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2001 ML430, 1983 300SD, 2008 GL450
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909 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be attempting to remove a steering wheel from a W124 to install in a W126. The W124 has the airbag present. How to you remove the airbag cover and airbag without exterior cosmetic damage? The airbag will not be active in the other vehicle.

Apparently behind the airbag is just a single nut holding the steering wheel in place. Is this correct? Does anyone know the size of this nut?
 

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1994 E320 Dragon Wagon
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198 Posts
I've read they're an electrically triggered, gunpowder charge that sets off the nitrogen inflation bag. I'd be kind of cautious around that bad boy.

May be a Myth-Buster topic but I've also read of face alterations messing with wheel columns and bags. Probably good for a pants stain at the least.

Many owners just leave whatever is there. The insurance companies get kind of funny about owner airbag alterations. I have seen MOMO and trick wheels in them nixing the bag. Not sure how my agent would feel about it.
 

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W124 Moderator
86 190E 2.3L 16V, 95 320TE 02 S500
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13,275 Posts
Gene,

Here you go. On the back side of the steering wheel you'll find two #2 pencil size holes on the left/right side of the airbag pad. Inside the holes is a T27 torx head screw that holds the airbag to the steering wheel. Go down to AutoZone and purchase their $14.99 set of Torx wrenches. They look like a set of Allen wrenches.

Once you have the screws backed off (they don't come out of the wheel, just release from the airbag pad) there is a two wire plug that connects the bag assembly to the hub. Pull it away. Now you'll clearly see a large (10mm) allen bolt that holds the wheel to the steering column. You will need a 2" or so extension for the allen socket, a breaker bar and about a 2' cheater pipe to break the bolt free.

I can't comment on the compatibility of the horn contact ring between a W124 and W126

Good Luck and PM me if you run into a snag. It really is a pretty simple procedure.

Jayare
 

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Premium Member
About a dozen 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 sedans, wagons, 4Matics and 1 coupe
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5,512 Posts
I pulled the steering wheel from a junkyard 86 300E and was surprised to see that it had a 126 part number (126 464 05 17). It looked absolutely identical to the nasty one on 1988 TE #2. The TE wheel was marked as a 124 part (124 464 02 28). Did the early 124s use a 126 wheel? Who knows...

That 10mm hex screw that holds the wheel to the steering shaft is a real mutha to break loose. The veins in my temples were bulging big time. And when it cracks loose... Be careful. Keep that hex bit prefectly centered and perpendicular to the screw. And make sure it it FULLY seated. You round out that hex and it's all over...
 

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2001 ML430, 1983 300SD, 2008 GL450
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909 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, again. This is what I needed. I found an appropriate doner for my needs at a wrecker last week but spent two days just getting the other parts I needed. Assuming it is still there next weekend I'll try tackling the wheel.

The idiot who designed the seat mounting needs to be used for a fund raiser. He needs to be gut-shot and we'll take bets on how long it takes him to die.
 

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Premium Member
About a dozen 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 sedans, wagons, 4Matics and 1 coupe
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5,512 Posts
When you go to a salvage yard to get a seat or seat parts, be sure to take a cordless drill 12V or 14V battery and some jumper wires. That makes it easy to move the seats to get the mounting bolts. BTDT. The drivers side with memory is easier than the passenger side since you only need to put 12V at the fuse and then short seat switch connector wires together. The passenger side involves applying + and - voltages to the appropriate seat switch wires. Still not hard.
 

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for the most part the mercedes of the 80s were actually about the same, persay. The W126 have different diameters that was made, but all of them fit and can be installed. W126 wheel diameter ranges from 400mm, 410mm,420mm(the extra diameter coming from the grip padding) leather and same for vinyl and The E class seem to top off at 400mm and smallest about 390mm (grip padding being the difference again). Besides that, the steering wheels are basically exactly the same and will install the same. Usually the W124 have W124 parts and W126 gave W126 but someone might have switch the steerign wheel at one point that 300E, maybe even at the dealership when it was new.
 

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2005 E320 CDI, 1992 300TE, 1999 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
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368 Posts
Be careful with airbag jumper

Regarding removal of the airbag, on mine there is a brain box under the passenger mat at the front of the footwell. The first thing you should do is unplug the bright red connector on that!

After you unscrew the airbag/horn button lift it out carefully and unplug the connector on the back. Even if it is a junkyard car this connector will jumper out the airbag explosive so cutting the wires won't do it. Unplug it.

The next thing to note is that you must set the airbag down facing up. If it goes off, you abruptly have a big bag. If you place it face down and it goes off, it launches its metal frame etc. up at you or something expensive.

Be careful and it is not dangerous,
Peter
 

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Mercedes 500E & CLK32K
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511 Posts
Regarding removal of the airbag, on mine there is a brain box under the passenger mat at the front of the footwell. The first thing you should do is unplug the bright red connector on that!

After you unscrew the airbag/horn button lift it out carefully and unplug the connector on the back. Even if it is a junkyard car this connector will jumper out the airbag explosive so cutting the wires won't do it. Unplug it.

The next thing to note is that you must set the airbag down facing up. If it goes off, you abruptly have a big bag. If you place it face down and it goes off, it launches its metal frame etc. up at you or something expensive.

Be careful and it is not dangerous,
Peter
On a W124, the airbag module is behind the radio.

With the ignition key in the off position, there is no power going to the airbag module or the airbag.

MB service doc states to disconnect the battery before servicing the airbag.
 

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94 E500 Pearl Black/Grey
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64 Posts
Hey guys....I have a "squeeky" steering wheel, meaning it moans and squeeks when I turn it, worse when the car is cold. I plan on removing the wheel to lubricate everything.

I am a little nervous about the airbag and plan on disconnecting the battery prior to removing it.

My question is, will I need to reset the radio if I disconnect the battery? Not sure if I have the radio code, and dont want to have to deal with another issue!

Thanks!

Andy
94 E500
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD Myna 7mm pump and HX30 /'89 Vanagon TDI 12mm pump and GT2052
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52,235 Posts
I've found that carbon dust builds up in the contact ring, which can lead to false SRS signals on the dash, as well as noise. Disconnect the battery and remove the wheel, then you can vacuum out the contact ring. Unless MB calls for it, I wouldn't lubricate anything, as the lube will just accumulate dust.
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD Myna 7mm pump and HX30 /'89 Vanagon TDI 12mm pump and GT2052
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52,235 Posts
I'm not familiar with late-model MB stereos, but you'll want to figure out the stereo code thing asap, irrespective of this steering wheel issue. The battery will need to be disconnected sooner or later.

As 2Phast mentioned, the airbag module doesn't receive power when the key is in the off position, so you can get by without pulling the battery cable--I've done this a number of times in the past.
 

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W124 Moderator
86 190E 2.3L 16V, 95 320TE 02 S500
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13,275 Posts
If your car has the stock radio, you will need the code after disconnecting the battery. The only place to get the code is the dealer. Proof of ownership and your VIN is all the parts guys need.

Good Luck,

Jayare
 
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