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Permanoob
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Discussion Starter #1
Our 2008 NBC has the following issues (may be more hidden): Needs new top, broken window regulator in the rear, trunk release is broken, emissions issue, needs new struts, many minor cosmetic issues including door panels, arm rest, etc. My wife loves it but I am ready to turn into a pretty blue cube. Have any of you gotten to the point of walking away? I am sure I wouldnt get anything on it in trade, but maybe someone would buy it for a demolition derby or something :)
 

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As these cars age, if you don't do your own work I can understand why people walk away. What area of the country are you located in?
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Any 12 year old car is going to have its issues. You know what this ones are. If you get another car, you may get something that will also need repairs. New cars also come with car payments.

How much is everything going to cost to repair?

I'm definitely in general a fan of better the devil you know. But we also have our own garage with lots of tools and do work ourselves. I did sell my '03 GTI last year so I do understand getting at the end of your rope. Luckily, we do have some good independent shops in the Raleigh area if you don't do your own repairs.
 

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Permanoob
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Discussion Starter #5
I think the top is going to be a big one, but i cant even get anyone to give me a quote for it so far. Who do you work with? I think we can do some of it ourselves too. But I am not sure about the top. I have done it on a Miata but never a power top.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Does it just need new fabric?
 

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Permanoob
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Discussion Starter #7
Yea, probably but I think there may have been a cable that broke too. I may just have to tear it apart in the garage and see what all is going on with it. There isnt an aftermarket hard top is there?
 

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The cable that broke is probably your headliner cable. They're bungee straps, and degrade over time. When ours broke, the headliner hung down enough to rip off the cowl flap and fling it at my daughter. Headliner cables are inexpensive, and not very difficult to change. It'll be even easier to do when your changing the top.

Top change is not impossible for a regular Joe. I decided that I could read up a lot, and be better able to do it than the 19-year-old kid at the dealership who would ultimately end up changing it. The experienced techs would certainly dump it on the new guy as there is no flat-rate $ to be made. Nearly 100% chance that "the new guy" has never changed NBC top either. Read a LOT. You do not need a special zipper tool. I think Robbins sends one with the top, but a regular zipper pull from Michaels crafts store will work fine. You also do not need the special plates for securing the C-channel where the convertible top slides in, but you had better find a way to protect your paint around that area if you do not use the tool. Extra hands and patience are key at this step. The Robbins tops are every bit as good as OEM, but are made for universal fit on 1st and 2nd series NBC. You will have a few extra straps on there that you eventually need to cut off (scary to do on a $1500 top you just bought!!) I left mine on there until several cycles were complete. Also, for whatever reason, the Robbins top does not "lay" as nice when open as the original top. You have to pull the bottom tuck out, or the corners of the trunk might grab it when the trunk closes. Be aware of this. It's easy to give them a tug. Volkswagen - Convertible Tops
 

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Permanoob
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the inspiration! I had assumed a legit upholstery shop would do the top, so naive I guess. I will look at the Robbins top, and see if I can free up the space in my garage for a prolonged service project :)
 

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Buy your lovely wife another car and find a new home for the NBC. It's not worth putting a couple or three grand into to get it up to snuff. Heck, you can even look for a newer new beetle convert. A turbo at that. One that doesn't need a bunch of fixin. Car payments are not fun, but they're not the worst.

I'm working on rebuilding the right rear window regulator, and considering suicide (not really.) ATM, my 03 is way too nice to give up on.
 

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Thanks for the inspiration! I had assumed a legit upholstery shop would do the top, so naive I guess. I will look at the Robbins top, and see if I can free up the space in my garage for a prolonged service project :)
An uneducated upholstery shop might attempt it.... If you're as particular as I am regarding cars, you'll get a way better result doing it yourself. Plus saving $3000 isn't bad either. And you get "Man Card" points with your friends and more importantly.... your wife. You could buy a whole other running Beetle with your savings.
I was able to change my top in a weekend (two 6-7 hour days) with the help of my brother. I would suggest obtaining one of those $20 plastic trim removal kits on the internet to help you pry the interior panels loose. Remember that the top is DESIGNED TO LEAK in a certain way. I found piles of bugs and dirt in the drain channels (that you cannot see until the top is off). Take your time and clean these, and make sure the drain tubes are all in place. Test them by pouring water in there if you're unsure. The $5000 job at dealership almost certainly does NOT get these inaccessible areas cleaned, and could lead to future water ingress issues. I found nearly a whole roll of paper towels jammed inside the passenger side, presumably to "stop" a "leak", which turned out to be a clogged drain gallery. I only wish I had taken photos when doing the swap. I would also strongly recommend swapping the dead window regulator while you're in there. The regulators are not terribly expensive, maybe $150 for OEM. I would not buy aftermarket. Those rear interior panels can be a stinker to get back on correctly (mine were both askew when I bought the car). Might be wise to go ahead and obtain a couple of the white push-in fasteners on the back of those panels. You will almost certainly break a few. A couple missing is probably not a big deal, but I HATE rattles in a car. You'll need to be very gentle with the rubber door weatherstrip (it meets the rear interior panels). They're like $700.... PER SIDE.... Also be gentle on the weatherstrip in the metal structure of the convertible top. Wait until it's warm outside, and be very gentle when coaxing them out. They're around $150 PER STRIP, and there are several in there. I cannot remember if the rear seat screws are torx or triple square. If you're going to be working on this thing yourself, grab a set of triple square bits. You're going to need 'em.
 

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An uneducated upholstery shop might attempt it.... If you're as particular as I am regarding cars, you'll get a way better result doing it yourself. Plus saving $3000 isn't bad either. And you get "Man Card" points with your friends and more importantly.... your wife. You could buy a whole other running Beetle with your savings.
First of all, I'd give you man points for the effort you took to write your replies, I'm the one who gave you a like.

That said, I tend to not agree. Easier ways to get "man points," and as a somewhat experienced DIY'er, the complications and fiddlyness of trying to replace a top is not appealing to my project priorities. When my boxster needed one, I bought a replacement one, with frame, from a recycler. Probably not as easy to find for a NBC. On saving $3000, you're right. That's what I paid for my mostly nice 03 NBC 18t. Low mi, even.

Replacing interior plastics isn't trivial, either. Stuff is expensive and hard to find in the correct colors. VW seems to have the driver's door panel in stock, for about $1000. But it's new old stock and less likely to be brittle. Outcomes are easier and more satisfactory. Learning from awful experience, the convertible door panels are different from the ones for the coupe. Convertible switches won't fit. After all the trouble and expense, I would have been ahead to just buy the driver's door panel from VW. Replacement glove boxes are available, and only mildly expensive. He might even find one in a recycling yard. Mine was from a 98, beige matched. Key lock, of course, doesn't lock. It's similar, fits, but isn't quite the same.

Repairing the rear window regulators is doable, tho not easy. Most of the aftermarket kits have cables that are too short. But shortening the linkage tube by 3/4 inch is relatively easy with a dremel and they can be made to work properly (installed as-is, they will fail.) There is a youtube video about it.

If the OP isn't up to doing his own work, he absolutely should walk away. If he can, maybe pull it in the garage and have a no pressure project car.
 
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