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Old 02-16-2003, 10:50 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 18
Question shifter console cover

Someone replaced the shift knob on my '87 190 E 2.3
The black rubber strip that surrounds the shifter has been removed, and it appears a few of the "teeth" that previously held it in have been broken. How do I replace this? Do I need to buy a whole new zebrano shift cover? Thanks.
1987 190 E 2.3 8v (120,000 miles, daily driver)

-16" slk wheels
-clear corner lenses
-Alpine headunit
-Infinity Kappa speakers
-Infinity Basslink
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:00 PM
goldstone's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Dutchess County, New York
Posts: 154
There are quite a few permutations of the shift surrounds (owing to the numerous shift-gate patterns used over the years by MB.) So, you have to be very careful about buying replacement parts for your surround since the size of the rectangular shift-gate openings vary (DON'T ask me how I know.)

Anyway, while I don't know exactly which surround your 190 uses, I do know that many of the earlier surrounds were sold as a single unit (with the rubber frame/insert cemented in place.) The rubber piece wasn't/isn't available separately. Subsequent years' models had separate plastic frames that could be purchased on their own (or replaced with aftermarket chrome alternatives.)

From your description, it sounds like:
--yours was one of the "integrated" earlier types;
--that only the visible part of the cemented rubber "frame" was removed;
--and that the "teeth" you're seeing are what was left of the original rubber by whoever performed the "surgery".

If my assumptions above are correct, and if my experience is indicative, you'll probably have a tough time tracking down just the rubber piece you need. You'll more likely find a complete used wooden surround on eBay or in a junkyard (as noted, make sure it's compatible before you buy it). You can then decide which wood is in better shape (most of the surrounds eventually develop cracks), and mix and match to get the best results, swapping/recementing rubber as necessary.

Hope this helps.

1991 560SEL-Euro (145,000 miles)
1989 420SEL (Retired at 325,000 miles)
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:03 PM
jbaj007's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 2,053
That rubber strip is NOT sold as a separate piece (I've tried for 1 yr.). MB only supplies it as part of a new wood piece. Two used console pieces I've aquired had the strip in poor condition compared to the wood which was very good., so that doesn't seem to be a fruitful route. There are aftermarket chrome surrounds available for some models, I may do that. Carefully glued thin door edge trim or vinyl? piping may be my Scottish answer.

Edit: while I was typing Goldstone had answered.
The Golden Rule

1984 300SD (bought new, sold it in 1988, bought it back 13 yrs. later)
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Old 02-16-2003, 02:19 PM
goldstone's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Dutchess County, New York
Posts: 154
A Tale of Two Surrounds

Sorry to frontrun you like that, jbaj007!

For the record, I finally gave up trying to replace the stupid rubber piece. Instead, I picked-up an entire surround in very good condition on eBay (just the wood). Problem was, it was for a '91 shiftgate and was not right for my '89. (Now you know how I earned my PhD in shift surrounds )

Well, I refused to let that discourage me. I called Phil and he sent me the black plastic frame for the surround I'd just purchased (also not compatible with my shiftgate, of course). I then went to work with my Dremel and a small router bit.

I cut back the underside of the new wood, carefully shaping it so that it would match the underside of my original surround. Eventually, I got it to fit like a glove.

Next I had to deal with the fact that the rectangular opening on the new piece was larger than the old original. I discovered that by positioning the plastic frame off-center, I could "fill" almost all of the extra opening. GREAT! I opted to permantly glue the plastic frame in place.

I next needed to file the bottom edge of the plastic frame since it jutted down too far and prevented the surround from laying flush on the shiftgate. Another job for the Dremel!

Finally, I cautiously removed the plastic switch mounting skeleton from my original surround and re-attached it to the new piece (remember, the piece I bought included the zebrano only.) I was very careful to line things up correctly here so the switches would fit correctly when reinserted, and thereby operate smoothly.

All in all, a royal pain, but I'm really satisfied with the results. My original surround was in TERRIBLE condition, and the new piece makes me smile everytime I look at it.

Judge for yourself...
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shifter console cover-console.jpg  

1991 560SEL-Euro (145,000 miles)
1989 420SEL (Retired at 325,000 miles)
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