I had to replace the door lock mechanism in my Rabbit today, which requires removing the outer door skin! There are 20 bolts that hold it in place, and you have to be careful not to damage the panel, but it makes access pretty easy.
The $115 offending piece:
The lower three sections of the driver side are puttied and sanded to 80 grit, I need to touch them up with 150-220 grit then they're ready for primer. I can't spread bondo any higher because I need to weld some mounts near the top of the strut tower this week.
Next step: build a new coolant reservoir! That's what the weld-in mounts will be for. This is the old plastic reservoir and mounting bracket.