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Ford Explorer Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the interior door panels of a 5th generation 2011-2015 Ford Explorer to upgrade the OEM speakers.

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2014 Explorer Door Panel
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Pry Off Sail Panel
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Sail Panel Removed

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fifth generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Ford Explorer SUV in removing the plastic interior door panels in order to upgrade the OEM speakers, add soundproofing material, fix a faulty electrical switch

Owners of other Ford or Lincoln vehicles with similar door panels such as the Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Escape, Edge, Flex, Expedition, F-150, Focus, C-MAX, MKC, MKZ, MKX, MKS, MKT and Navigator may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to remove the door panel include a small flathead screwdriver, a 10mm socket, a 7mm socket, an extension bar, a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a pair of needle nose pliers and a flathead screwdriver or an automotive panel removal pry bar tool.

The OEM door speakers are held in place by four 7mm screws.

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Pry Out Plastic Trim Piece
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Trim Panel Removed
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Screw Cover Below Arm Rest
The first two steps are to lower the window all the way down and then open the door.

Move to the top inner corner of the door panel and gently pry off the sail panel with a small flathead screwdriver.

Set the sail panel aside in a safe place.

Then pull back the door opener handle and gently pry out the small rectangular black plastic trim piece with a small flathead screwdriver.

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Two Screws Exposed
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Loosen 10mm Bolts
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Pull Out Arm Rest Bolts
Move to the center of the arm rest and pry out the rectangular plastic trim panel located just behind the door pull handle.

Remove the two arm rest bolts by turning them counterclockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Set the two bolts aside with the plastic trim panels.

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Door Opener Handle Screw
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10mm Screw Removed
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Bottom Edge of Door Panel
Remove the screw behind the door opener handle by turning it counterclockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench. Set the screw aside in a safe place.

Then move to the bottom edge of the door panel and locate the two small screws.

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Loosen 7mm Screws
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Turn Counterclockwise
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3 Plastic Panels & 5 Screws
Remove the two screws at the bottom edge of the panel by turning them counterclockwise with the 7mm socket and 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench.

At this point, you should have removed three plastic panels, three 10mm screws and two 7mm screws.

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Insert Flathead Screwdriver
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Pull Out Pop Rivet Fasteners
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Lift Panel Off Door Frame
Insert a flathead screwdriver or an automotive panel remove tool in between the bottom edge of the plastic panel and the metal door frame.

Firmly pull out the bottom edge of the door panel to disengage the plastic pop rivet friction fasteners.

Continue pulling out the pop rivets all along the bottom edge and both sides of the door panel.

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Tilt Away Top of Panel
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Door Opener Handle Cable
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Squeeze Together Prongs
Lift the plastic panel off the top of the door frame.

Tilt the top of the panel towards yourself while supporting the bottom with your thighs.

To release the door opener handle cable, squeeze together the two prongs on the green plastic collar with the needle nose pliers.

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Pull Out Plastic Collar
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Lift Bar Out of Socket
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Disconnect Power Plugs
Pull the green plastic collar out of the bracket, swing it away from yourself and lift the metal bar at the end out of its socket.
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Press Down Release Tab
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4th Connector Removed
Unplug the electrical connectors by pressing down on the release tabs before sliding them straight out of their sockets.



 

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Door Panel Removed
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Metal Door Frame
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Stuck Plastic Pop Rivet
Set the door panel aside in a safe place.

If any of the white plastic pop rivets remained attached to the metal door frame, pull them out with the needle nose pliers.

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Pull Out Friction Fastener
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Re-Attach To Door Panel
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Loosen 7mm Screws
Re-install any pop rivets that you remove from the door frame back in to their slots on the plastic panel.

The OEM door speaker is held in place by four screws.

Remove the four speaker screws by turning them counterclockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Press the release tab on the speaker's white plastic power connector before pulling the plug straight out of its socket.

The OEM door speakers can be replaced with the following aftermarket speaker sizes: Front Door - 6 1/2" (6.5"), 6 3/4" (6.75") and 6"x9" / Rear Door - 5 1/4", 6 1/2" and 6 3/4".

I'd recommend buying new speakers from Crutchfield since they usually include any needed plug adapters, wiring harnesses and/or mounting brackets.

To help reduce road noise and make your new speakers sound better, apply some Dynamat Sound Deadener to the metal door frame. It will stop vibrations and rattles when you crank up the volume.

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Unplug OEM Speaker
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Hold Panel Near Door Frame
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Lower Bar In To Socket
To replace the plastic door panel, tilt the top near the door frame and support the bottom with your thighs.

Re-insert the metal bar at the end of the door opener handle in to its socket.

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Push In Plastic Collar
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Door Handle Cable Attached
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Push In Power Plugs
Swing the cable towards the panel and push the green plastic collar in to the bracket.
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Replace Electrical Connectors
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Four Power Plugs Replaced
Push the four power plugs straight in to their sockets.
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Re-Insert Door Lock Stalk
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Hang Door Panel On Frame
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Line Up Friction Fasteners
Re-insert the door lock stalk through the opening at the top outer edge of the door panel.

Hang the panel on to the lip at the top of the door frame.

Line up the metal clip friction fastener and the white plastic pop rivets on the back of the door panel with their corresponding holes in the frame.

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Firmly Push In Pop Rivets
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Re-Insert 7mm Screws
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Tighten Lower Edge Screws
Firmly tap in the pop rivets all along the bottom edge and both sides of the door panel.

Re-insert the two small 7mm screws at the bottom edge of the door panel and tighten them in the clockwise direction.

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Tighten 7mm Clockwise
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Replace Door Handle Screw
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Tighten 10mm Clockwise
Replace the bolt behind the door opener handle by turning it clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.
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Attach Bolt To Socket
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Tighten 10mm Clockwise
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Two Arm Rest Bolts Replaced
To keep the two bolts that secure the arm rest to the door frame from falling behind the panel, loosely attach them to the 10mm socket with some painter's tape, masking tape or Scotch tape.

Replace the two bolts by turning them clockwise with the 10mm socket attached to an extension bar.

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Line Up Plastic Trim Panel
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Pop In Plastic Screw Cover
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Snap In Plastic Cover
Line up the rectangular plastic trim piece below the arm rest and snap it back in to place.

Push in the plastic trim panel behind the door opener handle.

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Door Handle Trim Piece
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Push On Sail Panel
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Door Panel Replaced
Push the sail panel back in to place at the top inner corner of the door panel.

Sit inside the car, close the door and check that the door opener handle, power window switch and power door lock switches all still work properly.

For more, check out my other Ford Explorer DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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