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  #1  
Old 05-29-2002, 01:31 PM
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Location: LaPorte, IN
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Shift lever--'89 560 SEL

Had a "no start" situation over the weekend that acted like a bad neutral safety switch. Took a final look last night before ordering bushings and switch and found that the shift rod bushings are in pretty good shape, but that the bushing that allows the shifter to pivot (and I think, attatches it to the tunnel) is very sloppy. I'm pretty sure this is the cause of my problem. Is this available separately or is it part of a system? Car does start now after jiggling the shift rod.

Also, from under the car it looks like it might be necessary, or at least easier, to make this repair from within the cabin. It appears as if the PO has glued down the burlwood trim on the shift console, which will likely turn disassembly into demolition. Anybody got a spare to sell? Thanks.
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Earl McLain
'02 C230 Kompressor
'89 560 SEL "Frau BlueCar" (retired April 2004)
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2002, 04:46 PM
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Yes Earl, there are two nylon pivot bushings for the shifter itself. Yes the repair has to be done from within the cabin. You will have to remove the shift gate entirely to access the bushings and yes, FastLane does carry the bushings.

To remove the wood panel:

Slide out the ashtray, remove the insert. You will see two phillips head screws, remove them. Now the whole ashtray drawer will come out. Once that is out, gently work the coin tray toward the dash and pull up, be sure to disconnect the seat heater switch as soon as there is room to do so. Next, gently, very gently, pry the wood panel toward the dash, after a few mm's the "L" shaped legs will come free and you will be able to lift the panel just enough to disconnect all the switches and remove the panel.

You may have room to access the four 10 or 12 mm bolts which hold down the shift gate. If not you will have to completely remove the center console, a PITA but I can talk you through that. There is one electrical connection to the shift gate for the "B" switch (mounted on the passenger side of the gate) and the indicator bulb at the left front corner.

You may also find that the wood panel has broken at the front edge, if so let me know. I have written up a "How-to" repair for this panel and can provide that.

Hope this helps.
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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 TDI...at least its a diesel

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  #3  
Old 05-29-2002, 04:57 PM
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Thanks Mike. I'm beginning to search for a wood panel since the old one is glued down. I may not get back to it for a few days-got a killer cold. I'll keep you posted.
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'02 C230 Kompressor
'89 560 SEL "Frau BlueCar" (retired April 2004)
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  #4  
Old 05-29-2002, 04:59 PM
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If the panel is glued down, that is because it has been broken. More than likely the broken piece is still in the console, and can be used in the repair. Try a lot of gentle prying to try and break the glue joint, but not enough to ruin the panel .
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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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #5  
Old 05-29-2002, 10:46 PM
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Have you been in my car??

Yep, front edge of the was broken off and as you predicted, it was just laying there. Pretty good detective work!! The only thing you didn't predict was that the cross piece at the back of the shift gate is broken, which explains in part why they had to glue the wood down.

It looks like I'll be able to get to the two bolts on the passenger side and I think if I remove the carpet from the driver's side of the tunnel I may be able to pivot the vent tube out of the way enough to get those. What do you think?

I would appreciate your write-up on repairing the front edge. Thanks for your help.
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'02 C230 Kompressor
'89 560 SEL "Frau BlueCar" (retired April 2004)
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2002, 01:48 AM
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Dang it, I forgot about the fresh air plenum (a large "Y" shaped piece). You will have to remove the center console completely. I posted a how to for this for Mattman, I'll dig up the link. As for the broken cross piece that has two screws to the shift gate - everyone I have seen has been at least cracked. The console I have in now is cracked as well. I have heard that some careful work with some hot strips of metal, like bailing wire, can be used to make a patch.

Super glue the center piece where it is broken at the screw holes, then heat a piece of wire and press it into the side of the plastic. Should hold together enough to secure the console and provide a solid attachment for the legs of the panel.

Send me an email Earl so I can email you the document (complete with pics - or at least links to them). It hasn't been posted to the DIY section yet and you're gonna need it.

EDIT: Read this to learn how to remove the console. It start about halfway down the page, be sure to study all the relevant posts.
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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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.

Last edited by MikeTangas; 05-30-2002 at 02:12 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-31-2002, 02:10 AM
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Here is the repair for all to see

It will have to be a multi-part posting due to the size.

Any one who has a pre-owned W126 is likely to encounter this problem – the wood panel for the center console is loose at the front edge. It can be lifted up from the console or even shifts while driving. Or maybe you have found the perfect piece of burl wood at the salvage yard, no checking or clouding, but it too is broken at the front edge.

Here are the steps I took to correct this problem while resurrecting the 560SEL. The panel depicted in this write up is an extra I grabbed just for this purpose.



On the face, the panel looks good.

However, once removed you find the panel is now in two pieces.



First step is to remove the center console panel. To do this pull the ashtray drawer out and remove the ashtray insert. With the insert removed you will see two Phillips head screws, remove these screws and pull the ash tray drawer out of the dash. Now gently push the coin tray toward the front of the car until it is free of the center console wood. If your car is equipped with seat heater switches in the coin tray, disconnect the plugs and put the coin tray aside.

With the parking brake set, place the shifter in “N” and gently pry the wood panel toward the front of the car to free the two “L” shaped legs that cam the panel down tight. Once the legs are free you will be able to lift the rear of the panel and disconnect all the switches and remove the panel. You will now be able to also remove the piece of the panel that has broken off.

The first step in repairing the panel is to sand the appropriate places.



Notice how the broken off piece has raised areas? The raised area needs to be cleaned up with sandpaper to ensure a smooth, clean surface.



The panel itself needs to have the mating area sanded smooth. While working the panel you might discover that the wood has splintered along the grain.

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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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #8  
Old 05-31-2002, 02:13 AM
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Part 2

Don’t pull this splinter off. Gently sand both sides of the splinter, you want to retain as much of the wood as possible to maintain the integrity of the panel – the fewer voids the stronger the joint.

Once both pieces have been sanded and all saw dust blown from the pieces you are ready to glue up. Start by gently lifting the splinter.



With the splinter raised you are able to insert a small amount of wood glue between the splinter and the panel body. Next you will apply a small amount of glue to the panel, along the mating area. Do not use too much glue or it will squeeze out, making a mess and filling the recesses that accept the coin tray.



This is about the right amount of glue, possibly just a shade less. Once the glue is on as pictured, take the broken piece and mate it to the panel. As the two pieces come together, slide them against each other to spread the glue evenly on both pieces.



You will need a set of small clamps, similar to those pictured, to clamp the panel up. They can be found at your local home improvement store and should only cost a few dollars.



The panel and broken piece are clamped together securely. Notice how the glue is squeezed out from the joint. This looks like much more glue than it is, plus the majority of the squeeze out went to the backside of the panel.

Note: The larger clamp in the center of the panel is the clamp I use to install shift rod bushings – perfect size for the job.



The leading edge of the panel should now look like this picture. Notice how at the right and left side of the panel there are recesses? The coin tray fits into these recesses. You have to be careful not to get an excess amount of glue in the cutouts or you will not be able to fit the coin tray. The excess squeeze out in the center of the panel should not interfere with the tray but I would try to clean some of the glue out with a damp paper towel to be safe. More squeeze out than pictured will have to be cleaned as the narrow groove between the recesses will be filled and the coin tray will not sit flush in the groove.
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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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #9  
Old 05-31-2002, 02:14 AM
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Part 3

Once that is done put the clamped panel off to the side and let is sit for 24 hours. Good wood glues sets up fairly quick, allowing you to work a little quicker but due to the use and tension the panel will receive I prefer to let it set a long time.

Prior to installing the repaired panel, you want to check that the staples which hold the cam legs to the panel are tight. Often someone not familiar with how the panel is installed will try to pry up on it. This action tends to loosen the staples from the wood.



You can lay the panel, as shown, on the workbench, with a soft towel between the panel and bench. Using a small punch and a plastic, or rubber mallet, gently tap the staples down. It doesn’t take much to push the staples back in and tighten up the mounting. Upon reinstalling the panel use care not to exert any upward force on the legs to ensure the staples don’t pull out again

That is how I repaired the broken center console wood panel. It is a fairly fast job, the only hold up is having to wait twenty-four hours for the glue to completely cure. I’m not sure there is a “wrong” wood glue to use, but I use basic carpenter’s yellow wood glue, the stuff made by Elmer’s.

Hope this helps to fix some of those broken center panels out there.
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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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2002, 02:27 AM
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good write up mike. I guess i was lucky in being able to just super-glue that peice up front back on. I gave up on trying to get the old legs in, and ended up making my own wooden ones using a dremel tool. Granted, my wood isn't *pefectly in*, but my center console isn't perfect, and the car sure as hell isn't perfect, so it made me happy
Ryan
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  #11  
Old 05-31-2002, 09:57 AM
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Hey Mike,

Two things:

1. It might be a good idea to post this as a new topic with its own heading. That's too good to get lost in a "shift lever" heading.

2. That "spare panel" looks to be in better shape than mine was before I chipped it breaking the glue loose. Want to sell it maybe, or if you see another at the breaker's I'd be interested. Not many Benz's in the local boneyards of the Midwest.

Thanks again for sharing your experience. Your 560 thread has been something of a tutorial for me as I've worked on mine.
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'02 C230 Kompressor
'89 560 SEL "Frau BlueCar" (retired April 2004)
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2002, 07:59 PM
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Earl,

I'll be reposting the "how-to" in the Detailing Forum, if I cut out the signature I might be able to do it in one post, maybe two.

I will also check my box of spare parts and see if I have another panel in better condition than the example. I'll get back on that via email.
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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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2002, 10:21 PM
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Cool Got it done!!

Started early by gluing up the wood from the console following Mike Tangas' well written guide. Glued and clamped the plastic legs while I was at it. Then, in an effort to not remove the entire console, pulled the under-dash panels so I could remove the carpet from both sides of the tunnel. This allowed me enough room to spread the fresh air plenum just enough to get a 1/4" drive 10mm socket and extension in to remove the mounting bolts of the shift assembly. Went under the car and popped the clip off the shift rod.

Back inside car, not enough room to lift full assembly out, so I used a 17mm flare wrench to loosen the locking nut on the shift handle, top part of assembly came out easily. This allowed enough room to pivot the lower section and remove it. On the workbench, disassembled, cleaned, put in new bushing on shift lever, bushings on each end of the shaft in the assembly, and bushings on two-legged spring. Tip--order the spring if you do this job, mine has a broken leg and I had to put it back in that way. Old bushings ranged from poor condition to broken to little pieces. Slop in the shifter made it appear as if neutral safety switch had failed, reality was shift lever on tranny not in proper location from bushing failure. Reassembly was reverse, and pretty straight forward. Tip--do not turn shift nob to straighten it after reassembly!! This causes lock nut to loosen and the removal of what you just put together. Get it straight, then lock it.

Messed around with other stuff while waiting for glue to dry on console cover, that went flawlessly. Thanks to the info on this forum about shifter bushings and specific help from Tangas, $4.00 in parts and overnight service from FastLane, got the problem diagnosed correctly and the repair done right the first time.
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