Let's pull the rear door panel on a W124!
NOTE - For information on the FRONT Door Panel see THIS DIY ARTICLE
Hi all, I had to replace the window regulator on the Right Rear door of my '95 E300D today. Symptoms were that the window went down once and wouldn't go back up. I pulled it up by hand while engaging the switch just to keep it up while I ordered a regulator. It didn't go all the way up snug, but it stayed almost all the way up - enough to keep the rain out. For information, the aftermarket regulator I bought on ebay worked perfectly, no issues at all, so I recommend that rather than a junkyard pull, as the same part which broke on mine will probably break on a used one at some point.
But I digress, this tutorial is basically how to pull the interior door panel. Thanks to others who have documented this, as I used their info, but I figured I'd add some more photos to help and give a bit more detail. Hopefully the mods will put this in the Wiki. (Note, a few things I read in previously posted material lead me to think that early 124's may have things a bit different than this, but hopefully this helps in any case.)
First, unscrew the lock pull. Now remove the black plastic bezel around the latch striker at the back of the panel, one phillips screw.
Now take the ashtray out, and then you will take out the ashtray housing. The ashtray housing prys out from the bottom and has two hooks on the back which hook into the metal structure of the door. See photos of both the back side of the ashtray housing with hooks (the photo is labled as the ashtray, but it's the ashtray HOUSING) and the opening in the door panel showing two holes in the plastic lining where the hooks go.
You can also see the wire to the puddle light, more on that next.
Now we are going to disconnect the puddle light. Very easy, two wire connectors on the light, that's it.
Now we are going to take out the door latch pull handle surround cover (the thing surrounding the thing which you open the door with!). This is a pry out plastic piece. Important - this piece is hinged at the rear. You can see the hinge clip in the one photo of the back side of the surround with the switch connection removed.
The surround pries out of 4 plastic clip things (male parts) which snap into the actual latch surround itself (female parts) (which we'll take out in the next step).
So gently pry around the front side of the surround cover and release the four clip points, no loose items here, it just snaps together. And then pivot it out from the rear, and disconnect the window switch.
You can see the wad of foam rubber covering the top bolt of the arm rest, you can smush it down and access the bolt to remove it.
Now we are going to remove the door latch handle itself. It is built into its own plastic surround. This is a bit of a fiddly thing to remove. I have attached a photo of the back side so you can see what you are dealing with.
Unscrew the top bolt of the door armrest, you'll probably have to move the blob of foam rubber to see it.
Then pop the J shaped hook on the end of the latch rod (goes from the door handle to the latch itself) out of the white plastic clip on the back side of the handle. Just gently grab it with some needlenose and lift it up. Easy.
Now the fiddly bit - move/wiggle the whole black plastic assembly containing the handle forward to release three clips which clip into the steel part of the door. You can see the clips arrowed in the photo, and you can see the white plastic thing which the door latch rod hooks in to, and also see the three holes in the other photo together with the hook on the latch rod. You'll have to fuss with this a bit, at least I did, but it will come out. You can bend the arm rest top part gently out of the way to give you more room.
Now you are almost home free. But the next part is where you need to use force, but be careful. The door panel moves UP to release a bunch of plastic clips. Remember, pull (or push) UP, and do NOT pull out.
In this photo, you can see the back side of the door, with the clips arrowed in white. Try pushing up on the bottom of the armrest with your knees. You'll probably be able to unhook the J clips on the bottom of the door first, then just keep pulling up and release more of the clips.
The hard part for me was the top of the door panel at the window. This is just pulling/pushing the panel up more as it grabs the metal at the top of the door structure. There are 2 small metal clips along the back edge of the top of the door structure, but it is still an UP motion, not out. Just keep working it and it will finally pop free.
This photo and the next one will help you see what you're dealing with.
Now here is a photo of the metal structure of the door with some things pointed out, and a close up of the top of the door.
By the way, I reused the plastic lining covering the door, it peeled off without tearing (the old glue is pretty weak) and I used Goop glue to put it back with.
If you are doing this to replace the window regulator, it's pretty straightforward. The red painted nuts and bolts (4 on bottom, 1 on top)(except for the rearmost one which is for something else) are the ones holding the regulator. The part of the regulator which attaches to the window bottom bracket is a white plastic rectangle which is held in with a small black plastic clip. I forgot to get a photo of that, but if you've reached this point you'll figure it out easily.
Once I removed the bolts from the regulator, I pivoted the top down towards the front of the car and worked it out of the big opening. I did use some spray lithium grease to grease the metal channel which the regulator slide goes up and down in.
The old regulator has a plastic part which just snaps. A shame that a cheap plastic part ruins a complex piece like this.
Reassembly is the reverse of removal, as they say! Gently line the door panel up fore and aft, and lower it down to allow the J hooks to hook the metal of the door. Make sure you don't pinch any wires, and make sure the threaded lock post comes through the hole. Once you get it down, pound it gently down with your fist near the window to seat everything. You'll know if it's down far enough if the top bolt for the armrest lines up, and the rear notch for the striker plate is in place.
Now go have a beer, pat yourself on the back, and count the money you saved by buying the aftermarket regulator and saving a couple hours of expensive dealer shop time.
Discuss this DIY here.