I must confess, that I am not an audiophile. In fact, my hearing history has never been that good, and it can be vouched from a general hearing test conducted by my primary school, when I was a primary-3 school kid. I failed that test, as I couldn't differentiate between a buzzing sound and a hissing sound (okay, I exaggerated here), and at times had difficulty identify the source of the noise (left or right)! Some doctor says this is a lazy-ear medical problem, all I know is it goes along with my personal character very well (or as a result of my personality), where I am at times stubborn and insistent of my way…
Anyhow, after a huge relief rattling fix at the front console, I thought I will be spared from any further rattling source. Perhaps its an indication of the car getting its age, or otherwise, few months later, an annoying rattling noise, albeit not as irritating as the previous ones, surfaced.
It has to do with the door panel, because each time the noise surfaced while the car is in motion, me or my wife will knock on the door panel a few times, and the noise goes away. But heck, that's not a way we should be enjoying our car ride, is it not?
So I have been wanting to dismantle the door panel for quite sometime, but was hesitant due to busy time schedule and fear of creating more problems as I try to fix one problem. But the urge to fix it DIY just could not resist, and couple the fact that fellow Vortexer VgRt6 did a very well write up on the how-to in removing the door panel. So with some guts and determination, I decided to fix the rattling once and for all, all by myself.
Looking back at the entire dismantling process, I have to say the removal of the door panel is very easy, except for the first step, which can be a PITA! The first step, mother of all steps, is to remove the door handle as shown in the diagram on the left. As I started to pry open the door handle, I notice the inner side of the handle has been abused by the distributors during the servicing & repair trips previously. Nevertheless, the trick is to use a soft flat pryer to insert behind the door handle, as indicated by the red arrow. When the handle is opened slightly by 5-10mm, start moving the pryer to the lower right side of the handle and slowly pry open the entire bottom of the handle. Once you have pryed the bottom of the handle by 0.5inch wide, pull out the handle with a jerk as it is snapped on by 2 clips shown in the diagram below, by the 2 green arrows.
I use a tool (shown in the diagram on the left)
that is specially meant for interior panel opener,
it helps to pry open the door handle easier
without creating unnecessary dent or scratches
the inner side of the handle,
which shows 2 clips indicated by the green arrow,
holds the outer side of the handle, shown in the picture
on the left
Once the outer side of the handle is removed, the next step is to unscrew 3 torx screws at the bottom of the panel, and 1 philip screw at the right side of the panel, as shown in the diagram on the left. The 2 diagrams below give a closeup view of the torx screw and philips screw position respectively. Use a torx-15 to remove the 3 screws below, and a small philip screw driver to remove the screw, which is located just below the front tweeter speaker, due to the space constraint.
removing the 4 screws at the bottom & right side of the door panel
remove the 2 screws in the inner handle, so as to free the entire panel totally
Afterwhich, remove the 2 main philips screws that are found at the 2 end of the inner side of the door handle, as shown in the diagram above, pointed by the red arrows. Once the screws are removed, the door panel is basically secured by the 6 plastic door clips at each sides of the panel. To take out the panel completely, snap out the two sides of the panel, before lifting up the panel as the panel's top rubber lining is hooked onto the door edge. The diagram on the left shows the inner side of the panel when it is taken out. You see the position of the 6 door clips, where the clips (as shown in the closeup photo on the left) are at each side of the panel.
I have to be careful when snapping out the two sides of the panel, as the clips are very fragile, and can break easily if the door panel is pulled too hard. It is therefore better to buy extra clips as spare, so that you can replace them on the spot if you broke any of them.
Closeup view of the door clips. The clip on the left is broken, while the one on the right is functional. It cost $2 each if you buy directly from the dealer.
At this point of time, the panel is not completed detached from the door yet, as there are some wirings and cables that is stilled attached to the inner side of the door panel. Unplug the window lifter harness connector, as shown in the diagram on the left. Next, unhook the door lock cable, which is hooked to the door lock assembly, as shown in the diagram below (left). Unclip the retaining clip, and pull the cable forward (towards the front as indicated by the green arrow, and out of the catch as pointed by the red arrow) so
that the hook can be taken out. When that is done, unplug the door open light harness connector, as shown in the diagram below (right). Becareful the plug could be hot, due to the lighted bulbs.
Unhook the cable from the dock lock assembly (left) and unplug the door opening light
When all these cables and hook are removed, the door panel is now hanging on the top edge of the door with its rubber lining. Lift up the door panel, focusing on the 3 arrows in the diagram on the left, and the door panel is now taken out completely.
With the door panel removed finally, now I can inspect the inner side of the door panel, as well as the door with various assemblies, to identify the source of the rattling.
The inner side of the door panel, and the bare door body with the various assemblies. Those black patches on the door body are actually accumat material, a sound proofing material.
With some shaking and knocking, I deduce the following areas of possible rattling source.
Door open light assembly, is made up of various plastic parts, which produce some low frequency rattling noise when it's shaked slighly.
One of the door clips is loose, that may have not catch on the door hole properly, and loose clip might create some low rattling noise.
The door unlock handle assembly is secured to the inside of the door panel with four clips and a philips screw. It's secured, but due to the rubbing of the plastic clips and the door assembly's plastic edge, I suspect there could be some rattling created as a result, if the car is rolling on an undulated road.
I notice the retaining clip is loose, that plastic piece might have rattled against the door panel or the hook catch.
While removing the panel, the speaker's rubber cap is loose. While this is not a source of rattingly (rubber is the least suspect in all rattling noise), it could create some distorted noise when the speaking is outputting loud music.
With all these possible faults, I use some OWS liquid spray, which rubberised the sprayed surface to reduce unnecessary abrasion that causes rattling. This is the one of the products I used when I try to eliminate the rattling noise at the console area. This is not the best or ideal rattle elimination product, due to its stickness characteristic (that causes the sprayed area to be sticky while it is wet or lubricated). But it serves its purpose, and hence I have not considered those 3M sponge adhesive tape, which could be used in some of the fixes.
Once done, it's fixing back of the door panel time. The mounting of the panel is the reverse of the panel removal described above. Before placing and clipping the outer side of the door panel to the door panel, I drove the car around for a test drive, so that I do not need to remove the door handle again if I have to troubleshoot the rattling noise further.
All in all, it solved my rattling nightmare again, at least for now …