I ordered from Phil here on PartsShop a new plastic grill insert for my '93 W124 a while back.
I hadn't installed it yet because I was going to paint it matte black with a clear coat.
Well, today I got impatient and decided I'd install it anyway to see how it looked.
I thought I'd first remove just the plastic insert. There are two black 8mm screws that attach the grill to the chrome surround at the top of the hood. There is also a phillips head screw at the bottom of the chrome surround that comes out. These are the three easiest things to remove. Everything else in a Pain in the A**.
Next, you'll see four clips at the perimeter of the plastic grill that hold it tight to the chrome surround. I tried to pry them loose with a flat head screwdriver, but found it was easiest to just yank them out with a pair of needle nose pliers.
Then, I leaned backwards and found that there is a screw holding in the round, blue / chrome MB wreath logo plate that you'll see at the top of your chrome surround. This round plate has a threaded bolt that goes through the plastic insert, with a screw holding it in place. This is also difficult to take out because it is impossible to get a 10 mm socket around it, or a boxed / open end wrench because there is just no room. If it is not too tight, you could probably just unscrew it with the tips of your fingers, but mine was on there too tight.
I thought at this point that I'd just remove the whole surround. With it out, I could easily take a 10mm socket and remove the screw, and then the plastic insert would just come right out.
However, at this point, I ran into a problem. The two bolts at the right and left are the only two bolts that can be seen. I couldn't see anything else holding the chrome surround in place. I pulled and yanked and twisted, and it wouldn't come out. I figured there had to be other srews holding the chrome surround in place, but they were invisible.
I did a search and found this thread, which helped a little:
Painted grill insert on 300E
If you read down to CJ's post, he removed the chrome surround, too, and describes four extra screws to remove, and I quote:
"The best way to see these is to lean bckwards in the engine compartment and look through the grill, up at the top where the insulation is. After you remove those four bolts, the grill slides up, I had to tap mine with a rubber mallet to get it out."
His post was the best, but it's a little misleading. I still couldn't figure out what insulation he was talking about. I removed all of the hard, black plastic insulation at the front of the grill, then the thick spongy black insulation next to it, and still no screws. In desperation, I peeled back the hood pad
, and there they were. You have to lean backwards and look in the little slot at the end of the hood / grill where the hood pad
tucks in, and they're waaaay back in there. There are two screws on each side. You'll need a loooong extension on your socket wrench to reach these, but when you do, they'll come right out. The chrome surround and grill just comes up and out.
Soooo, you have to peel back the hood pad
, not insulation, to find these four nearly invisible screws.
You'll notice on the thread I posted above that 420 SEL didn't have to take out his surround to get the plastic insert out. Maybe on W126's this screw that holds the round wreath logo onto the chrome surround is easier to get to. Maybe there's more room. Just not on my '93 W124.
When reinstalling the chrome surround, it is easiest to lay it on a towel on the ground and slip in those four clips. They are a little difficult to get in there. It takes more skill than strength. Again, I found that noodle nose pliers worked well in jamming them back in place.
The saddest thing about this whole thread is that when I went to put in the new plastic insert, it was the wrong one!!!!!
Phil accidentally sent me the one for a 94-95 hood, not an 86-93 hood. It was too small!!!!
But, at least I learned how to do it for the next time.