New Beetle Quarter Window Repair – Auto Tools

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


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.


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.


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.

51 Responses
  1. Old curmudgeon :

    Date: June 12, 2016 @ 3:30 pm

    Just to save others a lot of grief – on my wife’s 08 beetle convertible, the bolts holding the bottom of the back seat to the floor pan are NOT hex or spline bolts. They are triple square – 7mm….and good luck finding that bit. You can try a hex bit and if you’re lucky it may work, but if you booger the 12 splines in that bolt head, you’re in for a major bad time.

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