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Side panel of the seat has come loose

The plastic side panel of my Honda has come loose. I cannot push the pin that holds this panel back into place

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Panels are held in place by plastic "pins" (to use your words) that are held in place by the shape of the part it is being pushed into.

Either the pin itself is broken, the part holding this plastic pin is broken, or the other piece being pushed into is broken or cracked such that it can't hold the pin in place.

Inspect both the side panel and the part it connects to. Replacement pins can be purchased from an automotive store or a salvage yard. If the receiving end is broken, you may be able to repair with glue or other type of bonding material.

Posted on Mar 02, 2014


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  1. I just finished replacing the passenger 3rd row seatbelt in my 2006 Odyssey, which required removal and replacement of the trim panel. Instructions were enclosed with the new seatbelt ordered from Honda, but I had to scan thru the whole document because the needed info was not in the section about 3rd row seatbelt replacement.

    Trim panel removal is not terribly difficult, but is rather fussy and slow work. Basically the panels are held in place by little plastic pins that snap into holes in the underlying metal bodywork. In addition, the rear panel is held at the bottom by the sliding door threshold panel and the rear hatch threshold panel, and at the top by the pillar trim panels flanking the rear window. (These are called Pillars C and D, repectively).

    You may as well start by unbolting the 2nd row seatbelt at the floor and on Pillar C. Down at the floor, pull back the rubbery cover and unscrew the bolt using a 14mm wrench. Up above, on the pillar, remove the plastic cover at the sealbelt shoulder height adjustment mechanism. This cover has hooks molded into either side, so gently use a screwdriver to pry them loose and pop off the cover, then unscrew the bolt with your 14mm wrench.

    Next, remove the sliding door threshold panel by prying it up with a screwdriver or prybar and getting your fingers under it until you hear and feel the pins pop loose one by one. You will develop a feel for how much force to apply. Use your fingers as much as possible, because you risk marring the plastic edges with steel tools. The threshold panel is hooked into the other trim panels at either end, so work it to disengage.

    Fold the rear seat down flat and remove the plastic cover over the seat pivot. Pry the forward side up first and then rotate it rearwards over the pivot, and then disengage and remove it fully.

    At the rear hatch, unscrew the two cargo net knobs on the passenger side. The plastic knobs will probably come off like nuts, leaving a steel stud behind, or the stud may remain attached to the knob; either way is okay.

    Pry loose and remove the little plate on the rear trim panel "window sill" where the seat belt enters. BTW, keep all these little loose parts together as you go.

    On Pillar D (rearmost pillar) there is a small square cover that says something about air bags. Pry this loose at the top, as it is hinged at the bottom. You may need something thinner than a screwdriver (try a pocket knife). Once this is open, remove the Phillips head screw inside.

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    NOTE: The lower trim panel and the pillar trim panels are hooked together, so you have to work those joints to separate them. NOTE: DO NOT TRY TO PULL THE PILLAR TRIM PANELS LOOSE AT THE TOP. First loosen them at the bottom, and then rotate and work them gently free of the headliner. Similarly, the main trim panel should be loosened at either end and along the top before rotating the panel in, sort of pivoting at its base. It is hooked under the rear hatch threshold, so you'll have to work it free by pushing down and rotating.

    Long before this point, I was wondering if I could get at the seatbelt retractor spool behind the trim panel without completely removing the trim panel. However, there was a hard plastic a/c duct in the way, so I had to completely remove the trim panel to get at the duct. It turned out there wasn't much holding the duct in place and I was able to loosen it enough to get the old seat belt spool out and the new one bolted in.

    Reinstall everything in reverse order. One tip I can offer concerns the little square plate on the Pillar C trim panel, the one I said to leave dangling. This gizmo is actually a long plastic stud. When I finally managed to pull the Pillar C trim panel loose from the main trim panel, this stud fell out. It is molded in tan plastic (my van has tan interior) but it had a separate black piece on the end. I thought I would never get this stud/plate back in place during reinstallation. Here's the trick: take the little black piece loose from the stud, and install it first by itself by pushing it into the hole, making sure the cross-shaped hole is aligned correctly to match the tan stud. The small black piece is analogous to a nut, and the tan stud is like a bolt. Put the "nut" in first, then poke the "bolt" in on top of it. Otherwise, the stud forces the "nut" to expand BEFORE IT CAN ENTER THE HOLE in the metal bodywork, and no amount of pushing or pounding will force it in.
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