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Pelican Technical Article:

Starter Replacement

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$240.00

Talent:

*****

Tools:

17mm socket and wrench, heavy duty impact driver, 10mm, 13mm socket and wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W210 (1996-03)

Parts Required:

New or rebuilt starter

Hot Tip:

Soak starter bolts in penetrant oil for a few days before starting

Performance Gain:

Car cranks easily again

Complementary Modification:

Replace ground strap

There are some projects that seem like they should be relatively routine--and are very easy to perform on other cars--but are a huge pain on The Mercedes W210 with the M104 engine. Replacing the starter is one of them. Most other cars I've worked on have had relatively accessible starters. If you are quick with the tools, you can have the starter replaced within 15 minutes on some engines. Not so with the W210.

This is one of those jobs where your patience will be stretched to the limit, as the bolts that hold the starter on are not only very hard to access but are also usually torqued to a very high amount, making it very difficult to remove them. One tip I would offer is to soak the heads of the bolts with penetrant spray for a few days prior to removing them. Good quality oils can seep into the threads and make removal a bit easier.

Begin by disconnecting the battery at the disconnect terminal located in front of the rear passenger seat. The starter has a constant 12V lead attached to the terminal. You can cause damage to both the car and also yourself if you accidentally touch this terminal with the battery disconnected.

Now jack the car up as high as possible and placing it on jackstands. NEVER rely on a floor jack to hold the car up. Be safe and use jackstands at all four wheels.

Begin by disconnecting the battery at the disconnect terminal located in front of the rear passenger seat under the access panel.
Figure 1

Begin by disconnecting the battery at the disconnect terminal located in front of the rear passenger seat under the access panel. Loosen and remove the 11mm nut and pull the terminal off.

Once the battery is disconnected, remove the 10mm nut holding the 12V lead to the chassis (green arrow) and pull the rubber cover off the nut holding the cable to the 12V post on the chassis (purple arrow).
Figure 2

Once the battery is disconnected, remove the 10mm nut holding the 12V lead to the chassis (green arrow) and pull the rubber cover off the nut holding the cable to the 12V post on the chassis (purple arrow).

Remove the 17mm nut holding the 12V lead to the chassis (green arrow) and pull the lead off.
Figure 3

Remove the 17mm nut holding the 12V lead to the chassis (green arrow) and pull the lead off.

Loosen the 17mm lower starter mounting bolt (green arrow).
Figure 4

Loosen the 17mm lower starter mounting bolt (green arrow). You probably wont be able to remove it from the hole until after the starter is moved towards the front of the car. Just unthread it as much as you can.

Shown here is the biggest pain of the whole job, the upper starter mounting bolt.
Figure 5

Shown here is the biggest pain of the whole job, the upper starter mounting bolt. This 17mm bolt can be accessed with a variety of extensions and u-joints as shown here. If you can get the bolt loose, consider yourself lucky. If not, you'll have to use a large impact wrench with extensions to loosen it up and remove it. Once both bolts are removed, lower the starter down, remove the plastic cover on the electrical connections and disconnect both the 12V lead and also the solenoid trigger wire.

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Comments and Suggestions:
PITO Comments: how to remove the starter of 98 benz e430
do I have to remove the motor mount and the exhaust
October 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Remove the head shield for the starter, then the starter fasteners. The mount does not have to come out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Joseph Comments: I have the same problem as Dan.. "The cable from the starter to the 12V lug on the chassis is corroded and snapped off of the lug. When attemting to turn the 17mm nut the whole post turns with it. What is the easiest way to fix this? I also noticed that I have lost power to the gauges since I turned the nut/post."

It's the chassis side of it.. How do I access the other side of the bolt?
July 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to break it off the starter, then use vise grips to hold the stud while you remove the nut. Then replace the starter. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
spydera Comments: Thanks Nick - Are there any links or diagrams you can provide to better see the location of the starter upper bolt versus the bell housing bolt '97 C280. Are the bolts identical, the one I removed from the upper location was identical to the lower starter bolt. Thank you.
July 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No diagrams, sorry. They should be identical. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
spydera Comments: I have a 1997 C280 W202 and am amidst a starter replacement. I removed the upper and lower 17mm bolts, along with the wires and other items, but for some reason can't budge the starter free. Am I missing something? I hope there are only 2 17mm bolts. I tried prying it free without luck. Any suggestions, other than also trying a hammer to jar the starter loose from the bell housing? Please help.
July 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are only two bolts. I would confirm you removed the top starter bolt and not a bell housing bolt. They are hard to see and the mix-up can happen. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
fastfree Comments: About to remove starter on European 190E 2 ltr 4 cyl gas auto. 1989. Any photos
February 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
wenzel1220 Comments: same procedure for 98 E320 V6?
January 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, This article applies to W210 E320 (1996-97).

I believe on a 1998, the exhaust has to be dropped. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Lenny Comments: I have a 1999 E430. The wire between starter and solenoid has totally corroded and disintegrated. I understand wire cannot be fixed and starter must be replaced. Bolts holding starter to motor are not the standard metric bolts. What size/type socket is required? Also can starter be removed before removing terminal wires? Does anything else have to be removed to make room for starter replacement? Thanks.....Len
December 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to disconnect the battery, then remove the wiring. You can removed the wiring once the starter is unbolted, but it will be harder to free the fasteners. The fasteners are likely E-style External Torx. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
eyelovemrps Comments: I just replaced starter in my c280 now it doesnt start what else could it be ????
November 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a bad key. Try your second one. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Billy Bear Comments: I put in a new set of wires that went to the starter. Number part:129-540-21-30. I was told it was my cylnoid. I bought a new starter.the car still won't start unless I use a screwdriver to start.the top of the unit has these numbers;0185450028. Could the lower part of the harness not be working? Where does the lower part of the harness go to.Do I need to repair this as suggested.?
August 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The wires could be faulty. I would perform a voltage drop test on the battery connections to the engine, starter then the starter solenoid signal wire. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
billy bear Comments: I put in my starter wires and oil pump oil leave wire one cause it fride up on my SL320 1995 Mercedes so everyone told me I need a new start to so I put one if them in to the car start if I put a scerldriver on synioned and the 12 built cable and it will start so what can I do and were should I look for to fix it this the cable part I put in 129-540-21-30 and a new start in to this the part number it was on top of the piece 0185450028 do you think the other part of this line could be mess up to why it not getting any voltage one the Eire I don't know what I need to for so it will start with out starting it with a scrudriver touch it so what scruldiver so what should I do to fix it can you help me thanks billy bear
August 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I answered under you other post. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dan Comments: The cable from the starter to the 12V lug on the chassis is corroded and snapped off of the lug. When attemting to turn the 17mm nut the whole post turns with it. What is the easiest way to fix this? I also noticed that I have lost power to the gauges since I turned the nut/post.
August 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The lug on the starter? You can try to counter-hold it with a pair of vise grips. if all else fails, break the stud out of the solenoid, then separate the two. be sure the battery is disconnected before beginning. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mat Cendana Comments: I have a W210 E200 1999. Does the W210 use the same kind of starter unit or is it different according to C.C.? How much power does it require and what is a starter's "normal" lifespan? TIA
May 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Normal lifespan, unsure how to put a number on that. Any where from 60-100k. Usually an engine will draw about 40 amps per cylinder, when cranking. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
oldsinner111 Comments: I went thur 6 starters when my k38 relay was acting up,on my s320 99. I got so good at it 15 minutes is all I need for a m104.
December 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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