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Old 03-10-2002, 03:16 PM
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W126 Shifter bushing replacement

My shifter has noticable fore/aft movement whilst in gear. I assume that there is some sort of bushing that can be replaced, has anyone done this before? Mike Tangas?


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Old 03-10-2002, 05:06 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430

I think you want to change the shift rod bushings rather than the shifter bushings. To do the shifter bushings you'd have to disassemble the shifter itself to replace the two bushings at either side of the shifter.

The shift rod bushings are what are more than likely worn. Part # 115 992 03 10 (about $1.35 US at the dealer), two needed.

There is a clip at each end of the rod, slip the clip off and remove the rod from the lever. I found it easier to remove the shift lever from the side of the tranny to press the bushing, the bushing on the end of the shifter will have to be pressed in inplace, unless you opt to remove the shifter assembly from the car. To press the bushing in I used a small "C" clamp a 17mm socket and a US Quarter. The old bushing will probably have to be cut out.

Soak the new bushings in hot water for a few minutes to soften them. Set a bushing on one side of the hole in the lever, place a coin (US quarters work great here)on top of the bushing, place the 17mm socket on the opposite side of the lever and squeeze together with the clamp. The coin will distribute the pressure evenly around the bushing the socket gives the bushing room to pass through and secure. Once pressed in you might have to take a small screw driver and gently pry at the edges where it may not be completly seated. Replace the lever on the side of the tranny.

Repeat the process for the shifter end. It might be a little trickier due to tight quarters but can be done if the clamp is small enough.

I use small wood workers clamps which come basically straight out from the bar, no arc like a traditional "C" clamp has.

Once the bushings are in, replace the rod and the clips and you are good to go.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

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Old 03-10-2002, 05:13 PM
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Awesome, thanks again Mike.

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Old 03-10-2002, 08:32 PM
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I just had this done on my SD the other day...made a HUGE difference! No more annoying vibration on the highway, and moving the shifter from gear to gear, it feels like a new car!

1979 300 SD
350,000 miles
1982 300D-gone---sold to a buddy
1985 300TD
270,000 miles
1994 E320
not my favorite, but the wife wanted it
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Old 03-10-2002, 09:27 PM
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Location: Plattakill, NY
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Do you think this is about what the rod busings would work for the manual trany? I have a w126 that needs them replaced.
1991 Mazda Miata 174000
1991 Subaru 189,000 Winter beater

got rid of:
1984 VW Vanagon 195,000
1976 350SE Euro 185,000 KM
1973 280SE 4.5 (boy do I regret that)
1980 280SE European W126 4 speed manual (miss it)
1989 BMW 735iL 119000 (good riddance)
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Old 03-10-2002, 09:30 PM
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Great advise about soaking in hot water, it took a lot of prying and pushing to get one in there with out soaking first. I think that would help a lot.

What a difference it made!! My old 400e made a hell of a racket especially when I accelerated hard. I thought there was an issue with the tranny! The replacment (actually adding since the old one was completely gone!) eliminated all the sounds.

Mike, you are the man, after reading about your 'projects' really puts the rest of us weekend DIY'ers to shame!! We don't do nothing in comparison.

95 E320 Coupe Black - 70,000 miles with Parchment interior. Stock through out
93 400E Dark Blue - 65,000 miles Sold to my dad
86 300E Gold(yuck!!!) 126,000 miles- Sold, a really fun car with a lot of memories
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:05 AM
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Posts: 1
Replacing shifter rod bushings

Based on this article, I made a tool that works pretty well. I took a pair of channel locking type pliers and I used some 5 minute plastic weld epoxy glue. I glued the quarter to the top jaw and the socket to the bottom jaw (do one at a time). Make sure they line up just about the thickness of the bushing. I used this on a 1980 300SD (after the hot soak) and it worked well. Just push the bushing partly in place and use the channel lock to snap it in. It seems to help to wrestle it around while you are doing this to get the lip of the bushing into the metal bracket hole.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:06 PM
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I agree that taking the lever off the transmission end is a good idea. One allen screw is all it takes. Getting it back on requires a bit of patience.

Using c-clamps and soaking the bushings are a complete waste of time in my opinion. By far the easiest way to get these in place is to cut all the way through them, creating two ends, and feed them into the hole starting with one of the ends. These are made of really stiff "rubber", I believe the material used is an upgrade to the previous material, and much harder to install. I could have forced it in place with a c-clamp, but I decided that would stress the material more than just cutting it. My indie mechanic told me "don't try to get those in there without cutting them" and he was right. It was hard enough doing it cut.

I know what you are all going to say "waaah waaah waaaah, cutting the bushing ruins it, it won't last, it will pop off, waaahh waahh waaaah." Nonsense. That material is super tough, and once you re-assemble the linkage, there is no way for the grommet to escape.

Save yourself the grief and just cut the little buggers.


1990 300SE "Corinne"- 145k daily driver - street modified differential - PARTING OUT OR SELLING SOON - PORTLAND OR. AREA - PM ME FOR DETAILS
1988 560SEL "Gunther"- 190K passes anything except a gas station
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