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The cold weather seemed to result in several of my instrument cluster and dashboard bulbs burning out in my '97 s420. So, I bought the special hooks to pull out the cluster. Simple enough, right? Well, as it turns out, I guess 20 years of expanding and contracting plastics caused the dashboard material to actually fuse itself to the instrument cluster. This was not known until I tried to use the hooks and could not get the cluster to budge. Even abandoning the hooks and removing the driver's side dashboard vent to press it out from the back almost did not work.

Next time I have to do this job, I will probably just ditch the hooks and use this longer method. This is just a warning to anyone in the future who is looking for a helpful hint for this project. Also, if you do use the hook method, caution should be used to not accidentally rip the clear face from the rest of the cluster.

Brian
 

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This is just a warning to anyone in the future who is looking for a helpful hint for this project. Also, if you do use the hook method, caution should be used to not accidentally rip the clear face from the rest of the cluster.

Brian
Been There, Done That! Bought a replacement cluster on ebay and scavenged the lens cover.
 

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Although sadly I'm no longer in the W140 club (transmission failed after a flush!! , 286,000 miles) (I'm now over at the 221 side!) I have lots of experience removing the cluster. Yes, these twenty year old cars are starting to get a bit brittle. I found that by using the hooks and NOT grabbing the notches just below the lens, but rather the three notches further back, you are pulling more on the body of the cluster and not the lens itself. Pull and apply a firm and steady pressure and it should eventually let go. See in the pic in the white plastic part has those three notches? Those are further back than the "teeth" notches everyone uses and gets into trouble. Good luck!!
 

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I am trying to get the instrument cluster out using the vent opening as the hooks did not work. However, even when pushing with my hand from behind the cluster it barely moves forward 1/10 of an inch) and seems to get stuck either at the lower left corner or about inch to the right of the corner (it seems that there is a metal clamp at the bottom). I used a strong feeler gauge to check for clearance but feel resistance in the corner and where that metal clamp is. Can someone advise what to do and/or does somebody have a photo from the bottom of the instrument cover? It seems that the issue is on both sides of the cluster. Not sure...I am afraid to break something
 

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Use a steel ruler, stiff feeler guage or flat door panel tool (or combination of the three) to first run around the perimeter of the instrument panel ensuring it is free, then use the hooks. Takes all the stress out of it. :)
I will remember this when I pull the S600 cluster. The S500 removal pulled the lens cover off. Thanks for the suggestion.

I am wondering, the S500 has a plastic cover on the dash while the S600 has leather. I think the leather if applied over the plastic may make for a tighter fit. I also made a small tear in the plastic, barely noticeable. Does anyone have experience pulling the cluster on the S600 1996 and newer with the leather dash?

Also I bought the $20 Chinese tools. I think I will order the MB tools before I do the S600.:eek
 

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Removal tip

I will remember this when I pull the S600 cluster. The S500 removal pulled the lens cover off. Thanks for the suggestion.

I am wondering, the S500 has a plastic cover on the dash while the S600 has leather. I think the leather if applied over the plastic may make for a tighter fit. I also made a small tear in the plastic, barely noticeable. Does anyone have experience pulling the cluster on the S600 1996 and newer with the leather dash?

Also I bought the $20 Chinese tools. I think I will order the MB tools before I do the S600.:eek
Put both hooks on same side farther back as stated - give a firm jerk to break that side loose then install hooks on either side to finish pulling out. Whether leather covered dash or not makes no difference since it is a force-fit into opening
 

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I never even use the hooks for W140 or R129 even though I have them.

Use thin putty knife with thin coat of rubber grease to find & lube each of the metal clips on bottom & top of instrument cluster.

You can push from behind by hand on one side and by pushing a piece of wood on the other side and work it out.

You will never break an instrument cluster with this method.

I have found the tools useful for pulling rear axle half shaft clips on the inside of the diff. They work well for that.
 

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Mine is not the same car as yours .But the problem was the same removing the speedo head from dashboard . Tried to pull it out in the winter with the right hooks from mb . I had three goes at it and it never moved .Then in the hot days of summer i took another go . Then it was hard to move it out of its nest. I made up plastic shims about 3inches wide and about 4 inches long . Looked at an old speedo head i had in my garage. That way i know just the place to insert them . Then it came out . On refitting it i put silicone grease on the top so it will come out easy next time .
 

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Thank you for your help! based on the "shimmy" suggestion and the info about the metal clips I used plastic putty knives (between 1 and 3" inches wide and 3" deep) to unlock the areas around the clips. It took some hard and mind numbing push with my hand from behind the cluster to get it out, always afraid of breaking it. Now that it's out, I will use silicon grease before I fit it back in. Thanks again!
 

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FWIW, I had a very tight r129 cluster that fractured first time I tried the hooks. The secret is to use quality hooks and place both on one side, on the rear notches if possible, and pull evenly. That side will give a little, now two hooks on the other side til it moves, then one on each and it will ease out.
 

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FWIW, I had a very tight r129 cluster that fractured first time I tried the hooks. The secret is to use quality hooks and place both on one side, on the rear notches if possible, and pull evenly. That side will give a little, now two hooks on the other side til it moves, then one on each and it will ease out.
Absolutely. I bought the Mercedessource hooks, which are better than the factory ones, and they give complete instructions on how to use them, including the two hooks on one side trick.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
 

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I used a small screwdriver on my E430 cluster.
Get a quality (I used one of the THIN green handle type) screwdriver. I don't think it matters if it's a Phillips or Flat.
Put it in a vise with about 3/8" of the blade protruding from the vise
Use a torch (I used MAP gas) to apply heat to the tip of the screwdriver blade protruding from the vise.
When the tip begins to glow, gently tap the tip with a small hammer to bend 90 degrees to the screwdriver blade.

I found this worked perfectly.
 
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