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Mercedes 420 SEL
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There have been some really good articles, pictures, and posts on this--but I'll take a shot at it, too.
Step 1: Removing the Ash Tray.

I'll translate what folks mean from what I've read--maybe I was just misreading. Anyway, when you pull out the ashtray, the whole ashtray does not come out, just the piece right next to the lighter. That little insert pulls out, THEN you see the two screws. THEN you remove the whole ashtray piece, lighter and all. (I just set this aside to the passenger side, and didn't unplug anything.)

My little surprise here was that whoever installed the stereo did a real hack job (as evidenced by the brokek rear deck speaker cover-- $149 to replace should I choose to buy from the Mercedes dealer--looking on e-bay right now).

Anyway, they broke that bottom piece in three pieces and semi=glued it together. Fortunately, I have some great super glue type stuff that bonded it back together.
But, I digress.

Step 2: coin cup removal. Just pull it forward then up. There are two tabs that go underneat the center wood piece. NOTE how it goes in and how it sits. I had a bear of a time getting mine back-in, more on that.

Step 3: The black shifter ring just pries straight up. Get your fingernails underneath it and pull straight up, working all the way around.

Step 4: The wood piece just pushes/ slides forward as mentioned before, no problems there.

Step 5: The shifter itself. Hmmm... Many ways you can do this. I would suggest putting the car into neutral, to give yourself more room to work with the shifter in the center, versus pushed forward.

SAFETY NOTE: Remember to set the emergency brake if you put the car in neutral.

Step 6: After pulling up the plastic bezel, the square piece that goes around the shifter knob itself, pulls up. There is a tab on either side near the front that pulls out (I think pulls, either pulls or pushes). Just a little bit, though. A small screwdriver is handy for this.

That piece just pulls up and forward, then out. (There is a tab in the back part.)

Step 7: Ok, here is where you could attack this several ways. I just turned the shift knob, hard--and it freed the locking nut. The shifter then turned and I just unscrewed it. The only reason I did this was because I couldn't get the wrench down there. After removing the knob, did I discover that little leather/plastic boot that surrounds the shifter, comes right out. Just pull it straight out and it gives you plenty of room to work. Wish I had known that before, but oh well, it worked. Oh, when I did it, it made a nasty little cracking noise, I thought I broke something, but I think it just hit the plastic when it broke free. I believe its a 14mm wrench. I used a 15, and it was a bit big. (I should be more precise, but hey, it was late, I was tired, and it worked.)

Also, the "park, neutral, 3, 2a) piece comes out too. Might take the time to lift it out and clean it up. The order is rectangle clear piece, label (p, n, 3, 2, etc.) then the thicker prism piece underneath it. It only fits together one way, kind of like one of those 3D puzzles....but its pretty straighforwad. Just make sure all the slots, spaces, and holes line-up.

Step 8: Installing shifter. Put shifter through the plastic square shift guide, THEN screw on the nut all the way to the top of the threads on the shifter (I was able to do this step twice-- Haha I'm not always thinking.) Then Just screw the shifter into the shifting linkage hole , takes a bit of patience as the shifter itself isn't straight and it kind of wobbles. Once you get it threaded it'll be a lot easier. And again, I highly suggest you have the car in neutral for this part. Tighten it down and then tighten the locking nut (just a regular nut that you tighten to hold down the shifter.... ( Basically, its like putting a nut on a bolt, then inserting the bolt into a piece of wood, tightening the bolt down until it won't move--then tightening the nut down so it locks it down tight.) (If you removed the little boot that goes around the shifter put that back-in._

Step 9:

Before tightening the locking nut, make sure the shifter is in the position you want it, comfortable. Then tighten it down so the shifter won't move.

Step 10:

If you removed the "park, neutral, 3, 2nd) lable, reinsert that. Then push the square plastic piece back into place by inserting the tab in the rear and pressing down--thus locking the tabs. Place wood console over shifter, then put coin tray back-in, then slide ash tray back into place--push bottom of tray into place so you can put the two screw back-in (might have to grab bottom of tray and pull the outer piece out simultaneously to expose the two screw holes.) Screw back into place, then put the tray back into the ashtray and you're done.

Looks like a mess when you take it apart, but is not too bad.

If you're replacing the wood trim, the only thing you need to do is pull the plugs off--no tabs, they just pull right off, and then reattach them to the new piece.

POSSIBLE PROBLEMS:

The new/ replacement wood piece I had was strange--it looked exactly the same, but for some reason the hole was too small. I took a deep breath and took a jigsaw to it. Worked fine, but I was afraid I was going to stress crack the piece. It didn't and it looks great.

Coin Tray doesn't go back-in. I had this problem, so I took a jigsaw to the top piece of the cup so it fit better. I have no idea why it would come out fine, but not go back-in. It might be because of the possibly non standard replacement wood console piece, but I don't know.

It also might be because the hacks who broke off the support piece for the ash tray altered something so that when I fixed it, it changed the configuration somehow.

Anyway, a jigsaw and some careful measuring and it came out fine.

Hope that was helpful. I did all of this, including the improptu fabricating in little over an hour. Obvioulsy, if I were doing it again, it would take 15-20 minutes.

Just take your time, make notes (digital camera is best) as you go along so you know what you've done.

Good luck.
 

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1988 Mercedes 300SE
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I had my console apart last week to replace the shifter light and replace one of the window switches. (Seems a waste to replace a good switch just because the light in it was burned out...oh well.) The coin tray is wierd going back in. It will go back together, just play with it. Keep the forward part of the wood raised as you place the lip of the tray under it. The 34th try will be the charm. No way to explain how to bowl a strike either. You'll just get it to happen eventually. Next week, instrument cluster!:eek: Replacing an outside temp LCD display, clock, and adding chrome trims around the guages. Scared to death. I hate instrument clusters and door panels.:(
 

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Mercedes 420 SEL
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Discussion Starter #3
bigdon said:
I had my console apart last week to replace the shifter light and replace one of the window switches. (Seems a waste to replace a good switch just because the light in it was burned out...oh well.) The coin tray is wierd going back in. It will go back together, just play with it. Keep the forward part of the wood raised as you place the lip of the tray under it. The 34th try will be the charm. No way to explain how to bowl a strike either. You'll just get it to happen eventually. Next week, instrument cluster!:eek: Replacing an outside temp LCD display, clock, and adding chrome trims around the guages. Scared to death. I hate instrument clusters and door panels.:(
LOL

Well, on the 23rd try, I said to heck with it and took a Jigsaw to it... looks pretty good, too. :D

Yeah, I've got no idea how its supposed to go back-in the way it came out. It came out soooo easy, like it was just dropped in...yet getting it back in right, no way. Probably how the guys who put the radio in broke the support for the ash tray.

I don't like messing with the instrument cluster either. I have to replace some bulbs, so we'll see how that goes. I'd like to do the chrome rings on the odometer, speedometer, etc, but we'll see how taking it apart goes. I bought the special tools, as I figure I'd rather do it right--especially on an older car, than rig something up with coat hangars.


Let me know how yours goes, and post any hints you might have.

Thanks.
 

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1983 300SD,2002 ML500,(MBCA Member)
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Diy

Hi,

That's a nice write up on the shifter/bezel replacement.

You guys are doing tougher things like this, then instrument cluster should be a breeze.

I removed the instrument cluster in my SEC a while ago as the cluster bulbs were not glowing and I used improvised instrument made out of a coat hanger; the coat hanger will not damage anything.

I am planning to repaint the needles once again as I am not happy with the color they have now.



fyi

Cheers,
 

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Slightly creased
2015 ML 400 x 2
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16,613 Posts
guarddog, you should consider a repost to the DIY thread.

Same goes for anyone doing a write-up, tthe more we have in there, the greater help to others.

Well done BTW

Cheers
 

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1990 420sel
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324 Posts
Since you were just there, can you tell me what holds the window switches onto the wood? My quick peek looks like they're stapled onto the wood somehow. I have 1 switch that has sunken a bit and I'd like to rectify it.
 

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Black 560 SEC AMG, White 560 SEC Carat (RIP 09) , 300E
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a plastic frame is glued and stapled to the back of the wood, the switches clip on to the frame
 

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2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe
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The reason that the wood was too small (the shifter cutout) is because they made a change in 89 to a retaining ring. That is what the chrome ring attaches to.

You can see the whole process here along with the chrome rings. The speedo is easy. I did a DIY on doing the rings a while back so no need to redo that.
 

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2004 Acura TL, 1999 GMC Yukon
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Of course this thread died 2.5 yrs ago, but that's ok.
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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I realize this is an ancient thread, but I am in the process of removing my entire center console ( the large piece that runs along the tunnel and tucks under the dash vents. I've got ALL of the screws removed but I am unable to get to top of the console out from under the center panel where the vents are. Like I said all of the screws are removed.

What's the trick here? I'm replacing the center wood around the shifter and also replacing the standard black shifter with a wooden one. It looks like you need to remove the center console to remove the metal block (with the shift pattern) surrounding the shifter. The whole console is entirely loose and I can lift it from the back a few inches but not enough to dislodge it from where the dash vents are. I don't want to break the darn thing.

I looked at this thread from a few years ago, but couldn't make sense out of it.

Thanks
 

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Remove the rear vent plastic piece, then under that are two screws to remove the slider control and associated cable.
 

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1986/1990 W126
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Yep, look upwards into where the console joins the dash, the screws aren't immediately obvious.

Apologies if you've got them all, I know they can be hard to spot though.
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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Thanks guys. I'll give it another try when I get home from work tonight.
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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Step 7: Ok, here is where you could attack this several ways. I just turned the shift knob, hard--and it freed the locking nut. The shifter then turned and I just unscrewed it. The only reason I did this was because I couldn't get the wrench down there. After removing the knob, did I discover that little leather/plastic boot that surrounds the shifter, comes right out. Just pull it straight out and it gives you plenty of room to work. Wish I had known that before, but oh well, it worked. Oh, when I did it, it made a nasty little cracking noise, I thought I broke something, but I think it just hit the plastic when it broke free. I believe its a 14mm wrench. I used a 15, and it was a bit big. (I should be more precise, but hey, it was late, I was tired, and it worked.)

Also, the "park, neutral, 3, 2a) piece comes out too. Might take the time to lift it out and clean it up. The order is rectangle clear piece, label (p, n, 3, 2, etc.) then the thicker prism piece underneath it. It only fits together one way, kind of like one of those 3D puzzles....but its pretty straighforwad. Just make sure all the slots, spaces, and holes line-up.

Step 8: Installing shifter. Put shifter through the plastic square shift guide, THEN screw on the nut all the way to the top of the threads on the shifter (I was able to do this step twice-- Haha I'm not always thinking.) Then Just screw the shifter into the shifting linkage hole , takes a bit of patience as the shifter itself isn't straight and it kind of wobbles. Once you get it threaded it'll be a lot easier. And again, I highly suggest you have the car in neutral for this part. Tighten it down and then tighten the locking nut (just a regular nut that you tighten to hold down the shifter.... ( Basically, its like putting a nut on a bolt, then inserting the bolt into a piece of wood, tightening the bolt down until it won't move--then tightening the nut down so it locks it down tight.) (If you removed the little boot that goes around the shifter put that back-in._
A special thanks to "Billy K". I did just as you posted and removed the cable from the back vent. Console then came right out!!! So thank you again.

Now I'm staring at the shifter mechanism and am scratching my head again. The post above said he couldn't get at the locking screw at the base of the shifter so he just turned it hard. Well, it's not going to happen in my case. So now what? I looks like there's (3) bolts holding down the shifter box casing so, do I need to remove those to get at the shifter. It's NEVER easy. Seems EVERYTHING I touch turns into a way bigger job that I thought!!!!

Any other suggestions or am I on the right track?
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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I actually figured it out. The top of the shifter box is plastic and locks-in via plastic tabs. Once you remove the top cover of the shifter box, you can easily access the 15mm nut at the base of the shifter, so you don't have to remove the whole shifter box assembly. I got the old shifter out and am now going to reverse the process in putting it back together.

It's not that difficult once you figure out how everything fits together!!!!

UPDATE: I'm happy to report I got the new wood shifter in. It took way too many attempts than I care to admit as all the little bits were tricky to align, but once I figured it out it finally came together. Total time between removing the rest of the console and putting in the new wood shifter was about 2.5 hours. The next time this should be a lot easier!

Thanks again for everyone's help.
 

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1986 420 SEL (my parents owned this car for its first 30 years)
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5 Posts
I actually figured it out. The top of the shifter box is plastic and locks-in via plastic tabs. Once you remove the top cover of the shifter box...
I have this same following question in another thread: I am trying to get the top shifter box cover off. I have gotten as far as #6 above. I pulled out the two small black plastic tabs at the front of the box just under the cover. But I just can’t seem to pry the cover off. I don’t want to force it and break something. I see what looks like a slight overhang (rounded) in the front just under the lip. And another (squared off) on the back just under the lip. Any help? Should I just use more force on the front lip/overhang?
 
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