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  #1  
Old 06-12-2006, 10:25 AM
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DIY: Steering wheel removal, Access stalks, Correct loose stalks

The turn signal/cruise control stalks were loose on my 1999 E300d and would rotate every time I used the turn signal. Sleepwalker pointed out that the problematic part was the collar around the steering column where a machine screw had loosened.

Diagram:




I ended up removing the air bag, steering wheel and various other components including the cruise control and turn signal stalks.

Two tools are needed: A 10mm hex driver and the 3” long T30 Torx driver. I obtained each of them for less than $4. My local auto parts store (or Sears) had the hex driver and I found a guy on eBay (in FL) that had the TORX bit.


Lisle 33920 is a brake caliper tool for some GM vehicles and not to be confused with a 3/8” hex tool.





Use these two threads for additional reference and detail:


http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/tech-help/64871-1998-w210-air-bag-removal.html#post408731 http://forums.mbworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=110340


(I’ll note that some of my components are different compared to the parts shown in these other two threads. However, I believe the procedure is virtually identical regardless of model year.)


Details:

Note: Most will suggest disconnecting the battery as your first step since you will be working with the airbag. I did not. Proceed with caution.


Steering wheel needs to be fully extended (out) prior to starting permitting access to the two airbag retaining screws on the rear side of the steering wheel.

Arrows pointing to the TORX screws:



Airbag is released by pulling yellow connector straight off - - there are no tabs that need to be released. Remove the two clips shown below:


As the others have noted, the 10mm bolt holding the steering wheel is extremely difficult to remove:


I am using this long breaker to remove the 10mm bolt:


Bolt removed, it appeared to have LocTite on it:



You need to mark the spline and the hub which will permit you to restore the proper position when you re-install the steering wheel. Mine already had indications on it.


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Old 06-12-2006, 10:26 AM
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Steering wheel pulls off easily revealing this:



After removing the two screws (seen in above picture), you’ll see the view below. You now have access to the turn signal module which is on a short connector and needs to be removed. You need to remove the cruise control stalk which is on a VERY long cable that must connect under the dash (??).

Note how all the cables are threaded and where they run. You’re going to have to put this back together in a few minutes! Remove the three screws shown below - - everything will come apart at this stage.


You’ll need to fully retract the electric steering column at this point so you can slip the plastic shroud off and gain access to the machine screwing which tightens the collar.

Plastic shroud slips off revealing the errant screw, here it is:


I removed it and there was evidence of LocTite. I applied some fresh LocTite, re-installed the screw, and corrected the orientation of the collar so the two tips were located at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock. Screw was tightened. Assembly is simply reverse order.


This job took exactly 1 hour with a 10 minute break. While it looks complex, it really wasn’t. The disassembly is logical; there are no odd little pieces or any “tricks” needed.

I’ll re-iterate that removal of the 10mm nut holding the steering wheel place is the most difficult aspect of this job.
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:19 PM
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Great write-up, thanks and especially your pictures and details on which tools. Very helpful.

I would also emphasize the caution referred to on the other sites :

Quote:
First, a few caveats. Remember that this is a basic procedure, but not for the faint of heart. Make a misstep and you could end up with a mess; having an airbag explode in your face is neither fun nor cheap. Second, be prepared; once you have the airbag assembly off is not the time to find out you don't have the tool necessary to pull the retaining bolt.

Third, take your time; no sense in rushing. Last, be sure you have your owner's manual and radio code handy for all the reset procedures.

STEP ONE. Bring the steering wheel to almost center; I left it slightly left (as you can see in the photo) to permit easier access to the left airbag assembly bolt. Extend the steering wheel from the dash as far as it will go.

STEP TWO. Disconnect the negative lead from the battery. You can access the lead from the snap-off cover in front of the right-side rear passenger seat. It's a 7/16" nut. Be sure you have unlocked all doors and that the vehicle key is in your pocket. Close the door to extinguish the dome light, then remove the nut and pull the lug off the terminal end. I stuck the plastic cover halfway back in to ensure the cable lug wouldn't drift back over and make contact.
Thanks again

Haasman
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Old 06-12-2006, 03:34 PM
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Well done uberwng and congratulations.

I am interested to know how you succeded to remove the 10mm hex screw? It is so tight from the factory

I must change the turn swith on my car.
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  #5  
Old 06-15-2006, 09:58 AM
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Thanks, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cc260E
Well done uberwng and congratulations.

I am interested to know how you succeded to remove the 10mm hex screw? It is so tight from the factory

I must change the turn swith on my car.
Yeah, you don't want to break the steering wheel lock. I am pretty certain it's broken on my car, too, but not a result of this repair.

That 10mm bolt is tough and I was getting ready to give up. I used my impact gun on it for a few mins and I think it helped. I went back for one last attempt with the long breaker on it and it came loose. The real problem is counter-holding it. It would be ideal to have a friend/helper (male) that could counter hold the steering wheel while the other person torques on the breaker. Counter-holding is the whole problem.

Would it be possible to put a long 2X4 thru the steering wheel spokes and brace it against the floor? Maybe. I'd be concerned about damaging or breaking the steering wheel.
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  #6  
Old 06-15-2006, 11:41 AM
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That bolt either has loc-tite or is micro-encapsulated. Next time apply a little heat with a micro torch to soften the plastic. It makes the job much easier.
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  #7  
Old 06-15-2006, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uberwgn
Thanks, guys.



Yeah, you don't want to break the steering wheel lock. I am pretty certain it's broken on my car, too, but not a result of this repair.

That 10mm bolt is tough and I was getting ready to give up. I used my impact gun on it for a few mins and I think it helped. I went back for one last attempt with the long breaker on it and it came loose. The real problem is counter-holding it. It would be ideal to have a friend/helper (male) that could counter hold the steering wheel while the other person torques on the breaker. Counter-holding is the whole problem.

Would it be possible to put a long 2X4 thru the steering wheel spokes and brace it against the floor? Maybe. I'd be concerned about damaging or breaking the steering wheel.
I use a piece of 3/4" steel pipe about 3 feet long put through the steering wheel spokes with some towels to give my 24" breaker bar something to work against. It works very well. Easy for one person to control. No damage at all. Keeps any pressure off of the lock. You can get the pipe at any hardware store or home improvement center.
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forp
I use a piece of 3/4" steel pipe about 3 feet long put through the steering wheel spokes with some towels to give my 24" breaker bar something to work against. It works very well. Easy for one person to control. No damage at all. Keeps any pressure off of the lock. You can get the pipe at any hardware store or home improvement center.

Forp - I understand the 3 ft. extension. Did you have an extra pair of hands to use as a "counter"? Thanks.
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:13 PM
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No extra hands. I just arrange the pipe and breaker bar ends so that they are about a foot apart with the breaker bar above the pipe(this is all happening on the left side of the steering wheel), with a good grip on the two ends, push on the pipe while pulling on the breaker bar so no torque is applied to the steering wheel. It takes a little ooomph but no too bad.
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  #10  
Old 06-15-2006, 03:46 PM
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Thumbs up Posted in Wiki

This DIY is now posted in the DIY Wiki.

Thanks uberwgn!
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:49 PM
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Forp - Thanks.

At first I thought you were using the pipe as an ext. to your breaker - I've done that for added leverage. I see what you're doing. Good "one man" plan.
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  #12  
Old 06-15-2006, 09:43 PM
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The one thing I learned with many years in the US Navy was to never work hard when you can work smart. A little heat on the bolt with a micro torch, and you just zip it out with an air gun.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:27 PM
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I just used this procedure to tighten my loose turn signal/cruise controls and found it to be very useful.

I do have a couple of comments/suggestions.

Note: My vehicle is a 1998 E320 wagon.

1 - I did not disconnect the battery. If you do and you extend the steering wheel all the way out to remove the airbag you will have to reconnect it later to move the steering wheel inward. All of the connector except two (horn contacts?) are shrouded and recessed so the risk isn't too high.

2 - The DIY recommends a 3" Torx bit but a 2" will also work if you're using a 1/4" drive ratchet or other right angle tool.

3 - I found the steering wheel mounting bolt to be very hard to remove. I ended up using heat followed by impact wrench followed by long breaker bar to finally release it. It had been installed with medium strength thread locker. Be wary of using a torch near the wires coming thru the steering wheel hub. They could melt easily.

4 - Be sure to mark the position of the steering wheel hub on the steering shaft. The splines are pretty fine and it's easy to be off by one. You'll notice that the there is a gap (two splines wide) at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions in the splines in the steering wheel hub. Use this gap ( at the 6 o'clock position) to guide a fine felt tip marker like a sharpie and make a mark on the end of the steering shaft. The steering wheel hub splines extend beyond the end of the steering shaft so this is easy to do.

4 - The two screws holding the steering wheel position device are #1 Philips. They are fine threaded and will take a few turns to come all the way out. This device is also held in place at the back by two electric connectors. Pry gently and it will pop off.

5 - The final three screws (#2 Philips) hold the Cruise control and Turn signal control in place. The one at 12 o'clock is for the cruise. Remove it and hang it aside. After removing the other two screws, slide the turn signal device foward and down. There are three electrical connectors. Start with the yellow one at the top. Notice the you must depress two clips on the sides and then slide it forward. Once it is far enough forward you can feed the wires thru a slot in the bracket to release it. The second, black rectangular, connector has one clip to press at one end. The third white connector is like the yellow however the leads are not nearly as long. If the steering shaft is extended all the way out, there will not be enough slack in the leads for this connector to slide it forward and pass the leads thru the slot in the bracket. You will need to retract the steering shaft to get enough slack. Also note that both the yellow and white connectors have a 'key' on one edge and a corresponding notch in the opening in the bracket.

6 - Slide the plastic shroud off the steering shaft and let hang at the end of the cruise control device.

7 - The pinch bolt (the cause of all the problems) is a #2 philips and requires a torque of 5 Nm. I did not find any evidence of thread locker but I put a little medium strength on anyway.

8 - Reassembly is straight forward. Torque for the steering wheel mounting bolt is 80 Nm. You may want to drive around the block after reassembly just to make sure of your steering wheel alignment before adding any thread locker. NOTE: As mentioned do not turn the ignition key without replacing the air bag.

Thanks again to Uberwgn for the pictures and procedure.

Last edited by RichardM98; 07-11-2008 at 07:33 PM.
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2008, 08:57 AM
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Thumbs up

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for this thread. I have to replace the turn signal/high beam switch in my 95 E300.
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Old 07-04-2009, 09:46 AM
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Uberwgn,

Is this procedure necessary to correct my problem of the turn signal lever not turning off after I signal go make a turn on my 1986 560SL? Or, is there a more simple adjustment to be made somewhere without getting into the steering column.

Please replay to SMihaly137@aol.com

Thank you.
Steve
1986 560SL, 90K
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