Screen/Mosquito netting for sliding door

Greetings: Just got a sliding door mosquito net for my '84 Camper. There were no templates and the supplier, here to remain nameles,s didn't have any info. The pattern looks straight forward except for the upper left hand corner. I don't want to randomly start drilling hole for the snaps before checking it with my friends here. If anyone has tips/reccomendations where to start, please don't hesitate to answer. My wife would like to have use of the netting and curtains if that is possible. Thanks; Steve
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Steve: Well, I did do the random drilling on my '82 Westy to install the mosquito netting on the slider. I was told by the GoWesty people that it would fit just fine on the '82, but much to my chagrin, it did not. You are absolutely right. It fits fairly well, right up to that point where it needs to attach to the upper left corner. I tried every possible configuration to accomodate the extra material, but it just doesn't work. It looked terrible and the function was completely lost, as there would be a substantial gap where the snaps cannot attach. I returned it, but was told that they will probably come out with one that actually fits that model, in the next year or so. Just yesterday, I was camping, I found myself staring at the drill hole scars, feeling a bit disturbed that they misled me into believing that the netting would fit.

Capt. Mike

An unused hole can often be filled for cosmetic purposes with a pop-rivet if small enough (< 3/16") and they are available in colors if you look hard enough.

You might also get the VW Vanagon series screws that have a little shoulder and then add the Vanagon caps. A commercial version is also available whereby a plastic base is put under the screw and then a snap cap goes over it. They, too, are available in color and several sizes.

Finally, there are a number of body plugs available through various sources, including the many used on other models of VW. These tend to be for larger holes > ¼". Look around your and other models. I've use the plugs from a Type III door hinge in several applications. Specialty hardware and automotive places have hole plug kits, often for electrical applications. Check Resoration Specialties (SUPPLIERS forum). Don't forget the creative use of a decal, made on your computer. For example, hide the hole with a graphics decal that instructs you to "Be sure door is latched open to prevent injuries."
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Don't Know Where to Post This ...

I thought I'd write about our recent installation of a side door screen, which has been excellent.

For years, we've had a back door mosquito screen on our old '84 Westy, as I assume most old Westy campers do. We recently replaced our original screen because it had holes in it that we'd patched with duct tape. But enough was enough and we needed a new screen.

While purchasing a replacement screen, we found that Westy vendors offer side door screens. After a bit of thought, we decided to purchase one of those also. But when it arrived, it was clear that we'd need to actually drill new snaps into original metal and original Westy custom plywood surrounding the side door.

The new back door screen came with a kit to install new snaps on it too. So we took the old screen and carefully followed it as a pattern for the new screen. That worked out like a charm. My wife used a snap installer tool instead of the snap tools that were provided in the kit, which called for use of a hammer! But in retrospect, we just should have used the hammer method on those snaps and used a different method to mark the snaps too.

We didn't want to mar the interior of the van with the side screen just yet and thought maybe a Velcro solution would be fine enough for our new side door screen. Or at least we'd use Velcro to test how useful the side door screen was, since we'd never used one before in our 15 years of owning the Westy on many, many camping trips.

I mean, why DRILL HOLES into your camper if you've never missed something before and Velcro will give it a good test?

So we did test it with Velcro.

Well, the first thing we noticed that no matter what variety of Velcro we found, nothing was recommended for vinyl, which is what the outside construction of the side and back mosquito screens are made of. Flexible fake-leather vinyl.

But we did it anyway, and I'd recommend this to anyone who is getting a side screen for the first time. It's expensive and it won't work over the long haul but go ahead and do a Velcro installation before you ever think of installing snaps. Put the "hooks" strips around the door and find a sane way to hang the screen with the "fuzzy strips," one section at a time.

The screen has a zipper down the middle. Go camping with it like this. We did for a 10-day base camping. We LOVED not having to slam that side door again and again as we usually did. I mean, this really prevents a lot of wear on the side door mechanical mechanisms just to keep bugs out. The air flow was greatly improved. Bugs were dealt with individually. *Smile*

But we had to always help the Velcro. It was already peeling off in places, both on the screen and the interior of the van. But it had proven its worth.

Upon return, I got out my drill and installed snaps around the sides of the side door of the van. With each snap or set of snaps, I'd convert a section from Velcro to snaps. I'd drill a pilot hole, then use a screw driver to set the snap. Finally, I'd hold the side screen up to the new snap and use a knife to cut a small "pilot" hole through the outer border of the screen to mark the spot for the installation of the other half of the snap.

I decided the hammer method was superior to using my wife's snap installation tool, FYI.

In any event, I did decide to alter my van's original interior to install a fairly good number of snaps for this side screen. But I'd recommend that everyone do a preliminary installation with Velcro both to see how you like it as well as to make a proper working fit for the screen as you install the permanent snaps.

I figure that if the "next owner of the van" doesn't like the snaps, he or she can just remove them. If they are into that great of Westy purity, then they can just pay to fix my customization. But if the next owner is serious about camping, he or she will be glad about the side screen, because it totally ROCKS! And I say that believing that side door screens weren't original equipment on Westys.

But at this point I'm increasingly not caring about the "next owner of the van." I'm making this change for me and my wife, who have found our reinvigorated Westy the center of our travel life now that our kids, who grew up traveling in our van, have now grown older.

Do you hate the sound of the side door of your Westy slamming again and again and again out at a campsite?

Check into side door screens. It'll be one of the best things you can do for your Westy.

[Moderator Note: GoWesty lists side door screens for '74-'79 Type II's, '85-'86 & '87-'91 Vanagons only. I'm not sure the suitability for other Type II's and early Vanagons so use appropriate caution when ordering/installing.]


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Velcro Test

Hi. I guess that would be another important reason to use Velcro to test the screen before installing the snaps -- to see if it even fits!

I'm really sorry to hear about the less-than-successful experiences posted here.

On ours we also have a little extra material in the upper left corner. We sort of smush it together in a little fold, shoving a small bit of the material back toward the door slider. Just as the rear screen isn't 100 percent bug-tight, neither is this. But if you can keep out 90 to 95 percent of the bugs, that's good enough for us. And it saves a lot of opening and shutting of the door.

I could post some pictures if anybody is interested.

I agree that the instructions were terrible on this thing. The only directions were a couple of crude little drawings showing how to use the hammer method to install the snaps. It's a good thing my wife had experience doing snaps on clothing or I'd have never figured it out. I guess that's part of why I posted this thread -- to provide some directions.


New member
Received and installed my side door screen, only problem I had was a few crimped snaps.
Velcro really helped seeing as I was installing solo. and yes ,With two kids camping with us I really Do hate the sound of the side door of our Westy slamming again and again and again out at a campsite? lol thanks for the tip.


New member
side door screen for 84 vanagon

i understand that the '84 model is excluded form the ordering selection, which year should i order? and will the fit be suitable.
thanks mike


New member
Ordering for 84

I have an '84 also. I ordered the screen for years 85 to 91. Shop around. Prices can vary by up to $20 depending on site. It will have a bit of extra material that you'll need to tuck backward during use in the area along the top, just above the passenger-side front seat. (This is the extreme upper left corner of the screen assembly as you're viewing it from the inside of the van.)

Blue Dun

New member
I have a 83.5 Vanagon and bought a side screen from SewFine online.(Great folks to buy from; quality work). I am having a problem with the top left corner like most of you. Can anyone post pictures showing your top left corner installation?

Blue Dun

New member

I read your post about your experience installing a side door screen. I bought my side door screen from Sew Fine in CO. I have bought interior products from them in the past and they have high quality products. There screen came with no instructions and they told me it fits but it gets a little funky around the top left corner looking from the inside of the vehicle out. I tried using Velcro to see how it would fit but I can't master that.

Would you be willing to take a video clip with your phone so I can see exactly how you figured this out?


Blue Dun


We have a post frame building for a garage. It has two large sliding doors. The doors have rollers on their top edges that fit in a horizontal overhead track. The configuration is like large sliding doors on pole barns. Id like to install a door opener to open them but havent located one. Does anyone know of an opener that would work? Thanks