Car Talk Blog about the junkyard scene

The blogger doesn’t seem to like seeing the fastener holding the interior door handle trim. Apparently he finds this very offensive, prefers it to be hidden. Me, I’d prefer to have the fasteners like this one visible b/c it makes repairing the car easier. Is seeing an actual fastener behind a door handle really that much of a turn off for new car buyers? If so, do these folks just not care how much their future repair bills are going to be?

Click “blogs” above left, Junkyard Dispatch: 20 Shots from the Grave

@George_San_Jose1 Are you talking to yourself George? I think you need to stop helping others as you so faithfully do and rest Amigo…rest…

Haha… just kidding I read what you are referring to and I believe you are talking about that black screw that holds on the door handle bezel…the one you can see whenever you reach for the door handle? If so… I feel ya boss. It doesn’t ruffle my feathers one bit actually. Today door panels do indeed make me nervous as it is not always clear when to yank the panel as if you were mad at it or to find the few fasteners that are somewhat obvious and or hidden with covers and then yank it off as if you were angry at it.

Funny you mention this topic as I needed to pull the rear door panel off my 04’ Ford Exploder a few days ago what fer replacing a blown speaker…or one I suspected was blown. Well…if you did not already know how to do this particular activity you would, with 100% certainty break off the lock tab from your window switch bezel… Because it interfaces with the facia that goes around the handle… you need to pry off the handle facia first…which frees the window switch panel/bezel thingy. How would one know this off the bat when past models used spring clips to hold that window switch thing in place? Answer? You wouldn’t… unless you actually read up on it somewhere prior in the name of actually studying beforehand, but what fun is that eh?

Its a strange new world kids and I definitely don’t always fit into it neatly… Exposed screw heads? Sure I like them just fine brother

This is called “getting the ball rolling” … lol …

I’ve learned to look at YouTube videos before removing a door panel, interior trim piece, etc. Somewhere, someone has taken the door panel off darn near every vehicle and posted it on YouTube. Why have they posted it? I don’t know. But I’m glad they did. It really helps to see someone else do something, even if you think you already know how to do it. Without YouTube, I’m certain I would’ve destroyed my wife’s Toyota door panel. I had to remove it to replace a screw that came out of the window regulator, causing the window to roll up cockeyed. Seems to be a common issue on that body style. How do I know? Saw the repair done on a dang YouTube video :laughing:

On my Toyota’s door panel, without the repair manual it would be very difficult for a driveway diy’er to figure out how to remove the window handle. And the window handle must be removed to remove the door panel. Of course this only applies to older cars like mine, newer cars don’t have window handles … :wink:

I use a shop rag. You kinda buff the rod that the window crank attaches to. The shop rag catches the ends of the clip that hold the window crank and it springs off. Sometimes the clip stays in the rag. Sometimes it lands in your eye. So squint when you do it. Lol. Sometimes it flies to the Bermuda Triangle and is never again seen. Until you buy a replacement clip. Then you find it.

Some hand crank windows may be different. But it worked on a 99 Tacoma and my 05 gmc.

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Usually the factory manual has detail like that in it, or used to until you had to buy a separate body manual and electrical manual etc., and before they were 8 inches thick just for the basic manual. I do I do remember my 59 Pontiac though had chrome screws all around the door panel so you could clearly see them to remove the panel. Of course don’t forget the two screws visible underneath the arm rest. I never heard anyone complain about the screws being visible. Me thinks we have raised a generation or two of complete wusses unable to cope.

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A bicycle spoke held in a vice grips works well. Push the panel - usually enough space is created that you can hook the spoke head onto the clip. Pull. Voila.

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I think you can do most anything with vice grips and a shop rag. I know you can do anything if you have vice grips, a shop rag, and duct tape.

Anything except find a missing spring clip…

I’m not sure where I would get a spoke without clipping one off of one of the bikes hanging in the garage. But yeah it never ceases to amaze me how stuff can hide. A story: I was changing the springs in my garage door and of course they use these square set screws that nothing fits except an 8 point 7/16 socket (I think). I had one I bought before to be able to use a ratchet instead of a crescent wrench. Dropped the thing from the ladder on a clean garage floor. Looked and looked not to be found. Totally gone. So I finished up with a crescent wrench and went and bought another one since I had two more doors to go. A few months later my wife asks me if this is what I was looking for with brown paint on it to ID it? Yep that’s it. Where was it. It had bounced into a waste basket we use to store upright stuff like flags. Never been emptied for 20 years until the wife decided to clean up. So the dang thing bounced on the floor and up about three feet into the trash can. Well at any rate I have two of them now if anyone needs one.

I remember my first interaction with a C clip. I was about 12 or 13 and the front sprocket on my dirt bike had worn to the point that the chain would slip. So I ordered a sprocket. I was a dirt biking fool (and I have a knee that proves it), and couldn’t wait to get back riding. My dad called when the part was delayed, and he was nice enough to drive me to the UPS place to get the sprocket when he found out it was about 30 miles away in Tupelo. So I decided to get to work on it that very night when we got home. To my dismay, the sprocket was held on by what I now refer to as a C clip. All my 13 year old mind new to do was pry at the clip with various flathead screw drivers and attempt to ascertain just how this newly discovered fastener works. Next thing you know, it flies off, ting, ting, ting, under the garage door, into our gravel driveway, headed somewhere into the night. I don’t remember what happened after that, whether I bought another clip, found that one the next day, or what. I do vividly remember the sound it made as it travelled across the garage floor on its way to where the lost things go.

“They make a tool for that, ya know,” says Dad. Well now I know.

The guy writes the piece like an industrial designer… and they don’t like to see exposed screws… until the DO of course. Like this 1986 Camaro dash. Note ALL the screws you see around the interior with what look like exposed screws. Most are fake.

I can take 'em or leave 'em. No matter whether you can SEE the screws or they are all hidden, there always seems to be a screw or tab or clip that gets missed when trying to remove a dash panel or door panel. Often it ends up broken.

Reminds me of the time I was able to watch a young man while he was working at a dealership. His job was to inspect cars that were traded in and repair the parts that he was qualified to do. He noticed that the left rear window needed adjustment. That door panel was off in less than 60 seconds, cycled window up and down, made a quick adjustment, up and down again, one more adjustment, up and down, replàced door panel all in a matter of minutes. It’s amazing what experiance and job familiarity can do. I would have spent at least a half hour looking for hidden fasteners and lightly prying trying to get the panel off without breaking too many things.

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The first time I had to replace a window regulator on my truck took me 1/2 an hour to pull the door card just finding the hidden screws and clip. Another half hour to extricate the regulator from the nest of razors that is the door cavity and another half hour to install the new one, plus a half pint of blood loss. I’ve replaced 3 of the 4 and now it takes about 2 minutes/10 minutes/10 minutes and no blood loss. Live and learn!

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Oh absolutely @tcmichnorth, all this makes me think back to my days and years as an Installer of Audio and Alarms etc. I worked on many dealership lots and showrooms installing all sorts of gadgetry and I was extremely proficient in panel removal thru the 90’s. It also helps to have the right tools, some purchased and many handmade for various tasks. I still have some of my handmade tools for this purpose. The 90’s vehicles weren’t as delicate as todays vehicles however and they didn’t use such fancy fasteners either…some of those fasteners are one time use as well, so if you break it, you are on the right track…I’m not a fan of those, but nobody cares what I think in the automotive world. LOL

Oh Yes, @Mustangman mentions the “nest of razors” Oh brother is he ever correct. Those door innards are almost always punched stampings and the backsides of almost every porthole is a nearly lethal razors edge… I still have many many scars…I’m looking at them now as I type. Always hated that, some of my wounds were very nasty and painful as hell. I have left plenty of my DNA inside many a brand new vehicle (as gross as that sounds) sorry about that. Electrical tape and a piece of your shirt makes a handy band aid when you are in the middle of nowhere and have tools with you. Ugh…

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