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DIY w203 Starter Replacement C230

24069 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Joroganknows12
As it says, a DIY for replacing your starter. Save you from the misery I went through.


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As it says, a DIY for replacing your starter. Save you from the misery I went through.
A reply to a 2010 thread, but felt the need to freshen it up a little for the benefit of those in the future who may need to perform this task.

Just completed the starter replacement on my son's C230K with the M271 engine.

C230 Sport Coup's DIY was an invaluable reference for this job, with the "trick" mentioned (item #13 of his PDF attached) to push the upper steering linkage upwards to get the coupler off. Hat's off to him for his efforts!

I'd like to add a couple observations from my experience.

A) It's very tight quarters in there. A helper, hopefully with smaller hands is a valuable commodity, as there are several instances of needing to hold nuts in place, while working the head loose on the opposite side of a part. Because of the tight quarters and the contortions needed, it's difficult, (but not impossible) if working alone.

B) Unlike C230 Sport Coup, I needed to completely remove the steering coupler (top and bottom) in order to remove the starter. There's a pinch bolt on the bottom of the coupler that needs to be removed in order to slide the coupler off the splined shaft of the steering rack below. In my instance, the coupler did not slide off easily, and needed substantial persuasion via a pry bar which I positioned at both the left and right side, alternating force, as not to bind the part on the shaft. Once off, there was a fair amount of old hardened grease that I'm sure was the reason for the difficulty in removal. At this point, I was sweating whether it was going to be near impossible to reinstall the coupler on the shaft, as it's much easier to pry off, than to push on in such cramped quarters.

C) The WIS instructs to remove the S/C intake, but I can confirm it is not necessary on the M271 engine.

D) Starter removal exactly as mentioned in C230 Sport Coupe's documentation.

E) Replaced starter with my rebuilt unit in reverse order. After a thorough cleaning of the steering coupler and splined shaft with solvent and a brass brush, then applying fresh grease, the coupler slid over easily with just a little pressure needed to seat fully. The pinch bolt that goes through the slot in the lower half of the steering coupler needs to pass through a central hollowed-out portion of the splined shaft to lock it in. See photo below.

All in all, not too bad a job -- looks worse on paper.

Hope this helps someone in the future.

C230 Sport Coup's video clip of the trick:

The coupler and splined shaft it fits onto:


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Congrats on a job well done! I don't know why those steering shaft couplings are so hard to remove. I have to remove on eon my ML350 and it took A LOT of impact force both to separate it and put it back in place. I even tried to pry the slot on it open more for the re-installation and that did not help much.
Thanks. I attributed the difficulty in removing mine to old grease that sort of solidified and turned to a rigid varnish. I used a pick to dig it out, and it came off in hard segments.

As to re-installation, while I was waiting on my starter being rebuilt, I cleaned the coupler in my ultrasonic, then under good magnification, examined the spline grooves within the base, chasing each with a fine pick to get the fine particulates out.

I also conducted an experiment by using calipers to measure the slot, then heat the piece with a torch and remeasuring to see if it expands. It didn't. I too, considered manual enlargement of the slot by wedging it open. After all that, she slid on pretty easily with the new grease and no prying of the slot necessary, which I considered a bonus. Just some gentle levering of the assembly downward with the pry bar.

I am still amazed that the starter replacement on the M271 I-4 engine is such a chore. I've done them on the V8's and V6's in W203, W209, and R230 chassis and it's quite simple - unbolt it and drop it out.
Funny... My preliminary gauge to the difficulty of a job is to see if there are a fair number of forum threads on it, and/or YouTube videos of it. In both instances, there's nothing substantive online in reference to this task, therefore, no info/videos = "this must be difficult."

Overall, not too bad - took a couple hours to install, not rushing through it, including putting the fender liner and underside shielding back into place.

Can't imagine what the MB dealer would charge to do this... :eek:
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