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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been trying to figure out to fix this issue without buying a whole new door panel.

If you go to this video, and fast forward to 0:50, you'll see him start to remove the master switch assembly from the door control panel:


After I pulled the master switch module, and looked at the underlying part, the master switch bracket (shown below), it was obvious why the master switch started cracking. The circled area was completely missing, and the attach point to which the corner of the bracket attaches to the door panel was busted off (no way to screw left corner of black bracket to door panel). Not to mention, several of the tabs on the master switch module, that push into the black bracket, had broken over time. Given enough play, it just started to loosen and crack.

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So, I have three broken pieces: door master switch module (outer handle, install tabs), corner of above master switch bracket (missing plastic, missing bolt), and the entire left door panel structure to which the master switch bracket (left bolt) should attach.

I ordered a new outer handle. I used hot glue to "fix" the bracket - not sure that will hold. But, without anywhere to attach the bracket to the door panel, I'm sure this progression of broken of parts will start all over again. Replacing the entire door panel would not only be expensive, but I believe also require transferring the upholstery - whose glue/adhesive has turned to blue MUSH and is totally disgusting.

The only thing I can think of doing is pulling the entire panel off the door, installing the old bracket to position it, and (extensively) hot gluing the door panel attach point to my hot glue fix on the bracket, effectively fabricating a new support structure. It's pretty easy to mold parts with the hot glue, with some silicone grease and aluminum molds.

Just curious before proceeding if anyone has a better idea, or has dealt with this issue. Seems like the door handle strength wasn't very well thought out on these doors, with such a heavy reliance on lightweight plastic parts.
 

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Before we get into the issues..... FYI: You cannot use an apostrophe in a thread title. Locks up the thread, needs an admin to remove the offending character (parentheses are okay.)

I would get a new handle bracket. Part# 3B1867179B is NLA from VW, but Chinese reproductions are usually fairly decent. Look on eBay (just plug that number in. I found them for $15.)
I wouldn't say that the design sucks - it's just fatigue. The cars are old...
That corner of the bracket isn't exactly highly stressed - nearly all of the 'pull the door closed' load is actually carried by the three large tabs where the M6 Phillips-head screws go thru (into the door itself.)

"Replace the panel": Ain't gonna happen. Again, NLA. If you were, somehow, to find a new one, it would come with the cloth already on it (but, you can't get them anymore.) Get new material (padded headliner material works well), and refurbish your panels. It takes a bit of time, but it's time well spent. Did mine last year, summer-ish (various pics are in the 'what did you do to your Passat' thread.)
 

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Mine was totally broken by a shop that obviously just pulled on the door panel until it was removed-they tore out the bottom 2 screws in the panel and broke the screw + the cross-bar piece for the door control module. Hot glue does work temporary wonders (I have it on 3 screws and my defroster cover piece), but it probably won't last on a part that experiences enough force to regularly close the door. If you want to close the door this way you'll have to replace the bracket and potentially the panel. Otherwise, you can hot glue it and start closing the door by grabbing the lip at the top by the window and closing the door with 4 fingers. I've been doing it that way for months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey guys, solved my problem today, and it was pretty slick. So I pulled the entire door panel, and I installed the black bracket part (broken) with the available screws. I cleaned the door panel and bracket well, with rubbing alcohol. Then I put a ton of grease all on the underside of the old handle, in the corner that broke - completely covered all exposed surfaces near that area of the handle. I then installed the old handle, and put down a TON of hot glue in the corner (from the back of the panel), marrying the black bracket to the door panel in that corner. Let it dry, and old handle popped right out leaving an absolutely perfect, custom mold to install my new, identical handle. Everything is back together, and the handle is as solid as a rock, and probably stronger than when it came off the factory floor. :) I took pics if anyone is interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Before we get into the issues..... FYI: You cannot use an apostrophe in a thread title. Locks up the thread, needs an admin to remove the offending character (parentheses are okay.)

I would get a new handle bracket. Part# 3B1867179B is NLA from VW, but Chinese reproductions are usually fairly decent. Look on eBay (just plug that number in. I found them for $15.)
I wouldn't say that the design sucks - it's just fatigue. The cars are old...
That corner of the bracket isn't exactly highly stressed - nearly all of the 'pull the door closed' load is actually carried by the three large tabs where the M6 Phillips-head screws go thru (into the door itself.)

"Replace the panel": Ain't gonna happen. Again, NLA. If you were, somehow, to find a new one, it would come with the cloth already on it (but, you can't get them anymore.) Get new material (padded headliner material works well), and refurbish your panels. It takes a bit of time, but it's time well spent. Did mine last year, summer-ish (various pics are in the 'what did you do to your Passat' thread.)
I was just discussing that - possibly reupholstering. I've worked with headliners before, actually constructed a custom one for the Camry as it had an aftermarket sunroof. My god, what a nightmare that was! So, the door panels look easier, relatively speaking. I might get around to it eventually, because the upholstery is slowly getting worked over and the glue is starting to come through. I'll be sure to check out your work. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wanted to post a few pics in case anyone wants to try this technique in the future. First pic shows old door handle installed (with only small screws, to door panel), and the hot glue setting in the left corner. Remember the beige back portion of the door handle is completely smothered in silicone grease to prevent the hot glue from adhering. The 2nd pic shows the close up the glued area, essentially remolding a new custom support for the door panel, and permanently marrying the black bracket to the door panel (not an issue, since you only need to remove the three large bolts that attach to the metal frame panel when removing the door panel to access everything else. The last pic show the perfect resulting mold after easily popping off the external old handle. Popped the brand new handle in it's place, and it's been rock solid ever since.

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