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Old 7th May 2015, 12:29   #1
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Default VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

The grab handles on the VW Polo and the siblings (Vento, Fabia, Rapid) retract quickly upon pulling due to the sprung-back action. Well, thereís no harm if it quickly retracts but the issue is it makes an irritating noise when the handle hits the headliner. Check out the video below:



Sometime back, I dug deeper, removed the handle from the car, dissected it into several parts and figured out that the reason was it lacked a component in one of the hinges which would have made it retract gradually like the grab handles on the Swift, Ertiga, XUV 5OO. Here is how it retracts on the XUV 5OO:



The missing component is this tiny little damper:
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This damper has a protrusion/tab on the inner cylinder which rotates very slowly when turned and a tab on the outer cylinder which holds the damper in place within the hinge. When the grab handle is pulled, the spring on one of the hinges forces it to retract back while the damper softens the movement. Since I had a couple of extra dampers in stock, I decided to break one into pieces and noticed that the damper houses some thick fluid along with a seal at the end. And as always, expect our very own Alibhai (www.aliexpress.com) to stock these nifty little curiosities for cheap! I bought a few for under 5 USD (Rs. 300 approx.) last year but never had the time to attempt the modification. Had some free time this week with the wifey out of town () and with the help of my ex-roomie and partner-in-crime, we decided to go ahead and do the modification. With the right tools in hand, it takes a couple of hours tops.

Wonder why VW skimped out on such a small and inexpensive thing. The Polo sold overseas gets these grab handles with the dampers in them. Proof:

VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-gh-abroad1.jpg

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Parts Required:
  • Damper - 3 nos., 1 per grab handle. Aliexpress have them in plenty (link).

Tools Required:
  1. Hook (those threaded ones from the hardware shops work well) - to pull out the plastic tabs from the hinges on the handles.

  2. Nose plier - to remove the plastic rod from the hinge.

  3. Woodworking chisel, 10 mm - to remove/shave off the excess plastic from the slots. Note that chisels available online and from the hardware shops will not be sharpened and you may have to sharpen it before usage. Or sharpen it from a local carpenter.

  4. A ballpoint pen refill - for testing purpose (explained in the procedure).

Procedure:
  1. Using the hook, remove the grab handle as indicated below:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-remove1.jpg
    (Image source: Drive2.ru)

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-remove2.jpg
    (Image source: Drive2.ru)

    Pull the plastic trim towards you. The trim wonít come off the handle completely as it is held in place using a metal bracket and will remain stuck at a point. Thatís fine.

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-remove3.jpg

    Once both the trims are pulled, pull the handle and it will come off the slot on the carís body.

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-removed.jpg

  2. Notice that on one hinge, thereís a spring:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-spring.jpg

    whereas the other one is blank with just a plastic rod:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-blank.jpg

    Use the nose pliers and pull the plastic rod outside from the hinge:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-nose-plier.jpg

  3. It may be a good idea to remove the metal bracket and the plastic trim from the hinge, before working on the chiseling part. In order to remove the plastic trim from the metal bracket completely, observe the arrangement carefully and pull these metal tabs up:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-removing-metalbkt.png

    so they donít lock against the plastic trim. The metal bracket needs to be pushed from the top and bottom and pulled out of the hinge backwards. Like this:

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    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-disassembled.jpg

  4. Once they are off, the excess plastic material from the slot need to be removed:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-plastic.jpg

    Use the chisel to do this - takes the least time and does it well. Unfortunately, I did not have the right chisel at that time and used a soldering iron to cut the excess plastic. The result was a shoddy job:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-soldering.jpg

    But I cleaned it up using the Stanleyís utility knife:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-stanley.jpg

    Itís the same part. There's a lot of damage visible but the hinge remains unexposed unless the grab handle is pulled. If you use a nice sharp chisel, the result would be a lot more cleaner with nearly zero damage to the outside.

  5. Using the chisel, make an additional recess/groove on one of the edges symmetrically w.r.t. the hole center as shown below:

    Name:  Slotted.png
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    (Image source: Drive2.ru)

    This recess is made for the tab located at the end of the damper which will be slotted into it.

  6. Using the ballpoint pen refill, insert it through the holes of the hinge through the damper (the original plastic rod is a tight fit through the holes - inserting and taking it out is harder during this process thus the ballpoint pen refill) and align the tab on the side of the damper in such a way that it sits on the slot on the handle:

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-align.png

    This may take a couple of minutes. With both the tabs on the damper locked in place in their respective slots, keep moving the hinges to see if thereís a smooth movement - if there is, it indicates that the damper is working as it should. Replace the ballpoint refill with the plastic rod.

    VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-wp_20150506_14_18_10_pro.jpg

  7. Replace the metal bracket and the plastic trim in the hinge, and reassemble the grab handle back. Do not push the plastic trim all the way into the hinge - this has to be done after replacing the handle back in the car.

  8. Insert the grab handle into the slots and lock it in place. This will be the intended result:


Have money but no time for all these? Get the grab handles that are installed in the Polo sold overseas. Part numbers are:

Front - 1K8 857 607 Y20
Rear - 6R0 857 607 Y20

The DIY made a difference - thereís no noise when the handles retract. Be careful with the handles - any dents/cuts/scratches on the hinges would be hidden from view but those on the handles would be exposed. Here's mine after the modifications:

VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-postmod1.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-postmod2.jpg

VW India - if you are reading this, please include these dampers in the grab handles.

Thank you for going through the thread and apologies if it bored you.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 19th December 2015 at 22:22.
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Old 7th May 2015, 20:41   #2
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 7th May 2015, 21:32   #3
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Thank you for going through the thread and apologies if it bored you.
Nice one! Thank you.

Don't apologize - there are people who are experienced in DIY and are capable of rebuilding engines.

And there are others who are taking tentative steps into DIY territory. A well-written and well-illustrated DIY on a comparatively simple topic gives them the confidence to take those initial steps. A year down the line, they might be the ones contributing back to the community with their DIY
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Old 7th May 2015, 22:41   #4
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

Outstanding DIY, Gannu. Was waiting for this one. Thanks a lot.

The thudding sound is irritating for sure. Will try this out. Checked the OEM handles on aliexpress and they are in the $15-25 range.

Btw, the driver side sun visor and vanity mirror/visor on the passenger side also make a similar type of noise, though not as pronounced. I wonder if something similar can be done to rectify this as well.

Last edited by aurelino : 7th May 2015 at 22:44.
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Old 8th May 2015, 17:36   #5
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

Amazing Gannu Really appreciate your effort to capture every minute detail for us and explaining it so precisely. IMO nobody would take this much effort to get there car detailed and post it for others in the forum to try it out. This should be an effortless job to get it done referring your DIY manual. Keep them coming You rock!!
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Old 24th September 2015, 00:10   #6
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

Hi Gannu_1 . Your DIY threads are quite a read. it is an inspiration to every one to better their car . i must appreciate the efforts u put in. i must say this isnt easy stuff at all. this thread in particular impressed me a lot and level of details described is
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Old 22nd November 2015, 17:49   #7
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Finally got my grab handle dampers fixed, slight modifications to the cutting bit - as I happen to be a dentist, used a dremel tool to cut out the plastic to accommodate the dampers. It's faster and gives a neater finish. All thanks to Gannu and Flipsyde for helping me get it done! If you have dentist friends I'm sure they'll be able to help you out with the dremel tool.

VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-imageuploadedbyteambhp1448194622.752785.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-imageuploadedbyteambhp1448194661.602949.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-imageuploadedbyteambhp1448194695.557974.jpg

The burr is a 703 SS white burr available at dental stores

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 22nd November 2015 at 22:33. Reason: Inserting spacing before images.
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Old 10th December 2015, 13:16   #8
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
It may be a good idea to remove the metal bracket and the plastic trim from the hinge, before working on the chiseling part. In order to remove the plastic trim from the metal bracket completely, observe the arrangement carefully and pull these metal tabs up:
Inspired by your DIY and to get rid of that annoying 'tuk' sound of the grab handler I have decided to add dampers. I have already taken off grab handlers from the car and have sourced the dampers. But, separating the metal bracket and plastic trim from the hinge turning out to be more trickier. I need your tips/advise on this please. I guess you have used some kind of hook to do this, could you please elaborate what kind of hook(a pic of the hook from the net would be helpful)
VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles-4.jpg
From the above pic kindly advise on what position the lock should be while I try to pull out the metal frame, pic 1 or pic 2 ?
I am just being little careful to insure that I don't break it. Sorry to dig this old DIY, thanks in advance
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Old 10th December 2015, 22:34   #9
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

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Originally Posted by BlueEyes View Post
From the above pic kindly advise on what position the lock should be while I try to pull out the metal frame, pic 1 or pic 2 ?
I am just being little careful to insure that I don't break it. Sorry to dig this old DIY, thanks in advance
The position really doesn't matter, just lift the tabs of the metal clip that locks on the plastic slot first, and then, with your index and thumb (how one would pinch) hold it down and pull backwards allowing it be free from the plastic lock

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 16th December 2015 at 11:52. Reason: Fixing quotes. :)
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Old 11th December 2015, 14:09   #10
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

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Originally Posted by leprechaun View Post
If you have dentist friends I'm sure they'll be able to help you out with the dremel tool.
I am not going to any dentist who will use the same dremel used for DIY projects on patients as well.
And BTW, non-dentists too use dremel.
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Old 11th December 2015, 16:34   #11
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I am not going to any dentist who will use the same dremel used for DIY projects on patients as well.
And BTW, non-dentists too use dremel.
Haha, Jaguar, completely understand! Let me be very clear, this dremel isn't used on patients, it is completely used only for non clinical purposes, there is no contact with the dremel and the patient, not used in clinical practice, the ones used on patients are autoclaved and sealed in pouches and are way more expensive. And neither would i go to a dentist using any instrument on a DIY. I am aware that "non-dentist" people also use dremels, this was just for the people who don't have one to ask their dentist friends to source one.
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Old 11th December 2015, 17:25   #12
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Originally Posted by leprechaun View Post
Haha, Jaguar, completely understand! Let me be very clear, this dremel isn't used on patients, it is completely used only for non clinical purposes, there is no contact with the dremel and the patient, not used in clinical practice, the ones used on patients are autoclaved and sealed in pouches and are way more expensive. And neither would i go to a dentist using any instrument on a DIY. I am aware that "non-dentist" people also use dremels, this was just for the people who don't have one to ask their dentist friends to source one.
Hey I was just pulling your leg. Most people can easily make out the difference between hospital equipment and regular ones.
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Old 11th December 2015, 18:28   #13
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Hey I was just pulling your leg. Most people can easily make out the difference between hospital equipment and regular ones.
Only after i read your post, did i actually think like a patient and that kind of freaked me out .Hence the explanation, had to clear the confusion on behalf of the dental fraternity, haha! Thanks!
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Old 22nd February 2016, 09:56   #14
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

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Originally Posted by leprechaun View Post
Finally got my grab handle dampers fixed, slight modifications to the cutting bit - as I happen to be a dentist, used a dremel tool to cut out the plastic to accommodate the dampers. It's faster and gives a neater finish. All thanks to Gannu and Flipsyde for helping me get it done! If you have dentist friends I'm sure they'll be able to help you out with the dremel tool.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
The grab handles on the VW Polo and the siblings (Vento, Fabia, Rapid) retract quickly upon pulling due to the sprung-back action. Well, there’s no harm if it quickly retracts but the issue is it makes an irritating noise when the handle hits the headliner. Check out the video below:
Thank you gannu_1 and leprechaun, I ordered dampers off ali express and installed them in my vento, the handle fall back is super smooth now. Also thanks to leprechaun i got myself a dremel kit as well, its an incredible tool to do wood and stone work, really excited!
The aliexpress seller was kind enough to send me double the number of dampers required, so if any of you are in the mood for a DIY give me a shout out and ill send them across (I have 3 and its free)

Last edited by famousshoes : 22nd February 2016 at 09:59. Reason: spell check
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Old 2nd July 2017, 09:45   #15
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles

I just tried todo this DIY and gave up. Everything Except pulling out the plastic rod went as planned. I just couldn't get it out, such a tight fit it is.

I guess i didn't have the right tool to it. I tried by wrapping a scissor edge with tape and tried to squeeze it out but just could do it, almost broke

Other than nose pliers, any other tool that can do the job ?

Btw, the best tool to seperate the metaltab from plastic trim is a nail cutter's extra piece

Will try this DIY again
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