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Pelican Technical Article:

Shift Knob Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$120 to $200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Philips head, flathead screwdriver driver 10mm socket, 15mm wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W123 (1977-85)

Parts Required:

Shift knob

Hot Tip:

Do not try and pull the knob off

Performance Gain:

Better looking interior

Complementary Modification:

Detail the center console

The shift knobs on the automatic transmissions on the W123 are not simple to replace; you cannot just pull it off and slip on a new one. The knob is molded to the shaft and you must remove the lower center console and shifter cover to remove the shaft and knob as one piece. Once it is removed, you can replace it with a new knob and shaft--including plenty of after-market options.

Over the years your car may have been serviced by multiple people including previous owners and this can lead to parts replaced with different size fasteners and hardware. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. If something is different on your vehicle please let us know and share your info to help other users. If you have any questions or comments or even a different procedure you would like to share please leave it below and please leave your vehicle information.

The center console panel (red arrow) must come off first before you can remove the shift knob and shaft.
Figure 1

The center console panel (red arrow) must come off first before you can remove the shift knob and shaft.

While there are no visible forms of retaining the console in place it is very easy to remove.
Figure 2

While there are no visible forms of retaining the console in place it is very easy to remove. Begin by setting the parking brake and putting the transmission in neutral. Next open the ash tray and press down on the center clip (red arrow) until you can pull the tray all the way forward on out from the opening.

Use a Philips head screwdriver and remove the two screws at the back of the ash tray housing (red arrows).
Figure 3

Use a Philips head screwdriver and remove the two screws at the back of the ash tray housing (red arrows).

Pull the ash tray housing out; if your vehicle is optioned with an ash tray light make sure to disconnect the electrical connection on the left side (red arrow).
Figure 4

Pull the ash tray housing out; if your vehicle is optioned with an ash tray light make sure to disconnect the electrical connection on the left side (red arrow).

Push the center panel a little forward and then lift it up (red arrow).
Figure 5

Push the center panel a little forward and then lift it up (red arrow). With the front section up slide the panel to the rear; there should be a small plastic stud that sits in an opening in the center console that you need to move far back enough until it clears. Some vehicles may be missing this stud as lots have been broken off over the years by people not knowing it was there.

Gently lift the panel up on one side and disconnect the window switches first (red arrow), this will then allow you more access to separate the other wiring connections.
Figure 6

Gently lift the panel up on one side and disconnect the window switches first (red arrow), this will then allow you more access to separate the other wiring connections.

You can see in this picture that our project cars panel is missing the stud (red arrow) that usually sits in the opening in the console (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

You can see in this picture that our project cars panel is missing the stud (red arrow) that usually sits in the opening in the console (yellow arrow).

With the cover panel remove you can access the shifter cover.
Figure 8

With the cover panel remove you can access the shifter cover.

Use a small flathead screwdriver and carefully pry out the shift cover light (red arrow).
Figure 9

Use a small flathead screwdriver and carefully pry out the shift cover light (red arrow).

Next, use a 10mm socket and remove the three 10mm bolts holding the cover over the shaft.
Figure 10

Next, use a 10mm socket and remove the three 10mm bolts holding the cover over the shaft.

Lift the cover up and turn it so that you can access the bottom of the shift shaft.
Figure 11

Lift the cover up and turn it so that you can access the bottom of the shift shaft. Use a 15mm wrench and loosen the locking nut on the bottom of the shaft to linkage coupler (red arrow).

Unscrew the shaft by turning the knob counter-clockwise.
Figure 12

Unscrew the shaft by turning the knob counter-clockwise. Once the shaft is separated from the coupler, you will not be able to pull it out from the cover yet. You first need to unscrew the locking nut from the bottom of the shaft (red arrow).

With the nut removed you can remove the shaft and knob from the cover by moving it up towards the Park area.
Figure 13

With the nut removed you can remove the shaft and knob from the cover by moving it up towards the "Park" area. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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