Categories: Our Hacks | Aesthetic | Body | Conversion | Electrical | Engine | Extended | Flooring | Food Truck | Interior | Mechanical


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.



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.


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.



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.



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.



The back hatch of the Vanagon does not include lights and we decided to solve that little problem. Whenever you open the hatch to get something out of the back it’s just too dark to see. I’ve stored flashlights and magnet lights back there for years, but we came up with a better solution. I purchased a couple of dome lights from Go Westy, and some LED interior lights from Van Cafe and we were ready to go. Click through to see how we did it.


Vanagon Lighter plug

The Vanagon lighter plug has always us because it was loose. Even after installing a new plug it still felt loose when you pulled out an accessory. Searching the Internet gave us few clues about how to solve this problem. Some people have tried adhesive, or clamps behind the dash, but none of the suggestions seemed right.

We finally found the fix, courtesy of our friend Joel. By removing the plug assembly and placing an O-ring around the outer green assembly, the problem is solved. The O-ring sits behind the dash and keeps the lighter plug in place. Ideally, the plug should have a threaded nut behind the dash instead of clips, but the O-ring is a nice substitute for the nut. Hit the jump for more the rest of the fix.


Apr 30, 2014 | Category: @Our Hacks, Interior


This isn’t really a hack, but a nice addition to the Vanagon. We have all sorts of lights in the van just in case we need them. We decided to mount a MagLite next to the driver’s seat for those emergency situations. We bought these mounting brackets and screwed it right in. It works very well!




I just installed the interior LED upgrade kit from Van Cafe and it is fantastic. These new LEDs use 90% less energy, but provide amazing light. The new bright white light is so much better than my old interior festoon bulbs, and I can clearly see the entire interior of my Vanagon during the day or night if the lights are on. Unfortunately my camera cannot adequately capture how great the improvement really is. The picture above doesn’t do it justice, but trust me, they are awesome!

The kit was easy to install and makes a big difference. The new bulbs are just slightly larger in some cases so you have to squeeze them in there. It’s really not a big deal at all and well worth it. I bought the kid for $30 and the improvement in the map light is almost worth the entire kit. I can finally see in my glove box! I would highly recommend this upgrade to every Vanagon owner. Your eyes and your battery will thank you.

If you’re looking for an upgrade kit you can get one from Van Cafe or GoWesty. I order from both companies on a regular basis and both are fantastic!


I always try to use every bit of space in the Vanagon so I can keep the floor space clear. Not only do I keep lights under the jump seats for indirect lighting at night, I mounted a paper towel holder under one of the seats to maximize space. It works great! I have little plastic organizer boxes under the other jump seat so this one was just asking for something to be placed there.


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