Pelican Technical Article:
Door Panel Removal / Mirror Switch Replacement Wayne R. Dempsey
Torx driver set
986 Boxster (1997-04) 987 Boxster (2005-08)
Door handle, door stay, mirror switch, speaker, etc.
Don't pull too hard on the
foam moisture barrier
Working door equipment
Repair your window regulator
This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's
101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book
contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything
from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color
glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book
is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website
for more details.
Check out some other sample projects
from the book:
If you are not the original owner of your Boxster, then chances are that there are quite a few things wrong with your car, and you wonder how they got broken. There probably isn't a place on the car with more gadgets and devices that break than inside or on the door. Not only do you have window glass and seals that leak water, but you have door handles, mirror switches, window regulators, door stays, and door panels: all of which are very susceptible to damage and breakage. Even if you work on your car only moderately, there is a very high chance that you will need to dive into the door to fix something that has broken. This project shows you how to remove the door panel, specifically so that you can get to the door lock assembly and the window regulator (see Project 78 and Pelican Technical Article: Window Regulator Replacement / Window Switch Replacement / Window Motor Replacement, but because there are so many moving parts on the door, I'll discuss just about everything else as well.
The first step in working on just about anything on the door is the removal of the door panel. Photo 1, 2 and 3 detail the process of the door panel removal. The toughest part is pulling the panel out from the door: it is attached with nine plastic clips that can be difficult to snap out of their home in the frame of the door. With the door panel removed, you should see a foam covering that is “glued” onto the backside of the door. A black sticky goo is what attaches this to the door: it can be removed and reused again if the gooey material is still pliable. Be careful not to tear the foam covering when you remove it.
With the panel removed, you have access to a whole lot of items inside the door. The door stay can be simply unbolted from the door frame and removed. The plastic door handle can easily be swapped out. The window regulator can be removed or repaired (see Pelican Technical Article: Window Regulator Replacement / Window Switch Replacement / Window Motor Replacement). Any door seals or channel guides that need renewing are available to you as well. If one of your door mounted speakers are broken, don't forget to replace them while you have the chance.
Closing up the door panel is straightforward. I always like to use new plastic door panel clips because new ones are cheap, and the old ones get brittle and may break in the very near future, causing an annoying rattle. Don't forget to install the foam covering: it's common to accidentally leave this on your workbench, only to discover it later on when you're putting your tools away!
Shown here are the fasteners that hold on the door panel. Pluck out the small airbag emblem and remove the screw underneath (green arrow). Remove the small screw underneath the trim clip on the pull handle (purple arrow). Under the plastic trim that surrounds the door handle there is a screw that needs to be removed (yellow arrow). Remove the screw inside the door pocket (red arrow), and the one behind the inside of the door handle pull (orange arrow).
The Boxster panel is attached to the door using plastic clips (green arrow). To remove the door panel, simply pull on the panel near where the plastic clips are located, and they should pop right out of the holes in the door (one shown by the yellow arrow). Use Photo 3 for guidance on where the clips are located around the outer edges of the door panel. With the door panel loose, pull it out from the bottom, and release the door lamp bulb from its holder (red arrow). Pull the panel off of the door and then reach around the rear to disconnect the door handle cable (purple arrow). You may have to clip a zip tie in order to disconnect the cable.
Shown here is the backside of the left, driver's side door panel. There are nine plastic clips that attach the panel to the door. You need to remove each of these clips from the holes in the door prior to removing the door panel. It will feel like you're breaking the door panel, but you will need to apply significant force to pull off each of the plastic clips. Use a stiff plastic spatula to wedge the door panel out without scratching the paint on the door.
With the door panel off, disconnect and remove the airbag. Be sure that you disconnect the battery and wait about 15 minutes prior to disconnecting the airbag (see Pelican Technical Article: Battery Disconnect Switch / Battery Buddy Installation). The airbag is simply attached to the door using four screws (green arrows). The speaker located in the lower corner is attached to the door with four screws (blue arrow). Remove the screws and then unplug its speaker connection. All that remains is the foam moisture barrier, which is removed in the next photo.
The pre-molded foam moisture barrier is glued onto the door with a gum-like adhesive. You should be able to carefully pull it back without damaging it. Use a plastic spatula and take your time: it's very easy to rip or tear it and a new one costs about $70. As you can see, with the moisture barrier removed, you can access all of the door components underneath (see Project 78 for the door locks, see Project 77 for the window regulator).
The mirror switch simply pops out of the door panel plastic trim piece. If you need to replace this switch, simply pry it up out of the door and unplug it. Be sure to install it with the left/right switch on the bottom: it's very easy to install it upside down. If you need to pull off the triangular panel, pull on it from the bottom and slide it up. There's a small tab on the top that breaks very easily (red arrow). The good news is that a new piece is only about $10 if/when you break it.
With the door apart, it might be a good time to think about replacing your door seals. At the time of this writing, the door seals are super expensive (over $200 each!). However, I expect the costs of these to come down as more and more of them start to wear out and the aftermarket manufacturers start making replacement reproduction rubber available.
The door stay is another item that you can replace with the door panel removed. Disconnect the stay from the body by removing the pin that holds the stay to the body (red arrow). Then remove the two bolts that attach the stay to the door. Finally, remove the stay from the inside of the door by reaching into the forward access panel in the door.
The procedure for removing later-style door panels is significantly different than for the early ones. Begin by prying out the mirror triangle piece and unplugging the harness (yellow arrow) and removing the door panel screw behind it. Then remove the screw inside the door handle pull and remove the handle piece (green arrow). Behind the door handle, there is an oval trim piece - gently pry this off and then remove the screw behind it. The red arrow shows the handle trim: gently pry this off and remove the two screws underneath. The orange arrow points to the end trim which must be gently pried off: remove the screw underneath. With all six screws removed (including the one holding on the door handle), you should be able to pull off the door panel.
Comments: In figure 2, when removing the door panel, there are two wire connectors not mentioned that plug into the back of the door handle. Simply pull on the connector to disconnect.
February 5, 2015
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: My drivers side "orientation LED" inside the door handle is not working on my early 2006 987 Cayman. Are these available to replace ?
November 28, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, we should be able to get that for you.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I have a 99 boxster, I have replaced the left window regulator. everything aligns right. My problem is still the same. Window does not come down far enough to clear upper door seal. comes down maybe 1/16 or 1/8. I can still push it down farther. What is the possibility of a weak motor?
August 20, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bottom of the regulator has a stop. You may have it in the wrong position. One position is for 986 one for 996. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I recently bought a 2005 Boxster S. After some heavy rain in the last few days, I found that the bottom part of both door panels were soaking wet. I found no trace of rain water anywhere else in the car. Does this mean that the moisture barrier in the door is broken and leaking? Could it be something else? The rubber gasket around the doors seems working fine.
August 15, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume the vapor barrier on the doors is worn. Remove the door panels to inspect. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I have a 1997 Boxster. The driver side window is not going down to clear the window gasket when the door handle is pulled. The window is not loose and the switch works to make the window go up and down. Is this a micro switch issue?
May 23, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does it not go down with the inside or outside handle? If just one, it could be the switch for that handle. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Hi guys, I have a UK spec 99 Boxster and the passenger window is sticking and making a crunch/scraping sound as its going up. It eventually gets stuck and automatically goes back down. Any ideas? Just bought the car and its great but this problem is niggling me! Worked fine to start with so unsure what it could be. Any help appreciated
May 18, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like a faulty regulator or drive motor / gear. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: How do you remove the internal car panel on a 2004 smart car
April 7, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sorry, we don't have a tech article for that vehicle. I wold grab a repair manual for your vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I have my door panel and moisture barrier removed. I have two broken door clips that need to be replaced. I can break the remainder of the broken clips to remove them, but do you have any advice on how to install the new ones? Also, what is the best adhesive for re-attaching the moisture barrier?
March 4, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: The clips either pull out or are rotated to be removed. The vapor barrier should be reattached using a butyl tape. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: hi can some one tell me how to replace driver side inner door seal on a porsche boxster 1999 model thanks Alan
February 8, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: we don't currently have a tech article for that procedure. If we get the chance to document the procedure, we will be sure to create one. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Had to remove the door panel recently to swap out the window regulator in my '02 Boxster. Everything went well except when the doors are closed and the engine is on the Overhead light and the courtesy lights on the side of the door remain on. It seems like the car doesn't think the doors are properly closed but I can't find any information on what sensor to check. Any advice?
January 11, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have disturbed the wiring for the door latch. If so, the door switches will not function.- Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I assume replacing the door compartment lid on the driver's side does not require the complete removal of the panel, but rather just getting enough clearance behind the door panel to detach the two sets of lid clips from the back side of the panel, correct? This seems pretty routine but want to make sure there isn't something I am missing. Thank you
March 27, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: You're better off removing the door panel. This way you have a good view of what you are doing and can be sure the clips are reinstalled correctly. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Can you help me with istalling the inner panel on a 2009 honda civic si.
March 25, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I apologize, we don't have that vehicle around to use to create the tech article. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: TWO WARNINGS!
FIRST: There are no instructions given for removing the plastic surround for the inside door handle. On the top rear of the cover is a plastic lip or clip. You need to pull the bottom of the cover out a bit and the push up the rear to clear that clip. Sadly, I didn't find out until the freshly broken end flew past my head. I was able to put it back on. But, I'm going to have to get another one.
SECOND: On my 2000, the screw inside the glove box in Figure 1 marked with a red arrow is not a screw at all. But some sort of plastic push rivet or had very soft threads that stripped. I have no idea how that was really supposed to come out. I had to cut it out. I reassembled without it for now.
March 9, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback Jay. The car in the photos is a 2000 Boxster, so I'm not sure where the differences lie. The clip should simply snap off of the door handle, I think you can do this with a soft plastic spatula. As for the screw inside the door, it's definitely supposed to be a screw. The fact that it wasn't means that a previous owner or mechanic who was sloppy was mucking around in there. - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: WARNING! Reconnect the airbag electrically before hooking up the battery for any testing. If you turn on the key with the airbag disconnected, the airbag light on the dash will come on, requiring a computer reset to turn it off. I paid $95 to learn this lesson.
March 5, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Excellent tip. If the control unit recieves battery voltage while any air bag system component is disconnected the warning light is activated.
- Denny at Pelican Parts
Comments: I'm planning on taking a door apart this weekend I purchased the book 101 projects. My guess is either the motor, regulator or a switch is my problem. You mention how to disconnect the air bag but no where do you explain any details of reconnecting the air bag and anything I might need to watch out for. I will need to connect the battery with the door apart to see what the problem is?Does the battery need to be re-disconnected before reinstalling the air bag? Thanks,
March 1, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the control unit recieves battery voltage while any air bag system component is disconnected the warning light is activated. You will need to reconnect the air bag prior connecting your battery to continue your diagnosis.
- Denny at Pelican Parts
Had this with mine and is due to the ignition being switched on whilst the airbag is disconnected. Had to get it reset by mechanic
September 20, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Had to repair the window regulator, so had to connect the battery while the airbag was out of the Boxter 2001, S. All back together, window works well, but airbag light is on, airbag is plugged in to electrical system as beofore and bolted in as before. Any suggestions?
June 8, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: The airbag fault will have to be cleared using a Porsche scan tool. Unfortunately, no other way around it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I have a '99 Boxster. The car had an original Porshe Radio Traffic Pro. I wasn't getting any bass response. Through trial and error. I replaced the original radio with a Kenwood Eschelon 395 radio $129 The car had a Haes 4X40 amp in the front trunk. Powering the dash and door speakers. The rear speakers were powered by the radio. I kept the wire pretty much the same. I ran the back speakers off the new radio. Disconnected the wires running to the dash speakers and ran new wires directly to the radio, for the front speakers. My new radio has a RCA out for the Subwoofer. I spliced RCA wires from radio to the Haes amp. The amp has a crossover that sends power to Door speakers. The sound is Fantastic! I'm a musician, and now I have door speakers, that really pump. Cheapest and best way to improve the sound in your Boxster. The new radio has a Subwoofer volume control. Amazing Sound.
February 1, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Check out some other sample projects
from the book: