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Mercedes Benz - W123 230E & W124 200E - Today was a good day

Peter C

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This. Is. Gorgeous.


I need another W124 in my life.

Decision made.






I bought one of those £47 Argos dual action polishers to buff up my Boxster but it made sense to practice on the old Benz first, plus it really needed a spit and polish.

I sprayed on a mist of water onto the panels and spent an hour going around the car using a five year old bottle of T-Cut, then a quick coat of Autoglym polish. The paint came up a treat, shines really nice. I touched up a few stone chips and now the 200E looks like new, well almost.

A few arty farty shots taken to celebrate my achievement.

This is my favourite version of the W124. I like the Bruno Sacco panels and much prefer the large grille, black bumper inserts and amber indicators, which the phase three cars lost.













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Day 2 of restoration, front wing repairs.


With all surface corrosion removed, the wings looked bloody awful.






I used gaffer tape to form a cast and filled the missing metal with copious amounts of wob. Please note the inclusion of reinforcement screws.






More wob.






I used white smooth Hammerite. There was no point in trying to spray these repairs as the amount of prep work would be immense and a coat of aerosol would not keep the rust at bay.








Considering the wings were scrap, the repair turned out ok and cost less than £20 in materials. The brushed on paint looks ok around the arches as it only extends up to the swage line. Unfortunately, there’s no way of blending in the repair around the front sections of the wings and the finish is a bit amateurish.


Tomorrow reassembly.

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Love the car, and the repairs! Its always nice to get the sacco boards off and find clean sills. Not all my 190s have been like that...

Despite them being on my to-have list, I've never had a 124, I've always gone for a 190 instead, despite the fact the extra room of a 124 would come in handy.

Mmmm a Bornite 300 12v with sportline pack would be a nice companion for my 190...

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my mate who is an expert in such repairs uses thick aluminium tape as a backing then a mix of filler and fibreglass on top to fill the holes. I’ve seen some amazing looking repairs done using this technique .

I suspect that filler might crack and fall out once back on the car. A+ though, nice car.

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Job done. I’m knackered, what a way to spend a Bank Holiday weekend.




Unfortunately, prodding with a screwdriver revealed a need for welding around the inner wing beneath the screen washer bottle. The rot is too much to bodge and that’s coming from me. TADTS but of all W124s that I’ve had this is the worst rot I’ve seen.




I’ll get this sorted properly.

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New wings are only 45 quid each. Rub down, primer and a big custom made rattle can of Merc white. With the sort of weather we've been having recently, the paint would be touch dry in seconds.

One problem, they don’t fit. I’ve seen a beautiful W124 ruined by installation of cheap repro wings. Panel gaps between the top of the wings and bonnet and wings and doors were appalling. Waste of time and money.

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Brief history of my love for W124s.


First one I bought, approx 10 years ago, was a manual phase 2 200TE.




I loved that car but shortly after I bought it the rear SLS pipes starting leaking due to corrosion and I was being quoted silly money for repairs so it had to go.


Then came a mint, rust free, one owner from new, automatic phase 1 230E.




I sold it because I fancied a change. A huge mistake as there was nothing wrong with it and the full black leather interior was a joy to sit in.


Then came this phase 3 automatic E200, which I sold via Retro Rides because I thought I needed a diesel. This car later appeared on this forum.




I bought this phase 2 automatic 300TD from EBay unseen. It ran great with 180k miles on the clock but it had too many faults and I ended up selling it promptly for a tidy profit.




This is the best photo I have of the poor fiting replacement front wings. The panel gaps were horrendous.




Five years ago I bought this phase 3 manual E220. I used this car as my daily for 4 years, took it to Poland and back three times and loved it to bits. I sold it last year to upgrade to a CLS, which was another huge mistake.




It went to a nice old boy from up north. I missed it so much that I had to buy my current phase 2 manual 200E.




My long term love affair is my W123 230E, bought 9 years ago this November. I will never sell this car.




Some other random Mercs I owned over the years.


A nice R129 500SL, which I swapped for the Boxster I still have now.




I miss this W126 300SE.




But I don't miss this W219 CLS 320CDi.




A couple of 190Es I owned years ago, an automatic 1.8 (green) and a manual 2.0.






A manual W202 C180 Sport bought via Retro Rides for peanuts.




And finally a W204 C220 CDi AMG Coupe, which was a company car that I ran some years ago. I can't find the words how much I hated that car.




I like my Mercs.



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At the risk of wandering off topic - what was wrong with the CLS? I rather fancied one as a daily but ended up with a BMW instead.

Old skool technology now, platform is based on a W211 E-Class, ride wasn’t great but that could have been the 19 inch alloys, it developed way too many faults for a 57k FSH motor. It looked amazing, the aforementioned 19 inch alloys played a part there and it was quick but ultimately lacked soul. Oh and the 7G gearbox is a pile of shit.


I p/x’d it for a Hyundai Tucson that I am now leasing and almost four months after the deal was done, the CLS is still up on Auto Trader. It’s up for £7k but don’t be tempted.

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I had to replace the water pump. When I first viewed the car I could hear a little belt squeal but at the time I thought nothing of it. A new pump (from Ebay) was only £67 and replacing it took three hours.




There was no anti-freeze in the cooling system and judging by the smell and colour of the water I reckon someone added Radweld (or similar), possibly to fix a leaking pump?




Job done, new pump on.




Actually not. Once everything was reassembled I noticed that the fan wasn’t spinning freely enough. Removing the fan pulley took a lot of effort but refitting it seemed quite easy. I reckon that the pulley is not located tight enough on the shaft hence the fan clutch cannot fully disengage. It’s an easy fix, I’ll sort it out next week.


The mobile welder is coming tomorrow. I’ve got the car ready for him with everything stripped where necessary.


Big hole in the inner wing. Hopefully he’ll be able to patch it up neatly.



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Welding done, £250 well spent.


Rear arch:




Inner wing:








Got a new exhaust John? No, I painted the horribly corroded rear box with silver Hammerite:




Quick money shot taken whilst moving cars between garages:




Next job, gotta replace the front ARB bushes.

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Cracking thread. I’m having to daily my little 190 atm as my regular beater is out of action. I bloody love it, but it’s just too nice to subject to 110 miles a day. It’s more than capable, but I do feel bad.


IF the Toyota is terminal I’d be tempted into a cheap w124 for sure.

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Bloody hell, the old ARB bushes were knackered! They were more loose than all my ex-girlfriends put together.




Old and new:




I bought original parts from my local Mercedes dealer (Hughes of Beaconsfield). Despite having my reg number, they got the right parts in second time round. Never mind, job done.




I don’t usually bother with fancy interior sprays but some of the dashboard plastics were dryer than a nun’s c***. A bit of silicone has made a world of difference. I love W124 dashboards.




I think that’s it for now. I’ve got the bodywork solid and shiny, mechanically the important bits are done, interior is fresh, all sorted. Now to clock up some miles.

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Bloody hell, the old ARB bushes were knackered! They were more loose than all my ex-girlfriends put together.




Old and new:




I bought original parts from my local Mercedes dealer (Hughes of Beaconsfield). Despite having my reg number, they got the right parts in second time round. Never mind, job done.




I don’t usually bother with fancy interior sprays but some of the dashboard plastics were dryer than a nun’s c***. A bit of silicone has made a world of difference. I love W124 dashboards.




I think that’s it for now. I’ve got the bodywork solid and shiny, mechanically the important bits are done, interior is fresh, all sorted. Now to clock up some miles.

Absolutely incredible.


Well done, man. That is fantastic!

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I haven’t driven the 200E much but when I have it felt sluggish, more so than I expected. I noticed that the distributor was rotated to the end of the adjustment range - see photo, where you see shiny metal is where the distributor was set to. I moved the distributor by god knows how many degrees and the engine feels a lot more flexible at low RPMs and there’s no pinking under load. Another test drive revealed that I can now use 3rd gear where 2nd was needed before, 4th where 3rd was essential and 5th gear can now be comfortably engaged at speeds less than 60MPH. Win! Simple technology at its best.




The test drive also revealed that the car now rides smoothly and quietly. The new ARB bushes have transformed refinement. Win again!


My W123 has a larger engine (by 0.3 litre), otherwise both are the same M102 units. The W123 has just over 130BHP (at least when new) compared with the newer car’s 118BHP, so not a huge difference. Both cars are fitted with the same 5 speed manual transmission and both weigh roughly the same. Both are in reasonably good condition, now that I’ve spent my every spare moment in the past few weeks sorting out the W124.


With the above in mind, I am amazed at how much more refined the newer car is. Dynamically, it performs so much better, the steering is infinitely sharper, the ride is smoother and the engine is a lot more isolated from the cabin. For a long trip the 200E would be my first choice. Doesn’t matter really, I love both cars to bits.

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You're making me missed my W124. (Which I've just sold). That thing was stable from 0 up to (allegedly, not that I would reveal this to the public) 200km/h. And it eats up the miles like nothing else. I also liked how after 22 years under scorching sun, my MB-Tex is still looking like it came out of the factory yesterday. No wonder why yours look absolute mint inside. Mine was a Phase 3 E200 Automatic with newer M111 unit, very much like your previous black one


Also very nice restoration! Your car is becoming better and better very quickly indeed.

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