Repair Convertible Back Glass


Repair Convertible Back Glass on a 2003 VW Beetle

A customer complained that the back glass on her 2003 VW Beetle convertible had pulled loose from the top.  After looking at the vehicle I confirmed that it had pulled loose from the convertible top and not the interior headliner.  Here is the procedure that I used to repair the convertible back glass. In this case, the top part of the glass was still attached; the sides and bottom had come loose.  If you have to repair the complete back glass the procedure would be a little different.

Materials used:

A. Essex Urethane 400HV
B. Essex One Step glass primer 5500
C. Essex Beta pinchweld primer 5404A
D. Essex glass cleaner GC800
E. Single edged razor blades
F. 3/4 inch masking tape.
G. Piece of wood or something similar about 13 inches long

Essex is the brand that I use, it can probably be purchased at your local auto glass shop. There are a lot of different types of urethane that I’m sure would work fine. 3M makes a Windo-Weld urethane (Part# 051135-08609) and a single step primer (Part# 051135-08682) that might be easier to find.

1. Open the convertible top about 5 inches and place something under the edge to keep it open, I used a large towel folded up.

2. You will have to remove the glue from the edge of the back glass, I used a razor blade. The trick here is to not cut the fabric of the convertible top, not to mention your fingers! You should be able to push the top so that it is behind the glass, being careful on the sides where the heater wires are attached. Just go slow and do a little at a time.

3. After you have all of the old glue removed you need to use a glass cleaner to remove any residue from the glass.

4. On the inside edge of the glass you should see a black band around the edge of the glass, put masking tape around the outside perimeter of the band, leaving an area of glass about 3/4 inch wide.

5. Prime the edge of the glass where you have the masking tape, doing your best to keep from touching the glass after it has been primed.

6. Prop the 13 inch rod between the glass and the center console, using towels to protect the surfaces. This will hold the glass in place while you are working with it.

7. Apply a thin bead of urethane around the glass. I found it was easier to do about ten inches at a time. When applying the urethane keep it close to the inside edge of the glass so it doesn’t ooze out around the fabric of the convertible top.

8. Position the top onto the urethane and tape it down, then move on to the next ten inches.

The edge of the top should go right up to the edge of the masking tape and hide the primer and urethane. Completely tape the fabric down, leave vehicle set overnight if possible.
After urethane is set up, remove the tape, prop rods and towels and lower the top into position.

Good Luck!


  1. How much of the glass has broken loose? I just did a repair yesterday where all of the glass except for a few inches at the bottom had broken loose. The trick I found was placing pieces of foam inside against the back glass to position the glass as close as possible to where it needs to be.


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