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On the subject of side mirrors
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JWPATE Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 4:03 pm    Post subject: On the subject of side mirrors Reply with quote

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Ah, but these original side mirrors have been with me since the Westy was new, back in 1984. They have never been a favorite item though!

I, many years ago, stuck on the small convex mirror in order that even when the main unit blew back in the wind, there would still be some way of seeing into the blind spot on that side. It has always been a problem, right from new. I have long since, used extra friction, overtightened the friction nut, and etc. in an effort to keep the mirrors from blowing back in wind gusts. That effort was largely successful, but it does not stop the mirrors being bumped out of place, both by others and myself.

So! The time has arrived to upgrade to the later style, power mirrors. They were not available when I ordered the Westy in '84. I think they became an option in '86, and finally became standard issue in '90.

I am opening a thread on the matter, in hopes that others may have already found answers to the several questions I will surely encounter. The Samba group have always proven themselves to be a helpful and encouraging asset.

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It has now been more than twenty years since the last US Vanagons were delivered, and VW has long since given up on parts support for the model. I notice that Van Cafe' does have the driver side mirror available NOS, but I needed both sides. So I located this fairly decent set from an online parts yard breaker. They, of course will need to be disassembled and painted to match my Westy, but I will save the painting until near the end.

I know that it is most certainly a major upgrade to simply mount this style and operate them as manual mirrors, and many have done just that. It seems a shame to me though, not to take full advantage of the remote adjustment feature, which is built in. I really care little for the heated glass feature, but will attempt to also make that functional.

I notice that the mirrors do have a swivel capacity built in, such that one could push them back, say, in a close garage door situation. Then when the mirror housing is reset, the setting is just as before. That is not likely to have been the motivation though. More likely, it is done to comply with some government regulation intended to protect bicycle riders and pedestrians from side-swipes.

In order to make the mirrors fully functional though, I shall need both the wiring harness (they came in three sections), and the all-important switch. Neither the harness, nor the switch is to be found in the VW supply chain. They have all been taken already. I did find one segment of the harness available at a dealer, but if I have to make two sections, I might just as well make all three. More on this later.

The switch though, I cannot make. I could substitute of course, but as it turns out, I have located used switches. Three are on order, so I have a spare or two.

This is only the opening round, but if others are thinking of doing it, I would advise you to seek out the mirrors and the switch, while they are still easily available used. (Yes, I did ask the breaker to send the switch and harness. Against policy! "We don't fool around with wires and switches".


Last edited by JWPATE on Sun May 06, 2012 7:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SL12572
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look forward to seeing your progress on this.

My passenger power mirror has been missing the motor and glass since I purchased it. I just recently bought the motor, but not sure what else I will need. Plus, my drivers power mirror does not operate.

Looking forward to seeing you tear these mirrors apart!



Scott
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just so I'm perfectly clear on this issue, the photos you show and what you are talking about are Vanagon power windows? I'm not clear where one should find them but I'll look. Can any other big mirror from other VW models be used? Also include Eurovan mirrors?

I am considering this upgrade for the reason of adding future signal lites on mirrors and yes adjusting that passenger mirror is a PITA.

Thanks for your info and for starting this thread, I will follow.
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i just put power mirrors on.me i didn't care if there was power or not,because once the mirror is where you like there it stays.there was a switch on the classifeds a week or so ago for 15 dollars plus shipping.
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@JWPATE: Should find the harness, it will look something like this:

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


This is the mirrors and speakers harness, without power windows or locks. The difficulty in retrofitting this to your model, is that the holes are not there for the harness to pass through. The harness enters the fresh air channel just a few inches inside the car from the door, and travels through that channel into the door, and then out the channel inside the door into the main door cavity. Both the hole into the the channel inside the car, and out of the channel in the door were not present in my 1983, and I doubt that they are there in your 1984. These holes are large: the rubber boot pops into place and creates a tight seal. There are in a position that you cannot simply get a hole saw there, at least concerning the hole inside the door. You can see how large the rubber boot is. One option is to bundle the wires and use a different rubber boot/sheath, and routing some other way. Obviously not impossible, but there are at least 7 wires to bring into the door, including the speakers, so it becomes bulky, and there is not much space that will allow to take up the slack when closing the door.

All this is not to deter you, just to better prepare you! I, too, will be keeping an eye on your progress. Perhaps I will be tempted to follow your lead. That said, after hearing all the hype about how much better the power mirrors are, I was not overly impressed. Diagonally, there are less than an inch bigger, and it hardly seems worth it for such little area. And they sure are a lot heavier. My manual mirrors have long been solid, and never move with the wind. The only time they need readjusting is when they get inadvertently hit, as you mentioned, and that does not happen often.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In all the miles and years that I drove my '87 tin-top with power mirrors, I don't think I ever adjusted them. Except when I first got it and was checking out all the gadgets.
So... when I swapped these over to my '86 Westy, the thought of hooking them up to electrically operate did not even cross my mind.
Just cut the wires right off. Leaving enough stuffed up into the mirror housing that I COULD splice them back should I ever want to.

Anyway, my point is, I have not once missed not being able to adjust the mirrors remotely. Now the electric defrosting...... I have missed that once or twice.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam Bateman wrote:
In all the miles and years that I drove my '87 tin-top with power mirrors, I don't think I ever adjusted them. Except when I first got it and was checking out all the gadgets.


That's been pretty much my experience, as well.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam Bateman wrote:
... when I swapped these over to my '86 Westy, the thought of hooking them up to electrically operate did not even cross my mind.
Just cut the wires right off. Leaving enough stuffed up into the mirror housing that I COULD splice them back should I ever want to...

This.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the advice and comments. I will try to respond to them in order.

1. I will have some photos later today, on getting the mirrors apart.

2. Don't know whether any other power mirror would work. The problem would be fitting up to the doors.

3. Yes, to those recommending that I leave the mirrors unpowered! That is probably the most sensible thing to do. I just am not always sensible.

4. Thanks very much for that excellent photo of the three wiring sections. I will most certainly refer to it.
My own home-made effort will not have the large boots, as they are no longer available. I will have to come up with another way of doing it.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could make them battery powered with a remote control, just like the steering on an RC car
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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The first step in field stripping one of these mirrors, will be removal of the glass itself. Push the inboard edge of the mirror in as far as it will go. Then look at the mid section of the outboard edge, and locate the locking tab seen here. Use something like a small screw driver (I used the pointer seen here), and move the locking tab up, counterclockwise. It will move about 1/2 inch, and that will release the mirror glass from the drive motor housing.

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Now lift up the mirror glass and look for the two heating wire connections. CAREFULLY remove the connectors. Use a little lube first and go slowly, they have been there long enough to believe they will never need to move. Break off one of the tabs, and you are looking for new mirror glass, so go slowly.

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Remove the four pozidriv (similar to phillips head) machine screws, which attach the motor housing to the backing plate.

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The first thing you may notice, is that there are more wires than expected. The plug has only three, and here there are five. That is because the ground wire for the glass heater, first loops here to provide a ground for the clutch (more on that later).

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Experience teaches us, that if there is a wrong way to replace things - we will surely find it. Therefore notice which end goes up. Later we will discover that it is marked of the back side.

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Before attempting to disconnect the wires from the motor unit, first remove the four small screws (pozidriv heads) which attach the backing plate to the mirror housing.

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With the backing plate loose, there is better access to the wire connections. Squirt some lube in there and carefully work out each of the little spades from the motor housing. Each hole is thoughtfully marked already for the color wire.

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With the motor and backing plate now out, we can remove the wire harness. First take off this plastic cap for better access.

On another thread, some Samba members are working on building this cap from a clear material and fitted with LED bulbs attached to the turn signal circuit. Neat idea.

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The wire harness comes out next. Pull the wires with small spade connectors first, then the other two.

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Now we have worked ourselves to the safety swivel mentioned earlier. Here we peer in from where that plastic cap was removed, and wonder how to get that nut off. What special tool did the factory guys use? Maybe I can just paint it as it is? Nah, it has got to come off.

So OK Gertrude, how are we going to get that nut off?

Don't go any further off on this tangent........just look at the next photo.

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Grab the entire base and turn counterclockwise. It will get easier as you go, and this is how we later can set the tension we like best on that swivel joint.

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This is how the thing is set up. And now we have one mirror unit fully stripped and ready for a paint job.

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OK. The next thing I want to accomplish is testing the drive motor. To do that, we must first figure out how the thing operates. This is what I believe to be the mode and method.

Seen here, the unit is orientated as it would be in service. At bottom is the motor. It operates clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on which direction we send the current through its windings. The blue and the black wires shift from blue-hot, black-ground to blue-ground, black-hot depending on which way we hold the control switch.

Uppermost, near the pointer tip, is a set of plastic gearing which is used for the up-down movement of the mirror. They only can come into play though, when the clutch unit is activated. When there is no power to the clutch, it is spring loaded to engage the side-to-side gearing. Current to the clutch unit will cause the solenoid contained there to disconnect the side to side gearing and engage the up-down gearing, again moving either way, depending on which direction current flows through the black and blue wires.

Armed with this understanding, one can easily test the motor units on the bench. Both these are good.


Last edited by JWPATE on Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You and the other thread are driving the price of electric mirrors higher Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have been away for a while, but back now and ready to continue with this little project.

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I thought, before painting the electric mirrors, it would be best to first sort out the issue of mounting them.

Here we see that the original manual units were fastened with two M6 machine screws, having counter-sunk rounded phillips heads.

Before going further, it seemed a good idea to have a look at the backing threads for those screws.

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Pull off the side cover from the door, and peel back that speaker-hole moisture guard. It is them just possible to peer in to the backside of the mirror mount. It looks like the area will be clear for adding another screw, as needed. There is a backing plate inside there, and with a strengthening bend in the area near our new hole location, but looks like it will clear OK.

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Take off the old mirror and examine the mounting holes. First, they are an exact match for the electric units. Inside the holes, we can see the sheet metal backing plate mentioned above. The threads are provided by nuts, captive inside a sheet metal cage on the back side.

Notice the center hole. What is that for? When I bought this Westy, the power mirrors were not an option. But, it would seem the hole for wiring was already there, so plans must have been underway.

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This is one reason I wanted to get on with this while the mirrors are still stripped down. The two base sections are identical, so mount one of them as seen here, using the two top screws. Now we can use this as a jig for drilling the third hole. A 1/4 inch bit will work just fine.

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It would actually be possible to stop with the 1/4 inch hole, and use a nut for backing. Possible, but not satisfactory. We would then have to take off all the door inside covers each time the mirrors needed to come off.

A better way is seen here. These are M6 rivet nuts, so named because they lock into place similar pop to rivets, which have been with us since about the middle of the last century. Use the exact drill bit specified for your rivets (this one is 10 mm), and open the holes to accept. The bulge formed in the rivet nut will be behind that backing plate.

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Yes, they do set proud of the surface, by about .5 mm, but they are a nice solution here.

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And with the plastic backing under the mirror base, all seems tight and neat. The other side goes much faster, knowing what we now do.

Next step will be paint.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Thoroughly clean all the bits, then wet sand them. I thought 400 grit would be sufficient for these. They had clear coat pealed off on the top, where the sun had done its job, but otherwise were not damaged.

Then it is necessary to devise some crude expedient for enabling us to paint all the surfaces in one go. This works OK, using sticks, rods or even welding wire for the lightweight caps. Then one can hold the item up by its support stick in one hand, and operate a touch-up paint gun with the other.

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Seen here in primer, and with color and clear coats still to go.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: power mirror installation Reply with quote

I skipped the nutsert for the new lower mounting screw. Wasn't too difficult to install a washer and nut onto the the 3rd screw from inside of the door, and it helps make it harder to remove the mirror without my permission.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: power mirror installation Reply with quote

tangojeff wrote:
I skipped the nutsert for the new lower mounting screw. Wasn't too difficult to install a washer and nut onto the the 3rd screw from inside of the door, and it helps make it harder to remove the mirror without my permission.


Yes, and without question a nut/washer will provide greater strength than will a rivet nut. It's just a matter of personal choice.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um, I didn't use the 3rd screw. seems plenty strong.

Maybe I'll go put one in though. Prob when I run the wires for the turn signal mod Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Building the mirrors back up is just a matter or reversing the order of disassembly, with a few twists. First, you will find that that spring will need compressing slightly in order to get the nut started. I used this big screw blade affair, just bearing down first on the nut to compress the spring. After it is started, we can just screw the base mount as was done taking it apart. Set it as tightly as you like. For me, when the threaded sleeve is just level with the nut surface seemed about right.

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I have already decided to use modern Deutsch brand electrical connectors on the harness, so these old spade connectors can come off now. It is still easier though to work the harness back into the mirror just as we took it out.

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There are short legs and longer legs on the backing plate, so it can only go in the correct way. For the motor plate, remember to orientate the clutch end uppermost.


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The mirror glass seems OK for further service so back they went. I tested both again to insure they still operate electrically as they should. In the correct color now, they are ready for their new role in the world order.

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This will be the new connector type. They are easily available from any number of sources, and very high quality. Smaller than the originals, they will be slightly easier to find room for. However, they will also have to come on and off the wire ends before fitting and removing the mirrors from the Westy. That mirror cable hole provided is much too small for either the original or the new connectors.

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Time to break out all the wire colors I have too. These are all in the small gauge, .5 mm, as used on the original harnesses. Much easier to avoid mistakes when the colors match the Bentley diagram.

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And, like everything, there is a learning curve to get over. They are nice connectors though, and when completed they have rubber seals at each end. One can get the terminals in pressed version for crimping, or in a solid nickel version for soldering. I am using the solder type, and it is necessary to be precise indeed with the application.


Nothing to stop mounting them on the Westy now, except that I am out of time for today.
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done!
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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So, first remove the new connectors from the wire terminals, and then the wires can be slipped through the holes already provided.

With the mirrors both in place, I noted that they protrude no further out than did the originals. I took it for a test ride, and completely agree with those member who suggested not to bother with hooking up the electric motors. They are completely stable and I consider that just as they set here, they are a great improvement. Well worth the time and expense.

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I have decided though, to make them fully functional, and so will continue in that effort. Here, the connectors are again fitted to the wire terminals. It is a tight job, working inside that speaker hole, but there is sufficient room to get them mounted again.

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The next step will be to fit the electric switch. It could be located in lots of places, and I don't know where VW decided upon.

For me this looks like a satisfactory spot - about an inch forward of the hand grip, and just below that upper seam in the door panel upholstery. When mounted, this section of the panel is flat against the inner door sheet metal, so the mounting hole will include that sheet metal.

The outer flange of the switch is roughly square, but looking carefully at the portion which will need to slip through the mounting hole, it appears that a round hole will be best. There are two spring fingers, mounted to the sides of the switch body, to hold it in place. I measured these, compressed against the switch body, and decided that a hole of 35 mm would be about right. That is nominally 1 3/8 inch.

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So, the drill is to cut a template the size of that switch face, and locate it exactly where you like it. Since we have decided on a round hole, just mark the center point.

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First I checked with my finger tips, and there seems to be sufficient room inside the door for the desired location. Then the door panel went back in place, because we want the hole in the panel and that through the sheet metal be be exactly lined up.

Next I put a 1/8 inch guide hole through. Then, seen here, an attack was launched, using a 1 3/8 inch hole saw (with hopes that the measurement was correct - for a mistake here would be difficult to walk away from).


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With a small file, clean the burrs from around the sheet metal hole. Also cut a notch at bottom dead center, to take the plastic tab on the switch (provided to prevent it turning in place).

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The fit of the switch is sweet yet firmly held by the spring fingers mentioned above.

I think this is the best orientation, with the letters "L" and "R" reading as they should.
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