New Beetle Quarter Window Repair – Auto Tools

1:13 pm Apprentice Tech, How To Auto Repair, Power Windows, VW

 VW_Quarter_Window

VW New Beetle rear quarter window regulator kits are available.

In this how to auto blog, we mention the auto tools needed to complete rear quarter window regulator repair on the VW New Beetle. Fair warning though, this job may be too involved for the average DIY (Do It Yourself-er). Labor time in the Mitchell labor guide calls for 2.4 hours each side ( the first time it will probably take longer) for changing the rear quarter window assembly, no extra combination time is listed for installing the repair kit. Getting this job done at the dealer could cost from six to eight hundred dollars, or around two to three hundred for the repair kit installed. Even if you don’t do this job yourself, at least now you know your options.

Window regulators for the VW New Beetle, were once only available as a complete assembly that included the window glass, window regulator and window motor as a complete assembly. The cost of these assemblies as mentioned before, is in the hundreds of dollars at the VW dealer. And buying a used rear quarter window regulator assembly (that may fail after it has been used a few times), is just not a good idea even if it has a warranty, due to the labor involved to install one. The good news is, that rear quarter window regulators recently became available from the Volkswagen dealers for just a fraction of the cost of the whole assembly. The bad news is that the weak design is not improved upon. The integrity of the window regulator centers around one part, the cable retainer.

VW_Quarter_Window_Regulator_Broken

The X is on the weak cable retainer that commonly fails.

The cable retainer is a plastic piece that links and holds the two cable ends together. In some other VW and BMW cars, window regulator repair kits included upgraded parts that tend to fail. The plastic components are replaced with metal parts that greatly improve the strength of the window regulator decreasing the chance of it failing prematurely. Unfortunately at the time of this tech article, replacement parts in the rear quarter window repair kit from VW are the same as the original.

VW_Quarter_Window_2

Remove the quarter trim to access the regulator.

Put the top down to begin this not so enjoyable experience. Remove the bottom of the back seat by lifting and swinging it forward and unhooking the metal pivot rod from it’s attaching brackets. The headrest cushions just pull off. Six millimeter Allen bolts at the bottom, hold the backrest portion of the seat. Once the back seat is out of the way look for the hidden ten millimeter nut that holds the rear of the quarter trim in place, remove it with a 10mm socket, like in this socket set.

Proceed With Caution: Be careful not to break the linking rod for the trim door that covers the convertible hinge. This rod is not available by itself, the entire door assembly would have to be purchased that costs about $375. It’s best to remove this rod and put it in a safe place for now. Notice the cable that attaches to the rod on the door end. Also be careful not pull on the cable or the tiny plastic guide will have to be put back into place on the underside of the door assembly.

The quarter trim is held in place by plastic retainers and one metal clip. After prying the quarter trim loose with a trim stick and your hands, carefully pull it away, unplugging electrical connectors for speakers and the power door actuator. The 17mm bolt for the seat belt can be removed with a 17mm metric socket to allow the quarter trim panel to be pulled towards the center of the car and  laid down on a blanket or drop cloth to prevent it from being marred.

Remove the speaker assemblies using a small 20mm torx socket and a 1/4″ extension. Note there are washers for these screws that may fall. Pull back the weather stripping without removing it completely. It’s easier to pull it back just enough to remove the top metal bracket, than to remove it completely and have to fit the weather stripping back into place when putting it back together. With a socket, remove the 5mm Allen bolts and 10mm bolts that hold the top metal bracket. Remove the 10mm triple sqaure or spline bolt for the convertible hinge mechanism (there are three, just remove the top one).

Remove the regulator assembly by taking out the three 13mm attaching nuts, don’t loosen the Allen studs because this will change the window adjustment. Roll the window about 3/4’s of the way up before unplugging the motor. In addition to the automotive tools mentioned in this auto tech article, you’ll need a pair of cutters to cut the cables if they are tangled up and don’t allow the window to move. If the window is all the way down it will be impossible to remove the assembly through the small opening. Lay the assembly on a work space for regulator replacement.VW_Quarter_Window_AssemblyNew Beetle Quarter Window regulator kit installation

Installation of the quarter window regulator kit assembly is simple after the assembly is out so it can be worked on (the motor is held on with T-30 torx bolts). The plastic cable retainer is under a lot of stress as you will see when putting this together. The guides should be well lubricated with a silicone, like silglyde or white lithium grease. Any binding when the window is going up can cause the window to go down as if it were obstructed, for safety reasons.

Putting it back together is of course the opposite of removal. But when operating the window and the convertible top for the first time after re-assembly, go slow and watch for any obstructions or anything out of place, you don’t want to break anything especially one of those tiny door actuator rods that would cost a fortune to replace. Don’t panic at first if the window stops going up and goes right back down. After the window is operated several times the cable will center itself and start working normally.

48 Responses
  1. Ann williams :

    Date: November 4, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

    Hi, I’ve called a couple of dealers and none seem to know anything about VW offering the wndow regulator part separately. They all seem to think that the only option is the complete quarter wndow assembly. Could you give me the part number to order the rear window regulator part on its own.

  2. dennisb :

    Date: November 4, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

    Ann, double check these numbers for your year, but I would think they would be correct for all New Beetles.
    Left Rear – 1Y0898291N2 and Right Rear – 1Y0898292N2. List price is $76.50.

  3. Ann williams :

    Date: November 6, 2008 @ 9:27 am

    To double check, My car is a 2003 convertible with power windows. Do the power windows make a difference?

  4. dennisb :

    Date: November 8, 2008 @ 8:50 am

    The car in the blog has power windows also. The part numbers given should be verified at the dealer for your particular year, but at least now since you can provide the part number the dealer won’t be able to claim that the regulator by itself is not available.

  5. Sandra Sierra :

    Date: November 12, 2008 @ 9:44 am

    Hi Dennis. I just called my local VW dealer and they told me that the part number mentioned above is for a regulator kit, not the actual regulator itself. Can this be true?

  6. dennisb :

    Date: November 12, 2008 @ 10:41 am

    That’s right. The regulator repair kit includes the transmission, cables and plastic retainer (the retainer is the weak part that fails). This was talked about in the blog. It’s a lot cheaper to replace the failed parts (if that’s all you need) as opposed to replacing the entire regulator, motor and window.

  7. Deb :

    Date: November 12, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

    Can you buy the regulator kit for the front windows, too? My front and rear driver’s side are both broken right now. I have already replaced the front passenger.

  8. dennisb :

    Date: November 14, 2008 @ 9:17 am

    Deb, Contact your local VW dealer to find out about availability of window regulator repair kits for the front. My guess is they are probably available. It was strange that initially, the rear ones were only available as an assembly, that is not the norm when it comes to power window repairs.

  9. linda ramos :

    Date: December 18, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

    In your article you mention that until recently window regulators were costly as a result of having to buy the whole unit. I’ve spoken to a VW rep and he has suggested that it will cost around $500.00, is this reasonable? Thanks

  10. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 19, 2008 @ 8:25 am

    Linda, It depends on what is included for the $500. The whole unit that includes window, the regulator and the motor at the time of this post was around $500 by itself not including any labor. Add labor of 2.4 hours multiplied times the shop’s labor rate to get an idea of what the break-down is. For example if the shop’s labor rate is $85 an hour you would multiply 2.4 x 85 = $204, then add the cost of either the regulator rebuild kit, $204 + $76.50 = $280.50, or the entire unit if that’s what you need, $204 + $500 = $704. Shop labor rates vary and depending on the shop’s discretion, they may have a fee to diagnose the problem as well, usually .5 to 1.0 hour labor. Just have the service writer provide an estimate with details, so you know where the money is being spent.

  11. bmoran2222 :

    Date: January 11, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

    I have read this article 10 times or more, and I’m still being told that the entire section, costing about $1000 to repair. You listed the part number, can you give me a place that I can actually purchase that one piece? I have entered the number in quite a few parts stores online and they say the part doesn’t exist. Thanks so very much for your time. Betg

  12. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 11, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

    Many parts departments may not know about it or maybe they just want to sell the more expensive part. You could always just print the entire article and go to your local parts department. If the first person that you deal with doesn’t find their VW number that I have listed ask to speak to his boss. Being persistent will definitely pay off!

  13. Vicki Ferguson :

    Date: February 20, 2009 @ 12:49 am

    Thanks so much we are in the middle of fixing and didn’t know what the cable went to but that is the problem. I did find the fronts at AE 1 electric window company in torrance Ca for much better prices. like 169

  14. Vicki Ferguson :

    Date: February 22, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

    Just bought the rear window regulator repair kit at dealer for $94.00 will let you know how we do.

  15. Vicki Ferguson :

    Date: February 22, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

    Ok searching the internet again. We cannot figure out if the bolts on top undo and the entire thing lifts out or what ?? Anybody know ??

  16. Vicki Ferguson :

    Date: February 23, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

    Ok got it done worked like a charm I did take pictures if anybody needs. But we forgot something and I could just cry. We removed a cable near the flip door. It makes the small part slide when the top goes down. And when you don’t replace it It breaks when the top goes up. I am not going to try to fix that until another day. Many thanks for information. And to let everybody know it can be done for $90 and a few hours of your time.

  17. Kara Anderson :

    Date: February 26, 2009 @ 12:20 am

    Has anyone used this kit on an 05 or older beetle?? they say the kit is for the 06 and up and I have an 03. Just wondring if the parts were still compatable. And if not… do they make one for the 03??

  18. mitch :

    Date: March 10, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

    Just bought 2005 new beetle conv. with power windows. 12000 miles.
    1st time I put rear window down it would only come up 1/2 way and go back down, did this 3 times then would not come up at all. just sharp screeching noise. motor seems to be working both ways. sounds like it needs the repair kit, right? Would warranty cover this?

  19. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 11, 2009 @ 6:20 am

    Mitch, sounds like the problem. The new car warranty would be out by time. If you just purchased this car from a dealer, you may have a limited warranty from them. If you purchased from an individual party, then you are most likely on your own.

  20. mitch :

    Date: March 11, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

    Found repair kit here in Lakeland Fl. at Eurocars Inc. VW dealer. $88.00 for the kit or $325.00 for kit and installation. Service tech laughed when I told him my problem. They keep 5 kits in stock at all times.

  21. Nancy :

    Date: March 20, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    I recently had my convertible straps fixed as well as the right front window which was off the track. However I never ever had a problem w/ the right quarter panel until they fixed the front. As soon as I tested the windows the back quarter panel went down with a cracking noise and never went back up? can you advise if the mechanic was supposed to align these two windows together when fixing? Their first response was its the regulator but I know its not.
    I thank you for your help!!!!

  22. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 20, 2009 @ 11:43 am

    Nancy,

    Yes, most likely it IS the regulator and no they weren’t suppose to line the front one up with the rear one. One has nothing to do with the other. The rear windows in these cars are like a ticking time bomb and that can go at any moment.

  23. Nancy :

    Date: March 20, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

    Thank you.

  24. Nancy :

    Date: March 26, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

    I get a quicker response from you: well it wasn’t the regulator apparently there is a “strap” that moves the window up and down and its stretched out??? does that make sense? and do you know what this is called? I have a call into my auto repair guy but want to know what I am talking about first. A year ago there was extensive quarter panel work and I believe this repair shop missed something when they fixed it. Any help would be appreciated.

  25. dennisb :

    Date: March 26, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

    I’m not aware of any strap. The regulator’s job is to move the window up and down (powered by the motor). The cable guide fails typically like pictured above and can cause the cable to get tangled up. It’s possible that the strap that he is referring to is in fact the cable in the regulator.

  26. Nancy :

    Date: March 26, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    You are on the money apparently what happened is that the “cable unraveled from the motor” which costs to the tune of $350.00 not including labor. Fighting now w/the extended warranty people… thanks a bunch.

  27. dennisb :

    Date: March 26, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

    Nancy remember if the kit is all you need, it will be a lot cheaper…

  28. Nancy :

    Date: March 27, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    Saga….Dennis first off thank you so much for your time and responses. One more question. Is it possible that if the glass was removed and reinstalled which it was–is there something the mechanic should have done to make sure the window itself was working the the motor that houses the cable. In other words taking the window out and putting it back in requires more labor than that? I appreciate it. PS: I am gone to be a mechanic after all this!!!aratn and eother

  29. dennisb :

    Date: March 27, 2009 @ 10:01 am

    I don’t really see the mechanic as the cause for the window regulator failing (more of a weak design issue).

    “Mechanics don’t design em, they just fix’ em”

    And the motor does not house the regulator. Taking the window out and putting it back is roughly the same labor as changing the regulator or motor, they are all in the same vicinity. But again, it’s the design and not likely the fault of anyone unlucky enough to have to repair it.

  30. Nancy :

    Date: March 27, 2009 @ 10:10 am

    Ok thanks.

  31. Mikelkey :

    Date: March 28, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

    Hi, I am currently trying to install the regulator kit on both rear windows. I keep running into the problem that the new cable doesn’t seem long enough to fit over the pulleys and such. Any suggestions?

  32. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 28, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

    Mike,

    An extra pair of hands may help. Also try putting the cable on the pulleys prior to attaching the guide with the nut. By securing the guide last, it will provide a little more slack.

  33. MattN :

    Date: April 26, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

    Look at the cable end away from the motor… there is the wire cable surrounded by a palstic white insulator surrounded by a spiral wrap metal coil surrounded by the exterior black plastic. If you are having trouble fitting the replacement cable then the wire spiral wrap may be too long (about 3/8″). Carefully pull the white insulator back out of the way and very carefully shave down the wire spiral wrap making sure NOT to damage or cut the wire cable itself. Then push the white pastic insulator back and load the cable end into the receiving connector. This should give more length. Remember this is the cable end away from the motor.

  34. Kirk :

    Date: June 30, 2009 @ 10:39 am

    I have a ’04 convert and it has 7700 miles, Yes 7,700 miles. The rear quarter window on the passenger side did this and VW will not help at all. I plan to repair it myself and would love more detailed pics to assist. Vicki Ferguson, you said you took more, could you please have them posted here?

  35. Kirk :

    Date: July 1, 2009 @ 8:35 am

    The procedure worked great! Part cost $88, really only needed one item out of the box (Cable end connector) to make it work. The cables that came with the box were about a half inch shorted then the original and I could not use them. I tried and tried to replace with the new one but I gave up and had to go back to the old set. I started photo documenting the procedure, but gave up after the first hour. The only thing this post is missing is more detailed photos. I am thinking of about trying to mill out my own connecter out of aluminum to resolve this issue in the future.

    Thanks for the pics and pro,
    Kirk

  36. Vicki Ferguson :

    Date: July 3, 2009 @ 11:18 am

    Ours was a 2003, don’t think the cable could ruin the motor. I sent a picture of ratty cable. Plastic part just doesn’t work. I was quoted $850 from dealer. this site was great. Step by step worked great took 2 of us just to be careful. Here is your request for pics and a huge thank you for your detailed instructions. This was a mother / 20 year old son attempt to try to save a few hundred $$ and we did it. Important fact you need one person to read instructions and the other to do the work. The phone rang and my son put it back together at one point and forgot to attach the small cable that moves the sliding part to flip section and it broke. Thank you DenLorsTools.com for your instructions. We only did not realize that the entire window with regulator lifted straight up for a little while. It took us maybe 1 hour to open everything up and another hour to put together. Good time to change speaker also Part cost us $91.00 from dealer. Front regulators really vary so shop around

    Thanks again

    pic 2

    pic 3

    pic 4

    pic 5

    pic 6

  37. Vicki Ferguson :

    Date: July 4, 2009 @ 10:26 am

    We didn’t think cable was long enough either but after a few times made it. Trick was as in picture above getting cable into pulleys, and kinda a two man job getting ends of cable into plastic piece and at the same time pushing that black bracket onto where it belonged. Just be patient. It does fit.

  38. Vicki Ferguson :

    Date: July 4, 2009 @ 10:40 am

    Pictures above are top lifted 1/4 to open flap and remove entire window.2 side panel, speaker and regulator removed. 3 looking down at empty side. 4 Window assembly laying on flat surface. 5 New cable kit hooked properly ( cable is long enough to hook but not in correct position now needs to have 2 people kinda apply patience and push pulleys so that black part with cables attatched pushed down to line up hole on black part to white just below it on gear. If you have this piece attatched cable would not stretch to fit ends. Attatch ends first 6 Last picture shows what old part looked like. Hope this helps and just can’t wait until the other one breaks. ha ha

  39. Dave S :

    Date: July 17, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

    Currently having to replace the same broken plastic piece on ours. Got the kit, and managed to get it all together, and back into the car. The window went 1/2 way up once – back down – and stayed down. It will no move back up. Tried to get the whole thing back out. Problem now, can’t seem to get it out with the window all the way down. What next?

  40. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 18, 2009 @ 7:09 am

    Let me just say that I’m impressed with the DIY’ers that have dove into this repair (many having great success) although I warned that this may be too involved for the average Do It Yourself-er. Nothing risked nothing gained, I suppose.

    About your dilemma, sounds like:

    1. The cable is in a bind from possibly loading it on the spool improperly. As stated in this auto repair blog “you’ll need a pair of cutters to cut the cables if they are tangled up and don’t allow the window to move. If the window is all the way down it will be impossible to remove the assembly through the small opening.”

    2. If the cable is not in a bind, the motor could have failed. But most likely the cable may still need to be cut to allow the window to be moved to the 3/4 position for removal.

  41. Andy :

    Date: August 16, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

    Just completed this on my wife’s 2003 Beetle Convertible. Had difficulty with the cables being too short. Did what MattN suggested and was able to get the cables to fit. Window is functioning properly now. My wife is happy as well as my wallet. Thanks for doing this write up.

  42. Joseph M :

    Date: August 17, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    If anyone is having trouble finding a repair kit from VW, try looking around on the Internet, as these regulators have more time exposure to the market more alternatives will be available.

  43. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 19, 2009 @ 10:52 am

    Good point Joseph M, if someone has a website that sells a good solution for this let me know so we can post mutual links.

  44. Buggy :

    Date: August 23, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

    Thanks for the posts. I just completed repairing the right rear regulator (kit was $88 + tax) and it took about 4 hours. This was my first time ever attempting anything like this. Also referred to a video at http://www.bentleypublishers.com

    Between your post and the video it was pretty clear before I ever started. Thanks again

  45. marilyn :

    Date: August 27, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

    Where can I buy a 3/4 rear left window motor for a 2004 vw beetle
    Thanks

  46. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 27, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

    Marilyn, I would search on-line for New Beetle rear qaurter window, check salvage yards or last resort the dealer.

  47. george w :

    Date: November 23, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

    Dennisb, are there any solutions to improve the failure point of the quarter window regulator repair? I had front drivers side window regulator repaired at the dealer.(ouch) The passenger side failed soon after, I replaced the passenger side myself.(fraction of cost of dealer) I am now working on rear quarter window regulator.Thanks

  48. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: November 24, 2014 @ 8:22 am

    George, not that I’m aware of. There seems to be a huge amount of stress on that piece huh? Maybe this is one of those things that are perfectly engineered, to fail, outside of the waranty period. Good Luck.

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