Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Moderators: Sluggo, Amskeptic

Post Reply
User avatar
JLT
Old School!
Location: Sacramento CA
Status: Offline

Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by JLT » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:01 pm

It looks like I'll be replacing the headlight dimmer relay on George. I can hear the relay click, so I know the switch is good, but the high beams don't go on. All the fuses are good and are getting power.

But when I went online, there was a huge price difference in what people were selling. The lowest price was from Jbugs at $16, and the highest was from airhead parts at $67, with a wide variety of prices in between. To make things even more interesting, none of them had the original VW part number on them, although most of the information did reference it as either 111-941-583 or 111-941-583 OE (and I don't know what the difference between those two numbers means).

FWIW, the part number on the relay on my bus is D 00127, and it's made by VDO. I can't find a specific reference to that part anywhere, not even on the VDO web site.

I guess that my question is: what am I getting for my money when I pay a specific price for that relay? Are some of them really better than the others? Does anybody have any favorites regarding sources?

The sources I've investigated so far are airhead parts, aircooled.net, Wolfsburg West, Jbugs, Summit Racing, EMPI, and Pierside Parts. (Bus Depot doesn't carry them, and MidAmerica doesn't have them in stock.)
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

User avatar
asiab3
IAC Addict!
Location: San Diego, CA
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by asiab3 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:37 am

Is your current relay original?

I feel like you could take it apart, inspect/lube the various “ramp” mechanisms, and clean off the electrical contacts in a couple of minutes. I’ve had about 50% success doing this. (Most were corroded inside from a leaky windshield gasket.)

I can’t answer your question about price, but if it’s a 4-pin relay, my Wolfsburg West relay lasted a hundred thousand miles before I found an original to replace it with. As a musician, I prefer the tone of the originals.....
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

User avatar
JLT
Old School!
Location: Sacramento CA
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by JLT » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:05 am

asiab3 wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:37 am
Is your current relay original?
I don't know. The only number on it is the VDO part number, which appears to refer to a discontinued part. There's no VW part number on it. Did VDO make the originals? And where would I find an original to replace it?
I feel like you could take it apart, inspect/lube the various “ramp” mechanisms, and clean off the electrical contacts in a couple of minutes. I’ve had about 50% success doing this. (Most were corroded inside from a leaky windshield gasket.)
I suppose I could do that. But I'd rather have a new one, and keep the rehabilitated one as a spare.
I can’t answer your question about price, but if it’s a 4-pin relay, my Wolfsburg West relay lasted a hundred thousand miles before I found an original to replace it with. As a musician, I prefer the tone of the originals.....
Mine is the five-pin one.
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:31 pm

JLT wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:05 am
asiab3 wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:37 am
Is your current relay original?
I don't know. The only number on it is the VDO part number, which appears to refer to a discontinued part. There's no VW part number on it. Did VDO make the originals? And where would I find an original to replace it?
I feel like you could take it apart, inspect/lube the various “ramp” mechanisms, and clean off the electrical contacts in a couple of minutes. I’ve had about 50% success doing this. (Most were corroded inside from a leaky windshield gasket.)
I suppose I could do that. But I'd rather have a new one, and keep the rehabilitated one as a spare.
I can’t answer your question about price, but if it’s a 4-pin relay, my Wolfsburg West relay lasted a hundred thousand miles before I found an original to replace it with. As a musician, I prefer the tone of the originals.....
Mine is the five-pin one.

Use the rehabilitated one that has fealty and familiarity with *your car*. Let the new piece of chinese plastic and potmetal metal be the spare ....
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

User avatar
JLT
Old School!
Location: Sacramento CA
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by JLT » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:29 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:31 pm

Use the rehabilitated one that has fealty and familiarity with *your car*. Let the new piece of chinese plastic and potmetal metal be the spare ....
Colin
If I had any confidence that the present one has any fealty to my car, that's what I would do. But for all I know, it could be one of those cheap pieces of Chinese plastic and pot metal. I've only had the bus for twelve years...

That's why I was hoping that somebody could clue me in to which of those Chinese ones was the most reliable, or if there were any sources that were better.
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

71whitewesty
Getting Hooked!
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by 71whitewesty » Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:02 am

I would look for a good used one. If I remember correctly, some of the new ones need a little modifying to work properly. I think Colin helped with the modification on one of mine but I think I ultimately bought a few good used ones that work fine as-is.

User avatar
JLT
Old School!
Location: Sacramento CA
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by JLT » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:09 pm

71whitewesty wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:02 am
I would look for a good used one. If I remember correctly, some of the new ones need a little modifying to work properly. I think Colin helped with the modification on one of mine but I think I ultimately bought a few good used ones that work fine as-is.
I notice that airhead VW parts has a used relay for $18.00 with a part # of 411-941-583 C U

I don't know what the part number of the relay used in the original 71 bus is, and don't know of a source for looking it up. But that part number looks like it was for a type 4, and I have no idea whether it was also used, or useable, on the '71 bus.
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

kreemoweet
Getting Hooked!
Location: Seattle
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by kreemoweet » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:28 pm

JLT wrote: I don't know what the part number of the relay used in the original 71 bus is
For US/Canada models, the '71 dimmer relay was 411-941-583C, relay without headlamp flasher. Lots of different relays used, depending on destination market and model year. VW #111-941-583 seems to be relay with headlamp flasher for
bus thru chassis #219 300 000.

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:28 pm

JLT wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:29 pm
Amskeptic wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:31 pm

Use the rehabilitated one that has fealty and familiarity with *your car*. Let the new piece of chinese plastic and potmetal metal be the spare ....
Colin
If I had any confidence that the present one has any fealty to my car, that's what I would do. But for all I know, it could be one of those cheap pieces of Chinese plastic and pot metal. I've only had the bus for twelve years...

That's why I was hoping that somebody could clue me in to which of those Chinese ones was the most reliable, or if there were any sources that were better.
I would pursue sourcing a used one, de-crimp the aluminum box from the phenolic, clean up the contacts, re-crimp, and using it far into the future.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

User avatar
JLT
Old School!
Location: Sacramento CA
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by JLT » Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:41 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:28 pm

I would pursue sourcing a used one, de-crimp the aluminum box from the phenolic, clean up the contacts, re-crimp, and using it far into the future.
Colin
That's what I'll do. I've ordered two new ones, from different sources, figuring that at least one of them will work for a little while. But I'll try rebuilding the old one, and look for used ones at the next few swap meets I go to. That way, I can eyeball them and see whether they've had loving homes or not.

Should I assume that the ones that came with the buses and bugs actually had the VW stock number stamped on them? Otherwise, is there a way to tell if they're original?
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:28 am

JLT wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:41 pm
Amskeptic wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:28 pm

I would pursue sourcing a used one, de-crimp the aluminum box from the phenolic, clean up the contacts, re-crimp, and using it far into the future.
Colin
That's what I'll do. I've ordered two new ones, from different sources, figuring that at least one of them will work for a little while. But I'll try rebuilding the old one, and look for used ones at the next few swap meets I go to. That way, I can eyeball them and see whether they've had loving homes or not.

Should I assume that the ones that came with the buses and bugs actually had the VW stock number stamped on them? Otherwise, is there a way to tell if they're original?
Original equipment has VW part numbers cast/stamped/embossed - every time.
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

User avatar
JLT
Old School!
Location: Sacramento CA
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by JLT » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:40 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:28 am

Original equipment has VW part numbers cast/stamped/embossed - every time.
Then my present one is definitely a replacement part ... it only has the VDO number on it.

Would that part # be VW #111-941-583 for my bus? (US, 1971)
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Re: Headlight dimmer relay ... why the great price range?

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:28 am

JLT wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:40 am
Amskeptic wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:28 am

Original equipment has VW part numbers cast/stamped/embossed - every time.
Then my present one is definitely a replacement part ... it only has the VDO number on it.

Would that part # be VW #111-941-583 for my bus? (US, 1971)
Google it. Look for VW Audi Hella Bosch headlamp relays.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

Post Reply