Liner replacement on door panel

Beau Diddly

New member
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Location
Mt Pleasant, SC
TDI
2004 VW Jetta (x2)
The cloth liner on the pax side door is coming unglued and falling. The underneath is covered with a brown fuzz and I'm sure I would have to remove that to re-glue. The cloth is thin and I'm afraid re-glueing would not be easy, so I found 4 leather liners (not sure about the correct name). The complete door panels in the junkyard were in rough shape, but the leather was good.

I've seen a lot of these door liners fall in the junkyard MK4s, so I'm sure this isn't a rare problem. Any suggestions on how to best attach a replacement leather door liner? I tried the search and found nothing in the past couple of years. Thanks in advance.
 

UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
There are plastic nubs on the insert (leather) pieces that poke through holes in the door card and are swelled to lock and hold. I believe that folks melt these to unlock and then relock (gluing also can work). Pretty sure there's a ton of info on Vortex about this.
 

Beau Diddly

New member
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Location
Mt Pleasant, SC
TDI
2004 VW Jetta (x2)
There are plastic nubs on the insert (leather) pieces that poke through holes in the door card and are swelled to lock and hold. I believe that folks melt these to unlock and then relock (gluing also can work). Pretty sure there's a ton of info on Vortex about this.
Yes, you're correct. However, my challenge is still how to best remove the glue residue and brown fuzz from the fiberglass backing or insert. I found a video on youtube where the guy was trying to figure out how to do it. He named it part 1, but has never made a part 2, so I guess he's stumped too.
 

mountain lion

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Location
Florida
TDI
04 Jetta TDI
My doors had the same issue with the black cloth coming off. I removed the panels off the doors and removed the inserts like shown in the link above. I took the just inserts to an automotive upholstery shop that specializes in headliners, seats, fabric etc and had them work their magic. They had to clean up the inserts and get off all the old glue/foam/etc. I picked out a new matching fabric and they had them fixed up in a couple days. It was about $100 if I remember correctly, but money well spent as its definitely skilled and detailed work. They did a perfect job and are still holding up strong after 3 years.
 

Beau Diddly

New member
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Location
Mt Pleasant, SC
TDI
2004 VW Jetta (x2)
Why go through the trouble? Here, I did some leg-work for you:

http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?2940083
Thanks for the link, good info, but it didn't see what he used to clean the old residue off. I could just use a wire wheel, but as frequent as a problem this is, I'm curious what others have used that may be easier.

Mtn Lion, since I'm going to this much effort, I might as well finish it myself since I've seen others do it successfully. If it turns into a PIA, yeah, I may just take it to a headliner shop.
 

flashmayo

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Location
Santa Cruz CA
TDI
'03 Jetta - Gator Tuned
I recently finished this exact maintenance item on my MKIV.
If I read your original post correctly, you have junkyard door cards that have good, or good enough, leather inserts in them. Further, your original door cards, at least the passenger one, is failing at the glued foam backing of the fabric. If this is the case, and after going through the whole process myself, I'd say your best bet is to remove the inserts from all the door cards you have, and reinstall the decent inserts into your still good door cards, then reinstall.
The way I did it was to use a utility knife to cut the melted plastic/polymer nubs holding the insert to the card, and carefully removed the inserts. To install I used a hot glue gun to mimic the original state.

The main reason to do it this way is that you'll be picking off the low hanging fruit, and avoiding the messy parts of the job. Fitting the leather from the JY card inserts over your inserts, after you painstakingly clean off both sets, won't be trivial.
I tried reupholstering mine with vinyl, as well as some cool velvet material. The challenge showed the weaknesses in my fabric skills. Cleaning off the old adhesive was not fun either.
I ended up taking apart the cards, and eventually having a professional upholstry shop redo the inserts. They used a heavier vinyl and had to cut and seam on both of the fronts. It came out super nice though.
To answer your question about how to remove the existing adhesive, you can buy adhesive remover or use any heavy duty grease remover you have in the garage. Soak rags, destroy the adhesive, use a few of those green or brown scrubby pad things. Wear gloves. I didn't use a wire wheel, as the components aren't bulletproof.

Good Luck,

John


Thanks for the link, good info, but it didn't see what he used to clean the old residue off. I could just use a wire wheel, but as frequent as a problem this is, I'm curious what others have used that may be easier.

Mtn Lion, since I'm going to this much effort, I might as well finish it myself since I've seen others do it successfully. If it turns into a PIA, yeah, I may just take it to a headliner shop.
 

mountain lion

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Location
Florida
TDI
04 Jetta TDI
Mine also needed a seam sewn in. You can barely tell it is there though. Looking through my receipts, it was actually just over $200 with cost of fabrics. I forgot how much work was involved on the shops end, but way more time than pulling the cards and inserts apart.
 

Beau Diddly

New member
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Location
Mt Pleasant, SC
TDI
2004 VW Jetta (x2)
I recently finished this exact maintenance item on my MKIV.
If I read your original post correctly, you have junkyard door cards that have good, or good enough, leather inserts in them. Further, your original door cards, at least the passenger one, is failing at the glued foam backing of the fabric. If this is the case, and after going through the whole process myself, I'd say your best bet is to remove the inserts from all the door cards you have, and reinstall the decent inserts into your still good door cards, then reinstall.
The way I did it was to use a utility knife to cut the melted plastic/polymer nubs holding the insert to the card, and carefully removed the inserts. To install I used a hot glue gun to mimic the original state.

The main reason to do it this way is that you'll be picking off the low hanging fruit, and avoiding the messy parts of the job. Fitting the leather from the JY card inserts over your inserts, after you painstakingly clean off both sets, won't be trivial.
I tried reupholstering mine with vinyl, as well as some cool velvet material. The challenge showed the weaknesses in my fabric skills. Cleaning off the old adhesive was not fun either.
I ended up taking apart the cards, and eventually having a professional upholstry shop redo the inserts. They used a heavier vinyl and had to cut and seam on both of the fronts. It came out super nice though.
To answer your question about how to remove the existing adhesive, you can buy adhesive remover or use any heavy duty grease remover you have in the garage. Soak rags, destroy the adhesive, use a few of those green or brown scrubby pad things. Wear gloves. I didn't use a wire wheel, as the components aren't bulletproof.

Good Luck,

John
Thanks for the input John. I have 4 pieces of good leather from the junkyard, thats it. I probably should have left them on the inserts, but some were damaged, irrelevant at this point.

I'll try the adhesive removal on both the insert and inside of the donor leather.

On a side note, I do a lot of wrenching on my Land Cruiser, and this MK4 is my daughters, but I'm blown away with so many interior pieces that are permanently attached with plastic tabs. Don't get me wrong, I love VW TDIs, I also bought another one for my wife, but I don't see the logic of making parts that break if removed (also referring to the armrest).
 

UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
This was all so confusing.:eek:

I see now that the leather coverings were removed from their backings, in which case the easy fix was not there.:(

I have some 3M fabric adhesive. I got this to fix the top vinyl pieces on the wife's door cards: at the time I didn't fully understand what materials were here, that that top section was nothing but plastic- easy backing to adhere to. Sadly, the real issue was that the factory shorted the material (not enough to pull back around the lip of the shell): only car out of five that has this issue.

Yes, lots of cheap plastic crap on these cars; but, there's lots of cheap plastic stuff on a lot of other cars too (keep in mind that these are "economy" cars). If one knows how to deal with these things then damage is a lot less likely. My wife's car was a perfect example of people not having a clue about how to deal with these fasteners- front console piece came with duct-tape repairs! (someone butchered an after-market radio install). And some fasteners are pretty much impossible to not break: rear hatch stuff is, IMO, the worst (big piece of plastic that attaches in different angles).
 

where2

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 1999
Location
North Palm Beach, FL, USA
TDI
One '13 JSW_TDI & One '04 Variant_TDI
For me, acetone on a rag removed the remnant foam and glue from the fiber board backing. I followed along with a bit of light sanding with some 150 or 220 grit. Next time I take the door panel off, I may just spray that fiberboard panel with black spray paint. I've been driving around with one brown door panel for years now.

I have yet to find a decent set of black leather door card inserts.

My 17 year old niece asked me at Christmas how to fix the door cards on her cousin's 2004 New Beetle... It just takes time, and persistence.
 
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