W211 2004 Centre console removal.

Discussion in 'Interior' started by parkman1, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. parkman1

    parkman1 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Jul 21, 2013
    Mercedes E220: W126 500se; W124 260E
    Hi, I posted a couple of times on various MB websites, including here, over the last two years, looking for information on how to remove and replace the rear air vent on the transmission tunnel, in an E220 cdi with a factory installed Nokia phone kit.

    Unfortunately, despite all the leads, no-one was able to tell me how to do it, none of the website, or posters, had the right information. Having spent months looking into this I finally realised that only one person who sent a post had actually done this job, everyone else was just passing on dud information.

    The American video is absolutely of no use whatsoever, so don't expect to follow the instructions and succeed in getting the rear air vent or ashtray out of the car, you won't. The description of most of the console elements removal are wrong, by a country mile.

    So I went to a scrapyard last week to get to the answer, and it was a lot more difficult than you would expect. You have to remove all the console components starting from the gear shift panel.

    Unfortunately, I had to have the car ready for an event so I did not have time to take pictures and for that I am sorry. I hope that the written description may be of some assistance.

    First thing, you need to remove the front ashtray, and then with the ashtray door open pull forward slightly on the gear shift panel, at the same pulling it upwards from the front edge. The panel will just pull up, then disconnect any wires to the panel [I have airmatic so there are two switches to be disconnected]. Then lift up the panel and look at the gear stick, there is a plastic funnel shaped fixing below the leather gear shift gaiter. Twist this fixing anti-clockwise [I think !!] and pull it down at the same time, it should slide down the gear stick.

    Get hold of the gear knob and twist it slightly left and right while at the same time pulling it upwards. Then you should have the gear knob and panel in your hands. Replacement is a reversal of this process, and having done it once you will see how easy it actually is.

    Next, undo the two screws [ torx head] on either side of the transmission tunnel, the hold the side upholstered panels in place, then remove those two panels. They are held in position with plastic lugs, so make sure to lift upwards and not outwards. Lift from the front of the panel as there is a plastic lug on the back end of the panel and it could break off.

    Next, remove the two torx screws holding the bits and pieces storage box in place, and lift out the box, pulling it slightly forward.

    Now comes one of the bits you don't get told about, by anyone, there are two torx screws underneath the front lip of the main storage box plastic surround, just where you have removed the small storage box. You have to get at them from below and you can't see them. You remove these screws and then carefully lever out the two back end lugs from below the hinged end of the storage lid, and then gently pull the storage box plastic surround backwards and remove it.

    With the factory installed Nokia phone you need to remove all of the secondary upper storage box pieces so that you can remove the storage box lid. Therefore, lift up the storage box lid [it should be in two halves but that doesn't matter, you need to have it removed in one piece], and remove 6 torx screws from underneath. Let the lower box drop down, or else gently pull it down and let the lid control arm come loose. Take care that you don't pull too hard on any of these items as they could break pretty easily.

    Lift up the phone cradle [ it may take a bit of pulling] and the whole cradle panel should come loose. You need to look underneath the base and you will see where the flexible cable runs underneath and is connected to [a] the aerial, and the power lead. Press down on the side of the power plug and it just unplugs, unscrew the aerial connection, remove the whole cradle and base panel from the storage box. When you do this you should be able to also take out the lower half of the storage box.

    Just leave the twisted bendy cable lying in the bottom of the storage box, as you will need to go further in removing more trim. Lift up the storage box lid and look at the underside, near the hinge. You will see two torx screws holding a small filler panel which fills the gap between the storage box lid and the rear air vent. Remove the screws and then remove the filler panel. Then, and this is important and is not mentioned anywhere, lok under and at the back of the storage lid, right below the hinge and down about 2 inches. You will see two square holes and they contain spring plastic lugs.

    Be very careful, and gently push in these lugs while at the same time pulling upwards on the storage box lid. It is best if you can get help to do this. Try to avoid snapping off either of the two lugs as they hold the storage box lid in position afterwards. If you have done it right the lid should then just pull upwards and come free. Then you can remove the torx screw that holds the storage box lid control arm and remove the arm.

    So now you should have an empty box, and all the lid parts safely on one side. Now for another item which is not mentioned anywhere - you need to remove the inside panels from the storage box and there are three of them. The first plastic panel is the base piece, there are two square holes in the panel and these are two springy lugs, just use a flat head screwdriver and push gently to the side in the hole and lift each side a little bit until the panel comes loose, lift it up and remove it. You can get your finger under this panel to push it up gently as you push the lugs out.

    This allows you to the remove the front, curved velvet-covered panel, just pull it back a little bit [ 2 more lugs here] and upwards. Then, using a flathead again, look at the top of the back velvet-covered, where the two little LED night lights are, lever the panel forward and it will click off. The two LED lights are connected to this panel so you can't remove it, you can only move around somewhat.

    Now, and this is the thing that really ****** me off big time, you will see a fairly big torx screw holding the rear ashtray panel in position. If you were to assume that the video's showing how to remove this ashtray are correct then you are in for a big surprise. The video's show some bloke putting a trim tool down the side of the rear ashtray and just popping out the ashtray. Well this is ********, I can tell you it is a load of ****e, I spent hours carefully trying to pop off the ashtray panel and there was no way it was coming off. I posted a question several times - did anyone know if the ashtray was held on by a screw somewhere ? Well, no-one except for one guy in the UK said that there was a fixing behind the ashtray.

    All the nuggets that said it was simple, use a trim tool like in the video, are idiots are certainly have never done this job. I know because I have done it. And there is a bloody fixing screw under all the storage components which holds the rear ashtray in place. It doesn't just pop off. And if anyone says that it does, then he is a ****er and has never done this.

    Having removed this screw then the ashtray just pulls out. Unplug the power plug and remove the ashtray fitting. The last bit is the removal of the air vent unit - there are two torx screws under the vent control thumb wheels, remove these and then get a torch and look inside the vent unit, you should see two plastic lugs, one on the left and one on the right, inside the vent unit. Again, if possible get some-one to help, and with two flat head screw drivers, gently lever the lugs out into the vent unit and at the same time pull the whole vent unit up and out.

    If you get it right the whole unit will pull out but be careful as there is a cable attached.

    So there you have it, about four hours of work even when you have done some of the work previously and know where the screws are. The biggest problem is the number of plastic lugs holding bits and pieces together. I would think that it is very easy to break some off these, especially if frustration sets in. Just take a deep breath, have a cup of tea and have another go.

    And to anyone who tries to follow the online video - don't waste your time, it won't help you at all, in fact it will just drive you nuts trying to figure out how the knobhead in the video can just pop out the rear ashtray and you can't. It's because, as I surmised right from the beginning having tried to follow the video, there is a f****ng screw in behind everything.

    And the only way to get to it is to remove everything from the gearshift panel back :fail


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