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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I just reached my year anniversary of having my 2002 VW Beetle and I still love her so very much! So proud to be a beetle owner! Anyways... a few months ago my passenger side door panel (plastic part) started cracking and I’ve tried to fix it with glue, adhesives, etc almost everything I’ve even wrapped the entire plastic in vinyl stickering to change the entire color of my door but it’s not working anymore it’s getting worse and it probably has a lot to do with the last owners removed the origina handles and put it medal star handles and they did some cutting and some customizing I guess you could call it which has just caused cracking and pretty much destroyed the passenger door and I HATE it. I like to dress my beetle up and cracked up doors are NOT cute. I’ve EBay shopped and looked for part beetles near me and no one has the panels and Ebays prices are ridiculous and out of my price range. Could someone please direct me towards a cheaper alternative or I would be willing to try some DIY’s on how to make homemade door panels. I’m crafty and I’m willing to do it as long as it makes my passenger door cute again. Also I do not care what color the door panels are I will take any color available I’m planning on customizing the panels anyways. Please help me! Thank you in advance!

-Leigh
 

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I'm in the same boat as you (top arm rest areas are cracked on both front door panels); sometimes, you can rebuild/repair these door panels. Please post up some photos; of your door panels and show us, the current damage issues, that way, we can see what is going on. Some, have purchased; some used damaged panels and cannibalized parts, replaced bad with good; came out with a good door panel, in the end. VW still sells; some of the component parts, of the door panel and so, that is a option (the top portions).

Post up those photos and we can go from there. Thanks! :)

PS: check out this thread; where people, have "rebuilt" their damaged panels and came out with good results! :whip:

https://www.newbeetle.org/forums/styling-modifications/37996-refurbished-door-panels.html
 

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Hello and thank you for your help. I have some before photos when I first did a DIY on my panels. My driver side door panel is fine I'm not necessarily worried about replacing it right away but the thing is the last people who owned my beetle removed the original handles and put in some metal handles and they did their own thing and it really did mess up the doors but I've managed to just work with it. I did have a before photo of what the doors looked like before I added my own pink vinyl but I cannot locate those photos at the moment so ill post what I have. The first photos attached is what the doors looked like back In March when I first wrapped the doors then the doors started cracking so I removed the bars added some 3M tape to the bar things and wrapped the bars in a mint color and tried to adjust to hide some of the hideous cracking. That worked for a while but now recently over the summer the heat has caused the vinyl to stretch and thin out and now the plastic has just cut through the vinyl so now I'm just looking to replace the panels. My driver side door is in decent condition and I don't really need to replace it but if I were to replace my passenger door I would also need to replace my driver side door because I'm not riding around with Mitch match doors if I can help it. I am crafty and I'm fine with attempting a panel project to create my own panels I just honestly don't know where to start. My plans for my beetle are colorful and I'm very girly and cute so my beetle is designed to express my personality. If anyone could help me I would greatly appreciate it. My original goal was to buy panels from a junk yard regardless of the color and just sand and paint them to match my color theme ideas but finding panels in junk yards near me has been a struggle and eBay's prices for factory panels is outrageous.

Thanks in advance!
Leigh
 

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Well, looking at the door panel photos; you seem to have the typical cracking issues on top and some damage, near the door pulls.

used parts:

You could try to find some door panels at a local junk yard or pick/pull type place. If they are in good shape; use them as is or cannibalize, parts from them, to create a one good panel out of your old one and the used one.

new parts:

As noted, VW does still make some of the parts panels and you could, for example, replace the top caps, paint or for less money, wrap them, in the color you want or have them professionally painted or use the Duplicolor paint system.

door pulls:

If you don't like the door pulls; that are installed, there are a number of options, that might look and feel better in your hand. Dieselgeek, sells a fully machined aluminum door pull, that is the same shape as stock or they sell, a reinforcing strap kit.

For options, check out this thread; where there is a breakdown, of the door pull repair options, on the market today.

https://www.newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/152642-door-panels-revisited.html

sagging upholstery:

If the falling off upholstery; in the arm rest area, is in good shape; you could probably, clean up the mounting surfaces and glue it back in place. I have used contact cement; on my upholstery repair jobs and it has worked well. I used the DAP brand Weldwood cement and it worked well. You can find this glue; at most home improvement stores, hardware stores or I bought it last time at Walmart.

https://www.google.com/search?q=dap+welwood+contact+cement&oq=dap+welwood+contact+cement&aqs=chrome..69i57.5814j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

If the upholstery is damaged; you could find some new vinyl and do that yourself. If you look on ebay; there are some already made armrest upholstery kits for sale or you could just drop it off, at a local upholstery shop, they could make new sections and glue it for you.

here is a ebay upholstery vendor; selling new leather/vinyl inserts, for less then $50, which is probably, cheaper, then what a local shop would charge:

Great deals from leatherinteriors | eBay stores

Here are ebay listings; for new upholstery armrest insert coverings you could replace/glue, in place of your old ones or just new plastic armrest inserts without the vinyl/leather covers:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=98-09+VW+Beetle++Door+Panel+Armrest+Arm+Rest+Insert+Gray+Grey&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=98-09+VW+Beetle++Door+Panel+Armrest+Arm+Rest+Insert+&_sacat=0

Looking online; I noticed a product, by a company called "Coverlay". They offer a armrest cover kit; that covers the old armrest and covers it with a hard plastic insert. If you don't care; about having the original vinyl or leather covering; this is another option. You just remove the old vinyl/leather and put these on top of the armrest and screws, fasten it in place.

Coverlay 17-92-DBR Door Panel Insert

Coverlay Mfg| Door Panel Insert Coverlay 17-92-DBR

So, it comes down to; how much money you want to spend and taking the time, to repair things yourself, getting new parts to repair things, cannibalizing used parts or finding some good used panels, that are in good enough condition to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for such detailed ideas. I’ve reallg struggled with the upkeep of DIY’s and just trying to find new options over and over that I’m just over how unsuccessful it’s all becoming. I spent my day yesterday calling junk yards within areas outside of me and I’ve found a junk yard about a hour away from me says he has door panels that will fit my car and he wants $100 a piece I told him that was out of my range right now so he asked me to make a offer I offered $50 a piece and he said sure he would take it. So I’m going to try to go look at those panels today and If they are in decent shape I’m just going to buy the entire panels for both doors. $50 a piece (if they are in good condition) is a good deal compared to the prices I’ve found online. I’ll keep you posted. Thank you again!
 

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Yeah, that sounds pretty good; compared, to what they are asking for them on ebay. Definitely, inspect them for damage; offer much less, if they are damaged but have some good parts, you could potentially cannibalize from. That would nice; if they were similar color and type, to your car but your could always, customize them, to your liking.

I don't know; if you have the diy "pick/pull" type junkyards in your area but they tend, to have much lower prices and get many more cars in consistently, then privately run, smaller junk yards. In my area, the pick/pulls; actually, have websites, where they list all the cars, currently available, to get parts from and they always seem to have new beetles there. To get the panels off; you will need phillips and torx drivers.

You might research; other junk yards in the area, that way if your lead at that junk yard, doesn't pan out! Good luck and I hope; you find, what you need. Be sure, to report back; on your junk yard adventure and if you end up scoring, what you need! :)
 

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Hi. I'm working on my 98 NB TDI door panels right now too. Fortunately mine still has the original handles, but they are cracked. I reinforced them with the DieselGeek handle brace.

You can fix that large crack yourself, if you don't want to replace the entire upper portion. Using reinforcing plastic patches is the way to go. Check this video out.

https://youtu.be/1ksRs2rFmkI
 

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I too struggled with replacing my door panels as they were pretty destroyed...checking with the dealership they were asking about $1800 to replace! I finally discovered a website http://CARiD.com ...at a total cost of $118.92 for both panels! plus $100 for them to be installed at a local garage...I was very satisfied with everything. Hope this helps. I highly recommend this Company just plug in your car info, choose the color (which was a perfect match of my interior by the way) and you’re good to go.
 

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So, what exactly; did you buy, from CARID, whole new or used door panels? From what I can tell; they sell new parts on the site. Let us know; what you bought and installed. Thanks.
 

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Did you install the coverlay panels yet and what did you think of the results? They look pretty good! In my case, it the top panels that are broken and falling apart.
 

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As you can see; they are a real mess and pieces are falling off! :(
 

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Update: I had my mom check those Panels out for me at the salvage yard because she lives closer and they actually had 3 junk beetles. She checked out each beetle and she found a pair of panels that were in pretty decent shape and my plan was to customize them anyways because I’m completely re-doing the inside of my beetle. I scored these panels at $50 a piece I guess that’s a pretty good price considering the prices I’ve found else where mainly online. Started customizing them today painted the entire panel Matte Black and doing hints of Mint Green (my favorite color) to be continued... I started losing daylight and it’s calling for rain all week so I guess I’m putting this project on hold for a few days. But I’ll keep everyone updated! ?
 

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Sounds like you did good @ $50 apiece; considering, the cost of panels, online and the price of new parts, that would require, painting anyway. I look forward; to seeing your, end results! :)
 

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i really have to ask.....what in hades happened to those panels that they broke like they did?? out of all the beetles ive seen (even at wreckers) i have never seen the top part of the panel even come close. scratches maybe but wow not full on break like that. im just flabbergasted
 

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I live in New Mexico; the southwest with extreme heat and the car is in the sun 24/7. Like many VW plastics; the plastic, become very brittle and cracks. I was doing some repair work on my door and so, when attempting to remove them, split like crazy and cracked on both sides of my doors. Keep in mind; this happens over the exposure of the sun, over many years. Those in less extreme climates; up north or back east, my not have as much of a issue but defintiely, where i live.

I have had this car since brand new; off the showroom floor. I have disassembled and removed the door panels, a number of times in the past, to have the repair the door regulators (under warranty) and the window switches, that continually break, then recently, to repair/replace the drivers side, door lock module.

This is a very common issue; probably one of the #1 complaints about the Mark IV/New Beetle era Volkswagens, the plastics get terribly brittle and break, all the time.

If anyone, has some extra door panels and top parts, etc.; they are willing to sell, please let me know! :)
 

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Honestly I couldn’t tell you.. I’m assuming from the sun over years.. but since I’ve only owned this car for a little over a year now and I did not install the metal handles nor did I add the bars on the doors I’m assuming the people who installed the metal handles didn’t have the correct tools and just sorta winged it and that was the result. I enjoy DIY’s but when I attempt them I like them to look decent and that’s why I found more panels to replace because attempting to glue and use vinyl to hold the plastic together was a complete failure. I’m still currently painting my junk yard panels and due to hurricane coming in my area I’ve put that project on hold but will update once I get a chance to get some progress made. ?
 

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:thup:

Door panels look great so far Viola!! I can't wait to see how they come out. I should be starting a door panel restoration on my beetle as soon as I work out some of the mechanical issues. Good luck!
 

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Thanks Xavier!

Just a quick update.
We have managed to make it thru the hurricane. Not much damage a lot of flooding in my town but we are safe and it’s over. Weather is back to normal today so I’m out working on panels again. Haven’t made it too far but almost everything is painted. I plan on finishing up the painting today and let the panels sit and dry for a few days and when I get some free time which isn’t until Saturday I plan on installing them! Super excited! Will post photos when completed. Thanks for kind words and everyone who is following this post.
 

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