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Bugs Bank Roll
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I could not find all the information I needed in one place, so here is my attempt to do just that. This article is for re-attaching the rear window to the convertible top on a New Beetle.

Summary:
• Cost is between $30 and $100 depending on what you need
• Time is about 7 days, 20 minutes per day, 10 in the morning, 10 in the evening.
• Skill level is minimal
• This procedure includes a method for dealing with a top that has shrunk
• This procedure includes a method for applying significant pressure during the gluing process.​

Best Practice:
Don't let your window come completely unglued.
If any portion of your window comes unglued, re-glue it immediately.​

Background:
I followed this process because I bought a Beetle whose glass had been completely detached from the canvas top for more than a year.
The canvas had shrunk and the canvas opening for the glass was now much larger than the glass.
The glass and the canvas could no longer be made to meet all the way around the glass.
I stretched the canvas using the described method, and was able to get the canvas opening to meet the glass.
I glued the canvas to the glass using the described method.
I attribute the gluing success to the following:
How the surfaces were prepared.
The extreme pressure that was applied during the gluing process.
That the pressure was applied for 12 hours during the gluing process.​


Materials needs:

• Razor blade scraper ($2)
• Windex
• Isopropyl alcohol
• Paper towels
• 2 inch spring clamp x22 ($22) (If the fabric fold has become un-glued)
• 2 inch hose clamp x8 ($2) (If you need to stretch the top)
• Rhino Glue Pro Kit ($15) (or whatever glue you want)
• Ball Needle to add/remove air from sports balls
• 3 balls (soccer, volley, etc…)
• 1 tennis ball
• Ratchet strap 4 pack x 2 ($20) (If you need to stretch the top)
• Erickson tarp clamp with thumb screw tightener x 14 ($16) (If you need to stretch the top)
• Spray bottle of water
• Woodstock D3042 Double Suction Cup x2 ($15)
• 180 Grit sandpaper ($2)
• 1”x2” by 1 foot stake x8 ($2)
• 3”x7” galvanized tie plate x2 ($2)

Warning:
Please read the entire article before taking any action. There are no guarantees on how this will turn out.​

Theory:
The rear window will eventually peel away from the convertible top. That is a fact of life.
Why?​

1. The glue eventually wears out from heat, humidity, cold, stress. It eventually just lets go.
2. The top may not be put on properly. The rear window is held in place by a metal bracket. If the top is not centered there will be extra stress because the bracket will try to pull the window one way, while the un-centered top will pull in a different direction.
3. The canvas at the point where it attaches to the glass is folded back and over itself and glued together by the manufacturer. If the glue that holds the fabric together lets go it would allow the top to peel away from the glass. Think of it this way, you cannot pull the skin off of an orange, but you can peel the skin off of an orange.
4. The top has not been properly cared for. Use products like Raggtopp or 303 care kits.​

Process:

1. The garage or shop you are working in needs to be room temperature for two reasons.
a. Most glue vendors recommend using their products at room temperature.
b. The canvas top will shrink the colder it gets.​
2. Inspect the canvas edge that is supposed to attach to the glass. Notice that it folds back on itself. The fabric fold should be securely glued. If it is not:
a. Clean inside the fold with a dry plastic brillo pad to remove all loose material.
b. Clean out dust and debris with pressurized air or an air compressor. If you are using an air compressor, be careful not to blow water or oil into the fold.
c. Clean inside the fold with isopropyl alcohol and let it completely dry
d. Glue the fold along the top and bottom of the glass proceeding around the corners.
i. Calculate how much of the canvas you will need to glue the canvas fold down on. You have enough spring clamps to clamp across the window once. Make sure you do not apply glue to more area than you can clamp at any one time. If the whole fabric opening needs gluing, you will need to glue canvas fold in sections over several days.
ii. Using the included syringe applicator run a thin bead of Rhino Glue inside the fold.
iii. Using the 2 inch spring clamps, clamp the entire fold where you glued it. Every inch of fabric that is being glued should have a clamp on it while it dries.
iv. Let it dry for 12 hours​
3. Use the razor scraper to clean the exterior glass. All the remaining factory glue, and any Rhino glue that may have leaked onto the exterior glass should be completely removed.

4. Unlatch the convertible top and place the tennis ball between the front windshield and the top. This will give you some slack to work with.

5. Place a slightly deflated ball under the interior bottom edge of the rear window. The point is to position the glass into its proper place relative to the current location of the fabric opening. You may need to add air or remove air from the ball to position it properly. You may need to unsnap the headliner from the track around the interior rear glass so that you can get the ball under the bottom edge of the glass. Remember, you are pushing the window from the bottom edge into its proper location, you are not pushing the window out.

6. Place the two slightly deflated balls between the rear headrest and the rear glass. The point is to push the glass outwards until it just meets the convertible top.

7. You can now gauge if the canvas top has shrunk and if the glass is not large enough to fill the whole. If that has happened:
a. Close and latch the convertible top into the closed position.
b. Attach the 14 tarp clamps to the canvas top, 4 evenly spaced across the top and the bottom, 3 evenly spaced across the sides
c. Now attach a ratchet strap between opposite tarp clamps.
d. If the distance between the tarp clamps is too short for the ratchet strap to work, attach the tarp clamp directly to the ratchet strap with a hose clamp where the S hook attaches and thus avoid using the S hook completely.
e. Evenly tighten the ratchet straps to stretch the canvas back into place and thus make the opening smaller. Use cardboard to protect the glass from scratches.
f. You may also want to use the stretching method with the ratchet straps attached to opposite corners (diagonally) if the corners are badly shrunk.
i. Warning: If you over tighten, over stretch, or stretch the top too quickly you could rip your top. Proceed at your own risk.
ii. I tightened mine so that if I flick the canvas adjacent to the tarp clamp, it is very stiff and sounds like a drum.
iii. Once tightened, I use a spray bottle of warm water to wet the back half of the convertible top so it can stretch.
iv. For 5 days, each morning and evening, I re-wet the top and if needed I would slightly ratchet the straps tighter.​
8. Use sandpaper and sand the first .25 inches around the whole edge of the glass. The point is to rough it up so that the glue will have something to bite into. If you can’t see and feel the scratches that the sandpaper has made, you have not sanded enough. Stay within the first .25 inches to avoid having visible scratches on your glass once the repair is complete.

9. Clean the entire window with Windex and then isopropyl alcohol to remove all oils, dust and debris. The suction cups require a clean surface to stay attached. The glue requires a clean surface to adhere.

10. Clean the portion of the canvas that will be glued to the glass with isopropyl alcohol.

11. Open the convertible top and support it with one tennis ball

12. Cut the double suction cups into two equal halves. This will make two levers.
a. The point is that the rear window is curved, and you will need to accommodate this curve by cutting the double suction cup into two equal parts.
b. Once each suction cup is cut into two equal parts, each suction cup half will have the remaining handle projecting from the side of it. That is what we will use as a lever.
c. We will use the lever to apply pressure to the canvas top and hold it firmly to the glass while gluing.​
13. Attach two levers to the top center of the glass.
a. Make sure the glass is clean and oil free
b. Make sure the suction cup is clean and oil free
c. Lightly mist the bottom of the suction cup to help it stick better to the glass.
d. The top edge of the suction cup should line up with the top defroster line.
e. The levers should be facing each other and be parallel to the defroster line.
f. The levers should be almost touching each other. See photos below.​
14. Practice how you are going to glue the canvas to the top. Please refer to the pictures.
a. Pull the canvas down so that it just barely covers the black trim on the inside of the glass. Please refer to the photos.
b. You should not have to use stretch the canvas or force it into place. If you do, then you need to add more slack by raising the convertible top another inch or two.
c. Attach the lever to the window about 3 inches above the surface you want to glue.
i. Clean the lever, glass, and both mating surfaces that are being glued with isopropyl alcohol.
ii. Dry everything thoroughly. You can not glue to a moist surface.
iii. Mist the suction cup lightly with the spray bottle. The mist will help ensure a solid seal between the suction cup and window.
iv. With the suction levers pointing up, press the suction cup firmly down on the glass, then set the suction levers.​
c. Place the galvanized tie plate over the canvas so its edge matches the edge of the canvas and it covers the four inch section of canvas between the two levers. Be careful not to glue the plate to the canvas or window. The galvanized plate helps to evenly distribute pressure.
d. Put the wide side of a stake under one of the levers.
e. Position the end of the stake so that it presses down on the galvanized plate. See photos below.
f. Wedge a second stake under the first stake so that it forms a lever and presses the end of the stake into the galvanized plate directly over the area being glued.
g. Repeat with the remaining levers. See photos below.
h. Verify that the canvas just barely covers the black trim on the inside of the glass.
i. Verify that if you extended this process across the entire back of the windshield that the canvas is true to the black trim line on the inside of the glass.​
15. Now that you have practiced, proceed with gluing.
a. Clean everything as noted above being careful to repeat the cleaning process each time you attach the lever to the window.
b. Start gluing at the top center of the glass. Don't apply more glue than you can hold down with the lever otherwise you will have a weak bond. Each lever can hold down two inches of canvas.
c. Allow the glue to dry under pressure from the levers for 12 hours. Basically, glue a new area every morning and every evening. Roughly 20 minutes of work per day.
d. Continue to repeat this process by moving your levers right or left of the area you already glued. Proceed in both directions around the window until you reach the third defroster line on the side of the window..
e. Once the top section of the window is glued, repeat the process from the bottom center of the glass and work your way around until you reach the third defroster line. Don't be afraid to raise or lower the top as need to make this process easier by replacing the tennis ball support with larger or smaller objects.
f. With only the middle portions on the side of the window left to be glued, if the canvas meets the glass properly you can just glue it down and you are done. If you find that you have too much fabric left you will need to shrink the canvas: (see photos below)
i. Soak the canvas to be shrunk with very hot water
ii. Let it dry. You can accelerate the drying with a hair dryer or using the hot sun.
iii. Repeat this process until the canvas has shrunk enough to be glued.
iv. Glue the remaining canvas fabric fold as you did in step 2d.
v. Glue the remaining canvas to the window.
vi. ** In practice I never got the bulge of excess fabric to completely shrink. I ended up using two plastic levers spaced far enough apart to hold down three spikes to apply pressure to the tie plate against the wet canvas bulge. I held the canvas bulge in that position until it was dry. I then proceeded to glue. I did end up with wrinkles in that section. Compared to the alternative of buying a whole new top, this was acceptable. If you have suggestions on how to handle that better please leave comments.​

16. You are done! Well, you are almost done. Use the razor scraper to carefully remove any excess glue on the glass.

17. Now you have to get your top to latch, but you don't want to rip your canvas top or apply so much pressure that it becomes unglued from the window. What I did was place three twelve packs of Coke across the front of the canvas top above the windshield to act as weights, then wet the whole top down. I repeated the wetting process every 12 hours until the latches in the canvas top met the retaining rod in the windshield. At that point I closed the top completely and kept it close for the next two weeks.​

Below are some gratuitous shots.

In these shots I am gluing along the top of the window. Twelve hours later I will glue the sections right and left of the section I just glued and continue this process until I reach the third defroster line.

There are two photos of the ratchet strap.
One photo of the ratchet strap is laying on a chair so that you can see how the tarp clamps were attached to the strap with a hose clamp.
The other photo of the ratchet strap is an example of attaching it vertically for stretching the canvas. Unfortunately I did not take any photos while I was stretching the top, but this is a good example of how I attached it.

The photo of the spring clamp is an example of how I used them to glue down the fabric fold.

Notice the fabric bubble on the side of the window in the example shot of the ratchet strap.
 

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I used the 3M 08609 Window-Weld Super Fast Urethane, and I did not use the primer.

Perhaps with primer I would have had a good result.
Without primer, it never dries.

Almost 3 weeks after application, it was still wet enough to get all over my hands.

Of course it failed as soon as the top was latched.

Today, in the process of cleaning to try a different product, I broke the glass.

Can anybody help me find another glass?....


Ken
Southern California
 

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love my beetle
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Progress Report on Back Window

Hi Kevin, how is the back window holding up?
Looking into trying this myself. Thanks for all the detailed information.
 

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3M 08609 will cure up in under 30 minutes, fully cured overnight, if it does not cure up, it was old and separated.

Primer can be helpful but will not impact how the 3M 08609 cures.

Something was wrong with your product if it did not cure.
 

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Bugger Since 67
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3M 08609 will cure up in under 30 minutes, fully cured overnight, if it does not cure up, it was old and separated.

Primer can be helpful but will not impact how the 3M 08609 cures.

Something was wrong with your product if it did not cure.
I'm about to try it with brand new special ordered #M glue and primer.
 

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Hello :)

First, thanks a lot and a lot for all this informations :)

I have somes questions :


1) My glass in un-glued at the bottom (entierly) and left/right partially. The TOP of the window is OK.

2) On the bottom, the top is not back on itself ( not entierly) , please look pictures.

3) Top has shrunk :(

SO, since on the bottom, the top is not back on itself, i need first to re-glue back on itself....not easy since my glass is glued on the top... NO ?

Secondly, since the top has shrunk...i need to stretch it, but since the top of the window is glued, i cannot use the "pinch" in order to strecht...

SO...do you think i can repair this stuff :( ?

Some pictures :







I can do better pictures if you want.

What are you thought please ? I'm afraid :s:spam:

Thanks a lot :)

Nixeus
 

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stretching shouldn't matter. Just glue the top to the window, it doesn't have to be exactly where it was just close enough so you have a seal all the way around. I used the 3M window weld with some real heavy duty sticky tape from Lowe's ... it was red and about an inch thick. Laid down a bead of the 3M product, then stuck multiple pieces of tape around the window and top to hold it all together while it dried. I did both sides and the bottom. This was a solid repair, lasted all winter until I put a new top on it last summer. Might have continued holding but with lowering and raising the top my daughter didn't want to deal with it come summer. I tried the Rhino Glue but couldn't get it to stick.
 

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Secret to using Rhino Glue is cleaning the glass. Scrape off the old adhesive with a razor blade, clean the glass with alcohol or acetone and let dry real good. I have a Rhino Glue repair that is a year old and is holding great.
 

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stretching shouldn't matter. Just glue the top to the window, it doesn't have to be exactly where it was just close enough so you have a seal all the way around. I used the 3M window weld with some real heavy duty sticky tape from Lowe's ... it was red and about an inch thick. Laid down a bead of the 3M product, then stuck multiple pieces of tape around the window and top to hold it all together while it dried. I did both sides and the bottom. This was a solid repair, lasted all winter until I put a new top on it last summer. Might have continued holding but with lowering and raising the top my daughter didn't want to deal with it come summer. I tried the Rhino Glue but couldn't get it to stick.
Hello, thanks for the answer.
The top has no damage, so, on the top, all is ok :)

I will buy the 3M glue and some pincets in order to achieve it !

I really hope it will be ok :)
BY the way, about the stretching, it's note better to put water on the top in order to be more long ?
 

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So I used rhino glue but somehow I didn't align it properly and I need to re do the entire thing, what's the best way to remove the rhino glue?
 

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Hello,

How to use the 3M Primer, apply onlye the primer o the windows and top, wait a few hours ? How many ? 12 hours ? Then, apply the 3M glue ? Thanks
 

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Bugger Since 67
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If the naterial has been detached too long and shrunk too much, you'll NEVER SUCCESSFULLY GLUE IT BACK. I have two. The 04 was unglueable, the 07 was glueable. I put the glued 97 top on the 94 and a new Robbins tip on the 07.
 

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2004 Convertible, 2.0 09G Triptronic Transmmission, Junkyard Save.
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Any new updates on how these are holding up for people? I need to reglue mine.
 
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