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Mercedes Benz - W123 230E & W124 200E - It's getting expensive!


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Same here.  My ideal would be a LHD 300 turbodiesel estate with the OM617 TD unit.  Unfortunately these are now £FUCKME expensive.

LHD because the RHD models weren't available with a turbocharged engine and the N/A OM617 is a tadge slow.

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes W124 200E - Rolling Resto - Starter motor removed

A quick update on the 230E. It's been out on a few local journeys with no problems to report. The taxi sign continues to attract a lot of attention and a number of people have stopped for a chat, asking whether it's a real German taxi. I consider the taxi sign as jewelry, like a giant diamond butt plug perched on the roof.

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For ICE I use a JBL portable speaker, Bluetooth connected to my iPhone. The original Becker radio cassette player and electric aerial are in good working condition, however I like my DAB. As part of my maintenance regime I refresh the grease on the aerial mast every year.

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A few weeks ago the 200E's starter motor developed a screeching sound. It only screeched when the engine was first started, subsequent re-starts were silent. I got in touch with Mike at JASM and he's willing and able to give the starter motor a refurb. This is just as well as looking on AutoDocs and ECP's websites and on EBay brings up multiple listings for W124 starter motors, with contradictory results. Id rather have mine fixed rather than spend anything from £50 to £150 on a part that may not fit.

One last action shot of the 200E, I needed more decking boards and what better car to collect them with than the 200E.

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I removed the starter motor yesterday. I got the front of the 200E high on ramps, which gave me plenty of room and comfortable and safe working conditions.

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All the action took place from underneath the car, neither the starter motor nor the wiring are visible from within the engine bay. The starter motor is secured with two long bolts, which were easy to access and remove. The bolt and screw that secure the wiring could only be got at once the starter motor was unbolted and rotated in-situ. As I only have two hands, both of which were needed to remove the nut and screw, I used a piece of wood and a jack to wedge the starter motor up against the floorpan.

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I got the starter motor off, it was surprisingly light and small. There is no identifiable Mercedes Benz part number on it, however the Bosch part number is nice and clear. Hopefully reinstatement of the starter motor will be less faff than removal.

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes W124 200E - Rolling Resto - Now with W210 content

The 200E is still up on ramps in the garage whilst I wait for JASM to refurbish the starter motor.

I have added a 1999 W210 E240 Avantgarde to the fleet. It has 129k with FSH, which comprises of a fully stamped service book and a stack of receipts and old MoT certificates. Not all receipts are in place, for example the previous owner recently fitted new front brake discs and pads, of which there is no record in the history. Never mind. It's got three (electronic) keys, two of which work, one allegedly needs a battery.

It's my ideal spec, post facelift saloon, silver, black interior. The previous owner fitted period correct CLK alloy wheels, which are in decent condition and have four as new tyres, a pair of Continentals up front and Events on the rear. There's also a matching spare.

Being a W210 it's going to have rust issues. The previous owner has had two jacking points welded and there are localised blisters appearing under the paint along the front and rear wheel arches. It's not too bad, at least not yet but it looks a lot better than some W210s that I have seen. There is a small crack on the front bumper and the front end has been touched up where it picked up stone chips. The headlights are not cloudy and the exterior trim is unmarked. Overall, I'd give it 8/10.

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The interior is very tidy and well specced. We have leather seats, the fronts are electrically operated, electric windows and mirrors, the latter fold at the press of a button, cruise control and air conditioning. There is virtually no wear on the leather seats but the floor mats that came with it were horrible and didn't fit right. I binned them. I will buy a cheap bespoke set from EBay. The air conditioning doesn't work but that doesn't bother me, I suffer from sinus issues and never use it anyway. The boot is big and tidy, it's got all the original tools and warning triangle and first aid kit is in place (in the rear armrest). Overall, I'd give it 9/10.

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I noticed yesterday that the offside rear alloy wheel has a polished outer edge whilst the other three wheels are all silver. Not an issue as far as I'm concerned.

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The V6 looks quite small in the giant engine bay. The bay needs a clean but  as the E240 will be used daily in all weathers I'm not going to get too precious about it. The engine starts and runs well. It's very smooth and quiet but not as smooth as the gearchanges, which are virtually seamless. I was surprised by the high gearing. On the motorway, at 70MPH the engine is spinning over at 3,000 revs/min, which is high. I recall that the W126 300SE that I had years ago had similarly high gearing, although that had a four speed automatic gearbox whilst the E240 has five.

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So far there is only one issue that requires attention. Driving at low speeds or whilst stationary, I can feel slight friction and a rubbing sound when the steering wheel is turned. At first I thought it might be dry ball joints. I've had various Mercs in the past that suffered from the same problem and displayed identical symptoms. I took the front wheels off and squirted some engine oil via a needle and syringe into the top and bottom ball joints. I used a small needle, which won't cause any significant damage to the rubber covers. Unfortunately, the procedure did not improve the situation.

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A bit of research on the internet revealed that there is a rubber seal at the base of the steering column, inside the cabin, which can get dry and cause the reported symptoms. I will have a go at greasing up the seal later today.

With the front wheels off, I could see the new brake discs and pads, which is a bonus. Not so good is the rust, which affects most surfaces. W210s, you gotta love them.

 

 

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It's a shame about the rust situation on these, because they seem pretty good mechanically. The styling is slightly gawky, the front treatment was ok but the wheels never seem to fit the arches properly.

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7 hours ago, artdjones said:

It's a shame about the rust situation on these, because they seem pretty good mechanically. The styling is slightly gawky, the front treatment was ok but the wheels never seem to fit the arches properly.

I agree. The styling is a bit Marmite, the front end curves are let down by a square rear end. I still like it, especially in (boring!) silver.

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I had a bit of time this morning to take a look at the steering column seal. Getting to it involved removal of the lower dash panel and footwell carpet. All very easy, the interior is really well assembled.

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Unfortunately, I found the seal to be perfectly well lubricated.

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I did more sniffing around and noted that the groan only occurs when the engine is switched on and the steering wheel is turned slowly. With the engine switched off, there is no noise. Driving at normal speed the steering is just fine. I came to the conclusion that something inside the steering rack is not happy. I drained approx 400mm of power steering fluid and poured in the same amount of Slick 50. I am hoping that by reducing friction within the rack the noise will stop. There was no instant improvement, however research on the internet suggests that these types of additives can take approx 2 weeks to work. The car drives absolutely fine, with the radio switched on the noise cannot be heard and worst case scenario, the noise only occurs at parking speeds and is not overly intrusive. The plan is to live with it and see what happens.

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I know I said that I won't get precious about the presentation of the engine bay, however I managed to spill some of the Slick 50 and it dripped all over the auxiliary belt. I tried my best to clean the mess but as soon as I started the engine, drops of Slick 50 ended up getting flicked all over the front of the engine. I removed the top cover to find leak free cylinder heads. 

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I spent 20 minutes with wet wipes and achieved a tidy engine bay.

 

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In other news, I was not too bothered by the incorrect designation but the spacing of the digits was all wrong and looked shit.

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A little heat got the adhesive soft and the digits came off without leaving a mark. Much better. 

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Not one to give up easily, I had another go at sorting out the steering rack noise. I got the front of the car up nice and high.

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I removed the steering rack gaiters to reveal the rack. On the nearside, the rack was shiny and silver. On the offside, around the teeth that mesh with the pinion, there was a fair amount of surface corrosion. Fortunately / unfortunately, the rack seals are good and there is no evidence of fluid leakage. I squirted silicone spray onto the rack whilst my wife was turning the wheels from side to side and finished the job off by applying fresh grease before putting the gaiters back.

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I went for a drive around the block and sadly the noise is still there.

Evidently, something is binding inside the rack. However, with the outer seals / bushes intact, there is no way of getting any fluid or grease to lubricate the offending surfaces. 

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A replacement reconditioned rack is £145. Then there's postage, cost of new fluid and having the geometry re-set. There won't be much change from £250 and that is assuming that I can complete the job in my workshop. As the chances of me putting the rack back in line with the column in exactly the same position as it should be are extremely low, I expect there would be a need to remove and align the steering wheel before the geometry can be fixed.

I can remove the rack, the job doesn't look too daunting (there's a nice YouTube video that really helps) but what chance do I have of getting into the innards without special tools? And if I do strip it without renewing the seals, how long will they last before the rack starts to leak? 

I'm not sure what to do.

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10 hours ago, HMC said:

Nice purchase, if you can be bothered would be an interesting evolution photo w123-124-210 

Will do but first I need the 200E’s starter motor back from JASM. Until then it’s stuck in my workshop.

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230E update first, whenever the weather permits, I take it out on trips to all sorts of lovely places, such as the industrial estate in Iver (near Slough), see photo below! 

Since I started using the 230E more often, I've noted that the brakes pulled slightly to the left. I presumed that there might be air in the front nearside brake pipe / caliper or the caliper was getting a bit sticky. The other day, whilst approaching a totally clear roundabout, driving behind a Fiat 500, the cinquecento came to a needless complete stop, forcing me to slam my brakes on. The front wheels skidded a little, I shat myself but the 230E came to an incident free stop. Since then, the brake pedal feels firmer and the brakes pull up straight.  

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200E update next. The 200E has been stuck in my workshop whilst Mike at JSMA was overhauling the starter motor. The fresh and clean starter motor was returned to me this morning, the plan is to refit it and have the 200E back on the road tomorrow. Wish me luck.

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Finally, the W210. It's with my mechanic in London. I did all I could to diagnose the cause of the creaking / friction in the steering wheel and I've run out of time and patience. A few people have suggested that the PAS pump could be the culprit, which, if proved correct, would be less of a pain to replace than the steering rack. Watch this space.

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On 3/26/2021 at 10:15 PM, Talbot said:

Same here.  My ideal would be a LHD 300 turbodiesel estate with the OM617 TD unit.  Unfortunately these are now £FUCKME expensive.

LHD because the RHD models weren't available with a turbocharged engine and the N/A OM617 is a tadge slow.

I went to see one of these at a local garage a few years ago. It was utterly fantastic - first owner was from up the road and imported it himself so he could have his perfect* car. 

It was £8k vs £3.5k for a NA RHD car, and I thought he’d have it for sale for ages because niche market. 

It was gone the next day! 
 

*LHD

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On 3/26/2021 at 10:15 PM, Talbot said:

LHD because the RHD models weren't available with a turbocharged engine and the N/A OM617 is a tadge slow.

You can get 100mph (down a hill) out of the N/A 300D engine, but this is the resulting “emissions deposits” 🤣

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4 hours ago, rob88h said:

You can get 100mph (down a hill) out of the N/A 300D engine, but this is the resulting “emissions deposits” 🤣

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Buy a petrol powered W123 and problem solved. My 230E will manage 100MPH without breaking a sweat.

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes Benz - W123 230E, W124 200E & W210 E240 - All back on four wheels and running ok

230E update.

My mother in law (lovely woman) made a cover for the taxi sign. She made it from waterproof fabric and two velcro straps so it should last and stay put. I will keep it in the boot and have it ready in case a jobsworth copper pulls me over.

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200E update.

I got the starter motor back from Mike at JSMA. At £75 is was half the price of a new unit but once you factor in postage costs, it didn't work out much cheaper.

Re-fitting it was fun. Access cannot be gained to re-fit the cables with the starter motor in place. I suspended the starter motor by string fixed to the bulkhead and whilst my wife, lying next to me under the car, held the starter motor in place, I just about squeezed my arms in and put the cables and fixings on the terminals. With the cables on, re-fitting the starter motor, which is secured with two bolts, took a couple of minutes.

I fired up the engine and I am pleased to report that all is well, the refurbished starter motor is silent again. 

E240 update.

Having done all I could outside my workshop (with the 200E up on ramps and without a starter motor parked in the workshop), I left the E240 with my mechanic in west London. He did all the same checks as me and confirmed that the ball joints and steering column grommet were all ok and the cause of the friction and squeak was either the steering rack or PAS pump. Fortunately, he is not one to start replacing parts one by one until he eventually finds the fault. We discussed my (limited!) options and agreed that before I start spending serious money, he will drain and renew the PAS fluid. A couple of weeks ago, when removing some of the fluid to make space for the Slick 50 additive, I could see just how dirty (black) the old fluid was. My mechanic flushed out the old fluid and refilled the system with fresh red fluid. And.... the problem is 90% fixed. In normal driving the rack is silent. Only when driving very slowly, at parking speeds, whilst turning the steering wheel very slowly, I can hear a very faint sound coming from the steering. Under all other conditions the steering is silent. Job done. 

I went to collect the E240 today, it was good to see it in the flesh again. Such a pretty car, beauty being in the eye of the beholder. 

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Unfortunately, my mechanic always returns my cars in filthy condition, both inside and out, which is annoying as I gave the interior a deep clean before I took the E240 to him.

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Nothing that a wet wipe and hoover couldn't fix. I ordered new (bespoke) floor mats via EBay and I am pleased to say that they fit just great and complete the tidy interior.

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Under the bonnet all is well. My mechanic renewed the auxiliary belt, as the old one was frayed. 

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I gave the E240 a quick wipe over and left it out in a prime position on the drive next to my wife's Tucson. Of the two integrated garages, a car only fits in the left side  garage and the 230E is parked there. The right side garage is our utility area. The 200E is parked in the workshop, located to the left of the house. My Kia is now parked outside the workshop, behind solid timber gates, out of sight. To a passer-by, we look like a normal two car family. I could but really don't want to park any cars on the lawn. Saying that, a W211 and a W201 would really complete the collection. Hmm. 

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On 5/3/2021 at 8:06 PM, HMC said:

Nice purchase, if you can be bothered would be an interesting evolution photo w123-124-210 

I promise to get a few, as soon as it stops raining.

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More E240 fun and games.

Every so often the dash display would warn me that my reversing lights have failed. It wasn't lying, the reverse lights were knackered. A bit of research on the internet and I found this: 

https://forums.mercedesclub.org.uk/index.php?threads/e300-w210-intermittent-reversing-lights-sorted.45900/

Getting to the famous grey cable wasn't difficult.

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Having provided a reliable +12V supply to the reverse light switch, I now have working reverse lights and no more malfunction warnings. Result.

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I removed the tape adapter and fitted an FM transmitter, which I originally bought for the Audi TT. It works ok, I don't have any cables dangling on my dashboard and I can charge my iPhone whilst playing music. Result.

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Whilst buying the car two weeks ago, the previous owner told me that the spare wheel and tyre are in good condition. I didn't bother checking, until today. He wasn't wrong!

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Finally, I fitted my private plate.

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The E240 would look great parked up next to the CLS that I had four years ago.

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5 minutes ago, DVee8 said:

Different plate on the CLS?

Yep, I bought two personal plates when I had my Boxster and CLS. 
 

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G9PTC made a brief reappearance on the TT.

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I might put F9PTC on the 200E.

 

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes Benz - W123 230E, W124 200E & W210 E240 - Which one managed 39.8MPG?

Four days after buying the E240 I handed it over to my mechanic to sort out the noisy power steering issue. Since getting the E240 back, I've only been down the shops in it twice. Until today. I took the E240 or a 101 mile round trip to Croydon and back, via the M40, M25 and A23. It performed superbly, the engine is so smooth, especially compared with the thrumy 3 pot that I have in the Kia and the automatic gearbox is amazing, it's without doubt the smoothest shifting automatic 'box I've experienced in a Mercedes Benz. 

Admittedly traffic was light but even so, the E240 achieved 39.8MPG, which includes climbing some pretty steep hills in the Croydon area. Without the hills I would have seen 40MPG. Without the hills and side roads, on a long motorway run, I wonder if I would see 45MPG. Not bad from a 2.4 litre petrol V6.

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For bonus points, when I arrived in Croydon, the person (work related appointment) I went to see had a lovely W124 E220 cabriolet outside his house.

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The trip computer wasn't lying. I've been driving the E240 around some more in the past few days, including in a bit of traffic and I always let the engine idle for a minute or two before setting off in the morning. I brimmed the tank today, having clocked up 190 miles, it took just under 22 litres to fill the tank, which equates to approx 33MPG. No doubt with a heavier right foot and inner city driving that figure would drop massively but that's not what the E240 is about.

 

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes Benz - W123 230E & W124 200E - Squeaking fan motor - fixed (hopefully!)

This time last week @Agila collected the E240. I sold it because it was too comfortable, smooth and easy to drive. I was hoping that a V6 powered Avantgarde model (with sports suspension) would have an edge to it but sadly not. I enjoy owning and driving my W123 and W124 far more than the sterile W210.

Earlier this week I drove the 200E around the M25 to east London for a work appointment. It was the second hottest day of the year so far and shortly into the journey the ventilation fan started to squeak. Bugger. 

Before starting the job I did a bit of on-line research to see how best to tackle it. There's an informative YouTube video presented by an Australian chap, however quickly into the process I discovered that my bulkhead trim and fan construction is very different to the car that he was working on.

The good news is that getting to the fan motor does not involve removal of the dashboard. The bad news is that the fan motor is hidden deep behind the bulkhead.

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To get to it, all this needs to come off.

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And here it is.

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With the fan motor removed, it was obvious that access to the rear bearing could not be gained without removing the plastic fan.

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I used a puller to remove the plastic fan.

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The recommended lubricant for the bearings is PAS fluid. Luckily I had some and using a syringe I managed to apply it directly to the bearings without getting it all over the motor assembly.

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Once lubed up, with the fan motor secured in a vice, I knocked the plastic fan back onto the shaft with the help of a suitable socket and hammer.

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I am pleased to report that the fan motor is now silent and the wiper motor, which I had to remove to get to the fan motor, works as it should. I am aware that lubricating the old bearings is not a permanent fix, however at least now I know exactly how to do the job if it needs doing again and which fan motor I have.

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes Benz - W123 230E & W124 200E - Ace Cafe - LIVE footage

Classic Car Night at the Ace Cafe. It’s a beautiful warm and most importantly dry day and I’m here with the 230E.

I’ve arrived early to ensure the 230E got a good spot and to have a bite to eat before the kitchen gets too busy.

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I'm surprised that blower motor fan blade assembly pulled off the shaft without breaking, I didnt even attempt to do that on mine (still have the old one though, might be salvagable after all!). Much easier to get out in the W140 as well.

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2 hours ago, Peter C said:

Classic Car Night at the Ace Cafe. It’s a beautiful warm and most importantly dry day and I’m here with the 230E.

I’ve arrived early to ensure the 230E got a good spot and to have a bite to eat before the kitchen gets too busy.

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The Consul owner lives near Hendon School, and the car is a familiar sight around here.

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes Benz - W123 230E & W124 200E - It's getting expensive!

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      Go to this link to avoid the 4 page chat on the buying process: https://autoshite.com/topic/41278-2002-renault-clio-ii-172/?do=findComment&comment=2092395
       
      Decided now is definitely the time I need to scratch this itch. I don't suppose anyone has one going or thinking of going at the moment?
      Really need to sell the Laguna before I pull the trigger but if someone is getting rid for a decent price...
    • By captain_70s
      Hullo,
       
      I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at £300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
       
      On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for £850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:
       

       
      Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
       
      It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines... 
      I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
       
      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:
       

       
      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
       
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:
       

       
      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
       
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
       
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
       
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
    • By Zelandeth
      Well I've been meaning to sign up here in forever, but kept forgetting. Thanks to someone over on another forum I frequent poking me about it recently the subject was forced back into my very brief attention span for long enough to get me to act on the instruction.

      I figure that my little varied fleet might bring you lot some amusement...

      So...we've got:

      1993 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate (now fuel injected, as I reckon the later cars should have been from the factory...).
      1989 Saab 900i Automatic.
      1987 Skoda 120LX 21st Anniversary Special Edition.
      1985 Sinclair C5.
      2009 Peugeot 107 Verve.

      Now getting the photos together has taken me far longer than I'd expected...so you're gonna get a couple of photos of each car for now, and I'll come back with some more information tomorrow when I've got a bit more time...

      Firstly...The Lada. Before anyone asks - in response to the single question I get asked about this car: No, it is not for sale. Took me 13 years and my father's inheritance to find the thing.


      Yes, it's got the usual rusty wings...Hoping that will be resolved in the next couple of months.

       






      Next, a proper old Saab. One of the very last 8 valve cars apparently, and all the better for it. I've driven two 16v autos and they were horrible - the auto box works sooooo much better with the torque curve of the 8 valve engine. Just wish it had an overdrive for motorway cruising...









      Next up a *real* Skoda...back when they put the engine where it belongs, right out the back. In the best possible colour of course...eye-searingly bright orange.







      Seat covers have been added since that photo was taken as it suffers from the usual rotting seat cloth problem that affects virtually all Estelles.

      Then we have possibly the world's scruffiest Sinclair C5...



      Realised when looking for this that I really need to get some more photos of the thing...I use it often enough after all! We have a dog who's half husky, so this is a really good way of getting him some exercise.

      Finally - again, I really need to take more photos of - we have the little Pug 107.



      Included for the sake of variety even if it's a bit mainstream! First (and probably to be the only) new car I've bought, and has been a cracking little motor and has asked for very little in return for putting up with nearly three years of Oxford-Milton Keynes commuter traffic, before finally escaping that fate when my housemate moved to a new job. Now it doesn't do many miles and is my default car for "when I've managed to break everything else."

      I'll fill in some more details tomorrow - I warn you though that I do tend to ramble...
    • By Sunny Jim
      I blame @cort16, a week ago he posted a link to a rather shiny red 480 on the Ebay Tat thread. It was a thing of beauty but was rather beyond my budget and was in Scotland. You know when a car's got under your skin and you keep re-visiting the ad then looking at the DVLA online checker to see if a new V5 has been issued? I was doing various man maths calculations but I don't have any children to sell (I've never had them , it's not that I've sold them already) and I need what's left of both of my kidneys. I trawled the classifieds but anything within my budget was beyond my skillset.
      I've been sleeping badly recently and in the early hours the other night I found a 480 an hour away from me closer to my theoretical budget. The ad sounded promising, the MOT history not too scary AND it was turquoise!

      It's an 'S' so the base model, 1.7 Renault engine, no fancy info screen but had been specced with optional half leather seats. I arranged to go and see it yesterday. I have a thing for two door estates and pop-up headlights but had a firm figure in mind well below the asking price and resolved to walk away if I couldn't get it for what I was willing to pay. The Wayback Machine helped me discover the car had been for sale for 17 weeks at gradually reducing asking prices and some handy buyers guides from Owners Clubs meant I knew what to look out for. Prices are all over the place on these and as we all know what a car is advertised for isn't always what is sells for - they're rare but still rather forgotten. The vendor said he'd bought it from a local garage before lockdown but then it had developed some faults and he'd not had the money to sort them out. When I contacted him on WhatsApp his profile picture was of a car transporter so it seemed likely he was a trader of some sort.
      He let me spend a good hour systematically going over the car while I compiled a list of issues in addition to the ones he'd mentioned. I hate negotiating so I was straight with him and said look I could pretend to be Mike Brewer and offer you and insultingly low figure and we can go back and forth but here's where I'm at. I showed him other ads (and how long they'd been up for) and my list of issues with a rough guesstimate of what it would cost to sort them and named what I was willing to pay. "Old art yer 'and," he said. "Hang on," I replied, "You've got a car transporter and as the car isn't currently driveable on the road (the indicators don't work) I want it delivered." He hummed and harred but eventually we shook on it.
      So far the to do list is looking like this:
       4 new shocks - rears 'slightly corroded', fronts 'lightly misted'
      2 new front tyres
      New Battery
      Sort exhaust blow and investigate rusty cat
       
      Rear of sills where it meets rear arch is a known weak spot on these, this doesn't look too bad but want to sort it before it gets any worse

      Replace damaged daytime running light

      Possibly replace faded and cracked rear lights - these are no longer available and rare as rocking horse poop - 'best' price I've found a pair for so far is £260 (HFM!) but they'll need replacing eventually and the longer I leave it the dearer they'll get so I might just hold my breath and take the hit now.

      Replace Central Electronics Module (CEM) which (hopefully) is the cause of the indicators not working and the headlights doing this (at least I know the motors work!). I've managed to track one of these down for £80.

      VID_20210618_150013_01_01[1].mp4 These are getting to be rare cars now and although they share a lot of parts with the other 400 series cars the bits that are unique to the 480 are getting harder to find and consequently more expensive. The irony is that over time I'll probably end up spending more than I would have on the shiny red one. I won't have had the satisfaction of doing myself though and isn't that a large part of what our hobby is about? Built not bought. Other than my BX which I bought off here this is the first time I've bought a vehicle without taking it for a test drive. The biggest gamble is that the electrical issues aren't sorted by a new battery and CEM. But hey, what's life without taking a few risks?

      I take delivery Monday, can't wait!
    • By Fumbler
      To mark the genesis of my fleet project thread I here present my new car: a 1997 Nissan Micra Shape-


      It really looks that good. There is a reason for this: its previous owner was an old lady who loved the thing so much so she made every effort to keep it in good shape. It originally came from Fleet in the GU postcode which suggests to me it was bought by the present dealer at auction, hence arriving down here in Kent. Before seeing the car I checked its MOT history and its only fails were thanks to broken stoplights, which shows me that it was very well cared for. I suppose an example of this was that on the last MOT, an advisory was a corroded rear silencer. The silencer on the car when I saw it was new. Methinks the lady wanted to keep it as good as possible. It was kept in a garage and so all the bumpers and black trim are very black and the tyres are in very good condition. Spare never used! Also included a free Dettol first aid kit from 1997.
      This car has 15000 genuine miles on the clock. We clocked over 15000 during the test drive! The lady owner really only trundled around her village in it and the MOT shows that it only did some meagre miles between tests. This, of course, came at a price. We saw a cherry red Micra from 2002 at the same dealer. Paint was shoddy and when they washed it the boot had massive sections of bare metal and it wasn't very happy. This car, however, is in fabulous condition and there was no contest between the two cars- it really is that good, inside and out. Immaculate interior, driver's airbag, cassette player... all there and all functioning (apart from cassette thanks to new battery and failed display). This meant that I bought it for £1600, £100 over what was my uppermost limit, but I knew I wouldn't see another like this that was in as good shape for a fair while. It was priced very ambitiously, at £1990, so I'm content in the fact I managed to slash a few hundred off the price. There wasn't that much paperwork though. All the dealership received was the logbook with 3 service stamps from 1998, 1999 and 2000, the radio key pass, a National Trust sticker, and the original paperwork holder. I suspect the old lady died and had her car auctioned, and the massive file of paperwork is now someone's egg carton, along will everything else she owned.

      As always, this car isn't exactly in showroom condition. While the inside is great and the floor is solid, and the underseal is in great shape, the not undersealed parts need a small looking at. Mainly the rear of the driver's side sill. It's really the only bubbling on the car. I suspect a well aimed stonechip managed to fester over the wintery salted roads, making it rust even more. It's around the size of a 5p piece, and will give me the opportunity to spray the insides of the sill with some chain oil to prevent any further corrosion. Behind the fuel tank there are a few rusty joints- places where the spraygun cannot get paint onto- which some Vactan and Dynax should put to rights. Alternator belt looks original because of the cracking and Nissan badges and will need doing soon as well as the front plate. As much as I like the 90's font and original dealer surround, the dishevelled R and general water ingress is a persistant MOT advisory. It could be the MOT station being strict (and most likely is considering there's a Saxo down the road with far worse blackening), however for the sake of peace of mind and all that, I'll get a new one made. The rear has already been replaced indicating this has happened before.
      All in all, I think this is a nice plucky motor. I'll have it by the end of the week; just got to sort out tax, insurance, and it's going to have an MOT. As part of the deal it's getting the MOT and an oil and filter change which will be something ticked off the list. It has some love scratches and chips here and there, but it drives well, is stiff and controllable, and should make out to be a nice summer project!
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