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Pelican Technical Article:

Interior Trim Panel Removal

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$0

Talent:

**

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, T20 Torx

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

Parts Required:

Pillar panels, trim clips

Hot Tip:

Always lever off gently

Performance Gain:

Freshen up interior appearance

Complementary Modification:

New shift knob

The interior trim panels cover the interior body pillars and other sections of the vehicle. They provide additional noise and safety protection as well as dress up the interior of the car. The A-pillar refers to the metal body part that runs between the hood up to the roof. It supports the windshield. The B-pillar is located between the driver and passenger door. (Note: not all cars have B pillars). The C-pillar is the metal that runs from the rear of the roof to the trunk area and supports the rear window. These trim pieces are made from plastic and in some cases are covered with cloth. Most are held in place with metal clips. If you take your time there should be no reason you can not remove and replace your trim pieces without damage or anyone knowing you removed them.

You are going to be working around the airbags so disconnect the ground strap (yellow arrow) from the negative post on the battery (red arrow).
Figure 1

You are going to be working around the airbags so disconnect the ground strap (yellow arrow) from the negative post on the battery (red arrow). Place it in a position that it cannot accidently come in contact with the post while you are working. Be sure to also wait 15 minutes before working on removing the trim panels to give the residual electricity in the car a chance to dissipate.

A Pillar Upper: To remove the upper A pillar trim piece (red arrow), you will need to first remove the center section and the dash end cap.
Figure 2

A Pillar Upper: To remove the upper A pillar trim piece (red arrow), you will need to first remove the center section and the dash end cap.

A Pillar Upper: Begin by using your trim removal tool and gently prying the dash end cap away from the dash (red arrow).
Figure 3

A Pillar Upper: Begin by using your trim removal tool and gently prying the dash end cap away from the dash (red arrow). It is held in place by clips and will pop off.

A Pillar Upper: Remove the center section by gently prying the top of the piece away from the door frame with your trim removal tool (red arrow).
Figure 4

A Pillar Upper: Remove the center section by gently prying the top of the piece away from the door frame with your trim removal tool (red arrow). When reinstalling make sure to place the trim piece behind the weather seal on the door frame.

A Pillar Upper: With the top section loose lift the lower section of the trim piece up and out (red arrow).
Figure 5

A Pillar Upper: With the top section loose lift the lower section of the trim piece up and out (red arrow).

A Pillar Upper: Use a pick or very small screwdriver and very carefully remove the airbag badge (red arrow).
Figure 6

A Pillar Upper: Use a pick or very small screwdriver and very carefully remove the airbag badge (red arrow). With the badge removed use a T20 Torx and remove the single screw behind the badge.

A Pillar Upper: Begin removing the trim piece by inserting your trim removal tool between the piece and frame.
Figure 7

A Pillar Upper: Begin removing the trim piece by inserting your trim removal tool between the piece and frame. Gently pry it away and then use your hands to pull it back as you work your way towards the bottom (red arrow).

A Pillar Upper: With the clips removed from the A pillar lift the base up and towards the door to remove it (red arrow).
Figure 8

A Pillar Upper: With the clips removed from the A pillar lift the base up and towards the door to remove it (red arrow). When reinstalling make sure to place the trim piece behind the weather seal on the door frame.

A Pillar Upper: The retaining clips may stay in the frame (red arrows).
Figure 9

A Pillar Upper: The retaining clips may stay in the frame (red arrows). Use your trim removal tool and pry them out.

A Pillar Upper: Make sure to reinsert the clips (red arrow) back into the trim piece (yellow arrow) before reinstalling.
Figure 10

A Pillar Upper: Make sure to reinsert the clips (red arrow) back into the trim piece (yellow arrow) before reinstalling.

A Pillar Lower: You will need to remove the A pillar middle section (red arrow) and door sill (yellow arrow) first.
Figure 11

A Pillar Middle: Begin by using your trim removal tool and gently prying the dash end cap away from the dash (red arrow). It is held in place by clips and will pop off.

A Pillar Lower: The trim piece (red arrow) on the passenger side is similar to the piece on the driver's side with the exception that the driver's side has a hood release (yellow arrow).
Figure 12

A Pillar Middle: Remove the center section by gently prying the top of the piece away from the door frame with your trim removal tool (red arrow). When reinstalling make sure to place the trim piece behind the weather seal on the door frame.

A Pillar Lower: There is a plastic clip on the back side of the hood release handle.
Figure 13

A Pillar Middle: With the top section loose lift the lower section of the trim piece up and out (red arrow).

A Pillar Lower: Use a trim removal tool and pull the plastic pop screw from the trim piece (red arrow).
Figure 14

A Pillar Lower: You will need to remove the A pillar middle section (red arrow) and door sill (yellow arrow) first. Please see the A pillar middle and door sill removal for additional help.

A Pillar Lower: With everything removed the trim panel can now be removed (red arrow).
Figure 15

A Pillar Lower: The trim piece (red arrow) on the passenger side is similar to the piece on the driver's side with the exception that the driver's side has a hood release (yellow arrow).

Sill Plate: You do not need to remove the seats to remove the door sills (red arrows) but it will give you more room if you find you need it.
Figure 16

A Pillar Lower: There is a plastic clip on the back side of the hood release handle. Gently pry this forward and it will release the handle (red arrow). Remove the handle from the panel.

Sill Plate: Begin by inserting your trim removal tool on the forward edge of the sill and prying the plate out of the steel frame (red arrow).
Figure 17

A Pillar Lower: Use a trim removal tool and pull the plastic pop screw from the trim piece (red arrow).

Sill Plate: Work the tool along the sill plate popping up the clips as you go (red arrows).
Figure 18

A Pillar Lower: With everything removed the trim panel can now be removed (red arrow).

Sill Plate: The sill plate continues on to the lower rear side trim piece.
Figure 19

Sill Plate: You do not need to remove the seats to remove the door sills (red arrows) but it will give you more room if you find you need it.

B Pillar: The upper B pillar trim section is a single piece (red arrow).
Figure 20

Sill Plate: Begin by inserting your trim removal tool on the forward edge of the sill and prying the plate out of the steel frame (red arrow). It is held in by a series of clips.

B Pillar: Use a small pick or screwdriver to remove the airbag badge then use a T20 Torx and remove the single T20 Torx screw from behind the badge (red arrow).
Figure 21

Sill Plate: Work the tool along the sill plate popping up the clips as you go (red arrows).

B Pillar: With the screw removed you can pull the trim piece away from the B pillar.
Figure 22

Sill Plate: The sill plate continues on to the lower rear side trim piece. Insert your trim removal tool and pry the piece out towards the center of the car (red arrow). This will free up the piece and allow for removal from the car.

Rear Side Panel: To remove the rear side panel you will need to first remove the rear seats and sill trim piece.
Figure 23

B Pillar: The upper B pillar trim section is a single piece (red arrow). You do not need to remove the seat belt to remove the trim piece to work on it, but you will need to remove the belt if you need to remove it from the car or replace it.

Rear Side Panel: On the rear of the panel remove the small plastic access cover and then remove the single T20 Torx screw (red arrow).
Figure 24

B Pillar: Use a small pick or screwdriver to remove the airbag badge then use a T20 Torx and remove the single T20 Torx screw from behind the badge (red arrow).

Rear Side Panel: Begin pulling the panel away from the side.
Figure 25

B Pillar: With the screw removed you can pull the trim piece away from the B pillar. It is held in by a series of clips (red arrows) and sits behind the rear side panel (yellow arrow). When reinstalling make sure to place the trim piece behind the weather seal on the door frame.

Rear Side Panel: The panel is held in place by a series of six plastic clips (red arrows).
Figure 26

Rear Side Panel: To remove the rear side panel you will need to first remove the rear seats and sill trim piece. Please see our article on seat and sill removal for further assistance. Removing these will give you access to the lower clips (yellow arrows) and the Torx screw area (red arrow). You do not need to remove the B pillar trim piece as it sits behind the rear panel (green arrow).

Rear Side Panel: Make sure you remove any clips that remain in the body plug holes (red arrow) and reinsert them back into the panel for installation.
Figure 27

Rear Side Panel: On the rear of the panel remove the small plastic access cover and then remove the single T20 Torx screw (red arrow).

Figure 28

Rear Side Panel: Begin pulling the panel away from the side. Once you have access to the back of the panel reach in and disconnect the connection for the speaker (red arrow).

Figure 29

Rear Side Panel: The panel is held in place by a series of six plastic clips (red arrows).

Figure 30

Rear Side Panel: Make sure you remove any clips that remain in the body plug holes (red arrow) and reinsert them back into the panel for installation. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Scott Comments: It's also important to note that the coupling between the sunroof drains 4 and the drain hoses is pretty terrible, if pulling the headliner, one should check the condition of the drains by pouring some water down the sunroof channel. In our 6 year old car, the coupling was leaking and as a result the carpets/padding are soaking wet, smelly, and need to be cleaned.
December 28, 2014
  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
 

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