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  #1  
Old 12-07-2001, 12:34 PM
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Question Sloppy 93 W124 shift linkage?

Noticed recently that when moving the shift lever along the gate, that I sense a bit more play or "slop" that normal.

My Haynes manual has no mention of where to begin.

Can I access the shift mechanism from underneath the car, or do I have to yank the console off?
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2001, 05:00 PM
ljones
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Talking Shifter bushings need replacing; fairly easy

I just had the same problem with my '91 420. This is a fairly easy fix with replacing two bushings that cost from $0.65 - $2.50 each - CHEAP FIX.

The instructions below are taking from the "Mercedes-Benz Discussion List" - http://hsb.baylor.edu/html/easley/mercedes/welcome.html

They were written by Richard Easley, and while I have seen several sets of instructions on how to do this, these instructions are the most complete I have seen. This is a fairly easy job, took me an hour, 45 minutes of which was spent trying to get the new bushings squeezed in. Also, follow Richards instuctions about taking off the linkage "arm" at the transmission (this is the one near the front of the car) it makes it easier. I used a pair of pliers and a closed face cresent wrench to help squeeze the bushing in place - it was not easy... But keep trying.

Anyway, here are the instructions from Richard Easley, taken straight from his web page:

The technical material for this FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) was provided by Richard Easley of Baylor University, and is provided as a service to the subscribers of the Mercedes-Benz Discussion List.

To receive similar quality tips as described below on a daily basis, consider subscribing to the Mercedes-Benz Discussion List, which is located at the following site:

http://hsb.baylor.edu/html/easley/mercedes/welcome.html

Introduction

The absolute first step in any diagnosis of automatic transmission problems in Mercedes-Benz automobiles is to ascertain that the transmission linkage bushings have not disintegrated. These bushings (there are two) are nylon and are subject to significant amounts of heat and dirt and sometimes oil from leaking components. As such, they are very susceptible to breakage and should be replaced at least every 60,000 miles and checked carefully during every major service. When the bushings are disintegrated, this can cause serious internal damage to the transmission because of improper positioning of valves in the valve body.

Automatic transmission diagnosis and adjustment on Mercedes-Benz automatics is one of the most frequently misunderstood procedures for do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). DIYers frequently assume the worst any time that they are experience automatic transmission problems and frequently, the problem is nothing more than a problem with shifter bushings or a vacuum problem, particularly in the case of diesel-engined MBs, where vacuum is "artificially manufactured."


Assumptions

1. Using the categories of mechanical ability from the Mercedes-Benz Discussion List <http://hsb.baylor.edu/html/easley/mercedes/subscribe.html>, you need to be at the level of "Medium Do-It-Yourselfer" at minimum, to replace the shifter linkage bushings on Mercedes-Benz automobiles. If you are below that level, you may want to provide these instructions for someone who is at the medium level or beyond.

2. Completely secured automobile on concrete floor

3. Safe equipment

4. Experienced (read: confident) technician

Tools needed:



1. 1/4" drive socket

2. Extension

3. 10mm socket

4. 10mm wrench

5. Long screwdriver

6. Long needle nose pliers (For example: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/taf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=38597 Also: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/taf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=33202





Shifter Linkage Bushing Replacement


1. Raise the front only as high as possible on concrete

2. Emergency brake activated

3. Car in park

4. Rear wheels chocked securely

5. Put securely on jackstands

6. Lower floor jack

7. Wiggle stands to ensure security

8. Put jack back under car as added security

9. Put shift lever in neutral.

10. With car in neutral -- but securely chocked and jack stands secure find shifter linkage (Shifter near driveshaft, transmission linkage forward).

11. Carefully note arrangement of shift linkage and lever on transmission.

12. Do not adjust shifter linkage (assume correct, just bushings worn).

13. With 10mm stuff, completely remove bolt that goes through linkage at transmission.

14. With screwdriver, carefully pry linkage off of transmission (may have to expand the compressible "slit" on linkage just a bit).

15. With screwdriver, unsnap clip at shifter linkage and remove linkage from shifter (under car only).

16. Slide shifter linkage and transmission "lever" (which is still attached) forward. Remove from car. [Please note that the transmission lever has a plastic "tang" (round) that slides into it from the backside. This is the neutral safety switch and it remains on the car. Note that it is *not* forced on the transmission lever when it is reinstalled. It must slide on easily. Also, do not lose your orientation. In other words, do not move the lever's position vis-a-vis the transmission stud that remains.]

17. Once the linkage is removed from the car, replace the transmission lever bushing *only* on the bench. Again, make certain of proper positions of everything.

18. Replace shifter bushing *on car* (and underneath car only). [You can move lever around to get underside access, but make sure that the lever is back in the neutral position before reassembly of linkage.]

19. After installing both bushings, reassemble everything, making certain that neutral safety switch tang slides easily into transmission lever.

20. That's it. The first time is harder, gets much easier through repeated times . . .

Finally

Please let me know if you complete this procedure successfully; it took a while to type this, and I'd appreciate knowing when each person has completed the repair! Please e-mail me at richard_easley@baylor.edu

Note: To receive similar quality tips as described above on a daily basis, consider subscribing to the Mercedes-Benz Discussion List, which is located at the following site:

http://hsb.baylor.edu/html/easley/mercedes/welcome.html
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2001, 05:13 PM
Randall Grubbs
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If you do a search you will find a lot of info on this.

The shift lever is attached to a shift bar which attaches to a shift lever on the tranny. On the end of both shift levers is a bushing which degrades and the shifter gets sloppy. On my car one of the bushings was missing altogether.

Go to the dealer and get 2 bushings. Access is from under the car. The whole assembly is located on the driver's side of the tranny.

The bushings are very stiff and difficult to install. One attaches at the end of the consol shift lever and the other to the shift lever attached to the tranny. I used a bolt with 2 big washers on the ends and squeezed the bushing in as I tightened up the nut on the bolt. I also removed the shift arm from the tranny so I could do the work on the workbench. Nothing has to be done on the inside of the car.

Randy
'94 E500
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2001, 03:33 AM
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wow....i'm glad i stumbled upon this topic. my w124 has had that problem for some time now, but i haven't had the time to look in to it. one more question for you guys: when i reach higher speeds (around 80mph) a rattling sound comes from the gear box, but i can stop it just by tapping the shifter. will replacing the bushings hopefully fix this too? thanks again for the diy info.

brian
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2001, 07:08 AM
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Most likely it will.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2001, 03:11 PM
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Got this same problem as well, and am going to look at it today.

I called the MB dealership and inquired about these bushings for my '91 300E, and he said he saw 2 bushings that I mentioned but both were identical with the same part numbers.

Partshop shows 2 different bushings, one on the shift rod, and one on the "tapered spool", both different part #'s.

My question is: is this tapered spool one of the areas that a worn bushing will cause the "slop"? Or do I just need 2 identical shift rod bushings to complete the job?

TIA

~Paul
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2001, 08:14 PM
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They were both the same in my car. You may want to soften the bushings in hot water before installation.
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2001, 01:42 PM
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Thanks J.H. :p

Any idea what the long needlenose and screwdriver is for, discussed above in the how-to?

I don't have either and don't want to purchase them if they're not necessary.

~Paul
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  #9  
Old 12-09-2001, 05:17 PM
R Easley
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Good afternoon, Paul --

The long needle nose pliers are used as a "press" to install the bushing in the shift lever (which is not removed when installing new bushings). The long screwdriver is used to assist in doing this, too (by pushing in the bushing while squeezing it with the needle nose pliers). Note that we are not talking about long needle nose pliers, we're talking l--o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng needle nose pliers, to the tune of about 18-24". Once you've purchased these (at Harbor Freight, they're about $12 for 2: a straight snout and a 90 degree snout), you'll find yourself using them regularly. They make the bushing job markedly easier.

Note that when you install these bushings the first time, you'll think that you are tearing them up when installing them. Don't worry, they are very resilient, and once they are installed, they'll spring back to their normal contours.

When you purchase the bushings, buy at least 3 sets (6) of them -- they're less than a $1@ and you'll want to have spares. Also, MB has a new and improved retaining clip that is much easier to R&R and I would buy 6 of these, too.

Richard Easley
Waco, Texas
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2001, 08:00 PM
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Wow! Talkin' about slop, I peeked underneath and found both bushings missing; both ends of the shift linkage was metal on metal with only the clips holding them on.

Thank you Richard for the explanation. I simply used a washer, and some grease on the bushing and squeezed it thru with some regular pliers. Getting the clip back on up front was a bit of a task. It's amazing the difference now -- feels like a brand new transmission.

Thanks to all for the advice and how-to's.

~Paul
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  #11  
Old 08-09-2002, 01:18 PM
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Having just completed this job on my 1986 300e (car would only start in neutral, needed to adjust switch so it would start in park, replaced bushings on general principle), I'll add my two bits on getting the bushings in. As previous posters have said, you can remove the arm from the transmission shaft and work on *one* bushing on the bench, but the one that goes in the tang coming down from the shift lever itself has to be done in place. The tang is in a tight spot. There is just a little clearance between the side of the shaft tunnel and the driveshaft, and the tang sticks down between them with just inches on each side of the tang. After trying lubrication and heat in combination with my longest pliers, I could not get the new, stiff bushing pushed into the hole. The only way I was able to do it was to do what Randall Grubbs described and put a washer and bolt through the bushing, put the bolt end through the hole in the tang, with another washer and nut on the end of the bolt, pull the bushing through the hole by tightening the nut. The ideal setup like this would be to include in your little stack of nuts, bolts and washers a thick, pretty large diameter something on the "destination" or "output" side so that as the bushing is pulled through, the leading edge has room to push all the way through the tang and pop out. When I did the "easy" one in on the bench, I used a 19mm socket as a spacer. On the "hard" one I did in the car, there wasn't even room for a socket up there, so I had to use just a washer and let the leading end of the bushing just smash against that as the trailing end was pulled through.
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  #12  
Old 08-09-2002, 01:34 PM
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Marinmbfan,

Are you sure you don't have a problem with the neutral safety switch? It sounds like it....uhmm
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2002, 05:55 PM
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It was the neutral switch...

Thanks J.HIDALGO, but I think you missed in the parenthetic comment at the beginning of my post that it *was* the neutral safety switch I was under there to adjust. My problem is all fixed. I managed to rotate the switch so that it works now. I never did find a hole to line up with a drill bit put through the switch lever like you're "supposed" to adjust it, but just turning it back and forth and testing found the sweet spot. I was only changing the shift rod bushings on general principle (seemed silly to try to adjust the switch if the linkage was all sloppy).
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  #14  
Old 08-10-2002, 01:48 AM
R Easley
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I think that J.H.'s reference to the neutral safety switch was that he was assuming that it may be near the end of its life if it is requiring adjusting, and I would agree (unless the two attachment bolts were loose). This switch should be tested for free movement and feel and if it is binding at all, I would replace it . . .

Richard Easley
Waco, Texas
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2002, 01:04 AM
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Bad switch, allright...

Yes, it was the switch after all. The adjustment wasn't enough to make it work reliably. Enough to make it start in Park most of the time, but not always. Put in a new switch ($50), works great.
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