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Discussion Starter #1
Oy vey, this is a PITA DIY, not bad once you get your head wrapped around everything, but there is not a lot of good info out there about the rear side window removal.

First this is not really a DIY, more of pointers for anyone that is in need of a rear side window regulator repair.

Background on my failure, I am sure this is a common problem but luckily in my case it came 12 years after the car was built. Since I have the first build year of the convertible, I expect the rear window regulator failure to become more common as these cars age more.

Unlike many of the window regulator failures, my problem was a single piece of broken plastic, not a broken/cracked pulley or a cable that jumped the track and came loose from the spool.

On my car the ends of the 2 cables come together. See the picture in the following link, the small black oval/football shaped piece of plastic is where the 2 ends of the cables meet and this is what actually breaks and cause one of the cables to disconnect and become loose.

http://www.amazon.com/1Y0-898-292-Beetle-Convertable-Passenger-Regulator/dp/B005XB9K34

About the repair, there are many regulator repair kits available from ebay and from other sources to include directly from VW. I would HIGHLY suggest getting a VW regulator repair kit rather than chancing a much cheaper ebay product of unknown origin. Note that these regulator repair kits are in the range of $70-$90 from an online VW dealer.

Overall these kits are a good option because a fully assembled window regulator is over $500 as I recall and even the rear window motor is around $300!

A fair warning, if in fact the regulator needs to be replaced, not to run the window motor much if the cable is staring to get tangled in around the spool and motor. You can damage the motor drive seal and possibly the motor drive gear. If you do this, even a used motor could be over $150 if you can find one. Once you get access to the regulator, if the window needs to be moved, either cut the single cable that may still be connected so you can move the window by hand or remove the small (8mm??) bolt on the oval/football shaped cable anchor and remove this anchor from the bolt so the window can move freely.

On to the general directions, again this is not a DIY, I will try to make comments on specific steps along the way.

1. Put the top on the car down all the way, however, I stopped while the side wings were still open on the rear side interior panels. Special note, you will not be able to close or open the top if the rear side wing motor and/or the rear window motor is not connected. So plan accordingly and be ready to temporarily connect the side wing motor and/or rear window motor to close or open the top while working on the car. Try to do this repair on a single dry day and you will not need to worry about this.

2. Remove rear seat bottom, like most cars, pull up on the front corners to release the seat bottom, then pull the seat forward. My car had a heavy wire hinge toward the front of the seat that just needed to be pulled to one side to release the heavy wire from the barrel so the seat bottom could be removed from the car.

3. Remove the rear headrest from the roll over protection bars. These just slip over the top of the roll over protection bars, they are form fitted with foam and wiggling and pulling up and they will come off..

4. If your car has a ski pass, remove the ski pass cover.

5. Remove the rear seat back, on my car there were 3 lager Allen head screws/bolts. Lift the rear seat back straight up to release the upper hooks from the seat back.

6. Remove the rear side panel to access gain access to the regulator. This is not as hard as it looks, but to get started it is a bit scary and frustrating. First there is one nut kind of hidden in the upper rear corner near where the shoulder belt enters/exits the panel. I recall this is a 10mm nut which needs to be removed. Once this nut is removed, the panel is held in with about 3-4 plastic door panel connectors, so you can start to pull gently to release the side panel. Be careful to release the top of the panel near where the shoulder belt is located. There is also a tab that drops vertically in the rear of the door jam so this area needs to be lifted about 1".

Once the side panel is released, then the fun starts. The side wing motor power connector needs to be disconnected. If the car has a Monsoon audio system, the rear tweeter connector needs to be removed. You will also need to remove/disconnect the small cable for the retractable access over as well. There is a very small double C clip that can be removed and the cable can then be removed from the mounting, then the ball can be removed from the retractable access cover. The dual C clip is SMALL, DO NOT LOSS THIS, maybe put it in a sandwich bag so you can keep track of the smaller things. Now the rear side panel is loose/free, well kind of!!!!! SO, I choose not to disconnect the seat belts. In hindsight maybe I should have, but I pulled the seat belts way out and was able to move the side panel just past the center of the car. I put a screw driver in the front seat belt retractor to keep it from pulling on the belt/side panel.

7. The next step is to remove the plastic access cover/vapor barrier for the window regulator. Depending on how the car is optioned this may differ slightly. My car had the Monsoon Audio System, so I had to remove the rear side woofer to access one of the bolts for the rear side access cover/vapor barrier. This should have been straight forward, HOWEVER, for some reason VW decided to use Tamper Proof T-20 Torx screws!!!!!!! What a PITA. But once you unplug the woofer connector and remove the 4 Tamper Proof Torx screws the woofer and baffle come off with no problem. Again, if the car does not have a Monsoon Audio system this may be a very different or not necessary step?

So once all the screws for the plastic access cover are clear, then this cover can be removed, I recall there may be 7 Torx screws that hold this plastic access cover/vapor barrier in place. Note that there is a very large grommet that has the cable for the window motor going through this cover/vapor barrier. There are washers under these screws, so keep track of the washers, some may stick to the cover. Once all screws are removed, carefully pry back the cover/vapor barrier and try not to tear/break the foam seal. On my car there was also butyl on the lower half of the cover as well as the foam seal from the factory.

Once the cover/vapor barrier is loose, you can now see the window motor and window regulator.

7. On my car there was a single black wiretie around the cable leading to the window motor connector. This wiretie needs to be cut. Not how it is installed, it is around the window regulator cable that has the rubber insulation. Once this wiretie is cut the connector can be removed from the motor. I used a long flat blade screw driver to slightly pry up the connector from the ends and it released very easily. Once the connector is loose, you can remove the grommet from the plastic access cover/vapor barrier and feed the harness and connector back through the the hole so the cover/barrier can be set aside. If any of the foam seal came loose, you can reglue this and allow it to set up while you work on the window regulator.

8. This is kind of where the fun starts if you have not had any fun yet! The next step is to remove the inner window gasket so you can then remove the upper mounting plate so the glass and the regulator can be removed from the body. The gasket is needs to be removed from the rear, near where the top arm is folded. This is a bit tricky, the rubber is about 1 1/2" by 2" long and it kind of snapped into place in 2 places. No tools are really needed, you heed to get your index finger kind of hooked under the gasket or you could use a long screw driver to help lift the rear of the gasket from the inside of the car. Once the rear edge of the gasket is loose, pull/roll is up and forward and carefully release the gasket as you get closer to the door opening. I did not attempt to pull this gasket totally free, it just needs to be clear of the top access plate so you can remove the screws and the plate.

9. Once the inner gasket has been removed up to the door jam, the upper window regulator mounting plate needs to be removed. This looks a bit tricky, but is is very easy and straight forward. It is NOT part of the convertible top mounting and will come out even though it looks like part of the convertible top mounting. There are about 8 bolts to remove in total as I recall. Most have a 10mm hex head. 2 will likely need a 10 mm box wrench due to limited space. The front 2 bolts hear the door jam are hex head screws. Once the 8? screws are removed the upper mounting plate can easily be lifted out. At this point you are only like 6 bolts from window and regulator removal!!!!!

10. Window glass removal. This is fairly easy once you know the tricks and if the glass can be moved up and down easily. If for some reason you cannot easily move the widow up and down, you will have to cut the cable(s) or remove the oval/football connector.

So start with the glass fully raised. You will find 2- 10 mm nuts buried deep in the side of the body. There are large round access holes about 1" in diameter so the nut with the large captive washer can be removed through the access hole.

Once the upper 2 nuts are removed, the window needs to be lowered about 1/2 way down and there is a 3rd 10 mm nut with captive washer that needs to be removed. Again, there is an access hole to get to this nut and remove the nut/washer assembly. At this point it may be useful to have a helper hold the glass but as I recall it should stay in regulator at this point. Once the 3 nuts have been removed, you can tilt the glass inward and release the studs from the regulator and pull the glass upward and out of the body cavity. Make sure you put the glass somewhere safe, like in the trunk, while you are doing the remaining work on the car.

11. Almost there, hopefully I have not forgotten any steps. You have 3 more bolts to get the regulator assembly out of the body cavity. You will need a 13 mm socket as I recall to loose, but DO NOT remove the nuts/captive washers that hold the window regulator in the body cavity. There are 2 nuts down low that are pretty easy to see, then there is one nut up high toward the door jam as I recall that can be seen through an access hole. I would loosen these nuts about 3 turns each. Once the nuts are loose you can then lift the window regulator straight up out of the body cavity. You may need to tilt or maneuver slightly but the regulator will come out without a lot of effort.

A few tips and comments, the rear of the car is tight to move around in, you may want to remove the seatbelts, but this takes extra effort and steps.

You do not need to mark the regulator or glass when removing it IMHO.

The adjustments for the regulator mounting should not change.

The glass adjustment is pretty easy and you use the front glass as a reference for the final glass alignment. See info in the Bentley video linked below.

When reinstalling the regulator assembly, do not tighten the 3 regulator mounting bolts unit the upper mounting plate and bolts are installed and tightened.

To reinstall the glass, the window regulator needs the be about 1/2 way down where the lower window nut can be installed and lightly tightened.

The window needs to be fully under in order for the upper 2 nuts. Again these will be lightly tightened so the glass can be adjusted.

The rear glass front edge should be even with the top of the front window. There should be a 9mm space between the front and rear glass.

BE CAREFUL and DO NOT over tighten the nuts holding the glass to the window regulator. I do not know if there is a torque spec, even if there was, I would not use a torque wrench. Snug the nuts and either use a 1/4" ratchet or choke why up on a 3/4" ratchet.

Make sure you wire tie the insulated window cable to the regulator and make sure you wire tie the window motor cable to the same boss or bracket the insulated window cable is wire tied to.

When reinstalling the interior side panel, make sure you removed the screw driver that is holding the front seat belt from retracting and do not forget to connect the speaker wires, the cable for the retractable access panel and the cable for the side wing motor. Also note there is at least 1 larger boss, about 13mm that is an alignment pin for the side panel near the door jam. if this boss/alignment pin does not go into the O-ring you will have a hard time getting the rear interior panel to go back on.

Overall a first timer should take about 3 hours to do this job taking their time with the info I provided above and with the videos below. I expect someone doing this a 2nd time could do the job in about 2 hours or maybe less.


Here are some very helpful videos to give you an idea about removing the regulator and installing the repair kit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omc6zojyHuE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtmMMH9K2iI
 

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I have noticed the convertible window motors are particularly expensive; Cardone, seems to offer a rebuild service or exchange, if they are in stock. This seems to be a cost effective option; compared to new from Volkswagen. Look up auto parts availability here: https://www.cardone.com/


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
One of the reasons the convertible window motors are expensive because they have some form of feedback (possible Hall Sensor??) to tell the door or top module the windows have dropped when the top is opened and/or for the front windows to partially drop when the doors are opened or unlocked depending on the year of the car.

I had so many problems with the front windows in my 2003, the dealership finally updated the regulators and motors in my car to 2005 regulators and reflashed the car so the front window(s) actually drop about 3/8" when the door(s) are unlocked with the keyfob. The 2005 window regulators are much better than the 2003-2004 configuration.

But in general I do not think the rear motors fail often, but the regulator(s) can and do as these cars age and depending on how often the rear windows/top is used.
 

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That is VERY good information; about the later model parts, being better! This is the first time; I have heard about later year parts and flashing the car, to make them work right! :eek: Were the later version of the parts redesigned or actually a different part number, from a totally different year (2003 vs. 2005)? Was the flash; for the ecu or the comfort control module? This is excellent information; for people, struggling with this problem in the future! I wonder; if there was a Tech Bulletin on this fix?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is VERY good information; about the later model parts, being better! This is the first time; I have heard about later year parts and flashing the car, to make them work right! :eek: Were the later version of the parts redesigned or actually a different part number, from a totally different year (2003 vs. 2005)? Was the flash; for the ecu or the comfort control module? This is excellent information; for people, struggling with this problem in the future! I wonder; if there was a Tech Bulletin on this fix?
So here is that I can tell you, we purchased the car brand new. I did not dig into the car too much while it was under warranty and I recall we also had an Extended Warranty as well, BUT, I found out later when I needed to actually use the VW Extended Warranty, it was not really administered by VW. I used to work for GM, not a dealer, but GM Corp many years ago, the Extended Warranty GM sold (GMPP) was actually administered by GM and there was no need for anyone to visit the dealer to inspect the car before a repair.

Anyway, I can say that the window regulators on the 2005+ convertibles are in fact much better/simpler than the 2003-2004 style. I recall I did have problems where the window stop as well as the glass would come loose in the 2003-2004, but the 2005 has far fewer parts inside the door and I do not recall the glass coming loose like the earlier version. I did at one point have to fiddle with the lower door glass stop and the glass did come loose a few times. Since the 2005+ regulators were installed I have had no problem with the glass coming loose and the glass stops are very different and I think integrated into the window regulator rather than being bolted to the door.

I think???? you can put the 2005+ parts in the doors, but in order to get the window(s) to drop from the keyfob, the Driver Door Module/Convenience model has to be reflashed.

I assume there must be a bulletin about this, but not 100% sure. Also if anyone needs to order any regulator parts for a 2003-2004 and they are not sure what is going on, they really need to figure out if the window regulators have been updated before they order parts.
 

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Excellent instructions jfoj. Only thing better is if you could have added some pictures in your steps. It would help some of us who need to see what you are describing in your instructions. Thank you very much for your time posting it.

It's also good to find out that the 05+ MYs have a better/simpler window regulator set up than the earlier models. I'm not having any problems with the rear side windows as of now, but the front sides are beginning to be a little finicky when they want to work correctly or not. At times the glass doesn't want to drop when you open the door from the inside or stay dropped until the door is closed.

If this was my DD then I could deal with the little "naunces" that come with a used car. It's my daughter and wife who can't seem to grasp work-arounds when the doors/glass don't operate as they are supposed to. They have no patience.:rolleyes:

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Larzy, the window not dropping is due to a bad door latch. Very common problem as these are big heavy doors and they get slammed way too hard. You can close a convertible door with your pinky.

I may replace the passenger side cable and plastic coupler because it is just a matter of time before the other side fails. If I do that, I may grab some pictures.
 

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Very helpful information... and a few questions

Thank you for the wealth of information with regard to repairing the rear window regulators in a NBC. Unfortunately for us, this post arrived 2 days too late, haha. My husband just spent a good part of this past Sunday repairing BOTH rear regulators on our daughter's 2003 NBC - her 1st car, just purchased in June 2015.

When we purchased the car, the driver's side regulator cable had just been repaired - by someone who was very clueless as it was already broken when we test drove the car. No biggie, thought my husband, an excellent mechanic, but not on VW's. As luck would have it, just as I was ready to purchase a kit (the exact one that your link pointed to, OEM and from Fowler VW), the rear passenger side window refused to go back up after my daughter put the 3 remaining windows down on a fine day! Okay, I ordered TWO repair kits.

Flash forward to the day of repairs: after enjoying the viewing pleasure of a few YouTube videos, reading helpful hints in these forums, consulting a Bentley repair manual (worth every bit of the $80 I paid for it, new), and spending a few hours (and a few choice words)in the driveway - the windows now all work as they should. Our issue was the cable failing and getting caught up and chewed up inside the door mechanisms.

So now my dilemma since the deed is done ,that I am hoping someone has some insight about:

1. My husband did remove the door panels (one side and one repair at a time). He is a very careful guy, and followed all the hints that were available. With that being said, during the 1st panel removal, when he gingerly pried the seat belt guide away from the slot that the seat belt is threaded thru, the little triangular piece broke. Not the entire piece - just the 2 or so prongs that are under the piece which allows it to be snapped into the holes in the seat belt slot. This piece is painted the color of the car. The other side came out easily - now that he knew how it was actually attached, it was easier to pry it out and not break it. I went to the local VW dealership with the part (it is literally 2 inches long, if that, and made of plastic), to perhaps order one to replace the now broken piece - and was told there is no part number for that part, and I would have to order an ENTIRE REAR DOOR PANEL in order to get that part! This HAS to be a mistake (please tell me it is :( Does anyone know if this piece can be bought or found somewhere? And not at a junk yard as my husband has been to many and has never seen even 1 NBC at them, ever. Assuming it can, it most like comes in a primer, however we already have the paint left over from the front bottom (fog lamp area) fascia repair.;)

#2. The tiny metal "C clips" mentioned - the ones we are told not to lose and place into a baggie...well there was already one missing on the driver's side, as the flap was already broken when we bought the car (the dealership gave us the flap, not attached to the car in case we plan to repair it I suppose). These retainer clips appear to secure some type of cable to a mechanism. The clips on the passenger side were there, but are not in ideal shape. I figured I would order 4 of those clips and took pictures of everything that I needed for the parts guy at VW, only to be told that those clips are not available for order, and I will have to purchase an entire assembly? Again - they have got to be kidding me!

3. Lastly, there were also missing round white plastic clips that secure the door panel to the car - there should be 4 but whomever attempted the failed repair felt that attaching the panel with just one clip would be "good enough". Those, I was able to order. Yeah! one out of 3:rolleyes:

As luck would have it, I believe the motors or whatever causes the front side windows to drop slightly when unlocking the doors with the remote may be the "newer" motors from 2005+ as they both drop approx 3/8" with a click of the remote, or drop slightly by unlocking the door using the valet key. I sure hope those hold out.

Next to repair - the switch or whatever allows the fuel door to open as that seems to have stopped working a few days ago. My husband had a lovely time looking for an access area in the right interior rear trunk (in the dark and with a flashlight) to find the cable to manually open the door to that. *sigh*

Does anyone know if the "C" clips that hold the cable against a mechanism that's job is to retract the back flaps while putting the automatic top down are able to be purchased? And also, the plastic seat belt guide part that is snapped into the rear door panel that allows the front seat belt to guide over it?

Sorry for the lengthy diatribe, however I thought asking those who actually own this car and know the ins and outs of this car may be better than asking the parts guy at the local VW. TIA !
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I think these are the same as the rear from the looks of them -

VW 98 05 Beetle Interior Door Panel Set of 6 Fastener Clips Driver or Pass LH RH | eBay

Rear panel seat belt guide?? I did not try to remove these or the seat belts. I would just consider gluing this part back in if it is something that can be glued back in, even using hot glue if it is possible.

I will look around and see what I can find about the small double C clip, you might be able to use wire ties to anchor this cable??

BTW, I am an original owner of the 2003 NBC GLX 1.8t with a 6 speed Tiptronic automatic. WARNING, the timing belt, water pump and thermostat should be on the short list for your car. You do not want to have the uncomfortable conversation with your daughter when the timing belt breaks requiring the cylinder head to be removed.

I know this car quite well after 12 years, so if you have questions, I probably know something about it.
 

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Hi, thanks for the description of the procedure. I wonder if it really necessary to remove the rear side window when you lift out the regulator? I'm a bit anxious on the adjusting of the glass...

Thanks, Daan
 
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