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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm swapping my grey leather seats out of my Jetta wagon, and putting black sport cloth seats from an '03 GLI in their place. I also wanted to change the door card inserts from the grey leather to something that matched the color and texture, roughly, of the seats.
These are the seats I'm putting in:

Yes, I know they're a mess. I'll clean them up before they're installed permanently.
I found a set of GLI door cards for sale. GLI door cards are all black with fabric inserts. The inserts could be sport cloth or the Recaro fabric, depending on the year of car they're from.
Side-by-side, these are the rear driver's side door cards from my wagon and the GLI. Note that the top bar of the wagon and sedan (GLI) doors are different, but that every other part of the doors are the same size.

The door card insert on my wagon is grey leather. It's nice, but it doesn't match my seats. I wanted something fabric, and because I dig two-tone (and my interior is already a good bit two-toned), I thought the black fabric would look cool in the grey background. In addition, I wanted to swap out the speaker grilles, too.
I'm actually not interested in the wood-grained door pulls. Nothing else in my car is wood-grained, so I think they'd look out of place. Plain black might be nice, but I'll stick with my wagon's grey pulls for now.
So the question is, how do you swap the door card inserts from one car to another? As it turns out, it's not tough. The removal and reinstallation of the door cards is the toughest part. Speaking of which, visit the DIY section for information about said removal and reinstallation.
On to the swap! I took progressive pictures as I worked on the door cards shown above (driver's side rear), but the same steps apply to every door. The only real difference is the steps to remove the door cards from the door itself.
You need to remove the front cap from the door pull in order to remove the door card from the door. To remove the back half of the door pull, remove the three visible screws and lift the door pull off of the door card.

And after the door pull has been removed...

Flip the door card over. On the back side of the rear door cards, you need to remove the foam block. Pull the plastic clip away from the block and pull the foam block away from the card. It's glued in place but pulls off easily.

The insert is held in place by about twenty plastic tabs that have been inserted through slots in the insert, and then melted. Melting them acts to glue the tabs to the insert as well as making the ends too large to fit back through the slots. This is what the melted tabs look like:

There are two of the round pegs along the edge of the insert, and about twenty of the flat tabs. Here's a better view of the tab:

The only way to remove the insert from the door card is to release the tabs from the slots. You could use a knife to do this part, but I used a Dremel tool and made short work of the melted parts of the tabs:

And the aftermath:


Note that sometimes the tabs have melted directly to the wooden backing of the inserts. I just dremeled down through the top layer of the wood to get all of the melted tab off. Note also that some of the melted plastic will fill the void between the side of the tab and the slot. These tabs will be difficult to separate from the insert.
At this point you can either try to pull the insert directly off of the door card, from the back, or you can turn the door card over and try to push the insert back through the hole. That's easier to do, but you're apt to break more tabs that way.
You *will* break some of these tabs off. See?

You can probably lose as many as half of the tabs and still be okay, as long as you don't lose a lot of them in one section.
After all of the tabs come out of the slots, this is what you'll have...a door card insert:

Look at the tabs. Some of them will have melted plastic on the sides of them. The reinstallation of the new door card insert will go much easier if you scrape off as much excess melted plastic as you can. Use a blade of some kind, and try not to break the tabs as you're scraping them:

So while we're here, let's remove the old speaker grille. It's melted in place at six points around the outside of the grille.

Easily enough, you can dremel the melted portions off here, too.

Popping off the speaker grille is a little more delicate than removing the door card insert.

Make things easier on yourself...drill through the speaker grille mounting holes with a 5/16" drill bit. The tabs on the grille itself are 1/4", but when they got melted on installation, they expand a bit. It's easier if you have the extra clearance.

Repeat the above procedures on the other door card.
Reinstallation time! The easiest way to reinstall the door card insert is to stick the remaining shortened tabs through the slots on the insert, as far as they'll go, and secure them with some sort of adhesive. Although there are many adhesives that would work, I chose hot glue.
I've never used a hot glue gun, but I had one lurking downstairs, still in it's package. It was easy! You squeeze the trigger and it squirts out hot glue! Wait a minute or two and it solidifies, and it's pretty tough stuff!
Use enough hot glue to ensure that the tab stays put. Then put some extra on top of it. Like so:



Flip the door card over and check to make sure the insert is nice and flush with the card.

The finished product:

The front passenger door, before:

...and after:

And the driver's door, before:

...and after:


Installed:

I think it looks hawt. It takes me one step closer to driving exactly the car I want to drive.
--Chris


Modified by Nihilator at 11:32 PM 11-20-2006
 

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Re: DIY: Swapping door card inserts (Nihilator)

http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif Two-Tone
If only mk3 door cards were as easy.
Good Job
 

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oh man i thought it was harder...but its easy.
 

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Re: (fastgermancar)

awesome write-up, 2tone looks great!!!

I'm going to send this to an mk4 forum moderator to be put in the DIY guides http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: (SPKNGRMN)

Quote, originally posted by SPKNGRMN »
awesome write-up, 2tone looks great!!!

I'm going to send this to an mk4 forum moderator to be put in the DIY guides http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif

Thanks.
I installed my grey leather inserts and speaker grilles back into the all-black GLI door cards, and then traded them to Dan (jettafock). Now he's got two-tone, too, but nearly the opposite of what I have. (The tops of his door cards are black, as well.)
--Chris
 

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Re: (Nihilator)

that's great, have him post some pics

sent this thread to Larry in the mk4 forums http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: (jettafock)

Quote, originally posted by jettafock »
Damn that looks good. I bet it would look pretty hot the other way too with black doors and gray arms and speaker covers. Oh yea, it does look good, cuz I have your arms and speaker covers in my doors.

Yeah, we rock.

--Chris
 

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Re: (Nihilator)

this DIY guide has been added to the mk4 sticky guides under the interior DIY section http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: DIY: Swapping door card inserts (Nihilator)

I am planning on using some left over material to recover the door panel inserts on my 337. Just wondering how well the hot glue has held up over time? I just don't want to have to take the panels back off in a few months to fix something.
 

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Re: DIY: Swapping door card inserts (Nihilator)

Hey Chris, Are you interested in selling the grey leather front seats? My Jetta had an accident and I blew the pass side seat airbag. Let me know. Thanks Jake
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: DIY: Swapping door card inserts (3ur0Tra$h)

Quote, originally posted by 3ur0Tra$h »
I am planning on using some left over material to recover the door panel inserts on my 337. Just wondering how well the hot glue has held up over time? I just don't want to have to take the panels back off in a few months to fix something.

Well, I couldn't tell you. I've only had them this way for about two weeks now.
I imagine hot glue will hold up just fine over time. It seems pretty solid, although it's not as secure as the original melted plastic was. In the corners where I had very little to work with (broken tabs), I have had one or two pop out. I could fix them with an overdose of hot glue, but I don't need to do that at the moment.
--Chris
 

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Re: DIY: Swapping door card inserts (Nihilator)

Just to give an update, I covered the my first door insert last night and re-installed it onto the panel. I used a loctite product, a 5 min epoxy, I picked up at Home Depot. It was easy to use and with a bit of paitence worked quite well. The door panel feels as solid as it did before the seperation. I will make sure to take progress pics when I do the other 3 so there is some more info on this.
 

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this is absolutely amazing!!! im so glad i found this! im about to swap in some black leather inserts and black speaker grilles into my t-red jetta with tan interior... cant wait!
 

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Re: (KJvr6)

totally awesome... you did a smashing job.... don't you just love ths about vw and vortex... http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: (spkn^GRMN)

Awsome write up. You make it sound very easy, making me feel like I can do this myself
....
spkn^GRMN Thanks again for directing me to this thread
http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 
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