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Shifter Cover Plate Removal
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Shifter Cover Plate Removal

Tom Morr

Time:

15 minutes15 mins

Tab:

$25 to $60

Talent:

*

Tools:

Plastic wedge or equivalent

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R170 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

Replacement cover plate if necessary

Hot Tip:

For cars that have a boot, remove it first.

Performance Gain:

Allows access to power-window switches, plugs, passenger-side airbag OFF switch/plugs
The most time-consuming part of DIY repair can be removing all the parts that cover the ones you need to access. The shifter cover plate is a prime example. It must be removed as a preliminary step to removing the upper console or getting at the shift lever.

Possibly the best part of this job is that it doesn't involve any hardware to bag/label or misplace. 

Mercedes would like us to use their special plastic pry wedge (PN 115589035900) to delicately remove the cover plate and its trim bezel. This tool costs more than the price of replacing the cover and chromed ring.

In reality, home-garage items can be used to pry up the ring and plate. A few ideas are shown below.

Many Mercedes-Benz service and repair procedures are more involved than similar jobs on other marques cars. Thankfully, the shifter knob -- or Selector Lever Handle, per the manual -- is an exception. The job doesn't even require tools on R170 SLKs with automatic transmissions. 

For cars that have a boot (or Covering if you're following along in the manual), its four clips must be set free. Use a trim removal tool to remove the bezel. Once the boot is free, it's lifted up and over the knob to reveal the knob's lock ring (Clamping Piece).

Removing the knob is often a first step for other transmission-related service jobs. Even if the purpose is to replace the knob with a new OE one or an aftermarket knob, the job can definitely be done at home in a matter of minutes.

Tips; the trim bezel for Tiptronic models is about twice as expensive as the standard trim ring (170-267-02-88). Part number for the faux carbon fiber cover plate is 170-680-05-36
The chrome bezel ring uses tab/slot mounting.
Figure 1

The chrome bezel ring uses tab/slot mounting. The manual calls for a horrendously expensive plastic wedge tool to pry up the ring. We used a wood shim.

The bezel can be lifted out of its slot.
Figure 2

The bezel can be lifted out of its slot.

The cover plate's mounting tangs are in the rearward corners.
Figure 3

The cover plate's mounting tangs are in the rearward corners. Here again, the manual mentions the factory wedge tool. Work-arounds include carpentry shims, putty knives, or small flat-blade screwdrivers. Our project car's interior paint has the Mercedes-Benz alopecia, so we weren't concerned with paint-protection. Otherwise, we might have put masking tape over the "tools" to protect the paint.

Lifting up the cover plate from its rearward edge allows its front lip to slide out from under the ashtray and cubbie.
Figure 4

Lifting up the cover plate from its rearward edge allows its front lip to slide out from under the ashtray and cubbie. Gently flipping the plate over, being conscientious of the attached wires, exposes the switch harnesses and plugs.

The window switches un-mount from their slots by depressing their plugs' black tangs (arrow).
Figure 5

The window switches un-mount from their slots by depressing their plugs' black tangs (arrow).

The plug for the passenger's side airbag-disabling button is gently pulled out.
Figure 6

The plug for the passenger's side airbag-disabling button is gently pulled out.

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