Old Mercedes estate rear seat lock jammed & other stuff

Sorry - another small issue that’s in our lives at the moment that I’d welcome help with. I realise it’s a pretty remote chance anyone can help. (photos which hopefully help explain below)

We have a 27 year old Merc estate W204 that has drop down back seats that are released by two handles on the top of each of the seat backs. One of the handles jammed a few days ago. Feeling brave, we managed to get the plastic cover off to reveal that a small piece of plastic which should be attached to the handle has broken. The problem now is that we cannot get any further with releasing the seat because we can’t see how the mechanism works. The other end of the plastic is attached to a vertical metal bar that drops into the seat and presumably leads to whatever is securing the seat to the metal hook that is fixed into the bodywork and holding the seat in place.

The situation is further complicated because there is a rigid “holder” for the cover that goes over the back well of the estate that stretches across the two seat backs and we can find no way to get this off. Until we can either release the seat that’s not working or get the holder off we cannot fold down the seat that is still ok.

Has anyone any suggestions what we can do please? Either to release the seat that is jammed and fold it down or to find a way to get the holder for the cover off. Either approach will enable the other back seat to fold down, as needed and we will be able to use the full length of the back of our estate, which we can’t at the moment.

BTW we HATE with a deep and abiding loathing small pieces of plastic that cost next to nothing, breaking and resulting in much time and/or money to put right. :frowning_face: As always, many thanks for any ideas what we can do.

This is what the handle should do - lifts under tension and black rectangle is lifted and red flash becomes apparent - seat back now released.

This is what the broken handle does - no tension and black rectangle does not move. Seat back jammed.

Close up of broken plastic thingummy that should be attached to handle.

Another view

Further complication - holder for back well cover stretches across both seats preventing the seat that is ok from folding down,

Nothing that a quick coat of looking at and a well-aimed fiddle won’t sort out if you have the right sort of devious mechanical mind. Failing that, if you have a friendly local garagiste I’m sure they’d sort it in no time for a very modest cost.


I’d go with Brian’s idea if you havent got a pair of pliers to grip it with so you can do the action that the handle used to perform.

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We have - but don’t know whether the vertical metal bar should lift or depress or, indeed, move sideways. The up/down motion is non-existent. Maybe we aren’t tough enough!

Thats probably why the plastic gave up.

I’ll swap your problem for mine - my aircon has just stopped working​:cry::cry::cry:

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Good grief… that is serious in this weather situation.
Possibly just needs regassing… which shouldn’t cost too much… ???

good luck

Had it regassed early May, it stopped like it had been switched off.

Don’t think so. I’m talking about how do we sort out the movement of the vertical bar now that we’ve opened it up. When it was working ok we didn’t need to know which way the bar moved. We just lifted the handle.

How odd. I wonder if something has blocked the system… is air coming through (albeit not cooled)??? or is there no airflow at all…???

Must confess I fidget with my car when it comes to Summer. I can never quite recall how to change from heating to cooling, as certain airvents must be closed and certain nobs turned this way and that. Or course, once it’s set… I’m good to go until winter…

From the picture, lifting the handle looks like it pushes the rod downwards.

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That sounds very like a jammed recirculation valve.

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Unfortunately that sounds like a garage job. Fan/airflow all good

Ah… if the air is flowing but NOT cooling… yes, that’s for your friendly garagiste I reckon.

best of luck

They’re sealed circuits so have you a leak?

A clever HVAC engineer can sometimes free it by reverse pumping the coolant.

Alternatively, if you can find where the recirculation valve is, then a sharp tap on the side with a block of wood can sometimes free it. It worked on my Saab twice (a year apart) but the third time I had to get a replacement.

I suggest that by lifting the handle, something is forced downwards, which releases whatever… gosh this is a real nightmare for you

good luck

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When they regassed, they checked for leaks and didn’t find anything. I’ll try to find out something about the RRS aircon system, but if it’s like everything else it will be ridiculously complicated and inaccessible :tired_face:

Sorry for hijacking your thread @SuePJ :upside_down_face:

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Hi no immediate suggestion other than bring it to Mercedes in Bergerac, fling yourselves weeping upon their mercy, I do regularly, they are very nice.
I know exactly what the big bar across cover holder thingy is, my car has the same and I really wouldn’t start messing about with it.


They wouldn’t as it’s not a leak. Standard checks don’t look for stuck valves…