Wiper up-grade for the early Vanagon
By Bob Donalds
The older vanagons; ‘80, ‘81, ‘82 maybe ‘83 did not always come  with the wiper delay. Since my ‘81 didn’t I decided to do something about it.

        Last year I stripped an ‘86 for parts and thought that it would be great to have the wiper delay installed. I shared this thought with Greg Malany of Metric Sytems in Cambridge, MA and he told me that the wiper control levers are all the same and all I needed to do was remove the wedge that stops the arm from dropping down into the delay position.  That’s all I needed to hear, so I picked up the manual, Bentley of course, and looked up the difference between the early and late and it only has a diagram for the cars equipped with the delay.

        Back to the old drawing board, I do have an ‘86 fuse panel and a spare for my ‘81 and they are the same basic unit. The relay was there on the  ‘86 panel, so with some quessing and some luck I got it on the first try. I’m usually better at fixing the wires after I have installed the thing I’m trying to install and if I get it wrong it’s easy to try again. So follow along and when you’re all done and everything works, then neaten it up.

        First disconnect the battery as you will be pulling the fuse panel down to access the wires and not everything is fused and  grounding the panel is very likely. Next remove the lower steering column cover to get at the plugs for the wiper controls. You will also need to pull the steering wheel to get at the switch and remove the wedge that restricts the arm from going down. It’s below the directional control on the upper left. Mine was white and popped out.

Wiring changes 
        You need to have the special tool to crimp the non-insulated (without the plastic sleeve where the wire comes in) wire connectors to do this job. This crimps the wire and connector more securely than traditional crimpers.

     This upgrade requires running two ground wires from the turn signal switch multi-pin connector to the relay panel on the fuse box.  The first wire goes from the  "J"  unused pin hole on the turn signal switch multi-pin connector to the #31 on the relay panel.  The next wire to install goes from socket #31 of the turn signal switch multi-pin connector to the relay panel #30, and then it continues on to the multi-ground connection that sits up to the left on the body and can be seen when the fuse panel is removed.  It uses the small female crimp ends. They clip in place and lock into the plastic.

     The next wire that needs to be installed is spliced onto the black/gray wire that is already running from the wiring harness to the 3rd fuse from the right (when looking at the fuses). I used a scotch lock to splice into the wire making a new lead that goes to #32 on the relay panel.   You then splice another scotch lock to the green/red wire coming from the turn signal switch multi-pin connector (terminal "T") run a wire up to the #36 on the relay panel.

      Next find the green/black wire that runs from the turn signal switch multi-pin connector. Cut this wire about two inches from the plug end and re-routed the longer remaining piece to the relay panel, installing it in the #34 position.  The Bentley book shows this as a green/white wire running from the washer pump to the relay.

     Finally, run a new wire (about 18") from the remaining green/black shorty that’s left dangling from the turn signal switch multi-pin connector to #33 on the relay panel. Install the relay (I used one from an ‘86) and it should work, mine did.

ed. note: all wires are described with their primary color first and stripe color second. i.e. black/gray = black wire w/gray stripe. Wire colors may vary depending on specific model and model year.
Bob also mentioned that they’re are apparently two relays available from VW, one that is variable.

~Boston Bob

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