How to Remove the C-Column Trim Panel on a 2006 Ford Freestyle

This post is rather specific, but will guide you through how to remove this interior trim panel. It may be helpful as a general guide to removing other parts of your car’s interior. With all interior trim pieces, the key is to learn where the screws are.

So, which column is the C-column? The windshield is the A-column, the B-Column is between the front and rear doors, the C-column on an SUV, or crossover like the Freestyle, is behind the rear door, and the D- column is at the back.

You would do this procedure on the right side if you plan to work with the RSS (reverse sensor system) module that’s hidden behind this panel. Or, or if you were going to replace a damaged panel, or if you’re just into removing interior trim panels.

To do this job, you’ll need a thin-bladed, flat-tipped screwdriver, a T15 Torx driver, and, if you plan to remove the RSS module, a Phillips screwdriver.

Remove the plastic plug in the middle of the panel.

First, use a thin-bladed, flat-tipped screwdriver to pry up the screw cover in the center of the panel. Slide the blade under one of the corners, and then in towards the center of the cover. The plastic is old, and will scuff, but is still pliable enough to pop out.

Once the screw cover is off, use the Torx driver to remove the screw at the bottom of the hole.  We’re done with tools.

Peel back that part of the back door weatherstripping that covers the leading edge of the panel, and lift the edge over the weatherstripping.

Slide your fingers under the edge, and pull the panel straight towards you. There are some spring clips that will pop as you pull the panel – that’s okay.

The panel will rotate towards the quarter window around a broad tab that secures it to the trim piece beneath it.

The RSS (reverse sensing system) module on a 2006 Ford Freestyle.

Lift the panel up and towards you. And now it’s off. You’ll need to remove the shoulder harness mounting bolt to get the panel out of the car.

On the right side, you’ve now exposed the RSS module. In the photo, it has the big “W” on it. To replace that, disconnect the two cable sets and remove the two Phillips screws that hold it in place.

To reinstall the panel, first thread the shoulder harness through the panel and reattach it to the column.

Begin by sliding the long tab at the rear of the panel behind the lower panel that’s still in place. You’ll see there are two spring clips immediately above and perpendicular to the slot. This seems intimidating, but don’t worry.

Simply push the panel into place – the spring clips will latch on their own. Use the heel of your hand to tap the panel gently into place.

Slip the panel’s leading edge under the rear door weatherstripping, and smooth the stripping down.

Put the Torx screw back into the hole and tighten that down. Push the screw cover back into place.

Thats it! With the screw cover back in place, no one will ever know.

Please note: do not do this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it doesn’t seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability for your usage of it.


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Published by John D Reinhart

Author, technical writer, videographer, actor, and naval historian John D Reinhart is a very busy guy. You can find his novels as

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