Main.TrailIndexPage | Interior | Interior.Dashboard


Dasboard Components:

  1. Hood release lever
  2. Multifunction Switch
  3. High-beam foot switch
  4. Headlight switch
  5. Steering lock and ignition switch
  6. Cigar lighter
  7. Courtesy light
  8. Radio
  9. Loudspeaker grille
  10. Heater and ventilator
  11. Rotary switch for ventilator blower
  12. Clock
  13. Glove compartment and reading light
  14. Glove compartment lock
  15. Air vents (right and left)
  16. Control lever for fresh air vents (right and left)
  17. Louvre plate for fresh air ventilation
  18. Dashboard Instruments
  19. Emergency light flasher


Link to related components where appropriate.

Dash covering material

I need advice on refishing the three dash pieces. Was told to glue new MB vinyl on top, Or ... fill cracks and paint. Would appreciate hearing experiences.

Will Samples: I had a shop recover the dash with vinyl, on top of the original material. The effect was a slightly overstuffed look and things would not fit together.

I canít imagine filling the cracks and painting. It's foam in my car. However, it is not too bad to remove the pieces and then recovering them. Mine are recovered, not professionally, and look quite nice.

For a professional finish, contact GAHH in North Hollywood, California or visit them at They make kits for most cars and I think they'll recover the pieces you speak of in either leather or MB-Tex.

I recovered my dash with leather. I had never done any upholstery work before and it came out really nice. It is not that hard but it takes patience stretching the leather to cover the compound, especially the concave, curves. It took putting the leather in hot hot water and using a steamer. Where the pieces fit together tight you need to sand a little off the ends of the original covering so that the new covering whether it be vinyl or leather will fit. To fill in the cracks or areas where the plastic had peeled off I used the spray insulating foam from the hardware store. There are 2 types and one works better than the other, I can't remember which one but I am sure it is the more expensive stuff. Sand it smooth and then use contact cement to put the new covering on. When Mercedes put leather in the interior they just took the plastic dash and wrapped it in leather. If you peel off the original leather you often find different colored dash pieces. I guess they took whatever was at hand.

In order to remove the cover over the instrument cluster you must first remove the wood trim along the windshield and then the piece to the left and the one to the right. Then you will have access to the screws that hold down the cap. Also if you have a 280SL you should not try to remove the MBTex layer because you will most likely destroy the foam layer underneath.

When I got the car I had the dash done with black vinyl. After a year or two some spots would come loose due to the contact cement releasing. It was like it became gummy and would not hold. I even removed the offending piece and scraped and sanded it all off. Then reglued and it started again. When I painted my car I changed the interior color and went to leather from GAHH (they sell complete kits if you want to do it yourself) and had it installed by the same guy, who stated that the new glues available are not as good as before and they break down in the sun with the vinyl. The leather installed is holding perfectly with no problems, as the installer said it would. If you do your interior yourself some of the parts will need leather that has been skived (shaved thin).

I re-covered my dash with new vinyl, it was very tedious. It is difficult to stretch, and some pieces needed several glue applications before it would stick. There was no color match issue, as I need to change all the vinyl. I was torn between the painting of the dash I have heard about, and think I would advise that method!

The MB-Tex dash pads for my '69 280sl are all in very good condition with the exception of a few splits in the pad over the gauges. I've have received some advice to recover the one pad with leather because it will adhere better than vinyl. Has there been any discussion in the past on recovering these things? Anyone have experience color matching to 30 year old red plastic?

If you are making new and old materials match it is not an off-the-shelf item you can get. The way a shop will do it is to get the material that matches the grain of your old parts you want to keep. Then have a dye man come into the shop and repaint the material to match. perhaps they would paint the old stuff to match the new? Perhaps you should replace all the dash parts. It is not much harder. the upper parts are the hardest. Also the cheap dye job is the most expensive sometimes. Keep in mind that the other parts could turn bad in a short time and cause you to do the dismantling twice.

Underdash panels

Learned yesterday that Pagoda Maas in The Netherlands still stocks the original MB article:adress PAGODE MAAS fax 0031 50 5258798

I am currenly waiting on a complete set of the underdash panels, I purchased them for $85, I am fortunate that I need black and they are still made in black. If it would be helpful I would be more than happy to make stencils of all 3 pieces prior to installing them if you would like. Let me know.

Where did you buy the panels? For approximately 70 dollar a set of panels.

Heater Louvres

In the restoration of my W113 I've discovered that the chrome-plated louvers in the heater vents are sadly pitted. They are plated pot metal. As the remainder of the restoration is very complete (subframes off, all castings and stampings such as axles, trailing arms, etc. were shot-peened and powder coated) to forget about these details such as these louvers which will stare me in the face forever would be remiss. Several platers would not touch the old ones; too risky of breaking them in buffing or losing them in the plating tanks. I don't think any of the interior chrome trim or these vents are available any longer, or if they ever were.

I did mine! And what a mess ... but well worth it. For starters the first plater lost two of the louvers. I was changing platers due to poor quality. The second plater wanted to drill a small hole in each louver to hang them because they will lose them as I realised. Instead, I had him solder a wire on the end of the pins and I would grind them off after plating.This worked but the fit of each one is not exact. So if you touch each fin a couple feel a little loose. I would let them drill them if I was doing it again. But I would pick the spot. As for the two missing ones you can use flat brass stock and fabricate them. The center one with the handle needs to be drilled and the pits filled. The parts are zinc of some metal as soft and brittle.

The side vents are easy to replace. The chrome vents come strait out. They are held in with 3 pins that are held with 3 pressure sleeves to provide a snug secure fit. The trick is to pry them loose without chipping the paint.

Can anyone give tips how to get the chrome plates off the dash (the things with vents in 'em on either end and the plate for heater controls).

Be careful when removing the chrome vents at the ends of the dash, they are held in by small screws and then two locking pins, similiar to the ones that hold the trunk badging in place. They almost always break when removing, so you might want to leave them alone and mask them up really well.

I am in process of restoring the interior of a 280sl, and the "chrome" vents in the original Frigiking unit are all "rusted" I think these are plated over plastic, but are very unattractive now. What have others done to restore the shine to these vents?

On chrome over plastic, I have found that NAPA bug remover (areosol can, comes out as a foam) will do a great job of cleaning up such parts. Honestly, I have not tried it on the Frigiking unit grills (I removed my A/C several years ago, as I never used the air in the summer - top down, it is not much use). I did have the problem on similar parts in a 1977 Rolls-Royce Corniche coupe and found that the Bug Remover seemed to work fine - did no damage to the chrome finish and took off the accumulated discoloration.

I found a plastic chrome restoration company on the web. If you do a google search under the keywords of "plastic chrome" you should fine some companies to choose from. I don't recall the name of the company now but they were a small operation working out of some guys house and was located up around Michigan ... or one of those other cold states! The cost was $55 for all three vents, they look like new and it took about 5 weeks for them to get back to me.

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