I had some free time and all the necessary pics, so I put this little DIY together. Hope it's useful to someone.
STEPS FOR REMOVING REAR DOOR PANELS, DOOR UNLOCK HANDLE ASSEMBLY AND TRIANGULAR INSERT ON QUARTER WINDOW DIVIDER
The following outlines the procedure for removing the above items on a MKIV Jetta (some steps may also apply to a MKIV Golf/GTI as well). The procedure was based on a 99.5 Jetta GLS VR6 with power windows - it will be slightly different on models with manual windows. Please do these procedures at your own risk and be ready to make small adjustments while doing them. Also, please be observant while removing parts so that they go back together correctly.
- To remove the rear door panel, follow steps 1 through 14.
- To remove the rear door unlock handle, follow steps 1 through 16.
- To remove the triangular insert on the quarter window divider, follow steps 1 through 14 and then steps 17 through 24.
REAR DOOR PANEL
1. Lower the rear window all the way and open the rear door.
2. Begin by prying off the outer handle piece, as shown below. To do this, insert a screwdriver or other strong, thin tool into the crack between the inner and outer pieces at one end and carefully spread them apart. Be careful not to harm the soft-touch coating on the handle pieces - you may want to protect the tool with a thin rag. Although a screwdriver is shown in the picture, I actually prefer a tool with a wider blade, such as a putty or spackling knife - it has always been easier for me to get the handles off with one of these.
3. Once one end of the outer handle piece is pried off slightly, move to the other end and pry that out slightly, as shown below. Go back and forth between ends until the handle has been pried out approx. 1/8". Once it is this far out, you should be able to pull it off the rest of the way with your hands.
4. The picture below illustrates how the outer handle piece is connected to the inner handle piece by two posts (yellow arrows) and 3 clips (red arrows). Now you know why it is so hard to get off.
5. The picture below shows the inner handle piece still attached to the door panel. The handle piece is attached to the door panel with three medium Phillips screws (red arrows) and the door panel is secured to the door with 2 large Phillips screws (yellow arrows). If you want to remove the inner handle piece from the door panel, remove all five screws. If you are just taking the door panel off, only remove the two large screws indicated by the yellow arrows.
6. Remove the two T20 Torx screws at the bottom of the door.
7. Starting at the bottom of the door, pull the door panel away from the door, as shown below. There are five snaps securing the panel to the door, two near the front edge of the panel and three near the rear edge of the panel. The approximate location of the two lowermost snaps on the rear edge are indicated by the red spots. After unsnapping the five snaps, the door panel should still be attached to the top of the door near the bottom of the window.
8. The picture below of the inside of the door panel shows the location of the five snaps. (This picture is for reference only and was taken later in the DIY. The door panel should not be off yet).
9. Starting with the top, rear corner, pull the door panel up and out of the window seal, as shown below.
10. Do the same with the top, front corner of the door panel, as shown below. The door panel should now be disconnected from the door except for the electrical and door lock cable connections in between the panel and the door. You can rest the door panel back into the window seal if you want to take a break or reach for a tool.
11. Next you need to disconnect the door lock cable from the door unlock handle. This is by far the most difficult step of the DIY. I find it easiest to do if you stand on the inside of the door with the door panel in front of you and stick your head through the open window to get a better view. To remove the lock cable, you need to pull out on front edge of the cable retaining clip (red area in picture below) and then slide the clip toward the rear of the car (away from the unlock handle assembly).
12. Once the clip is unhooked, remove the cable from the groove in the unlock handle assembly and then detach the hook from the unlock handle, as shown below.
13. The picture below is a side view of the cable retaining clip to help illustrate how to detach it. You need to pull outwards on the front of the clip (1) to clear the tabs and then slide it to the rear (2).
14. After the lock cable is disconnected from the unlock handle, unclip the electrical connections for the window switch and the speakers. You should now be able to remove the door panel from the car.
DOOR UNLOCK HANDLE ASSEMBLY
15. The door unlock handle assembly is secured to the inside of the door panel with four clips (yellow arrows) and 1 small Phillips screw (red arrow), as shown below. To remove the assembly, remove the screw, undo the four clips and push out on the front edge of the assembly (by the tweeter).
16. Once the front edge of the handle assembly is pushed out (1), slide the assembly toward the front of the car to remove (2).
TRIANGULAR INSERT ON QUARTER WINDOW DIVIDER
17. The triangular inserts on the rear quarter window divider commonly rust, as shown in the pictures below. It is very easy to replace these pieces once the door panels are off. They are also very cheap. The driver's side insert is part# 1J4-839-415-A-03C and the passenger's side insert is part# 1J4-839-416-A-03C. The cheapest I could find them for was $7.46 each at http://www.1stvwparts.com.
18. To remove the inserts, begin by removing the rubber grommet on the door just below the insert and then removing the 10mm bolt behind it, as indicated below.
19. Pull the rubber window seal away from the insert, as shown below.
19. Pull out the seal from nearly top to bottom, as shown below, but don't remove the seal completely. Leave it attached at the top of the window and also to the bottom of the triangular insert. This will help insure that it goes back in correctly.
20. On the inside of the triangular insert, you should see a white tab, as indicated in the picture below. This tab holds the insert in place.
21. Using a screwdriver, pull the tab outward and simultaneously slide the insert up and out of the door, as shown below.
22. The picture below shows the entire insert still attached to the rubber window seal.
23. Take note of the position of the bottom of the rubber seal (yellow arrow) relative to that of the bottom of the insert (red arrow), as shown below. Make sure to attach the seal to the new insert in the same position so that the seal reinstalls into the quarter panel window divider correctly.
24. Installation of the new insert is the reverse of the above. The tab on the new insert should click into place if installed into the door correctly.
Let me know if you have any questions.
As always, do this procedure at your own risk. I am not responsible for any mistakes that you make.
Modified by VgRt6 at 6:13 PM 5-11-2004