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Beetle Repairs: New Window Scrapers

When I bought the beetle, the rubber window scrapers on the driver's side door were pretty badly rotted away:

I really didn't want to take it too far driving, because I wanted to minimize the rain that got into that door.

So I bought a new trim/window scraper unit. Here it is:

It's pretty spindly and delicate. That piece of molding goes most of the way around the window, so I'm going to have remove a lot of bits to get to it. thebugshop.org says You must at least remove the window from the regulator and lower it down into the door to remove the scrapers. Assuming this is true, I prepare to take apart the door.

The back of the door before tearing into it. The white panel in the lower right indcates that this door has been apart at least twice before; once to install a speaker there, and the again to take it back out and put in a patch.

This is how you pull aside the plastic cover. One screw in the center of the round part holds it on the crank mechanism.

Pull the "cup" out from behind the pull handle.

One screw holds the handle cover in place.

Going around the edge of the outer door panel, here with the panel part way out and showing the "snaps" that hold it to the door itself.

With the panel off, this is the plastic sheet that keeps moisture away from the door cover panel. I'm thinking the duct tape isn't original.

The door panel back side.

The door with the panel removed. The silverish panel near the bottom of the door slides up and down in its track and carries the window glass with it. You can see the residue of the original plastic on the left and particularly in the upper left of the old door.

Here is a close-up view of the bottom edge of the window riding on the metal carrier.

I've unbolted the window from the carrier plate, and I'm holding the window up with my hand. The long black channel and the plate that my fingers are touching remain attached to the window when it's removed from the door.

The next thing I did is while holding the glass up by hand as shown here, I unbolted the window raising mechanism from the door body. There are, I believe, four bolts to do this. There's a 5th one above the inner latch, but I don't think that's for the raising mechanism, I think it's for the vent window. I couldn't get the raising mechanism out of the door, but having unbolted left it loose enough that I could wrestle (carefully) the window glass past the mechanism and out the bottom of the door.

Now I'm trying to remove the old chrome trim strip. This is at the top forward corner of the window. The strip just doesn't want to come loose.

The trip strip goes into the door before the felt channel. The felt channel is the thing that the top and back of the window seals agains when the window is up. Here I have bent the felt channel away from the top of the door, allowing me to wrestle the old trip out.

Ok, felt channel farther out, and a bunch more of the door trim has been removed. That front top end is still stuck in the door, though.

In removing the felt channel at the top, I accidentally exposed the screw that held the vent window into the door. Here, I unscrewed that screw and lowered the vent window frame into the door a bit. At the top right, you can see where the vent window into the door. Top center: the reason I couldn't get one end of the trim out; it was attached to the door!

Once the vent window is unscrewed, it can be lowered into the door slightly, and the raised and removed by canting it one way or the other (toward the passenger door or away, if the door were closed). I don't remember which way works better; probably inside.

Here's where the bottom of the vent window sits.

The new trim has notches that allow the felt channel clips to clip to the door.

This is a felt channel clip. The sticking-out arm in the center of the back of the clip goes into a hole on the door.

The felt channel rests in this part of the clip. Note the barbs that make it hard to get the felt channel out or away from its clips.

The trim in place. The hole with the slow that allows the tab from the clip to latch into the hole in the door.

The trim at the top of the door installed, with a clip holding it in.

Everything's in place. Note how the trim goes from the bottom of the window at the right around the curve and starts up the door in front of the vent window.

The back bottom corner with the new trim. The fit isn't precise right in the corner, but otherwise it fits decently.

It's pulled away a little more here.

Top front corner.

The purpose of putting on this trim was to make the door more waterproof, or at least as waterproof as it was designed to be. With all of the bending around I had to do to get the vent window back into the door after putting the trim in, the window guides (including the trim I was installing) got bent some. One of the effects of this was the rubber scrapers weren't actually pressing up against the glass. I realized that the original trim had dents in it along its length. I wondered if those dents were put in the original trim to squeeze the rubber scrapers against the glass. So I put tends in these, which expanded the trim and push the scrapers so they were tight against the glass.

The dents here are much more noticable, and ugly, than they were before. I clearly have no respect or talent for auto body work.

Banging the dents into the trim also had the effect of pushing the rubber scrapers away from the trim. So while that improved the seal fo the rubber to the glass, there are now slight gaps between the trim and the rubber. So I ran a bead of clear caulk down the joint, which should make that part of the seam pretty water tight.

I think the take-away message here is that the way to get this all right and looking nice is to buy every piece new (inner and outer trim pieces, the felt channels, the seals) and rebuild the door carefully and in the proper order. Perhaps I will do that someday with this car. For now, the driver's door is much more waterproof than it was, and that was the goal.

If you have a beetle like this, and you have to have keys made, you need the key code. The key is stamped on the door handles, but you have to get them out of the door to read the code. Here's how to do it. To get oriented, the door is open here, and we're looking at the end of the door farthest from the hinges. Here you see the handle with the key cylinder, and the outer edge of the door. Toward the bottom is the latch that engages into the body of the car to keep the door closed.

Pull the rubber seal out just above the latch, and you reveal two screws. When I removed my handle, I removed both screws. It's possible that you only need to remove one. Once the proper amount of screws are removed, then depress the lever on the handle as if you were opening the door, and slide the latch toward the hinges of the door. It will pop free of the door.

Here is the whole handle out of the door. The place where the key code is stamped circled.

Here's a close-up of where the key code is, with a box over the key code so that you can't find out what my key code is. The form of the key code is NNXNNN where each "n" is a digit and "x" is a letter than indicates which key series the key is from.


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