I had been asked by a member of our local Subaru club for some information on how I changed my door card color in my 02 WRX. So I figured I would post a DIY so everyone that was interested could use the information.
They weren't that hard to do. Not sure if anyone has taken the door panels off before or not but here are step by step instructions:
- Flat & philips screwdriver
- 3M spray adhesive contact cement
- really small self tapping screws
- Durable fabric
- utility knife or razor blade
Door panel removal
- First there are I believe 1 screw, and 2 plastic pop screws to take off the door panel. The screw is located inside the door handle recess on the arm rest. You will see a little plastic tab down in there you need to pop open to expose the screw.
- The 2 plastic pop screws are one at the hinge of the door and one at the rear. (The rear doors may be a little different, I can't remember)
- Now you need to pop the plastic trim off that is around the door handle itself. Do this gently by wrapping some cloth around your flat head screwdriver and gently pry it off. This is important to get off, or it will bust when you take the door panel off
- Once all the these steps are done you will have to grab the panel and pull fairly hard, but not too hard. There are a bunch of push clips all around the door that hold it on. Just keep pulling around the edges until all of these pop free
- Once it is free from the door you can unplug the wiring harness to the power windows and locks
Door Panel Disassembly
- I believe there is only one screw on the back of the panel.. but there are a bunch of plastic pop rivots that have all been fused. You will see where they all are. Basically what you are going to do is separate the top part of the door panel from the bottom
- Unscrew the top screw and then take your flat head screwdriver and pry under all the fused pop rivots and bust them free. This is where your self tapping screws will come into play later
- You may want to wear gloves when doing this because when that screwdriver busts through, the plastic can be pretty sharp. My knuckles looked like I was in a brawl afterwards
- You should now be able to grab a hold of the old fabric that was glued on there and pull it all off. As you are doing this, notice how it was simply tucked up in under the padded area on the top part of the door panel.
Putting on the new Fabric
- If you like, you can use the fabric that you pulled off for a template. I didn't do this but instead took a larger piece and simply cut off the excess when I was done. I didn't want to worry about making sure I put it on exactly right and then risk missing covering some areas.
- Tape, or cover the door panel area that doesn't have the fabric on it.
- Then use your 3M adhesive and spray it on the area that the fabric goes, making sure to get a good coverage to prevent any areas letting loose later
- Once you have sprayed on the adhesive, let it setup for a few seconds. You want it to be tacky and not wet. If it is wet, it can soak through your fabric and make it look blotchy
- Now press on and smooth out your fabric all over the area.
- Use your flat head screwdriver to press the fabric into the seam where the upper padding is on the door to make sure you have it nice and tight in there. Don't press too hard or the flathead could mark or damage the existing covering.
- Wrap the fabric all over the area that the old fabric was on and then cut off all the excess with a utility knive or razor blade. Again be careful when cutting the excess fabric near the upper padding so that you don't cut the padding itself.
- Let the glue dry according to the specification on the spray bottle
- line the top and bottom half of the door panel up based on their pop rivots, and use the single screw that was taken out previously to temporarily hold the two parts together.
- Now is where you take all of the small self tapping screws and screw them into each of the pop rivots that you broke.
- be careful with the length of the screws that you use. You don't want them to come through the other side of the door panel when putting them in. Screw them in really slowly and if you see an sign of them poking through the other side, stop.
- Once the door panel is back together, put it back on the door in the reverse order that you did to take it off, and voila, you are done
Here are some pictures of the end result from my installation: