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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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Discussion Starter #1
I tried pushing the clip in, but it pops right back out. Anyone had issues with this? The clip itself does not appear to be damaged so I haven’t tried replacing the clip yet. What does it grab onto behind the fabric?
 

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There's a large screw in the middle of the back of the black clip housing (can be seen in your close-up photo). It goes into a small bracket attached to the inner sheet metal of the fender. That's what really holds the clip in place, and takes on the strain of any load attached to it.

If the screw isn't loose and is holding the housing tight against the bracket, then it's possible that the bracket has been bent outward so that the housing can't be pushed back into place relative to the trim panel.

I've attached a photo of a 3rd gen that I spotted in a body shop and was able to take some "interior" pictures. The bracket on the fender well is circled.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Alright, I'll go try to tighten it. If it's tight, would you suggest a replacement part might resolve the issue? I'll try removing the clip to see if it's bent.
 

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Remove the screw to allow the whole hold-down clip assembly to be removed from the trim panel. That might leave a large enough opening to check if the bracket is bent out (it's pretty heavy so perhaps this is not likely), or can it moved in and out, as might be the case if the welds at one end have broken.

If it seems okay, then with the screw out, try to replace the clip assembly in the trim panel. See if it can be inserted so that it's claws engage and hold the assembly in trim panel; i.e., not against loads, but just enough to keep it in place while the screw is started.

Also, with the assembly out, check that the trim panel hasn't somehow been "dented" in toward the bracket, reducing the gap between the bracket behind and the panel.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Remove the screw to allow the whole hold-down clip assembly to be removed from the trim panel. That might leave a large enough opening to check if the bracket is bent out (it's pretty heavy so perhaps this is not likely), or can it moved in and out, as might be the case if the welds at one end have broken.

If it seems okay, then with the screw out, try to replace the clip assembly in the trim panel. See if it can be inserted so that it's claws engage and hold the assembly in trim panel; i.e., not against loads, but just enough to keep it in place while the screw is started.

Also, with the assembly out, check that the trim panel hasn't somehow been "dented" in toward the bracket, reducing the gap between the bracket behind and the panel.
So I finally had a few minutes to deal with this today.

The screw itself somehow deformed and then damaged the plastic behind it. I was able to put a metal washer between the black plastic and the screw head to help spread the force of the screw out and it is holding well. The clip went right in and looks flush.

Thanks for the suggestions. Mission accomplished.
 
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