One of the biggest issues on every 8E chassis Audi is the rubberized finish on everything your greasy hands touch. My window switches and my driver’s side handle shell were starting to peel and look gross, so I decided it was time for a replacement.
Driver’s side handle shell: 8E1 867 171 C 7PE $33 from GenuineAudiParts
Passenger side handle shell: 8E1 867 162 A 7PE $36 from GenuineAudiParts
Driver’s side window switches: eBay seller: autoleague $1+28 shipping (OEM Part # 8Z0 959 851 F 5PR)
Passenger side window switch: eBay seller: autoleague $1+10 shipping (OEM Part # 8Z0 959 855 C 5PR)
Mirror Adjustment Switch (cars with folding): 8E0 959 565 A – you have to email GAP to get this part
Philips #2 screw driver
Torx 25 screw driver
Here is what I am starting with. All nasty looking and sticky
Phase 1: Door-card removal
Step 1: Remove the trim by pulling on the side closest to the inside of the car; it should just pop right off. Then, remove the four Philips head screws
Step 2: Locate the oval shaped plastic cover located right behind the grab handle. Pop off the front of the cover first with a flathead. Then, remove the two Philips screws.
Step 3: Next you have to remove this cheap piece of shit screw on the bottom of the door. Make sure your screw driver fits it snugly and press hard while backing the screw out. It is in there very tight for some reason the head is very soft making it easy to strip out. The screw is very long; about 2.5″
Step 4: Now that all of the hardware is removed, the door-card will come off. It is still held on by several nylon clips which will most likely all snap(They aren’t necessary anyways). Get your paws between the door-card and the edge of the door near the bottom and pull, it will start to pop off. Once all the clips are released, you have to lift it up off the lip at the top
Step 5: There are still a few things that need to be disconnected before the panel is free. The first thing to remove is the cable for the latch. Release the white part from the clip and then just unhook it.
Step 6: The only things left now are two wiring harness’. First, remove the front-most plug on the speaker that feeds the tweeter. Then move onto the large gray harness that goes to the window motor. To remove this plug, just pull down on the purple clip and wing it to the other side of the gray plug. You do not need to pull on the plug while doing this; the purple clip will push the plug out of the connector
Phase 2: Replacement of the window switch and handle shell
Step 1: Lay a towel down on the floor and lay the door-card down on it’s face. Locate the 11 Torx 25 screws holding on the handle and remove them
Step 2: Stand the door-card up and pull off the handle assembly. There will probably be some funk from the previous owner holding it on. You will see the two harness’ going into the handle. One is for the windows and one is for the power mirrors. The window switch one is a pain because the clip that you have to press is on the other side of the harness that you can’t see…..thanks Audi. The mirror adjustment is and easy one to release
Step 3: In this next step, the pictures show the switch pannel already removed from the handle shell. This is not necessary at all so pretend it’s still there. The next step is to remove the handle shell from the handle assembly by just pulling the two apart. It is clipped in pretty good and there will be some funk holding it on, so a very firm hard pull will be necessary
Step 4: use a flathead to pop the mirror adjustment knob out of the handle shell like so:
Step 5: snap the new window switch panel into the handle shell as well as the mirror adjustment knob. This switch fits perfectly for a $1 switch
For reference, this is the back of the OEM switch next to the Hong-Kong special:
Step 6: Snap the new handle shell into the handle assembly. Then connect the wires and re-install it into the door-card
The install of the door card is reverse of removal. One thing I would like to point is out is to make sure the the top of the door card is hooked over the ledge on top of the door.
The Chinese knockoff switches work better than the OEM units do in my opinion. The edge of the switch is more rounded which looks better and feels better. The switch has a more solid click and the click sound is slightly different between the first position and the express position. The click stroke is also longer to it is easy to roll the windows down just a little unlike the OEM ones that want to always express up/down. I had these in my A4 for about 2 years and they looked brand new the day I sold the car, so I highly recommend them
Phase 3: Passenger side (Same process is used for the both the driver and passenger side rear door cards)
Step 1: Door card removal is the same as the driver side, with exception of the bolt locations in some spots. The one that is on the handle is a little hard to get to, but not impossible. Remove all the bolts and remove the door-card the same way as the driver’s side, as well as the wiring harness’ and latch cable
Step 2: I did not replace the handle shell, so I did not remove the entire handle assembly, but if you wanted to replace the shell, you would remove the Torx bolts holding it on, and the shell would pop out the same way the driver’s side one does
Step 3: To remove the window switch, disconnect the harness, then push the switch out from the top side with your thumb. It takes quite a bit of force for it to finally pop out, but this is really the only way to do it without damaging the clips that hold it in on the shell.
Step 4: Take your new switch, and install it by pressing it from the back side. You will hear the clips engage. Then install the wiring harness and you’re done
Same rules apply for re-installing the door card as with the driver’s side.