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Dashboard replacement

on the 1977 280 SE (W116.024)

by lowethwa


Before you do anything, go to this link - it is what saved me!! This link is to get to the evaporator out of a 240D. Many of the components are very VERY similar - esp the steering wheel removal

Follow Dave Morrison's photos, up to photo 22 - it is an excellent reference

Tools needed - mostly 8 mm and 10 mm adjustable, and socket set with extensions. Esp when you start unbolting the dash from underneath Also, the classic tools will help....

This photo shows the dash still in the car, but a couple of things have been done beforehand:

Remove the steering wheel (you can take to emblem out of the steering wheel and get to the one nut that holds the steering wheel to the shaft. Remove the car lights switch and the parking brake cable on the left side of the dash
Remove the interior box for the glove box - see photos 53 and 54

Go under the dash and remove the lower plastic coverings - Dave Morrison’s, photos 26-32 is similar. This includes removal of the ventilation ducts. Now you should be able to reach underneath and get to most of the items inside.

Remove the front radio speakers

Pull the radio out.

Remove and disconnect the air conditioning temperature panel. This is now a good time to check over the bulbs that light up the panel and to do any repairs ,as the panel is very brittle. Before or after installation. You can disconnect the rocker switches at this point also.
Remove the 2 bolts that connect the center console to the dash. (They are located just above the temperature panel.)
Pull all the rugs out of the car.
Move both seats far forward to get to the screw on either side of the center console. You will also need to unscrew the center console screw just above the Air conditioning panel. You have to move the WHOLE console back about 2 inches If you look at the photo, you will see I have already pulled it back.

Below are the screw locations that some folks say is easier to get to by pulling out the seats. I did one of them, and don't think you need to do this, but move the seats forward to unbolt the inboard seat belt bar, and to get to the Phillips head screw behind them

photo of passemger side center console bolting

photo driver's side, showing seat belt bar unbolted. The arrangement is similar to Dave Morrison's

Go back to Dave Morrison's photos 32 and 35. The center console should now be out of the way

Now for the fun part.
I was lucky I had purchased a new dash. As I recall, it was about $800. Note the 6 locations where it would bolt into the car. (nuts 1 and 2) locations are just forward of the front radio speakers (left and right), there is a center bolt (3) that you can only loosen with an 8 mm socket, from the glove compartment side in the center of the console when you loosen it, go a couple of turns - DO NOT REMOVE. The (4) bolt is on the right side, pretty visible once the lower air conditioning duct on the passenger side is removed. The last 2 (bolts and nuts 5 and 6), are connecting the dash to the center console (which should have been unbolted already)

Photo new dash upside down – look it over, as you will see where the bolts and studs line up when you put it in,

I would skip over most of Dave's stuff, up to photo 48. I did not find it necessary to go that deep into the panel, but photo 48 will show you how to pull the speedometer panel out. The best way is to get to the cable with your hand from underneath and spin the retaining nut off. The push out the speedometer panel just enough to unbolt the pressure sensor. It will be on the left of the panel. The you should be able to get the panel into your hands and disconnect all the wires.

Go to Dave's photos 49 and 50. Here is where you will remove the headlights switch and disconnect the emergency brake.

Follow along on photo 51-58, for removal of the front side coaming and moldings.

Now you should be ready to pull out the dash.

From Dave's write up: "Remove the dash from the passengers side first and move it out the passengers door. You will have to lift the dash off the defroster tubes on the evap box. Once lifted off them, it will come out. Watch the turn signal stick. Don’t break it. Don't twist the dash as this may cause cracking.

One word about reinstalling the dash. As you install the dash, the lip of vinyl at the front of the dash next to the windshield will curl up and make it difficult to get under the windshield rubber. Using the same flat tool used to remove the A pillar moldings works well. Hold the dash in position and slide the lip under the weather strip

Once it is out, the defroster ducts should come out with it

Now, if you never saw the inside of the dash, now you will. A good time to check the rubber hoses, the servos and general condition of the rubber pcs inside.

photo of center duct servo’s - good time to check them out with a vacuum pump

photo of center duct

photo of passenger side – fan motor in right side

Now you can take the vents out and put them into the new dash. Take your time, they will fit. It is a little time consuming. This is also the time to dismantle the glove box, as now you should see how it is attached to the old dash.

photo on driver’s side, showing ignition sw.

Once this is all assembled - the air vents and glove box, to can now get it into the car. I would strongly recommend that you put soapy water all around the front end of the dash to help you slide it into place. The best way is to push the driver's side in first, then SLOWLY work you way in from the rightside, so the Heater control unit will mount up to the defroster ducts you had just remounted to the the new dash.

Old and new dash, side by side


new dash hardware installed – ready for the car

Now it is time for re-assembly. And working my way back through the steps above, I got is all back together.



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