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  #1  
Old 06-04-2002, 11:38 AM
Bob Prosser
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Question C280 w/ loose shift lever. Ideas?

Hi all.

Re: '97 C280 w/50K mi. The shift lever has developed a kind of looseness. It's most pronounced when I shift longitudinally from say, neutral into drive or visa versa. It used to go into its notch with a "snap." Now it goes in with a "ca-lunk."

I assume it will get worse with time. Anyone know if this is a common complaint? If I take it to my MBZ dealer, he'll probably try to sell me a new transmission. :) Think there's a way to lift the gate's black plastic cover and tighten a bolt or two in the hidden linkage?

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Bob Prosser
San Diego
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2002, 12:17 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
I had the same thing, replacement of the shift rod bushings solved the problem, and it is a cheap fix.
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2001 CLK55
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  #3  
Old 06-04-2002, 12:28 PM
Bob Prosser
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Thanks for the help.

Who is it easy for, DIY types like me, or for MBZ mechanics? Not sure what you mean. I've been turning wrenches for years, including on my Porsche, but I only own the normal hand tools.

Is access to these bushings from the top? Can I get access by removing the knob and lifting the gate's black cover?

Does the knob screw off, or do I need to pop off the cap to find an access bolt? How about the cover? I hate to experiment with cosmetic items.

Thanks again,
Bob
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  #4  
Old 06-04-2002, 06:07 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: LaPorte, IN
Posts: 400
Easy for the patient DIY

You can do it!! Read my recent thread: https://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/showthread.php?threadid=38872
This was an '89 w126, with some existing wood console issues to deal with also. Bought the car 5 months ago, had never changed my own oil before that. With the CD manual and the input of this board, got the bushings done.

Study the threads or shift rod and shift lever bushings, your disassembly will be different from mine, but the bushing installation will be similar and I'd bet there are posts on the topic from others with your chassis. Couple of things to remember:
1. Shift Rod--goes from tranny to shift lever under the car, you should be able to see it from underneath. Those bushings often go bad, mine were ok, but I changed the one on the shift lever since it was out of the car.
2. Shift lever and shifter--this is the handle in the car and its mechanism within the console. These were what was bad on mine. Not only sloppy feeling, but reverse lights didn't come on in the right spot (I didn't know at the time), shifts were off, and finally car acted like neutral start switch failed because the loose shift lever left everything in the wrong position.
3. Bushings for all locations (probably 3 pairs) and the spring for the shift yoke (mine was broken, but I hadn't ordered one) likely won't total $10-$15 from FastLane. Talk with Phil, he can e-mail you the diagram.
4. If not for the woodwork I had to do, I'd have been done in well under 3 hours.

Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2002, 04:09 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Diamond Bar, CA
Posts: 73
Is it that easy?

I am driving my C280 with a loose shift lever for couple of month now. Looked under the car and the bushings are really hard to reach. I believe that there are some posts that confirm it's not easy to replace the bushings on 202.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2002, 04:21 PM
Bob Prosser
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Bummer! So now what do we do?

Fyi -- I received this email the other day:

~~~~~~

Bob: Most of us with the older cars have had to change the plastic bushings in the shift lever rod, one at each end. Though your car is much newer, the action is exactly as you describe, so they may be using cheaper plastic. The bushings are cheap and this is a do it yourself job if you don't mind working under the car. The new bushings must be squeezed into the shift rod and space is tight. I used vaseline, two 1/4 inch fender washers, and bolt with a nut to make a sandwich and squeeze the bushing into the hole.

- Jim, 79 300SD

~~~~~~

Think this relates to the C280?
- Bob
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2002, 06:20 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: LaPorte, IN
Posts: 400
The intimidation is the worst part of the job. Even looking at the diagrams had me nervous. Once you get going it all makes sense. There are 2 possible locations for worn bushings, the shift rod and the shift lever or assembly. If you take out the shift assembly you get one end of the shift rod with it, much easier to do that way, and in another thread on the subject a poster even said it was worth the time to remove the assembly to do that one bushing. I would agree, but if you have the shifter out, might as well do those also. These cars are made to be maintained, not disposed of, and as such can be dismantled with greater ease than I ever anticipated. Read the threads, study the CD, and when you order the bushings from Phil have him email the shifter parts diagram to you. The picture is much worse than reality. Good luck!!
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'02 C230 Kompressor
'89 560 SEL "Frau BlueCar" (retired April 2004)
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  #8  
Old 07-25-2002, 02:25 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 32
Shift Bushings

Did you ever get your shift bushings replaced? I've got a 94 C280 with the same problem. I've been studying them for awhile now, but haven't gotten up the nerve to try to replace them. I believe mine are completely gone. Did you order the bushings from Phil as well as a diagram? Any input is appreciated.

Thanks

Joel in Tennessee
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1994 C280
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  #9  
Old 07-25-2002, 02:44 PM
Bob Prosser
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Yup, did it a month ago. I jacked up one side of the car, climbed under, found that the hard rubber grommet directly under the shift lever had disappeared. Farily easy to see and access. I removed the safetly clip, lubed the new grommet, and with a little fiddling with a large blade screwdriver, forced the new grommet into the hole. Replaced the safety clip and bingo, problem solved. There were a few more details, but if you climb under the car with a flash light, you will most likely see and understand the problem quickly. The grommet cost me a dollar. Time spent, less than an hour.

You can call me in San Diego if you have questions: 760-434-8858

Hope that helps.
Bob Prosser
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  #10  
Old 07-26-2002, 12:04 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 32
I ordered the bushings awhile ago and was sent 2 small white colored nylon grommet looking things about 3/4" long. These don't sound like what you are talking about.

Where did you get yours? Do you have a part number?

Thanks
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1994 C280
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  #11  
Old 07-26-2002, 12:18 PM
Bob Prosser
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You are in luck, I still have the bag they came in.
PN A 202 992 00 10 -- mine is a 1997.

They are little dark green donuts (although the color probably doesn't matter) and just under 3/4" diameter. They have two ribs running around the outer radius, creating a center channel. After forcing it into the metal hole, the channel is what keeps it in place.

I got them from Brian at Europac West 877-996-9499.

Happy to help.

Bob Prosser

Bob@TheAdGuys.com
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  #12  
Old 07-26-2002, 12:37 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 22
124 shifter bushing replacement

I have an older body style (124) - but the bushing replacement made a big difference! I think the two bushings cost me maybe $1.50. Probably the biggest ROI you'll get in a Mercedes part replacement outside of a blown fuse. Installing them is very intuitive. One at the transmission, one at the bottom of the shifter.

The only trick is getting them pressed in place. The one at the shifter (near the rear of the car) is toughest because you're laying on your back and reaching around the drive shaft. The other takes more disassembly, but it is done on the bench. I've been blessed with big, lanky, piano-player fingers and an 11" set of needle-nose pliers. But I'd say most important is patience.

FYI: I had my car to a transmission shop, and asked if he would mind doing it for me. He said "No problem. Give me the bushings and I'll charge you half-hour labor - $30". I figured he had experience with this repair. I was wrong.

He called me back moaning about how it took 4 hours to get just one in (the transmission one, which is the easy one because you do it on the workbench), and that he'd have to charge me at least two hours more to get the 2nd one in - and that there was no way I'd be able to do it myself. He had me scared - but I told him not to finish the job and thanks for trying. I brought the car home, and spent more time jacking-up the car in my driveway than actually installing the other bushing.

That said, yours may be more challenging if they are very hard to reach.
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  #13  
Old 07-26-2002, 02:06 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 32
Thanks - I'll find out if yours fit a 94.
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1994 C280
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