Sliding and Barn Doors, incl glass both sides.


New member
The latch for the window on the sliding door of my '85 is stuck down so I can't lock it. I tried to take it apart to try to fix it, but I can't figure out how to get the bugger off. Does anyone know how to take this thing apart?
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Capt. Mike

Did it once a long time ago so memory is fading. There is a hole in the bottom of the latch. Up inside you will see a screw for a flat-blade screwdriver. (Those dental-type inspection mirrors come in handy!) I think if you remove that, you can then lift the latch part out. I don't remember how the base mounts through the glass, though. Hopefully you can reuse it and just replace the parts on the latch side.

Capt. Mike

Transferred from another post to consolidate similar topics

81 Westy Sliding side windows

mcrmcleod, Junior Member, 05-15-2000 02:35 PM

Does anyone know how to remoce the sliding window so I can tint the glass i do not want to tak the frame out if I can help it.

Capt. Mike, Moderator, 05-16-2000 07:39 AM

Your frame is a one-piece. Thus you have to remove the inner latch and outer channel to remove the glass.

However, this is one time when having a pro do the work is well worth the money. Most 'kits' look it, usually bubbling, peeling or discoloring in a short while. On my '90 I decided to go with a professional shop in Wilmington NC using Solar Gard Int'l's (Largo, FL) titanium tinting products and the work was flawless. NO bubbles, streaks or peeling in nearly 10 years. It had a 6-year warranty! My total cost for all sides & rear was only $130 back then and they even did a perfect fit on the window behind the closet.

Check the pro shops near you and then talk to some of their customers, looking at jobs that are several years old.

Capt. Mike

Transferred & consolidated from archives.

Rebuilding Westy louvered windows

Alan 1/4/99 (10:31 PM)

Living near the ocean in sunny So. Cal. takes it's toll on the aluminum louvered windows. To restore mine on my '71 Westie, I removed them, took all the pieces apart, and polished and clear-coated the aluminum pieces. I replaced a broken pane from the junk yard. Put in new screening. I also bought new window crank gear assemblies/handles from a catalog at an RV store there. For the rubber, I needed 4 different types: (1) the seal around the entire assembly, which I got from West Coast Metric, (2) the weather-strip at the bottom of each frame and (3) the top pane weather seal, both of which I ordered from the RV store catalog. The weather-strip is held in by squeezing the aluminum, so you have to pry/grind it open first. Finally, (4) the seal around the perimeter of each glass pane. I was not able to find this U-shaped rubber seal, although I found about 20 styles at a custom glass shop that were all very frustratingly similar, but not quite right. I finally used silicone. I cut up the old rubber seal into 1/2" long pieces and spaced these out about 8" apart to hold the pane correctly in the frame. I then squeezed in the silicone on both sides through a small hole at the tip of the tube. When cured, I trimmed it with a razor blade. It works and looks pretty good too. I replaced the hinges using new stainless steel rivets. I pregreased the rivet and put a piece of paper in between the pieces when popping the rivets to allow enough room for movement. I used new screws, 3/8” #6 with the tips ground down to prevent contacting the glass. Also used clear epoxy at the non-moving part seams to lock in the rigidity, prevent the screws from coming loose, and to make it watertight. The original quality was so good that I was able to use the best pieces from four different assemblies interchangeably. Warning: don’t take apart your useable old windows until you have all the replacement parts first, AND, you are pretty handy with tools. Good Luck!

Capt. Mike Soehnlein 1/14/99 (12:23 AM)

The original glass in louvered windows is safety glass, the kind that breaks into little rounded pebbles rather than slivers. Replacements are hard to find, and most glass shops won't even order you one, claiming they can't get glass tempered. You should not use ordinary, cut glass for the obvious reasons of safety.

A good substitute is Lexan. Available from most plexigals and fiberglass panel dealers, it can be cut to fit, is almost breakproof, and very inexpensive. I found a piece big enough in the scrap bin at my dealer of $2.

It's only drawback might be that it is more susceptible to scratches, but I went another 5 years without noticeable loss of clarity.

Alan 1/14/99 (12:36 AM)

That's a good idea Captain. One point I should have made about tempered glass. Over the years, it gets very brittle. You must be very careful in handling it. One little bump the wrong way (especially on the edge) and it's gone. That goes for all your old windows. Considering the way the louvered windows stick out and could be bumped, that's another reason to consider plexiglass.
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Capt. Mike

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Vanagon Sliding Windows

Gene & Heide Member # 477 posted 04-03-2001 01:21 PM

We are located in El Paso, Texas and the few Vanagons we see around here have sliding windows on which about half the glass is fixed, half sliding. Our 1985 Westfalia has about 2/3 fixed and 1/3 sliding. It seems to me that ventilation would be improved if the driver's side sliding window opened more. Are the two types of sliding windows interchangeable? Is there a reason why Westfalias have one type and regular passenger Vanagons the other? Is there a safety issue here perhaps dealing with the stove or something?

By the way, we already have the magnetic screens for the front doors, the snap in screen for the rear hatch opening and just received a snap in screen for the sliding door opening from the Bus Depot. The latter item was an easy installation following the included instructions.

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 04-07-2001 01:54 PM

There is a difference between sliding window assembly part numbers between those with screens and without. That may be your determining factor. In late '84 they changed the sliding door but that doesn't seem to have started a change in part numbers for windows.

I also notice different part numbers for windows with chrome (trim or frame?) and 'green', which I presume means tinted.

What I'd suggest is you take your VIN number to your dealer and ask him to sit down with you and run through the windows on the parts fiche. However, I wouldn't expect major changes in ventilation between the two. Exhausting heat, usually through the canvas window or skylight, seem to have more effect than amount of glass open.


New member
is there any way to get the sliding window frame apart to install a new piece of sliding glass? i have read take off the latch (i got the latch off) and remove the outer channel but, that is not working for me. what am i doing wrong. i can't get anything apart.

Capt. Mike

What year & model? Read the Message Board Guidelines.

Have you removed the weather-stripping around the top and front edge of the outer frame? And have you removed the guide pieces? I haven't had the misfortune but removing the upper weather-strip and guides should give extra clearance to lift and tip out the pane. Instructions for removing & replacing the guides are in the Bentley page 64.2. I would expect, given the age and hardening of plastic, you will have to destroy the guides to get them out and then replace them. Caution -- there are two versions of guide that are not interchangeable.
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New member
i finally got the glass out of the frame on my 82 westy. i was determined to remove the glass in one piece so that i would know how to put the new glass in w/out breaking it. the bently manual is very vague on how to remove the sliding window guides. after removing the weather striping at the top of the frame, tap out the guides gently, away from the metal piece they are in, with a small punch and hammer. the guides engage a sort of dove tail grove. they came out neatly and i will be able to reuse them. however, i still had to pry the frame up a bit to get the glass out. i hope this helps someone in this same fix. herb

Capt. Mike

Transferred from other posts to consolidate topic.

Sliding door

johnandliz Member # 184 posted 07-18-2000 02:13 AM

86 Westy

Our lower track is filthy and looks to have accumulated a large amount of debris that looks to have clung to grease(?) on this track

I am really not sure what to do... Do I just clean it up as best I can and apply more grease? Won't this lead to the same problem?

Should I take the door right off?

Clean up all three tracks?

What do I apply to each track? Plain old grease (like out of a grease gun?)

Any help is much appreciated.

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 07-18-2000 10:21 AM

The sliding door was not one of VW's shining engineering feats in terms of maintenance. It seems you have to remove the left headlight to get to anything!
Keeping the track clean is important, but more important is keeping the slide rollers clean yet lubricated. The upper is usually pretty straight-forward as it is protected by the gasket seal when the door is closed. The lower gets far more debris as it is only protected by the door overhang, no seal.

A third area that needs cleaning & lube is the rear sliding door pivot arm & roller. You pretty much have to remove the body slide shroud (Bentley 58.11) to get to it. I wouldn't remove the door unless absolutely necessary.

Upper track is easy, just wipe clean, using a rag on a stick or Q-tip type rig to reach the nooks & crannies. I prefer a polyethylene grease as it's non-staining with good retention characteristics. Comes in a tube and is a semi-transparent amber color (Ford P/N DOAZ-19584-AA for one). For lubing the roller, I prefer one of the sprays that turns to a grease such as Lubri-Molly's Hi-Tack Lube P/N 2013 or 3M's version P/N 08878. These spray like a WD-40 oil and flow, then dry & work like a grease.

Ditto the bottom, but you may have to wash it out with one of the degreasers or spray engine cleaners (Solder Seal's Gunk or one of the foaming ones). Rinse thoroughly and rewax external paint surfaces. This will also wash out lube in the roller so has to be relubricated. That roller is at least easier to remove and do right. I still prefer lubing the track with polyethylene because I'd rather fight the dirt than replace/repair a worn track. In reality, it's a once-a-year job, if that often.

The rear pivot arm & track require the same care and is even harder to get a spray tip into, but has to be done. It doesn't get as much debris as the lower.

Door alignment and adjustment is done with the lower roller guide assembly. Besides gasket leaks, the electric power door lock terminal (if equipped) can lose contact if not properly aligned.

johnandliz Member # 184 posted 08-31-2000 04:22 AM


The Ford PN is -- according to our local dealer -- now obsolete and Ford has not offered any replacement.

It has been suggested that I purchase a teflon base instead.

Thanks for your list.


Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 08-31-2000 08:40 AM

3M has a new silicone paste that ought to be as good, and I've used the silicone sticks on other sliding tracks. I'm not super-impressed with Teflon because it has to be chemically bonded to the metal surface to work so topical applications aren't much of an improvement over regular lubes.

I saw a tube of polyethylene under an unrecognized brand at a local store just the other day so it's probably a matter of searching the auto & hardware stores and opening a few tubes. Polyethylene is usually amber and semi-transparent without a petroleum odor.

Sliding door latch

TomTerrific, 10-19-2000 11:01 PM

Having problem with slide/latch assy on '73 Westy since re-installing (body work). hard to latch & doesn't pop out when opening. Bently not too helpful. Any one have any experience with this?

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 10-20-2000 08:03 AM

I don't know how you can say the Bentley isn't helpful. There are detailed directions on adjusting the door's upper & lower rollers, striker plate, retainer latch and locking plate in Section 1-5.12.

Obviously, a new weatherstrip can cause some of these same problems if it was not a correct OE, or installed correctly.

Last, nothing in the Bentley can correct lousy body work. Re-examine your body work to see if the outside runner rail, frames, jambs, and sliding rails all meet OE specs and are correctly aligned. It's also possible they didn't correct something that should have been, and now you have a fit problem between new and old body points.
radair Junior Member # 425 posted 12-26-2000 08:54 PM

A related question (I also saw this same question asked in the archives, but the response didn't fit my situation): The sliding door on my '84 Westy sticks badly, The latch and handles on both inside and outside work fine, but opening the door requires a little "hip check" outward from the inside. The problem seems to be sticking or suction from the seals, NOT one resulting from the latch mechanism. Any ideas?

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 12-27-2000 01:10 PM

I tend to believe it's an adjustment problem. The pop-out feature is a result of the articulated center hinge assembly. It's a complex set of dynamics, but basically the wedge of the stricker plate puts a constant pressure outward on the door. When the latch is released, it tries to slide back down the wedge. If the center hinge is operating correctly, this will make the door go over-center and then pop on out.

Start by inspecting your striker plate. Has it lost the little white plastic striker surface? This is a common malady on all VW strikers and will take away both wedge effect & add friction that the release may not overcome. Plus play with it's adjustment both in & out and up & down.

There is a tension spring and operating cam in the sliding door center hinge and an operating cam. If either has been damaged or worn, it would affect the hinges ability to cam out. You can overhaul the hinge assembly -- diagram in the Bentley Section 58.8. It is lubricated (Section 58.9), right?

Also check your front adjustment because that has an effect on the rear pop-out dynamics. The front should help in camming the door out due to it's rail countour. If it's holding the door either too far forward or aft, it could affect the rear tension.

I wouldn't plan on it being suction -- the Vanagon has a natural exhaust so doesn't have the drum-tight state of the earlies Beetles. If that was it, it would pop open freely with a window cracked.

New gaskets can be too thick, hard or not seated correctly, creating additional pressure. Common on aftermarket seals that aren't OEM. Sorry, no cure there except to get a proper fitting OE or OEM seal.

Sliding door won't latch

pablow666 Member # 328 posted 01-08-2002 08:59 PM

Searched the archives....Read the Bentley. 87 Westy

There are some good instructions in the Bentleys for adjusting the sliding door, but there are a couple of terms that don't seem to be defined. These terms are critical to understanding the instructions. They talk about the "B-pillar" and the "C-pillar". What are these? (page 58.11).

None of the items in the troubleshooting section exactly match my problem anyway. Basically my side door will occassionally fly open when going up hill (gravity assist), or at best it will only latch on the back latch. The front of the door doesn't want to latch so the door remains open a crack in the front with air and road noise coming through.

I inspected top, bottom, and both sides of door and door opening for obstructions and I always keep the tracks clean. All the screws are tight and the vehicle has never been in an accident. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 01-09-2002 06:08 PM

B-pillar is the one closest to the front door, C is at the rear of the sliding door. (A is the front door hinge pillar.)
The front of the door doesn't "latch" per se. The tooth on B-pillar engages the striker on the leading door edge to become a fulcrum point for the latching to be done by the rear cam and latch assembly. So the door only 'latches' in the rear with any positive means.

Sliding open with being released indicates a problem with the latch or latch adjustment. Is your door camming in on the hinge link completely? This can also occur if the door hieght is off because the latch and striker pin are no longer lined up correctly.

Sliding door

sjtimes5 Junior Member # 3066 posted 03-25-2002 09:21 PM

In the past few weeks my sliding door has started to open for no reason. While looking at the door i have noticed that the latch seems to be worn out. I am unable to locate a part number for a latch that I can purchase. Could it be the latch wearing out or is there another trick to my problem.


Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 03-26-2002 05:40 AM

Guideline #3: What year & model? Guideline #7: Where are you looking? Your dealer has a full microfiche of all VW parts & part numbers. Please don't ask us to locate aftermarket parts substitutes for you.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Westy Side "jalousy" window removal

lugbolt Junior Member # 992 posted 04-26-2002 01:13 PM

Looking for tips on removal and installation of westy "jalousy" windows on a 67. I would like to polish my frames, and I am unsure of the proper removal procedure.

Capt. Mike

Although not a '67, and thus the possibility of differences, I'm giving the below instructions for a '74-'79 Type II from Repair Manual Type 2, which is once again available on CD from Bentley (See Bentley topic in SUPPLIERS forum.). The Workshop Manual for '63-'67 only describes the hinged window, not the jalousy.

[Note: I've put this into the sliding door topic since louvered windows are more like to be damaged on the sliding door than the fixed side -- but the procedure is basically the same. An excellent description of overhaul above had been posted here previously. Again, this is for the '74-'79 models.]

1. (On fixed side) Removal is only possible after refrigerator cabinet cover is removed.

2. Remove curtain rod cover.

3. Remove 2 Phillips scres holding curtain rod and bend rod down carefully.

4. Remove knurled knob of wind opener & 15 Phillips screws.

5. Carefully press louvered window to outside of panel opening.


1. Install louvered window in panel opening with 2 upper corners first.

2. Check proper seating of rubber sealing. Rectify fit of rubber lip in necessary.

3. Install 16 Phillips screws & knurled knob of window opener.

4. Install curtain rod & cover.

Capt. Mike

vabus Junior Member posted October 24, 2002 08:56 PM


I hope this is posted in the correct area. Need some assistance on the correct way to install a set of Louver windows. Just pulled a set from a salvage lot and purchase two new seals. Is there some special procedure for installing? The first step will be to drill new sheet metal screw holes to accept the window frame. What do I do next?

Thanks for the assistance.


New member
How does one do it without braking the plastic frame? My tipical impatiant methods usually result in breaking something and having to leave it that way or spending more $ than I wanted. I will be most thank full for any direction beyond "have a professional do it". Lift up, pull down, pry and twist, bang and smash where? I love my van and don't want to hurt it.

Capt. Mike

Using a good light, look along the bottom edge. You will see a peg, rear most corner, and two plastic tabs about 1/3 in each end.

By lifting that bottom rear corner out slightly so the peg clears the rail, you can slide the screen back a couple of inches. Removal then becomes moving the screen down. The top is a channel that fits over a rail on the inner window frame. I found it easiest to pull down in a counterclockwise rotational way that released the left tab first.

Install by lining the rear peg up with one of the notches, inserting upward into the top rail and then pressing in the bottom, which should 'click' in as the tab lip is tapered for one-way installation. You can then lift the peg corner enough to slide forward to position.

Caution: Plastic gets old & brittle. Suggest you give it a thorough soaking in silicone or plastic 'restorer' such as Maquires #42 for several days to restore some flexibility. Ideally, prying down on the bottom tabs enough to release the inner lip would be sufficient but I question their flexibility on any vehcile more than a couple years old.


New member
Hello all,

I have an 84' Westy. I need to replace the sliding door window, including frame and seal. I found a good one with seal and everything at a junk yard that I was easily able to simply push out of the door after removing the outer strip. I suspect that putting it into my van is a much harder task. The Bentley does not make any reference to this procedure.

Can anyone give me some suggestions as to how to put it in? Will I need special tools? Should I bring it in and not consider doing it myself?

Thanks so much in advance.


New member
I was wondering if there was an easy way to put together the louvered windows after taking apart to change all the window seals. I recently bought the new seal kit and tried to put the 3 individual pieces together with the new seal and it keeps tearing the rubber. The seals are not designed very well and the are no visible corners on the seals do when I try to stretch it around the four corners there is punctures in the rubber. I am having real trouble. PLease Help!!

Capt. Mike

I haven't done a louvered window in years so I'm relying on memory. As I remember, the seal around the rectangular glass in each frame was made up of separate pieces. What you may be running up against is that you are buying "meter-ware", i.e. gasket stock that is sold by the meter and they expect you to cut to fit.

That is a problem in itself because cutting new to fit exact will then shrink later, but depending on your kit source, there may be no options. If there is sufficient, cut a little long and try to compress along the length of the run. Fortunately, the seals can be mitered and a little silicone seal goes a long way to restoring the corner integrity.


New member
The sliding glass windows on my 84 westy squeak like hell when I open them. Any suggestions on fixing that? I've tried a teflon lube, but it didn't help.

Capt. Mike

Teflon is vastly overrated for aftermarket applications.

Use a silicone lubricant. You can get silicon 'glide' sticks and 3M makes a silicone paste. Sprays don't have as much retention. The squeal may not be as much friction as a vibration of the plastic tabs, much like disc brake squeal. Be sure your tracks are empty of debris and clean.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

vwhlwd Junior Member posted September 03, 2003 07:49 PM

i am intrested in changing as many of the fixed and louvered windows in my 1977 tpye 2 to sliding type as possible. i understand 1978 type 2 vws changed some fixedglass to sliders but have not researched which ones were changed. i researched aftermarket replacements and thought i hit the jackpot at but they discontinued there sliders for type 2 but are shown as available with rubber replacements for $65.3 in clear and about $10.00 more for tinted which i found reasonable. Can another manufacturer be recommended?

Bajatacoma Member posted September 03, 2003 10:18 PM

I am assuming you are talking about changing the windows on a Westy to non-Westy windows right? Get a set of sliding windows out of a late Bay Transporter for the window behind the driver and on the sliding door. The rear most windows you are on your own- there was a thread on this on TheSamba recently where someone was talking about safari windows from Chrysler minivans I think (maybe you posted it I can't rememeber?).

The louvered windows that come on the Westy allow you to open them while camping when it is raining, etc without getting water in the vehicle. The vent window in the driver's side rear most window I would (did on mine) yank out and replace the whole window with a one piece from a Transporter. They always seem to leak (look at the plywood below on most buses). It is an easy swap- cut the gasket and remove the rear glass, pull the remaining gasket out and now pull the vent window assembly towards the rear of the bus and it will come out.

There is a retailer selling safari window kits for the rear window. I would think it would suck in exhaust and dirt if used while the bus was in motion though.

If you are wanting more air movement, have you thought about adding a set of fans? You can find used VW vent fans (sometimes mistakenly called ambulance fans) on eBay and TheSamba. These are the fans that go below the dash in the ductwork. You can also buy the 3" Attwood bilge blower fans from boat supply stores and install them.

I've also seen a contraption that looked similar to a swamp cooler hanging off the side of a bus. It was designed only to funnel fresh air- and lots of it- into the bus.