Author Topic: Gear shift linkage problems?  (Read 5007 times)

mrfatboy

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, CA, Rancho Santa Fe
  • Posts: 577
Gear shift linkage problems?
« on: May 10, 2014, 00:09:28 »
Hey all!  It's been a long time.  ;D

My '69 280sl 4 speed does not want to go into reverse any more.  The gear shift feels really sloppy so I'm guessing it's a linkage problem under the car.

Before I go under there and poke around I thought I would ask here if anybody has any helpful hints on what to look for.

thanks
1969 280sl (Aug 1968 build)
Signal Red
4 Speed

garymand

  • Inactive
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, CA, Meadow Vista
  • Posts: 533
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2014, 00:35:58 »
You will find a joint at the bottom of the shft lever.  If the bubber wshers are in good shape, snug up the little bolt to take out the play at that joint.  Then check the rubber vibration dampener internal to the rod extending from that joint.  Sometimes the rubber inside the bump in the shaft breaks down, leaving the pin contacting metal. 

There is the ball socket that needs to be snug and the 2 suppot rods have 2 gromets where they connect to the ball socket frame.    The other end of the rods have gromets on the top of the tranny.  All should be very snug and the play in any direction very small in none.
Gary
Early 250SL German version owned since 71, C320, 560SEL, 89 Porsche 944 Turbo S

KevinC

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Posts: 1453
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 00:57:17 »
The plastic (neoprene?) bushings often fail and the linkage assembly begins to come apart. I would look at these. Item #22 on the attached. They are often on eBay and also likely available at your friendly neighborhood MB dealer as well.
Kevin Caputo
1967 230 SL Light Ivory Automatic -SOLD
1968 280 SL Red 4 Speed - SOLD
1984 380SL Astral Silver Automatic

mrfatboy

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, CA, Rancho Santa Fe
  • Posts: 577
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 01:50:11 »
Thanks for the tips guys.  I was under there about 20 years ago to replace a bushing after my shift lever fell thru the floor board while driving :o  I don't exactly remember what I replaced but I seem to remember some plastic washer or bushing.

1969 280sl (Aug 1968 build)
Signal Red
4 Speed

mrfatboy

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, CA, Rancho Santa Fe
  • Posts: 577
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 21:31:27 »
I was able to get under the car this morning.  I circled the part in the attached picture that I believe is the problem.  Ir has extreme play in that that joint.

I can only sense this by feel.  I have no visual on the problem. It's on top of the tranny.  How do I go about fixing this? How do I get access?

I'm am assuming it's part #22 and #22* (from diagram) that gave out.  Is there another part that would deteriorate that I'm missing in that area?

thanks
1969 280sl (Aug 1968 build)
Signal Red
4 Speed

Novamonte

  • Associate Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • Sweden, Vastra Gotalands, Västra Frölunda
  • Posts: 48
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2014, 01:14:18 »
You get access from the top, inside the car. Pull out the carpet and you will see where to open.

griffin1404

  • Full Member
  • Silver
  • ****
  • United Kingdom, England, Louth
  • Posts: 349
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2014, 19:52:36 »
It is a simple job all carried out from above, remove the tunnel carpet then the upper inspection cover held in by 8mm self tappers then remove the complete linkage and replace all bushes which are available from mercedes, I have just done this and can scan and email the invoice with part numbers if required but don't just change the one you think is iffy, change them all the difference is unbelievable

Neil
1968 280 SL Auto RHD DB903 Blue
1957 190 SL RHD DB180 Silver
1978 C123 230C 2dr Auto Silver

mrfatboy

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, CA, Rancho Santa Fe
  • Posts: 577
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2014, 23:44:06 »
I finally was able to replace the missing/worn out washers in the gear shift linkage today.

I am extremely lucky as I was caught in the San Diego wild fires last week and my gear shift pants were down so to speak  :P   I couldn't move the car even if I wanted to.  I was supposed to be picking up the new parts the morning of the fires but by 1pm the fires where at my door.

My wife and I fought the fire along side 6 firemen.  We have our own fireman standard hoses  ;D  It's good to be prepared.

After the firestorm blows through that's where the real work is done -protecting your house from embers, small fires, burning trees, etc.  It's the small fire that catches then your house and garage burn down.  We were putting out hot spots for the next 24 hours around our property.

All pets, people, vehicles are OK!  The yard looks like the bottom of a BBQ.


Anyway, I installed the new washers and everything works fine.  I have attached the pictures for the next guy!  Knowing about the access door is a must!!!!

Washers were $12 a piece.
1969 280sl (Aug 1968 build)
Signal Red
4 Speed

jpinet

  • Associate Member
  • Silver
  • ****
  • Canada, QC, Neuville
  • Posts: 261
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 00:45:44 »
It's when you go through events like those that you know how fragile it all is. I'm happy you, yours and your belongings were safe in the end.
1965 230SL

fblanchard

  • Full Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • New Caledonia, Sud, Noumea
  • Posts: 46
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 10:09:14 »
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us.
I have exactely the same problem with the same parts that I ordered today.
I just needed a photo of the repared linkage and you did it.
My car is still drivable with wide amplitude all the gears functions but imprecisely and when you have fire at the door you need precision.
The fire story is so frightening that thank you also for the happy ending.
All the best to you
Regards

Fred from Nouméa
1969 280 SL red
1971(?) 280 SL bordeaux waiting for restauration
1961 190 b ponton bordeaux
1961 Vespa VBB1T café crème
2017 GLC diamond white

ejboyd5

  • Associate Member
  • Silver
  • ****
  • Southold, NY
  • Posts: 301
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 14:50:55 »
     The old bushings are that grayish yellow stuff on top of the transmission.  You are lucky to have an access plate in the proper location.  To do the job in a 300 SL (same basic parts) you have to disassemble the accelerator linkage, remove the radio, remove approximately fifteen 6mm screws and raise the transmission tunnel cover just to get to the same place.  Figure on half a days work if all goes well, but then you'll find something else along the way that needs attention and you're in it for the long haul.
     Surprised you had enough energy left after the firefighting to do the work so quickly.  Good job all around.

garymand

  • Inactive
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, CA, Meadow Vista
  • Posts: 533
Re: Gear shift linkage problems?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2014, 18:16:49 »
2 things: It is really nice how the tranny shifts when all is well.  And I'm glad we didn't get pictures of a toasted Pagoda. 
Gary
Early 250SL German version owned since 71, C320, 560SEL, 89 Porsche 944 Turbo S