11.9.05

Removing the door panel from a Toyota Corolla '96

I had to remove the door panel from my Corolla yesterday in order to remove the lock. I had to remove the lock because some idiot tryed to break in and they stuffed it up! It took me ages to figure out how to get it off, with this guide it should be possible to do it in about 10 minutes.
The following photos I took with my mobile phone, the super cool Mororola E398. unfortunately the camera doesnt have a very good focus so some of the images are a little blurry.

Step 1:
Remove the screw on the door opener.
This is the most obviuos screw and so I decided to remove it first.


Step 2:
Remove the door winder.
This is a little tricker than I first thought. At first I tryed to pull it off, but that didnt seem to work. I had a brief look online and found a few sites saying that there is a clip that has to be removed and that a "special tool" is reqired to remove it. These "special tools" apparently are avaliable from car parts places. Lucky for me I already had a "special tool" - a flat head screwdriver!
Here is how the clip holds the winder on

Using a flat head screwdriver you can just push the clip off

Here is the clip removed


Step 3:
Remove the arm rest.
This took me awhile to find, but under the arm rest there are two screws. It can be fairy easily removed just by getting either your fingernail under it, or a screwdriver.

Once removed it reveals the screws underneath


Step 4:
This is the easy part. The whole panel is now held on only by push in clips, they can be easily pulled for them to pop out. They are located all around the outside of the panel and look like this

Once they are removed carefully guide the door handle opener through the hole to remove the panel.


Step 5:
To get to the inside of the door the plastic seal has to be removed, this isnt too hard but its sticky. Just peel it away from the plastic



Step 6:
This next part is where it can get really frustrating. There are two screws that hold the door handle on. The first one is visible and not too bad to remove.


The second one was a little harder. The folowing picture was taken through a small hole in the door panel, but you can see the lock and the screw above it. I used a socket with a rachet to remove it


Step 7:
The lock can now be removed by pushing the door handle from the bottom to swing it out. There is a spring that holds the door handle in at the top, I didnt try to remove the whole thing as I'm guessing the trying to put that spring back would be a world of pain. Just grab the lock and twist it anit-clockwise, it should just pop out.


Step 8:
There is a rod connected to the lock which goes to the central locking servo, this can be removed by uncliping the plastic bit on the side and the pulling the rod out of the hole. If at all possible try not to disconned the rod at the bottom, where is connects to the servo - This would be VERY bad as it took me an hour to get the little bugger back on.


Step 9:
All done! I was able to take this bit to a locksmith - with the key, where they were able to fix it. I took it to Marion Locksmiths and they did a great job - thanks!


Step 10:
Putting it all back.
This should be as simple as going backwards, however if you accidently disconnected the servo rod like I did then like Mr T says - "I pitty the fool!".
The rod is fixed to the servo with a little plastic clip similar to how it connects with the lock. The trick is to put the bent bit at the end into the hole and then swivel the plastic clip onto the rold to hold it there. This is how it looks once connected

And this is a closeup of the rod cliped to the servo bit


I should also mention putting the door winder back is a little fiddly, but using the "special tool" its not too bad. Just put the clip half on, then put the winder on and using the screwdriver push the clip on. it required a little force, but not too much.


Well I hope this is useful!

82 comments:

David Gardiner said...

I had to do similar on my old '77 Corolla when the lock jammed on the front passenger door.

All I needed to do was to get as far as pulling off the outside vinyl and peeling away the plastic cover and spraying a generous amount of WD-40 inside the door cavity until the lock started to work again.

I now have a problem with our Camry that the back doors seem to be leaking black sticky stuff - which I wonder if it might be the similar adhesive. Nasty stuff as once it gets on your clothes (or kids toys etc) you can't get it out very easily.

Dave B. said...

I just wanted to thank prodactors head for this usefull information. The original speakers in my wife's 94 Corolla had packed it in so I bought her a new pair for Christmas. I used you instructions to help install the new speakers and saved the $45.00 Canadian installation fee.

Dave B.
Vancouver

prodactors head said...

Thanks Dave B!
I'm glad that I was able to help someone.

Anonymous said...

hiya there im a locksmith and was just passing ur websight... if u need any help on any other locks please feel free to e mail me with questions... autolocksmithuk@hotmail.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Thanks the information was a real life saver.

Anonymous said...

I have 94 corolla, door handle broke & now passenger door glass can't hold up. Buut if I able to open the door pannel then I have no problem . but this doc. is very helpful for me.

Anonymous said...

Hey man,
I had to replace the speakers in my 95. This guide helped me more than you think. I already tried it myself, but I didnt know about the hidden screws under the door handle thing.

Thanks man! We need more ppl like you making guides.

prodactors head said...

I'm glad so many have found this useful. The guide seemed like a good idea at the time, and I had fun making it. I agree that more people should put guides together.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,

I had to replace the inside handle and your instruction were excellent!!!!

I really appreciate this!!

Plamen said...

Thanks from Bulgaria. It helped me a lot with my Corolla 94.

Bob W. said...

Many thanks, prodactors head.

Your excellent guide was all I needed to fix the door handle on my wife's '94 Corolla. People like you make the internet great!

Bob W.
North Carolina, USA

Anonymous said...

Hi mate,

The inside door handle wasn't working on my 1990 Toymotor Corolla. Thanks to your instructions I was able to remove the panel and see that the handle had slipped somewhat. All done.

Thanks,

Grant
Auckland, new Zealand

Anonymous said...

Awesome! you helped me fix my door so that I can open it from the inside again! -Houston, Texas

Anonymous said...

this page was most helpful in helping change factory speakers to new aftermarket speakers thanks alot

Anton said...

This was very helpfull(1999 corola), thanks!

michael johhns (winnipeg) said...

this was the second gide i found for replacing the speakers in my 95 corolla it is by far the best. the pictures aand detal were amazing. thank you so much for your time in helping others. ont this i would sugest tho is to make sure the "rain gard" in the door is put back just as you found it. if not water can get in and it only takes a bit of water vapor to make speakers scruey.
thanks again!

C Beckett said...

OK, my wife's '98 Corolla isn't set up quite the same but your instructions were very very helpful none the less. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was working on my wife's 2001 Prism, which has a nearly indentical set up. I got to the point where I removed the armrest and two screws, but the next step, labeled "the easy part" has been a nightmare. I can't get the panel fasteners to let go. It doesn't help that the door is jammed shut, giving me very little room to work. Any advice on where to get the best start removing the remainder of the frame?

Will said...

> I had to replace the speakers in my 95. This guide helped me more than you think. I already tried it myself, but I didnt know about the hidden screws under the door handle thing.



DITTO! I quickly realized there was more screws somewhere hidden, they are not that easy to find if you dont know this!

Anonymous said...

This really helped me work on my front speakers. One note, I read a book on Toyota's and they said you could also use a cloth to remove the window handle clip. You take the edge of a clothe and wedge it in the area of the clip and move it back and forth. My clip came out in about 5 seconds

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE AWESOME! I just paid $80 to Best Buy to install my mother's day present Kenwood stereo & speakers in my 95 prizm, they got grease all over the door panel, broke off my A/C knob and the speaker on the passenger side RATTLES so loud I can't stand it. I have taken it back twice, with no fix! I will use this guide to make it right other wise BEST BUY SUX!
I also plan on using this to fix my Mother in laws 2002 Corolla, she broke her Door knob on the inside!
League City, Texas

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. My 97 Prism's door closing mechanism froze up several months ago. A friend verbally described the process that you showed in pictures. I now will no longer have to keep my door closed with bungee cords.

Anonymous said...

This is why the internet is great. A couple of days ago my son locked his keys in his 92 Corolla. I was able to use a locksmith tool to get it unlocked, but in the process messed up the locking mechanism. Using your instructions I was able to get the panel off, fix the lock and put the panel back on in about 30 minutes. It would have taken much longer without your help. Thanks!

Vidar the anonymous said...

Thanks for the information on how to remove the winder!

I got so frustrated trying to figure out how to get it off i almost ripped the whole thing apart.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful! Without this I would have had to give up and have someone else do it. Thanks so much. - Slowstrider in boston

Lost&Chaotic said...

wow! what a great guide! thanks a ton!

Quite said...

Really helpful. Will first try to find a locksmith in Brighton UK who could repair the barrel of the lock and will then follow your excellent instructions to get the barrel out of the door.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. I replaced a window and this guide helped a lot!

Ian said...

Thanks for this guide--I just put new door speakers in my 1993 Corolla thanks to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, you are a life saving and the pics are great!!

Adam said...

Thank you for this information.

The outer plastic handle on my 1994 Corolla's front driver's side door broke off. I was removing the door panel to install a replacement handle when I got stuck on how to remove the window handle. On the brink of saying "to hell with it," and prying the thing off, I decided to see if I could find any useful information online first.

I found your site, and after reading this article and studying the pictures, everything went smoothly. Thanks!

Barry Mangus said...

I just replaced the broken door handle on my son's 96 Corolla. I found your directions before I started, thank goodness. This made it a much, much easier task. Your directions were extremely helpful, and descriptive, especially removing the lock and the warning about the servo connections. Thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you taking the time to do this, i was able to remove the passenger door panel to my 1994 Toyota Corolla!! i looked numerous places online before finding your gem of a blog. Now the trick is to figure out how to check the regulator (my passenger window won't go back up). Any tips?? ~sarah

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post.

Regrettably I've gone down the Mr T road by accident. When I was removing the top clip off the lock barrel I must have been a little too aggressive because next thing I know the rod has also released itself from the bottom clip :(

I've got to go and get some keys made to match the lock but eventually I'm going to have to put the rod back in and try and hook it up. It doesn't look like an easy task and I'm thinking it's going to take an hour or more and a shed load full of patience :(

If anyone can provide more detailed instructions on how to re-clip the bottom part of the rod that would be appreciated. I've got big hands and I've looked in there with a small flashlight and it's looking like mission impossible :(

Thank you in advance :)

Stephen

Anonymous said...

I have a '93 corolla, they are slightly different in SA but the principles are the same. One step I had to add just after step 1 was to press on the door handle and slide it to the left before it would come out.... a simple step but frustrating if you don't know to do it. Thanks for the help!

Dr Salman Akhtar said...

i had to fix the side view mirror on the driver side. To do that, i had to pull out part of door panel out. Now i am finding it hard to put it back in place. Can someone help me with it? I have corolla CE 05

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for making this guide. While backing out of my garage I ripped the rearview mirror off the passenger side of my 05 corolla and need to know how to get the panel off to replace it. Your guide did the trick and saved me some money. Thanks.
Bo

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are my hero. For some, explorations of the mechanical are out of the question. Others have the patience to explore what needs fixing and not break anything else along the way. You are clearly among the latter breed and the pictures and clear instructions are much appreciated, although probably not by Toyota and certified mechanics who would google your article anyway.

Joseph said...

Thank you so much for taking time to post these instructions. I was able to follow your instructions to remove the door panel of my '95 Corolla when replacing a broken handle on the driver's side. Without your instructions I don't think I would have been able to do it myself.

The Daily Obscurities said...

Major Props to you man. I used this as a guide to replace my outer door handle on my 1999 Toyota Corolla. Saved myself $200 bucks. I bought the part for $18 and spent 7 hours haha but success. Those screws attached to the outer door handle was a PAIN, Each screw took 3 hours and one ended breaking off the part attached to the car because that is how tight it was. Seriously Thanks man

Anonymous said...

Once you are ready to remove the two bolts to relase handle from inside, on the door frame there should be a hole cut out. Slip your socket with extention through that hole. Much eaiser to loosen and tighten the two bolts. ( upper for door handle, lower for lock assembelly. Start to finsh Just under 1 hour.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! I needed to replace the inside door lock and this helped!

Kerry - California said...

Man, you and this post are a life saver. I see it was years ago that you posted it, but I'm glad it is still here and at the top of google for my "How to remove toyota corolla door panel" search, haha.

The passenger window on my 94 detached and was falling down while driving. I couldn't find those hidden screws, to remove the whole door panel and fought with it for 2 weeks, by just detaching the bottom row of hooks.

My frustration was about to get me to tear the friggen thing off, but I decided to try a common sense search first.

Panel off, window fixed, panel on. Whooda thunk it??! Thanks again. You really deserve all these comments of appreciation. =)

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you. Its a great help.

Anonymous said...

Wow big thanks to your post, i was able to fix my corolla speakers. Saved me big bucks, only some efforts.


We need more people like you, taking your time and efforts to help others.



You are a hero ....unsung.......

brad said...

David Gardiner, the black sticky stuff most likely is petroleum based under coating. check the doors for leaks and seal them with new weather stripping or in a pinch use silicone.
if your car hasn't been undercoated then it might be that some one used residential grade black sealant on the door to affix the plastic moisture barrier

Anonymous said...

Just used ths method on my '92 Corolla and it was great - thank you! I want to do my part and leave a little info.
1. The cloth use on the window handle was great! (see above)
2. To replace the window handle insert the handle with the washer partially, and then insert the pin mechanism all the way on - then push the handle all the way in, and use "special tool" (flat-head screwdrive) to push the pin mechanism fully in while the handle is pressed all the way in.
3. I found that using my hand to start the bolts for securing the outer door handle worked best to get them started (especially that difficult one).
4. When doing the rear door, it would seem to be a bit easier - but BEWARE! - place the bolt through the opening FIRST and then insert the outer handle over it - either get a helper to hold it or use two hands - one on the bolt the other on the handle.
Peace.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about the door handle. From New York, USA.

Anonymous said...

I'm gearing up to swap doors on a '99 and found this post.My wifes car got hit. Lucky JUST the door. Looks to be very helpful, as now I won't be going at it blindly. Great thing this internet. Thanks for taking the time to post this, looks to have helped many. TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT!! RK9960

George said...

Great post. But I have a question to all of those who have done this. After I put the new handle on my 93 corolla and put everything back together, it seems that there is a problem with the lock. When I turn the key to the right, the door unlocks as it should. But when i turn the key back to the upright position, to take the key back out, the door locks back! The key will not even turn to the left.

Anyone have any suggestions as to what might have happened?!

Thanks in advance!

Martha from San Diego said...

Dude, major congrats! I had to replace the side mirror in my Corolla 2006 and did not have the tool to reach the bolts at an angle and had to take off the panel. With your step-by-step, it was very easy, in less than one hour. You easily saved me at least $150 just in labor! Thank you and may you also have someone help you when in need as you have so many of us.

Tom I. said...

1996 Geo Prism

First off, thanks so much for your thoughtful instructions! Though my '96 Prism has some important differences, your instructions were very helpful.

Differences:
(1) Step 1: after screw is removed, push door opener assembly forward, then out to unhitch clips from the metal frame of the door

(2) Step 3: Remove two screws from the lower part of the arm rest that bolt to the metal door frame. The arm rest on the Prism does NOT require the soft pad of the armrest to be lifted first. In fact, if you do lift it, it will break off some plastic clips that hold it to the hard portion of the armrest AND it will still NOT come off! There are 2 screws that keep the armrest on the door panel from the back, so, don't bother trying to remove it from the panel.

(3) The top section of the door panel is actually a separate panel that is attached with metal clips to the main door panel, and has to be removed, or at least separated before the main door panel is taken off. To remove (it is a cushy pad), slip your fingers (or a putty knife) under the separation, and pry off the cushy panel from the main panel, and lift the cushy panel up and away from the door, exposing the main panel below.

I was only replacing the front speakers (which is a whole different story), so I cannot comment on any further differences between the designs. However, for those who are also trying to replace speakers, the door panel DOES have to be removed. Do not try to pry the plastic cover off the speaker, as it is attached with a screw at the base of the door. Also, the speaker will not be able to be removed as it is integrated into a modular unit that has to be removed in its entirety before attaching the new speaker. One further caution, your new speaker may require you to 'borrow' parts of the old speaker to fit properly. You might have to preserve some of the original Delco parts.

Anonymous said...

Hey I just wanted to say thanks for making this excellent guide. i am planning to replace the speakers in my 96 corolla. this guide was a great help. I had only got as far as removing the clips but i didn't know about the arm rest screws. Anyway we need more people like you. Cheers from down under (Australia)

Anonymous said...

Just to reiterate, slide the door handle forward to remove it from the door. Then you can remove the linkage from the handle.
crf

Stephanie said...

Thanks so much, you have no idea how helpful it was.

Anonymous said...

Dude,

Thanks for posting this. I need to replace the exterior door handle of my Corolla. Hopefully this helps!

joan in BC said...

Thank you, Thank you! My window mechanism had jammed and I couldn't figure how to get the door panel off. This post was very helpful, especially in telling when to pop clips off and when to look for hidden screws. Photos were most helpful too.
May all your car repairs go smoothly.

Dan said...

Thanks a lot for this. The rod on my '96 Corolla snapped and I had to open it all up today.

God bless you!

Anonymous said...

amazing how this is able to help so many people and after so many years too! This really helped me remove the door panel on a 06 corolla ce and install some new speakers. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post; very clear. My inside door handle broke. I was able to take off the panel, pull out the handle, discard the broken piece where the rod fit, and drill a NEW hole in the base of the mechanism. The new hole is actually in thicker plastic so it is more sturdy. Re-assembled and works like a charm.

Ding Pogi said...

hahaha just what I needed, I had a trouble with the windows slider. Good thing I also had a Special Tools around. Thanks for posting. Had this Blog first on the google search. Old good blog save my time..

long island toyota lease said...

Woo,its a nice post.Its a outstanding car and its looking stylist.I love it

Anonymous said...

Thanks you ,These instructions are spot on I appreciate you taking the time to make them up for us. 95 Corolla drivers window motor frozen.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just wanted to say thanks. These instructions helped me take apart my door on my 1999 Toyota Corolla.

Anonymous said...

Wow your post was a life saver. Thank you so much. I want to take my panel off to put new Fabric on my 2000 Toyota door panel cause mine has Glue spots on them, and drive me crazy. I love a nice Clean looking car and those spots got to go. I hope I can replace that fabric.

Anonymous said...

Great instructions, thank you.

I had to replace the inside handle on a 2001 corolla and your instructions made my day. Only real problem I had was the arm rest was jammed, really had to give it some force to release.

Z said...

Hey man. Just wanted to say this was a FANTASTIC step-by-step guide. Thank you so much for posting this.

value my car said...

Thanks for sharing this news.

Robin Holt said...

I do not know if you are maintaining this page any longer, but putting the window crank back on is much easier than you indicate. Put the spring clip fully into place on the handle before moving it onto the splines. The tapered head of the splined shaft will expand the clip and then it will fall back to rest in the secured location once the crank is back in position.

For taking it off, some people have had luck using a shop towel. With one hand pinch the center of one edge of the shop towel. With the other hand pull the two corners of that side away from the pinch point. Slide the handle through the opening formed until the shop towel is between the crank and door panel. Now move the shop towel in the direction the clip needs to be moved. This will hopefully catch the clip and pull it off.

Anonymous said...

Would like to let you know this guide is still helping folks.

Keith, Cape Town South Africa said...

Thanks, this really helped - like paint by numbers

Anonymous said...

Hey Maaaaaaate

Thank you for the instructions

Dylan

dr g said...

Since this tutorial is very high on google, here's a tip for people doing the job ... to remove that clip from the window crank, slip a clean rag between crank and the door panel, such that it wraps around the clip like a "C" in the opposite direction of the clip's "C".

Grab both ends of the rag and pull toward the clip, working the rag back and forth. It will catch the ends of the clip and pop it off. Usually it will not fly out but keep an eye out for it anyway.

prodactor said...

Thanks dr g that's an awesome tip!

KnowMad said...

Thank you for putting this up. I have now used this tutorial twice to replace the rearview mirror on an 05 Toyota Corolla. Saved me a bunch of money. That damned clip on the door roller was the worst part!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Replaced the interior door handle on my 96 geo prism with this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. Needed to replace LH electric mirror - all was good till trying to reach the connector plug. Your instructions saved the day (and the door panel!) That special tool made all the difference! Thank you and God bless.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Had to replace the exterior door handle on my 99 Corolla this weekend. Just wanted to thank you for this very useful guide, which made the whole process relatively painless. Don't think I would have found the screws under the arm rest on my own!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation about how the (manual) window winder is attached on Toyota. I got ours off fine after seeing the photos of yours. That photo came out pretty good. Not sharp, but you could see how it works. And for that, I thank you.

I was installing a new head unit (stereo) in our 1990 Corolla. It's a cream puff, we just got it for my son from his grandfather, but it's real tough to install a stereo in (mostly, finding where to put the speakers). We tried the doors, which is why we needed to know about the handle (this is way different than VW that I am more used to).

We ended up putting the 5" combo speakers in the rear shelf, the doors really don't have any mounting for a speaker.

The hardest part was wiring to the HU itself from the door trim. That dash is nearly impossible to get though, it's composed of so many boxes, you can't just run a wire though as you can on most cars. I had to follow the trim around to get to the head unit, but it is a nice job with no wires showing after 2 lazy days 'working' on this.

BTW, I know that Android phones are 'awesome' and all (they are an OK copy of a really awesome, groundbreaking phone), but try an iPhone 4 or 4s for these sorts of pictures, you would actually be able to see what it is you are talking about.

Thanks.

prodactor said...

Thanks or your comments. I'm glad so many people are still getting something out of this guide.
I agree that the photos would have been better if I had an iPhone, but since the post was created 2 years before the first iPhone came out I just had to work with what I had :)
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much - had to replace the door locks on both side. Got to practice your instructions at the junk yard and have it down to less than 10 minutes. Yours were the best instructions for this on the net.

Thanks again!

Ed
Vancouver

Mike said...

Fantastic post! I actually had to replace both an internal and external handle, and an entire latch actuator (including procuring replacements from a junkyard). This guide helped me do a job in half a day that may have otherwise taken me all weekend!