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Old 04-24-2016, 12:15 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: San Mateo, CA
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Early W126 and W116 hood release lever assembly upgrade

The hood release lever bracket broke on my 83 300SD the other day.
They are not of the most robust design.
Usually the top plastic plate cracks from age, vibration, stress, or the mounting screws being overtightened.
This time both the late W126 replacement plastic plate and the original early W126 metal bracket had broken.
The only way to open the hood was to disassemble the bracket and then grasp the lever on the cable end with two hands and give a hard tug.
The hood release cable opens two hood latches on the W126.

Seeing I needed a replacement bracket, I also inspected the one on my 78 300SD.
It too was starting to develop cracks near the mounting holes on the plastic plate.
The photo shows how it is mounted on my W116 with just two screws.
There was a lot of oxidation on the pivot shaft causing the lever to bind from lack of lubrication.
The hood release cable only opens one hood latch on the W116.

On the next trip to Pick-n-Pull, I pulled two used assemblies from a couple of second generation W126s that had the updated, slightly more robust style.
The pivot points were lubricated with food grade calcium grease prior to installation.

The photos show the W116 assembly on the left, the early W126 assembly in the center and the late W126 assembly on the right.

The W116 design on the left: has a small cylindrical pivot shaft, the plastic plate is marked with MB Part # 116 880 00 59 with the MK logo.
(Oops, the writing is upside down when the part is mounted on the car).
MK logo is also on the handle. No MB star on the parts.

Going from the W116 design on the left to the early W126 design in the center:
the plastic plate may have changed (the one in the photo is not the original, it is a replacement from a late W126 model),
the lever was changed by adding a ridge to prevent the handle from crushing the plastic plate where it attaches to the rear metal mounting post,
the pivot hole was tapered, the pivot shaft was beefed up and also tapered,
the bracing at the base of the rear metal mounting post was beefed up a bit, a plastic backing plate was added, and longer screws were used.
MK logo and MB star are on the handle and also on the replacement late W126 plastic plate (upside up this time).
No MB Part number on the parts.

Going from the early W126 design to the late W126 design: the grip of the lever was changed slightly, the tapered pivot hole in the handle was enlarged,
the tapered metal pivot post was enlarged, the bracing at the base of the rear metal mounting post was beefed up a bit more,
a springy split ring copper washer was added to the pivot post, the plastic backing plate was eliminated, and shorter screws were used.
No MB Part number on the parts.

Before your hood release lever assembly breaks: take it apart, inspect the plastic plate for cracks, inspect the metal bracket for cracks,
lubricate the pivot points (including the end of the handle that cradles the stay at the end of the cable) and reassemble.
If it is starting to fail or is broken, consider replacing it with the late W126 design (MB Part # 126 880 00 20) which is available new for about $10.50 from the dealer.

Attached Thumbnails
Early W126 and W116 hood release lever assembly upgrade-008.jpg   Early W126 and W116 hood release lever assembly upgrade-009.jpg   Early W126 and W116 hood release lever assembly upgrade-010.jpg   Early W126 and W116 hood release lever assembly upgrade-011.jpg  
79 300SD 'Stormcloud' new as of 10/22/2017
78 300SD 'Desert Rose' new as of 01/26/2014
83 300SD 'Rena 2.0' with engine from 82 300SD 'Rena' (SOLD & crushed 11-20-2017)
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Old 04-24-2016, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Back in SC upstate
Posts: 1,756
HANDLE | Genuine Mercedes-Benz | 126-880-00-20
84 300SD
85 380SE
83 528e
95 318ic
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Old 04-24-2016, 05:03 PM
Mölyapina's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Posts: 4,373
Can you somehow substitute a W123 release lever in there? You can get them new on the cheap and they are all-metal (granted a cheaper metal).
"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

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Old 04-24-2016, 05:42 PM
tyl604's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 3,577
'81 300SD. When mine broke it was just the pin that sheared off. I installed a small bolt from the backside and it worked fine until the new $7 handle arrived in the mail.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:07 AM
kahlil88's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Mendocino, CA
Posts: 307
Can anyone vouch for the metal quality/durability of early vs late vs brand new? Mine broke where the rod is that the handle pivots on. Seems like a very cheap metal.
1985 190D 2.2L 717.411 5-speed
1983 300D Euro OM617.950
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Old 07-04-2016, 02:44 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: West of Ft. Worth. TX
Posts: 4,186
I'm betting the main reason these handles crack is due to the lock assembly, at the front isn't lubricated. It takes grease, not spray, and once it's lubed, the release will trip with a hair trigger.

Mine cracked as well and once I replaced the cable and took care of the lubrication, it opens with barely a tug.


84 300SD 350K+ miles ( Blue Belle )
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