Window regulator removal and repair for mk4 Volkswagens

difficulty: 2/5
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The window regulating clips are known for failure on the VW mk4 cars  (Passat, Jetta, Golf, also applies to mk5 Jetta/Golf/Rabbit).  This shows how to fix a window that fell down.

VW used large plastic sliders and a 2 piece clip which was redesigned as a small plastic slider and 1 piece clip.  This article applies to all 1999.5-2004 VW, both gasoline and diesel.  It also applies to all VW Passat up to 2005 and some mk5 Jetta/Golf.  If you are hearing a clunk when the power windows move up and down, it may be the window regulator clips failing.  Grinding or clicking noises indicate that the clip may fail soon.  Once the clip fails, the window glass often falls into the door and cannot be raised, leaving the window open.

At least on the Jetta, VW extended the warranty on the window regulators to 7 years from the original date of purchase, for 2001-2002 models, see below for the letter.  If you explain the problem to the dealership they know exactly what the problem is because it's a common problem.

Try to raise the window to help secure the window before shutting the door.  Some think that this helps.

The Jetta started getting the new clips sometime in 2003.  The Passat got the old clips all the way to the end of B5.5 model run in 2005.  Even after they switched to the 1 piece metal clip, instead of a clip breaking, the clip slips off.  If you remove the door panel it's suggested to glue the clips in place.  Your car is not unique, the mk3 window regulators fail often too.  They finally fixed it sometime in the mk5 generation.

Below is a clickable image that will show the TSB for the Jetta, Golf, and New Beetle.  You can also click here: window regulator TSB.

Window regulator repair parts

8mm triple square bit (not torx)
torx for power window motor
10mm socket

Window regulator repair steps

(pictured on a Passat, all other mk4 cars similar)

Remove the door panels for the side you want to fix.  If you have a mk4 Jetta or Golf see 1000q: how to remove the door panels on Jetta.  If you have a mk4 VW Passat, see 1000q: how to remove the door panels on mk4 B5 B5.5 Passat.  If you have a mk5 Jetta or Golf (Rabbit), see 1000q: mk5 outer door skin removal and 1000q: mk5 door card removal.

Front doors

After you remove the door panels, disconnect the wires for the speakers, power window motor, and power side view mirror.  Basically, you have to remove all the wiring.  Remove the speakers if they can come off.  Remove all the 10mm bolts holding on the inner door skin.  Release the door latch and door plunger seals. (yellow arrows)

Also punch out the center of the 2 plastic rivets holding the door lock module (the 2 closely spaced yellow arrows above and below, panel already removed for illustration).  See 1000q: how to remove the door lock module for more details and pics.

If the window still works you have to separate the window from it's rail.  Open the rubber caps for the access holes (opened in the picture below) and look through them.  Raise/lower the power window until you see the 10mm bolt (white arrow below) that holds the regulator clip (1x 10mm bolt per clip).  

If the window is working then manually raise the window glass while moving the regulator down.  If the window motors are not working then securely support the window with tape before removing these bolts!  If the window falls down it can break or injure you!  Raise/lower the power window and the clip will come off.

If the window does not work, manually move the window to get the 10mm bolts into view by removing the window motor (if there are screws) or removing the 4x torx screws holding the window regulator motor cover.  Pull the motor out just enough so that the gears can move.  Then you can push the window down manually. 

If you happen to pull the motor out past the brushes (white arrow below, the stationary spring loaded part that contacts the motor shaft), just move the brushes back when you push the motor back into place.

If the window is broken it should move anyways.  Once the clips are disconnected unplug the power window motor and remove it.   The door and window should both be loose.  Reach behind the inner door skin and remove any remaining wiring or connections from the sheetmetal door panel.  

In the Jetta and Golf, the window track extends above the top of the sheetmetal panel of the door.  In the Passat, the window track extends below the bottom of the door.  When removing the inner door skin, you have to slide the free side (either upper or lower) out first.  Take care to make sure the window doesn't suddenly drop down.

If you want to remove the window glass, just pull it out.  Of note: this window has aftermarket tinted glass film.  You can see where the film ends.  The 2 lower parts are where the window clips attach.

Flip the sheetmetal door panel over.  The window sliders (green arrow) is what breaks. There are 2 piece metal clips on them that hold the window.  Unhook the old plastic/metal clips and replace with the new one.  Glue the new 1 piece regulator clips to the sliders and window.  Only replace the cables if they are damaged.  Pictured below is the Jetta window regulator with metal clips removed.  The Jetta window regulator rails stick out above the door panel.

Pictured below is the Passat window regulator with the metal clips still attached.  The Passat window rails stick out below the door panel.

You can now remove the window regulator motor, just screw the 3x torx bolts holding it to the door skin. 

Rear windows

Remove the door cards as linked above.  Also remove the wiring and the 10mm bolts around the edge of the door.  Punch out the center of the door module plastic rivets.

Open the rubber access panel and lower the window until you see the dowel pin holding the window glass to the clip.  Push it out.

Here you can see where the dowel pin goes - near the bottom of the window travel.

Here is a picture of the pin in the window glassfor illustration.  Normally the pin locks the clip to the window glass.

The Jetta is similar, see the below picture.  The door bolts are circled in green below.


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