So this evening I had planned on working on the passenger door to get as far along with it as I could. Four and a half hours later, the project is complete. Everything went together so easily on the passenger door that I was able to finish. Didn’t take a lot of pics because everything was pretty much laid out and explained when I did the drivers door, no need to repeat everything. So with this final post on the project, Ill share some thoughts, tips and other info that may help you if you decide to do this. First and foremost, I have to give props to the kit that Jbugs.com sells. Not everything was perfect, but the important stuff was good quality German parts that fit correctly and made the install so much easier. They also supplied a dvd to provide tips and info. They made good on a mismatched part (window crank handles) and the prices were very competitive. Alright, on to the insight.
Things To Know:
1. Plan your project out! Know what you need for your particular year of Beetle and make a list. Ask others who have already done this project for their input. I didn’t order my kit, my wife bought it for me for Christmas. Jbugs and a couple of friends were very helpful and let her know everything down to the last detail that was needed to rebuild the doors. You cant always tell by looking what you’ll need to purchase. Some of the original parts may have been eliminated over the years. Don’t forget the little things.
2. Again, spurge and buy the quality parts. Not only do they look better, but they fit better and are easier to install. Truth is, the quality parts aren’t that much more expensive.
3. Know the tools you’ll need in advance and have them on hand when you begin your project. Nothing worse than having to stop to buy or borrow a tool that you don’t have but need. Soapy water and WD40 will be your best friends.
4. Be patient, allocate time to work on the project and don’t be in a rush. Take lots of pics of everything you take apart. Keep everything labeled and organized. That way you wont be guessing what goes where when its time to reassemble.
5. Take this time to clean other parts that you’re not replacing. I was able to fix the interior light switch on the passenger side. The contacts just needed cleaned. It had probably been nonfunctional for many years. I also cleaned up the window regulators and lubed them while I had access. I also replaced the sponge foam and vapor barrier in the doors that was long gone. Be sure to clean and prep all surfaces.
6. I did this entire project by myself but there were a few times that an extra set of hands would’ve been beneficial.
7. Don’t throw anything away until you’re finished with the project. You may end up using parts that you disassembled.
Things That Didn’t Work Out:
1. One of the new retaining clips for the felt channel that came with the kit broke while I was installing it. They’re made out of hardened metal and are brittle. I forced it just a little to much and a little tab that holds it in place broke off. I used one of the original clips in its place. (remember, don’t throw anything away until youre done, some parts can be reused)
2. The lock knobs that I ordered from Jbugs.com didn’t look like the original knobs. They had a much more modern look. No big deal, they were only a few dollars. I did find original replacements at Wagen-Werks.com, again, they were only a few dollars.
3. The mushroom rivets and washers for the vent window that came with the Jbugs kit weren’t made out of aluminum. I think they’re made out of brass. They didn’t flare correctly and they didn’t look right. Luckily, I ordered mushroom rivets for the vent windows from Wagen-Werks as well and they were perfect. An inexpensive part, no big deal.
4. The door seals that came with the kit were great quality, but the drivers side was about 3 inches too long. I had to cut it in the corner and re-glue it with super glue and weather striping adhesive. Again, no big deal. The passenger side seal fit perfectly.
5. The vent window latches that I ordered from Jbugs needed some modification to work. The quality isn’t nearly as good as the original latches. I don’t even know if you can buy the original style latches. I had to be a little creative to make them fit properly, but I’m very pleased with the end result.
Things I’m Glad I Did:
1. Bought the mushroom rivet tool. I didn’t want to use a regular rivet in the vent window hinge, I wanted the original style mushroom rivet. The cheap tool that I bought from Amazon made the task very easy.
2. Bought the German rubber kit.
3. Planned, planned and planned some more. Had everything I needed to complete the project before I even began the project.
4. Didn’t rush. You cant be in a rush with this type of project. If you are, you’ll end up screwing something up. Know when to walk away and take a break. I did more than just replace the seals, rubber and scrapers. I polished all the metal, cleaned up the inner doors, replaced missing parts, etc. and I have a total of about 12 hours, 6 beers and no band aids in the entire project.
5. Make the project fun. As much as I initially dreaded doing this project, its something that needed to be done (all the other window rubber and seals had already been replaced on the car). You always get a certain amount of satisfaction when you do a project like this yourself.
Now that the project is finished, I’m 100% pleased with the outcome. Would I do it again if given the opportunity? Absolutely. Would I recommend anybody to do this project for themselves? Yes and no. You have to be somewhat mechanically inclined to do this, not that I’m yanking my own chain. You cant be intimidated with something like this. If you have doubt, ask others who’ve already done it. Research, read articles, watch videos, etc. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask.