Sussex Club GTI

Technical bulletin #2

Protect your door against "slim-jims"

I expect that some of the cars owned by the club members have been attacked at some time by some nice natured creatures of a non human race, with a set of very slim and thin pieces of metal, called "slim-jims". These are designed, and are meant for, people in the security services to get into cars, for instance when people have locked themselves out. They are however available for the general public, although only a small minority of the general public really want to get into cars this way, namely breaking in to someone else's' pride and joy. The idea is to place the thin piece of metal between the glass and the glass rubber, and using a hook on the end, pull up the metal bar leading from the door lock to the locking button. The car manufactures, as a rule, left their cars wide open to this type of abuse, Volkswagen being no exception to this.

There are some metal inserts that can prevent this type of entry, and are available from your Volkswagen dealer. I do not believe that many people know about these plates, and I expect that the dealers only mention the fact that they exist, AFTER people have complained about the break-in, or when any damage is being repaired.

The part numbers are 191 837 273 and 191 837 274.

The price was £2.76 each in May 1997. One of each part is required as the plates are handed for each side of the car.

Fitting the plates is very simple and takes only a matter of minutes. All that you need is a 6mm hexagon key and some Waxoyl/white grease.

Firstly open the drivers' door and locate the locking mechanism. If you cannot find it, it is the big metal lump half way up the outer edge of the drivers' door, secured by two large hexagonal headed bolts. Found it now, good. Take the hexagon key and very carefully remove the two bolts. They are extremely tight and require a lot of force, but make sure you apply the force at right angles to the bolt otherwise you risk rounding the head off, or slipping with your hand (yes, it does hurt!). Also be careful when you turn the key as the side of it might touch the side of the door edge and scrape the paint off.

Once you have removed the two bolts place them somewhere safe. Take the correct reinforcement plate, they are labelled with the part number and the handing, the one with R on it, and familiarise yourself with the orientation. The plate face with the two bolt holes should line up with the bolt holes on the lock mechanism, with the angled piece facing towards the inside of the door.

Pull the top of the locking mechanism away from the door, and you will see that there are two pieces protruding into the door from the lock. Carefully pull the top of the lock at an angle to get the metal catch out of the door. The plastic piece should also slide off of its carrier with a little help, but DO NOT LET IT FALL INSIDE THE DOOR otherwise you might have to take the whole of the door panel off to get it out again. (Tip if this does happen though, get a pair of long nose pliers and go fishing through the hole from whence the plastic bit came).

Use the Waxoyl/white grease to coat the reinforcement plate, and with the lock pulled back, insert the plate in the gap between the lock and the door. It can be a bit fiddly, especially if you are trying to insert the wrong plate, but it will be in. The protruding bit on the plate goes in the hole by the white plastic bit.

Now put the lock back into position, firstly putting the white plastic sleeve back onto the locking arm. Make sure that you push it fully home as it can pop off. Angle the lock so that the other catch goes into its hole, then the lock should be flush against the door again. All you have to do now is to put the two bolts back into place. Before you fully tighten the bolts up, shut and open the door a couple of times to locate the lock properly. When you have done this fully tighten the lock.

Job done.

If you have ever taken the locks off before, then this job will only take about 3 minutes a side, including the coating of the plate, if you have everything to hand.

Have fun!

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