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Subaru Outback Interior Door Panel Removal Guide
How to take off the plastic interior door panels in a 6th generation 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Subaru Outback.

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2017 Outback Door Panel
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Door Opener Handle
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Pry Open Screw Cover
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the sixth generation (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and probably also the revised 2019 and 2020 model years) Subaru Outback station wagon 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 Forester, 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 plastic interior door panels include a small flathead screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver and either a plastic pry bar tool or a larger flathead screwdriver.

Removing the OEM door speaker requires a standard Phillips head screwdriver.



 
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Screw Cover Opened
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Well In Armrest
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Pry Open Screw Cover
The first two steps are to lower the power window all the way down and fully open the door.

Then use a small flathead screwdriver to gently pry open the small rectangular shaped plastic screw cover located behind and above the chrome door opener handle.

There is a small notch on the rear edge of the screw cover.

Then move to the storage well in the armrest by the door pull handle.

Gently pry open the screw cover in the bottom of the well.

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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Door Handle Screw Removed
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Loosen Counterclockwise
Loosen the screw behind the door opener handle by turning it in the counterclockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver.

Set the screw aside in a safe place.

Then remove the Phillips screw at the bottom of the well in the armrest by turning it in the counterclockwise direction.

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Armrest Screw Removed
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Two Screws Removed
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Pull Out Bottom Edge
Set the screw aside with the other one.

Move to the bottom edge of the door panel.

Insert a 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 rivets.

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

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Pop Rivets Released
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Lift Door Panel Off Frame
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Tilt Away Top Edge
Once all of the pop rivets have been released, carefully lift the plastic door panel off the top lip on the metal door frame.

Tilt the top edge of the door panel towards yourself while supporting the bottom with your legs.

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Two Cables In Bracket
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Pull Collar Out of Bracket
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Lift Ball Out of Socket
Locate the two cables attached to a bracket on the back side of the door panel which are connected to the door lock rocker switch and the door opener handle.

The door opener handle cable has a black plastic collar and is located closer to the bottom of the door panel.

Pull the black plastic collar straight out of the bracket and then lift the metal ball at the end of the cable out of its socket.

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Door Lock Cable - Blue
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Pull Blue Collar Out
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Lift Ball Out of Socket
The cable for the door lock rocker switch has a light blue plastic collar near the end of it.

Lift the blue plastic collar out of the bracket and lift the metal ball out of its socket.

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Push In Release Tab
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Disconnect Power Plug
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Disconnect Small Plug
Move to the bottom of the switch panel on the back side of the door panel.

Push in the release tab and slide out the electrical connector.

Then disconnect the power plug for the courtesy door step light bulb housing located at the bottom of the panel.

Disconnect the small power plug for the LED accent light located in the armrest well.



 

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Armrest LED Light
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Push In Release Tab
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Remove Electrical Connector
If you have trouble releasing the large electrical connectors attached to the switch panel, use a flathead screwdriver to firmly push in the release tabs before sliding the plugs straight out of their sockets.
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Plastic Door Panel Removed
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Metal Door Frame
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Disconnect Speaker Plug
After all of the cables and electrical connectors have been disconnected, you can set the plastic door panel aside in a safe place.

The OEM door speaker is located at the bottom front corner of the door frame.

Push in the release tab before sliding the speaker's electrical connector straight out of its socket.

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Four Phillips Head Screws
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Hold Door Panel Near Frame
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Push In Door Step Light Plug
The OEM door speaker is held in place by four Phillips head screws.

Remove the screws by turning them in the counterclockwise direction.

The OEM speaker 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 highly recommend applying some Dynamat sound deadener to the metal door frame and plastic door panel to help stop vibrations and rattles to allow your new speakers to sound their best when you really crank up the volume.

To replace the plastic door panel, hold it near the door frame and tilt the top edge towards yourself.

Push the small power plug for the courtesy step light bulb housing back into its socket at the bottom edge of the door panel.

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Push In Power Plug
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Push In Switch Panel Plugs
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"Click" - Plug Secured
Push in the electrical connectors for the switch panel and the LED light in the armrest.

Make sure you firmly push in the power plugs until you hear or feel them "click" securely into place.

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Re-Insert Metal Ball
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Snap In Plastic Collar
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Door Lock Cable
Re-insert the metal ball at the end of the door opener handle cable into its socket.

Then push the black plastic collar into the lower part of the bracket.

Re-insert the metal ball at the end of the door lock rocker switch cable into the socket at the top of the bracket.

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Pop In Plastic Collar
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Lower Door Panel On Frame
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Line Up Plastic Pop Rivets
Gently snap the blue plastic collar into the bracket.

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

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

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Firmly Tap In Fasteners
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Replace Armrest Screw
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Push In Screw Cover
Firmly tap in the pop rivet fasteners all along the bottom edge and both sides of the door panel.

Replace the Phillips head screw into the well in the armrest by turning it in the clockwise direction.

Gently close the screw cover and pop it back into place.

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Replace Door Handle Screw
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Close Screw Cover
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Door Panel Replaced
Replace the Phillips head screw behind the door opener handle by turning it in the clockwise direction until it is snug.

Then gently swing closed the screw cover and snap it back into place.

Sit inside the SUV, close the door and verify that the door opener handle, door lock rocker switch, power window switch, LED armrest well light and the door speaker all are working properly.

Be sure to record the speaker upgrade, power window motor replacement or electrical switch change in your vehicle's service records.

For more, please check out all of my 2015-2018 Subaru Outback DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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