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Old 12-10-2001, 09:37 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 171
'79 300SD W116 starter replacement

I replaced my starter today after suspecting it was about to quit on me. I replaced it a mere two years ago with an obvious imposter. I had forgotten quite how I replaced it before, and my manuals neglect this topic. I was quite surprised to read on this forum that it is suggested that it could be removed through the bottom if the wheels were angled correctly. The W116 must be the only car that does not have this advantage.

No ifs, ands or buts about it, that starter had no intention of leaving through the lower region. Here's my experience.

It was a very quick repair. I removed the air cleaner, unhooked the exhaust, and dropped it down and out of the way after releasing all of the "rubber bands". This exhaust drop is something that I find easy and quite Mercedes friendly. I removed the two allen head bolts from the rear of the starter, only I had no need of an extension, I used an offset universal joint ratchet with a normal length allen head socket. My hand and ratchet fit perfectly next to the tranny in that huge space after the tailpipe was out of the way. I undid both bolts from up above, then undid the two bolts holding the front bracket on to the side of the engine. After the starter was loose and out of the hole, I undid the two nuts holding the cables on. These are impossible to remove while the starter is pressed up against the turbo shield. Then, I pulled the starter forward, jacked up the car right below the starter which enabled the tailpipe to be lowered down and out of the way of the starter. I then pulled the starter out of the top of the engine compartment (like butter).

Installation: Stick the new starter down into the open space forward of where it goes, then pull the exhaust up back above it, lower car (so you don't have to tippy-toe), and hook up both wires, attach the bracket to the side of the engine, and put the two bolts back on from behind the starter. Done!
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