it was. Took around 30 min.
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wasserbox wrote:
hatchb4ck wrote:
I just performed the installation of Terry Kay's Big Amp Relay kit on my Carat


This is for the headlights, right?

Be good to mention what electrical items you are relaying in the writeup... Smile


umm, did you read the title of the post? Rolling Eyes
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thx for your thorough documentation!

But I don't understand why this is required... surely VW put the headlights on relays by the time the Vanagon came out (??)
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hiram6
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:
Thx for your thorough documentation!

But I don't understand why this is required... surely VW put the headlights on relays by the time the Vanagon came out (??)


No, not so much.
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hatchb4ck
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@tschroeder0, I corrected that after wasserbox's comment.

@wasserbox, thanks for helping make the post a bit more clear.

You would have thought by 1989 relays would have been in use for the headlights, but alas that was not the case.

I think, in the interest of safety when driving at night, that this is one of those updates/upgrades that most vanagon owners would want to do. Not nearly as important as the fuel line replacement, but definitely a good safety improvement.

Joe
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason most people do it is to be able to put in higher wattage headlight bulbs. You can install the 80/100 watt lamps with the relays. Without them, no. It will also make your switch last longer and possibly send the correct current/voltage to the stock headlights if you have an old worn switch.
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VisPacem
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 6:47 pm    Post subject: Where? Reply with quote

Hi

Where can I buy the "kit" or what are the components of said "kit".

Thanks
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought mine on Ebay for $25 but I can't seem to find it right now.

Read this post. You can buy it from all the vendors or make your own. All the directions are available free online.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=328398
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hatchb4ck
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@VisPacem, I purchased mine from a fellow Samba member, Terry Kay. Here is the link to his ad for this kit in the classifieds:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=150047
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James 93SLC
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This kit just relay's the system and still uses the stock wiring that feeds power to the lights?

I'd like heavier gauge wires actually powering the lights. Especially if I bump the wattage up.
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SteveVanB
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know if he's still selling them but he sold me a kit for $20. Might be worth asking though.
http://myworld.ebay.com/ebaymotors/jaybrown7571
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigsteveob wrote:
Don't know if he's still selling them but he sold me a kit for $20. Might be worth asking though.
http://myworld.ebay.com/ebaymotors/jaybrown7571


Yes! That's the same seller I bought mine from. Email him if there are any more kits. Once I got it though I realized it would have been super easy to buy your own relays and do it yourself for about $10.
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James 93SLC wrote:
This kit just relay's the system and still uses the stock wiring that feeds power to the lights?

I'd like heavier gauge wires actually powering the lights. Especially if I bump the wattage up.


I don't know what gauge the stock wiring is on these things, but if the wires are short, then the total resistance will nonetheless be low. You should take that into account when considering whether to do this.

The main thing to worry about on many cars is corrosion on the contacts, including the ground stars.
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billwilson
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanx buddy
nice work
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the writeup.

The relay system on mine is a little different (quad healight system). We installed 3 relays for headlights (one relay for each pair of lights) and 2 extras for fog & driving lights. Ran a small harness from factory headlights to relays, complete new harness from relays to headlights (including headlight plugs) and new power feed with fuses to relays from battery. This way the factory system is used only to trip the relays, and if for some weird reason it goes wrong, I can unhook the factory headlight wires from harness to relays and hook it back to headlights. Here in England stock headlights are H3 bulbs. I noticed a big increase in brightness of lights. Stock bulbs are plenty bright.
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Don Hartman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post and super pics.

So I am alo tryng to do the TK headlight relay upgrade. But I have an 85 westy. The fuse panel is much different and there is an additional relay panel above the grounding block.

I have only one spade connector free in the rear of the fuse panel.

My question is "Can I hook both hot wires from the relays onto the single spade connector?' (see photo below)

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


I am also unsure what this second relay panel is above the grounding block. Any help would be appreciated. (see photo below)

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


Yes I do have the Bentley but it does not have a fuse panel diagram for '85.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been running halogens for 1 1/2 years or so with no problems. 55/100watt bulbs. I bought a kit from the FLAPS that had new plastics lens' and just added some bulbs to it. can't seem to find the box right now to find out the brand. bought it at Knechts.

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I just added the relays below to be safe.
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=793102
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don Hartman-I believe that relay in your second picture is for the blinking temp light.
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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am also doing the "big amp relay" by Terry Kay in my 85 westy. My westy has a different fuse panel. I need to know which spades are okay to connect to to get 12v.

Looking at the back of the fuse panel I have two free spade connectors. One like pictured two posts above, and another on top of the fuse panel that is part of a dual spade going to fuse #7ish.

Can I just connect two any available spades, and just upgrade a fuse if the headlights draw too many amps?

How does everyone connect to the fuse box on their early model westies?
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