If you have a Crew or Passenger van, it’s likely that you have the rear door panels installed. These have handy storage compartments in them.
If you want to insulate behind them or install a rear view camera in the license plate area, you’ll have to remove the panels.
Just recently we realized that we never described how to do this on the site. We’ve had several people ask how to take the trim off the door handle area, so here’s the missing information.
The driver’s side rear door panel just unclips like any other door panel. Slide a trim tool between the plastic panel and the metal door, and unclip the many green clips by twisting the trim tool to apply force right next to them. After you’ve undone a few this way, it might be easier to just pull the whole panel away using brute force.
On the passenger side, you have to remove the interior door latch handle trim before you can take the panel off. This piece of trim is a different design to almost every other piece of plastic in the van. It’s thin and easy to break. The tabs on it are flimsy.
To remove it, we gently pulled it away from the door using a trim tool, just enough to insert a pick into the gap (a small screwdriver would work too). The trick is to pull each tab on the trim piece away from the detent that holds it in place. That means levering it towards the outside edge of the trim piece.
You only have to push it a little way for it to unclip. Keep the trim tool wedged in so the tab doesn’t re-seat itself, and then move on to the next tab. After you’ve worked around three or four of them you’ll be able to pull the trim piece away further and more easily reach the other tabs.
Be careful, because there are also two tabs attached to the central vertical piece of the trim. If you look in the photo above you can just about make them out. They need to be pushed toward the join between the doors to unclip.
This might not be the preferred Mercedes way to remove the trim, but it worked for us. Go gently, take your time to really look for each clip location and free each one up, and you should be fine.
Reinstallation is simple. After you’ve reattached the panel by popping all the green clips back in their holes, just offer the trim piece up to the latch area and push it gently into place. The tabs will re-engage with the detents and hold the whole thing together.
6 Replies to “Removing the rear door panels on Crew and Passenger vans”
what type of storage unit do you suggest for the door void?
Milt, our crew van came with storage already built in to the panels in the rear doors. It has mesh over the front of it, and it’s just a perfect size for our first aid kit. If I was building the panel myself (cargo van, for instance) then I’d probably look at plastic storage tubs to see if I could find one the right size to glue on to the back of the panel, then make a cut-out in the panel.
We did make use of the void in the top part of the rear doors. We used metal flight case handles designed for Marshall amps, and mounted LED lights in to them. You can see a picture in this post.
I hope that answers your question.
Any idea about the part number for the interior door latch handle trim? I broke a few of the paper-clip thin tabs and not wanting to stay attached now.
Brian, I think the part number for that trim is 63974701877J69. You’ll find it if you check out any of the online Mercedes parts sellers. I randomly chose this one. As with all parts, check against your VIN to make sure you get the right one.
I have a 2019 Sprinter 144 Passenger. Do you have any photos/video of removing the finished interior panels? Specifically the overhead panels? I need to remove mine to access installing the interior nuts for roof rail installation. Tool(s) needed would be helpful too. I don’t seem to be able to find anything.
Rick, I’ve not tried taking the interior of a 2019 apart yet. And the passenger van has more trim pieces than the crew or cargo. But it’s all held together with clips, and the occasional screw or bolt. I’m going to make the assumption that the trim is mostly similar to the NCV3 vans. Someone else may be able to confirm that for you.
The main tool you need is a trim removal tool. The plastic on these tools won’t damage or mark the interior panels. You use the tools to lever the trim away from the clips that are holding it in place. They give you a set so that you can choose the best one for what you’re working on. The straight ended ones are good for levering panels apart. The forked ends are good for placing either side of a clip, to help it un-clip from the van panels.
The overhead panels, called “headliner”, are held in place with tabs at each side that slot into the walls, and with clips across the top that clip into holes in the metal roof ribs that run across the roof. When I took mine down, I started at the back (you’ll have to remove the trim around the rear doors first, which mainly clips on), then removed each panel in turn. After the first panel, it’s easier to get up inside and use a trim tool to lever against the clips.
Some of the plastic trim pieces, like around the doors and windows, don’t feel like they could ever just be held in with clips but most of them are. Check first for screws (like on the B pillars, which have screws holding the coat hooks in place).,Then lever the trim away from the van body a little using the trim tools. Give the trim a sharp tug and it’ll start to unclip.
Good luck installing your roof rails!