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Entrance Strip and B-pillar Trim Replacing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Entrance Strip and B-pillar Trim Replacing

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$20

Talent:

***

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, Trim panel clip tool, small flat-head screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

B-pillar trim, trim panel clips

Hot Tip:

Have extra trim panel clips on hand in case a few break during removal procedure.

Performance Gain:

Access components behind B-pillar trim, (seat belt reel and seat belt height adjuster).

Complementary Modification:

Replace any damaged trim clips

The interior pillar panels cover the interior body pillars of the vehicle. The A-pillar is located at the front windshield. The B-pillar is located between the front and rear doors. The C-pillar is located behind the rear door. Replace any broken trim panel clips and work with care so as not to damage the trim panel finish. 

The interior B-pillar trim on BMW E46 models covers the components and body structure at the B-pillar (center pillar) of the vehicle. The B-pillar is comprised of an upper and lower trim panel. To remove the B-pillar trim, you have to remove the door entrance trim first. You can get away with removing only the front door entrance trim, and sliding B-pillar out of the rear door entrance trim when removing. Once removed you can access the seat belt reel or continue further interior disassembly to remove the headliner and access sunroof components. ItâÂs a good idea to have extra trim panel clips on hand in case a few break during disassembly. 

E46 models are equipped with curtain airbags above the doors. Do not use sharp metal tools when prying an interior pillar panel away from the roof liner. To avoid marring the trim or damaging the airbag, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

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. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. 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.

Start by moving seat all the way forward and up to highest position.
Figure 1

Start by moving seat all the way forward and up to highest position. Then working at the outer seat rail, remove the seat belt mounting bolt. If you do not raise seat bottom you will not be able to access this fastener.

Then remove the front door entrance strip (green arrow) on the side of vehicle you are removing B-pillar trim on.
Figure 2

Then remove the front door entrance strip (green arrow) on the side of vehicle you are removing B-pillar trim on.

Using a trim panel tool, lever up door entrance strip in areas marked by green arrows.
Figure 3

Using a trim panel tool, lever up door entrance strip in areas marked by green arrows. There are four panel clips to disengage. If any of the entrance strip trim clips remain in door sill when removing, lever them out and slide back into door entrance strip. They can move around to any location on the entrance strip, so be sure to properly align the clip with corresponding hole in body.

Using a plastic prying tool, lever out bottom (green arrow) of B-pillar trim, (on side you removed door entrance trim, front).
Figure 4

Using a plastic prying tool, lever out bottom (green arrow) of B-pillar trim, (on side you removed door entrance trim, front).

Then working at rear bottom of B-pillar trim, using a plastic prying tool, lever out bottom (green arrow) of B-pillar trim.
Figure 5

Then working at rear bottom of B-pillar trim, using a plastic prying tool, lever out bottom (green arrow) of B-pillar trim.

B-pillar trim should now be disconnected at bottom as shown in this photo.
Figure 6

B-pillar trim should now be disconnected at bottom as shown in this photo.

Once th B-pillar trim has been disconnected at bottom, slide down and out of upper B-pillar trim piece (purple arrow).
Figure 7

Once th B-pillar trim has been disconnected at bottom, slide down and out of upper B-pillar trim piece (purple arrow). With lower B-pillar trim piece removed, now you will remove upper B-pillar trim.

Pull out center of plastic expanding rivets (green arrows) then remove plastic rivets from vehicle body.
Figure 8

Pull out center of plastic expanding rivets (green arrows) then remove plastic rivets from vehicle body.

Slide B-pillar trim down and detach from body.
Figure 9

Slide B-pillar trim down and detach from body. Once detached, slide seat belt through B-pillar trim and remove from vehicle. Once removed, you can remove seat belt reel or seat belt height adjuster if needed and replace. To install B-pillar trim, reverse removal instructions. Be sure to replace any broken trim clips or plastic rivets.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Art Comments: I ran all new wiring to my rear doors for new speakers I plan on amping in the future. I didn't have too much trouble taking the B-pillar trim off and out but haven't had much luck reattaching it. It seems to be that it needs to fold into the space. There are two black plastic pieces at the bottom that the trim slides onto from above, but the top of the trim has to slide under the top piece. I muscled it out to begin with so maybe I'm missing a step.
July 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The top piece slides up and attaches, then clips hold the bottom section. See the removal steps in the article. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Daniel Comments: What clips I need for the lower cover? I took it out but am having a lot of trouble getting in back in. I dont know what trim clips I need or how to install the bottom and top.
June 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Which cover? The article covers a few. What is your vehicle info? - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:20:56 AM