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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1993 S500 coupe. The mechanical odometer has stopped working. I need to remove the instrument cluster. I have watched all the YouTube videos. I have the special Mercedes tool for cluster removal. It will not budge. I have even removed the side vent and I can put my whole hand down the back of the cluster to push it forward. It will not budge. And I have put a LOT of pressure on it, to the point of where I am worried about breaking something.

It nudges a little in and out. Only about 2mm. It feels like it is stopping on something hard when it comes forward. I have run butter knives all around the edge in case there is glue or just the cluster has bonded against the plastic over the years. Gone in about 100mm. There are a handful of places where the knife will not go in and I don't want to force it in case it is on a wire or something that could break.

I am out of ideas. Three of us have worked on it, including my mechanic friend who has a couple of old Benz's and pulled the sets out before (It is his tool).
 

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I have a W140 cluster in front of me now.

It is from a 1995 S320.

If same as your cluster, I could post a photo of where on cluster you might try inserting a putty knife to "free" the cluster.

BTW, the sides of the cluster look perfect for the gen. MB removal tool to get a grip.
 

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You said it is the mechanical odometer.
Did you check for a speedometer cable attached to the cluster?
I don't know if Benz used them back then but if one is attached it would give some travel and lock up when the cable is pulled taut.
 

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Oh I've watched all the videos, including that one. I've run around the entire perimeter with a butter knife, going in about 4 inches. With my hand in behind the panel I can feel the end of the knife coming through. There are a handful of places where I can't get it through, but I am loath to force it. Feels like it's hitting metal.

It is a mystery. I am out there now with it. I will post a photo.
 

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I gave it away for today as I need to drive the car tomorrow. I screwed everything back together, started the car and bugger me, the backlighting on the outside air temperature gauge, which previously wasn't working, now works!

Whatever I did poking around with the butter knife seems to have helped. Hope I haven't also damaged something along the way. Well, I'm about to find out as I take it for a drive.

So no big win today getting the instrument cluster out, even as I have the replacement sprocket in hand to fix it. But I did have an unexpected win. Which is nice, as the rice bulb for the backlighting is no longer available.
 

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For future removal you need to make up 4 pieces of plastic 2 or 3 inches wide and 5 inches long not to thick or you wont get them in the gap of the speedo and dash board .Push them in 2 in the top and 2 in the bottom i put a little grease on them before you put them in .This will let the grip strip to clear the top of the console and it should pull out . But only enough to remove the speedo drive cable ,.. Use a camera to take a picture of bulb locations .They are marked from new but over time markings fall off I had problems with my odometer not clocking up the miles And it was only in the hot weather i was able to extract it .
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, it is Winter here in Melbourne, so perhaps that is contributing to the difficulty. But it's still well above freezing.

Unfortunately while the messing around with butter knives re-enabled the OAT LCD backlighting, I managed to disable the left hand instrument cluster lighting at the same time. :-(
 

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The early mechanical dial instrument clusters had a variety of electrical issues that can also cause the odometer to quit. It might not be the gear at all. Some of the issues can also cause a current draw that depletes the battery rapidly. I finally have up on my mechanical cluster, and installed an lcd one. There is a YouTube video on the subject by MBcluster.

And unlike some other advice here, W140s don't have cable driven speedometers. There are all electric, whether dial or led type.
 

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I am familiar with that video. It was done by a Canadian, James Kouramanis. James and I have been exchanging emails for a few months about my cluster. He actually put me onto the supplier of his odometer gears (OdometerGears.com). The owner, Jeff Caplan, and I had a good chat as well. Both James and Jeff are confident that the gear is the problem. But the only way to find out of course is to get the cluster out. So that remains my problem for now.
 
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