The power window system on Vanagons is a classic example of how a vehicle not originally designed with a power feature simply "got one" as time went on—it was an ill-conceived and poorly executed "afterthought" on behalf of VW. In particular, the window switches themselves are a complete joke. The way in which they are mounted—and even the make of the switch, which was the same as the Jetta and Golf models—just screams out, "Hey, we've got some of these laying around... why not use them?" Afterthought, indeed.
At GoWesty, we eliminate the door-mounted power window switches in every Vanagon we restore and sell. We've got many reasons for doing this:
• The wires coming off the back of the factory switches, especially on the driver's side, are so bulky that they actually rub on the glass when the window goes up and down.
• The wires in the door jambs, which are individual wires that are not very pliable, get fatigued and break—which renders the system inoperable.
• The original switches are illuminated, which means the power to the system has to be ignition-key interrupted so as not to drain the battery—this means the key has to be turned to the "on" position to operate the windows.
• Key-dependent power windows are very inconvenient, especially when you're camping and you can't remember where you put the damn keys!
• The original switches are a horrible design, and they frequently break during shipping—when we had new ones to ship!
• The original switches are insanely expensive—when new ones were available!
• Are you seeing the pattern? New original-type switches are no longer available!
We have a kit that we install in-house that eliminates the original (and somewhat incompetent) power window system. See related item below!
The GoWesty kit provides the following advantages:
• We include two (2) simple, aesthetic, inexpensive switches to replace the three (3) no-longer-available, poor-quality, expensive switches.
• We relocate these simple switches to a central spot of the dashboard, which means that both windows can be operated by the driver and passenger.
• The hole left in each door panel (from eliminating the original window switch) is covered up by a cup holder, two of which are included in the kit—so you get new cup holders!
• The original two illuminated switches required SIX wires to/from the electrical door harness (which is also unavailable). With the switches relocated to the dash, you only need TWO circuits going from the window motor to the switches—so the six wires are re-used, but they are split into two circuits of three wires each. You end up with a triple-redundant circuit which serves to extend the life of the system. The wires will fatigue and break over the years, because they pass through the door jamb. But when the time comes to replace the wiring, all you have to do is run TWO wires total for either power window.
• The new window switches are not illuminated, so they can be powered all the time. Yes, you can roll your windows up and down while you're camping without having to find the keys!
There's no reason not to replace your old power window switches... and we'll help you do it in style!