Have you wondered why there is no light over the passenger’s seat in your Vanagon? With a little work, you can have one. We purchased an extra light from GoWesty and then started the project.

Final result of the Passenger's side light.

See the project after the jump…

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Feb 09, 2015 | Category: @Our Hacks


We installed a backup camera in the Vanagon last year, but we had several issues. First of all, the camera was big and more fitting for a large bus. We could not find a spot to mount it easily because the cable was too large. We mounted it under the bumper but the aspect left a lot to be desired. The camera stopped working all of a sudden, so we decided to replace it. This time, we went with a simple license plate backup camera. The installation was fairly straight forward, and the picture looks amazingly good. Click through to see how we did it.

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We have upgraded more of the wiring on the Vanagon. Our first wiring upgrade project was to place a 4 gauge wire from the alternator to the starter. This upgrade did a lot to relieve the bottleneck of power for charging of the batteries. The next project was to upgrade the wiring for the multiple accessories we installed. Click through to see how we did it.

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vanagon glove box lights

GoWesty sells a glovebox LED light kit for about $38, but since I already had the LED lights we decided to make our own kit. The first purchase was this micro switch to tell when the glove box is open. It arrived from Amazon in two days and we were ready to roll. Click through to see how we did it.

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Soon after purchasing my Vanagon we installed the GoWesty Auxiliary Battery Kit. Along with the kit, we installed a Battery Tender charger under the driver’s seat to keep the auxiliary battery topped off after prolonged use. We ran the charger’s cable out the front of the driver’s seat battery compartment, then attached an extension cord each time we wanted to charge the battery. The extension cable would have to run out one of the windows which meant bugs could get in the van. It became clear we needed another solution. Click through to see how we installed a retractable extension cord reel.

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Like most Vanagon owners I had wind noise coming from my wing window (the triangle window on the front door). I inspected the window seal and it looked like it was perfectly sealed against the window, yet I still got wind noise at speeds over 40 MPH. I thought perhaps the noise was coming from the door seals so I placed some weather stripping around the door jam, but I still got the wind noise. Click through to see how I solved it once and for all.

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vanagon alternator wiring harness upgrade

If you have an auxiliary battery in your Vanagon you may want to beef up your alternator wiring harness. GoWesty sells an alternator wiring harness upgrade kit for $40 that will upgrade the entire harness. It consists of the wire that goes from the alternator to the starter, the field wire, and the wire that goes to the fuel injectors. It’s a nice upgrade, but we decided to do a partial upgrade ourselves for kicks. Click through to see how we did it.

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vanagon third brake light

We found a LED brake light online that was wider than the version GoWesty sells. This light did not stick to the back window with double stick tape so the challenge was figuring out how to mount it. We thought about mounting it to the back hatch, but that would mean drilling into the hatch and leaving some exposed wire. We opted for mounting the light on the air conditioner’s evaporator housing.

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I have a hard drive full of video content that I wanted to stream in the Vanagon. Placing an iPad on the table works, but it is not as handy as having an iPad permanently mounted and out of the way. I purchased this iPad magnet mount with hopes of being able to mount it in several places throughout the Vanagon. The magnet was not strong enough to hold the iPad because there isn’t enough bare metal in the van. I then moved to the second option of modifying the mount to fit my needs. Click through to see how we did it.

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The fluorescent light in the hard top Vanagon comes with a push button switch. I have always wanted a toggle switch instead, but never gave it a thought until my push button switch died. One of my lights was getting increasingly more difficult to turn on so I knew we had to change the switch. We decided to change from a push button to a toggle switch and results are fantastic. Hit the jump to see how we did it.

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