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W108 Wood Removal
Note: The information and pictures on this page may only apply to earlier (1965-67) cars, with similarities to later cars. Use your best judgment before trying anything on this page.
Ok, so you want to refinish the wood in your Mercedes... great. There is a lot of work to do: Removing the wood, preparing it, refinishing, and installation. This page will cover the first of this, with more pages to follow in the future (maybe).
To start, we'll focus on the wood on the dashboard itself. These pieces are the hardest to remove and require a lot of disassembly and patience to remove them without damage. Our plan of attack will be roughly right to left, starting with the glove box. Disconnect your battery before starting to avoid any shorting. All of the pictures on this page are thumbnails... click them to see a larger view.
1. Remove the glove box door:
On the inside, there are two screw... remove them and pull the door straight off. Its a good idea to put the screws back into the brackets so they'll be easy to find later.
2. Remove the glove box insert:
Remove all of the screws at the top and bottom inside the glove box. Unscrew the lens off of the light on the left side and remove the bulb. To actually get the box of the dash, you'll probably have to squeeze it top to bottom a bit, its tight.
3. Remove the ashtray:
Pull out the ashtray and set it aside. Now, remove the three screws (see picture) holding the frame in, and the glovebox light/switch assembly. The #3 screw will have washers behind it... don't loose these. The frame will come out from behind. Having this out makes it a lot easier to get your hands back there.
4. Remove the Lighter:
From behind, disconnect the electrical plug. Twist off the outer pin (see picture), remove the washer, then remove the retaining nut. Push the light out of the dash, being careful not to chip the edge of the wood.
5. Dash Speaker:
Remove the two screws at the back of the speaker grill and lift. If you have a speaker in there, remove the four screws and lift out the speaker. If possible, disconnect the speaker wire and set it aside. You may need to remove the radio to disconnect the speaker.
6. Remove the Radio:
These instructions are for an original Becker. If you have another radio, be very careful you do not damage the wood while removing an aftermarket radio's cage, etc. For a Becker radio, start by removing the knobs. If the knobs have little screws in the side, loosen them (see picture). Otherwise, just pull the knobs off. Be careful with the tone levers, they're fragile.
Once the knobs are off, the face can be removed. It may snap in, or may have another means of holding it on. Look carefully before pulling too hard. Under the face, you'll find a bracket on each side holding the radio into the dash. Loosen the bolts, side the brackets up, then out. Pull the radio out, being careful not to damage the wood. You'll need to be ready to disconnect the antenna, power wire (you may need to cut it), power antenna trigger, and/or an amplifier cable. The external amplifiers with Becker radio must be disconnected at the amp itself, not at the radio... have this done before you're stuck with the radio hanging out of the dash. Once the radio is out, reassemble the face with the brackets in place so you don't loose anything.
7. Heater Level Chrome
Start by pulling the little knobs off the ends of the levers, if necessary. They're tight, so be careful not to brake a lever trying to remove them. The chrome piece is held in by two nuts from the back (see picture). You'll have better access if you slide all the levers to the inside (toward the center). You can get a small 10mm socket on the right side nut, but a miniature combination wrench is required for the left side. After removing the two nuts and washers, carefully press the piece out from behind. There will be something that resembles double stick masking tape holding it in as well, so expect some resistance... just be careful not to damage the wood.
Most of the knobs on the push-pull switches simply unscrew. Some may pull off. Unscrew the chrome piece under the knob, and the switch will be free. The knob on the headlight switch may be very hard to remove... Try using a pair of pliers wrapped in a rag if you can't remove it by pulling with your fingers. For the toggle switches, its best to get at them from behind to avoid damaging the wood. If necessary, the can be pryed out from the front.
9. Gauge Cluster
The cluster is held in by one plastic knurled nut from behind. By reaching your hand up from under the dash, to the left of the steering column, you should be able to get to it. Its best to lay on your back with your head down by the pedals. Its tight, but doable. Once this is off, just pull the cluster out from the front. Its possible someone already removed the nut and never replaced it, so try pulling the cluster out first. You won't be able to remove the cluster completely because of the engine temp line... be very gentle with this.. the gauge, line, and sensor are all one sealed unit. Disconnecting the speedometer cable and shift indicator will allow you to move the cluster around a little more. Be careful the back of the cluster doesn't scratch the wood.
10. Air Conditioner
This is a bit of a challenge. Because these units vary car to car, your situation may be different. The best advice is to look very carefully under the unit, and find all the screws you can. In my 250S, I had to remove these screws underneath: Two to the left of the steering column,. two to the left of the center vents... these are smaller screws and one may be hard to find. On the right side there are two more screws. You'll need to remove the cover on the AC fan motor to get at one of them. All of them are somewhat hard to find, and its hard to believe there aren't more of them.
Along with the screws, you'll need to remove the wiring... this maybe be easier once the unit is dropped down, or you can do it from the opening in the bottom on the unit.. Be sure to mark all the wires. The connection to the rest of the ducting is under the glove box... it maybe be covered in tape, or have a rubber seal around it... break this free. There will be a air tube connected at the right side, remove this also. Pull the thermostat wire out of the air box, being careful not to damage it.
Now that you have everything disconnected, you're probably wondering why the unit is still hanging there and won't budge. Its essentially pressed (and perhaps, glued) into the lower chrome strip. Starting at the edges, pull the unit out. Its not easy, and if you hit a snag along the way, its possible you missed a screw.
With the AC out of the way, the vents can now be removed. They are held in by a long V shaped metal wire, with the legs wound into springs. The best approach is to pop the wire off the catch on the dash. Start with the passenger side, its easier. From inside the glove box, you can pry off the wire with a screw driver. Now pull the vent out of the dash a little bit, it should separate from the hoses. You may be able to pull the vent out with the spring, or you may need to unhook it first... either way, be careful here.. its very easy to chip the wood.
For the driver's side, you can unhook the spring from under the dash... see the picture below.
If you're wondering how are you going to get these springs back in place... well.... I'm not sure just yet either!
The lower trim is no fun. Start by removing all of the screws... Try giving the trim a little tug to see if its easy to separate from the wood. Most likely, its glued to the wood with a fuzzy double stick tape. The problem is that the wood is almost off the dash now, so it'll be easy to crack if you pull too hard. Just take it very slowly and be careful. The wood strip running below the glove box is separate from all the other pieces, so don't worry about that sticking right now... it will come off with the trim.
The upper trim is easy... there are screws underneath. Its also held on with the masking tape-like tape.
13. The passenger side piece
Pull off the vent levers on each side. If necessary, use a thin screw driver to release the clip. The wood on the right side of the dash should be loose by now. Carefully side the wood down and to the left... you need to slide it out from under the edge of the dash pad.
14. The main piece
This is another tricky part. It may be helpful to remove the steering wheel. From behind, remove the chrome ring around the ignition switch. Pull the gauge cluster forward a bit. Start working the wood piece to the right and down a bit. You may need to move the heater lever assembly a bit.. There is nothing but the force of the cables holding it in place, so it will slide around a bit. When the wood hits the top of the steering column, you need to start bringing the bottom edge out toward you. This will make you nervous, the piece needs to bend a little bit. Keep working, and the piece will flip up toward you and come free. Just keep a watch on all the edges, and the heater levers.
The Windshield Wood:
Start by removing the side pieces of wood around the windshield. Two screws each, they pop right out. Next, remove the top piece. To remove the rear view mirror, you can usually just grab the neck and press it forward... its designed to snap off with an impact. However, there is a chance a screw in the bracket could pull out and damage the wood. To prevent this, pry a wide screw driver between the base of the mirror and the bracket from behind. Unscrew the three bracket screws, the four screws holding the wood in place, and remove it.
Now... the dash bow. This is a tough one. It doesn't quite fit without being bent a little bit. Its only held in by two screws. You can find them under the speaker grill. Remove them and the piece should be loose. There are clips that hold the piece down about about 1/4 of the way in on each end... sliding the piece foward will release them. I have found the best approach is to lift the left edge up a bit and slide it a little to the left. Then, on the right, lift up the edge and bring it back. The piece is a bit too long to clear the pillar, so with some pressure it will bend. Its very tight, and if the wood is damage or very dry, you can easily break it. Be very very careful!
Wood on the doors:
This is very straight forward... simply remove each piece one at a time. They usually over lap, so one piece must be removed for the others to be free. They are fragile pieces, so be careful.
Thats it! By now, I'm sure your car looks pretty bad! You can mount the switches again, install the gauge cluster, and wrap up the wiring if you need to drive the car. Just make sure there is no chance of anything shorting out. You'll be surprised to see how much noisier it is with everything removed.
February 10, 2002
1967 250S Chassis #40969
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