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Old 05-06-2012, 09:35 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: in the woods in NE Texas
Posts: 352
300SD radio removal, CCUs, blues, and success!

This afternoon, I removed a known-to-be-good CCU from a car I hope to restore soon, and began the process of center dash disassembly on my '83 300SD in order to replace a suspicious CCU. When I reached the radio, however, I came to a screeching halt. I couldn't begin to figure out how that Clarion after-market was attached, and I was fearing I was still going to be dealing with an AC that on random occasions, for longer and longer periods, would turn itself into a meltingly hot heater. Not something to be looking forward to, since we've been in the 90s for a week and nothing but rising humidity for variety.

Husband John was working on a rear door activator with a broken plastic slider (and is still wrestling with getting it lined up to put it back in!). Since John needed to ask Hunter the size of a socket he'd once told me to use for an anvil when fixing those sliders, I asked him to call Hunter for us both. Roy very kindly advised John, and sent me all manner of DIYs and YouTubes on how to remove the original radio. Not much help on the after-market radio this particular car came with. I did find a solution, though (hope John does, too, soon!), and thought I'd write it up for those of us who may be using after-market radios and not have the proper tools required for our unique brand when it comes time to remove the thing.

I now know the answer for pretty much any after-market radio. Obviously, you start by removing the front, and feeling around for the clips that hold any front frame around the removable face, so you can take that off, too. Now it looks like it does when you park your car someplace that concerns you.

If the anti-theft catches are on the sides (and my research indicates that more than 95% are), it's not difficult, nor does it need special tools, unless you consider soft drink or beer cans 'special.' This is absolutely NOT a brute force job, nor is it one to get in a hurry about -- if you're in that kind of mood, don't bother. At least not until you've mellowed out with a beer or two. And after that, you've got your can for a tool -- how cool is that?

Cut the top and bottom off the can with regular kitchen shears or scissors (tin snips are overkill and leave rough edges), cut it down the side to make a rectangle, then cut two strips lengthwise (what would be around the can) just a little narrower in width than the radio is tall. Grab a cheap, thin-metal steak knife, too -- 'bout a 6"-7" blade -- it'll probably come in handy. The wider and 'springier' the blade, the better. I try to keep one or two of these around from a garage sale or Goodwill to saw on things I wouldn't want to ruin a real knife on, and that I can throw away if it gets grungy or too bent-up to use anymore.

Now, slide the long strips of aluminum can into the edge on either side of the radio. If the resistance is too much for your aluminum strip at some point or another, slide your steak knife between the aluminum strip and the radio, and move the tip around until you find (then push in and flatten) and hold down the clip, spring, hook, whatever-the-snitz, while you continue to slide your aluminum strip on past the obstacle and on to the rear of the radio. Remove the knife as soon as your strip is past the obstacle -- it's now in the way and someone will hurt themselves. Since we've disassembled what's below the radio, you should be able to reach up behind the radio and push it out.

Sometimes, you'll be left with a cage that the radio had fit into. Use a telescoping mirror and flashlight inside the cage to look for obvious -- and not-so-obvious -- attachments. Remove any screws or fasteners. Look for little arrow-shaped cuts in the body of the cage whose points are bent toward the outside. Take a tiny FLAT bladed screwdriver (don't go poking really sharp, pointy things around in there), and bend those points back to the inside of the cage, and it should slide out.

Replace your CCU, re-install your radio (no strips or tacky knives needed), and you're back in business, working through the little storage tray and the ashtray.

So, with a little time and some patience, you, too, can remove any radio from your console. Or someone else's, if that's a business you want to consider......

Anthracite 1980 300D -- 64k original miles with a new engine, on the road again!
Silver 300D -- second owner, Sunny's old baby, Ilse, 210 miles,
Having to thin the herdů.
Silver 1983 300SD -- second owner, 325k miles
Gold 1981 300D -- well-traveled, solid little car
Beige 1984 300D -- 292k miles, grease machine, parting out
Seafoam green 1981 300SD -- 250k, windshield frame damage
too many assorted w123 & w126 cars, parts cars, and extras

Last edited by whunter; 05-07-2012 at 12:35 AM. Reason: spelling
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