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How To: Remove/Replace 3rd Gen Door Panel

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by BigRondo, January 13, 2011.

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    1. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      I have not found a thread for specifically removing the door panels. When someone asks, I usually point them to a thread that involves removing the door panel but is not specifically for removing the door panel. Hopefully this will eliminate any confusion.


      Be Sure To Check Out My Other Write-Ups:

      How To: Replace Blend Door Actuator in 3rd Gen Ex

      How To: Install Signal Mirrors On 3rd Gen Ex

      How To: Restore Faded, Yellowing Headlights

      How To: Replace Multifunction Switch in 3rd Gen Ex

      How To: Paint Rear Pillar Trim

      How To: Replace 3rd Gen Ambient Air Temperature Sensor

      How To: Test a Relay

      How To: Remove/Replace 3rd Gen Center Console


      Tools Required:

      7/32" Socket
      Butter Knife, Putty Knife, or Trim Removal Tool

      [​IMG]

      1. Remove Door Panel

      1.a. Remove Both Bottom Screws - 7/32" Socket Required

      [​IMG]

      1.b. Remove Interior Door Handle Cover - Use butter knife, putty knife, or trim removal tool to pry up front of cover then remove

      [​IMG]

      1.c. Remove Window/Lock Switch Assembly - Lift up at point indicated by red arrow

      [​IMG]

      1.d. DRIVER'S SIDE - Remove Electrical Connectors - Press in tabs indicated by red arrows. I used the small slotted screwdriver to remove the green connector because I couldn't access the tab with my thumb

      [​IMG]

      1.d. PASSENGER'S SIDE - Remove Electrical Connectors - Press in tabs indicated by red arrows.

      [​IMG]

      1.e. Remove Arm Rest Screw - 7/32" Socket Required

      [​IMG]

      1.f. Lift Door Panel Up And Towards You
      No Picture. I couldn't remove door panel and take a picture at the same time

      1.g. DRIVER’S SIDE ONLY - Disconnect Electric Mirror Adjustment Switch

      [​IMG]

      6. Replace Door Panel

      2.a. DRIVER’S SIDE ONLY - Reconnect Electric Mirror Adjustment Switch - Snap connector back into mirror switch

      [​IMG]

      2.b. Replace Door Panel on Door – Line Up Mounting Pieces to Holes in Door & Slide Down Into Place
      No Picture. I couldn't replace door panel and take a picture at the same time

      2.c. Replace Arm Rest Screw - 7/32" Socket Required

      [​IMG]

      2.d. PASSENGER'S SIDE - Reconnect Window/Lock Switch Connectors - Snap connectors into switches

      [​IMG]

      2.d. DRIVER'S SIDE - Reconnect Window/Lock Switch Connectors - Snap connectors into switches

      [​IMG]

      2.e. Replace Window/Lock Switch Assembly - Place back side in first and gently push down

      [​IMG]

      2.f. Replace Interior Door Handle Cover - Set back side in first and gently snap cover into place

      [​IMG]

      2.g. Replace Both Bottom Screws - 7/32" Socket Required

      [​IMG]

      You are done!! :thumbsup:
       
      Last edited: August 24, 2012
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    3. Joe Dirt

      Joe Dirt Explorer Addict

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      Well done! :thumbsup:

      I was just thinking that as I typed the description for the GII last night.


      BTW- I fixed your last step with a tallboy... :D

      [​IMG]
       
    4. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      It's like it was made for a can of PBR!! :chug:

      I read your description for the 2nd Gen. Gonna need that when I install the keypad. Couldn't find a write up for that. Looks like I know what my next one will be.
       
    5. Joe Dirt

      Joe Dirt Explorer Addict

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      I was just thinking that... I was going to do one, but you have to put the keypad in too... :thumbsup:
       
    6. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Might as well do it since I'm going to be knee deep in it.

      [​IMG]
       
    7. EasyRhino

      EasyRhino Well-Known Member

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      Does the pattern of the silverware (knife) matter, or can I use sterling, silver plate, or stainless steel flatware?:D
       
    8. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      I guess whatever you have handy. I wouldn't risk loosing the silver though. :p:
       
    9. NHarris

      NHarris Well-Known Member

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      Great write up Rondo! :thumbsup: One of those simple, yet confusing things.
      I found that my arm rest bolt was a different size than the rest. The two on the lower door were 8mm and the arm rest was a 6mm.

      EasyRhino; you can always make a trip to Harbor Frieght Tools and get a set of cheap panel pullers.
       
    10. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Thanks Nate. This question gets asked a lot so I figured we needed this.

      I think EasyRhino was just having some fun with me about my "tools" aka butter knife!
       
    11. EasyRhino

      EasyRhino Well-Known Member

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      My wife would kick my butt if I used her flatware! :p:

      But I have considered buying one of those trim removal tools thingees.

      A very apt and well done post, as these door panel removals are kind of anti-intuitive. A sticky perhaps? I have seen repeated posts over the years asking how to do this.
       
    12. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      My flatware, my rules. :p:

      I thought the same thing about the question being asked all the time so I did the write-up. I'm going to be changing the keypad on my nephew's '98 soon and will do a write-up for the 2nd Gen door panel as well since one doesn't exist.
       
    13. EasyRhino

      EasyRhino Well-Known Member

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      ;)
       
    14. garmstrong2007

      garmstrong2007 New Member

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      Door panel Removal

      I have found that a flat pry bar with the nail slot works good. Commonly called a "Wonder Bar". Otherwise the nylon push fastener pulls out of the slot/hole in the door panel.

      When I worked as a dealership tech the lube guy took a window track job because I was busy. He didn't see the screws hidden by the carpet on the door panel. He forced the door panel off with a BIG pry bar. OUCH! He then asked me how to get the track out and I remarked "WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE DOOR PANEL!" LOL. The shop had to buy a new door panel.
       
      Last edited: March 3, 2011
    15. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Welcome aboard! :salute:

      The 3rd Gen doesn't have any "Christmas tree fasteners" on the door panels.
       
    16. garmstrong2007

      garmstrong2007 New Member

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      OH, OK, so what does it use? I have to work on the one I'm getting on Wednesday and like to know so I don't break something. Thanks.
       
    17. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Start at the top of this thread. This is the how to on removing/replacing the 3rd gen door panel.
       
    18. clarabow

      clarabow New Member

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      Thanks clarabow
       
    19. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Welcome aboard!! :salute:

      You are welcome. Glad I could help out! :):thumbsup:
       
    20. pwallace

      pwallace New Member

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      Finally I was able to purchase and install the Mirror switch. Much THANKS to BIG RONDO for posting the link to the info about the removal of the door panel. Only one thing I would add or clarify to the info. I am old school and used to the type of panel connectors that pushed into holes in the door frame. When the author stated "pull up on the door panel" my mind converted pull up to pull out I guess and I tried and tried to gently pry out on the panel to pop loose what I assumed were the push in connectors with no luck obiviously. My bad for not understanding up means up and does not mean pry out but to clarify this for anyone else "up means up." The door panel has downwarrd facing L shaped hook fasteners that slide down into slots in the door frame so don't attempt to pry outward, just lift the panel straight up toward the top of the door frame, out of the slots and window frame. It is actually much easier than the old push in type fasteners that used to be the norm. Other than that the info in here is spot on every step of the way.
      BTW the engineer that designed the way that the switch for the door lock installs in the panel with the window controls must have never removed or installed an electrical connector in his life or he wouldn't have placed the locking tab between the switch and the connector tab that holds the panel in the arm rest. It is extremely hard to release the lock on that conector but with patience it will release just take your time and remember it is plastic do not force it!
       
    21. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Nicely done. :D

      This panel is so much easier to get off then other vehicles I've had.

      The switch for the door locks is a PITA!!! I remove the mirror switch from the door panel before removing the connector.
       
    22. pwallace

      pwallace New Member

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      Roger that Big Rondo. Old habits die hard and all every other door panel I had ever removed either was screwed on or had the push in tabs so I was bumfuzzled there for about ten minutes, down on the ground trying to peer behind the panel to find the connectors and lo and behold there weren't any! Thats when the light went off and I figured it out. Your help made it so much easier than it would have been otherwise so again THANKS a million for the great info provided.

      Pete
       
    23. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      You are welcome!! Carry on. :salute:
       
    24. jstorm001

      jstorm001 Member

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      I remember a few years back when I installed new speakers in my explorer when I removed the window switches all the front clips on them broke I had to put a little of super glue on them when I put the door panel back together:(
       
    25. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      It happens. Back in the day we didn't have the internet and had to figure this stuff out ourselves. it's good have resources like this!
       
    26. jstorm001

      jstorm001 Member

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      Your right about that!! I learned so much from here & youtube videos few years ago I wouldn't really touch notting under the hood then I realized how easy things were to do from help from videos & websites like this! Also saving money too now if i'm not to sure about something i'll bring it in the shop if I think I cant do it.
       

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