Well - the two new exterior door handles for the passenger side of my Phaeton arrived at my dealership, and my dealer sent them out to the body shop to be painted. When exterior door handles are replaced, they always need to be painted first, because the part comes primed, not with the finish paint on it.
The body shop that my VW dealer sublets paint work to - Oaktown Collision in Richmond Hill, Ontario - did a great job of painting the door handles. That was the easy part of the job. Replacing them was more complex than I thought it would be. My VW dealer allowed me to take some pictures of the process, hopefully this will be helpful to anyone else who has to have a door handle replaced, or needs to remove the inside trim panel from the door for any reason.
Getting the trim panel off the inside of the door is not an easy job. It requires quite a bit of patience, use of the exact VW special tool for removing door panels, and following the instructions in the repair manual to the letter. It is one of those jobs that takes 2 hours to do the first time, and then 10 minutes to do the second and subsequent times. The photos below are not a complete description of every step in the process (refer to the repair manual for that), rather, they highlight some of the more complex steps in the process, and identify some of the unexpected surprises and minor problems that will arise during the removal process.
Removing Interior Trim
Some of the interior trim pieces need to be removed to gain access to bolts.
A special VW tool is then used to loosen the fasteners that hold the interior panel on the door.
The interior door panel has been removed already in this photo. But, if you have never done the job before, it sure helps to know what it is you are fishing for when you use this special tool.
The part number of the special tool.
DON'T attempt to take the door panel off unless you have this special tool, otherwise, you will break stuff inside.
The fastener that holds the interior panel snugly against the metal door.
The fastener is in the closed position in this photo. The trick is to fit the special tool into the location shown, and pop the fastener open.
What the fastener looks like after you have successfully popped it open using the special tool.
The challenge is that you are working 'blind', you can't see the fastener until you have removed the whole door panel. Note the difference between the fastener in the closed/locked position (photo above), and the fastener in the open position (photo below).
Things that can go wrong.
It's pretty easy to see that I started to remove the door panel at the upper rear corner - and finally became proficient at removing the fasteners as I worked around to the upper front. Note the following problems that I encountered:
1) Fastener pops out of inside trim panel and stays attached to door.
2) Fastener and fastener mount break off inside trim panel and stay attached to door.
3) This shows what it looks like when it is done correctly - the fastener opens up, and releases completely from the door. It stays attached to the interior panel, as shown in the photo above.
How the fastener fits into the door panel.
Normally, it will not come out of the door panel during the door panel removal process. This photo just illustrates how the components are designed.
If you break the fastener attachment off the interior door panel...
...You can glue it back on with cyanoacrylate glue.
Finally, the door panel is successfully removed.
Note the position of the 7 fasteners - it helps to know where they are when you are trying to pop them open.
The bolts holding the door latch assembly are removed, the bolts holding the metal panel are removed, and the metal panel is held in place with a bungee cord.
The door handle can then be removed.
The repair manual suggests that this can be done without all the dis-assembly shown above. This would be true, if the little clip (arrow) was not present. It was impossible to get this clip off without removing the interior door panel.
What the clips look like, when viewed from the inside of the door.
You are looking at the forward part of the door handle, where the wire emerges from the door handle assembly. You just can't get these clips off - or the new ones on - without taking the whole interior of the door apart.
A larger perspective of the two clips shown above.
Where the vent hole is.
Now that you know where the vent hole is for the locking pushbutton, try to avoid spraying high pressure water in this area when you wash your Phaeton.