Projects & Repairs --> Trim --> Door Panels --> 2006 GMC Cargo Van

Removing door trim panel on a GM full-sized cargo van.

Removing Door Panels On A
2006 GMC Savannah Full-Sized Utility Van

Gaining Access To Repair Windows,
Door Locks, Side Mirrors and More.

(Covers Model Years 1998 to 2009)

In This Article:

The window crank handle is removed. Various trim panels are removed to expose hidden screws. The pull handle is separated carefully, then the door panel is pried away from the metal door.

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Skill Level: 3 (Intermediate)

Time Taken: About 30 Minutes

By Jim Wilk, Licensed Auto Body Technician

Start:

 Inside view of door on GMC full-size van. The door panel on this 2006 GMC Savanna full-sized van was a stubborn part to remove.

Some of the clips would not release with the rigid putty knife, so I used a carpenters "wonder bar" with a flat piece of sheet metal for prying against.

 

I pried with a tack puller to release the plastic mirror cover from the metal door frame. Removing cover behind side-view mirror, GM van. 

 

 Back of mirror cover, GM full-size van. View of back of mirror cover. This plastic panel hooks in at the bottom and snaps in at the top.

 

To remove the side view mirror I would use a 10mm socket and ratchet to remove the 3 nuts (red arrows).

Caution: Have someone hold the mirror assembly from the outside to prevent damaging the mirror or scratching the paint on the door.

Bolt locations for side-view mirror, GM utility van. 

 

 Remove window crank handle with special tool.

Removing Manual Window Handles:

I used a window crank handle tool to release the window handle retention spring.

 

View of back of handle with retention spring visible.

This spring has two bent ends, and the special tool just pushes on those ends to spread the C-shaped spring apart and release the handle.

Manual window crank handle, rear view. 

 

 Prying trim cover off around door handle. I used a tack puller to pry the latch handle cover from the van door panel.

 

View of back of this small trim panel. There are 3 plastic snaps that secure this piece to the door panel. Trim panel around door inside release handle, GM vans. 

 

 Hidden screws near door handle, GM van 2006. I removed two Phillips screws (red arrows) near the door release handle.

 

Then I pried the power door lock switch panel from the door panel by pushing forward and lifting from the back. Removing door lock switch, GMC Savannah van. 

 

 Disconnecting wires from door lock switch, GM truck. I disconnected the wiring harness from the switch by pushing in the lock tab (red arrow) and pulling the connector out.

 

I found the inside pull handle / armrest cover to be the quite difficult to remove.

I used a rigid putty knife covered with masking tape to separate the cover slightly at the front.

Prying off door pull handle and armrest cover, 2006 GMC Savannah van. 

 

 Prying around armrest on GM van. Then I slightly separated the armrest area of the cover.

CAUTION: Be careful... this plastic cover can break if you pry too hard in the wrong spot. It's best to pry as close as possible to the snap clips. (See picture below for snap clip locations).

 

Next, I pried at the bottom of the cover, but the putty knife would bend too much.

So I tried using a wonder bar (small L-shaped carpenter's prybar) to pry off the cover panel. But... prying against the plastic door panel could easily scratch or crack it, so I needed something soft and sturdy to push against.

I wrapped a shop rag around a flat piece of sheet metal and placed it against the the door panel just below the cover being removed.

Removing armrest cover on GM full-sized cargo van. 

The goal here is to spread the pushing force over a large area, to prevent breaking the plastic door panel. Many things would work here... a small piece of thin (but sturdy) plywood, another flat prybar, etc. Just use something soft to prevent the door panel from being gouged or scratched.

 

 Snap clip locations on door panel, GM van. The armrest cover has five metal snap clips on the back side that secure it to the door panel.

The red arrows show the places where those snap clips attach to the door panel.

 

I removed the Phillips screws from the front and back of the door pull handle. Hidden screw behind armrest cover, GM full-size van. 

 

 Using pry bar to release snap clips around door panel, GM truck. Then I used the wonder bar to release the snap clips around the outside edges of plastic door panel.

 

I pulled outward slightly and pushed upward to get the panel over the metal lip at the top. Lifting door panel from door, GM van. 

 

More Info:

Tools Used:

  • Window Crank Removal Tool
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Small Flat Screwdriver
  • Rigid Putty Knife
  • Small L-Shaped Prybar (Wonderbar)

Materials Used:

  • Small Piece of Sheet Metal
  • Shop Towel

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Written January 19, 2010