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Old 03-23-2008, 11:29 PM
mbzjag8090 mbzjag8090 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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W126 Dashboard Replacement/Removal Instructions

After many hours and hard work, I've replaced the dashboard on my '84 300SD. Heritage Woodworks took care of the wood and I invested a couple of hundred of dollars in new switchgear and bulbs. When I get a chance, I'll post some pictures. For now, though, here are the instructions for removal, in the language of a beginner. HOWEVER, I MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING. IF YOU USE MY INSTRUCTIONS, USE COMMON SENSE AND REFER TO THE SERVICE MANUAL'S INSTRUCTIONS FOR FURTHER GUIDANCE (although I didn't find that very helpful at all).

Good Luck! It is beautiful when it is done!

1. Remove the carpet panels underneath the steering wheel and underneath the glove box. The panel under the steering wheel is held on by three screws anchored at the top of the carpet panel. Use a simple Phillips head screw driver to remove them. Then there is a little plastic hook (further down) on the right-hand side that also has a Phillips attachment. Finally, on the left side, underneath the panel there is one more Phillips head screw. That one is tough to get to…you will have to lay down into the foot well and use a flashlight to look up there. The carpet panel on the left is also held on by five Phillips head screws…although this time the plastic one is on the left instead of the right.

2. It would be useful to remove the front floor mats and the carpeting below by unbuttoning the center attachments.

3. DISCONNECT the battery, move the passenger seat all the way back, move the drivers seat all the way back, and recline the driver backrest until there is just an inch or two between the back seat and the front seat itself.

4. Remove the glove box as follows: remove the glove box door by unscrewing the 4 Phillips head screws that hold the hinge on to the dash…then use a flathead screwdriver and carefully pry the 7 plastic clips on the inside of the glove box out (these are a nightmare to put back in). Remove the upper hinge (two small screws). Next, use the same screwdriver to carefully pry out the glove box light and gently remove the two cables that attach. Then, stuff them up into the hole. Gently squeeze the glove box together from the top and bottom and wiggle it until it comes out of its hole.

5. Now, remove the speaker grills and associated screws. Each speaker cover has two very small Phillips head screws at the front corners. Once those are removed, you will want to pull up and slide the cover forward and remove. Then, you will see two screws at the front of the speakers (each side). You might as well go ahead and remove those as well. Also, gently pry up the center plastic piece between the upper dash defrost vents and remove the little nut that is hiding underneath.

6. Remove the steering wheel by inserting a flathead screw driver around the center star emblem and gently pry it out. Then you will see a large hex nut that needs to be taken out. For those of us without extensive tool sets, it might be a good idea to get some PVC pipe to slide onto the end of your wrench. The steering wheel should be bolted on very tightly for obvious reasons. Once you’ve got that bolt out, the steering wheel should pull right off.

7. Disassemble the steering wheel stalk/combination switch assembly. You will have to lay down into the car again with a flashlight and look up to unattach the two large electrical connections for both the combination stalk (windshield wipers, etc.) and the cruise control stalk. Just feel the wires and use common sense and you will find the right connections to undo. They are pretty far up in the dash…like I say, you’ll have to lay down with a flashlight to see them and remove them. Luckily, the hard part is out of the way. Now remove the three Phillips head screws that became exposed once you removed the steering wheel. They are right there in front of your face where the steering wheel used to be. With both the two connectors and the three screws out of your way, the entire plastic steering wheel stalk surround and the switches should slide right out.

8. At this point, you will want to begin working on the center console. The first step is prying up the carpet from between the seats in the “tray” underneath the armrest. Slide a flathead screwdriver along the edges and gently pull up. Mine was a little tough at first. It is not glued, even if you think it is. So just keep trying. Once the carpet is out of the car, you will see a hole that was covered by the carpet. Using a long Phillips head screwdriver, you will want to remove the screw that is down there.

9. Remove the ashtray. Pull the ashtray assembly out and remove the actual ashtray. You will see two Phillips screws that once removed, will allow you to pull the entire assembly forward. Remove the electrical connection for the ashtray and the bulb that sits in the little slot. The coin tray (color coded to match your interior…just below the ashtray) should slide backwards and with some wiggling, it should come right out.

10. Next, you will have to remove the center console wood. If you aren’t replacing your wood you are going to want to be very careful doing this. The wood panel should slide backwards by about ¾ of an inch (to where the coin tray used to be). GENTLY pull it up from the back (shifter side). You will have to disconnect the window switches, the radio speaker control switch and the automatic mirror switch. These switches do pop out of the wood from the top, which can make it easier to get them disconnected. The wood is held on by four plastic clips that slide into the center console…that is why you must slide the wood piece backwards before removing. If you aren’t careful, you will break the plastic clips and your wood will “float” where it belongs instead of being attached. Finally, stuff the wires back down where they belong.

11. Now the upper section of the center console must be dealt with. First, remove the radio. I have a stock Becker unit (which by the way, is an excellent radio as far as I am concerned…it’s original on mine and works 100% after 24 years). In order to begin removing the radio, you will want to get a helper (although you might be able to do it solo). Each of you should have a small flathead screwdriver. You will see two little metal tabs just below the radio that can be gently pryed downwards. Pry them downwards and slide your hand back behind the radio and pull it out. A number of connections will then have to be removed from the back of the radio (six or so if my memory is serving me correctly).

12. Maybe it’s time for a break from the center console. Remove the instrument cluster by visiting your local Mercedes mechanic and borrowing a special hook tool (although I have heard coat hangers work just fine…or pushing it out from the back as the bottom carpet is out of the way). Just slide the hook in on the right side and pull the cluster out. There are a number of connections that must be removed from the back of the unit (probably eight or so). There really is no need to mark them because when you put it back together it will be intuitive enough (square goes into square, circle into circle, etc.).

13. Resume work on the center console. Since the radio is now out of your way, it is time to get working on removing the wood surround for the climate control and upper switchgear. Look at the very bottom edge of the wood (where the radio once was) and you will see two small Phillips head screws that need to be removed. Once they are removed, gently slide the wood piece DOWN and forwards (out towards you). Then remove each of the switch connections.

14. The center console can be removed…but one thing is left. Now that the climate control panel wood is gone, you will see two screws that attach the center console to the dashboard. They are on the inner edge, partially hidden by the dashboards “lip.” Just look up and under where the climate control/upper switchgear wood was attached and you will see the two screws. Remove them. Now, looking into the vast hole created by the removal of the radio, CCU panel, etc. you will see a nasty looking piece of insulation…maybe you won’t if it was previously removed. Move the rear air vent back and forth and note the plastic knob and metal coil underneath the insulation moving back and forth. You must VERY GENTLEY remove the metal coil from the plastic knob after removing the metal clip that positions the cable. THE PLASTIC KNOB IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO BREAK!

15. Lifting from the back, and with a little bit of pulling and pushing, the entire center console should be able to be removed. This is a big step forward.

16. The following step is what I found to be one of the hardest parts of the job…removing the A-Pillar trim. There really isn’t too much to describe…it is the perfect job to test your ability to use a significant amount of force while still being gentle and not breaking anything. To remove the A-Pillars, pry the felt door surround out…it shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. Then, use a screwdriver or some sort of long wedge that can provide “distributed force” and shove it in-between the door edge and the A-Pillar. There are two clips that hold the A-Pillar in place. You basically just have to pry the A-Pillar out of place (for driver’s side, bend metal VIN place up and out of way). What I did was put so much effort into it that the screwdriver just popped right through the brittle A-Pillar. $50 later, I had two like-new ones from a junkyard. Once the two clips have popped out, the A-Pillar slides down from the lip of the roof trim and with some finagling can be removed. If you can source the pillars for a reasonable price and yours are sun-faded/dirty, etc. you might just want to save yourself some time and destroy the old ones during removal.

1984 300 SD 384,000 Miles
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