BMW E30 3-Series Inner Door Panel a.k.a. Door Card, Armrest & Related Parts Informal Technical Story

I have a client who is looking to buy a pair of the rare premium speakers that are mounted on the doors just inboard of the door-mounted rear-view mirrors. I have struggled to find him this pair of parts and I really didn’t wanna break anything in the process of removing it, so I decided it would be safer to first remove the door panel a.k.a door card.

And, I decided to document the process, here.

First, remove the door handle surround. You don’t need tools for that, but a screwdriver can help. This is what the part looks like, in back. The four feet are easy to break off.  To get the part out, pull the inner door handle open slightly, then attempt to move the part parallel to the door panel on a collision course with the handle. That’s how I remember it; I can never remember if I should move it forwards or backwards (it’s a blonde thing).

IMAG5133Next, use a flat screwdriver to pry the mirror control unit or cover plate from out of the top of the upper door armrest. If it’s the mirror control unit, disconnect its wiring.

Next, use large-ish Philips screwdriver to remove the one Philips screw that you just uncovered in the previous step.

Next, use that same screwdriver to remove the two Philips screws that attach the horizontal part of the armrest to the door. Don’t strip them. 🙂

Removing the armrest is tricky. Don’t pull it away from the door but move it diagonally upwards while jiggling it.

Possibly interesting factoid: The front armrest and front door pocket are the same part whether it’s a 2-door or 4-door car.

Twirl, so as to remove, the door pull lock knob at the top of the inner door panel

Insert a prying tool (a screwdriver will do, though there’s a tool that’s better yet) between the inner door panel and the metal portion of the door and pop the little plastic plugs loose, one by one. It’ll be tempting to use your fingers, which is how I personally tend to destroy inner door panels, so I hope you’re smarter than I am.

This makes the trim plate just inboard of the door mirror nicely accessible, whether it has a speaker integrated into it or not. You should be able to pry it gently loose, using a flat-bladed screwdriver. Keep in mind that this part has some fragile inward-pointing integrated pylons.

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