Volkswagen Front Wheel Drive 1974-1989 Repair Guide




  1. Open the door and support it securely with a floor jack or blocks. Remove the door check strap sleeve and remove the door check strap.
  3. If necessary, remove the door panel to disconnect the wiring for speakers, electric windows, electric mirrors and the air line for power door locks.
  5. Have an assistant steady the door, then remove the hinge bolts. Remove the door.

To install:
  1. Position the door, the install the hinge bolts. Do not tighten them at this time.
  3. Engage any electrical or vacuum connections, then install the door panel.
  5. Adjust the door.


When checking door alignment, look carefully at each seam between the door and body. The gap should be even all the way around the door. Pay particular attention to the door seams at the corners farthest from the hinges; this is the area where errors will be most evident. Additionally, the door should push against the weatherstrip when latched to seal out wind and water. The contact should be even all the way around and the stripping should be about half compressed. The position of the door can be adjusted in three dimensions: fore and aft, up and down, in and out. The primary adjusting points are the hinge-to-body bolts.

  1. Apply tape to the fender and door edges to protect the paint. Two layers of common masking tape works well.
  3. Make sure the bolts are loosened just enough to allow the hinge to move. With the help of an assistant, position the door up and down as required, then snug the bolts.
  5. Inspect the door seams carefully and repeat the adjustment until correctly aligned.
  7. Inspect the front door seal and determine how much it is being crushed. If there is little or no contact in this area, or if the door is recessed into the body at the front when closed, loosen the hinge-to-door bolts and adjust the door in or out as needed. Don't worry about the latch yet.
  9. Make sure the door moves smoothly on the hinges without binding. When the door fits the opening correctly, tighten the bolts securely.
  11. To adjust the latch, loosen the large cross-point screw holding the striker on the door jam on the body. These bolts will be very tight; an impact screwdriver is the best tool for this job. Make sure you are using the proper size bit.
  13. With the bolts just loose enough to allow the striker to move if necessary, hold the outer door handle in the released position and close the door. The striker will move into the correct location to match the door latch. Open the door and tighten the mounting bolts. The striker may be adjusted towards or away from the center of the car, thereby tightening or loosening the door fit. The striker can be moved up and down to compensate for door position, but if the door is correctly mounted at the hinges this should not be necessary.

Do not attempt to correct height variations (sag) by adjusting the striker.

  1. After the striker bolts have been tightened, open and close the door several times. Observe the motion of the door as it engages the striker; it should continue its straight-in motion and not deflect up or down as it hits the striker.
  3. Check the feel of the latch during opening and closing. It must be smooth and linear, without any trace of grinding or binding during engagement and release. It may be necessary to repeat the striker adjustment several times (and possibly re-adjust the hinges) before the correct door-to-body fit is achieved.