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Removing Your Front Door Panels
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Removing Your Front Door Panels

Steve Vernon

Time:

20 min

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

T20, T27 Torx, trim removal tool

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W203 (2001-07)

Hot Tip:

Get some spare door clips

Performance Gain:

Doors that work

Complementary Modification:

Replace switches

Over the life of your Mercedes, the front driver's side door will get opened and closed more than the other doors, trunk and hood combined. It can take a tremendous amount of abuse and sooner or later something will fail. If you need to service your doors mechanicals or want to freshen up the appearance with new trim you will need to remove the door panel.

This article will show you how to remove your front door panels. It is not a difficult job, but door panels can be very expensive so take your time and double check things. Also, if you are going to be working on your own car, it is a good idea to purchase a set of trim removal tools. They are a set of hard yet flexible plastic tools of different shapes and sizes that are used in removing trim pieces. They work a lot better than a flat head screwdriver and there is nothing worse than ruining a "do-it-yourself" project by scratching up your car or damaging expensive interior pieces. Pelican sells a full line of these tool sets for under $20.

Before you begin removing the door panel, you need to disconnect the battery and let the car sit for half an hour. You are going to be working around the air bag and you want to make sure there is no electricity flowing in the car and that there has been time for the residual power to drain. You should also park the car on as level ground as possible. Nothing is more frustrating than working on the door while it is trying to swing open or closed.

First remove the plastic lock along the upper ledge. It unscrews counter clock wise. The door panel is only held on by three attached pieces of hardware. The first is the door lock trim piece. Remove this piece by unscrewing the single T20 Torx head screw and pulling the trim piece straight back.

Second is the door pull handle. Use your trim removal tool and gently pry the cover off the pull handle. With the handle off use your T27 Torx and remove the 2 screws inside the handle securing it to the door.

Next using your trim removal tool, remove the trim SRS trim piece located on the panel below the lock. Use a T20 Torx and remove the screw behind this piece.

There is a small footwell light under the map pocket that you can gently pry out with your trim removal tool and then disconnect the wires.

You will need to remove the small triangular shaped piece at the top front of the door that holds the speaker. Insert your trim removal tool at the top by the glass and pop it out. It will slide forward as you remove it. Disconnect the wires from the speaker.

There are seven clips that hold the panel to the sides and bottom of the door. Use your trim removal tool and gently pry the panel away from the door. If your door panel has never been removed it may take a little force.

Moving to the top of the panel gently insert your trim tool and pry the door panel up and away from the door.

With the panel off you need to remove the pull cable for the handle. Slip the metal end of the cable from the handle then gently extend the cable and slip it out of the channel.

Unplug the wiring for the seat controls and then the wiring for the power windows. The power window harness clip slides back and then the whole unit lifts out.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

Shown here is the interior door panel.
Figure 1

Shown here is the interior door panel. You will need to remove the door lock pull (purple arrow) SRS trim piece (yellow arrow), the door pull trim piece (red arrow) and the footwell light (blue arrow, not shown).

Begin by removing the door lock pull.
Figure 2

Begin by removing the door lock pull. It unscrews counter clockwise.

Remove the door lock piece by unscrewing the single T20 Torx head screw and pulling the trim piece straight back.
Figure 3

Remove the door lock piece by unscrewing the single T20 Torx head screw and pulling the trim piece straight back.

Use your trim removal tool and gently pry the cover of the pull handle (yellow arrow).
Figure 4

Use your trim removal tool and gently pry the cover of the pull handle (yellow arrow).

With the handle off use your T27 Torx and remove the 2 screws inside the handle (yellow arrows) securing it to the door.
Figure 5

With the handle off use your T27 Torx and remove the 2 screws inside the handle (yellow arrows) securing it to the door.

Next using your trim removal tool, remove the trim SRS trim piece located on the panel below the lock.
Figure 6

Next using your trim removal tool, remove the trim SRS trim piece located on the panel below the lock. Use a T20 Torx and remove the screw behind this piece.

There is a small footwell light under the map pocket that you can gently pry out with your trim removal tool and then disconnect the wires (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

There is a small footwell light under the map pocket that you can gently pry out with your trim removal tool and then disconnect the wires (yellow arrow).

You will need to remove the small triangular shaped piece at the top front of the door that holds the speaker.
Figure 8

You will need to remove the small triangular shaped piece at the top front of the door that holds the speaker. Insert your trim removal tool at the top by the glass and pop it out. It will slide forward as you remove it. Disconnect the wires from the speaker (yellow arrow).

There are seven clips that hold the panel to the sides and bottom of the door.
Figure 9

There are seven clips that hold the panel to the sides and bottom of the door. Use your trim removal tool and gently pry the panel away from the door (yellow arrow). If your door panel has never been removed it may take a little force.

Moving to the top of the panel gently insert your trim tool and pry the door panel up and away from the door (yellow arrow).
Figure 10

Moving to the top of the panel gently insert your trim tool and pry the door panel up and away from the door (yellow arrow).

With the panel off you need to remove the pull cable for the handle.
Figure 11

With the panel off you need to remove the pull cable for the handle. Slip the metal end of the cable from the handle (yellow arrow) then gently extend the cable and slip it out of the channel (red arrow).

Unplug the wiring for the seat controls (yellow arrow).
Figure 12

Unplug the wiring for the seat controls (yellow arrow).

Unplug the wiring for the power windows.
Figure 13

Unplug the wiring for the power windows. The power window harness clip slides back and then the whole unit lifts out (yellow arrow).

This photo illustrates the seven clips that secure the panel to the bottom and sides of the door (red arrows).
Figure 14

This photo illustrates the seven clips that secure the panel to the bottom and sides of the door (red arrows).

This is what the door looks like with the panel off.
Figure 15

This is what the door looks like with the panel off. You can see the speaker (red arrow) and the air bag unit (yellow arrow)

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Comments and Suggestions:
chico Comments: i need to see or know where the window regulator hooks to window motor 2001mebenz 430ml ? .motor works this one works with a teeth pendula not a cable driven?
March 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should bolt onto the regulator, connecting to the gear through a hole.


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
 
Dickson Comments: Strange. I removed the door panel today by T25 Torx except for door lock piece using T15 Torx.

It's not T20 Torx and T27 Torx as per my experience.
February 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We will look into the tool sizes. Thanks for the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
AJ Comments: How do you get the exterior handles off from here? It looks like they are very close to the airbag unit. Any risk in working this closely with the airbag unit?
December 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Disconnect the battery and wait 10 minutes. Then it is safe to work with the airbag.

Found this in the forums:



Step 1: (Start with the driver side) Peel off about 2 pins from the door weather strip to reveal the access hole. Then use a T-20 torx driver to release the screw that holes the IR receiver piece - WARNING: do NOT immediately remove the screwdriver as the screw may fall off!

Step 2: Use masking tape to hold the screwdriver in place, so that you can continue the process without worrying the screw falling off.

Step 3: Carefully pull out the IR sensor/lock assembly and unclip the sensor.

Step 4: Hold the screwdriver, and tape the tail of the screw to secure it. Now you can remove the screwdriver. Then slide the door handle out in the order shown.

Step 5: Slightly pry the 3 hooks of the cap to remove the the lock and IR sensor.

Step 6: IR sensor/lock cap removed.

Step 7: (Passanger side) Repeat the procedures to remove the IR sensor assembly and the handle piece. Remember to tape the tail of the fastening screw first before removing the screwdriver!



- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
surprised Comments: The plastic retainers that the clips slip into are broken or missing from my 1998 slk. Is there a fix?
December 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can replace them. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
yacarnut Comments: I have a 2004 right hand drive CLK320. The picture seems different to my pull handle, the trim seems to be fitted tightly around the handle and I have tried to remove it but I fear it will be ruined by the time I get it off. Can you offer me any advice.
November 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you grab the cable with a pair of needle nose pliers and twist is out of the hole that holds it? - Kerry at Pelican Parts  

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