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Interior Pillar Panel Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Interior Pillar Panel Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Small Phillips head screwdriver, trim panel clip tool, flathead, T25, T50 Torx, 16mm socket

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Pillar panels and trim clips

Hot Tip:

Always lever off gently

Performance Gain:

Freshen up interior appearance

Complementary Modification:

Replace in pairs

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. These trim panels are exposed to harsh sunlight and receive physical contact from time to time. Due to these conditions, the finish on the panels may wear. The panels may dry out and crack.

In the procedure for B-pillar trim the doorsill trim can be left in place, unlike other models. If you want to remove it, see our tech article on door entrance trim (sill) replacement. Replace any broken trim panel clips and work with care so as not to damage the trim panel finish.

E53 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. The A-pillar panels don't require too much effort to remove. Just keep the airbags in mind when working in this area.

Front seat belts are routed through the B-pillar trim covers. When removing the B-pillar trim, you will remove the front seat belt fastener, as described below. Also the C-pillar trim requires the rear seat belt to be removed.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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're 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.

A-pillar trim: 
A-pillar trim: Using a small flathead screwdriver, gently lever out the fastener trim cover (red arrow).
Figure 1

A-pillar trim: Using a small flathead screwdriver, gently lever out the fastener trim cover (red arrow).

A-pillar trim: Next, remove the T20 Torx fastener from the A-pillar trim panel (red arrow).
Figure 2

A-pillar trim: Next, remove the T20 Torx fastener from the A-pillar trim panel (red arrow).

A-pillar trim: Pull the A-pillar trim panel away from the A-pillar while detaching it from the door seal.
Figure 3

A-pillar trim: Pull the A-pillar trim panel away from the A-pillar while detaching it from the door seal. When pulling away, you are detaching clips in the area of the green arrows. Once detached, slide the trim up in the direction of the red arrow to remove it.

A-pillar trim: When installing, it's the reverse order of the removal instructions.
Figure 4

A-pillar trim: When installing, it's the reverse order of the removal instructions. Be sure to replace any damaged trim panel clips. Use a plastic prying tool to adjust the door seal position on the A-pillar trim when done. Feed the bottom (green arrow) of the trim panel in first. Then press it onto the A-pillar.

B-pillar trim:
B-pillar trim: The B-pillar is two separate panels.
Figure 5

B-pillar trim: The B-pillar is two separate panels. There is one upper panel (green arrow) and one lower panel (red arrow), both of which are replaceable. I will show you how to remove them both.

B-pillar trim: Working at the topsides of the B-pillar trim, lever the trim off using a plastic prying tool.
Figure 6

B-pillar trim: Working at the topsides of the B-pillar trim, lever the trim off using a plastic prying tool. Lever at both sides and work your way down until it is detached.

B-pillar trim: Move the trim panel away from the B-pillar.
Figure 7

B-pillar trim: Move the trim panel away from the B-pillar. Slide it up in the direction of the red arrow to remove it. The green arrow points to one of the mounting spots for the trim panel clips.

B-pillar trim: Next, remove the 16mm seat belt fastener (green arrow).
Figure 8

B-pillar trim: Next, remove the 16mm seat belt fastener (green arrow). Move the seat belt out of your way.

B-pillar trim: Once the seat belt is detached, feed the seat belt through the opening (red arrow) and remove the panel from the vehicle.
Figure 9

B-pillar trim: Once the seat belt is detached, feed the seat belt through the opening (red arrow) and remove the panel from the vehicle.

B-pillar trim: Using a trim panel tool, lever out the bottom of the lower B-pillar trim panel.
Figure 10

B-pillar trim: Using a trim panel tool, lever out the bottom of the lower B-pillar trim panel. Detach the clips in the areas indicated by the red arrows.

B-pillar trim: Once the bottom of the lower B-pillar trim is detached at the bottom, slide it out from under the doorsill trim panels.
Figure 11

B-pillar trim: Once the bottom of the lower B-pillar trim is detached at the bottom, slide it out from under the doorsill trim panels. When installing, you will use your trim panel tool to slightly lever the door sill trim panels up to allow the lower B-pillar trim panel to be installed.

B-pillar trim: Pull the lower trim panel (green arrow) away from the seal (red arrow) to remove it.
Figure 12

B-pillar trim: Pull the lower trim panel (green arrow) away from the seal (red arrow) to remove it. Then, slide the upper B-pillar trim panel up and remove it from the body. When installing, reverse the order of the removal instructions. Be sure to replace any damaged trim panel clips.

B-pillar trim: When installing, be sure the upper mounting tabs (green arrow) are properly aligned with the lower panel tabs (red arrow).
Figure 13

B-pillar trim: When installing, be sure the upper mounting tabs (green arrow) are properly aligned with the lower panel tabs (red arrow). Then use a trim panel tool to adjust the door seals to properly overlap the trim panel.

C-pillar trim: 
C-pillar trim: Start by removing the rear seat cushion (red arrow) and rear seat backrest side cushion (green arrow), on the side of the vehicle you are removing the C-pillar trim from.
Figure 14

C-pillar trim: Start by removing the rear seat cushion (red arrow) and rear seat backrest side cushion (green arrow), on the side of the vehicle you are removing the C-pillar trim from.

C-pillar trim: Next, remove the 16mm seat belt fastener (red arrow).
Figure 15

C-pillar trim: Next, remove the 16mm seat belt fastener (red arrow).

C-pillar trim: Working at the C-pillar, use a small Phillips head screwdriver or a straight pick.
Figure 16

C-pillar trim: Working at the C-pillar, use a small Phillips head screwdriver or a straight pick. Press the center tab in on the plastic rivet (green arrow). Then remove the rivet from the panel.

C-pillar trim: Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the trim panel in the area of the red arrows.
Figure 17

C-pillar trim: Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the trim panel in the area of the red arrows. Be careful not to break the cover. Lever it straight out.

C-pillar trim: Pull the C-pillar trim panel up and away from the C-pillar while in the direction of the red arrow to remove it.
Figure 18

C-pillar trim: Pull the C-pillar trim panel up and away from the C-pillar while in the direction of the red arrow to remove it. Feed the seat belt through the opening (red arrow) and remove the panel from the vehicle. When installing, reverse the order of the removal instructions. Be sure to replace any damaged trim panel clips.


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Comments and Suggestions:
Fin Comments: Thanks for the article. Could you tell me if the connector for the curtain airbag is at the bottom of the wiring harness behind the dashboard, or above, up to the b-pillar area? Thank you
August 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On what vehicle? - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:45:09 AM