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  #1  
Old 11-05-2014, 09:37 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Worcester, MA
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1979 W123 steering wheel in 1983 model?

Hello, all

I'm deep into my long-term (2.5 years and counting) 1983 240D build. I'm expending a lot more effort on this car than I ever thought I would.

Long story short, I'm fixing up a previously beat (looking more respectable by the day) 1983 240D. Last year, I bought and stripped a '79 240D for parts.

The 1983 steering wheel is pretty worn. My big concern is that the foam is separating from the core material. The simplest solution is to replace the steering wheel.

I saved the very nice earlier-style '79 wheel and was going to use that. I finally got around to trying to install it this week and made a discovery (well, a discovery for me, anyway). The '79 wheel mounts to the steering column with a large (22 mm?) nut. The '83 wheel uses a large bolt with a tapered head.

The '79 wheel sits on the steering column just fine. The splines are the same. However, I can't use the original '79 mounting nut, and although the '83 bolt does thread in, there's no provision for the '83 bolt to grab the '79 steering wheel (the '83 wheel had a dished indentation in which the tapered head bolt would sit).

For now, I re-mounted the old '83 wheel. Would it be safe for me to locate a new bolt (proper grade and size, but with a flat head) and use that to mount the '79 wheel in the car?

I could always locate a 3rd steering wheel, but the '79 one I have is nice, and I'd like to use it if it can be done simply and safely.
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2014, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
Should be the same or at least 100% interchangeable.
As I said, the splines match, but the mounting is different. On the '79, the wheel is secured with a nut to threads that protrude from the steering column. On the '83, the wheel is secured by a bolt that threads INTO the steering column.

I'm just wondering if I can mount the '79 wheel safely if I get a different bolt. My instinct says yes, but I want to be 100% sure.

Here's a picture of the '83 wheel. You can see the dished indentation where the tapered-head bolt sits:


Here it is with the bolt in:


Here's the hub in the '79 wheel (sitting on the '83 steering column):


And here it is with the bolt in:


You can't really see it in my picture, but without the indentation as in the '83 wheel, the tapered-head bolt sticks out, and doesn't really "grab" the steering wheel. I'm just wondering if it's safe to substitute a new bolt of the correct size but with a flat head, and use that and a large washer to mount the '79 steering wheel.

I didn't grab a picture of the '83 bolt itself and can't find one online.

I don't see why that would be a problem... but I also don't want to find out, as I'm driving, that it was a bad idea.

Last edited by MagicBus; 11-05-2014 at 12:44 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2014, 02:26 PM
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You need to swap in the steering column from the 79. It isn't too hard. You will probably want to use your 83 combination switch on the 79 column since the 83 part has a revised detent system. This job should be be possible from inside the car since the column separates from the upper steering shaft under the dash. You will need to pull your cluster to access the column mounting bolts.

As an aside: If you use the 79 column you could even swap in a older Mercedes wheel like the one from a W115/108 etc...
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:36 PM
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Where are you located? I've got lots of steering wheels
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  #5  
Old 11-05-2014, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VT220D View Post
You need to swap in the steering column from the 79. It isn't too hard. You will probably want to use your 83 combination switch on the 79 column since the 83 part has a revised detent system. This job should be be possible from inside the car since the column separates from the upper steering shaft under the dash. You will need to pull your cluster to access the column mounting bolts.

As an aside: If you use the 79 column you could even swap in a older Mercedes wheel like the one from a W115/108 etc...
None of that is an option, unfortunately. The steering column went to the scrapyard with the rest of the body last year. I had hoped to pull that, the steering gearbox, and the wiper motor, but I had to get rid of the shell quickly. Saved almost everything else off the car, though.

Good to know about needing to swap the column. I know I could probably rig something, but I want this to be safe. Thanks for the info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vstech View Post
Where are you located? I've got lots of steering wheels
Worcester, MA.
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2014, 04:10 PM
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I see no reason why you cannot do as you say

The splines are what engage the steering shaft. The purpose of the bolt is to simply keep the splines engaged.

If you want to be extra careful, you can LocTite the bolt.
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2014, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocky raccoon View Post
The splines are what engage the steering shaft. The purpose of the bolt is to simply keep the splines engaged.

If you want to be extra careful, you can LocTite the bolt.
That's what I thought, too. But, the last thing I want is an unsafely-mounted steering wheel.
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2014, 05:32 PM
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Nah, you'll be fine. It's not a fastener that's going to be under any stress, since it just keeps the splines engaged.

I'm reminded of my uncle who had an old truck and while driving down the road he would occasionally hand the steering wheel to the passenger, "Here, you take the wheel." So you could leave the bolt off entirely and see who you can make pee their pants.

-Rog
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2014, 12:12 AM
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Location: Worcester, MA
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Thanks for the info, everyone. I may as well get a suitable bolt (and possibly a washer) and try bolting up the '79 wheel, just to see what happens.
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