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Old 13-05-2003, 06:55 PM
DVF DVF is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Glasgow, UK
Posts: 20
Default W123 wobbly seats.


I have just bought a very nice 1986 280TE in a light metallic blue. It's almost rust free, just a couple of paint bubbles around the badge etc. What lets thew car down though is the seats. The drivers seat has collapsed on the right side of the base and the passenger base, although quite firm, wobbles about. Is this wobliness normal? Can it be firmed up? And is there anywhere that supplies repair kits for these seats? Any help is much appreciated as my girlfriend will not get in the car until she feels it's safe!?!

Old 13-05-2003, 07:37 PM
NormanB NormanB is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Portsmouth UK
Posts: 388


Welcome to the forum.

First of all the wobbliness as you call it is not the specified performance from a Mercedes seat. However bearing in mind the car is 17 years old, when most others would be reincarnated as a washing machine panel or something, them these sort of problems are one of the joys of running an older Merc.

You could go to the dealer and order a new one they may still have them available ,but you will probably pay more for the new seat than you have shelled out for the car I guess.

You could try a scrappy but a good condition driver seat is probably as rare as hens teeth - but a passenger one may be a doable option - not sure of the technical implications. Try a search on this site and also try our american cousins who have a fast moving and comprehensive forum here with loadsa of DIY practioners as well as professional techs

You can buy new seat boxes/backs and pads - I am no expert, have never done it myself but have seen the like on these forums. Also do not forget if all else fails google it!

Have fun and let us all know how you get on. Above all enjoy your Merc!!

Before I forget - you have had a good luck at the metal frame underneath? I suppose it is feasible that something may have come adrift.

I will stop wittering now!!
1989 230TE Auto - 153,000 miles. Been with me now 9 years (looking for another 10!)
Old 15-05-2003, 10:14 PM
dieseldes dieseldes is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Scotland
Car: W203 2002 220cdi
Posts: 18

hi DVF

Norman is right the passengers seat has exactly the same part no as the drivers on the 123 (actually the same as the 126 as well) Good drivers seats are as rare as rocking horse sh*t but the passengers seat tend to be in relatively good condition. It takes a couple of hours to swap the bases from a s/h passenger seat including swaping over the trim I was sent the following instructions (apologies if they are allready published elsewhere)

The seats come off with 8mm bolts (same with the seatbelt rail). On non-adjusting seats a sideways bolt is also there on the outside tower. The manual seats have a rectangular washer to block aft movement

Lower seat rails must come off first. (This is to expose the middle screw attaching the upper seat rails to the seats.)

Set seat to forward position (tracks aft), and remove front screws.
Remove seat adjustment assist springs (manual seat).

Use vice grips to hold height adjust handle up, which will enable the height adjust rails to move on their tracks.

Align the rails so the middle screw and aft screws are accessible and remove them.

Remove lower frame rails, which will enable you to get to the middle screw of the upper frame rails.

Remove rear screws attaching top rail to black seat frame.
Align seat rails and remove 2 remaining screws on each rail.
Remove seatback.

Clean the dirty oil from a 13mm spanner and remove 4 bolts holding the seatback to the bottom seat frame.

If you need to re-use your seat cushion & upholstery, the upholstery is held by its edges. (The edges have cardboard backing and are simply pressed into the seat frame edge.)

To remove the upholstery, spread a large towel on a clean workbench.
Put the seat on it, upholstery side down. This will expose the seat frame.
Press down on the seat. While pressing on the seat, start with a free edge, carefully lifting the edge part of the upholstery from the slots.

Insert the seatbelt rail before bolting the rear of the seat. (The shaped washer goes behind the plastic trim piece with the raised center facing the rail; the raised edge faces the drive tunnel. A rubber washer holds the bolt in place until secured.)

Good luck

2002 W203 C220cdi 170,000
1988 W124 250td 167,000 some @>:L:@ reversed into the side of it!
1986 W124 230te 115,000 sold
1984 W123 300d 244,000 sold
Old 19-05-2003, 01:35 PM
TimN TimN is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Hertfordshire
Posts: 335

I suspect that the passenger seat wobbles because someone has removed the stabiliser bolt which fixes the seat to the sill. Or that they have forgotten to put the spacer on it. This bolt, mentioned in the previous email, provides the seat with lateral support.

Old 26-05-2003, 10:39 AM
DVF DVF is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Glasgow, UK
Posts: 20

Thanks for that info. On closer inspection of a couple of other similar cars the wobbliness of the passenger seat is just the standard soft springiness. I'm just used to the modern super firm seats you get on cars nowadays!

I will be swapping the front seat bases over as soon as possible as my back can't take much more of this twisting.

But I have a bigger problem for now, I'll put it in a new post.
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