280GE Gwagen.. owning an modifying my 30year old Mercedes.

John757

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601
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Surrey UK
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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
This is my 8years (and counting) Ownership experience with my W460 280GE G wagen.
Over the years I have diagnosed and fixed a lot of the issues myself.. with help along the way from a very good mate who also owns and restores
old G wagens.

This is my story...
It took me 3 years to find a G I was happy with... I originally wanted a W463 (later model from 1991-), but after much searching and looking at both dogs and princesses (with big price tags) it became clear that my budget of 8k -8.5k was not going to be enough...
so I decided I would buy a 460...the best i could find... with a view to face lifting it and making it a 463 clone..
I found my G in July 2014 at a local Smart Roadster dealer who took it in part exchange and priced it just right.. she had all the right provenance... but had been neglected a little by its last owner in terms of minor service issues and cosmetic bits n bobs... the under-bonnet soundproofing was hanging off and it had a few parts that needed refurbishing.... it drove well...and appeared rust free.. with 103k miles and only 3 previous owners...and a full history file...despite the flaws.. and a few small dents and scratches.. I decided I just had to have her...
I took the plunge.. a little voice in my head kept saying its not a 463... but after only a few weeks of driving her and tinkering...she had grown on me... I sorted out most the cosmetic issues on the outside. .and serviced everything... there is a certain charm about the 460... its a little truck but it has great big heart... mine is a straight 6cylinder 1990 Petrol SWB 280GE in factory black and black check cloth, it has walnut trim and a 4 speed auto... part time four wheel drive.. it starts and everything works smoothly...and it even has central locking (which wasn't working - it is now !) and electric windows... for me the 463's I looked at at this price were 200,000+ milers...and at these mileages its not just the engine that's gone that far.. gearboxes, transfer boxes, bearings, drive-shafts.. all at the twilight of there service life and with other issues running into the £1000s...these worn out 463s were not what I wanted or needed..
On my little truck I hoped to retrim the interior with leather in a few years.. consideration may or may not be given to replacing the 2.8l with a nice big rumbling V8 engine... larger wheels... and maybe a slight lift in the suspension.... but even as she stands... I love my little 460.... and no longer plan to make her look like a more modern car... she is what she is...and after all 460's are "The Daddy"... of all G's that follow!!
... I made a good decision to buy her... after replacing some parts i discovered she had been 'wax-oiled' from new.... and the layer of this magical substance has kept rust at bay for 32 years and counting!!.... my decision to compromise was due to budget... .... you know what you want... and you know when the right car speaks to you... ... G wagen owners have a passion for this marque and are endlessly helpful enthusiasts... and when the right truck is sitting on your drive... you will have no regrets that you bought the wrong one...
some things can be changed to what you need... (at a cost) the best trucks will always fetch a premium....prices have shot up recently to over 20k! .
Like the perfect partner.. the perfect G wagen only exists in our imagination.... sometimes compromise is needed in terms of equipment.. the most important thing is that its sound and solid and mechanically correct...the rest can be altered later.. but if I had rushed into buying the wrong one based on shiny new paint and bling... I may regretted it later... the seller thought I was mad when I climbed underneath the G... but the rust hides there... the suspension turrets in particular...mine was a good un! and all the good advice I received ..along with research and patience paid off... and I now own a really great G Wagen...
rust free G's are rare cars are tough to find..... but when you do.... the experience driving it.. and of people pointing and asking questions about your G...
makes ownership a special place to be.... in my G !!

I will in my posts here describe and show with pictures all I have done to keep this little G in good mechanical shape, along with a few upgrades I did.. they are characterful vehicles and were born to be military transport... its not fast... I have the SL55 AMG for thrilling driving and acceleration... its not frugal... I have the E350cdi coupe for the long journeys... it is however incredibly capable off road and in the snow.. and I don't think I would ever be able to part with it....

This is how she looked when I bought it... note roller skate wheel size!
baby G 101.PNG Baby G 102.png

After 8 years she now looks like this;

My G.jpg

Daddy O  2.1.jpg

John757
 

Benzowner

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Had a 280GE long wheel base a few years ago, built like a brick out house. The front and I think the rear bumpers are 6mm thick steel channel. Had the unfortunate event in Cornwall of hitting a lorry down one of the narrow lanes, wrote the lorry off and just needed to bend the front bumper off the tyre. We loved ours except the fuel consumption, 15-16 mpg always, on a run, towing the twin axle caravan, round town, always 15-16mpg. You have a good example there from the pics.
 
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John757

John757

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Messages
601
Location
Surrey UK
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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
Had a 280GE long wheel base a few years ago, built like a brick out house. The front and I think the rear bumpers are 6mm thick steel channel. Had the unfortunate event in Cornwall of hitting a lorry down one of the narrow lanes, wrote the lorry off and just needed to bend the front bumper off the tyre. We loved ours except the fuel consumption, 15-16 mpg always, on a run, towing the twin axle caravan, round town, always 15-16mpg. You have a good example there from the pics.
Thank you,
yes solid steel bumpers, grille etc..very tough no computers.. Mechanical fuel injection, all mechanical transmission, with vacuum pipes, solid axles, Hi/Lo ratio transfer box.. 3 locking diffs.. crawler 1st gear. 2tons of loveliness! 13mpg all day long..
 
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John757

John757

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601
Location
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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
One of the first issues I managed to fix on this little truck was the starter motor failing to spin intermittently.. this went on for many months.. access is severely limited on the auto version and the starter is held into the bell housing by two large allen headed bolts which can only be accessed by removing either the prop-shaft or the exhaust I was told. However I did manage to access the bolts using a long allen socket attached to a wiggle joint and two very long extension bars totalling about a metre... then carefully threaded them through from behind the exhaust silencer to the bolts... the first time I removed the starter it took me about an hour and a half to get it out... as time went on and it came in and out several times . I got that removal time down to about 12 minutes!
The reason it came in and out was first time to take it to a Bosch repair centre to get it checked only to be told it was fine.
I put it back in and a few days later had the same spinning non engaging problem... It came back out, and replaced the solenoid with a new one.. went back in.. few days later.. same problem... out it came again.. and this time it had a new bendix (engagement cog) that didnt fix it.. so out it came again.. and I fully stripped it (never done that before) cleaned it and rebuilt it... Bushes looked fine... A few months of good working starter... it stopped working again... New (recon one) from MB was £600! I had to sit down. I eventually got a new starter from a mate for a lot less... pulled the old one and refitted the new one... it worked but screamed loudly like it was touching something... out it came again... checked it ... looked ok... back in it went.. still screeching.. now this new starter was a recon MB one.. so i figured it must be ok.. it had never been used but was an returned old stock item.. hence the lower price. In between all this motor swapping... I even looked at the ignition wiring.. replaced the positive and negative leads on the battery, the command wire to the starter in case it was faulty... I even put my old starter back in and prayed it would be ok... but after a few months of working it again stopped spinning the motor.. bugger. I then decided I had nothing to lose and tested the new starter on the bench..with a car battery and some wire, It spun... the engagement cog spun out to the correct position... but it was screaming like it had a dry bearing on every operation... I had little choice , so i stripped the new starter... and found after a deep inspection that the backplate had been assembled without its thin thrust washer allowing the armature to rub on the casing. I ordered a set of thrust starter washers from Mercedes... and when they arrived I rebuilt the recon motor, and tested it on the bench... It worked perfectly, and most importantly as quietly as a starter should. I repainted the rebuilt starter and once again removed the old one and refitted the new one.... that was 2015... it has been fault free ever since... I still dont know what failed on the old original starter... i expect a broken winding or some other fault... but at least I have spare solenoid and bendix for my new/recon one that I rebuilt. These starters are designed to be submerged and are sealed, as they hang on the bottom of the engine below the wading line... they are very heavy... and after about 10-15+ remove refit episodes... I am happy to hopefully never remove it again!!
I am not a mechanic.. I am an enthusiastic DIY home mechanic with tenacity and logic... I work on all my cars when I can and despite the constant failures.. I persevered... and along the way discovered how a starter motor works (or doesn't in some cases!)
I took some pictures along the way.... enjoy. photo 1 (3).JPG photo 1 (4).JPG photo 2 (3).JPG Solenoid 2.JPG photo 3 (3).JPG
photo 4 (2).JPG Solenoid.JPG starter again 041.JPG starter again 049.JPG starter again 050.JPG starter again 053.JPG starter again 054.jpg starter again 056.jpg stripdown of starter 001.JPG
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
The next thing I tackled was the suspension, after discovering a spring broken and had lost 1 coil from the top, plus they were bouncy castle soft and the shocks had reached their design life (30 years.)

It had been well looked after by the 3 previous owners...102,000 miles and Full Service History.
I attended to all the small jobs.. like changing the starter motor.... a few times
:shock:

sorted the vacuum leak in the engine causing rough running..
fixed the central locking system..
Fixed the reversing lights..
fixed the rear fog lamp..
Had the from Grille powder coated.. and a front new star.
Tinted the rear windows..
So I got to grips with the suspension.. replacing them with new uprated sport version Bilstein shocks and slightly harder springs
:mrgreen:

I also decided the suspension bushes would need replacing as they had started to break up.
So it was off to my mate's workshop 150 miles away and with his help, we changed and uprated the suspension!

First the removal of the old suspension springs, shocks and training arms (which attach to the rear axle)

2016-09-19 12.02.18.jpg 2016-09-19 12.07.32.jpg 2016-09-19 12.34.47.jpg 2016-09-20 12.11.30.jpg Brake line fixed.jpg IMG_0554.JPG 2016-09-19 12.00.54.jpg
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
And a good clean of the suspension mounting points followed by etch primer then two pack paint.. plus all new bolts. and a brand new anti roll bar (Panhard rod ) at the rear. 2016-09-19 14.24.33.jpg 2016-09-20 11.02.37.jpg 2016-09-20 12.45.41.jpg 2016-09-20 11.52.17.jpg 2016-09-20 15.28.45.jpg 2016-09-20 15.29.13.jpg 2016-09-20 15.30.00.jpg 2016-09-20 15.31.07.jpg 2016-09-20 16.09.19.jpg 2016-10-15 12.17.49.jpg 2016-09-03 15.02.57.jpg 2016-09-10 12.09.04.jpg

Steering balljoint gaiter goosed.... so was replaced too... 2016-09-20 12.11.53 (2).jpg 2016-09-20 12.12.22.jpg trailing arms rear underneath car.jpeg 2016-09-20 16.01.18.jpg
 
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John757

John757

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601
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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
After a few years of enjoyment of my G wagen I decided it was time to refurbish the front suspension bushes which were by then 30 years old, at the same time I would be altering the final drive ratios in the two live axles from 4.88 to a lower 4.1 using the last remaining crown wheel and pinion set left on the shelf at Mercedes Benz. The reason for the ratio change would be to lower the revs on the 4 speed auto at motorway speeds, allowing a more comfortable and refined drive at 50-70 mph .
While the axles were out they would be getting a full strip down and paint, together with the front swingarms, brackets and clips, as well as replacing the front CV joint rubber boots, concealed inside the large chrome swivel joints at the front.
This was a huge undertaking, and I am indebted to my good friend and engineer (Mike) who not only did most of the work with me assisting, but put me up in his home for 2 weeks while the work was being done! He is a G wagen expert, and has worked on and had a hand in the restoration of at least 50 classic G wagens over the years, without his help I would have been lost! Whilst this work was being undertaken we discovered and fixed a potential serious issue with the brakes, which would have had serious consequences had it not been discovered.

I have many pictures of this part of my restoration.... I will include a short description with each set of pictures.. during this exhausting task!

We started with the G up on the vehicle lift

Axle Strip down begins.jpg

We had to remove the wheels, suspension, brake lines, diff locking mechanisms, anti roll bars, axles, drive shafts front and rear were disconnected, and the axles are very heavy.. two man job. the brakes had to be disassembles from the axles, and the inner drive shafts removed.
Front Axle off.jpg
dirty rear axle off.jpg


Front axle removed.jpg


The front anti roll bar hanger had to have its bolt cut off as it had seized in place..
left hanger.png
front hanger sawn off bolt.jpg

The job was then to clean the axles ready for the crown wheel and pinion inside the differential gears of the axles to be swapped out.

Axle shampoo and set.jpg

the swinging arms were cleaned stripped and painted first in etch primer, then refinished in two pack paint... the
and anti roll bars and brackets were sand blasted and powder coated once the bushes had been replaced with new ones..

Anti roll bar bits old.jpg Front Anti roll bar clamps old.jpg Front anti roll bar old.jpg Front Trailing arm bushes old.jpg Front trailing arms old.jpg

after the new bushes were fitted... and the diff gearing replaced..

anti roll bar clamps.png arms.png Front trailing arm bushes new.jpg etch.png more paint.png painted arms.png Painting by numbers.png refurbed front ARB and hangers.jpg
 
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John757

John757

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601
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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
continued.... refurbed front anti roll bar hanger..
refurbed hanger.jpg


the following pics show the axles themselves after the diff change being refurbed and finished

New 4.1 crown wheel and pinion OEM.jpg new diff on show.jpg New rear CW&P.jpg other diff in place.jpg

new diff gasketts.jpg new diff gasketts 2.jpg new diff gasketts 3.jpg Diff cover fitted.jpg rear axle stripped of grime.jpg rear diff etch primered.jpg shiny painted rear axle.jpg hanging front axle painted.jpg

The next stage was replacing the CV joint boots

knackered CV boots.jpg front CV boot removed- split.jpg CV boot RIP.jpg new CV boot fitted.jpg new CV boot and clip.jpg front drive shafts ready to go in.jpg
 

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John757

John757

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601
Location
Surrey UK
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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
Rebuilding everything with new gaskets and seals... we were into week two by this stage of the refurb..
front swingarms and ARB fitted.jpg droplink.jpg front axle going on.jpg front axle re hung.jpg front brakes refitted.jpg new front hangers and clamps fitted.jpg old discs back on for now.jpg Re assembly 1.jpg rear axle completed on G.jpg rear axle refitted.jpg renewed rear axle fitted to G.jpg Scraper seal 2.jpg Scraper seal 4.jpg speedo drive refitted.jpg speedo drive unit re geared and painted.jpg springs back in on front.jpg zinc coated clamps fitted.jpg
 
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John757

John757

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Messages
601
Location
Surrey UK
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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
Rear brake reassembly
brake.jpg
Spring kit   rear brakes.png Drum Brake spring kit.jpg
The hubs were left to be repainted at a later stage as we ran out of time... (they are actually done now.. which you will see later)
lots of new OEM parts..
New bushes OEM.jpg new thicker diff covers.jpg Scraper seals for front swivel joints.png Swivel joint seal gaskets.png

The result of the refurb was amazing... and this is the before and after the diff ratio change showing the lower RPM vs road speed

This was before in top gear (4th) speed.png

and after the diff change

speed 70 2.png

A massive change, I am running 18inch G500 W463 Wheels.. with 265/65/18 tyres.. and the gearing is now perfect for this engine and box!
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
To correct the speedo from reading incorrectly after the ratio change the speedo drive unit had to be dismantled and rebuilt using new different sized gears (its totally mechanical) obtained from a G parts specialist. the speedo compared to GPS is accurate to 1mph.
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
A serious safety issue that got thrown up during this undercarriage restoration, was that the brake master cylinder was not functioning correctly, as well as the rear brake limiter valve. which is used to control brake pressure as weight lifts from the rear and is transferred to the front.
As it later transpired, a previous owner has filled the brake system with the wrong brake fluid, this fluid attacks the seals and rubbers in the brake system, causing them to swell and split over a number of years.
The decision was taken to replace with new not only the brake master cylinder, but also the rear brake limit valve, and
Refurbished my brake Calipers (sent to BiggRed)
New Brake pads
New pad retaining pins
New pad Spring clips
New Caliper bolts
New Discs
New Disc retaining screws
New OE Master Cylinder
Slave cylinder repair kits
New OE Rear Brake LSV Actuator rod

This was one of the brake master cylinder seals...


brake master cylinder rubbers split.jpg

And this is what came out of the actual brake master cylinder!

Brake Gluid.jpg

The top half is brake fluid... the bottom half is debris, dissolved rubber, and go knows what!

rebuilding front master cyclinder -brakes.jpg



It was deemed safe to temporarily rebuild the master cylinder, and flush the system twice to allow the G to be transported back to my house.
There it was laid up fro a few weeks waiting for parts...
While waiting for these parts I decided to rub down and repaint the front hubs (which we ran out of time to paint) in etch primer then two pack paint, to match my shiny new axles.

Strip down first..
Old Brakes; (note the H&R wheel spacers which have a bolt through design..to correct the offset on my G500 wheels )
old brakes showing wheel spacer.jpg


caliper 1.png


20200927_121059.jpg



Brake pad retaining pins were a challenge to remove!
20200927_121113.jpg

20200928_143147.jpg 20200928_143216.jpg
brakes removed and drained... old calipers sent off to BigRedd for refurb
280 GE Single pipe calipers.jpg
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
Waited a while for the parts to arrive... so hub painting! Hub cleaning.jpg Hub Cleaning 1.jpg hub seal side etch.jpg NS Hub Etch.jpg 20201010_124613.jpg 20201001_104745.jpg 20201001_104738.jpg
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
Eventually the parts arrived... everything went together ok... until..............

20200925_121721.jpg 20201003_123252.jpg 20201003_130930.jpg 20201005_112317.jpg 20201005_112323.jpg 20201005_113356.jpg 20201005_114223.jpg 20201005_115317.jpg 20201005_115709.jpg




Original refurbed brake calipers... look like new!
20201008_144826.jpg 20201009_131020.jpg 20201009_131128.jpg
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
The other side was a little trickier... after I discovers the mounting lugs cast in the axle hub for the brake calipers had stripped threads!

20201009_140014.jpg 20201009_140427.jpg 20201009_140549.jpg

I had no choice but to pause and seek advice... the hubs are very expensive.. and they had just been rebuilt. A decision was taken to 'Helicoil' the lug holes.. and insert new stainless threads.. not something I had ever done before.

Two different Helicoil tool sets were needed as the holes are different sizes 16mm and 14mm .. together with special drills.. after much internet research..on how to do it.. I took the plunge and got to work! 20201012_114113.jpg 20201013_195618.jpg 20201013_141712.jpg 20201013_152951.jpg


new oversize thread cut
20201013_145622.jpg

20201013_153050.jpg 20201013_154701.jpg 20201013_161524.jpg 20201013_154731.jpg

The Helicoil job was successful. and allowed me to toque the caliper nuts properly (over 200nm according to MB manuals)
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
After this rather unexpected issue... the disc and caliper went back on without any more drama.. along with the new master cylinder and brake limit valve. 20201003_124454.jpg 20201005_115720.jpg 20201008_144826.jpg 20201013_182315.jpg new disc n s .png new disc bedding in.jpg 20201014_121833.jpg 20201014_122042.jpg ALB.png brake warning plugs .jpg
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
Prior to doing the suspension and brake work... I just had to fit bigger wheels.. I managed to find a set of refurbished genuine Mercedes G500 18" Ashtaroths on Fleabay for £500, and spent about another £500 on tyres.. My Mileage is only about 1500 miles a year and the car was bought predominately for bad weather and snow.. so I fitted Cooper 265/65/18 WeatherMaster Snow tyres , and use them all year round.

Because the G500 has different length axles to my W460 I had to correct the offset with wheel spacers. I chose black 15mm bolt through H&R Hubcentric spacers with new black 15mm longer H&R Bolts and lockers with the correct bolt shape.

These make such a difference.
Before
2016-07-25 15.50.13.jpg

after
2016-07-25 16.25.06.jpg 2016-07-25 16.31.35.jpg
2016-07-25 16.15.44.jpg 2016-07-25 16.15.56.jpg 2016-07-25 17.00.02.jpg 2016-08-01 12.03.42.jpg
File 01-08-2016, 16 27 25 (2).jpg
2016-08-02 14.25.15.jpg 2016-08-02 14.56.16.jpg 2016-08-02 14.56.32.jpg 2016-08-02 15.35.50.jpg 2016-08-02 15.36.13.jpg

Big Difference and a slight change in the gearing allowing a more relaxed cruising revs/speed.
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
I even managed to sell my original wheels/tyres to another G wagen owner fr £500.. so the new set only really cost me £500!
 
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John757

John757

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E350CDi Coupe AMG (2010) , G Wagen G280GE Short (1990), SL55 AMG (2003)
This is a Guide to the replacement of wiper spindles on W460 G Wagens.
This procedure was carried out by myself on my Right hand drive 1990 W460. The procedure will be almost identical in left hand drive W460s and very similar in W463's
:D


I will start with the fact that wiper spindles are one of the most common failure on G wagens of a certain age generally, over 15years old.
As the wiper shaft which runs through a hollow bearing tube wears, (collectively referred to as wiper spindles) it allows water to enter the cabin behind the dashboard, this accelerates wear and rust in the tube and can result in electrical problems and water to collect in the drivers foot-well, leading to rust rotten carpets and sometimes heater problems.

Spares
Wiper spindles on their own are now no longer available from MB dealers, unless
you buy the entire wiper linkage system (£375 plus VAT (Correct as of 6/5/20)

S-Tec (Magna-Styer) PUCH G / PINZGAUER - Online Shop
Did sell wiper spindles, I believe they are now also NLA although some may be available from third party sellers- BUT some out there have the ball joints in the wrong place- depending on left hand or right hand drive- However there is a fix for this that takes about 15- 20 minutes as long as you have access to some tools and a MIG welder. I will come on to that later.

Correct spindle sealing Washers; IMG-20200506-WA0007.jpg IMG-20200506-WA0008.jpg

Step 1
First and seemingly most obvious Check that you have all the parts you need before you start.

Wiper spindles
The ones I bought (S-TEC type) were in their original configuration wrong for my Right hand drive W460 and the ball joints on the drivers side had to be moved to new positions.

Important;
The special sealing washers x2 (pictured below) made of a type of soft rubberized fiber/cloth.(not first picture)
and corresponding metal washers x2
and securing nuts, x2
along with the wiper arm sprung washers x2
and securing nuts. x2

One of my wiper arms was supplied with an incorrect rubber sealing washer and a larger black metal washer- the rubber washer squeezed out upon tightening the spindles in position and was basically useless, so a correct* replacement had to be obtained. (see the washers in the clear parts bags earlier in this guide)
20200505_142621.jpg
correct leather washer and metal washer silver



20200505_144524.jpg
incorrect rubber washer and black metal washer- Do not use these*


20200505_141941.jpg
Passenger side wiper spindle old vs new


20200506_110048.jpg

Drivers side wiper spindle old vs new

TOOLS
Also you will need to make sure before you start that you have the right tools.
you will need;
x1 13mm ring spanner (wiper arms)
A two leg puller (to remove wiper arms)
Two 22mm open ended spanners of good quality (Or one 22mm spanner and a large adjustable spanner.) Wiper spindle nuts.
A large flat bladed screwdriver, to pop off the ball joints ( can use panel removal tool)
Extra-long needle nosed pliers (45degree or 90 degree angled ones)
A pair of adjustable water pump pliers (to pop the ball joints back together)
Socket set with a 27mm socket and extension bar (Steering wheel nut)
Torch (its dark in there!)
Grease (For spindles and ball joints)
An assistant to operate one of the spanners as you most likely will run out of reach undoing and doing up the spindles in the bulkhead.
Masking tape (to protect the bulkhead from tool damage whilst doing up and undoing spindle bolts)
Touch up paint same colour as your car. (Mine had some paint chips near the spindles)

Step 2

Remove Wiper arms from spindles by removing 13mm nut and use a 2 leg puller to release arms from the spindles.
20200507_114911.jpg Old Spindle in situ.jpg
Old spindle, caked in Grease in an attempt to keep the water out- didn't work!

Step 3

Next remove the steering wheel... to allow better access , by praising off the central cover with your fingers.. undo the big nut holding it on with a socket and extension bar 27mm.
Dont remove the nut completely... leave it a few threads on the steering shaft and yank hard towards you on the steering wheel, that will release it from its tapered splines without hitting you in the face! Now remove the nut and disconnect the horn wire (I wrapped mine in a bit of electrical tape to stop it sounding the horn.)( If you have a w463 with an Air bag disconnect the battery first and carefully disconnect the airbag before removing wheel)

20200505_113930.jpg 20200505_113938.jpg 20200505_113938.jpg 27mm socket.jpg 20200505_114702.jpg


Step 4

Next step is optional but I found it allowed me much better access, (recommended)
Remove the drivers seat, by removing the four bolts that secure it to the floor and lift out. If the bolts have not been out in years, spray them to help loosen them with penetrating spray.

Step 5

The Instrument cluster has to be moved to one side.. there are two small Phillips head screws on either side of the back plastic cluster cover... once removed you can lift it off.
Then unscrew the two Phillips screws under the front leading edge of the gauge cluster, below the speedo and fuel gauges.
Unscrew the speedo cable where it attaches to the speedo unit at its rear, its a knurled nut and should only be finger tight.
Loosen the two screws on the metal bars holding the top of the gauge to the front of the cluster....they are held on at the rear of the dash by nuts and bolts so take care not to drop the nut into the rear of the dash when undoing them. You should now be able to gently pull the cluster forward and off to the middle of the car out of the way. I used a bungee cord to support it attached to the mirror to prevent strain on the wires and connections. There is no need to completely remove it.

20200505_115617.jpg 20200505_120618.jpg 20200505_122846.jpg
In addition I removed the small screws holding the wooden trim along the centre of the dashboard either side of the steering wheel, and around the ignition key for better access and vision. I would recommend doing this.

Step 6

Remove the air vent pipe from the right hand dashboard vent outlet, by reaching in and gently pulling it off... its and interference fit.
now move it out of the way, I used the bungee to hold it to one side.

Step 7

Next you will have to remove the glove compartment box.
Open the glovebox cover and remove the four scews that hold it in place.
there may also be a screw at the rear accessed from underneath the dashboard.
carefully remove the glovebox, it may catch on the lower edge of the opening, but it will come out with care rather than bruue force. (which will break the hinges)
Put that to one side... now remove the pipe onto the passenger side door air vent like you did on the drivers side.

20200505_121203.jpg

Step 8
The next step will require a large flat bladed screwdriver or a panel lever .
With a torch look into the hole left by the glove box and you will see the arm of the wiper motor crank (blue nut), attached to a linkage , (Pictured below)
20200505_121219.jpg
Do not (under normal circumstances- i.e. for this spindles replacement procedure) undo the blue nut or remove the arm from the wiper motor. It is set so that upon reassembly the wipers will park in the correct position. It is not necessary and undesirable to do this.
However if you have to replace the wiper motor this is the position of the wiper motor crank arm for Right Hand Drive G's the line along the top of the crank, dissects the left mount bolt, through its center. (Illustrated with a metal slotted strip)

Wiper Motor 460 Park Position RHD.jpg 20200505_133204.jpg
Instead slide a large flat bladed screwdriver or other suitable ball-joint splitter and with a gentle twist pop the ball-joint connection of the wiper linkage off the motor arm.

It is a plastic ball-cup and a metal ball.
20200505_133223.jpg

Take careful note of the shape of the wiper linkage as this will be helpful when it comes time for reassembly and identifying which parts go where and which way round

Step 9

Next we will be removing the wiper linkage from the passenger (RHD) side 'wiper spindle' by popping its ball-joint... this is tucked up high under the dash and will require you to get down low and look up through the glove-box hole behind the heater and with a torch and you should see this.
I have already inserted a large bladed screwdriver to pop the ball-joint off.

(see following post)
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