Removing Door Panels On GMC Trucksby Jody L. Campbell
Many tasks necessitate the removal of a door panel on a GMC truck. Speaker replacement, side-view mirror replacement, changing a power window motor, realigning a window or replacing a window are among the most popular reasons. Manual window cranks apply a slightly different procedure than power windows, but overall the removal of the GMC (and Chevy) interior door panels is widely universal. Although slight differences may be apparent throughout generational redesigns, the panels will be removed similarly.
The Manual Window
No matter whether the door panel you're removing from your GMC truck has a power or manual window, the window should be rolled down to its lowest position. Of course, this may be hard to do if you have power windows and the motor died, but we'll discuss that in the power window section. The first thing to remove from the manual window door panel is the window crank handle. A special tool is made from Chevy/GMC to perform this task, but a screwdriver, hammer and a small pick hook, along with patience and perseverance might work. Place the handle at about a 4:00 position. This is with the understanding that the handle wasn't removed previously and that if it was, it was replaced in the correct position. If not, you might have to place the handle in the 10:00 position. Use the tool--or the screwdriver, hammer and pick--to unseat the retaining spring from underneath the base of the door handle. Once successful, the manual door crank handle will pry off the spindle easily.
The Power Window
The power window module is a much easier removal than the manual window crank handle. If you notice, there is a seam between the armrest and the power window module. Place a screwdriver--or, better yet, an interior panel trim tool--into the seam and then pry the window module upward from the armrest. It is retained by two plastic clips underneath that snap into seats. Once the module cover is unseated, be sure to disconnect the wire harness from underneath. This is a no-brainer and don't worry about remembering which plug goes where. You'll only be able to plug each individual wire harness into each individual plug. And don't worry about rolling the window down if you can't do so because of a faulty window motor. It simply makes the job easier if you can, but it is not required in order to remove the interior door panel. Just be careful of the window when removing the door panel.
Removing the Door Panel
Once the window crank or power window module has been removed, this is where the rest of the procedure becomes largely universal. Unsnap the triangular molding that covers the inside panel where the side-view mirror is. This snaps into two seats using plastic retaining clips. Next, gently pry off the door lock bezel and unseat that from its retaining clips. The door handle bezel can also be pried from the panel, but may get hung up on the handle itself. No problem there--let it hang. Now, locate the panel retaining screws. One should be revealed by the removal of the door handle bezel, and another revealed--in the event of power windows--from under the power window module, and another one should be placed under the armrest. One or two more located in the hand-cup of the armrest, are also likely. In some generational designs, removal of small concealing plugs and rectangular covers may be required to reveal the retaining screws. Any plastic plug or rectangular-shaped seamed cover in the hand-cup of the armrest most likely has a retaining screw underneath it. Pry out the plugs using a screwdriver just to be sure. If there's a screw there, remove it. The last step once the retaining screws have been removed is to begin prying the panel off of the door frame. Start at the bottom using an interior panel pry tool or a screwdriver and work your way around the circumference of the interior door panel. Like the power window module and the triangular side-view mirror cover, the interior door panel is snapped into place on the door frame using retaining clips that simply need to be unseated. Once the panel clips are unseated, pull it a couple inches from the door frame. Other wire harnesses may need to be unplugged and the door handle rod will need to be unsnapped and removed for behind the panel before you'll be able to remove it completely.
Behind the Door Panel
You will notice a plastic dust cover in place under the door panel that covers the door frame. This simply sticks to the door frame using reusable adhesive and can be easily removed by pulling it away from its own adhesive. To replace, there is usually enough adhesive to refasten itself to the door frame, but if not, taping it will do. Removing the dust cover is only required if you need to work inside the interior door frame. In the event you're just replacing a side-view mirror or perhaps a new power window control module, you may only need to remove enough of the cover to work on the component and then reattach it to the door frame.
Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.