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Old 01-05-2004, 05:36 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 2
Exclamation 1986 420SEL Hazard light switch

Hello. My 1986 420SEL has a broken hazard light switch. I turned the hazards on while unloading at my apartment and when I went to turn them off the switch would not switch to the off position. The hazards do go off when I hold the switch in the off position but then the turn signals do not work (and it is probably a safety hazard to be driving with one hand while fooling with the switch and turn signals with the other. I removed fuse #1 which stopped the blinking but I think I need to replace the switch or at least remove the old switch and see if I can get it working properly. Only problem is I can't figure out how to remove the switch. I tried to pry it out through the front of the dash with a screwdriver but this seemed to succeed in damaging the wood of my dash and fail in it's actual purpose. Also I can't figure out how to access the back side of the dash panel without removing the radio and I don't have the proper radio removal tools. Any ideas? Also I found a switch at the for around $19 does this sound reasonable? Is there a way to fix the current switch? Thanks in advance for any and all comments.

By the way I've had this benz since late 2001, it has 193,000 miles on it and it runs smooth as silk and looks pretty good too (great considering it's parked on NYC streets). Happy New Year.


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Old 01-05-2004, 06:57 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 96
Sounds like replacement is in order. There's no way to do this without pulling the radio. There are a number of posts on removal -- try searching for "center console removal" or "radio removal", etc. This is the first one I found and will get you started but I know I've seen better ones on the forum:
91 560sel center console removal
BUT this ends up going towards pulling out the shiftgate and window switch console, not the hazard one.

After you get the ashtray and the radio out, the hazard light console will need to be pulled down a bit (gently) and then will come out. The switch is accessible from there. I rep'd the defroster switch a few mos ago. $19 sounds about right. There's likely a wire going to the switch and a fiber-optic cable to light the switch itself. I think the switch is removed by pushing it through the wood towards the passenger compartment, not back through towards the engine compartment -- reason it didn't work to pry is that there's a clip on the top and bottom of most of those that need to be disengaged first. Plan on some time for this job. It doesn't take that long but you do need to be patient.

Hope this helps and welcome...the info on these forums has been invaluable in working on my 420.

04 C230K Sedan
01 Boxster

00 C230K Sedan (sold)
87 420SEL "Phatryd" (sold)
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:37 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: La Quinta, CA
Posts: 271

If you would have clicked on the "FastLane" icon at the top of this page you could have purchased the switch for $17 and at the same time supported the people who make this forum possible.
1986 560 SEL (159K miles)
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Old 01-05-2004, 10:54 PM
Posts: n/a
Or, if you had gone to you could have bought the switch for $13.60. BUT, supporting the forum is important.
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Old 01-06-2004, 02:24 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 2
Just to let everyone know, I was able to replace the hazard light switch that was malfunctioning through the front of the dash. I ended up buying the switch from the local Benz Dealer ($22 but I needed it quick as I had no turn signals, I'll order from fastlane next time) and asked one of the guys there if it was possible to pop the switch out from the front and he recommended putting masking tape around the switch to protect the wood and then using the two smallest screwdrivers you can find, jiggle the switch back and forth by sticking the screwdrivers between the wood of the dash and the plastic of the switch. I have to say that it did work but the masking tape merely masked that I was actually damaging the wood. Anyway the damage is very minimal, I'm sure I'm the only one who will ever notice and god knows what damage I would have caused trying to get the ashtray, after market stereo and heating controls out of the way if I had gone in through the back of the dash. I recommend this method if like me you appreciate your Benz as a somewhat luxurious though somewhat faded workhorse (a marvel of engineering) and you're not going to obsess over a very minor scratch on the dash. If you cherish your Benz and consider it a classic or have a car that still smells new I would recommend taking it to someone who can properly remove the switch through the rear of the dash or if so inclined go that route yourself.

Thanks for all your help. I'm sure I'll be back frequently.

Rob K.
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Old 01-06-2004, 03:04 PM
Posts: n/a
Glad it worked out Rob. I would've done the same thing you did. I suppose the damage might be avoided by taping a thin piece of plastic or steel over the wood next to the switch. It may have had the stiffness to distribute the load from prying and preserve the wood.

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