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Door Check Strap Replacement Tutorial
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FiremarshalBill
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:49 am    Post subject: Door Check Strap Replacement Tutorial Reply with quote

Replacing Karmann Ghia door check straps.

Over the years the rubber/polymer door check straps used on your Karmann Ghia have probably deteriorated, maybe even crumbled away to nothing (like mine)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
leaving only the metal strap that may keep the door from opening too far, but nothing to keep the door fully or partially open, resulting in bruised shins as gravity takes over and the door closes shut on your legs. It has been said that this door check setup is not one of VWs better designs but I suppose its better than nothing.

Anyway, Ive been meaning to tackle this project for some time now and finally decided to just do it. I started by purchasing two brand new replacement door check strap kits on eBay for about $10 per kit. Each kit includes the strap itself, which is a replacement metal strap with a thick, variously tapered rubber or polymer cover, and three pins with C clips to hold the pins in place. Two of the three pins in each kit have nylon or polymer rollers over them. These two pins with the rollers are located inside the door and the door panel must be removed to change them out. The check strap itself travels in and out between the two rollers as the door is opened and closed and the various tapers in the strap catch between the rollers to hold the door open in two positions - fully open and partially opened.

Depending on how much rust is involved, the procedure for installing a new check strap, pins, and rollers takes about 30-45 minutes per door. Note: The installation shown here was done on the right side of a 1970 convertible, though several on-line Ghia parts companies say that their door check strap kits will work on all 59-74 Ghias.

The procedure is as follows:

a) Attach a bungee cord from the outside door handle to the fender lip or the bumper to hold the door open.
b) Remove the inside door handle plastic cup and trim.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
c) Roll the window completely up and then remove the window crank handle.
d) Wrap a putty knife blade or similar tool with electrical tape (to keep from scratching your paint) and gently slide it under the edges of the door panel to pop the door panel pins out of their respective mounting holes.
e) When all door panel pins are free from their mounting holes, gently tap UP on the arm rest from the bottom to release the arm rest from its catch on the inside of the door, and the entire door panel should lift right off.
f) Remove the C clip at the top of the single pin on the forward end of the check strap and remove the old pin.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

g) Now the fun part. Reach up inside the door to remove the C clips on the two pins with the rollers and remove both pins/rollers. Getting your hand up inside the door to change out these pins is awkward, but it can be done.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
h) Insert one new pin (from the top down) and roller through the two holes closest to the inside of the door and install the C clip on the bottom end of the pin.
i) Slide the check strap in and install the second pin/roller (as described above) so that the last notch on the thick end of the check strap is between the two pins/rollers. Note: The door check straps are identical and will probably have a raised L on one side and a raised R on the other. When installed correctly, the L faces up on the drivers side door strap and the R faces up on the passengers side door strap.
j) Once the two pin/rollers and C clips are installed inside the door, install the single pin through the bracket and front end of the door check strap, and secure with a C clip. This pin is installed from the bottom with the C clip on top.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
k) Carefully line up the door panel pins with the holes and re-install the door panel. BTW, as long as you have the door panel off, now might be a good time to clean out the drain holes, vacuum out the bottom of the door, or maybe replace that torn or missing vapor barrier.
l) Re-install the window crank handle.
m) Re-install the door handle trim and plastic cup.

Oh, one more thing, before you start this project, you might consider buying a few spare C clips at your local hardware store (about 14 cents each). When installing them on the pins, they tend to fly off into oblivion (I lost two during my installation) and it may save you a trip to the store in the middle of your project. Your Karmann Ghia doors should now stay open, at least when youre parked flat and level.
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NOVA Airhead
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good write up. I think I used an impact wrench with a cutter attachment to bust the old pins out. Mine were so rusted they would not budge. You will replace them anyway. Took not more than a minute with the impact wrench.
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sputnick60
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This very useful thread is somewhat devalued now the links to the photos are lost. Can something be done about the missing photo's Bill?

Nicholas
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FiremarshalBill
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what happened to the original images from Photobucket but I've re-posted this with the photos and hope it might help someone who is considering changing out their door check straps.

Replacing Karmann Ghia door check straps.

Over the years the rubber/polymer door check straps used on your Karmann Ghia have probably deteriorated, maybe even crumbled away to nothing (like mine) Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
leaving only the metal strap that may keep the door from opening too far, but nothing to keep the door fully or partially open, resulting in bruised shins as gravity takes over and the door closes shut on your legs. It has been said that this door check setup is not one of VWs better designs but I suppose its better than nothing.

Anyway, Ive been meaning to tackle this project for some time now and finally decided to just do it. I started by purchasing two brand new replacement door check strap kits on eBay for about $10 per kit. Each kit includes the strap itself, which is a replacement metal strap with a thick, variously tapered rubber or polymer cover, and three pins with C clips to hold the pins in place. Two of the three pins in each kit have nylon or polymer rollers over them. These two pins with the rollers are located inside the door and the door panel must be removed to change them out. The check strap itself travels in and out between the two rollers as the door is opened and closed and the various tapers in the strap catch between the rollers to hold the door open in two positions - fully open and partially opened (at least in theory).

Depending on how much rust is involved, the procedure for installing a new check strap, pins, and rollers takes about 30-45 minutes per door. Note: The installation shown here was done on the right side of a 1970 convertible, though several on-line Ghia parts companies say that their door check strap kits will work on all 59-74 Ghias.

The procedure is as follows:

a) Attach a bungee cord from the outside door handle to the fender lip or the bumper to hold the door open.
b) Remove the inside door handle plastic cup and trim.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
c) Roll the window completely up and then remove the window crank handle.
d) Wrap a putty knife blade or similar tool with electrical tape (to keep from scratching your paint) and gently slide it under the edges of the door panel to pop the door panel pins out of their respective mounting holes.
e) When all door panel pins are free from their mounting holes, gently tap UP on the arm rest from the bottom to release the arm rest from its catch on the inside of the door, and the entire door panel should lift right off.
f) Remove the C clip at the top of the single pin on the door end of the check strap and remove the old pin.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
g) Now the fun part. Reach up inside the door to remove the C clips on the two pins with the rollers and remove both pins/rollers. Getting your hand up inside the door to change out these pins is awkward, but it can be done.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
h) Insert one new pin (from the top down) and roller through the two holes closest to the inside of the door and install the C clip on the bottom end of the pin.
i) Slide the check strap in and then install the second pin/roller (as described above) so that the last notch on the thick end of the check strap is between the two pins/rollers. Note: The door check straps are identical and will probably have a raised L on one side and a raised R on the other. When installed correctly, the raised L faces up on the drivers side door strap and the R faces up on the passengers side door strap.
j) Once the two pins/rollers and C clips are installed inside the door, install the single pin through the bracket on the other end of the door check strap, and secure with a C clip. This pin is installed from the bottom with the C clip on top.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
k) Carefully line up the door panel pins with the holes and re-install the door panel. BTW, as long as you have the door panel off, now might be a good time to clean out the drain holes, vacuum out the bottom of the door, or maybe replace that torn or missing vapor barrier.
l) Re-install the window crank handle.
m) Re-install the door handle trim and plastic cup.

Oh, one more thing, before you start this project, you might consider buying a few spare C clips at your local hardware store (about 14 cents each). When installing them on the pins, they tend to fly off into oblivion (I lost two during my installation) and it may save you a trip to the store in the middle of your project. Your Karmann Ghia doors should now stay open, at least when youre parked flat and level.
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squonk
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that the photos are back, can I nominate this for inclusion in the "How-To" sticky?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

squonk wrote:
Now that the photos are back, can I nominate this for inclusion in the "How-To" sticky?


Yep...done.

It does however highlight the need to upload important tutorial illustrations to the Samba Gallery. Once in place their location never alters so you don't loose pictures as is all too common through changes in remote hosting. The upholstery Sticky is a good example of a useful thread ruined.
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J1
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Replaced with this check strap... http://www.karmannghia.com/viewDetail.asp?strMasterCat=1148&idproduct=1868

Door doesn't stay open. Door hesitates but still ends up closing. Tested it on a pretty level spot. Anyone have the same experience with this product? I know there is an oversized version sold on airhead so maybe that works better? If others have good experience with this product, maybe my rear shocks are drooping?
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Either the plastic rollers are worn or your pins are bent. Or both.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tutorial, unfortunately it's no longer a $10 fix. The kits on ebay are costing between $29 and $32.00, plus shipping.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kman wrote:
Either the plastic rollers are worn or your pins are bent. Or both.


They are brand new and nothing seems to be wrong with them. So I guess I'm looking for a review of this particular repro part. If others are having the same experience, I'll deal with it. If others can confirm that it does indeed stop the door, then it'll at least tell me something may not be quite right on my car.

And I will concur that getting your hands inside the door to remove/install the rollers is a little tricky. I have small hands and can't imagine how those of you with more meat might handle it!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jawon wrote:
kman wrote:
Either the plastic rollers are worn or your pins are bent. Or both.


They are brand new and nothing seems to be wrong with them. So I guess I'm looking for a review of this particular repro part. If others are having the same experience, I'll deal with it. If others can confirm that it does indeed stop the door, then it'll at least tell me something may not be quite right on my car.

And I will concur that getting your hands inside the door to remove/install the rollers is a little tricky. I have small hands and can't imagine how those of you with more meat might handle it!


Mine works fine. All new parts - rollers, pins, etc. I have done this job on a couple of cars and find its easier to just replace everything.

Make sure you have the straps in the correct direction.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NOVA Airhead wrote:
Mine works fine. All new parts - rollers, pins, etc. I have done this job on a couple of cars and find its easier to just replace everything.

Make sure you have the straps in the correct direction.


I have all new parts and it is in the correct direction ("L" on top for my driver side). Hmmm, I guess I need to do some customization. I'm thinking there's too much gap between the strap and rollers, so I guess I'll try to reduce that gap somehow.

Btw, I'm guessing the best place to check how level the car is, is the sill plate. Well, it's perfectly level and still the check strap does not prevent the door from closing.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How are you guys finding these repro ones to last?
Mine delaminated and fell apart after opening / closing the doors 10x
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^^ no delam on mine but passenger side just bent into an "L" closing the door.
Mine are tight and require a little silicone spray to ease the bind. This could be the diff between regular and "oversize". I dont think i have plastic rollers on the inside just the metal pins. I didnt know there were options when i cobbled mine together. Perhaps the oversize is for those w/o plastic rollers and the regular size work with the rollers. Early ones i have were just metal and not rubber covered.
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