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 FRONT DOOR PANEL, DOOR UNLOCK HANDLE ASSEMBLY AND SIDEVIEW MIRROR ASSEMBLY
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 and mirrors - it will be slightly different on models with manual windows and mirrors. 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 front driver's door panel, follow steps 1 through 8 and 14 through 23.- To remove the front passenger's door panel, follow steps 9 through 23.- To remove the front door unlock handle, follow the appropriate steps for the given door panel (above) and then follow steps 24 and 25.- To remove the sideview mirror assembly, follow the appropriate steps for the given door panel (above) and then follow steps 26 through 29.
FRONT DRIVER'S DOOR PANEL
1. Lower the front driver's window all the way and open the front driver's door.
2. Begin by prying out the inner handle piece, indicated by the arrow in the picture below.
3. Insert a screwdriver or other strong, thin tool into the crack between the inner and outer pieces, as shown below, 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.
4. Once the inner handle piece has been pried out approx. 1/8", as shown below, you should be able to pull it out the rest of the way with your hands.
5. To take the main handle piece off of the driver's door panel, pull the rear of the handle upwards to unclip it, as shown below. Do the same at the front edge of the handle.
6. Disconnect the electrical harness connector for the main window and door controls in the main handle piece, as shown below.
7. If your main door and window controls unit is not working properly (like mine), you can replace it by removing the three medium Phillips screws (yellow arrow in picture below) that attach it to the main handle piece. If your unit is working properly and/or you do not want to replace it, ignore this step.
8. Remove the three large Phillips screws indicated by the yellow arrows in the photo below.
FRONT PASSENGER'S DOOR PANEL
9. Lower the front passenger's window all the way and open the front passenger's door.
10. 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. (NOTE: The next four pictures are actually of the rear driver's side door panel and handle. The front passenger's handle is identical to those of the rear doors and I already had the pics for the rear door version of this DIY, so I used them instead of taking new ones - view the pictures in a mirror if it bothers you - J/K.)
11. Once one end of the outer handle piece is pried out 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
BOTH DOOR PANELS
14. Remove the three T20 Torx screws at the bottom of the door.
15. Remove the small Phillips screw on the top front edge of the door panel, indicated by the arrow in the picture below. This screw secures the door panel to the speaker grille.
16. Starting at the bottom of the door, pull the door panel away from the door, as shown below. There are six snaps securing the panel to the door, three 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 six snaps, the door panel should still be attached to the top of the door near the bottom of the window.
17. The picture below of the inside of the door panel shows the location of the six snaps. (This picture is for reference only and was taken later in the DIY. The door panel should not be off yet).
18. Starting with the top, rear corner, pull the door panel up and out of the window seal, as shown below.
19. 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.
20. 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).
21. 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.
22. 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).
23. After the lock cable is disconnected from the unlock handle, unclip the electrical connections for the front driver's door (mirror switch, alarm LED, door light, trunk release, gas door release and the speakers) or the front passenger's door (door locks, door light and speakers). You should now be able to remove the door panel from the car.
DOOR UNLOCK HANDLE ASSEMBLY
24. 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 mirror switch on driver's door and door lock switch on passenger's door). (NOTE: The next two pictures are actually of the rear driver's side door panel and handle assembly, and were used for the reasons given in Step 10. The door unlock handle assembly on the front doors is attached to the door panel in the same way as the rear doors.)
25. Once the front edge of the handle assembly is pushed out (1), slide the assembly toward the front of the car to remove (2).
SIDEVIEW MIRROR ASSEMBLY
26. Remove the small Phillips screw that attaches the tweeter speaker grille to the door, as indicated by the arrow in the picture below.
27. Pull the speaker grille off of the door. The inside of the grille is also attached to the door by three tabs which are indicated by the arrows in the picture below.
28. Pull the foam speaker insert, shown below, off of the door.
29. The sideview mirror assembly is attached to the door with a single T45 Torx screw (thanks bluetoyota for the size). Remove this screw and pull the mirror assembly off of the door - be careful not to harm the wires for the mirror glass heater element and the mirror motor.
Once the door panels are off, you can also do the following:
30. To remove the driver's door alarm LED, press in on the tabs indicated by the arrows in the picture below and slide the LED unit out of the top of the door panel.
31. To remove the door light, push in on the two tabs indicated by the arrows in the picture below and slide the light out of the door panel.
32. To view your window regulator clips, remove the two rubber plugs (one shown in picture below) with a screwdriver and raise the window until you can see the clips at the bottom of the window glass through the holes (this will require you to temporarily reconnect the main driver's window and door lock controls).
Let me know if you have any questions.
As always, do this procedure at your own risk. I am not responsible for any mistakes in the procedure or those that you make while performing it.