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 Horn "short" in column change cars.
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Art Love

Australia
6206 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  02:41:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is "off topic", but may be useful to readers with W111,W108 and W109 cars with column gear change. The offending items cost $1 each and you can fix the problem yourself with several fairly standard tools. A couple of weeks ago, when I turned the steering on the W111 280SE coupe to the right, the horn sounded. The situation rapidly deteriorated. The car was undrivable without severe embarrassment.

The problem is due to disintegration with age of a bushing at the top end of the column mounted gear shift lever mechanism. The Part Number of the bushing is #111 997 12 40 and they are called Vulkollan rings and are made of a rather pliable plastic, similar to nylon, but softer. Here is what they look like.





They are numbered 20 in this diagram from the service manual.





First, go to the fuse box.





The No 2 fuse, the short one second from the right in this W111 coupe, covers the horn and the windscreen wipers.





Take it out. Then you can drive the car without embarrassment as long as it is not raining.





You can also work on the horn mechanism without fear of a short or shock. Lift the horn pad off and then you see the steering wheel is held to the collapsible top of the column by 5 13mm nuts and spring washers which you undo with a socket.





There is a positive and earth set of horn wires attached to the steering wheel on the under side which you undo with a Phillips screw driver.









Then you are looking at the 22mm nut and spring washer that holds the collapsible part of the column to the spline on the top of the steering shaft. The shaft has a radial line embossed into it that you need to note and mark against the hub of the collapsible part, so you get it back together in the right spline position. If you don't, it is not the end of the world, because when you put it back together, if you are a spline out and the steering wheel is at an angle when you are driving down the road, you can always pull it off again and do it properly.

This nut is applied with 5mkp of torque according to the service manual. Whoever last put it on my car seems to have applied a lot more torque that that as I had to use a rattle gun to get it off.

Once it is off, you can lift the collapsible hub off the spline and look at the top of the column where there is an alloy plate held to the column by 4 5mm Allen key bolts.





In the middle is the steering shaft surrounded by a ball bearing bearing held by an inner and outer circlip. To the left is the offending top end of the gear shift shaft. At the bottom are the 2 brushes for the horn that track on the two copper contact rings on the base of the collapsible section of the column. This transmits power to the horn ring in all positions of the wheel. Here is the bottom of the collapsible section showing the contact rings.





Now, as it turns out, the top of the gear shift shaft is also exactly opposite the two rings, just like the brushes. If you look at the diagram, you will see the same thing. So, if for any reason, the top end of the gear shift shaft is able to come up the steering column a couple of mm, it touches the contact rings and sounds the horn.

The reason it does come up is because the lower one of the Vulkollan bushes disintegrates. To get to it involves a simple trick that is explained in the service manual, but that you would have no hope of working out without the service manual. Have another look at this picture and you will see there is a heavy circlip on the top of the gear shift shaft that is recessed into the alloy plate and aimed in a direction that does not allow it to be released. The large circlip on the steering shaft centre bearing also prevents its being released.









You have to rotate the gear shift shaft 180 degrees to release the circlip at its top end. To do this, you have to remove the gear shift lever from the shaft.









Note the locating key at the base of the shaft. Pull the shift lever straight out. Then you can get a pair of vice grips onto the end of the gear shaft and rotate it 180 degrees so that the circlip is in a position to be removed towards the centre of the steering shaft





















Under the circlip is a washer and then the outer of the 2 Vulkollan bushes, stained dark grey after all these years.









It is still in one piece on this car, but may be disintegrated. The problem one is on the other side of the alloy plate. To release the alloy plate, undo the 4 Allen key bolts.





Release the outer and inner circlips on the steering shaft bearing.





Release the multifunction stalk by undoing the 2 Phillips bolts at its top end.





Pull the plate off the column. It doesn't release far with the horn wiring in place from the multifunction stalk.





You can see the shoulder on the gear shift lever shaft where the disintergrated bushing should be. I found it useful to reattach the gear shift lever to the shaft at this point to give me some leverage on the shaft to push it down against the spring at the bottom end. That just involved getting the vice grips and rotating the shaft back 180 degrees. This allowed me to achieve enough room to slip the new Vulkollan bushing onto the top of the shaft between the shaft and the alloy plate. Here it is in.





Now the plate goes back down over the new bushing and the top of the gear shift shaft comes back up through the plate. The new bushing stops it coming up too far.





Then the new upper bushing goes on.





Do up the Allen key bolts and washers.





Reattach the multifunction stalk.









Take the gear shift lever back out, rotate the shift shaft 180 degrees and reapply the circlip over the new bushing and washer.









Turn the shaft back 180 degrees and reinsert the gear shift lever.





















Put the bearing circlips back in.









Put the collapsible hub back on aligning the mark on the hub to the radial groove in the steering shaft.





Torque to 5 mkp.





Reattach the 2 horn wires to the terminals on the back of the steering wheel hub.









Put the wheel back on.





Do up the 13mm nuts and washers. (1.2-1.5 mkp torque) and push the horn pad back on.





Put the fuse back in.





Outcome. Slop gone from gear shift lever, functioning horn, cost $2 plus my time. I hope someone else finds this useful as time goes by.
Art

P.S. All this applies to the 6.3 if you are removing the steering column for some reason except for the bits to do with the column mounted gear shift.

Edited by - Art Love on 12/04/2010 17:53:52

Canadian Ambassador

Canada
76 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  08:48:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Art,

I had the same happening on my 600 4 years ago in Las Vegas. The 600 horn went off every time I turned the wheel. It did not take long to replace it. Once you lift the steering wheel off it is easy to change.

Mike
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Chris Johnson

USA
3751 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  11:41:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting that they eliminated the slot in the pin that allowed the tube to be turned with a screw driver, in earlier cars, instead of the pliers.

This task should be done on any car that has the column mounted shift lever. It removes a lot of slop in the shift lever even if it hasn't gotten so bad as to be sounding the horn.

Mercedes always builds in warning systems. A sloppy shift lever is the "polite" warning that that the bushings need to be replaced. If an owner chooses to ignore the polite warning, then the game is escalated and the car starts sounding the horn saying "you really need to replace the bushings!"

Chris Johnson
If you aren't constantly impressed with your car, then it needs fixing.
100.012-12-000790
100.012-12-000867
www.300SE.org
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bwostosh

USA
485 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  11:47:00  Show Profile  Visit bwostosh's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank You, Very useful and inspiring.
I have neglected this fix on one car for over 6 years.

Brian O.
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Art Love

Australia
6206 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  17:45:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I didn't go into it with regard to the early and late column versions in the 600 or the earlier cars with the Finnie "non collapsible" columns as my pictures are of the "108" setup, but as Mike and Chris have mentioned it, the same Vulkollan ring is used in them as well, hence the 111 part number prefix. The setup at the top of the shift lever is the same, but the process of gaining access is slightly different. The rotation "trick" is the same as Chris has already alluded to. So I guess it is not so "off topic" seeing it applies to 600's. I'm pleased to get some positive feedback.
Art
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Ron B

Australia
11602 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2010 :  17:04:07  Show Profile  Visit Ron B's Homepage  Reply with Quote
On the early version (Version One in the manuals) the switch is quite a bit different.I am trying to sort the V8 finnys horn as the owner succeeded in buggering it up so when the key is on,the horn blows and a finny has LOUD horns... I have found three different types of version one switches. And this car is a floor shift without the bolt action mechanism in the column.






quote:
12-14-2004, 11:49 PM #8
Tom Hanson
MBCA Member

What the heck, try to stuff a MB 6.9 liter V8 in it. What a machine that would be..
__________________
Tom Hanson
Orange County Section
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mdavie02

Australia
334 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2012 :  03:18:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now for a continuation of a valuable but older post...

Additional bracket failure - need advice please!

I had the same troubles as indicated above with my 280SE 3.5 column shift - but found matters deteriorated very fast and couldn't find P. As it turns out, not only were the columm bushings shot but, in the right hand drive car there is a shaft bolted to the firewall to transfer the linkage across to the LHD side.
Now, the bracket securing the shaft and suportting bushing has snapped on the drivers side allowing the linkage to slop about. It looks like the lower bolt was lost and the strain across the bolt hole was too much.

2 questions:

1) Does anyone have either a bracket or the shaft assembly? It's probably the same on many RHD column shifts, and runs across rthe firewall with a bracket at either end and ball linkages. Postage and part cost assured. Otherwise I'll do laps of the wreckers in some vague hope of a 108 laying about.
2) The 2 X 10mm bolts securing the bracket have nuts on the inside of the firewall which are inaccessible due to the heater box. The bottom one has dropped inside after the bolt was lost, so I guess it was not completely caged. The top bolt can be loosened but I have not removed it as I suspect it too will drop the nut.
Re-attaching a bracket may involve either a welder or a couple of toggle bolts (like the ones used on drywall). Im reluctant to remove the heater to get to the nut!
At the moment Im using some surprisingly strong cables ties & a twist of wire to secure the broken bracket to surrounding hardware and it drives just fine - until a catastrophic failure when I will again have no reverse or park.

Advice most eagerly sought before the next misadventure...

regards
Michael D - Adelaide
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Ron B

Australia
11602 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2012 :  03:36:50  Show Profile  Visit Ron B's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have one.
I just finished a major job on a 300SE coupe which had a more typical problem...the left hand end had pulled out of the body. This is common on high milage W111 through W109's .
I use Rivnuts to fix the broken captive nuts. you will never recover them because they fall into a tube section .


Also,one thing which isn't mentioned, the lower end of the gear shift rod has a 15m nylon bush and this has often disappeared long ago. you need to remove the lower part of the column,called a bearing housing to access it but once it's replaced the gear shift feels so much better. It carries the relay arm in the housing .
Replace the bush on the trans and the ball end while you are it.




quote:
12-14-2004, 11:49 PM #8
Tom Hanson
MBCA Member

What the heck, try to stuff a MB 6.9 liter V8 in it. What a machine that would be..
__________________
Tom Hanson
Orange County Section

Edited by - Ron B on 10/05/2012 03:39:48
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mdavie02

Australia
334 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2012 :  00:31:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Ron,

The rivit bolts are a great idea. Access for drilling out is impossible. I may be able to ream them out with thread cutting tool.
Can you email me off board so we have a chat about how I can compensate you for the parts if you can spare them?

Regards
Michael
michael.davies@adelaide.edu.au

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Art Love

Australia
6206 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2015 :  02:53:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm using this old thread of mine because I am currently replacing the same two bushings, #111 997 12 40 at the top end of the steering column and gear shift on the 300SE W112 coupe and have a problem that I would like advice about. It appears to me that someone in the past has been here before me because both bushes were above the alloy base plate with the retaining washer between them and the heavy circlip on the top bushing. Both bushings were a pile of crumbs. There is also no sensation whatsoever of the spring which should be over the top end of the gear shift shaft, so I suspect it is missing or broken.

I had no trouble at all removing the alloy base plate at the top of the W111 coupe steering shaft housing as indicated in the sequence of photos in my 2010 article above, but the earlier "Finnie" design alloy base plate in the earlier "non collapsible" steering column is proving difficult to remove. I don't have a Service Manual for this car. I need to get this alloy base plate out to access the spring and put the lower bushing where I believe it should sit. Any advice regarding how I get the alloy base plate out of the top of the column would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Art
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Ron B

Australia
11602 Posts

Posted - 06/13/2015 :  05:07:36  Show Profile  Visit Ron B's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Have you got the clip off the end of the shifter shaft ?
To get the alloy mount plate out,you turn the shifter shaft 180 degrees,(theres a screw driver slot in the top ) the clip can now be slid over towards the steering shaft. There should be a washer under that . Undo the two alan bolts , and the mounting plate lifts out .If the bearing is stuck in the mount plate remove the two snap rings so the bearing can slide up with the mount plate.



quote:
12-14-2004, 11:49 PM #8
Tom Hanson
MBCA Member

What the heck, try to stuff a MB 6.9 liter V8 in it. What a machine that would be..
__________________
Tom Hanson
Orange County Section
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Art Love

Australia
6206 Posts

Posted - 06/13/2015 :  07:45:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Ron,
Yes, I had already done the rotation thing (this gear shift shaft lacks the cross slot), so the clip was off and the washers and the two Allen bolts out as well as the large and small circlips on the shaft bearing. The mount plate with the bearing just won't budge on the steering shaft.

I decided to take a spare steering column that I had and pull it to bits to see what I was up against. I have some pictures but I haven't put them here yet. I've bought new top bearings from SKF. I'm waiting on some new bits from Tom Hanson to arrive and will then do a follow up here on rebuilding the whole shaft. I'll probably swap the whole rebuilt column because I'll bet the bottom bushing is shot as well and we need to replace the bushings in the steering coupling as well. With the shaft out and the "gadgets" at the bottom end off, I can lift the whole shaft including the bearing out upwards and then get the bearing and alloy plate off the top of the shaft "on the bench".

In the meantime, Justin was over and managed to lower the gear shift shaft just enough below the alloy base (mount) plate to get the lower bushing over the end of the shaft with the mount plate in situ. We then got the shaft back up through the hole and applied the top bushing and the clip. So the top bushings are now OK making the shift safe, but there is more to do at the bottom end and I still need to free up the spring. If I take the whole thing out, we can rebuild it or swap it with the other one I have. More to follow!
Art
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