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Old 10-27-2001, 08:19 PM
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Angry 73 280SEL 4.5 stuck in!!!

A couple weeks ago I came home and parked the "Silver Bullet", my 1973 280SEL 4.5, in my drive as I've done many times. Living in San Francisco, my driveway is quite steep, and I always back in. The other day I went to drive the car and could not move the gear selector (automatic, steering column mounted) out of park. I thought that the car might have rolled forward placing stress on the tranny, but I disconnected the linkage at the tranny, and I still could not move the lever out of park. Anyone ever had this problem?? I need to move it ASAP as I anticipate having the freshly rebuilt engine back in my 500SEC any day now and I wanna drive it!! See Photo
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Old 10-27-2001, 08:42 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Don't know how to help you, never had this problem.

I ALWAYS set the hand brake before placing the shift lever in park, just to avoid additional stress on the parking pawl.

You've got the linkage disconnected at the tranny and you still cannot move the lever, correct? Have you tried to move the shift arm where the linkage connects near he firewall (kind of under/beside the brake booster). It's possible I guess that the car did try to move and there was enough strain against the parking pawl that it pulled the linkage into a jammed situation. Have any tremmors lately? Last little quake we had caused one of my cars to work it's way out into the street.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

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Old 10-28-2001, 02:34 AM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,115
Here are some options:

A. If your front bumper isn't a concours candidate, have AAA nudge your car backwards with the park brake off.

B. To the extent that you can do it safely, block the front wheels, get one rear wheel off the ground, release the brakes on the rear wheels and try to spin the raised wheel backwards. If the problem is that the weight of the car is resting on the park pawl, that should free the transmission enough to shift out of park. As for blocking the front wheels safely, I'd call AAA and have them park a tow truck in front of the 108 while you're doing this. Don't jack the 108 while its bumper is resting against the tow truck.

C. If you trust the structure of your house, try pulling the 108 back with a really heavy duty winch or come along.

Sixto "Rube Goldberg, Jr."
91 300SE
81 300SD
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Old 10-28-2001, 11:54 AM
Posts: n/a
I've actually tried pushing it backwards, raising the rear end etc. Nothing has worked which is what prompted me to disconnect the linkage at the tranny and try to move the selector and this did not work either. I can manually change gears at the tranny so Its not stuck. The problem is somewhere between the shifter lever and where the steering column goes through the fire wall.

Thanks for the ideas though!!
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Old 10-29-2001, 03:45 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,115
Oops. I thought you could move the shift lever but not the transmission lever. So I went on for nothing. Seems like a good time to head to All Mercedes in Oakland and convert to a floor shift

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Old 10-29-2001, 08:40 PM
Registered Diesel Burner
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
I saw a problem long ago on an American model car that had the steering interlock along with a Park interlock when the key was out of the ignition. The car was parked on a slope in such a way that the front wheels were turned, so that they applied a lot of pressure against the steering wheel.

In turn, this pressure was placed against the steering lock, which was directly tied into the steering column Park lock.

Easily solved by applying turning pressure to the steering wheel to release the pressure against the steering/Park interlocks.

So, try moving the steering wheel a bit.

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Old 10-29-2001, 11:17 PM
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Seriously guys, I've tried everythng short of dismantling the thing in my driveway, something sure to please the neighbors. I'm the only guy on my block who actually does simple maintenance on my cars. I've got an 84 500SEC, the 73 280 SEL 4.5 and on 85 Volvo wagon. This thing has me stumped. If it is going to cost a bundle to repair, I would be interested in converting it to a floor mounted shifter. Anybody ever done this, and if so any idea of reliability and cost?? Any info would be appreciated.
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