Chevy Impala SS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to get the driver's side door panel off a 96 SS to get at the mirror. I've spent a couple days gathering information and I've seen some conflicting info. Everything says remove the two screws from the arm rest, but not everything says remove the arm rest. Does it have to come out separately or will it come out with the door panel once the screws are out?

I've seen instructions to push towards the door and up at the same time and also to lift gently from the rear (though I think that was for a rear door not a front) to get the arm rest out. Neither of those options seem to work with the amount of force I'm willing to put on 21 year old parts without knowing for sure what I'm doing. Is there something holding the armrest to the support or the door panel once the screws are out?

My primary objective is replacing the side mirror, not doing the roller fix, so I'm not concerned about messing with the arm rest support at the moment. I've got to get the mirror replaced to burn the gas out of the tank before I put it away for the winter. I suppose I may do the roller fix before the panel goes back on, but I've got all winter to get that done.

Any and all advice appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,854 Posts
Remove screws... Arm rest does NOT need to come off to remove the door panel. In fact,that's how the tabs get broken...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,219 Posts
You must remove the inside reveal for the window to get the nuts off of the mirror. You do have to remove the door panel to remove the reveal. Be extremely careful with the reveal. The clips that hold it to the window frame are extremely easy to pull off of the reveal. The nuts for the mirror are behind the triangle portion in the front. To remove the front portion of the reveal, you must have the window down, and the run channel pulled out of the frame. You do not have to remove the entire reveal. Remove only enough to expose the nuts that hold the mirror on. The clips can be pried off of the fame with a screw driver, or other lever type tool. Protect your paint.

You do not have to remove the arm rest from the door panel. The smacking it at the top rear corner disengages the panel nub from the hole in the metal along the top edge of the door. There are 3 of them on the front door, and two on the rear door. Once you have the rear nub out, it is a lot easier to get the others out. You can disengage the switch panel from the door after the panel is partway off, by reaching up and pushing the front clip to clear the panel. Be careful with the bottom of the interior, it is made from styrene, and easy to break/crack. You can also put a thin blade under the front of the switch panel and push the clip back, if you feel comfortable doing that. Remember to remove the screw at the back of the door pocket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Remove screws... Arm rest does NOT need to come off to remove the door panel. In fact,that's how the tabs get broken...
Thanks! Hopefully I didn't break anything. I've got the lock panel insert out and disconnected, the door pull screws removed (I've figured out that doesn't come out either), the screws out of the armrest and the screw in the map pocket out. So go for using a tool to pop the plastic retainers holding the panel to the door? Then (with window dropped), push out and up on the door panel and it comes off? Are there any more fasteners at the top of the panel I need to worry about breaking?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,219 Posts
There are 2 tree fasteners in the upper panel, and 4 or more in the lower panel. If you can get a slim sharp blade between the panel and the door, to cut them off, it will be a lot less stressful for the interior panel. New tree fasteners are cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
You must remove the inside reveal for the window to get the nuts off of the mirror. You do have to remove the door panel to remove the reveal. Be extremely careful with the reveal. The clips that hold it to the window frame are extremely easy to pull off of the reveal. The nuts for the mirror are behind the triangle portion in the front. To remove the front portion of the reveal, you must have the window down, and the run channel pulled out of the frame. You do not have to remove the entire reveal. Remove only enough to expose the nuts that hold the mirror on. The clips can be pried off of the fame with a screw driver, or other lever type tool. Protect your paint.
What's the run channel and how do I get it out? When that's done, cover screw driver in electrical tape and use to pry clips on the triangular piece?

You do not have to remove the arm rest from the door panel. The smacking it at the top rear corner disengages the panel nub from the hole in the metal along the top edge of the door. There are 3 of them on the front door, and two on the rear door. Once you have the rear nub out, it is a lot easier to get the others out. You can disengage the switch panel from the door after the panel is partway off, by reaching up and pushing the front clip to clear the panel. Be careful with the bottom of the interior, it is made from styrene, and easy to break/crack. You can also put a thin blade under the front of the switch panel and push the clip back, if you feel comfortable doing that. Remember to remove the screw at the back of the door pocket.
Forgot about the window switch panel. I think the best plan is to come up at it from the inside to release the clip once the bottom clips are out of the door panel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,219 Posts
Be careful flexing the panel. Disconnect ALL of the tree fasteners before lifting the bottom of the panel to any great degree. It is only heat welded to the top panel, and the heat welds are easy to break.

The run channel is the rubber insert around the window frame that the window runs in when going up and down. The front is fairly easy to remove, just be careful, because it can catch the clips for the reveal, and rip them off of the reveal. You have to work it out of the window frame. It is held in by its shape. You can start at the front by pulling on the edge of it. Common sense will figure it out. Once it is far enough out to see the first two to three reveal clips, you should be able to get enough room to remove the reveal clips, and see the mirror nuts.

The reveal clips have "teeth" on them, and bite into the surface of the metal they are attached to. Using the screw driver, try to lift the clip teeth off of the metal to slide the clip toward the opening. Once you see them, you will understand. Putting tape on the screw driver may or may not be enough to protect your paint/trim. There is a stainless reveal on the outside of the window frame, and if you want to remove it, you can then use the screw driver with tape on it. The top stainless trim is difficult to remove. Do not damage the little black strip along the outside of the trim if you are removing it. The black piece is not repairable, and the entire piece is few and far between, and the 91-93 will fit the 94-96, but it is not downward compatible without a small modification. If you are going to remove it, you must also put a piece of tape above and below the trim on the door at the top of the stainless trim, so the top "nut" does not scratch the paint. The part clamps over the edge of the window frame, and has a blade on the front triangle that slides into the end of the trim piece. Do not break/bend the blade when removing the trim if you are going remove it. You may be able to get away with using the screw driver covered in tape with the stainless steel piece in place, just do not dent it.

There should be one interior reveal clip on the vertical part of the triangle area, and two on the angle of the front of the window frame. Those should be enough to allow you to flex the trim enough to access the mirror nuts. They require a 10mm socket. Be careful to not drop them into the door.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
There are 2 tree fasteners in the upper panel, and 4 or more in the lower panel. If you can get a slim sharp blade between the panel and the door, to cut them off, it will be a lot less stressful for the interior panel. New tree fasteners are cheap.
All the tree fasteners should be near the edges of the panel, right? Are the ones on the upper panel fore and aft on the vertical part of the panel or along the part where the panel curves to meet the glass?

Cutting the fasteners sounds like an elegant solution, given the fragility of the door panel. Have you ever done this? Box Cutter? I have a pocket knife with a sharp s30v blade, it would go through the fasteners easily if I can get the cutting edge on them without having the whole blade behind the panel.

Any wires or critical components in close proximity to the fasteners?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Don't cut anything. Use a door panel removal tool.

It did occur to me that if the fasteners were cut, getting the part left in the door frame out might be a little tricky. Would need to be able to reach around from the inside and pull them out or leave enough to grab with a pair of pliers.

Would this get the job done?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,854 Posts
Just use the trim tool designed for this purpose,and you'll be fine. Hell of a lot easier than attempting to cut fasteners...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,648 Posts
Just use the trim tool designed for this purpose,and you'll be fine. Hell of a lot easier than attempting to cut fasteners...
I have to agree. Just go to HF and they have several tool sets to do this. I also like the plier type that you squeeze and the fastener pops off. They're called Panel Clip Pliers. Inexpensive and handy. Before I was properly schooled here I did all the pulling and popping on the panel. It took more work to undo the damage than research a little.

Mark: Snowman-33
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,219 Posts
I have used that tool, and have damaged more of the clip holders then I care to acknowledge. The fastener remover will miss the flats of the clip, and put uneven pressure on the clip holder. I have pulled the metal ones off of the door resulting in broken pins that hold them on, and the ones on the top panel often break instead of the fastener coming out of the door. If the holders or the upper panel is broken in any way, they will probably fail catastrophically, and you will be getting a new door panel. That is why I recommend cutting them. They are about 3-4 inches from the edge of the door panel. There are no wires near them. I use a "glass" utility knife that is only 1/4 inch thick, and can reach about 18 inches. I have removed more door panels than probably 90% of the members combined. I have also found utility knife "saw" blades, and extra long utility knife blades that would work well (in the glass knife).

Listen to anybody you want to, but if you break the panel, it will be expensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,988 Posts
If I cut the fasteners, I'm going to be leaving part of the fastener in the door and the rest in the door panel, right? How do I get the part in the door out?
I have a door Panel Remover tool like this....

64½-73 Mustang Door Panel Removal Tool 64?-73 Door Panel Remover [T-87650] - $11.49 : Champion Mustang, Online shopping for Exterior & Interior Parts, Accessories, Air Conditioning, Resto-Mod & more

...and it works great for pulling the Tree Fastener from the Door.

Not sure why, but if your committed to cutting the fastener rather than popping it out, then you will have to remove what's left. should be very easy as the part of the fastener still stuck in the Metal door can just be "pushed" all the way thru the opening and will fall into the door structure. Then you just need to reach your hand inside the door and fish it out.

doing this though seems wasteful as you will now need to get replacement fasteners and also remove the other side from the door panel itself. These fasteners can be reused a few times if you just pry the panel off the door with the proper tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,219 Posts
Getting the parts out is really simple. You push the part in the door through, and collect it from the bottom. The part in the panel can be "unscrewed" or you can cut the flange off with a wire cutters, and it will fall out. You should replace the tree fasteners anyway, because they get crushed at the area holding the panel on, and do not hold as securely when you use them the second time.

There are a couple of tree designs. I like the ones that have a slight spiral to the part that goes in the panel. You can start them at the small part, and they screw in when you twist them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I have used that tool, and have damaged more of the clip holders then I care to acknowledge. The fastener remover will miss the flats of the clip, and put uneven pressure on the clip holder. I have pulled the metal ones off of the door resulting in broken pins that hold them on, and the ones on the top panel often break instead of the fastener coming out of the door. If the holders or the upper panel is broken in any way, they will probably fail catastrophically, and you will be getting a new door panel. That is why I recommend cutting them. They are about 3-4 inches from the edge of the door panel. There are no wires near them. I use a "glass" utility knife that is only 1/4 inch thick, and can reach about 18 inches. I have removed more door panels than probably 90% of the members combined. I have also found utility knife "saw" blades, and extra long utility knife blades that would work well (in the glass knife).

Listen to anybody you want to, but if you break the panel, it will be expensive.
Gave up on this for a while and just now getting back to it. Got a glass knife and some sawtooth blades from glass technologies. I think cutting it is the way to go. Slid a thin piece of cardboard around to locate a fastener, slid the blade in, felt it catch the fastener, sawed just a little bit and the fastener was cut clean through. Minimal pressure on the panel. The other panel tools I tried were going to put way too much pressure on the panel. I'm with you, this is the way to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,219 Posts
You can get the long saw blades from Lowes, and smooth ones as well. Make sure you do not touch the door, or the painted surface with the saw blade. You can put a piece of cardboard between the blade and the panel, and between the door and blade, to protect the panel. Wrapping the area that is not directly on the fastener would work as another option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Gave up on this for a while and just now getting back to it. Got a glass knife and some sawtooth blades from glass technologies. I think cutting it is the way to go. Slid a thin piece of cardboard around to locate a fastener, slid the blade in, felt it catch the fastener, sawed just a little bit and the fastener was cut clean through. Minimal pressure on the panel. The other panel tools I tried were going to put way too much pressure on the panel. I'm with you, this is the way to do it.
Cut the one on the bottom towards the rear no problem. The one on the bottom front side was broke (clip loose from the panel). I don't think I did that, the panel was already cracked at the bottom rear screw at the pocket. Possibly just 20+ years of time, temperature and vibration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
You can get the long saw blades from Lowes, and smooth ones as well. Make sure you do not touch the door, or the painted surface with the saw blade. You can put a piece of cardboard between the blade and the panel, and between the door and blade, to protect the panel. Wrapping the area that is not directly on the fastener would work as another option.
I had some thin cardboard I used to protect the paint. Got all the fasteners that way, except the one that had broke off the panel. 5 total. 3 on the lower panel, 2 on the bottom, one by the speaker. 2 in the upper panel. I think only the bottom ones had the metal clips that are weak, the others look stronger.

Door panel is off. Now to get the darn mirror off, will follow your instructions to get that trim piece out of the way. Half of the window seal or whatever came out with the door panel. The other part is still on the outside of the door and it doesn't look like it wants to come off.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top