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1996 E300D
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133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel obligated to put this post on here b/c I have taken much more info than I have given on this site… I hope this helps the soul whom I share the same plight with. $1K+ just isn’t in the budget for me:eek:

To preface this procedure, this is a last ditch effort after all other attempts have failed to get your cluster working. By this I mean you have sent it to a PROFESSIONAL to look at and that person deems the cluster inoperable and in need of replacement.

Ok with that out of the way, make sure your cluster has the same symptoms mine did which are:

Cluster gauges work intermittently
One needle has a chatter/slight vibration
All other needles are unresponsive.
Info panel still functional (temp, odo, time, trip)

Professional diagnosis:

The cluster has 4 motors that control the needles. When one of these motors goes bad, something in the coding tells the other three not to work. The guy I sent it to said he did not know where to get an individual motor and that he has never done the procedure to replacing one even if he got a hold of a new motor. So basically I was screwed.

Correction Procedure:

** Once again this is a fix that suited MY needs, not saying it will suffice for you if you are not comfortable with modification. This can also be viewed as a temporary fix to pass inspection or until you get the ducketts to buy a new cluster. **

My logic was that if the cluster was useless anyways, why not try this if I have to get a new one. What do I have to lose?

1.) Take the cluster out.
2.) Disconnect.
3.) Put it on a workbench and remove the plexiglass bezel.
4.) Carefully reconnect it and once you turn on ignition and see the offending needle vibrating, give it a tiny push to see if it powers up.
5.) If it does, then you are in luck
6.) Reassemble.
7.) Then take a permanent marker and put a dot at the middle point of the black base of the offending needle.
8.) Get a very small, small, then around ¼ inch drill bit.
9.) Be very careful to go slow and begin a pilot hole (you may even use tape to prevent cracking.)
10.) GOING SLOWLY, work up to the ¼ size.
11.) Take the plexiglass bezel off and use compressed air to blow out shavings.
12.) Reassemble.
13.) Now look around the garage or find a black piece of dowel-like plastic about 3in long, less than ¼ in diameter.
14.) Place cluster on workbench plexiglass side facing up and propped up level.
15.) Take the black plastic dowel and put a drop of super glue on it.
16.) Quickly and carefully place it on the needle base. Hold for 5 min.
17.) Allow to cure for at least 1 hour and reinstall the cluster.
18.) Turn on ignition and at the same time put a hand on your dowel and slightly twist upwards and it will come to life!

The end product actually doesn’t look that bad, facing the cluster in the driver’s seat you can hardly tell anything is there. It looks like a odometer reset tab in the older models. For the costs associated with a new cluster, it is something I got used to real quick!:D

Hope this helps anyone in a pinch, I can post pics if need be. If anyone feels I should add this to the DIY let me know.
 

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Registered
Mercedes Benz 1997 E320
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9 Posts
I have actually found the problem. I disassemble the shifter the other day and the connections were lose that's why my tachometer would sometimes work and other times not. So I just disassemble the center console and resecure the wiring connections. So it is now 100% fixed.
 

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Registered
1995 E250 Diesel W210.010/605.912
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66 Posts
OK,
I understand it has been a year since you did the fix but , did you take any pfotos?
Thank you
 

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Registered
210.065
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2,947 Posts
Could you please at least show us how the end product looks like?
 

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Registered
W210 1996 E320 Smoke Silver. [W124 1990 300CE Artic White - Sold].
Joined
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814 Posts
I am very interested in CBFInTheODD's reply, hope s/he is still around.
 

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Registered
W210 1996 E320 Smoke Silver. [W124 1990 300CE Artic White - Sold].
Joined
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814 Posts
...
Ok with that out of the way, make sure your cluster has the same symptoms mine did which are:

Cluster gauges work intermittently
One needle has a chatter/slight vibration
All other needles are unresponsive.
Info panel still functional (temp, odo, time, trip)

Professional diagnosis:

The cluster has 4 motors that control the needles. When one of these motors goes bad, something in the coding tells the other three not to work. The guy I sent it to said he did not know where to get an individual motor and that he has never done the procedure to replacing one even if he got a hold of a new motor. So basically I was screwed.

Correction Procedure:

** Once again this is a fix that suited MY needs, not saying it will suffice for you if you are not comfortable with modification. This can also be viewed as a temporary fix to pass inspection or until you get the ducketts to buy a new cluster. **

My logic was that if the cluster was useless anyways, why not try this if I have to get a new one. What do I have to lose?

1.) Take the cluster out.
2.) Disconnect.
3.) Put it on a workbench and remove the plexiglass bezel.
4.) Carefully reconnect it and once you turn on ignition and see the offending needle vibrating, give it a tiny push to see if it powers up.
5.) If it does, then you are in luck
..
18.)
1.) - 4.) done!
5.) No, so I am not in luck, skipping the remaining steps, what would have been a great fix, since I understand what CBFintheODD described.
 

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Registered
1995 E250 Diesel W210.010/605.912
Joined
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66 Posts
1.) - 4.) done!
5.) No, so I am not in luck, skipping the remaining steps, what would have been a great fix, since I understand what CBFintheODD described.
Was it easy to remove the plexiglass?
Could it be done without diamantling the cluster?
Thanks
 

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Registered
W210 1996 E320 Smoke Silver. [W124 1990 300CE Artic White - Sold].
Joined
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814 Posts
Was it easy to remove the plexiglass?
Could it be done without diamantling the cluster?
Thanks
First disconnect the battery, then fully pull out the cluster and remove the connectors; the housing (plexiglas and backcover) is held by clips as in the pictures. Be careful not to break them when lifting with a knife or flat screwdriver, best is lift the clips at the top (pic 1), separate the glas cover from the backcover a little, lift the side clips (pic 2), continue separating a little more, lift the clips at the bottom (pic 3), finish separating.





 

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Registered
1995 E250 Diesel W210.010/605.912
Joined
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66 Posts
thank you very much...
You rock...
I was asking because I was thinking of trying the following:
Instead of following the hole proccedure reccomended above I thought of stacking a piece of plastic perpendicular to the plane of the cluster in order to prevent the needle to reach its bottom position aiming to make it easier for it to recover when starting ...
What do you all thinkabout that?
If someone is anxious to try it before I do feel free to do it ..I will not ask for rights or patent...;)
Thanks again
 
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