W111 Heater lever upgrade

Most Mercedes from the mid 50s to the late 60s had a similar set of controls for the heater.   There are four horizontal levers controlling the amount of heat and the direction of the air flow.

At least on the W111, the lever on the top left controls the amount of outside airflow.   The top right controls the direction of the airflow.   The two bottom levers control how much heat on each side is allowed in.   There is no provision for A/C as this was not integrated into the controls until the mid 70s.

The levers were originally chrome, for example in the 190SL.   Later on as the dashboard evolved the levers were changed to black plastic.   This was ostensibly for safety, but there was probably a little cost cutting involved too.   The same reason was given for other changes in the dashboard, such as the removal of the wooden instrument binnacle.

W111 Heater lever

Over time the plastic levers become a bit beaten up looking.   They also don’t really fit the look of the dashboard.   As the levers simply slide into their receptacles, they can be easily replaced.   I normally like to keep cars original but mods that are easily reversible make sense.   The picture above shows the levers on the right replaced and the original plastic ones on the left.

Much worse than the levers is the horrible 90s radio.   This will be a project for another time.   Unfortunately the dash opening has been enlarged for a DIN radio.   This means the original radio will no longer fit.   I will probably adapt one of the retro radios with a 70s faceplate.

The W111 heater lever look much better in Chrome than they do in black plastic.   This upgrade would also make sense on other cars like the W108.   I’ve saved the plastic levers in case I want to put it back to stock.

W111 Heater lever


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