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Where's The Door... Man

Q. I purchased a 96 Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor police car. It had the lock in the rear doors removed and I need to open the doors up to reinstall them. How do I remove the panels on the rear doors and how are they held on? Thank you for your response.

Marshall

A. WOW!!! Did they let you keep the lights too? I worked at a shop that had the contract to service the local police cars and I really looked forward to road testing them when I was done. I was road testing one I had just tuned up and I was driving down a back road with it. Being the fun loving and adventurous guy I am, I turned the radar unit on. There was a car coming the opposite direction and I saw he was doing 65 in a 50 zone. He saw me and immediately slowed dow to 45. I couldn't resist it, I made a u turn and drove behind him for about 2 miles. The whole time he was looking in his mirror to see when he was going to get pulled over for speeding. He stopped at a light, I pulled up next to him, waved and turned.

Those door panels come off easy enough. There's two screws in the leather door pull that come out and there may be one more in the bezel around the door handle. Once they are out, the panel is held in by a bunch of plastic clips around the outside of the panel. There is a special tool to pop these clips and you can find one at an auto parts store. It looks like a screwdriver with an angled fork on the end. Lacking that a wide blade regular screwdriver will do.

Take the tool and slip it between the door panel and the door and slide it over until you feel the clip. Then back it off and move it around until the clip is between the forks. Pry the door panel up until you feel the clip pop out of it's hole. Do that with all the clips around the door. Once they are all popped out, lift up on the door panel to remove it. It may take a bit of work to do this since the top of the panel clips to the top of the door frame. And be careful, the door panel is little more than a big piece of cardboard. You may have to disconnect the linkage for the door handle if it's attached to the door panel. Watch for any other fasteners that may be there, although there shouldn't be.

Once the door panel is off, you will see a plastic sheet. This is there to protect the door panel from water entering the door through the window openings. After you're done, be sure to put it back on. If it tears too badly, I have cut a plastic garbage bag to make a new one and taped it to the door.

A little bit about the plastic holding clips. Some will come out like they're supposed to, some will break, some will stay in the door. If they all come out like they're supposed to, great. If not, you can get replacements at the parts store. If they stay in the door, pop them out and fit them back in the door panel as best you can. When you go to put the panel back on, fit the top channel into the door frame and work the clips from top to bottom. Look between the panel and the door to make sure they line up with the holes and whack the panel to pop the clips back in.

Be patient and careful, it's not a hard job, but they are stubborn sometimes. A little care and you'll get them off with little or no damage.

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