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Removing Your Upper Center Console
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Removing Your Upper Center Console

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

Trim removal tool, T20 Torx, small flat head screw driver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W203 (2001-07)

Hot Tip:

Take lots of pictures of the wires on your radio

Performance Gain:

Working switches

Complementary Modification:

Install a new stereo

There are a multitude of components behind the upper center dash console in the Mercedes W203 including the stereo. If you are going to be replacing the stereo or need to service any of the components in the center console you will need to remove the different panels. This article covers how to remove the entire upper center console.

Whenever I work around the cars electronics I always like to disconnect the battery, it can not hurt anything and can save you the trouble of accidentally shorting something out.

While it is possible to take the panels off using a flat head screwdriver I highly recommend you purchase a set of trim removal tools. The trim pieces on Mercedes are not cheap and you do not want to ruin a piece by scratching it with a metal screw driver. Pelican sells a set of trim removal tools for under $20 and they last a long, long time.

Begin by using your trim removal tool to lift the shifter surround from the panel. Slip the tool under the bezel and gently lift it up. It is just held in by pressure clips and will pop out. Turn it over and remove the electrical connectors.

Lift up the leather boot and turn the knob on the base of the shifter. With the shifter loose simply grasp it and pull it straight up and off the shift rod.

Open the ash tray and use your trim removal tool to gently pry up the front of the shifter plate. With the front unclipped lift it up and out of the console.

You are going to need the move the shifter back to remove the ash tray. Because I have disconnected the battery and even if you haven't you shouldn't be turning the key on, open the cup holder compartment and lift out the coin slot. Under the coin slot is a plastic tab that will allow you to move the transmission shifter without turning the key. Make sure the parking brake is on and push down on the tab and pull the shifter back to drive.

Unclip the two tabs holding the ash tray in place and pull it straight back and out of the console.

With the ash tray removed you can see the two clips holding the lower portion of the climate control panel to the console. Unclip these.

Move to the center vents and use your trim removal tool to gently pry the vent cover away from the vents. Remove the vent face plate.

On the left side of each vent is a small tab that stops the vents from turning all the way upwards. Insert your trim tool and compress the tab. Turn both vents all the way upwards. This will give you access to the two T20 Torx screw holding the lower vents to the console. Remove the two screws.

Use the trim removal tool and gently pry down the four clips holding the top of the vents to the dash. Pull the vents out and disconnect the wiring. You can now see the two T20 Torx screws holding the upper part of the climate plate to the dash. Remove these.

With everything loose, wiggle the face plate out of the console. Disconnect the upper wires and the lower ones. The lower climate control has two connections: one simply unplugs and the other you will need to press in the retaining clip and then slide the grey arm down releasing the clip from the housing.

You should now have access to your stereo. Stereos will vary in these cars depending on original equipment or after market installations. Our project car came with some awful home installation stereo. It was held in place with drywall screws and a small block of wood and I am too embarrassed to show pictures of it.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

Begin by using your trim removal tool to lift the shifter surround from the panel.
Figure 1

Begin by using your trim removal tool to lift the shifter surround from the panel. Slip the tool under the bezel (red arrow) and gently lift it up. It is just held in by pressure clips and will pop out.

Turn it over and remove the electrical connectors (red arrow).
Figure 2

Turn it over and remove the electrical connectors (red arrow).

Lift up the leather boot and turn the knob (red arrow) on the base of the shifter.
Figure 3

Lift up the leather boot and turn the knob (red arrow) on the base of the shifter.

With the shifter loose simply grasp it and pull it straight up and off the shift rod (red arrow).
Figure 4

With the shifter loose simply grasp it and pull it straight up and off the shift rod (red arrow).

Open the ash tray and use your trim removal tool to gently pry up the front of the shifter plate (red arrows).
Figure 5

Open the ash tray and use your trim removal tool to gently pry up the front of the shifter plate (red arrows).

With the front unclipped lift it up and out of the console.
Figure 6

With the front unclipped lift it up and out of the console.

You are going to need the move the shifter back to remove the ash tray.
Figure 7

You are going to need the move the shifter back to remove the ash tray. Because I have disconnected the battery and even if you haven't you shouldn't be turning the key on, open the cup holder compartment and lift out the coin slot (red arrow).

Under the coin slot is a plastic tab that will allow you to move the transmission shifter without turning the key.
Figure 8

Under the coin slot is a plastic tab that will allow you to move the transmission shifter without turning the key. Make sure the parking brake is on and push down on the tab (red arrow) and pull the shifter back to drive.

Unclip the two tabs (red arrows) holding the ash tray in place.
Figure 9

Unclip the two tabs (red arrows) holding the ash tray in place. and pull it straight back and out of the console.

With the ash tray (red arrow) unclipped pull it straight back and out of the console.
Figure 10

With the ash tray (red arrow) unclipped pull it straight back and out of the console.

With the ash tray removed you can see the two clips (red arrow, one shown) holding the lower portion of the climate control panel to the console.
Figure 11

With the ash tray removed you can see the two clips (red arrow, one shown) holding the lower portion of the climate control panel to the console. Unclip these clips.

Move to the center vents and use your trim removal tool to gently pry the vent cover away from the vents (red arrows).
Figure 12

Move to the center vents and use your trim removal tool to gently pry the vent cover away from the vents (red arrows).

Remove the vent face plate (red arrow).
Figure 13

Remove the vent face plate (red arrow).

On the left side of each vent is a small tab that stops the vents from turning all the way upwards.
Figure 14

On the left side of each vent is a small tab that stops the vents from turning all the way upwards. Insert your trim tool and compress the tab (red arrow).

Turn both vents all the way upwards.
Figure 15

Turn both vents all the way upwards. This will give you access to the two T20 Torx screws (yellow arrows) holding the lower vents to the console. Remove the two screws.

This shows the hidden T20 Torx screw (yellow arrow).
Figure 16

This shows the hidden T20 Torx screw (yellow arrow).

Use the trim removal tool and gently pry down the four clips (yellow arrows) holding the top of the vents to the dash.
Figure 17

Use the trim removal tool and gently pry down the four clips (yellow arrows) holding the top of the vents to the dash.

Pull the vents out and disconnect the wiring (yellow arrow).
Figure 18

Pull the vents out and disconnect the wiring (yellow arrow). You can now see the two T20 Torx screws (red arrows) holding the upper part of the climate plate to the dash. Remove these.

With everything loose, wiggle the face plate out of the console.
Figure 19

With everything loose, wiggle the face plate out of the console. Disconnect the upper wires and the lower ones.

The lower climate control has two connections: one simply unplugs (red arrow) and the other (yellow arrow) you will need to press in the retaining clip and then slide the grey arm down releasing the clip from the housing.
Figure 20

The lower climate control has two connections: one simply unplugs (red arrow) and the other (yellow arrow) you will need to press in the retaining clip and then slide the grey arm down releasing the clip from the housing.

You should now have access to your stereo.
Figure 21

You should now have access to your stereo. Stereos will vary in these cars depending on original equipment or after market installations. Our project car came with some awful home installation stereo hidden behind the four factory screws (red arrows). It was held in place with drywall screws and a small block of wood and I am too embarrassed to show pictures of it.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Johns Texas Comments: Just about to print out these instructions. I am replacing the Restraint System Control Module 2038206485. Armed with these instructions I should be able to get it done in no time. Thank you
August 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
Let us know how it works out. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jtwizzle Comments: In figure 20; what is the function of the connector identified by the red arrow? My connector shattered when I removed it.
June 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure, don't have the wiring to compare it to. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
kat in the hat Comments: I am replacing several parts and am very thankful for your useful articles! While removing the center vents as seen in Figure 18, the clip on the a/c vent, for the electrical connection broke. What is the red and black wire side connector called think it is the "female" sideand do you sell it?
June 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Just a connector. it should be available. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
songster Comments: thanks but i have it torn down but cannot remove the console it self mainly wear the carpet is
June 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Wish I had the info to share. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ray Comments: Hi NIck,re CLK320 2003 have problem front dash single cup holder which wont retract fully please can you advise are these items repairable.Have spoken to Mike Speer re a new unit however he is unable to ship this to me in Australia.app any help you can give.Rgds joseph
February 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: As far as I know they are not repairable. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
RonBFL Comments: Thanks. I didn't have the Pelican tool, but removed the entire vent assembly in one piece. Your method opens up access to the clips and screw. Yes, the method works for a C320 2002.

My C320 2002 radio face plate also had two clips on the bottom rather than the screws. It was easy to remove. I also recommend you get a mirror tool mirror on a metal expansion rod. This will help you locate and see some of the not-so-visible clips, etc.

Be careful to reconnect ALL cables! I forgot one and had to take it all apart!


Thanks for the article.

Best regards,
Ron B.
February 1, 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
 
FUDGIE BERRIS Comments: THANKS PELICAN
July 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You're welcome. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
baracus Comments: I have ml 320 would this method apply to it?
October 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This tech article applies to:
C320 (1998-2004)
E320 (1998-2004)
S320 (1998-2005)
ML320 (1998-2003)
CLK320 (1998-2004)
SLK320 (1998-2003)
C230K (2003-2005) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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