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Old 02-11-2003, 11:29 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Valley Center, Ks
Posts: 12
Hood cable latch

Help! Hood latch broke!!

tom wiggins

Tom Wiggins Writes; My hood latch cable broke on my 190D. Am I going to have to break out the grille to open the hood.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks, Tom

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Old 02-12-2003, 01:43 AM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,565
Depending on where the latch broke, you will either need a flashlight and a piece of stiff wire, or a trip to the dealer.

If you shape the wire into a little hook (may take some fiddling with pliers to get it the right size to fit inbetween the grille slats), and look into the grille, you should be able to see what's left of the hood latch. The latch handle forks into two arms near where it attaches to the latch itself. If the handle has broken off BEFORE the point where the two arms are molded together, you have yourself a nice place to hook the wire onto. If the handle has broken off PAST the point, and there are just two arms hanging aimlessly into the void, you may be able to hook onto an appropriate part of the latch itself (never tried this myself), or otherwise find some way of attacking it from underneath...

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Old 02-12-2003, 10:15 AM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
Anthonyb is right.

This is "wire coat hanger" territory here! You can fish around until you can get ahold of the latch, but patience is your friend.

This happened to me accidentally on the ML. Was installing a bug shield and it required temporarily removing the catch on the front of the grille. Needless to say, during installation, SLAM! Hood is shut and I can't get to the latch to open it! Out came the coat hanger, and 30 minutes later, I was back in business.

A flashlight would help as well...
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Old 02-12-2003, 10:55 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Valley Center, Ks
Posts: 12
Thanks for the reply, but I believe you are refering to the safety latch. The main latch is the one I need to get to.

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Old 02-12-2003, 12:17 PM
Thomaspin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
The brute force approach....

Well, a new grille screen for your car is under $15 at FastLane so, assuming you want to avoid the ezpensive dealer, if all else fails you could snip out a section of the plastic grille screen (or Dremel it out with a cut off wheel) and reach in to open the hood.

Then replace the grille screen and latch. The decorative metal strips should slide off, but if not, they are very inexpensive to replace.

I replaced the screen and strips on my 1990 560SEL when I bought it a couple of years ago - the screen was grimy and hard to clean and the strips tired. At that time I did not replace the plastic pull as it's invisible with the hood closed, but it would drive me up the wall every time I popped the hood, being ugly and dirty, so I finally replaced it this weekend.

I wonder why these break? Does the plastic get brittle with age or do owners stress them out by using them as a lever to lift the hood instead of lifting at the base of the grill frame?
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Old 02-15-2003, 12:08 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Valley Center, Ks
Posts: 12
Well guys, I took my sawzall and cut the plastic grille out. Then There was a plastic cover over the bottom of the latch. I used the sawzall to split this and used a screwdriver to release the hood. Thanks for the replies, Tom

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