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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so we've got a 2003 NBC.. and the back glass has come unglued from the fabric top.

My question is how big of a pain the butt is it to replace the top fabric?

Any recommendations on where to source a new top?
 

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Beetleman
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430 Posts
Well, the top can be sourced from these guys.
Tops On Line - Your Best Online Source For Automotive Tops and Upholstery Accessories
They are excellent and the quality of the replacement tops, which do include the rear window, are "top" notch :) (no pun intended)
As far as this being an easy job, it is not. You need the proper tools, stapling tool and frame standoffs to do it correctly.
You might want to check this out: Video - VW Technical Service Training - New Beetle Convertible
Take a look at the top replacement video and it will give you an idea of what's involved.
You could always attempt to reattach the window glass to your top but my experience in doing so has been less than successful. It's one of those things that once it goes, you can never get it back to factory specs and I would always suspect the damn thing falling out in a torrential downpour.

I would recommend sourcing a top from Tops On Line and checking their website for an installer near you.
Either way, it will still be cheaper than having a dealer do it!
Good Luck :)
 

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Not low enough
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i assume all you're looking to replace is the "headliner" part, the inside fabric. probably a MUCH easier task than replacing the whole top.
 

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Bugaholic
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When I bought my beetle month ago the VW parts manager told met that the back window may fall out in a few years after the Texas sun gets after it. Said you have to replace the whole top and costs 3000.00 to replace. I am hoping there will be a better solution if it ever happens to me. Would like to know what you eventually do to fix yours.
 

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There are some instructions on fixya.com involving gorilla glue to re glue the window and 3m weather strip to reseal. My 2003 came unglued on June 16 2009 and i have been fighting with VWoA customer care for days now.I have found a ton of posts online on different sites with the same problem on 2003 models.Please take a minute to write a complaint on nhtsa.gov and BBB autoline.Maybe we can get a recall.
 

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I have the same problem on my 2004

I need to look at the "gorilla glue and 3M idea. I just replaced a fog light this am. Boy, that was fun! Let me know what you end up doing! We have the same problem with the sun and heat here in southeast Louisiana.
 

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I just had this same thing happen on my 05 NB vert. I have tried a couple of things to try to secure the glass back to the top, but nothing is really working.

I went to my local dealership, and they contacted VWoA, and the offered to replace the top, and I have to pay the labor ($1500) to have it installed. I really did not want to hear this answer, so I called around to see if anyone could fix it, and like everyone else, the tell me it needs a new top.

I did find a guy who tells me that he can replace the top, with new heated glass in the back for $1200 total. I hate to say it, but I think that I am going with the non original top.

This car is really beginning to bug me (no pun intended)

Ron
 

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Beetleman
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Hey guys,
I replaced a top for a friend last year and it wasn't the easiest job but was doable. It took us about 10 hours from start to finish and the experience was well worth it. In the event I ever have to replace my top at least I'll know how.
My friends top was ripped from a tree limb falling on it so it wasn't the glass delamination that most of you have experienced.
I'm curious though to know what is causing the rear glass to separate from the fabric top.
Can some of you tell us what conditions your vert was in that may have caused the separation?
i.e.: Weather exposure: Sun exposure: Frequent rain or washing:
Mechanical car washing: Heat vs. cold exposure: Frequency of opening and closing the top: How long the top is kept down.
These are just a sample of the things that might contribute to the glass problems.
If we can identify a trend here, maybe we can let VW know what might be causing the problem and get them to come up with a permanent fix or at least agree that there is a common cause.
Yeah, I know it might be wishfull thinking to get VW to agree to anything but at least we can give them some solid info.
Let's see what we can come up with.
 

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Near as I can tell, it is just the heat and humidity here in South Florida. The car lives in the garage at night, but it is outside while it is at work. While I was talking to the upholstery guys, they all told me that it is a very common thing down here. The car has always been hand washed. My GF is always very careful about lowering the top before checking to see if the top is wet.

If you ask me, it is just a bad design. If the car had a plastic rear window (like my MGB) this would never be an issue.

I just find it almost unbelievable that VW would let something like this go without a recall. I know they probably design their cars for European weather, but come on.

If this is something that is going to happen every five years, I know the NB will not be living with us for much longer.
 

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I also notice this on other cars that have a glass rear window adhered to the inside of the top, so it's not just Volkswagen.

Also, I've seen that some aftermarket tops may not fit 100% as the OEM tops will.
 

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Beetleman
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After some further research and several conversations with soft top installers (both foreign and domestic) I found out that Karmann, the softtop manufacturer for the NBC, uses a fabric bonding process that utilizes a heat sensitive adhesive that activates once it is heated and placed on the glass.
The glass is then placed in a fixture that recieves the fabric that is pressed on the glass and held until the adhesive cures.
It sorta makes some sense that if a top is exposed to high concentrations of UV sunlight over extended periods of time, it could cause the bond to fail and the glass to separate from the top.
The experts also recommend, and so does the fabric manufacturer -Haartz-, that a regular process of cleaning and treating of the top with a fabric protectant. Haartz recommends Raggtop. Also, avoiding direct sunlight and using a high quality car cover will help prevent the separation of glass and extend the life of the top.
So, I guess a word to the wise would be clean,protect and shield the top as best you can if you live in a location that is prone to hot sunny days for long periods of time.
BTW, VW has a "Kalahari" desert test they use for all models to check the quality and durability of paints and materials. It's usually done in Arizona but like many other quality checks, they just aren't long enough to truly determine the toughness of some assemblies or materials.
For the most part, NBC tops are reliable but there are those, as we've read about, the slip through and cause problems.
Just my $.02:)
 

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FROSTY
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148 Posts
I'd recommend buying an extended warranty and wait a few weeks then file the claim.....get an extended warranty that includes the top. Just bought a platinum warranty from the dealership I bought my car from....so I'm worry free for the next 60K or 5 years. I'll probably sell/trade before then. Just my two cents.....
 

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Boogety Boogety
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I'd recommend buying an extended warranty and wait a few weeks then file the claim.....get an extended warranty that includes the top. Just bought a platinum warranty from the dealership I bought my car from...
Not to hijack the thread... but... :confused:

I'd be very interested, and so would many others, to know which company is "covering" you, and whether it truly covers convertible tops or not.

I'll say almost all ("because I never use absolutes") aftermarket warranties are worthless and a waste of money. I say this from long-term experience, both personal and from the experience of friends and associates. Most companies will deny coverage for assorted and sundry BS reasons when you do need service: A fuel pump, for instance, will not be covered, because if it was mechanical, it would be, but it's an "electrical" device and "electrical devices" are not covered. True story. Or they go out of business, or get absorbed by others, or just plain take the money and run. I bet if you Google "[your company] complaints" you'll see what I mean. This works for all of them... :mad:

And I've never seen one that covers the convertible top, or the mechanism to raise it and lower it, unless it's a manual, and then they have all kinds of outs ("top must be lubricated twice yearly...") to deny coverage if something does pop up. :rolleyes:

I would love for someone to prove me wrong. Don't tell me "I have the coverage." I want someone to tell me "I have coverage and they covered it without question, and the name and 800 number (or website) of the company is ----" for any repair over $250. Go ahead, I'll wait... :rolleyes:

So, your above advice would probably not work, no matter how long you waited. Once they have your money... good luck! :cool:
 

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Bugaholic
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Not to hijack the thread... but... :confused:

I'd be very interested, and so would many others, to know which company is "covering" you, and whether it truly covers convertible tops or not.

I'll say almost all ("because I never use absolutes") aftermarket warranties are worthless and a waste of money. I say this from long-term experience, both personal and from the experience of friends and associates. Most companies will deny coverage for assorted and sundry BS reasons when you do need service: A fuel pump, for instance, will not be covered, because if it was mechanical, it would be, but it's an "electrical" device and "electrical devices" are not covered. True story. Or they go out of business, or get absorbed by others, or just plain take the money and run. I bet if you Google "[your company] complaints" you'll see what I mean. This works for all of them... :mad:

And I've never seen one that covers the convertible top, or the mechanism to raise it and lower it, unless it's a manual, and then they have all kinds of outs ("top must be lubricated twice yearly...") to deny coverage if something does pop up. :rolleyes:

I would love for someone to prove me wrong. Don't tell me "I have the coverage." I want someone to tell me "I have coverage and they covered it without question, and the name and 800 number (or website) of the company is ----" for any repair over $250. Go ahead, I'll wait... :rolleyes:

So, your above advice would probably not work, no matter how long you waited. Once they have your money... good luck! :cool:
Ummm...yeah. What he said.
 

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FROSTY
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148 Posts
I checked....the top is NOT covered...just the convertible top motor....so it won't help in this case. The company is fidelity warranty services. Website link below:

Vehicle Protection Plan

I was able to get a good price on the warranty so I bought it. I would recommend it in all cases....but it's peace of mind for some.
 

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Just an update to what is going on with my NB. We told the dealership "thanks but no thanks" to their offer of labor only on a top replacement.

It is funny how a service guy can get so bent out of shape. Ah well, I guess some people just cant take it when their hard work is politely declined.

I am going to miss this car NOT.
 
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