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Westy Electrical Help Appreciated
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tourmaline
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject: Westy Electrical Help Appreciated Reply with quote

Hi there,

I have an '82 air cooled Westy (and I feel I should mention that I'm female... so I wasn't given the basic automotive, mechanical, and electrical knowledge that most males were growing up.) My knowledge of these kinds of things is VERY limited, but I am commited to learning as much as I can and to fixing up my Westy! I have a couple questions:

-- I am getting ready to replace my Westy faucet with Shurflo faucet, but I cannot seem to get the wires in the cabinet loose from the plastic casing. Here is what I'm talking about:

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


Can anyone tell me how to get them loose so I can hook up my new faucet when it arrives tomorrow?



-- My second question is: How do I go about connecting various wires to my auxilliary battery? My Westy came with an auxilliary battery, which is activated by a toggle switch on the dashboard. Here are pics of toggle switch + voltmeter and auxilliary battery:

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


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



The problem is that the only thing that appears to be hooked up to my auxilliary battery is the car stereo components. I want to get the stereo cables OFF the auxilliary battery and connect the fridge and the faucet to the auxillary battery. I'm wondering how I can go about doing this? I have studied the diagrams in Bentley and I have a very simple, rudimentary knowledge of how circuits, grounding, etc. works. Can someone explain to me in simple layperson's language how I can go about doing what I want to do with the battery? I'd be truly grateful.



- Lastly, there is a 400 watt inverter and a 200 watt relay in my cabinet. Here is a pic:

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


The inverter runs off the main battery (not the auxilliary) and it beeps continuously when turned on. What do these things do and do I really need these things in my camper? My goal is to make my camper and the electrical connections as simple as possible, I don't like lots of bells and whistles (because I don't understand them..lol). I'm wondering what these two items, the beeping inverter and relay, actually do, and should I do away with them?

Those are my 3 issues, any help would be appreciated in a big way! Thanks for reading. Smile
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Westy Electrical Help Appreciated Reply with quote

tourmaline wrote:

-- I am getting ready to replace my Westy faucet with Shurflo faucet, but I cannot seem to get the wires in the cabinet loose from the plastic casing. Here is what I'm talking about:

[pic]

Can anyone tell me how to get them loose so I can hook up my new faucet when it arrives tomorrow?


I, a fellow chick Wink , used needle-nosed pliers on the metal female terminal "extension" on the wires to gently separate them. The pliers are also handy when installing the new wires.
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82WestyMan
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for your first problem (faucet connection), inside the plactic connector is just a standand male/female push-on spade connector. When I replaced my faucet, I got rid of that and replaced it with over the counter, push-on insulated connectors
(http://www.wiringproducts.com/contents/en-us/d49.html)
I found a nice assortment at radio shack and my local big-box home improvement store.
This would be a good time to invest in a good crimping tool and a nice assortment of connectors since one of the best thing you can do as an owner (and pretty easy task actually), is to go thru all the grounds and fix any old connectors at the same time

As for your current aux battery setup, its anyone guess how your PO wired the batteries into your vehicle
You could either spend a lot of time trying to hunt down his wiring and figuring out how it did it or just start from scratch and redo it yourself
The upside to the second option is you already most if not all of the hardware in place, its just wiring together in a more standard fashion
There are lots of threads here on how to do it along with more than a few wiring diagrams...
You'll get a lot of help from all of us who have gone before you not to mention when you're done, two important things will have occurred:
- You'll know exactly how its wired together so it will never be a mystery in the future
- You'll have the satisfaction of knowing YOU did it... and saved a lot of money

I have a 82 Westy myself and with the exception of a few major items, you can do the work on your Van yourself... it's not that hard and not that complicated

It's your Westy, make it yours

(you profile didn't mention where you are in world... i'd wager you're not too far from a fellow "Vanagon/Sambian")
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seems like a PO did a lot of "stuff" to your Westy - I suggest getting a tablet of paper and tracing the wires; use the paper to make a map of it all.

do it so somebody else can figure it all out; that way you'll understand it years from now when you forget what it all means

if not done right any small pull on the wiring could cause a short and fire, so take the battery cables off all batteries

if you can't trace part of it by eye, then use a long lead on your multimeter & connect to disconnected battery cable, or connect a small 9 v battery in place of the car battery and use that to trace - it will not have enough juice to start any fires

search on Blue Sea to find a nice multi-point fused aux. panel to use
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tourmaline
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:
I, a fellow chick Wink , used needle-nosed pliers on the metal female terminal "extension" on the wires to gently separate them. The pliers are also handy when installing the new wires.


Thanks so much! Nice to see another female on the forum. Very Happy

I did get out my needle nose pliers and finally the "male" metal plugs came loose, but I couldn't get the female plugs to budge. I'm so glad to have the cords unplugged though...now it's all ready for my new Shurflo faucet!

82WestyMan wrote:
As for your first problem (faucet connection), inside the plactic connector is just a standand male/female push-on spade connector. When I replaced my faucet, I got rid of that and replaced it with over the counter, push-on insulated connectors
(http://www.wiringproducts.com/contents/en-us/d49.html)
I found a nice assortment at radio shack and my local big-box home improvement store.
This would be a good time to invest in a good crimping tool and a nice assortment of connectors since one of the best thing you can do as an owner (and pretty easy task actually), is to go thru all the grounds and fix any old connectors at the same time

As for your current aux battery setup, its anyone guess how your PO wired the batteries into your vehicle
You could either spend a lot of time trying to hunt down his wiring and figuring out how it did it or just start from scratch and redo it yourself


Thanks a lot, I'll definitely pick up some of those insulated connectors tomorrow at the hardware store.

And I think you're right about starting from scratch, insofar as that's possible. It seems to me that it would be a lot easier to just take everything off the aux battery and then hunt down just the wires to the 2 or 3 components I want on the aux, attach those, then attach all the rest to the regular battery...rather than going on a wild goose chase trying to identify the source of every single cord. I get overwhelmed just thinking about that. Rolling Eyes



randywebb wrote:
seems like a PO did a lot of "stuff" to your Westy - I suggest getting a tablet of paper and tracing the wires; use the paper to make a map of it all.

do it so somebody else can figure it all out; that way you'll understand it years from now when you forget what it all means

if not done right any small pull on the wiring could cause a short and fire, so take the battery cables off all batteries

if you can't trace part of it by eye, then use a long lead on your multimeter & connect to disconnected battery cable, or connect a small 9 v battery in place of the car battery and use that to trace - it will not have enough juice to start any fires

search on Blue Sea to find a nice multi-point fused aux. panel to use


Yes indeed, a lot of "stuff" was done to my vehicle. Sad
There was a huge amplifier installed, two huge woofers that were under the back seat, some unflattering silver/grey paint inside, mounted inverter, aux battery, hideous carpet design in the front cab (it's so ugly I'm tempted to post a pic here)....but I still love my Westy. I was told the other day by a mechanic that the engine is on its last legs, that the cylinders are barely working. Still, it seems to drive good and the camper components work, it has good tires, and it's pretty inside since I've given it a nice cleaning. I really love it, but a part of me now feels like what's the point in putting all this work and TLC into this vehicle if the engine is going to die soon? Oh well...hopefully she'll hold out for a few more years.
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if the engine dies you will have a wonderful excuse to put in a Porsche 911 SC motor.
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tourmaline
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:
if the engine dies you will have a wonderful excuse to put in a Porsche 911 SC motor.


haha what a delightfully decadent solution that would be. Cool

I wonder though, are there ANY engines that Westy air-cooled engines could feasibly be replaced with? It makes me sad to think that my new Westy might be consigned to the trash heap soon. She has a lot going for her despite her worn engine.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

those motors are often used to swap in for a/c buses, vans

I say the SC b/c they have few electronic gizmos to have to fuss with and hook up (no computer)

they are not horribly high priced either; AND they will run 300 to 400,000 miles w/o an overhaul if you do the oil changes -- try that with a 4 cyl. VW motor
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82WestyMan
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tourmaline wrote:
some unflattering silver/grey paint inside... hideous carpet design in the front cab (it's so ugly I'm tempted to post a pic here)....but I still love my Westy

I know exactly how you feel...
Below are a couple of pictures, the first I posted to the "Hall of Shame" thread about what mine looked like when I first got it from the PO
(let your imagination run wild on how the rest of it looked... you probably won't be too far off from the mark)

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


and this is some $'s, time and TLC later...

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


not everything has to be done immediately...
get it reliable and safe...
and exactly the way YOU want it
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually there are quite a few female Vanagon owners here on the Samba.

Actually that blue interior would match Scooby Blu's blue interior cabinets. Cool
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grambo
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:50 pm    Post subject: inverter, shurflo faucet Reply with quote

Welcome to The Samba! Although I'm not female, I'm definitely a noobie and have begun to venture more into things electrical and mechanical since buying a '90 westy one year ago. You're in great company here with many helpful people.

Quote:
The inverter runs off the main battery (not the auxilliary) and it beeps continuously when turned on.

I have this inverter (not installed in the van though) and the only reason it beeps is when the battery voltage falls below a certain level. It's a low voltage alarm to alert you to power down the inverter so that you don't run down your battery and damage it. It looks like something is plugged into the inverter (Fridge perhaps?) in the picture. If you unplug it, the inverter should stop beeping, although you will lose power to whatever was previously being powered.

Quote:
I am getting ready to replace my Westy faucet with Shurflo faucet

I just did this upgrade and am happy with it. For mounting on the sink I used an antenna base from west marine products as found in this thread http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2...ht=shurflo I kept the plastic casing for the wires in place, and just crimped new connectors onto the stripped ends of the shureflo wires. If I remember right, the green wire on the original faucet was positive and connected to the side of the plastic casing that had a small number imprinted on it. I connected the shureflo wire with writing (positive) to this side for proper polarity and functioning. At first I think I had the positive and negative wires reversed, and after correcting that the faucet works great with variable flow and no firehose output like the original. Now I just need to acquire a simple foot switch for ease of use!
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tourmaline
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RandyWebb: Well my price range to find a solution to my engine problem is only in the $1500-2000 range. Most of the Porsche conversion engines I'm seeing tend to be going for >$5000....so unfortunately I don't think that's really an option for me. If you can think of any solutions for air-cooled that are more in my price range though, I'd love to know.

82WestyMan: Oh dear....erm...I wonder if your PO was Papa Smurf? lol That homogenous blue puts my silver paint to shame! The improvements you've done look amazing. The deep black of the dashboard and steering wheel looks really elegant.

Daizee: Yay, yet another Westy woman....or Vanagon woman, I should say. I'm glad to know that women are well represented on this forum. Very Happy

Grambo: Hi, thanks a lot for the info. The inverter is, as far as I can tell, running off the main battery, which according to the LED panel is full[y charged]. And the white cord that's plugged into the inverter is just a multiple outlet power strip which is switched to 'off' and has nothing plugged into it. So I'm just not sure why the inverter is making that continuous long beeping. I'm thinking it's broken. I think tomorrow or the next day, when I tackle my big 'rewiring the auxilliary battery' job, I'll just unscrew the mounted inverter & that mounted relay above it and take them out of the equation altogether. So that I'm starting from scratch kind of. Very Happy

And my Shurflo faucet is now installed and working fantastic! It arrived today, and I mounted it using two door-knob wall guards. I bought a 3/4" drill bit for only like $2 and drilled holes into the wall mounts, then put them on both sides of the sink and used the black nut to secure the new faucet. I also bought some male & female crimp terminals, and used those, and now it's working great. No more dribble-y, leaky faucet! Hurray for Shurflo! lol
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tourmaline,
Once you get the wiring figured out, consider using BlueSea aux. fuse panel
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servle...sNum=11287

Run your leads from the aux. battery to the panel, then run your accessories off of it. I learned from scratch how to install an aux. system in my Westy alll from folks here on the forum. There's a pic of the panel in this thead along with the rest of the install:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=395944
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey ho tourmaline,

Welcome to this great forum.

With the help of many other Sambanistas, I slowly went from completely 12 volt clueless to moderately competent. So can you!

(Congrats on getting the new faucet in, is it not great?)

Here's a few starter electrical tips you may find useful.

Some basic tools and supplies you'll need at some point:

- Decent quality crimper and wire stripper tool (bring in some scrap wire to test the stripper part in the store; do not buy a cheapo tool as they do not strip wire well and will drive you nucking futs)

- Assorted box of yellow and blue wire connectors. Butt, ring and spade connectors are the most useful. (You can get them one by one as you need them depending on how far you live from a well stocked hardware store, but having the one you need when you need it is nice)

- Assorted box of fuses, (I just got a box of 60 for $8 at harbor freight, whatta deal, keep some extras in your van and give some away)
http://www.harborfreight.com/60-piece-ato-atc-blade-fuse-set-67665.html

- One roll each of 10 and 12 gauge wire, get at any car parts store

- A decent multimeter, about $15-20, get at big box home store or radio shack. Lets you test electrical current in circuits and battery.

(Warning: Once you get the hang of electrical work you may find it pleasantly addictive, and want to tackle more and more projects. Hence, buying 60 fuses at once and a box of 100 assorted wire connectors is not as absurd as it may sound.)

Tips:

ALWAYS disconnect the ground, or negative, wire from the battery before starting any work.

If/when you run a wire to an awkward place, like behind all the cabinets, take an extra minute to pull some stout twine/string along with it. That way, if you ever have to run another wire to the same place, you can use the string and save yourself from repeating the same delicate and aggravating task.

Searching your local craigslist on <car stereo install> might lead you to someone who can give you some quick guidance if you run into an issue you cannot figure out. It's not likely they will know much about vanagons, but a competent stereo person can look at your general layout, grounds, fuses, wire gauges, etc and probably tell you if you are generally okay or have a potential problem.

I second Single's advice about a new fuse panel. This lets you run 12 volt wiring from the fuse panel rather than right off your battery. This gives you more safety and simplicity in wiring, two good things. When you want to add more electrical goodies, like a reading light in the back, the fuse box will be VERY helpful to have.

Your inverter should be running off of your aux battery, not your starting battery. A general rule: most anything electrical that is used when the engine is off (lights, fridge, inverter, 12 volt margarita blender, maybe stereo) should be powered off the aux battery. That way you always have enough juice in the starting battery to drive home after a few days of camping. (Ask me how I know this . . .)

and lastly, consider putting your location in your signature, so maybe nearby samba folks can help you out.

Good luck!
-CJ
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Last edited by climberjohn on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RCB
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey climberjohn, good job man, lots of good advice you posted.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

climberjohn wrote:


Some basic tools and supplies you'll need at some point:

- Decent quality crimper and wire stripper tool (bring in some scrap wire to test the stripper part in the store; do not buy a cheapo tool as they do not strip wire well and will drive you nucking futs)

- Assorted box of yellow and blue wire connectors. (You can get them one by one as you need them depending on how far you live from a well stocked hardware store, but having the one you need when you need it is nice)

- Assorted box of fuses, (I just got a box of 60 for $8 at harbor freight, whatta deal, keep some extras in your van and give some away)
http://www.harborfreight.com/60-piece-ato-atc-blade-fuse-set-67665.html

- One roll each of 10 and 12 gauge wire, get at any car parts store

- A decent multimeter, about $15-20, get at big box home store or radio shack. Lets you test electrical current in circuits and battery.



^^^This right here^^^

I would add, spend more than $15 on a multimeter. The cheap ones are cheap and the good ones are worth the money (it will pay for itself)

Buy a dedicated Sta-kon crimper. Much faster and more secure than a generic do-it-all tool.

Learning to read the Bentley wiring diagram took me quite some time. I'm fairly well versed in this stuff and it still was a puzzle. Don't be discouraged. This is the most helpful and least judgemental forum I've ever seen.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RCB and buildyourown,

Thanks for the comments. I wish something like this post was around when I got started, so it's nice that some may find it useful.

Re: tools for the budding electrician, I tossed out those that have worked for me for the limited projects I have done. For someone getting started who is not sure they want to dive too deeply into 12 volt enhancements, this list will hopefully cover the basics.

Yes, I have wished for a better crimp tool and sometimes multimeter, but I always seem to muddle through.

I Googled sta-kon crimper, and prices are all over the place. Can you recommend a specific model and maybe a link to purchase one?

Thanks,
CJ
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ClimberJohn you mentionned the fuses, connectors, wire gauges. I had asked somewhere else for what wire gauge to use and I thank you for putting the info in this thread.

I'm supposed to rewire the front and I have a question. Should I stick with the OEM style of fuse panel or upgrade it to something else. I believe that all the wiring to and from the engine are now new and functional. Giles suggested that I pay attention to the dash wiring. I'm of the age where inline fuses were used, so redoing this fuse panel is going to be a challenge. I don't have any problems with stripping and crimping and using connectors, etc...

My owner's manual is definitely off on what it says each fuse services as I've just learned.

Is there a thread that will walk me thru dash replacement wiring and fuse panel. I guess I have to deal with relays, etc... which I don't understand. Ideally I would prefer to lay all the wires with the proper connectors and have some do the fuse panel and relays.

Presently my stereo, signal lights and 12V dash outlet are all hard wired bypassing the ignition.

Anyone, any suggestions please.
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is not really practical for you to build all new dash wiring from scratch. Very few owners here could pull it off and those that could would know better than to try. Much better to fix what needs fixing on your wiring. If your wiring is truly trashed you could find the COMPLETE wiring from an 84 or 85 van and swap it into yours. Even that would be a huge undertaking for most people and many small things would come up and drive you nuts.

Almost every wire in the van is a different color to allow for correct installation when new and proper trouble shooting thereafter. If you try to build from scratch you will have a nightmare of duplicate colors and no standard wiring diagram to follow in the future. Most of the multi connectors are unique to VW and you won't be able to get new ones for a lot of them.

Mark



DAIZEE wrote:
ClimberJohn you mentionned the fuses, connectors, wire gauges. I had asked somewhere else for what wire gauge to use and I thank you for putting the info in this thread.

I'm supposed to rewire the front and I have a question. Should I stick with the OEM style of fuse panel or upgrade it to something else. I believe that all the wiring to and from the engine are now new and functional. Giles suggested that I pay attention to the dash wiring. I'm of the age where inline fuses were used, so redoing this fuse panel is going to be a challenge. I don't have any problems with stripping and crimping and using connectors, etc...

My owner's manual is definitely off on what it says each fuse services as I've just learned.

Is there a thread that will walk me thru dash replacement wiring and fuse panel. I guess I have to deal with relays, etc... which I don't understand. Ideally I would prefer to lay all the wires with the proper connectors and have some do the fuse panel and relays.

Presently my stereo, signal lights and 12V dash outlet are all hard wired bypassing the ignition.

Anyone, any suggestions please.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crazyvwvanman wrote:
It is not really practical for you to build all new dash wiring from scratch. Very few owners here could pull it off and those that could would know better than to try.


LOL oh man, ain't that the truth!
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