If you search for information on-line about how to remove the interior door panel from a 2003 Avalon, you’ll find plenty of questions and no answers. As such, I’ll share my experiences here to help other people.
First, I haven’t removed any of the front door panels, but I’m guessing that they function the same way as the rear door panels, which I have successfully removed and replaced. Second, patience is key in this exercise. If you get hasty and overly aggressive, you’re likely to break some of the plastic bits that hold everything together.
- Start by emptying all the pockets and cubbies in the door panel.
- Open the door wide.
- Remove the triangular plastic bit (sail panel?) above the door panel. This pulls straight back to disengage and is held on with one so-so fastener and a piece of double-sided tape obviously added at the factory to compensate for that sub-par fastener.
- At the bottom of the door are two exposed black screws. Unscrew them completely.
- Along each side of the door panel are two plastic expanding rivets. Push on the center cicle of the rivet until you feel a click. You should now be able to completely remove both the center circle and the outer portion of the rivet. These can be fairly easily broken so set them aside where they won’t be stepped on or otherwise damaged.
- Remove the woodgrain plastic piece from the arm rest by gently prying up the rear of the woodgrain part with a flat-head screwdriver or putty knife. There is a clip that links the front of the woodgrain part to the door panel.
- Unplug the wiring from the woodgrain part and set the plastic piece aside. Note : If you want to put the window up or down, the wiring needs to be connected to the woodgrain part, even if you use the front-seat controls.
- Inside the cavity where the woodgrain part usually sits there should be a brass-colored screw visible. Unscrew it and set it aside.
- There is a little door that is snapped shut covering a screw in the hard plastic door handle bezel. Open the little door by using the tip of a knife on the left-hand side of the door and gently prying the door open. Unscrew the screw inside.
- On the left-hand side of the door handle bezel, insert a flat-head screwdriver, between the door handle bottom (near the axle of the door handle) and the bezel. You should feel a slick click as the bezel is released from the door handle.
- Repeat the last step on the top left of the door handle bezel, inserting the screwdriver between the lock button and the door handle bezel.
- You should now be able to remove the door handle bezel.
- At this point, the door panel should now lift straight up and relatively easily off the door.
One final note: when you’re reassembling the door, you may need to remove and replace the double-sided tape that holds the plastic sail piece on the door.