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2008-2012 GM Chevrolet Malibu Door Panel Removal Guide
How to remove the interior door panel of a 2008-2012 Chevy Malibu to upgrade the speaker or replace the window motor.

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2011 Malibu Front Door Panel
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Pry Out Plate Behind Door Handle
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Plate Removed, Screw Exposed

This automotive maintenance "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the 7th generation (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012) General Motors Chevrolet Malibu in removing the interior door panel to upgrade the speaker, replace a window motor or add soundproofing material.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles such as the Cruze, Sonic, Volt, Impala, Corvette, Camaro, Tahoe, Colorado, Equinox, Traverse, Buick Regal, Enclave, LaCrosse, GMC Acadia, Terrain, Yukon, Cadillac CTS, ATS, XTS, Escalade, Pontiac Grand Prix, Grand Am, G6, G5, G8, Oldsmobile Alero, Silhouette, Bravada, Aurora, and Intrigue may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a 10mm socket, a 7mm socket, a ratcheting wrench, a Phillips head screwdriver, a small flathead screwdriver and a T25 "Torx" (star) screwdriver.

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Armrest Door Pull
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Remove Rubber Cover
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Remove 10mm Screw
The first step is to pry out the plastic trim plate behind the chrome colored door release handle using a small flathead screwdriver.

Then remove the 10mm screw behind the plate using a ratcheting wrench with an extension bar attached.

Next pry out the rubber cover at the bottom of the door pull located in the center of the arm rest. Use a Torx T-25 (star bit) screwdriver to remove the two screws.

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Remove Torx T25 Screws
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2 T-25 Torx & 1 10mm Screw
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Pry Up Arm Rest Panel
Use a flathead screwdriver to pry up the rear of the plastic arm rest panel. There is a plastic hook at the front of the panel, so only pry it up from the rear edge.
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Lift Rear End First
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Plastic Hook At Front of Panel
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Power Window Connector
After you lift out the arm rest panel, you'll need to disconnect the power connector for the window and door lock switches.
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Push Connector Release Tab
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Power Connector Unplugged
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Two More T25 Screws
Push on the release tab with a flathead screwdriver and pull out the power window / door lock connector.

Use a Torx T25 screwdriver to remove the two screws located below the arm rest panel.

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Remove T25 Torx Screws
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Outer Edge of Panel
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Push In Center of Fastener
Then move to the outer edge of the door panel and locate the two small round fasteners. Use a small screwdriver to pop in the center pins of the two fasteners.
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Pull Out Plastic Rivet
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Black Plastic Fastener Removed
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Remove Lower Fastener
Pull out the two plastic rivet fasteners and set them aside in a safe place.
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Pull Panel Away From Door
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White Plastic Pop Rivets
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Pull Off Sail Panel
Grab the door pull in the arm rest and tug it towards yourself to disengage the pop rivet friction fasteners that hold the panel to the door frame.

Move to the top corner of the door panel and pry off the triangular "sail" panel. On some vehicles, the sail panel contains the tweeter speaker.

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Lift Panel Off Door Lock
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Pull Out Door Pull Cable
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Lift the door panel off the door lock button and tilt the top of it out towards yourself.

Use a pair of needle nose pliers to gently lift the metal ball at the end of the door opener cable out of the mechanism.

Disconnect the door cable from the back side of the door panel.

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Door Pull Cable Removed
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Disconnect Power Mirror
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Then disconnect the power connector for the side view mirror by lifting up on the release tab. Slide the power connector off the plastic anchor on the metal door frame.
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Slide Connector Off Anchor
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Unlock Connector
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Connector Detached
Look behind the door panel and locate the large wire connector with the pink lever lock. Swing the lever open to unlock the connector and separate it from the socket.



 

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Door Panel Removed
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Power Window Motor
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10mm Bolts
Now the door panel can be completely removed by lifting it up and off the door frame.

To replace the power window motor, remove the 10mm bolts.

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Stock OEM Door Speaker
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Remove 7mm Screw
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The stock "OEM" speaker is held in place by a single 7 mm screw. Remove it with a socket and ratcheting wrench.
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Pry Off OEM Speaker
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Speaker Removed
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Disconnect Power Plug
If the speaker is stuck to the door frame, gently pry it off with a small flathead screwdriver.

Disconnect the speaker's power plug by pressing the release tab with the small flathead screwdriver.

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Fits 5.25", 6.5", 6.75"
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Re-installing Door Panel
According to the Crutchfield website, the 2008 to 2012 Chevrolet Malibu's front door speakers can be replaced with 5 1/4", 6 1/2" or 6 3/4" speakers with the use of a bracket.
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Re-Attach To Anchor
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Plug In Power Side View Mirror
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Re-Insert Power Connector
To re-install the door panel, first hold the panel close to the door frame before re-connecting the large wire plug. Swing the pink lever closed to lock it in place.

Slide the socket for the power side view mirror back on to its anchor and insert the power plug.

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Lock Power Connector
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Pink Lever Locked
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Re-Insert Door Pull Cable Ball
Insert the metal ball at the end of the door opener cable back in to the door handle mechanism.

Slide the black plastic cone part of the cable back into the slot in the door opener assembly.

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Door Opener Cable Reinstalled
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Hang Door Panel On Frame
Gently lower the door panel down on to the edge of the door frame with the door lock switch through the opening at the top.
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Line Up White Plastic Fasteners
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Push On Sail Panel
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Push Door Panel In Place
Move to the bottom of the door panel and line up the white plastic pop rivet fasteners with the holes in the metal door frame.

Push all around the door panel to re-insert the pop rivet fasteners.

Re-attach the sail panel at the top corner of the door frame.

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Push Panel Flush Against Frame
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Insert Side Edge Fasteners
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Insert Larger Piece First
Next move to the side edge of the door panel and first re-insert the larger piece of the two fasteners. Then insert the smaller "pin" piece of the fastener into the middle of the larger piece.
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Insert Small "Pin" Piece
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Install Lower Edge Fastener
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Tighten 2 T25 Torx Screws
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Re-Attach Power Connector
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Insert Front Hook First
Insert and tighten the two T-25 Torx screws located under the arm rest.

Re-attach the power connector to the plastic arm rest panel.

First insert the hook at the front of the arm rest panel and then snap the rear end in place.

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Pop Arm Rest Panel In Place
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Tighten 2 T25 Screws
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Replace Rubber Cover
Insert and tighten the two T25 Torx screws into the door pull cup. Then replace the rubber cover over the two screws.
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Tighten 10mm Door Handle Screw
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Replace Door Handle Trim Plate
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Malibu Door Panel Replaced
Replace the 10mm screw that goes above and behind the door opener handle and tighten it. Pop in the plastic trim plate behind the door handle.

Please check out my other 2008-2012 Chevy Malibu Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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