It's very simple, though a bit unnerving.
Get a pair of instrument cluster pullers from the MB parts desk. They look
like boot hooks (a tee-shaped hook with wooden handle). You would insert
the hooks (hook tips facing straight up) at the 10:00 and 2:00 positions
(maybe slightly lower) of the clear instrument cluster, between the edge of
the dash surround and the cluster. After inserting the shafts of the tools,
rotate the handles so that the hooks grab the instrument cluster from
behind. Firmly pull the cluster straight out toward the back of the
steering wheel, keeping equal tension on both hooks.
The instrument cluster is simply pressed into the dashboard with friction.
The small (tan?) hexagonal pieces on the back of the instrument panel are
the bulbs for illumination; turn counterclockwise to release. I'd suggest
replacing all of them while the unit is out.
Failing the MB dash hooks, other owners use firm coathanger wire, with a
1/4-inch hook bent at the tip (needlenose plier tip, rounded back), and the
pulling end of the coathanger doubled up a few times to create a T-shaped
handle and hook.
It's unnerving to do, because the plastic creaks and groans as it is pulled
out. The last I heard, the replacement cost for an instrument cluster was
On most older Mercedes, the instrument cluster is a press fit into the
dash, and is only held in place by a ribbed rubber strip wrapped around
the cluster assembly. It prys out easily with any thin, smooth tool.
With a little care it can be removed without marring either the cluster
or the surround. It's only scary the first time you do it. I got
involved when my aftermarket mechanic wanted to charge me $150 to
replace a burned out instrument lamp. It's worse on a 450 SL, as you
need to remove the steering wheel to gain access. I don't believe that
should be a requirement on your E320. On the 450, I can pop off the
wheel & remove the cluster, replace a burned out instrument lamp and
have it all back together in less than 5 minutes time, it's that easy.
Give it a try! You'll be up here telling us how to do it in no time!
'78 450 SL - 214K miles
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