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Subaru Forester Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the plastic interior door panels in a 4th generation 2014-2018 Subaru Forester to upgrade the speakers.

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2017 Forester Door Panel
Door Opener Handle
Pry Open Screw Cover
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fourth generation (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018) Subaru Forester SUV in taking off the plastic interior door panels in order to upgrade the OEM speakers, add soundproofing material, fix a faulty electrical switch or replace a broken power window motor.

Owners of other Subaru vehicles such as the Outback, Impreza, Legacy, XV Crosstrek, WRX, BRZ, SVX, Tribeca, Exiga, Trezia, Levorg and Baja may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to remove the door panel include a small flathead screwdriver, a plastic pry bar tool, a large flathead screwdriver and a standard Phillips head screwdriver.

The OEM door speaker is held in place to the door frame by four Phillips head screws.

Hinged Screw Cover Open
Silver Door Pull Handle
Small Notch Near Top
The first two steps are to lower the power window all the way down and open the door.

Then use a small flathead screwdriver to gently pry open the hinged screw cover located behind the door opener handle and in front of the door lock rocker switch.

You'll see a single Phillips head screw located behind the cover.

Then locate the small notch near the top front edge of the silver plastic trim cover on the door pull handle.

Pry Off Trim Cover
Plastic Pry Bar Tool
Handle Cover Removed
Use either a flathead screwdriver or a plastic pry bar tool to gently remove the silver trim piece from the door pull handle.

Lift the trim cover up and off the door pull handle.

Set the silver trim cover aside in a safe place.

Remove Phillips Screw
Single Screw Removed
Loosen Counterclockwise
Remove the screw located behind the door opener handle by turning it counterclockwise with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Set the screw aside in a safe place.

Top Screw Removed
Remove Bottom Screw
3rd & Final Screw
Then remove the two screws located in the door pull handle by turning them counterclockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver.
Three Screws & Trim Piece
Pry Out Bottom Edge
Release Pop Rivets
Set the two screws aside with the silver trim cover.

Insert the plastic pry bar tool or a large flathead screwdriver in between the bottom edge of the door panel and the metal door frame.

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

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

Lift Panel Up Off Frame
Tilt Away Top Edge
Door Lock & Handle Cables
Carefully lift the plastic door panel up and off the lip at the top of the metal door frame.

Tilt the top edge of the door panel towards yourself and support the bottom edge with your legs.

Locate the two metal cables for the door lock switch and the door opener handle.

The door lock rocker switch cable has a white plastic collar on it and is located near the top of the door panel.

The door opener handle cable has a green plastic collar near the end of it and is located lower down.

Pull Collar Out of Bracket
Lift Ball Out of Socket
Pull Out White Collar
To release the cables, first pull the plastic collars out of their "C" shaped holders on the bracket and then lift the metal ball at the end of the cable out of their sockets.
Lift Ball Out of Socket
Two Cables Released
Push In Release Tab
Move to the underside of the electrical switch panel.

On the front passenger side door panel, there are two white plastic electrical connectors.

Use Flathead Screwdriver
Push In Release Tab
Disconnect Power Plugs
Push in the release tabs on the electrical connectors before sliding them straight out of their sockets.

If you have trouble pushing in the release buttons on the electrical connectors, use a small flathead screwdriver.

Disconnect Step Light
Courtesy Light Bulb Plug
Door Panel Removed
Locate the courtesy step light near the bottom rear corner of the plastic door panel.

Push in the release tab on the electrical connector before sliding the power plug straight out of its socket.

Set the plastic door panel aside in a safe place.


Metal Door Frame
Stuck Pop Rivets In Frame
Pop Rivet Removal Tool
If any of the white plastic pop rivets remained attached to the metal door frame, use a pop rivet removal tool to pull them out.

You could also use a large flathead screwdriver or a pair of needle nose pliers.

Pop Rivets Removed
Slide Into Holders
Replace Panel Pop Rivets
Re-attach the stuck pop rivets back into place on the plastic door panel.
OEM Door Speaker
Loosen Counterclockwise
Hold Panel Near Frame
The OEM door speaker is located at the front bottom corner of the metal door frame.

To remove the OEM speaker, loosen the four screws by turning them counterclockwise with a Phillips head screwdriver.

The front door speakers can be replaced with aftermarket car speakers in the following sizes: 6 1/2" (6.5"), 6 3/4" (6.75") and 6"x9".

I'd highly recommend applying some Dynamat sound deadener to the metal door frame. It will help stop any vibrations or rattles and allow your new speakers to sound their best and also reduce road noise.

To replace the plastic door panel, hold it near the metal door frame.

Push In Step Light Plug
Door Opener Handle Cable
Lower Ball In Socket
Tilt the top edge of the door panel towards yourself.

Push the small white plastic power plug for the courtesy step light into its socket near the bottom rear corner of the door panel.

Re-insert the metal ball at the end of the door opener handle cable (green plastic collar) into it socket closer to the bottom of the door panel.

Then snap the green plastic collar into the "C" shaped socket on the bracket.

Snap Collar In Bracket
Door Lock Switch Cable
Snap Collar In Bracket
Then lower the metal ball at the end of the door lock switch cable (white plastic collar) into its socket closer to the top of the door panel.

Push the white plastic collar near the end of the cable in to its "C" shaped socket on the bracket.

Double check that the two cables are securely attached.

Push In Switch Panel Plugs
Power Plugs Replaced
Lower Panel On Frame
Push the electrical connectors straight into their sockets on the underside of the switch panel.

The power plugs should "click" securely into place.

Lower the top of the plastic door panel down on to the upper lip at the top of the metal door frame.

Line Up Plastic Pop Rivets
Firmly Tap In Pop Rivets
Replace Lower Screw
Line up the white plastic pop rivets on the rear of the door panel with their corresponding holes in the metal door frame.

Firmly tap in the pop rivet friction fasteners all along the bottom edge and both sides of the door panel.

Tighten Clockwise
Subaru-Forester-Interior-Door-Panel-Removal-Guide-056 Subaru-Forester-Interior-Door-Panel-Removal-Guide-057
Replace Upper Screw
Replace the two screws in the door pull handle by turning them clockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver until they are snug.
Tighten Screw Clockwise
Pop In Screw Cover
Re-Insert Tab - Bottom Edge
Replace the single screw located behind the door opener handle and in front of the door lock rocker switch by turning it clockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver until it is snug.

Close the small black plastic screw cover and snap it back into place.

Re-insert the plastic tab at the bottom edge of the silver door pull handle trim cover.

Line Up Trim Cover
Snap Cover In Place
Door Panel Replaced
Then push the top part of the door pull handle trim cover back into place to secure the retaining clips.

Sit inside the SUV, close the door and verify that the door opener handle, door lock rocker switch, power window switch, power door lock switch, courtesy step light and speaker all still work properly.

For more, please check out all of my 2014-2018 Subaru Forester DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
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