Category Archives: Van Life

Wiper switch upgrade for the van

Swapping in the new wiper switch was an easy upgrade
Swapping in the new wiper switch was an easy upgrade

One of the things that I’m not too fond of with older cars is the lack of intermittent wiper functions. Having to deal with a drizzle by constantly cycling the wiper switch by hand is a good way to break the switch and the only other option is to let them run dry (and listen to it) or not run them at all. Not too safe to even have to worry about it.

I’ve been looking for a solid option to fix this problem for a while now, and after some serious digging I found the solution. For only a few years, in GM trucks from 78-83, there was an optional wiper switch available. Swapping in the switch and controller from these trucks is actually an easy swap, the only thing that needed modification on my 78 van was the opening for the switch in the trim piece. Easy.

It’s funny how such a little thing can make a big difference.

Here is the wiper switch that I used and here is the wiper delay control module that I used. The switch plugs into the module and the module plugs into the factory harness where the old switch used to live.

If you have an old van like mine and want to do this upgrade, this is the way to go. It’s not cheap, but it makes life so much better that it’s very worthwhile.

Van interior, it’s time for a redo

I decided that it was time to into the van. I’ve been wanting to remodel the interior of the van for a while now, taking it from a mostly stock interior to a camping super-van. The first step in the process is taking all the old stuff out, and taking a look at just what is hiding underneath.

After pulling the carpeting and plywood out I found that the condition of the steel is in extremely good shape. What a relief! It’s only going to take a little bit of prepping to get the space ready for paint and insulation, and that’s a really good thing.

The one bad thing I did find was that the three aftermarket windows that were installed were pretty much hacked in. The holes are way too big and the window frames barely seal at all. The other bummer is that they were held in place by plywood and Styrofoam insulation. I’ll need to build some frames out around the windows to make them strong and seal them up really good with caulking. I wish I could put the steel back in, but that seems out of touch at this point.

My plan at this point is to add sound dampening on the bottom half of the cab and insulation to the walls and overhead. At that point the wiring will begin, interior lighting and everything else for the “house” will be done at that point. Then I’ll start adding wood back into the mix until it looks like I want it to.

Here’s some things I’ve been thinking about:

Lizard Skin Alternative looks like a good way to dampen sound and control some heat.

Peel and Seal is an alternative to Dynamat type products and works as a sound dampener.

Reflectix is aluminum with bubble wrap in between, and is a good type of insulation for this type of job.

Camperize has a great write up on insulation for campers.