S211 tailgate strut replacement notes

Discussion in 'Bodywork' started by selphy, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. selphy

    selphy Active Member

    Messages:
    96
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Car:
    Mercedes E220CDi
    [FONT=&quot]I replaced my lazy S211 tailgate struts today. Here are a few notes which might help you if you are considering the job yourself. It took me about an hour to do the first side and 15 minutes to do the next side as by then I knew what I was doing.

    I got the new ones from ebay, listed as Febi Bilstein 32045 and 32046 for about £50 each which is less than half the main dealer price. They turned out to be identical to the original and once I opened the packaging I found they were labelled Stabilus just like the originals. You might want to also buy some spare expanding plastic trim rivets as they're easily damaged.

    The MB procedure which has been posted on this forum previously is pretty good but these notes might help. Note that this procedure applies to cars without the automatic opening tailgate. To do the job you'll need:[/FONT]

    • [FONT=&quot]A small flat blade screwdriver.[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]A big flat blade screwdriver.[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]A torx screwdriver.[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]A long reach flat tool. I used a long wooden ruler.[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]A really bright torch and preferably a head torch too.[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Something to prop the tailgate up. I used 32mm PVC waste pipe.[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Suitable tools to remove / release plastic trim rivets.
      [/FONT]

    1. [FONT=&quot]Open the tailgate and prop it up safely. Replace one gas strut at a time. Be careful that your prop doesn't fall out when you've got your fingers in the mechanism. The tailgate is surprisingly heavy and I think you could easily mangle your fingers if things went wrong.
      [/FONT]
    2. [FONT=&quot]Working in the car, remove the cargo net securing trim in the headlining using a Torx screwdriver. Do this before your hands get dirty.[/FONT]
    3. [FONT=&quot]Using your long flat tool (e.g. long wooden ruler) through the box section accessible near the tailgate hinge release the plastic cover plate from the end of the section by applying downward pressure on the plastic cover plate release tab. You'll need to shine a bright torch into the box section to see what you need to do.[/FONT]
    4. [FONT=&quot]Working in the car again, recover the plastic cover plate through the hole in the head lining. It's a bit fiddly to remove unless you've got long fingers.
      [/FONT]
    5. [FONT=&quot]Remove the 2 plastic expanding rivets that secure the trim which covers the tailgate hinges and loosen the trim. You don't need to take it out completely - just move it out of the way.[/FONT]
    6. [FONT=&quot]Pull away the tailgate rubber seal trim in the region of the hinge and down the side edge of the tailgate.[/FONT]
    7. [FONT=&quot]Remove the 5 plastic side-trim expanding rivets and ease the trim to one side.You don't need to take this trim off completely and if you do try it might break at its narrowest point next to the rear light cluster.[/FONT]
    8. [FONT=&quot]Using a small flat-blade screwdriver, release the ball-joint locking spring tab from the end of the gas spring. There is a flat on the outer edge of the gas strut socket which you can push a small flat screwdriver in. If you then lever the locking spring tab just enough to unlock the ball and socket.[/FONT]
    9. [FONT=&quot]Using a big flat blade screwdriver, lever the balljoint socket of the gas strut off the hinge ball. You can carefully lever it against the hinge itself to do this. It comes off quite easily.[/FONT]
    10. [FONT=&quot]Now wash your hands again or put on some vinyl gloves to avoid oily marks on the headlining[/FONT]
    11. [FONT=&quot]Using a big flat bladed screwdriver poked through the cargo-net securing trim hole in the headlining, pry the gas strut balljoint socket off the ball which is attached to the car body.[/FONT]
    12. [FONT=&quot]Ease the gas strut out from the area around the hinge.[/FONT]
    13. [FONT=&quot]Check the new gas strut is identical and open it's locking spring tab a little.[/FONT]
    14. [FONT=&quot]Slide the new gas strut roughly into position.[/FONT]
    15. [FONT=&quot]Now the tricky part. You have to manoeuvre the end of the new gas strut so that it's socket part rests on the ball part which is attached to the car body. I found this easiest to do through the hole in the headlining. Take a good look with the torch then do it by feel.[/FONT]
    16. [FONT=&quot]Once the balljoint socket is resting on the ball you can use a big flat blade screwdriver to push vertically down and snap it into place. It needs a fair bit of force.[/FONT]
    17. [FONT=&quot]Press the other end of the balljoint socket onto the ball on the hinge in a similar manner. You might need to slightly raise the tailgate to get the alignment right before it will go on. Make sure the locking spring tab on the gas strut socket re-engages properly.[/FONT]
    18. [FONT=&quot]Refit the covers and trims.
      [/FONT]
    19. [FONT=&quot]Do the other side.[/FONT]
    20. [FONT=&quot]Notify your other half about the work so they aren't taken by surprise by the energetic tailgate lift. They might also complain it's harder to close if they've got used to it dropping down easily.
      [/FONT]
     
  2. PaulXC

    PaulXC Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    262
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Location:
    North West
    Car:
    2006 E320Cdi Sport Estate LHD ||| 2012 E500 4.7 V8 Bi-Turbo Cabrio ||| 2017 VW Polo 1.2Tsi
    This is an excellent guide.
    I followed the instructions today and swapped out the struts in about 2 hours taking it slow and easy.

    My comments ...
    I could release the plastic cover plate from inside the car - if you squeeze it, it pops out.

    A small motorcycle tyre lever was just the right shape to get in the hole and lever the balljoint socket off the ball.

    Very true!
     
  3. AntMB

    AntMB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Car:
    Mercedes E270 Estate and VW Golf
    Do you have any photos for this guide?
     
  4. PaulXC

    PaulXC Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    262
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Location:
    North West
    Car:
    2006 E320Cdi Sport Estate LHD ||| 2012 E500 4.7 V8 Bi-Turbo Cabrio ||| 2017 VW Polo 1.2Tsi
    Sorry I forgot to take pics - but it's quite a straightforward job to do.

    Once you remove the cargo net securing trim in the headlining you can see the end of the strut with a torch and its more accessible than it sounds.

    Once you remove the trim around the tailgate area at the other end that part is easy to see.

    Once I'd done one side the other side only took 15 mins to do.
     
  5. MikeInWimbledon

    MikeInWimbledon Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    1,530
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Car:
    535d SE Touring (previously S500, E500, SL350, SL500)
    Thank you for the post. Wish I'd had it a couple of years ago when I needed to do the same. It was irritatingly fiddly from first principles

    Those Febi bilsteins are the same as the original branded kit, both on my old E500 and on my 535d touring which has also needed the same done after 10 years in place.

    As you've said, EBay is the best place to source them.

    Your post will save others a goodly chunk of time.


    .
     
  6. AntMB

    AntMB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Car:
    Mercedes E270 Estate and VW Golf
    I don't like the idea of removing the headlining. It's things snapping and not going back together that worries me with interiors. But the cargo net, trim do we need to go that far back, or are you referring to just the pull back cover that slots into the trim right at the back of the boot by the bumper?
     
  7. PaulXC

    PaulXC Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    262
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Location:
    North West
    Car:
    2006 E320Cdi Sport Estate LHD ||| 2012 E500 4.7 V8 Bi-Turbo Cabrio ||| 2017 VW Polo 1.2Tsi
    You don't need to remove the headlining just the cover marked in the first picture.

    Behind the cover you will find the end of the Gas strut on a ball joint which you can lever off the joint.

    The cover is held on by a torx screw.

    [​IMG]

    The tailgate end is easy to get to - you need to remove the plastic trim by removing the various plastic fixings - once done you can see the other end of the strut.

    [​IMG]

    Hope that helps !
     
    AntMB likes this.
  8. AntMB

    AntMB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Car:
    Mercedes E270 Estate and VW Golf
    That does help, thank you. I shall take a look at mine when I can.
     
    PaulXC likes this.
  9. AntMB

    AntMB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Car:
    Mercedes E270 Estate and VW Golf
    I've got that bracket/cover off where the cargo net goes, now there's the metal bracket behind which which the Torx fits to, I can't get that off. It feels as if that has to come off as I can't remove the cover/plug which exposes the gas strut with the bracket on.
     
  10. AntMB

    AntMB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Car:
    Mercedes E270 Estate and VW Golf
    Found a way in, it was very tricky moving that plug around. I just wanted to have a look first, I haven't ordered any struts yet. Just been looking, they're very expensive ones too.

    Does anyone know the actual difference between the struts for auto tailgates and struts which are non auto? From what I can see, the only difference is a spring.
     
  11. PaulXC

    PaulXC Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    262
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Location:
    North West
    Car:
    2006 E320Cdi Sport Estate LHD ||| 2012 E500 4.7 V8 Bi-Turbo Cabrio ||| 2017 VW Polo 1.2Tsi
  12. AntMB

    AntMB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Car:
    Mercedes E270 Estate and VW Golf
    Yes those struts are the ones, with the springs. There are also ones for the tailgate without springs, perhaps the auto tailgates are using the mechanism in place of the springs. However, I wasn't expecting that price tag.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.