Improving interior lighting


Capt. Mike

Moderator
center of the forward headliner between the seats. But it would have been better yet to get through the pillars behind the passenger seats. You're right about those Hella lights! I'm still hoping for an elegant solution for the upstairs/popped top nighttime reading! Thanks. Ann

kurt forster 5/11/99 (1:22 PM)

On the back shelf you can use a old double overhead lighting system that you can find in a long distance coach/bus that is getting dismantleld in a commercial salvage yard. They work a treat as the can be alterd and you can swithch each idividual one on/off. the wire can be run down the side of the storage unit and under the rear seat through to the cooker where you can get the electricity.
 
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icarus

Moderator
kurt forster 5/11/99 (1:22 PM)

On the back shelf you can use a old double overhead lighting system that you can find in a long distance coach/bus that is getting dismantleld in a commercial salvage yard. They work a treat as the can be alterd and you can swithch each idividual one on/off. the wire can be run down the side of the storage unit and under the rear seat through to the cooker where you can get the electricity.

" realgoods/jade mtn sell a line of led lighs that are real handy for night lights. They draw lest than .01 amp and can be left on all night without drawing down the battery much.I have one mounted upstairs so that if I need to get down at night I don't have to find a flashlight.I also have one installed under the shelf in the rear for the same reason. They also sell some 5 watt halogen goosneck lamps with dimmers on them. I have one installed below the back shelf. YOu can ly in bed and read or swing it around and read on the back seat. I also have one installed between the front seat. Can be a passenger map light, or a an evening reading light. 5 watts of draw, but bright light for comfortable reading.

Icarus
 
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rayona

New member
A recent addition to my 87 Syncro (non-Westy) is so handy, I can't be without it now.

On those dark nights when you're cruising down the highway, suddenly you need something from the back (or your passenger may). But it's dark and the passenger says "Hey can you flip on the light for me?". You're sitting there driving, and you've got to reach up and find the little switch to turn on your dome light... the problem is ONLY the light above your dome lights up, none of the rear lights come on (***SEE NOTE ON BOTTOM***).

My simple solution to this problem is set up another ground point for the interior light system (a pseudo door trigger), so now I can toggle the interior lights on/off at the flip of a switch on my dash with all the doors closed.

The idea came from Ford, who uses the headlight dimmer switch to also control the interior lights... much handier than reaching up over your head.

I will gladly discuss *how* to accomplish this simple electrical connection, but no need to fill the forum with a tutorial (unless asked).


***NOTE***

This modification was done on an 87 Syncro (passenger van). There is one interior light above the driver and two above either side of the rear bench.... all are activated by any open door. My 84 Westy only has one light activated by the doors: the overhead driver light, activated by the front doors only.
Therefore, if your Westy only has one light above the driver this is a pointless modification.

!!**Having door activated lights in the rear of the Vanagon is essential.**!!
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I'd be interested in knowing. VW included an automatic door switch for the SLIDING door on some models. I haven't had the time or inclination to expore installing one and don't know if the harness is in place for Westies, which didn't get that feature. Personally, I've wished some means myself, especially during hunting season when we're trying to load up in the dark the deer stands and stuff we're carrying into the woods! And can't climb over all that stuff to reach the switch at the light. Would probably be nice camping, too.

When you post, PLEASE refer to the Bentley wiring diagram by circuit numbers so we can all see your bigger picture and figure out where it needs to go in our particular year & model.
 

rayona

New member
Firstly, I've been wondering the very same thing regarding the wiring to the slider door switch. Is it in place, just missing the switch? Or is the entire wiring to the slider door post left out?
I'm not willing to drill into my door post just to see what I find.

As for the switch I added, it's nothing more than attaching one wire to an existing location at the door switch. I'm not so good at reading wiring diagrams, but on current track 79, three wires connect to the door switch (133 and T?).

The brown/white wire that comes off the interior light (labeled "T") runs down the door post and connects to the switch, then continues on to the passenger door switch.

Attach a wire to this ground wire ("T") coming off the switch and then run it to wherever you've located your alternate light switch. From the switch you must run another wire to a ground point, I just ran a short length to a ground point in the dash.

An article on this subject (with pictures) will be available very soon on my website. ( http://www.enjoybeing.net/vw )
 

frito

New member
I have used a Coleman tent light for the purpose of lighting the entrance of my sliding door.

It is a smallish battery operated light (about 5 inches wide and perhaps 3 inches deep) that has strong magnets on the back. I just put it above the sliding door on the inside. When you open the door you just reach up and turn the light on. Or better yet the one I have has an RF remote so I can turn it on as I approach the van. It is really nice to and I leave it in place all the time. It has never once fallen down.

I can email a picture if someone wants it.

Best it was really cheap and no hassle to install.
 

masone

New member
I added a little extra light to my home on wheels and it works like a charm. Got an interior "galley" light from Russ's VW dismantling in CA. I took it of of an early 80"s junked Vanagon but with with a cherry interior. Tested it and installed it on the rear closet to the right of the third cubby hole, about 3 inches from the top. Got the power from piggy backing the existing circuit to the stock galley light. I dont use it to read in bed, but it is handy when you turn off the forward galley light and need a little light while in bed. Just a little FYI for everyone.
MASONE
 

ARwesty

New member
I'm not too electrical savy but I want to replace my original interior light with something better. I want one fixture that can be used on DC or when I'm plugged up to AC. Here's my plan. Remove the existing light, replace it with a 12V AC low voltage strip light. The kind with minature swivel track lights. They come with a 110v AC transformer that plugs into a standard ac outlet. What if I hooked up the light so it connected directly to a DC/AC converter that was wired to my spare battery, and had a branch line that connected to my AC wiring with a switch so I could disconnect that line when using my battery. I'm thinking that since they are 12V AC they won't use up much of my spare battery capacity if hooked up to a DC/AC converter. Any suggestions or comments? Is this even feasible? Thanks
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Slow down -- I think you're looking at a complex $200 solution to a $20 problem.

First, WHAT YEAR & MODEL? Guideline #3! I will presume, since you talk of the AC/DC converter, you are in a later model P27 Type II about '75-79 with the AC/DC fridge. AC/DC converters where not standard on N. American market Type II P22's nor Vanagons so any installation there would be aftermarket and not answerable without a full wiring diagram.

First, ask yourself if the drain on the battery is really a concern. Just changing to a low wattage flourescent fixture reduces load considerable. My Hella 8w flourescent puts out far more light than the OE's triple 10W incandescents. Consider that change regardless -- just to reduce load and give better light.

Then ask yourself would addition of a 2nd light finish off the problem? You'll see posted elsewhere where I've installed a swivel Hella chart light over my sink, which not only alleviates the dark spot around the sink, but can then be aimed elsewhere. Picture on the tech drawings link. Even without any AC hook-up or recharge, I get 2-3 days of light & sink-pump use without any threat to the batteries. The lights are on the main battery, anyway, not the auxiliary. Only the DC fridge will suck the auxiliary battery down overnight and its isolated from the main.

That light could be either AC or DC. Although I've wired my DC light in parallel to the existing interior light, you could wire it direct or via a changeover switch with leads from the DC system and the AC/DC converter.

But again, trying to avoid complexity, if you are plugged into AC and have the factory AC/DC converter, you can recharge the auxiliary battery at will, so wiring the 2nd light to that battery no longer requires it to be AC.
 

mlf

New member
I GOT A EARLY WESTY CABIN LIGHT (FLUORESCENT) AND MOUNTED IT DIRECTLY TO THE A/C VENT ON MY 87 WESY .IF U REMOVER THE VENT ,YOU WILL SEE A FOAM WEDGE WHICH I REMOVED AN RAN THE WIRES TO THE FRONT DOME LIGHT. FIRST THE EARLTER LIGHT GIVES OFF MORE LIGHT THAN THE OE LIGHT WITH 3 LITTLE BULBS . 2ND IS GIVES LIGHT WHERE I NEED IT IN THE CABNET / FRIGE . 3 JUST REACH UP AND LOAD THE KIDS . I ALSO USE A CAMPMOR BATTERY LIGHT FOR THE UPPER BUNK
 

Leapman

New member
We use this as well! Perfect for upstairs, as it sticks to the Westy support bars! $5.00 at Walmart!

Originally posted by frito:
I have used a Coleman tent light for the purpose of lighting the entrance of my sliding door.
 
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1973 Westfalia Continental interior lighting

I am unfamiliar with the interior light provisions, for North American specification, 1968~79 VW Type 2 Westfalia campervans. However, my British specification, 1973 VW "1600" Type 2 Westfalia Continental campervan, was equipped as standard, with a Hella 8W fluorescent light, which is recessed into an aperture in the birch plywood wall/head-lining, just above the rear portion of the louvre (i.e. jalousie, in North American parlance) window, opposite the sliding door. I have since retro-fitted, an identical second-hand, Hella 8W fluorescent light (salvaged from a crash-damaged Westfalia Continental), in the same position above the sliding door.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Big Brother

I was told by VW Corp. back in the 80's that VW used incandescents in the US Westies solely because of an obscure USFDA reg controlling flourescents in a "food service area" that wasn't worth fighting. :mad: Flourescents were OE in Europe.
 
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Strange North American lighting regulations!?!

Another strange North American regulation, which I trust has since been recinded!?!

Another anomaly I discovered a few years ago, is that North American specification, 1968~79 VW Type 2s, lack the useful headlamp flashing facility, whereby one can momentarily flash the headlamps on/off, by simply using the steering-column mounted, headlamp dip-switch (i.e. dimer-switch, in North American parlance), without needing to switch on the headlamps, at the main dashboard-mounted light switch.
 
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Fixer

New member
Does anyone know the model number of this light? It is in a 1989 Westfalia.
WesrfaliaLight.JPG


Click here for a link if that pic does not show up
fixer
 

LeliaD

New member
I want to replace the two interior lights (above the galley and above the sliding door) in a 1986 VW Vanagon Westfalia with the brightest LED lights I can find. Do I need to replace the fixtures themselves or just the light bulbs? If I need new fixtures, is there a kit I can buy? I've searched Westy parts suppliers and can't find the answer.
 

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