Door Card Re-Upholster

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Hey guys,

It's time to attack my door cards. They've gotten to the point where I can't live with them anymore.

I cleaned the cards off. That foam/goo combo was like cake batter. Quite a mess:



Of course, nothing goes as planned. I cut the melted tabs off with a razorblade. That went fine. But, when trying to gently remove the card, of course a bunch of the remaining tabs just exploded. Pretty much down to the parent surface:



I was planning on doing the zip tie trick. I think it will work for some of the tabs,but a lot look like the image above too. So I'm trying to com up with a solution, or if anyone that has done this has a clever way?

My 2 thoughts:

1) put em back in place, mix up plastic epoxy, drip it down through the top of the slots of the card and hope there's enough that it adheres to what's left below.

2) A bit out of the box here. Bypass doing anything with the remaining tabs except use them only as guide features. In-between the tabs, epoxy or JB weld in a countersunk head screw. Allows a good mound of epoxy or JB to be built up around the chamfered portion of the head. Install so the flat surface of the head rests against the door panel. Drill through card at these locations, secure card with a nylock nut or similar.

Thoughts or solutions? Those flanges are just so brittle, or what's left of them, I'd be worried about them vibrating and cracking loose.

Also, This insert/cradle attached to the door card and holds the grab handle. I haven't had any luck sourcing this, but mine came out in pieces of course:



Can we purchase just this?

Finally, did anyone underlay a thin piece of foam before they adhered their material of choice? I would think this would be a good idea for comfort as well as make the re covering more forgiving. It would have to be pretty pliable I would assume. Is there something maybe I could get from a hobbies shop?

Thanks in advance, I'll keep this thread going!
 

STDOUBT

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Location
Portland, effing Oregon
TDI
dos jettas
Well, here's a good thread about this, and I'll probably go this way when I get around to having to repair them:
P.S. I have it from a really excellent thread on here about re-upholstering the headliner that "stretch fleece" fabric makes a great replacement for the sHiddy foam that disintegrates after 20 short years.
Here's where I sourced mine for my headliner: https://wazoodle.com
Excellent fabrics and most US-made.
 
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KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Well, here's a good thread about this, and I'll probably go this way when I get around to having to repair them:
P.S. I have it from a really excellent thread on here about re-upholstering the headliner that "stretch fleece" fabric makes a great replacement for the sHiddy foam that disintegrates after 20 short years.
Here's where I sourced mine for my headliner: https://wazoodle.com
Excellent fabrics and most US-made.
Thanks @STDOUBT ... Looks like I was active in that thread. All my searching and this one never came up. I do like the worm gear idea too.

So a stretch fleece fabric underneath the leather? Hmm...I like. Might work better than foam. Wonder if that's something I can get at a crafts store.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Ok well I started this project today.

I found some somewhat stretchy fleece (stretched in 1 direction) that worked out pretty well. This is how I attacked it:



It was pretty easy to work with. This is where I ended up after both sides:



If only it could have ended here...

So then I went to fit up my pre cut leather card covers and... They fit like hot garbage. Wasn't going to do.

So back to the fabric store. I wanted a robust material (a bit thicker) that had some stretch too it. It was stretchy in both directions so I thought it would be great!

Nope. Biggest headache in the world to work with. It had too much stretch. I was also using Super 77 adhesive. Once you start going with that stuff, it's really hard to tear it off. It stuck to the fleece good, and my new fabric even better. I tried attacking it the same way I did the fleece liner and that didn't work for this material.

After fighting and swearing:



I used a combination of the zip tie attachment method and the worm gear method on the tab areas that broke completely off:



Here it is mounted in passenger side door:



And finally passenger side installed on car:



Going to do the driver side tomorrow but I'm honestly intimidated with this material. I almost gave in today on the passenger side, it was that hard to work with. It's almost more of a spandex. Really not sure how to attack it since it's more complicated, might have to borrow a second set of hands to hold the material off the card while I smooth it. Either way not looking forward to it since you kinda really only get 1 shot at it.

We'll see how it goes.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
As I guessed, door side went horrible.
That tight corner ruined the material. No coming back from it. Trying to source a good shape set of door cards if anyone has some
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Well after yesterday's fail, I decided to venture to the local pick n pull.

I pulled some door cards off a leather Jetta. Leather was tan but it wasn't in good shape. But when I got home, I peeled the leather off to find OEM foam under there. Apparently you can pay more for the squish. That foam is on there GOOD too. So I ripped the leather insert off my old card and mocked it up. With that added foam, the leather inserts I have fit better. I might be able to salvage them after all...



To my astonishment after wandering around some more, I also scored this:



Took some cleaning but cleaned up nice and all tabs were in place!

It was 50% off for Labor Day, so it was a total of $16 out the door (including some misc door hardware I needed).

I'll try and recover these with my leather and if that fails, might be doing a thick layer of stome rubber bed liner or just Plasti dip.

Also took the time to get my other door panel ready. Used with worm gears in a few locations. Works really well to get the base of the gear hot, then press it into the plastic and smash the plastic down that comes up through the slots. For extra security, a light layer of epoxy over the top of the base.




 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
Nicely done !
I need to do this to several of our cars…… not looking forward to it…
I also have to do two headliners too……
 

sriracha

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Location
805
TDI
2005 Jetta Wagon 5mt, 1982 Rabbit truck (gas)
Good idea using hose-clamps parts!

Nice score with the center console. I grabbed a replacement center console from the Pick-n-Pull, for my wagon. I removed all the old soft-touch with Isopropyl Alcohol and a blue soft-scrub sponge. I also reinforced all of the plastic tabs with JB Weld, before installing.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Nicely done !
I need to do this to several of our cars…… not looking forward to it…
I also have to do two headliners too……
It's not fun. I have to start completely over again after one successful side. Gonna have to retire that one. I'm going to try re using the premade cutouts from before that I purchased,only because the foam is on these new cards from factory (not the standard foam that disentigrates)
Good idea using hose-clamps parts!

Nice score with the center console. I grabbed a replacement center console from the Pick-n-Pull, for my wagon. I removed all the old soft-touch with Isopropyl Alcohol and a blue soft-scrub sponge. I also reinforced all of the plastic tabs with JB Weld, before installing.
The hose clamp idea came from another thread, I just copied so I can't take credit for that one.

This over was pretty easy to clean, not a ton of soft touch left them goodness.

Think it's worth adding extra reinforcing to the tabs? I'll be the only one removing it at this point now
 

sriracha

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Location
805
TDI
2005 Jetta Wagon 5mt, 1982 Rabbit truck (gas)
Some of the tabs on my center console had small cracks, so I just reinforced anything that looked vulnerable, since I was mixing JB. If your tabs are not cracked, they’re probably fine.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I am in the process of attempting this job on a Jetta, what did you use to clean the molded fiberboard? I got the bulk of it off with a wire brush, but mine does not look nearly as clean as yours.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
I am in the process of attempting this job on a Jetta, what did you use to clean the molded fiberboard? I got the bulk of it off with a wire brush, but mine does not look nearly as clean as yours.
I just scraped it off with a plastic putty knife, then used some Purple Power degreaser. Let it sit for a while, then wiped it down with paper towels.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
OK, thanks for the tip. I'll try that. I was afraid to use anything too powerful as I didn't want to turn them into oatmeal.
Absolutely they are very fragile. I'm really thinking about trying to find a "brush on" adhesive or similar for the next round. I don't know if it's my spray can of 77 or what, but it was really hard to control, especially if you have to re spray any areas while you're working. It will get all over the material you are working with if you aren't careful. I would think the brush on stuff would let you apply as you go with less mess, and you could plan an attack for the material as you worked instead of having to do it in one shot. Although, the spray does hold REALLY well...
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
The interior place we usually use has increased their prices, and told me (after I already removed the panels) that is was going to cost $500 to repair the two fronts. Since this on a car I am just fixing up to sell, I really couldn't pay that. It would be different if it were a car I was fixing up for myself, and I could stare at $500 worth of door panel repairs for a few years.

So I am attempting this myself, BUT, I may just get the inserts cleaned up really good, and see how much they want to just recover those parts, and I can get them back in the panels myself. We'll see. I'm just not a big fan of interior finish work like this.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
The interior place we usually use has increased their prices, and told me (after I already removed the panels) that is was going to cost $500 to repair the two fronts. Since this on a car I am just fixing up to sell, I really couldn't pay that. It would be different if it were a car I was fixing up for myself, and I could stare at $500 worth of door panel repairs for a few years.

So I am attempting this myself, BUT, I may just get the inserts cleaned up really good, and see how much they want to just recover those parts, and I can get them back in the panels myself. We'll see. I'm just not a big fan of interior finish work like this.
Yes, I'm exactly the same. Mechanical, all day. Upholstery, not so much. If I had some more cards to practice on (and material) I'm sure I could get it down. But I don't have either of those.

Funny you mentioned it, I'm going to call a place today to see how much it would take for them to cover my cards if I provided just the cards and the leather material as well. If they won't use my leather covers, see how much it would take for them just to cover them. For someone decent at this, it's literally probably a 30-45 minute job at this point
 

pruzink

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Location
Granbury, Texas
TDI
GLS, 2004, silver
The interior place we usually use has increased their prices, and told me (after I already removed the panels) that is was going to cost $500 to repair the two fronts. Since this on a car I am just fixing up to sell, I really couldn't pay that. It would be different if it were a car I was fixing up for myself, and I could stare at $500 worth of door panel repairs for a few years.

So I am attempting this myself, BUT, I may just get the inserts cleaned up really good, and see how much they want to just recover those parts, and I can get them back in the panels myself. We'll see. I'm just not a big fan of interior finish work like this.
The guy in this Youtube video used some Xylene in a spray bottle which was very effective at removing the glue. He said that the xylene really penetrates into the pressed cardboard insert & that you need to use a mechanics hand cleaner (he used Go-jo) to remove the xylene. It really did a great job removing every trace of glue. How To Repair And Upholstery VW Volkswagen Beetle Door Panels - YouTube He used the zip tie method to attach the door card back to the door. I ended up buying these vinyl inserts for $220 Car Door Panel Inserts Replacement from $219 | CarParts.com because when I watched that video, there were just a lot of things that could go wrong for someone that never did this before. If you are putting on a faux leather cover, the glue on both the card insert & the cover need to be allowed to dry to a fairly dried state and once the two pieces are touched together, you cannot move the fabric at all. The vinyl inserts attach with screws.
 

tgray

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2004
Location
Marengo, IL
TDI
'02 Beetle, '05 Golf, 2000 Jetta, 2001 Jetta, 2002 Jetta
After doing a lot of these repairs getting the glue off is the biggest frustration and I have found that if you don't do it right the gummy old glue creates failures down the road. My other solution is to find a junk car with the leather inserts as the leather seems to protect the uv and the glue doesn't get so gummy. Maybe the Xylene and go-jo is the solution. I will try to get some and try it on the backing to see if it dissolves the cardboard. I have cleaned mine with razor blade scraping, sanding and a lot of baking soda in the mix. I tried a final wipe cleaning with some lacquer thinner but that seems to re- melt the goo and makes the bond worse. As far as using the zip tie method I have found the plastic sometimes is very brittle even though it looks fine. I am the one that invented the worm gear clamp method and did several "test and try to break it off." It is amazing how strong they hold. It seems the re-melting of the plastic helps get below the oxidized thin plastic tabs. When I do a door now I don't even try to save the old tabs. I just cut them all off with a knife and pull the insert out. I figure if one has broken the others will break later.
 

JettaJack

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Location
Frederick, MD
TDI
04 & 06 Jettas, 15 Sportwagen
So far I’ve only done a Beetle, but wanted to mention a product I found to assist with the removal of decrepit foam and adhesive. I used 3M Adhesive Remover, citrus base, 6041. It’s $30 on Amazon for a large can, less hazardous than the xylene, but still quite effective. Of course you still need to mechanically clean the surface as well (plenty of elbow grease needed). ;)
 

tgray

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Joined
Sep 12, 2004
Location
Marengo, IL
TDI
'02 Beetle, '05 Golf, 2000 Jetta, 2001 Jetta, 2002 Jetta
Does it damage the base material? Thanks for the tip.
 

intro

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Location
MA
TDI
02 Jetta Wagon
Everyone is mentioning leather. Is this easier if done with fabric? That was my plan.
 

pruzink

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Location
Granbury, Texas
TDI
GLS, 2004, silver
The guy in this Youtube video used some Xylene in a spray bottle which was very effective at removing the glue. He said that the xylene really penetrates into the pressed cardboard insert & that you need to use a mechanics hand cleaner (he used Go-jo) to remove the xylene. It really did a great job removing every trace of glue. How To Repair And Upholstery VW Volkswagen Beetle Door Panels - YouTube He used the zip tie method to attach the door card back to the door. I ended up buying these vinyl inserts for $220 Car Door Panel Inserts Replacement from $219 | CarParts.com because when I watched that video, there were just a lot of things that could go wrong for someone that never did this before. If you are putting on a faux leather cover, the glue on both the card insert & the cover need to be allowed to dry to a fairly dried state and once the two pieces are touched together, you cannot move the fabric at all. The vinyl inserts attach with screws.
Just as an FYI for anybody thinking about installing the vinyl door panel inserts. They are a big improvement over the nasty dirty sagging cloth inserts that I replaced, but they do not fit perfectly. If you do install them, you want to screw the seam along the top 1st which will end up leaving a gap at the bottom seam (the top seam is more visible). There isn't much flexibility, so there isn't anything that can be done to get the fit perfect. I did remove the old cloth & goo from the door panel (they can be installed over it); if you go with the xylene for removing the goo, you need to keep the goo wet for a little while in order for it to soften it up to the point where it is easier to remove (scotch bright does a good job of taking it off). I put some plastic trim nuts on the backsides of the attaching screws because the only holding power that holds the vinyl insert on is these screws into the pressed board insert & the plastic trim nut on the backside allows it to be tightened a little better. If I had this job to do over again, I would have just painted the cardboard inserts; eventually, that is what I will do with my headliner.
 

Bengoshi2000

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2013
Location
Triad NC, USA
TDI
2002 Golf (0M1)
Just as an FYI for anybody thinking about installing the vinyl door panel inserts. They are a big improvement over the nasty dirty sagging cloth inserts that I replaced, but they do not fit perfectly. If you do install them, you want to screw the seam along the top 1st which will end up leaving a gap at the bottom seam (the top seam is more visible). There isn't much flexibility, so there isn't anything that can be done to get the fit perfect.

Do you have any pics of your installed panels? I'm seriously considering these simply because it looks to be a quick install vs. the hours of prep work needed for upholstery... that could easily start sagging several years down the road.
 
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