Door Panel Removal 1996 GMC C1500

I need to replace the door handle on my truck, and I want to be careful when removing the panel. I got the upper most (small) triangle portion off and
noticed a panel clip that I have not seen before. Is the whole door panel using these clips? Is there a special tool that I will need to get the panel off without damage? Will I have to sacrifice the clips and get new ones?
Any help would be greatful....the book is not helping much here....
Eightupman
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. . . Door Panel Removal 1996 GMC C1500 Group: alt.trucks.chevy Date: Sat, Nov 22, 2003, 9:17pm (CST+6) From: snipped-for-privacy@newemail.com (Eightupman) I need to replace the door handle on my truck, and I want to be careful when removing the panel. I got the upper most (small) triangle portion off and noticed a panel clip that I have not seen before. Is the whole door panel using these clips? Is there a special tool that I will need to get the panel off without damage? Will I have to sacrifice the clips and get new ones? Any help would be greatful....the book is not helping much here....
Eightupman
.. .. 8-up, run down to the parts store and pick up a door panel clip tool. It shouldn't run more than 4 or 5 dollars. It's notched to "receive" the clip and pop it out the metal case of the door, leaving it attached to the panel. And it has an offset to give you leverage. yes....the clips are all along the bottom edge and the sides..... When poping them out of the metal part of the door.....be carefull to get the tool between the metal door shell and the clip....it's easy to miss it and put the tool between the clip and the trim panel, which will result in poping the clip out of the trim panel and possibly messing up the trim panel so the clip can't be reused.
You could fashion the tool out of a cheap putty knife.....just cut a "V" shaped notch in it so it will slide around the clip, between the metal panel and the clip. It won't have the angeled offset for leverage, so it won't work as easy... but doable in a pinch. If you have a set of "Long Nose" needle nose pliers laying around, that works perty nifty too.
good luck
marsh ~:~
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Thanks, I will give the store bought tool a shot and let you know if I break anything!!
Eightupman
(Eightupman)

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If the clips are the same as that of a 1998, then they are two pieces... a male piece attached to the door panel and female piece inserted in the door. You can begin pulling the panel away from the door gently by hand from the top edge where you have removed the triangle and then slide your hand down along the panel until you reach each clip. A swift pull on the panel and the clip will release. The clip is a serrated stud that protudes into the plastic receptacle inserted into the door itself. I was unaware that there was a formal tool and removed my door panel several times trying to fix an intermittent window regulator issue. The door panel in the area of the retention clips is realatively strong... unlike the cardboard-like panels on my old Chevelle that uses metal clips.
One thing that will kill the clips is if you step on them after you remove the door panel. I went to the Chevy dealer and got a new one for basically pocket change, about $0.75.
Remember the screws in the arm rest where you grab the door to close it. The plastic cover around the interior door handle has a few tabs that hold it in place, just find them and press then in with a skinny narrow screwdriver.
If you are fortunate you are replacing the interior door handle which is quite easy and straight forward. And accessible as well.
If you are replacing the outside door handle this was a bit tricky for me. The '98 has a metal panel screwed to the inside of the door that holds the handle, regulator etc. The panel is a large rectangle that covers the entire area under the door panel, well almost the entire area. It is unlike my 1993 was, the '93 had the older style one piece door with select holes cut in the inside of the door to allow access to the various features. If your door is like a '98 model, you can remove the screws that hold the inner metal panel along the rear edge and the bottom approximately 1/2 way to 3/4 of the way toward the front of the door. This will give enough access to allow you to pry the rear edge of the metal panel away and gain acces to the outside door handle.
Note that there is a retention tab in the center of the door at the bottom that holdes the metal panel to the inside of the door, I guess it helps combat gravity.
You want to have the window in the full up position. I applied duct tape to the inside of the window, ran it over the top of the door frame and then applied it to the outside of the window just in case something that I did allowed the window to drop in the door. This was not the case.
Anyway replacing the exterior handle took about 10 minutes altogether. There is only one bolt inside the door and one in the jam of the door. The one in the jam is visible without andy disassembly.
Good luck and have fun. Email if you have any specific questions, I'm no expert but I typically ask for help here.
If you are replacing the outside handle I'd be curious as to what went wrong with it. While cleaning my truck one day, I wiped the door jam with a towel and moved the lathcing mechanism to the closed position. When I shut the door the mechanism was already in the latched position and the force shoved the mechanism further inside the door... the attached rod shattered the exterior door handle. Duh...
Kip
Eightupman wrote:

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