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Mercedes W220 S320 cdi 2004
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings to all W220 Enthusiasts

(Note! Please Skip this Post if you’re not interested in the finer aspects of Number / License plate Aesthetics).

Call me ‘Fussy’ about cosmetic details if you like? But I’ve always thought the usual black plastic thick-edged number (license) plate holder / frame on the rear of an S Class looks a bit ‘clumsy’ and cluttered against the soft and elegantly contoured recess it sits in. Add to this the usual Dealer / Supplier details printed in Bold on the frame plus a license plate with more dealer / supplier details duplicated on it + a black border line etc … (get my drift?).

So: for those of you who are interested: here’s an idea to make your W220 rear Number / License plate look more 'simple & elegant'* (*in my opinion at least).

The job can be done using an existing frame holder and the standard recessed screws (which fix it to the captive sockets on the boot / trunk lid): but modified to make the frame invisible. And IMHO as few-as-possible un-necessary details / logos on a new shiny license plate will help too. ;)

Job time: approx 1 Hour. Materials needed: cross-head screwdriver, strong scissors, fine toothed tenon saw, drill with 3 - 4 mm bit and standard approx. 6-8 mm (max) long self-tapping number plate fixing screws (+ appropriately coloured plastic lugs & cover caps according to the type of plate / markings etc) and some thin double sided license plate fixing tape.

DISCLAIMER: This should be a simple-enough job if you are practical and patient. But I strongly advise you to have an identical spare license plate frame / holder to hand BEFORE you start - in case anything goes wrong and you need to re-instate the original!

STEPS:

1. Undo hinged upper / lower sections of frame, set aside plate, remove frame (4 screws).

2. Using strong scissors: cut-off the thin & flexible hinged (outward facing) upper & lower parts of the frame.

3. Using a fine toothed tenon saw: trim the thicker, ribbed backplate by approx. 15 mm all round: i.e. to make it slightly smaller overall than the license plate (length & height) so that it will be invisible behind the plate. N.B only SLIGHTLY smaller - do not trim too much … (see later). Trim any burrs off with a fine file.

4. Clean the paintwork behind where the license backplate holder sits, re-attach using the 4 original screws ensuring it is level.

5. Place the license plate face-down on a block of wood and carefully drill 2 holes for standard license plate fixing screws (using a 3 or 4 mm drill bit I think?) approx. 25 mm from each end and half-way vertically.

Now the slightly Fiddly Bit..

6. Place the drilled license plate over the trimmed / re-attached backing plate and align it visually for width / height ensuring that the backing plate is not visible. (Alignment Tip: run a dead straight line of low-tack masking tape at the top & bottom edges of the boot lid recess as visual guide for when you screw it on. Or: put guide lines / dots on the paintwork at all 4 corners with a marker pen). Accurate spacing horizontally and vertically within the license plate recess is important aesthetically, and of course for legal reasons.

7. Run a couple of strips of thin / approx 2 mm double-sided sticky license plate fixing tape longitudinally on the ribbed outer faces of the backing plate to ensure the license plate sticks flat onto it.

8. Lightly position the license plate onto the sticky tape on the outer / front face of the backing plate making sure it aligns with the visual height / centre guide. (You might need a couple of attempts to get it level and centred within 1-2 mm accuracy - as I did).

You are now ready to screw the license plate onto the trimmed / (now invisible but securely fixed) backing plate. Don’t forget the coloured plastic lugs and caps...

9. (Important!): BEFORE screwing the license plate on to the trimmed backing plate: tuck an approx. 5-10 mm thick fillet of soft wood or foam plastic behind the edge of the backing plate close to where each screw will pierce it (but not directly in-line with it). This will act as a spacer and avoid the number plate screw scratching or piercing the paintwork behind the backing plate when you screw it in. Re-check alignment vertically & horizontally. If you need to adjust: gently release the license plate from the backing plate and start again.

10. Stand back: and if all’s looking ok from 1 Metre away, screw the license plate to the backing plate ensuring that the screws grip it firmly and protrude by at least a few mm at the back without touching the paintwork (do not over-tighten as the plastic backing plate is quite thin and soft). To check the fixing: feel gently behind the backing plate at each end to ensure that the screw has pierced adequately. (DO NOT entrust this to a young child - I will not be held responsible for any injuries caused). 😫🤣

11. Remove spacers / masking tape / marker pen guides etc, stand back and admire your work!👍

You should now have a rear license plate on your W220 which looks much tidier and ‘cleaner’ visually - and is also securely fixed.

Before you say it: I know some people trust sticky pads alone. But this is more difficult to achieve on an ‘S’ or models with similar fixings due to the protruding metal lugs for the captive nuts / lugs used to secure the rear plate holder / frame. Also: if the licence plate holder screws are removed (to reduce clearance for a stuck-on license plate?), there is potential for water to get into the sockets and cause corrosion inside the boot lid (as mentioned here before).

Also: to remove the frame / backing plate completely and try to drill through / fix the license plate in-line with the 4 boot / trunk lid sockets & lugs using the standard (much larger) screws means that you end-up with 4 untidy looking exposed screw heads which are far more difficult to conceal than 2 standard, smaller screws & plastic lugs / cover caps.

Apologies for no Step-by-Step photos and / or a 20-minute YOUTOOB Video (ha ha) as I did the job on the spur of the moment. But I hope this guide and a pic of the finished item will give you the general idea.

Yours Cosmetically…

MB :cool:

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Moderator
2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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What galls me about this is that you all got the S320 CDI's over there! We want 'em here, too! Why couldn't MB-USA bring those OVER HERE AS WELL??!!

OK, so it's envy. Sue me. :)
 

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Mercedes W220 S320 cdi 2004
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
What galls me about this is that you all got the S320 CDI's over there! We want 'em here, too! Why couldn't MB-USA bring those OVER HERE AS WELL??!!

OK, so it's envy. Sue me. :)
Well cowboyt, as You Lot across the Pond say: 'that's how the cookie crumbles!' 🤣. Dunno why you didn't get them for the US market. Lower demand for diesels at the time + cheap gasoline, maybe? 😉
 

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I have found these new silicone rubber plate holders provide the slim frame and rubber dampening you desire . I put them on all my cars with big stereo systems to prevent plate rattle . Can’t find a euro size on Amazon but there’s one on eBay
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2005 S600 / 2005 SL600
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Well cowboyt, as You Lot across the Pond say: 'that's how the cookie crumbles!' 🤣. Dunno why you didn't get them for the US market. Lower demand for diesels at the time + cheap gasoline, maybe? 😉
We don’t get them here because diesel emissions regulations here are far more strict.

European diesels can’t be certified to US standards.

Just ask Volkswagen…
 

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Outstanding Contributor , SDS Guru
1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG. 2011 BMW 335d
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6,654 Posts
What galls me about this is that you all got the S320 CDI's over there! We want 'em here, too! Why couldn't MB-USA bring those OVER HERE AS WELL??!!

OK, so it's envy. Sue me. :)
Make your own! You're lucky that early CDI engines didn't have to deal with NOx sensors and adblue and all that crap.

I'm considering getting a BMW wagon and swapping my 335d drivetrain over to the wagon.....and the NOx/adblue harness goes from the ECU in the engine bay to all the way back to the trunk. That means I have to gut the interior to bare frame so I can transfer the harness. Including the dash, if I'm that unlucky.

W220 with OM648, by comparison, is positively easy. I think the only thing you might need is the harness that connects the front SAM to the CDI ECU, and those can be gotten for (relatively) cheap.
 

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Mercedes W220 S320 cdi 2004
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have found these new silicone rubber plate holders provide the slim frame and rubber dampening you desire . I put them on all my cars with big stereo systems to prevent plate rattle . Can’t find a euro size on Amazon but there’s one on eBay View attachment 2714028 View attachment 2714029
Thanks tusabes :). 👍 That might be helpful to others but I really wanted to go completely frameless (sounds like weird a variant of topless?) 🤣
 

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Outstanding Contributor , SDS Guru
1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG. 2011 BMW 335d
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6,654 Posts
Careful, it might sound like you're trying to make a crotch window pant....

Cartoon Hairstyle Arm Facial expression Vertebrate


:ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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Make your own! You're lucky that early CDI engines didn't have to deal with NOx sensors and adblue and all that crap.

I'm considering getting a BMW wagon and swapping my 335d drivetrain over to the wagon.....and the NOx/adblue harness goes from the ECU in the engine bay to all the way back to the trunk. That means I have to gut the interior to bare frame so I can transfer the harness. Including the dash, if I'm that unlucky.

W220 with OM648, by comparison, is positively easy. I think the only thing you might need is the harness that connects the front SAM to the CDI ECU, and those can be gotten for (relatively) cheap.
Actually, that was my original plan for this project 2006 S500 4Matic that I'm working on. The only reason I didn't go that way is because it's a 4Matic, and apparently there was no S320 CDI 4Matic made anywhere, so we figured there probably would be clearance problems with the oil pan. So, I ultimately stuck with the M113-50. But I would like to make an S320 CDI down the road. Came close with a 2006 S350 in Georgia a few years ago with apparent engine problems, but that unfortunately fell through.
 

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Mercedes W220 S320 cdi 2004
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Actually, that was my original plan for this project 2006 S500 4Matic that I'm working on. The only reason I didn't go that way is because it's a 4Matic, and apparently there was no S320 CDI 4Matic made anywhere, so we figured there probably would be clearance problems with the oil pan. So, I ultimately stuck with the M113-50. But I would like to make an S320 CDI down the road. Came close with a 2006 S350 in Georgia a few years ago with apparent engine problems, but that unfortunately fell through.
With all due respect cowboyt: GET OVER IT! (only joking) 😜. We'll ALL be driving Battery Cars before the Decade is out. Honest, there's no Hope for us ageing (?) Petrolhead Dinosaurs.... 👨‍🦳🤣
 
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