Remote Releases

In common with all aircooled VWs, the front hood is released from a handle in the glovebox. This has been very stiff on all three Type 4s I have owned and I wanted an improvement. The tailgate can only be released by pressing the exterior button which is lockable. I am converting them both to electric operation.

I bought the remote release solenoids from Auto Europe who were offering the kits at half price. Here is the solenoid with its mounting bracket and bowden cable, and the two catches taken out of the car. The mechanism on the left is from the front and the other is from the rear tailgate, both are viewed from the underside. The kits come complete with all necessary wiring.

Fitting to the front is easy. All I have to do is to thread the solenoid cable through the same holes that are used for the VW hand-pull cable as shown here.
The solenoid is then attached to the underside of the front lip as shown here, after shortening the cable. I shall also need to add an emergency release cable in case the solenoid fails ...
The tailgate catch is more tricky as VW made no provision for attaching a cable. The external button engages with the lever shown arrowed which pushes the pin indicated out to the right against the spring. So I have to attach to either the lever or the pin, neither of which is easy. My first attempt was to follow the general principles of the front catch mechanism.
Here I have welded a plate to the edge of the frame for the outer sheath to bear against, the cable is threaded through the spring for guidance and connected to a strut with a standard cable clamp, and the strut pushes agains the pin. Unfortunately, when I tried this with a spare battery, I found that the solenoid didn’t have enough umph to pull the catch. I would have to think again!
My next option is the lever that initiates the release as originally installed. This looks more promising as it has about a 4 to 1 mechanical advantage over my first attempt due to the length of the two levers. But it has to be pushed backwards (towards the front of the car) and I shall have to devise a reaction plate. Something to think about during the winter months!


To be continued . . .