[T3] Attention '71 Type 3 Owners
jadney at vwtype3.org
Sat Nov 4 09:50:29 PDT 2017
If you own a '71 Type 3, you're probably already aware that there are a
number of '71 parts which are one year only parts, now unobtainable. For a
number of years, I've been thinking about how to overcome some of these
problem parts, and one of them is the ignition switch.
What I've wanted to do is to figure out a way take all the electrical load off
that switch and install relays to do that job. I thought that I could do this with
2 relays: one for the starter solenoid and one for the normal operating loads.
I needed access to my '71 to work out the details for this, but that car has
been in storage since the 2014 Invasion, since I drove my '69 to the 2016
Invasion in Arizona. Well, a month or so I managed to get the '71 backed out
of the garage so I could drive it a bit, burn up the old gas that's in the tank,
and work on the relay conversion.
I started out thinking that I could mount the relays in the 2 empty sockets in
the top of the late style fuse box, but I quickly discovered that not only did
this make the wiring harder, because ALL the wires I needed were over by
the right side of the steering column, but as I looked into this closer, I
realized that I needed 3 relays, since, starting in '71, there is an X-contact (X
for eXtra) in the switch, which goes off in the START position, so the
headlights, and a few other high current consumers, go off when the starter
So, now I have a 3 relay system designed and built. 2 relays live in a bracket
hidden undr the right side of the steering column and one, the X-relay, fits in
one of the sockets above the fuse box. I installed the first version of this in
my '71 a couple days ago and it worked perfectly.
But, in the process of installing it, I discovered that there was a single inline
fuse, serving only the fan, hidden above the fuse box. WHO KNEW THAT
WAS THERE? That gave me the idea to alter my relay design slightly and
put the fan on one of the regular fuse box fuses. This was easy because
fuse 9 had almost NO load on it. (And yet it comes with a 16 A fuse. Why?)
In the end, I arranged for the new X-relay to power the lights, the fan, and a
few other items, using rhe OE fuses for the lights and fuse 7 for the fan and
other X-relay devices. I had to move the fuel pump to fuse 9.
I now have a kit available to install this modification to any '71 Type 3. I
emphasize that this is ONLY for '71 Type 3s. This has been designed to
work with my US market FI '71 Type 3. I don't see any reason why it should
not work for any market version, but I really can't promise that. The kit
includes 3 relays, a mounting bracket, all wires with the correct fittings
already crimped on the ends, and 8 pages (!) of installation instructions.
Contact me if you want this for a car from another market. I'll need more info
to see if this will work for you.
I could make a version of this for other years, but there's really very little
point, at least for the 12 V models, because all the other years have ignition
switches that are cheap and available. Maybe '67s could use something. For
6 V cars, something else might be needed, but I don't know if I can get the
same small relays for 6 V.
It's taken me hours to get the parts list all worked out, and days to get the
installation instructions written and corrected. I've probably revised the
instructions 20 times, but I think they are now error-free.
This should be a really tempting modification for any '71 Type 3 owner, but
there are a couple of downsides. The first is the price: With all the work that
went into this, I have to sell it for $75. The second is that it's a really hard
install. It took me 5 hours to do it, but I wasted a LOT of time running back in
the house to get different sizes/colors/lengths of wire, crimp on different
connectors, and make notes of the differences I found, so the kits could be
right. Some of the work is in cramped quarters and frustrating. I had a
number of tiny cuts on my fingers by the time I was done.
There are also 3 somewhat special tools you will need: a tool to release
locking female connectors from their plastic housing (a jeweler's screwdriver
can work here, or I can sell you something that I've made) a tool to loosen
and retighten the retaining rings around the headlight and 4-way flasher
switches, and some sort of wire crimping tool. (There is 1 OE wire that you
will need to cut, strip, and then crimp on the connector that I supply with the
kit. That step is optional, but it's easy and it puts the clock on fuse 8, so you
can remove fuse 8 when you won't be driving the car for a long time, to
reduce the discharge on the battery.)
If you have time, patience, and the right tools, and are willing to take your
time and follow my step-by-step instructions, this may be right for you.
In the end, the car ends up working EXACTLY like it did before, except that
the function of fuses 7 and 9 are swapped, the single inline fuse above the
fuse box is gone, the clock is now fused, and your ignition switch contacts
now carry 1/3 A max, each.
Let me know if you are interested. I don't expect to sell many of these kits, so
I don't have a large stock of the necessary parts. I can easily buy more if
thanks for reading,
Jim Adney, jadney at vwtype3.org
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
More information about the type3-vwtype3.org