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  #1  
Old 11-29-2012, 12:17 AM
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4-Speed column shifter from a W114 into a W123?

Could it be done? I've always thought that column-shifted manuals are neat, but I have never had the fortune of riding in or driving one. Since I'm considering a 4-speed swap for my '84, I'd be interested in fitting in a column shifter if possible. I'll research this a bit, but I'm curious if someone here already knows.
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1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

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  #2  
Old 11-29-2012, 12:41 AM
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sure it can be done. does it bolt up? i have no idea.
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2012, 01:22 AM
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my dad once installed a column shifter from an old truck in the floor of his 32Coupe...
if that can happen, I'm sure you could figure a way to make the shifter fit in a similar car... how, will be up to you if it's not a direct bolt in.
I would start with comparing the entire columns side by side...
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2012, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jooseppi Luna View Post
I have never had the fortune of riding in or driving one.
surely you mean misfortune? Trust me, you're not missing anything...
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---------------------------------------------------
past:

1983 230E W123 M102
1994 E300D S124 OM606 (x2)
1967 250SE W108 M129
1972 280se 3.5 W108 M116
1980 280SE W116 M110
1980 350SE W116 M116
1992 300E W124 M103
1994 E280 W124 M104
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2012, 06:21 AM
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There were Finnish taxis with manual column shifters. The parts used can be found in the International EPC, and you can compare them to the W115 part numbers.

Also the automatic column shift was normally available, maybe some trim parts are still available which can work with the manual column shift.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2012, 08:32 AM
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chazola is onto something there!

Column shifters in most any car got really sloppy as they wore even a little bit. The MB ones that I drove in Germany ca. 1969 to 1971 seemed more substantial than most American car shifters, but they would still be prone to get sloppy and problematic when worn.

The floor shifters are much more substantial and problem free.
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2012, 10:08 AM
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I have had two experiences of being in a column shifted 4 speed. One was in 1970 I was hitchhiking and got picked up by a guy in a Mercedes with the tail fins. It was a curvy road. I was amazed at how well the car went on them.

In 1980 a friend had a Citroen with the Air suspension and 4 speed. I seem to remember that the Citroen had some sort of extra position that you could put the shifter out of the way once you got it into fourth.

If it were my car I would go with the more direct linkage on the floor. I think all automatics should be shifted from the column There is no point in taking up the floor space for something you only shift once per start.
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2012, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vstech View Post
my dad once installed a column shifter from an old truck in the floor of his 32Coupe...
if that can happen, I'm sure you could figure a way to make the shifter fit in a similar car... how, will be up to you if it's not a direct bolt in.
I would start with comparing the entire columns side by side...
So... he drove on his belly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chazola View Post
surely you mean misfortune? Trust me, you're not missing anything...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Air&Road View Post
chazola is onto something there!

Column shifters in most any car got really sloppy as they wore even a little bit. The MB ones that I drove in Germany ca. 1969 to 1971 seemed more substantial than most American car shifters, but they would still be prone to get sloppy and problematic when worn.

The floor shifters are much more substantial and problem free.
Ah... so there is a reason that column-shifted manuals are almost non-existent nowadays? I guess I underappreciate our Corolla. That's interesting about the reliability -- that's definitely something to consider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Govert View Post
There were Finnish taxis with manual column shifters. The parts used can be found in the International EPC, and you can compare them to the W115 part numbers.

Also the automatic column shift was normally available, maybe some trim parts are still available which can work with the manual column shift.
That's interesting about the Finnish taxis (I'm half-Finnish, coincidentally!). Good to know.
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"Senior Luna, your sense of humor is still loco... but we love it, anyway." -rickymay ____ "Your sense of humor is still loco... " -MBeige ____ "Señor Luna, your sense of humor is quite järjetön" -Delibes

1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2012, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silber Adler View Post
I think all automatics should be shifted from the column There is no point in taking up the floor space for something you only shift once per start.
Hear, hear!
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"Senior Luna, your sense of humor is still loco... but we love it, anyway." -rickymay ____ "Your sense of humor is still loco... " -MBeige ____ "Señor Luna, your sense of humor is quite järjetön" -Delibes

1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2012, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silber Adler View Post
There is no point in taking up the floor space for something you only shift once per start.
Depends on your driving style, I drive my auto Mercs 'semi manually' -i.e. changing down to 3 for steep hills and for better acceleration, so a floor mounted shifter that just moves forward or back is much more preferable to me than an awkward & vague column shifter, plus I learned to drive a manual car so it feels more natural to rest my hand on the gear knob.

If you're a more relaxed 'put it in D and forget about it' type, then column shift can work, they just seem very old fashioned. I had a column shift auto on my last w108, and never got used to it- my hand kept going for the gear stick by my side...
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1993 320TE M104
---------------------------------------------------
past:

1983 230E W123 M102
1994 E300D S124 OM606 (x2)
1967 250SE W108 M129
1972 280se 3.5 W108 M116
1980 280SE W116 M110
1980 350SE W116 M116
1992 300E W124 M103
1994 E280 W124 M104
----------------------------------------------
"music and women I cannot but give way to, whatever my business" -Pepys
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  #11  
Old 11-29-2012, 11:57 AM
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I also have been trained on RHD floor shift manual gearbox cars and my hand usually ends up on the gearlever. The column shift systems are a pain for me in manual configuration.
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  #12  
Old 11-29-2012, 08:55 PM
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Jooseppi, I bet you could column shift pretty well if you built a linkage with high precision spherical rod ends. I am sure that shifters of old used a lot of sloppy linkages.

Chazola: Personally when driving an automatic, I take advantage of automatic shifting. When in my Merc I keep both hands on the steering wheel, allowing more precise control for me.

To play with the shifter incessantly has little to do with the style or aggressiveness of driving. I like the Mercedes auto as it doesn't seem to freewheel like more modern autos.

We all come from different backgrounds. I grew up shifting cars and bikes manually. I got my first automatic in 1980 to be used as my tow vehicle for my road racers. About half of my vehicles since have been autos.
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  #13  
Old 11-29-2012, 09:32 PM
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Could be quite a project if that body style never came with a four on the tree. On the other hand mercedes stuck with certain concepts for long periods. If a person wanted it bad enough some research is in order. I liked mine on the fintail a lot of years ago.
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  #14  
Old 11-29-2012, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chazola View Post
...I drive my auto Mercs 'semi manually' -i.e. changing down to 3 for steep hills and for better acceleration, so a floor mounted shifter that just moves forward or back is much more preferable to me than an awkward & vague column shifter...
Wouldn't a column shifter be easier for that, then? All you need to do is flick it back & forth, without dipping down to the console (your hand remains closer to the wheel in case of an emergency). This would also go with what Silber said about preferring to keep both hands on the wheel.
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"Senior Luna, your sense of humor is still loco... but we love it, anyway." -rickymay ____ "Your sense of humor is still loco... " -MBeige ____ "Señor Luna, your sense of humor is quite järjetön" -Delibes

1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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  #15  
Old 11-29-2012, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silber Adler View Post
Jooseppi, I bet you could column shift pretty well if you built a linkage with high precision spherical rod ends. I am sure that shifters of old used a lot of sloppy linkages.
Now that sounds like fun!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silber Adler View Post
We all come from different backgrounds. I grew up shifting cars and bikes manually.
For a second, I thought you meant bicycles...
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"Senior Luna, your sense of humor is still loco... but we love it, anyway." -rickymay ____ "Your sense of humor is still loco... " -MBeige ____ "Señor Luna, your sense of humor is quite järjetön" -Delibes

1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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