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Like others, my center portion was fine to take off, have recovered...it's all the brittle plastic that's the problem. Just like Dieselgeek's answer to fixing the handle to make it stronger helps to keep the plastic bits from exploding literally in your hand over time. However, I have all sorts of micro-cracks all through the plastic portions and it is just a matter of time until the panel cracks out.
 

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Carbon fiber panels

I would rather have a permanent fix to the whole door problem including the handles with a more intelligent METAL design like your "Love Handles" I wish they would have been more popular.

My wife's interior is black with blue trim.
Doing the entire panel and painting the top piece would be better than what was originally designed.

If you could do a carbon fiber, I'm sure it would cost around $500 retail each and that would price many out of the process.
However, it would be worth it and if you have the molds and the material, you may be able to do them as the orders come in so you don't have to stock them.

The door is certainly a weak point and there doesn't seem to be an all inclusive solution for it.
It's only going to get worse as the vehicles age.

I think VW was looking more at ascetics and less at production engineering.

BTY, can you make one more pair of Love Handles?
I tried to buy a pair yesterday and you only have one passenger available. (yea, that was me)

If you can't sell one, can you send me the CNC file so I can have one made? They are so much better than the handle covers that everyone else sells.
 

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If you have direct questions; for "dieselgeek" and their current products, I would recommend, you email them directly. They always, respond to my queries:

Dieselgeek Contact Form
 

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I bought new lower panels due to broken handles and sagging/falling off insert panels. I couldn't find any used that weren't outrageously expensive and they were still old and ready to fail anytime. So new it was for me. It wasn't all that hard a job to cut loose the top panel and reglue it to the new lover panels. They look great now and should hold for a decade or so hopefully. Cost was very high though for 2. I would have like for there to have been some alternative, so go for it Jim!

 

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delete the vinyl

Hey folks, I just signed up here, I ran across this thread and thought I'd throw in my fix for the sagging door panel problem.
I removed the door panel and found someone has already been in there breaking clips and plastic and the usual. I removed the arm rest section and then stripped the vinyl off. I used brake cleaner to clean off the foam. {Brake cleaner pretty much turns the foam to goo} I scrubbed and scrubbed with a wire brush and got it as clean as possible. I them used a can of truck bed coating from Wal-Mart and painted the armrest to give it some strength and texture. after that dried, I found some vinyl and carpet spray paint from Krylon I believe. The grey almost matches perfectly! I don't have any pics as of yet, sorry. To reinstall, I used 2 part epoxy and glued some fabric window screen pieces to the door panel. Then I put those pieces through the slots in the armrest and folded them over and epoxied them down and globbed some down through the holes so it gets on the screen. I figure the epoxy and screen combined will make a good strong hold on the armrest panel to keep it in place. I'll have to wait till summer to see how it handles the heat. When I do the other door, I'll take some pics and try to add to this thread.
 

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The grab handle on my passenger side is broken at the top. I'm considering having it professionally fixed or go with aftermarket crescent shaped handles installed on both sides. (The latter may be like the "love handles" I just read about in this thread, but I don't know until I do a search.)

Since I have a Turbo S, I would either want to maintain its two-tone look, or carbon fiber would be a nice modification that also would be functional. It comes down to how it looks, too. Going the cheap route has its obvious advantages, but I would "overpay" by some people's standards as well.

I'd like to know when a decision is made. I'm in no hurry at the moment. The passenger side is fine for now. I customize my closing of the driver's door by pressing my thumb high on the handle while pulling the door shut. Once I "fix" it, I probably won't revisit to fix it again even if a more desirable fix becomes available.
 

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We should probably contact Jim through the dieselgeek website; he hasn't been on this site since dec 2016. I haven't heard about any updates; to this possible project/product.
 

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249448
F3982B70-FC6E-4829-9841-7F03ECF4E27E.jpeg EB052E50-0573-4A1B-86A3-0DB8754EDF01.jpeg
I reshaped the insert to change out those stupid plastic door pulls , found SUP handles , that were a hardened rubber and strapping and screwed them in directly to the inner metal skin. The paddle board handles went well IMO with the rubber-ish fabric I glued to the arm-rest portion of the door panel. I couldn’t get any fabric to stick on to the card material and the contours, were impossible just to glue fabric directly to. I tried 3M contact cement (paint on and spray) after cleaning that mess off, tried headliner spray glue and failed. I did find a youtube tutorial where they upholstered one by seeing a seam along the shelf of the armrest hump and then glued. It looked good! Seemed logical. I didn’t break out my machine... I decided to decoupage mine for now 😕 oK for now. I think I’ll fiberglass one with no worries on it decomposing. Have had many boats of various ages and fiberglass fails only if impacted.
249453

top: a dotted textured fabric
card: scrapbook paper and white glue
rest of ABS: spray painted with Rustoleum glittered texture spray, black with speks
back: kinda ugly, but some plastic welding, epoxy, rubberized caulk all to reinforce weak areas, joining joints and pieces separated to amend.
Thanks for reading!
 

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If you are looking for a more stock look; these solutions for a metal replacement handle and armrest, are a option:

Coverlay door panel insert:


Motorking metal replacement door handle:

 
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