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Removing the Dashboard on your Mercedes Benz
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Removing the Dashboard on your Mercedes Benz

Steve Vernon

Time:

6 hours6 hrs

Tab:

$0

Talent:

***

Tools:

8mm, 10mm and 13mm socket and wrench, screwdrivers, small needle-nose pliers, rag

Applicable Models:

 
Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)
Mercedes-Benz W126 (1981-91)
Mercedes-Benz W201 (1984-93)

Hot Tip:

Take lots of pictures

Performance Gain:

Fix what ever was broken

Complementary Modification:

Replace heater core

Mercedes-Benz W201s are known to eventually have problems with their heater boxes, or more specifically, they usually need to have the heater core replaced. The dashboard will need to be removed if you are having vacuum problems with the climate control switches or are in need of a new heater core. While this job does not need any special tools or even any special talents, it is time consuming, and can be very nerve racking (as you are going to be taking most of the cars controls out). It can easily be done by a DIY mechanic if you take your time, follow the instructions and take lots of pictures to help you put it all back together. Keeping the fasteners for each area in Ziploc bags (the kind you can write on) will reduce confusion, assembly errors, and some of the nervous stress especially if this job stretches over days or weeks.

There is a fair amount of work that needs to be done before you remove the dashboard, and due to the length of this article I am going to refer you to our other articles throughout the body of this article. The following will only cover removing the dashboard, if you are replacing the heater box or heater core, please see our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Replacing Your Heater Core.

First, you will need to remove your instrument cluster, please see our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Removing your Instrument Cluster.

Next, you will need to remove the center console, please see our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Removing Your Center Console.

With the instrument cluster and center console removed, you can begin tackling the dashboard. If you have managed to get to this point without disconnecting the battery, please stop and disconnect the battery now.

Begin by removing the under dashboard cover on the drivers side. Using a small screwdriver, or a trim removal tool, pop the trim covers on both sides of the steering column out. Now use a Phillips-head screwdriver and remove the four screws holding the under dashboard cover in place. The cover end by the pedals is mounted in a slot on the firewall. Pull it from its slot and remove it from the car. The pad covers the lower knee protection, which is basically a large plastic tube, filled with a Styrofoam cut out. Use a 10mm socket and long extension to reach through the tube access holes and remove the two nuts holding it top the knee bar. With it removed remove the three Phillips-head screws holding the lower dashboard to lower mounting bar.

If you did not remove the drivers side vent when removing the instrument cluster you will need to remove it now. Wrap a cloth around some pliers and gently pull it from the vent. With the air diverter removed you have access to the four clips that are holding the vent to the dashboard. Gently pry up the four plastic clips holding the vent in place and pull it forward. The vent and face plate will come off together. There is a rear cabin light switch attached to the plate that just pulls apart to disconnect.

Move to the light switch located below the vent and using the same rag and pliers pull it straight off. Next, use a 24mm socket and un do the locking nut on the switch. Gently pry the switch face plate off. If you have a dimmer switch on your face plate remove the switch once the plate is off.

Using the same rag and pliers remove the center vents, they just pull straight off as well. Remove the two screws holding the vents to the dashboard. If you have already removed the center console you should have already done these two steps. You will need to remove the vent housing. Close the vent, and using a small Allen key from the top of the vent control reach in and unscrew the Allen bolt holding the control to vent. The vent housing will now pull straight out. If your car has a rear window defroster or snow chains switch, disconnect them now. Remove the screw behind the defroster switch.

Move to the passenger side vent and remove it the same way you removed the others.

Open the glove box and using a small screwdriver or trim removal tool, remove the seven plastic snaps. Pry out the light and disconnect it. Remove the two Phillips-head screws holding the latch on. Slide the box in slightly until you can pull down on the top of the insert, and remove it from the lip of the frame. Pull the glove box out and disconnect the switch by the center vents.

Using a small Phillips-head screwdriver, remove the two screws on both the driver and passenger side speaker covers. Gently pry the covers up and remove. Use an 8mm socket and remove the bolt in the speaker wells. These bolts hold the dashboard to the body.

Now, you are going to have to remove the A-pillar covers. This is an easy job, but can be intimidating the first time you do it. Each cover is held on by two metal clips, one about 5 inches from the top and 5 inches from the bottom. I like to start with the top clip and place a wide trim removal tool in by the windshield and pry it out and back towards myself. You can also grab it and pull it back if you need to, but it will need a fair amount of force to get the clips to let go.

Remove the trim piece around the ignition switch by gently prying it off.

Remove the lower knee cover on the passenger side by removing the three Phillips-head screws. Underneath the cover you will see a 10mm bolt by the center console that needs to be removed.

There are 13mm bolts on the ends of each side of the dashboard, remove these.

Disconnect the speaker wires and look around to make sure there are not any other wires that need to be disconnected that you might have missed.

With everything disconnected you can now remove the dashboard. Pull the passengers side out towards the seat first and then the drivers side forward. You are going to be removing it out of the passenger side door so once you get the dashboard to clear the A-pillar; it is easy to remove the rest of the way. Just be careful of the cruise control stalk if your car is equipped with it.

Congratulations you have now removed your dash!

Installation is the reverse of removal.

Using a small screwdriver, or your trim removal tool, pop out the trim covers on both sides of the steering column for the lower drivers side cover.
Figure 1

Using a small screwdriver, or your trim removal tool, pop out the trim covers on both sides of the steering column for the lower drivers side cover.

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver and remove the three screws holding the under dashboard cover in place (red arrows, only two shown).
Figure 2

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver and remove the three screws holding the under dashboard cover in place (red arrows, only two shown). The cover end by the pedals is mounted in a slot on the firewall. Pull it from its slot and remove it from the car.

Use a 10mm socket and long extension to reach through the tube access holes and remove the two nuts holding it top the knee bar (red arrow).
Figure 3

Use a 10mm socket and long extension to reach through the tube access holes and remove the two nuts holding it top the knee bar (red arrow). With it removed, unscrew the three Phillips-head screws holding the lower dashboard to lower mounting bar (green arrows).

Remove the air diverter from the vent by wrapping a cloth around some pliers and pulling the diverter straight out.
Figure 4

Remove the air diverter from the vent by wrapping a cloth around some pliers and pulling the diverter straight out.

Gently pry up the four plastic clips (red arrows) holding the vent and face plate to the dashboard, and then slide it forward.
Figure 5

Gently pry up the four plastic clips (red arrows) holding the vent and face plate to the dashboard, and then slide it forward.

Disconnect the rear light switch from the face plate.
Figure 6

Disconnect the rear light switch from the face plate. It pulls straight off.

Wrap needle nose pliers in a shop rag and pull the light switch straight off.
Figure 7

Wrap needle nose pliers in a shop rag and pull the light switch straight off.

If you have a 24mm socket, use it to unscrew the retaining nut on the switch stalk, otherwise work the nut backwards with a screwdriver.
Figure 8

If you have a 24mm socket, use it to unscrew the retaining nut on the switch stalk, otherwise work the nut backwards with a screwdriver.

Gently pry the face plate off.
Figure 9

Gently pry the face plate off. If you have the optional dimmer switch remove it now.

Using the same rag and pliers remove the center vents, they just pull straight off as well.
Figure 10

Using the same rag and pliers remove the center vents, they just pull straight off as well.

Remove the two screws holding the vents to the dashboard.
Figure 11

Remove the two screws holding the vents to the dashboard.

Close the vent, and using a small Allen key from the top of the vent control reach in and unscrew the Allen bolt holding the control to vent (red arrow).
Figure 12

Close the vent, and using a small Allen key from the top of the vent control reach in and unscrew the Allen bolt holding the control to vent (red arrow).

The vent housing will now pull straight out.
Figure 13

The vent housing will now pull straight out.

If your car has a rear window defroster or snow chain switch, disconnect them now.
Figure 14

If your car has a rear window defroster or snow chain switch, disconnect them now. Remove the screw behind the defroster switch.

Remove the screw behind the defroster switch.
Figure 15

Remove the screw behind the defroster switch.

Remove the passenger side vent using your rag wrapped pliers.
Figure 16

Remove the passenger side vent using your rag wrapped pliers.

Gently pry up the four plastic clips holding the vent and face plate to the dashboard, and then slide it forward.
Figure 17

Gently pry up the four plastic clips holding the vent and face plate to the dashboard, and then slide it forward.

Open the glove box and using a small screwdriver or trim removal tool, remove the seven plastic snaps.
Figure 18

Open the glove box and using a small screwdriver or trim removal tool, remove the seven plastic snaps.

Using a small screwdriver, gently pry the glove box light switch out and disconnect it.
Figure 19

Using a small screwdriver, gently pry the glove box light switch out and disconnect it.

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver and remove the two screws holding the locking latch in.
Figure 20

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver and remove the two screws holding the locking latch in.

Slide the glove box back slightly and pull down on the top part until it clears the lip (red arrow), then remove.
Figure 21

Slide the glove box back slightly and pull down on the top part until it clears the lip (red arrow), then remove.

With the glove box out, disconnect the switch by the center vents (green arrow).
Figure 22

With the glove box out, disconnect the switch by the center vents (green arrow).

Using a small Phillips-head screwdriver, remove the two screws on both the driver and passenger side speaker covers.
Figure 23

Using a small Phillips-head screwdriver, remove the two screws on both the driver and passenger side speaker covers.

Gently pry the covers up and remove.
Figure 24

Gently pry the covers up and remove.

Use an 8mm socket and remove the bolt in the speaker wells.
Figure 25

Use an 8mm socket and remove the bolt in the speaker wells. These bolts hold the dashboard to the body.

Place a wide trim removal tool in by the windshield and pry the A pillar trim piece out and back towards the front seat.
Figure 26

Place a wide trim removal tool in by the windshield and pry the A pillar trim piece out and back towards the front seat.

Gently pry the trim piece from around the ignition switch.
Figure 27

Gently pry the trim piece from around the ignition switch.

Remove the three screws (yellow arrows) holding the lower dashboard cover off on the passenger side.
Figure 28

Remove the three screws (yellow arrows) holding the lower dashboard cover off on the passenger side.

Remove the 10mm bolt (green arrow) under the glove box opening, holding the lower part of the dashboard to the frame.
Figure 29

Remove the 10mm bolt (green arrow) under the glove box opening, holding the lower part of the dashboard to the frame.

Remove the 13mm bolts at both ends of the dashboard.
Figure 30

Remove the 13mm bolts at both ends of the dashboard.

Disconnect the speaker wires (red arrow) and have a good look around to make sure you did not miss anything connected to the dashboard.
Figure 31

Disconnect the speaker wires (red arrow) and have a good look around to make sure you did not miss anything connected to the dashboard.

Lift the dashboard out and remove it by the passenger door.
Figure 32

Lift the dashboard out and remove it by the passenger door. Here is the complete dashboard out of the car.

Congratulations you have removed the dashboard.
Figure 33

Congratulations you have removed the dashboard. If you are going on to the article about removing your heater core this is what you will be looking at as you begin that project.

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Comments and Suggestions:
190ANDY Comments: Hey Nick, how do you lower the steering column to make it a lot easier? The driver's side of the dash won't go over the column when I try to take it out
November 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You would have to remove the fasteners for the column, then lower it to the seat. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
David Comments: Picture 26 - removing A pillar trim: This step is unnecessary. The dash will slide out from under them. It's also a bit dangerous. I managed to crack the windshield in the attempt.
I would like to thank the Pelican staff for this really great series of technical articles - they helped me a lot.
October 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
David Comments: When removing the light switch trim plate, I discovered that on the right side there is a plastic post secured by a metal clip after the post goes thru some insulation. I should have removed this clip, but didn't and broke the post off from the trim plate. : Not a big deal, but annoying to break something.
October 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
cristi Comments: For Hein:there is a fan that ensure the proper functioning of the temperature sensor for the climatemix air.It works all the timecontact on.
February 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
rairden Comments: A final note on the subject of my previous two comments here, I discovered that the black tube going up the A-pillar ends at the lighting assembly up by the rearview mirror, where it gently sucks cabin air across a temperature sensor.

I also found another website that said the vacuum valves can chatter if the climate control electronics get flakey, calling it "the dreaded 190 clicking behind the glove box noise".
January 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
rairden Comments: I jumped to a bad conclusion. I looked at that motor again and I don't know what it does. The black rubber tube goes up into the A-pillar somewhere. The climate control suction comes from somewhere else. Mystery to me. Anyway, I'm attaching a current photo comparable to figure 33, perfectly drivable.
December 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks again for sharing the image and information! - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rairden Comments: Hein, that's the block of vacuum lines red and green tubes which control all the magic vent flap functions. An electrical harness from the center console buttons goes into it actuating several valves. The hanging item is the electric vacuum pump/motor, whose suction port plugs into that black rubber elbow tube visible just above the red tubes on the block. The pump motor seems to run whenever the ignition key is in the ON position, but maybe it cycles depending on climate control status. I expect that's where your noise comes from, though it's supposed to be muffled by that hunk of foam around it.

This helpful article was a prerequisite to successfully replacing my heater core I left a comment under the Heater Core article last February. I wonder whether I'm the only reader to have attempted it. Definitely a learning experience. Note figure 26 above is a surprisingly effective way to crack your windshield. Pull away from the glass, do not pry against the glass. Years of sun turns the trim-piece gasketing material into epoxy.

Figure 32, lifting the dashboard out, was so awkward that I haven't had the fortitude yet to reinstall it. Turns out that the instrument cluster can be all reconnected and sits fine on top of the steering column. The center console can also be balanced in place and climate control harnesses reconnected. You'd want to do this anyway to test drive a heater core replacement before buttoning up everything. My test drive has been 5000 miles so far. Great conversation piece in parking lots.

Regarding this website, I can still log in to my account in the Peachparts forums. I guess the Pelican parts side has no log in? Any way to find a commenter's profile? Might be helpful to figure out what they are asking or why.

fyi, this post is 1814 characters out of 2500 max
December 27, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the image. Earlier someone posted a similar photo and it was hard to tell if it was a fuse block or not. It is clearly a vacuum block, from your image. Thanks!

Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.

Not sure about the log in to peach pit, I would call customer service at 1-888-280-7799- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Hein Comments: Thanks Nick for replying back. Is there someone who I could ask the question who has dealt with older model Mercedes, as the item in question may appear to be a fuse panel, but, I find it hard to believe that a fuse panel would be put in such a difficult place to get at. I don't believe that when the changing of a simple fuse is required then one has to remove the entire dash to get at it. Therefore the item must be something else. That's why I need to specifically identify the item before I begin to replace it rather than guessing as to what it could be.
December 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can try a repair manual. Keep in mind, it could be a junction block with large fuses, which would rarely require access.

Are you trying to fix something on your vehicle or just curious? - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Hein Comments: Attention Nick,
In the Pelican article, "Removing the dash on your Mercedes Benz", the last jpg pic33 shows the dash removal complete. I was wondering what is the name of the item to the far right of the picture, just to the right of where the glove box was. This item has all the wires protruding from it. Also the item hanging from it. What is it?
I have a noise similar to a dry fan bearing squeel, that is coming from that unit on my 1992 Merc.Benz 190e, 6 cyl. . Is there some sort of cooling fan built with-in that device where the noise may be coming from? I'd appreciate that info should I require to order the part. Thanks...Hein
December 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Looks like a fuse panel to me. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
quesnoy Comments: What is the small black hole on the transmission tunnel in the passenger side footwell? I've included a picture for your reference. The hole is circled in red. Thanks for any help.
June 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Looks like a screw. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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