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1) How difficult is it to remove and replace a front quarter-panel (otherwise known as a wing, or fender) with a "new" used unit? On one of my old classic other makes, it's as simple as unbolting and removing, and bolting the new one back on. I don't seem to see any seems around the front grill area that would allow this on the 190D however.

2) The column-shift linkage system on my prospective 190D is broken. I've searched high-and-low on the web for some kind of diagrams or information about how this system worked, but couldn't find anything. I did find one little blurb about this being a common weakness of this shifting system. How hard is this item to fix onself, if you already have the correct part? How much would be a reasonable price to pay a reputable shop to do it?
 

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I assume you have a W110 fintail.

1) The fender bolts on as you suspect. The fender is fairly big and wraps around to the front, bolting on behind the grill. It is not too difficult to remove (lots of bolts) unless it still has the factory undercoating on the underside. That can sometimes be a pain to cut loose.

2) The main problem I know with the shifter is that the plastic bushings connecting the lever to the transmission linkages under the car deteriorate from age. Also, the rubber in the ball of the lever also deteriorates. All the bushings are cheap and easy to install. Unless somebody has really beat up the lever assembly, my guess is the bushings are the only problem. Never been inside the steering column, so can't tell you what's inside, but I don't think it is very complicated.
 

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KCM is dead right,there are little bushes that connect to the shift linkage on the trans,and the top bush in the column.It is very unlikely there will be a problem with the column,I have a pile of columns here,and some came off cars that had been "around the clock" more than a few times.The column itself never wears or affects the shifting.Have a look at the firewall and go down to the trans from there.Get someone to wiggle the play in the shift lever,you will soon see where the play is at.
 
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