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Old 06-09-2011, 03:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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w126 Dash Removal gen II

Hey all, a member asked me to jot down a couple of notes about how to remove a dash. Having just done mine this spring (48hp did the work and showed me how) and pulling a few others I think I got it down. Credit given in the first part of the write up to a gent that wrote up how to pull the gen II knee bolster.

Hope it makes sense and I didn't leave anything out. Let me know if I did. Since most word and pdf files dissappear after a while I am going to cut and past what I wrote after I post the word file I have it saved to.

edit:can't figure out how to convert my word document into a format that uploads here so I will cut and paste, then go back and add the pictures.

Here is an easy way to avoid messing with the vent cables: http://www.benzworld.org/forums/4684683-post36.html

I didn't mean to be so repetitive in my thread.

Last edited by kodiakj2; 06-09-2011 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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W126 Dash Removal


I have only removed and replaced gen I dashes so I took the liberty of borrowing some pictures and text from a gent who was working on his ac and needed into the dash on his gen II: (Removal and Replacement of Expansion Valve)

For you gen I er's, just remove the 3 philips head screw from the top carpeted area of the bolster, remove the plastic philips fastener near the console on the bolster, and you might have one screw/bolt holding the lower left corner onto the bracket that holds the dash to the car body.

STEP ONE: After sliding seats all the way back and extending the steering wheel all the way out, REMOVE THE NEGATIVE BATTERY CABLE! It kills me reading write ups of guys pulling instrument clusters, air bags and critical electrical components without first removing power to the car! You hear a lot of horror stories of ruined instrument clusters and shorted acc units and the such just from not being thorough enough to take the time to pull the cables. So simple.

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Old 06-09-2011, 03:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Driver’s Side Knee Bolster Removal

Remove driver’s side knee bolster. Pull out the gray plastic Philips slotted retainers under the black plastic panel (arrows A). Remove the metal philips screw from the black panel (arrow B). While you are down there, remove the philips screw at arrow D on the console side panel. Use a long shafted philips to get it by the gas pedal.
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w126 Dash Removal gen II-dash-removal-step-1-removing-bolster.jpg  

Last edited by kodiakj2; 06-09-2011 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Remove the plastic strip moldings over the coin basins below both sides of the steering wheel by gently prying them away with a small screwdriver. They pop right off.

Remove the screws underneath the moldings you just removed (arrow A). Do the same below the ignition. See picture below:
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w126 Dash Removal gen II-dash-removal-step-2-removing-bolster.jpg  

Last edited by kodiakj2; 06-09-2011 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Remove round duct. It is held in place by two nuts (arrow “A”) and by a bolt on a bracket off the steering column accessed from below (hard to see at first, but approximate location behind and above duct and easy to get to once spotted).. See picture below:
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w126 Dash Removal gen II-dash-removal-step-3-removing-bolster.jpg  

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Old 06-09-2011, 03:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Remove the driver’s side center console carpet side panel.

Center Console Removal:

You may choose to leave the center console in place but it is best if you remove it completely since the climate control panel will need to be removed to access the 2 screws that hold the top of the center console to the bottom of the dash and to aid in getting access to the vacuum pods since now is the time to replace them if they are original.

Slide ashtray out and pull up and out on the ash insert.

Remove the 2 screws that hold the ash tray frame to the console frame

Pull the ashtray frame completely out of the console frame and pull out the light bulb socket from the frame and remove the lighter electrical connection.

Reach into the ash tray slot behind the radio and push the radio out of the console frame. Disconnect the radio and set aside (know your codes for you stock head unit guys).

Look up to the underside of the climate control panel at the forward edge to locate the 2 screws holding the climate control unit to the console frame. Remove the 2 screws and pull down and out on the entire control unit/wood assembly. Remove the connections to the top row of switches as well as the light wires to the switches. Remove the 2 electrical connection sockets to the climate control unit as well as the four light wires to the unit. Set assembly aside.

Lift out the coin cup at the front of the shifter surround. Disconnect seat heater switches, rear sunshade and dual horn switches (if equipped).

Slide wooden shifter surround forward about ¾ of an inch until it is free of the hold down tabs and lifts freely from the console (remove plastic surround insert from shifter surround first on late 89-90-91 models)

Disconnect all switch wire connecters by reaching under the wood piece. Set wood surround aside.

Remove the 2 screws that hold the console frame to the shift selector box.

Remove either the console box (2 screws at the front bottom at the inside of the box) or pull the carpet out of the console which ever pertains to your car. Using a long phillips head screw driver, remove the screw from the hole at the rear of the console. Lift the console up from the rear, slide the whole unit towards the back of the car 2 inches until the top front of the console clears the dash, then flip the console over backwards and out of the way (the vent control hard wire control will still be attached to the center console rear vent. Just let it be).

Get the vacuum out and go to town getting rid of those funky smells from stuff that falls between your seats, inside the console, etc

Last edited by kodiakj2; 06-09-2011 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Remove Steering Wheel

Not really needed, but since I have had my steering wheel off and changed out several times it is easy to do and frees up a lot of space.

Take a T30 torx (I use the $5 set of 10 from harbor freight that folds up into itself):



Just slip the torx key into the 2 holes in back of the steering wheel and unscrew the 2 torx screws. This will release the airbag from the wheel (the screws will stay in back of the wheel). Unplug the air bag connector and set aside, face up.

Use a 10mm hex socket and a 6 inch extension (I use a 3/8” breaker bar and a 2 foot metal pipe slipped over it for leverage because that is what I have. Feel free to get a ½ inch drive if you wish). You can get the 10mm hex bit socket from sears for 6 bucks.The rounded one is better than this flat ended one:



Slip the hex bit into the steering wheel center bolt with the extension on and give it a couple of whacks with a hammer to seat it square into the bolt head. You do not want to round this one off! Using the breaker bar and leverage pipe over it, put all your friggin weight into it! You will hear a load “POP” when it breaks free. This is a good sound, not bad! Unscrew the bolt and pull the wheel straight off. Mark it before hand if you can’t eyeball it when putting it back on. I just eyeball it myself.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Remove Instrument Cluster

I just use 2 wire cloths hangers but my cluster has been pulled before which makes it easy. If you can reach up from below the dash at this point you may be able to just push it out from behind. If not, bend the ends (about a little less than an inch) with a set of pliers after the hanger has been straightened out from it’s normal shape. 90 degree angles work just fine. Slip the hangers in at 10 and 2 o’clock and then rotate the hangers to have the ends wind up directly behind the cluster.



Give it a couple of light tugs side to side and it should start moving. No Tarzan yanks on it here as you are liable to break the plastic housing if you are too rough on it. Removal of the wires and connectors is self explanatory at this point. Just peek around to the back side of the cluster after you have it pulled out and start gently unplugging it. The wires can only go back one way and the bulb sockets are labeled so no need to be organized here. Please don’t man-handle the plugs though, as you might break off a plastic key or socket, then you would have major future issues with reassembly. No breakage, no problem though. Set aside.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Lower The Steering Column Assembly

Not 100% needed, but sure helps to get things out of the way. Four bolts (2 different sizes) to remove, 2 that can be seen through the instrument cluster location and 2 down by your feet. You’ll see them when you get down there. This will drop the column a few inches and make it so you won’t need to tork the dash around to get it back in. These dashes do bend and dent so be careful with them!

Remove Glove Box

Pop out the 7 two-part plastic pressure hold down pins, pry the light down with a flat blade and push it back into the hole it came out of, then pull down the top of the liner to clear the latch and pull it forward and out. May need to do some wiggling here. Set aside.



A-pillar Removal

The a-pillars are removed by bending the vin plate out of the way of drivers side pillar, then pushing the bottom of the pillar towards the center of the dash. There are 2 slots that tabs on the pillar slide into when assembled, so just push enough to get the tabs out of the slots. If your dash is all cracked and faded then you’re a-pillars are probably pretty brittle. Be careful. They may have windshield adhesive grabbing hold of them also if your windshield has been replaced so just know that the adhesive is like tar. Don’t touch it unless you want black crap all over your hands and interior.

Remove Speaker Covers and Speakers

Use a small (short) phillips head screw driver and take out the 2 long screws out of the front edge of each speaker cover. Lift the front edge of the cover and pull towards the back of the car to get the front tabs out of the slots. Set aside. Using a stubby philips head, remove the 2 screws on each speaker then pull up and out to remove it from the dash. Unplug each speaker. Set aside.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Actual Dash Removal! You are almost there!

Start at the top and work down. Each speaker recess has a small 3mm hex head bolt that needs removing (I think it is 3mm). After those 2 there is one more 3mm hex head bolt that is under a plastic cover at the center of the leading edge of the dash. Pry out the long thin cover just like you did on the driver’s side knee bolster. Remove the hex head bolt. Now is a good time to check if you have a screw holding the dash to a bracket just inside the left part of the opening where the glove box was. Should be just below the pink vacuum pod a few inches down. Remove it. Now down close to the door opening at the lower outer edge of the dash you will see 2 gold nuts holding the dash to brackets that bolt to the car body. Remove both of these from passenger and drivers side. You may wish to only remove just the nut and bolt from the bracket and leave the bracket attached to the body, but if you remove them it is just one more thing to get out of the way.

Center and Side Vent Control Wire Removal

You might want to do the way described below or remove the center vent surround completely the way Benzworld members did in a write up (Grumpy and Foolio) I will include that link when I have finished here. Either way, remove the center vent deflectors by slipping a small screw driver into the side of the vent and push the clip inward while pulling the vent out. You must have the vent pointing down as far as it will allow you to with the screw driver slipped under the hold down clip. Be careful and make sure you push in on the clips while pulling so that the vent does not fall apart when it comes out of the housing. Looking into the center vent and moving the slider control below the vent you can see the center air flap moving on a horizontal axis. If you look in with a flashlight on it, you will see a black phillips head screw. Using a magnetic phillips head screw driver, undo the screw and remove it. Now that the center vent is undone you need to undo the left and right vent control cable. For the driver’s side slider control cable you need to look down where your right foot would be while sitting in the seat, then look up where the plastic evap case is. Just start moving the left vent slider back and forth while looking under there and you will see it moving on a pivot arm. You will need to carefully remove the clip that you see, then take a small curved pick and remove the wire from it’s mount. Don’t break the plastic mount. There is no fixing it if you break short of trying to glue it but that won’t last long. Run the slider back and forth a few times and you will notice the wire is moving freely without being mounted onto the post anymore. That’s a good thing. Putting it back on will take some time during reassembly. Make sure to put the clip back on it when putting it all back together. Next is the left slider control cable remover. At this point the dash should be free of any bolts or nuts holding it down so you can move the dash around a little while removing the sliders if you need room. For the passenger side do the same thing in the passenger foot well as you did on the drivers side. Slide it back and forth until you se the cable moving a metal post (not plastic this time). Remove the clip then pry the metal winding off the post with a pick, then move the slider back and forth so you can see that the cable is free from the post.

Last edited by kodiakj2; 06-09-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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