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Door Fitting Procedure

For reference, please also see:

Contributed by Al Lieffring

There are eight bolts holding the two hinges.

The hinge is at a 90 degree angle when the door is closed, this allows the door to be adjusted on all three axis by selecting the correct bolts to loosen.

The bolts that attach the hinges to the body adjust the height, the depth of the door to the surface of the fenders and the angle of the door from top to bottom.

The bolts that attach the hinge to the door are for adjusting height, the angle of the door from front to rear and the end gaps between the fenders and the door.

The first thing to do when adjusting the door to the opening is to roll the window down, then remove the door catch from the door jamb. You want the door to close and fit to the opening without the window or latch holding it up or down.

Next I would adjust the front of the door to fit flush with the front fender and line it up vertically to where the trim lines on the door match the lines on the front fender, using the bolts that hold the hinge to the body. I usually take one hinge loose at a time. Make a small adjustment and then only re-tighten one of the two bolts.

Next I would adjust the angle front to rear of the door so the back of the door matches up with the trim lines on the rear fender. Then adjust the gap so the front and the rear of the door are equal.

Reinstall the striker in the door jamb then place a strip of masking tape over the hole that the cone on the door latch fits into. Place a dab of grease on the tip of the cone. Close the door to where the cone just touches the tape and adjust the striker to where the grease leaves a spot on the tape over the center of the hole. Once everything is lined up the way you want, tighten all the bolts on the hinges and the striker.

Changing the position of the door will also change the fit of the window glass, hopefully it won't require readjusting the glass, but you will need to check.

To conclude, try making some small adjustments, and experiment to see what happens with each adjustment that you make.
Caution: Some duck tape along the edges of the fenders might be a good idea, to prevent chipping the paint if you should set the gap too narrow.

Adjusting the Doors

The female part of the door latch, the chrome piece on the frame rather than the door, has a rubber and brass insert. Are these rubber parts available and has anyone tried to replace them. I've checked the usual suppliers, but not my MB dealer yet. I suspect that mine are worn and are the cause of the somewhat harsh clunk on closing both doors. I've tried adjusting, but can't get a nice sound or feel.

The trick, to set the female portion of the latch, is to loosen the bolts somewhat and then close the door. Then you can push or pull on the door until the door is flush with the body. Then you open the door and tighten the screws. It may take a few tries to get it right. It's easy once you know how.

Pictures show a right hand door latch off a 230 SL. The one on the left is an early type with rivets which come loose. Hence the center punch marks in an effort to tighten up the barrell. The one on the right is a new design and much stronger.

Early Latch 3 Hole fixing

Early Latch: Side View

Note the 3-hole mounting flange used on 230 SLs and early 250 SLs (up to Ch: 043 002979). Later 250 SLs and 280 SLs (up to 044 010365) also have a 3-hole flange but a very different locking mechanism. Later 280 SLs have a similar locking mechanism but a 4-hole latch with different hole spacing.

For a detailed schematic view see:

Removing the Inside Door Panel

Here is a step-by-step for removing a panel covering the inside of the door. The example discussed here is 1969 Euro version door but the same steps apply to all years and versions with slight differences.

Need a Philips screwdriver and a flat blade screwdriver or other flat blade tool to fit behind and twist off some parts.

Suggest the window be in the lowered position to allow easier access to the top of the door and panel.

The order of removal of the parts holding the panel is not important. The panel cannot be removed unless all of the parts are removed.

Grab handle: Use a flat blade to get behind and gently twist and snap off the top and bottom chrome covers. Remove the four screws and lock washers.

Window handle: remove the insert in the center of the handle by gently pulling the top of the insert out slightly while sliding the insert up until the lower inside tab is free then remove the insert. Remove the screw while watching for the round black plastic stand-off inside the top of the handle. Remove the handle from the door remembering the orientation of the handle to re-install in the same position.

The inside door handle has a black plastic insert that must be removed to access the screw holding the chrome surround. The insert can be gently pried out with a flat blade tool, then remove the screw and the chrome surround. The handle is not removed.

The inside door lock button chrome surround is held by a single screw. Remove the screw and the lock surround. The button is not removed.

The chrome decorative piece must be removed from the "S" curve at the front end of the door. Remove the 4 screws then remove the chrome piece.

At the rear end of the door, three pieces must be removed. A small "C" shaped piece on the inside rear of the door is held to the door by two screws. Remove the screws and the piece. A flat chrome plate surrounds the latch at the top rear of the door. One of the two screws at the top of the plate is hidden under the rubber gasket. Peel up the rubber to find and remove this screw. Then romove the other two screws.

A narrow chrome plate fits along the lower part rear of the door. It is held by several screws. Note how the piece fits above, below, inside, or outside the door panel. This will help when re-installing this piece.

The door panel can now be removed. Gently pry the panel away from rear of the door frame access is at the rear. As the panel begins to move away from the frame, begin moving the panel up slightly while pulling the panel out of the holding channels at the front and the bottom of the door frame. With some gentle encouragement, the panel will lift out of the front and bottom channels and will come away from the frame.

Plastic sheeting should be covering the window parts and the inside of the door frame. This is to prevent water that runs down the window from getting through the door panel. If the sheeting is missing, consider installing a piece, perhaps from a cut garbage bag or similar. Tape the sheet over the entire door frame inside so it covers the frame and is next to the panel when the panel is in place. Cut the sheet around the lock button, the window crank post, the inside handle, and the top and bottom grab handle screw holes.

Installing the door panel is the reverse.

Door Latch Mechanisms

Door closing on all Pagodas proceed in two steps: half-closed and fully closed.

On 230SL and early 250SL (until VIN 002979) cars the latch hook catches either one of two ridges at the bottom of the door latch, whereas on later 250SL and early 280SL (until VIN 010365) the "hook" is a notch in a rotating disk in the lock that is pushed by a single ridge at the bottom of the door latch. See photos for details:

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