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[66.1-66.4] Mirrors - 1986 and up

Electric Mirror Switch R&R
From: Harold Teer
Year(s):  1986 and later
Model/Type:  Vanagon
Bentley Page(s):  66.1 - 66.4
Symptom(s):  Electric mirror fails

Subject:Cleaning electric mirror switch and increasing mirror adjustment range
From:"Harold Teer"
Date:Mon, 15 Oct 2001 19:47:21 -0400

Recently, the switch which controls the adjustment on the outside mirrors on my '91 westy quit working after working sporadically for awhile. I searched the archives and the most common cause of this problem was identified as broken wires between the body and the door. My wires were fine, so I correctly guessed that the switch ($34.95 from Bus Depot) was the problem.

Since I didn't have anything to lose by experimenting, I decided to try and clean/fix the switch before ordering a new one. For anyone with the same problem and for the archives, let me explain what to do if you try to clean your switch.

Gently and carefully, pry the switch apart near the wiring harness connector. The contents of the switch consist of "eight tiny springs", "four tiny barbells", a circuit board, and the joy stick controller. Luckily, most of the springs and one barbell stayed in place so I could tell how this thing worked. The joystick moves a piece of plasic which holds the springs and barbells and the barbells slide on the circuit board and make contact with different tracks which control the mirror motor.

The barbells and circuit board tracks seemed to be made out of copper and looked pretty corroded. I had some Brasso Cleaner (remember, I had nothing to lose), so put some on my finger and rubbed it on the board until all tracks shined again. I then cleaned the tiny barbells with the Brasso cleaner and then cleaned everything with alcohol. I reapplied a very tiny amount of silicone grease to where the plastic parts rubbed together---you will see where since there should be some old grease left.

Looking at the worn places on the circuit board, you can tell where the barbells contact the board and this will guide you when you are deciding which holes the springs fit in to hold tension on the barbells. Then gently put everything back together. My switch is now working perfectly.

One thing that has always bothered me about the electric mirrors was the lack of range in their movement--especially the driver mirror. When working on the mirror switch, I happened to find that Bentley has a page (66.3) devoted to "increasing mirror glass adjustment range" for 1986 and up electric mirrors. Bentley provides an elegant solution--take a hacksaw and cut off about 1/8" on the four mirror stop tabs. I did this and it significantly increased the range of movement for the mirrors.

Hope this helps someone,


Harold Teer
Harrisonburg, VA
'91 Westy

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