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Removing Your Interior Door Panels
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Removing Your Interior Door Panels

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, Door panel clip tool, flathead & Phillips screwdriver,

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i/xi Sedan/Wagon (2001-05)

Parts Required:

Vapor barrier, Vapor barrier seal, door panel clips

Hot Tip:

Have door panel trim clips on hand in case they break when removing

Performance Gain:

A door that opens

Complementary Modification:

Inspect / lubricate window regulator

The interior door panel has to be removed to access components behind it such as door speakers, side airbags, window regulators, door latches and door mirrors. In this tech article, I will go over the steps involved in removing the door panel on your E46. I suggest having extra door panel clips on hand before removing, as they can break when removing. If you have to remove the vapor barrier, have the vapor barrier sealant on hand. Be very careful when removing the vapor barrier. It tears easily. If the vapor barrier is installed with a tear, an interior water leak can develop.

Each inner door trim panel is equipped with an SRS airbag. For safety reasons, be sure to disconnect the vehicle battery before beginning work on the door panel. See our tech article on the battery.

Be sure to use plastic prying tools when working on interior trim panels and other components. Alternatively, wrap the tip of the screwdriver or another metal prying tool with masking or electrical tape to avoid marring the trim items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the door panel trim piece.
Figure 1

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the door panel trim piece. Start prying at the edge (green arrow) and work your way toward the interior of the car, gently levering the trim piece off the door panel.

Next, using a plastic prying tool, lever out the power mirror switch.
Figure 2

Next, using a plastic prying tool, lever out the power mirror switch.

Once mirror switch has been removed, disconnect the electrical connectors by pulling it straight out of the switch (green arrow).
Figure 3

Once mirror switch has been removed, disconnect the electrical connectors by pulling it straight out of the switch (green arrow).

Then, using a plastic prying tool, lever out the trim plugs from the bottom of arm rest (green arrows).
Figure 4

Then, using a plastic prying tool, lever out the trim plugs from the bottom of arm rest (green arrows). Be careful when removing, be sure to pull them straight out of arm rest - if bent incorrectly, these have a tendency to break.

Then, remove the five T-20 Torx fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 5

Then, remove the five T-20 Torx fasteners (green arrows).

Using a door panel clip tool, release the door panel clips.
Figure 6

Using a door panel clip tool, release the door panel clips. I like to start at the lower corner (green arrow), Then work my way around the door panel, releasing all the other clips. Once the door panel clips have been disconnected, pull the top of the door panel straight off the window seal clips. Start at outer edge of door and work your way toward the interior.

Pull the door panel back enough to access the door handle cable - unclip and release the cable (green arrow) from door handle by the releasing tab and pulling it out.
Figure 7

Pull the door panel back enough to access the door handle cable - unclip and release the cable (green arrow) from door handle by the releasing tab and pulling it out. Then pull the door panel away from the door a little further and disconnect the speaker electrical connectors by pulling it straight off and the guide mirror wiring harness out of the door panel. Once all the electrical connectors are disconnected and detached from the door panel, remove the door panel from the vehicle.

You can now service items behind the door panel and repair as needed. When installing, follow the removal instructions in reverse order. Be sure to replace any damaged door panel clips. Remember to properly route all wiring as before.

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Comments and Suggestions:
trex505 Comments: Hi, do you happen to know which screws go in which holes? I'm missing the majority of the screws in my driver's door. I know I need 5 screws, but I believe 2 of them are long, and the other 3 are short. I don't know which one goes where. Thanks for any info.
June 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can use the article for what the screws look like, or give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
kava Comments: do you have information on 650I 2007 door panel removal drives side. my door handle doesn't open the door. i guess i have to remove the panel to fix this problem . thanks
April 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Montrell Comments: Nwver mind guys, I got it. Don't know why it didn't work the first time
December 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Montrell Comments: How do I put that door handle release cable back on. I tried to but it only goes in when the handle is out but then handle won't push back in so your would not be able to open the for from the inside. If I try and push the latch back in with the door handle closed it won't fit.
December 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Feed the cable end into the handle, be sure it is aligned correctly and the correct slide of the slot. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dougz Comments: please he;p can I connect my ghost lights tomy footwell lights,if so do the well lights have a live wire nxt to the bulb
September 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: i don't know what ghost lights are, but you can;t add lights to existing circuit, it will be over-loaded. You will need to add a fused power source and new ground . - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sam Comments: Hi i need to remove my center console and metalic like trim on my bmw 650i 2012 any help
April 27, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
HAL Comments: hi, i have a 03 m3 e46 i want to install carbon fiber overlays that i bought. my question is can i just remove my arm rest with out taken off the whole door panel ? i have to do this in order for the over lays to fit correctly. if you please help me out thank you.
January 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure. You can check with the manufacturer of the kit. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bala Comments: Hi, I have a BMW 325i 2002& wanted to replace the front hood cable but i find it difficult to remove the footwell panel where the hood lever is connected. Rear hood switch is also connected in the panel. could you please send me some pics how to disconnect the rear hood switch to take the panel off from the car.
April 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You'll want to remove the door entrance strip, then the footwell panel. Once you have the footwell panel removed, you can access the switch to disconnect the electrical connector, then push the switch out of panel. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:20:50 AM