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Discussion Starter #1
My driver side door panel has had some issue which I think I need to try to address. Since it appears that I really have two problems, I would like to see whether it makes sense to try to repair the panel, or to just get a new one.

Problem 1 - The insert is starting to come away from the rest of the panel. (yellow arrows)

Problem 2 - The arm rest position has fallen a bit, though it seems to still be firmly attached to something. (green arrows) The interior support for the arm rest doesn't flop around or anything under the outer covering.

One thing I hadn't noticed before I took this picture is that the top and bottom half of the insert appear to be colored slightly different. (I'm not sure if this is just an optical illusion.) The lower half looks like the rest of the panel where as the top half of the insert appears a bit more grey . . . Makes me wonder if the panel had been worked on previously.

I haven't really found anyone who seems to do interiors around me, and I'm not sure how involved fixing the panel might be. (Certainly I could spray some adhesive behind the insert edges, but I think I'd need to pull the insert out to get to the arm rest issue.)

Q - 1) Anyone have any experience with reworking the door panels? Are they very easy/difficult to get off the door to work on? Is the color variation in the insert typical, or perhaps an age/damage thing?

I see some interesting pics with the inserts painted, and that appeals to me a bit. Most seem to go with the body color (particularly on the red ones) though I might like to go with a medium grey. (My red Probe had a "mouse" grey interior which I liked.) Of course the inserts sort of wrap around into the lower half of the dash so I'd have to decide if I was going to paint it all the way around or not. I do have some peeling on the consoles, so I might be want to do that eventually.

Q - 2) I see a lot of threads on repainting the consoles and fewer on matching/painting the inserts; all seem to be a bit difficult with a fair amount of disassembly required to do a decent job of it. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Or should I just fix or buy a new panel, and touch up the console?

Mostly looking for thoughts/discussion on the topic of this point to decide which way I might like to go.

Thanks,
 

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Premium Member 2002 SLK230K
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What does the other panel look like? if they are both in need of paint it might be worth the effort to remove and paint them. I think re painting the panels and center unit is alot cheaper than buying new. If you can find a parts car with the same color's that would be an option for you. Removing the center unit/dash panels is alot of work, if you can live with the down time its worth it to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What does the other panel look like? if they are both in need of paint it might be worth the effort to remove and paint them. I think re painting the panels and center unit is alot cheaper than buying new. If you can find a parts car with the same color's that would be an option for you. Removing the center unit/dash panels is alot of work, if you can live with the down time its worth it to me.
The passenger's side panel looks great. And I already have a new pocket ready to go on for the driver's side. (The bottom edge of the pocket is pretty abraded.) So in one way, buying a new side panel would be the cheapest/quickest. $750, demount the old, swap the hardware and then remount the new. Both doors would look great at that point.

The console/paint problem would then be its own issue, but that is really mostly cosmetic; it's not like that the peeling paint really affects the look/use of the car as much as the possibility of the door inserts falling off/out. I'm just not sure how good I could fix the problems I'm having with the door inserts. I'm assuming the colored panels from MB are the whole panel, not just the inserts? So to get that on the passenger door would require painting I think, or buying two and trying to mix and match. Although that would be an interesting solution and might look the best, I would be limited in the color selection and that would also be a bit pricey. (So if I wound up doing just a repaint, I would probably like to do something a bit different color wise . . . which means I might like the seat inserts to match . . . etc., etc., . . . lol)

Of course with the way things work for me, once I have the panels off I would probably want to swap out the speakers too . . . etc., etc., . . . lol

Since I tend to take a long time to get things done! (I just ordered the rest of my new headliner/top moldings to replace the old yellowed ones) I think I need to try to keep these in "bite sized" increments.

Right now my priorities are;
1) Finish my interior roof. (Moldings mostly - headliner and cylinders are done!)
2) Get my trunk panels back in the car. (Left hanging over from my roof top cylinder swap.)
3) Get my new stereo HU sorted and mounted. Here I'm having issues with popping and, as I'm trying to address that, an "oily" OEM Amp . . . (??))
4) Driver's side door panel since the armrest sag bothers me when I'm driving.

5) Painting/remodeling the interior. (The driver's side seat is also showing a bit of wear, passenger's side is still in great shape.)

And of course this is my only vehicle and I'm in an apartment lot most of the time. lol (Just a bit more challenging that way.)

:Beer:
 

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If and when you remove the door panel remember to disconnect the battery first so you don't create a fault code when you unplug the side airbag. Funny you memtion the oily amp, i have the same issue and not sure where the oil type fluid came from.
Like you said do your list little by little so you don't get in over your head.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
If and when you remove the door panel remember to disconnect the battery first so you don't create a fault code when you unplug the side airbag. Funny you memtion the oily amp, i have the same issue and not sure where the oil type fluid came from.
Like you said do your list little by little so you don't get in over your head.
Have you ever come to any conclusions on the amp? (About the oil?) I'm somewhat concerned in that I believe that I am losing parts of the signal intermittently as well . . . I've heard that this indicates that the amp failing. (Still doesn't explain the oil though.)

My new HU has both amped and pre-amped outputs, so I'm thinking about running some "jumper" wires from the new HU's amped outputs to the speaker outs on the OEM amp connector . . . My concern here is that I hear that they Bose speaker components run at 1 ohm, and I'm not sure my HU would be happy with that . . .

So where do I stop, or should I just replace the whole thing? HU/amp speaker wires and speakers . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Some information . . .

First, I was able to get the foot well electronics panel folded into the passenger area so I could see things a little better.

I discovered that the oil in the foot well is not related to the electronics, so I started another thread on that. It also means that I was able to look at the stereo AMP and connector a lot more closely, so I'll be dealing with that in another thread which is already started.

Relative to my interior panels I have a picture here of the passenger's side of the console. As you can see, there is the typical "scuffing," not a huge deal, but still unsightly. (I wish MB had made the console with a few less nooks and crannies as well . . . There are a lot of little dirt catchers there!)

Before I do anything to the consoles though, I need to resolve my door panel issue. (So I know if I'm going to change the console color to match the door inserts.) I've seen a few discussions on pulling the door panel, and one of the main concerns is that there is the airbag behind it.

So, how difficult is it really to get the panel out and back in? And, could I operate the door properly if I left it out for a few days to work on it?
 

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Here's a step by step tutorial: Door Panel Removal

Step 2 was really the most difficult part for me. The airbag stays riveted to the door frame itself, so no problem. What is not shown in the tutorial is that you will have to remove the bracket around the door latch and the one at the "end" of the door - these are straight forward though. As I recall, there is one small electrical connector that you have to de-connect after un-hooking the panel and before removing it entirely. Remember to re-connect this and the door handle wire before re-assembly.

I know that it may sound complicated, but I did it without much frustration, and I am definitely not beyond level-1 DIY.

I drove my car without panels for a while when I struggled regluing the plastic attachment brackets to the panel.

One word of caution: It is IMO a real PITA to glue the parts you point at! There is very little room to apply glue to and the materials are not very responsive to the glues that I have tried (probably why so many of these door trims fail in the first place). I would be more than happy to learn of your experiences.

Good luck.

Raindog
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here's a step by step tutorial: Door Panel Removal . . . .
It's the "little" things that get you on jobs like these. I've seen (and use!) that particular resource you linked to, but it's the touchy feely part of the job that is difficult to convey and what worries me the most. Like when I was pulling the interior roof moldings out . . . No matter what you do, it sounds like you are just breaking everything off!!! (So you just have to grin, bear it, and pull very slowly a bit at a time until they pop free.)

I'm tending to lean toward buying a new panel - particularly if all my other interior replacement parts look good. So that would mean I'll have one to play with! (But I'll still have to be able to get them out!!)

Thanks for the hints though. :Beer:
 

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Registered 2004 SLK320
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Gorilla Super Glue

Hi,

I just noticed my passenger side panel was popping out at the front, and detail examination showed the back side was loosing up as well. I applied some Gorilla brand super glue to the edges so that leather of the backing was bonding with leather on the panel. This was after I tried to glue the panel foam padding to the backing foam padding. That didn't work. This seems to work, but time and use will be the real test. I'll let you know how this works out. I find that Gorilla brand super glue really works the best of all I've tried.
 

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Oily Amp

Funny you memtion the oily amp, i have the same issue and not sure where the oil type fluid came from.
I have browsed hundreds of post in the recent days about leaking cam position solenoid and sensors. Whereas the usual problem there is oil wicking through wire harness to the ECU, I recall one poster stating that his MB mech said that they had even seen oil wicking through wires to the passenger footwell. Now I have not researched at all whether this is possible or not, but I just thought that I would mention it since you guys had noticed oily fluid on your amps (which are located in the passenger footwell, right)

Hoping you figure out the reason for your problem

Raindog
 

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My driver side door panel has had some issue which I think I need to try to address. Since it appears that I really have two problems, I would like to see whether it makes sense to try to repair the panel, or to just get a new one. ...
When I had the new audio system receiver put in last Friday, I noticed that the passenger door interior panel had much the same problems as you describe when I arrived home. I thought that they'd gone into the door to do something with the wiring and called the stereo shop. They said they'd take care of it, even though they didn't actually go into the door ... perhaps their technician had leaned on it too heavily or something.

So yesterday I went back and watched them take it apart and repair it. The trouble was nothing that they did. The problem was simply that the adhesives used to assemble the door panel sections in 2000 had dried out and just happened to come apart at the same time that they'd installed the stereo. They had the door panel off, cleaned up, repaired and re-glued, and reassembled to better than it was before in two hours. I told the shop manager that I didn't believe in getting something for nothing, he ended up splitting the two hours labor with me as a gesture of good will.

I'll go back there when the driver's door falls apart. ;-) And recommend the shop to others.

Taking the door panel off and repairing it myself ... Well, I could probably have done it if there was something that told me where the bolts and bits were, what to lever and tug, etc, but it would have taken me days to do it. I'd probably have damaged something along the way and that would have cost me more than two hours labor to replace. Or ended up having a professional reassemble the mess I made at more than the total job would have cost to have him/her do the job all the way from start to finish.

My advice is to seek out a good car audio installation shop. These guys take doors and interior bits apart, fit new stereo bits, repair door panels, refit everything to as new spec all the time and do a great job. They're fast and relatively inexpensive.

Unless you're experienced in car upholstery and interior dismantling and assembling, I can't imagine it being better as a do it yourself activity!

Godfrey
 

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Discussion Starter #14
. . . I recall one poster stating that his MB mech said that they had even seen oil wicking through wires to the passenger footwell. . . .
That is most certainly the problem. (I've had the amp apart . . . no oily things in there!!) :biglaugh: So somehow it's coming in from the engine bay. I thought, perhaps during a oil change?? But the real questions at this point are; how ofter does this happen, where is it really wicking in from, and is there a way to stop it?? (To be honest I haven't looked very hard though.)

I maybe had only a few tablesoons of oil lose, but it can't be good for the foams and plastics down there . . .
 

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Removing door panel but something is keeping the handle in place. Removed the two screws but can not figure it out. Help.
Did you remove the screw behind the "SRS" badge on the door as well? Other than this and the two screws you mention, you will have to remove the metal plate at the (lock)end of the door as well as the frame around the door lock mechanism.

Once the screws and two plates are off, you can start popping the plastic spikes/clips (attached to the door frame) out of the brackets that are part of the metal door itself. The spikes should stay attached to the door frame.

Once these are undone, the door frame can be lifted up (appx 1") to unhook from the window frame and pulled out (appx 2") to reveal the last two attachments: 1) the wire connector to the inside door handle (pops out) and 2) the electrical wire to the door tweeter speaker (use small flat screwdriver to un-clip).

Hope this helps. Good luck

Raindog
 
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