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

Peter C

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My only W124 was a 260e auto, makes me wonder if this would feel slightly underpowered. I've always wanted to try a 500e too.

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So, Autoshite moves into serial Merc bothers mode (we always seem to have multiple cars the same at some point), interesting.... I had a 123 many years ago, was a 230E auto and apart from a timing chain that rattled like skeletons wanking in a biscuit tin, was a cracking car. Yes, the chain did snap while on its way to the MOT station, the job after was to fit.... a new timing chain! Instead had to fit many new valves, a head set and a new timing chain!


Strangely, MB were the cheapest place to get engine spares, even with trade discount everywhere except MB!


I really like the older Mercs, there was something about a Merc that always said 'I am a Mercedes!' you could tell an MB product blindfolded, now, they seem to be a bit 'generic' - my Mates A180 (brand spanking) feels like anything else, and not in a good way. Still love the old 126 and R129 models, preferably with a HUGE engine... power corrupts, so they say :)

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My only W124 was a 260e auto, makes me wonder if this would feel slightly underpowered. I've always wanted to try a 500e too.

My 200E is not slightly underpowered, it’s massively underpowered! If the engine is pushing out 100BHP then I’m doing well, the gearbox needs gentle treatment, I reckon a good 20 seconds is needed to get to sixty, if that’s your thing.

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Thank you for the great feedback guys.


I’ve sorted, no, I think I’ve sorted the binding fan clutch issue. The water pump pulley wouldn’t move up the shaft anymore so I cut a large plastic washer to size and placed it between the fan and pulley. The fan only drags a little now, as it should and it doesn’t make the loud whooshing sound it made when the clutch was binding. Job done providing that the clutch engages correctly when needed. Time will tell.


Sadly no photo but most of you can imagine what a plastic washer looks like.

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Not wishing to wear out those lovely Continental tyres too quickly, I had the front suspension geometry checked and adjusted. This was necessary following recent replacement of a track rod end, presumably required for the MoT.




All done and looking good.




Whilst the car was up on a ramp I had a good look at the underside. Apart from a little surface rust here and there, the important bits are all solid. Phew.




Driving the car back from west London was an absolute joy. Easy cruising at 70MPH, sunroof open, sun shining, life doesn’t get better than that.

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Firstly some good news. I refuelled a couple of days ago and according to my calculations I am getting 33MPG. Considering that the engine spent a lot of time time idling whilst the car was being shunted around for repairs, I reckon 35MPG should be easily achievable.


Today I had a go at cleaning up the engine bay. I am not proposing to enter the 200E into any Concours d’ Elegance competitions so the bar was set low.






M102 engines are heavy breathers and it looks like the breather pipe that discharges into the air filter enclosure caused the oily deposits around the top of the engine.




Nice to see a brand new air filter, I reckon the engine must have been serviced relatively recently.




Bit of cleaning and tarting up later the engine looks more presentable.




When I viewed the underside of the car from a ramp last weekend I couldn’t see anything seriously wrong with the subframe and associated areas.


Cleaning up the offside rear wheel arch....




Revealed this:




Looks bad but there’s no movement and the metal that is left is solid. I supported the suspension off the hub and jacking the body up and down did not affect the width of the crack. Perhaps smacking into a pothole might have more of an impact. I sculptured a repair* out of filler to prevent water from getting into the box section and coated the whole arch with Hammerite.




Bloody amazing how paint can stick to grot. The plan is to see how the rest of the car fares come MoT time (in 11 months) and have the subframe welded directly to the chassis.


The nearside arch cleaned up nicely...




And revealed only surface corrosion on an otherwise solid mount.




Coat of Hammerite later and job done.




Not the end of the world but I was hoping for less structural rust. I will monitor my mount repair for signs of cracking but fingers crossed the mount will last a couple of thousand miles until the next MoT is due. I don’t want to spend more money on this car until I know that it’s not a complete money pit.

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You don't wanna do it like that!


Seriously, that bit of suspension/subframe does need to be attached properly to the rest of the car, for safety's sake. Not much welding to do, nor fabrication. Best to unbolt the really rusty piece of steel attached to the subframe, refabricate it then weld to the rest of the box section. Two hours a side, at the outside.

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I’m guessing that the subframe has to come off to enable the type of repair that you are proposing. If that’s the case then the entire rear suspension has to be dismantled first, which would take hours and chances are that various components would need replacement along the way.


Comments noted though, I will get this property welded.

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I’m guessing that the subframe has to come off to enable the type of repair that you are proposing. If that’s the case then the entire rear suspension has to be dismantled first, which would take hours and chances are that various components would need replacement along the way.


Comments noted though, I will get this property welded.

Phew, what you did was a bodge, and possibly dangerous. If the mount tore free then it could lead to very *interesting* handling. Complete subframe should roll out from the back allowing any welding and de rusting to be done which will add years to the car. You got a nice one there, it deserves it. Having owned quite a few 80's Mercs, and currently the king of the rusters, a Vito 638- be VERY suspicious of any bubbles in the rubbery underseal and give them a right good poke.



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I've got this very same problem! Mine is worse as the leading edge of the subframe is free to move as the perches have rotted out.


Having a local welding/ fabricators outfit look at it to see if it's sortable.

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Removing the axle is the ideal way of doing it, one of mine I did, the other not. The other two were solid there.


Remember to spray something inside the box once welded, seem to remember there are plenty of rubber grommets for access.


Just don't go too far or fast with it as is,

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I've got this very same problem! Mine is worse as the leading edge of the subframe is free to move as the perches have rotted out.


Having a local welding/ fabricators outfit look at it to see if it's sortable.

Keep me posted on progress please, I need to sort mine out properly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

First an update on the subframe mount rust. Mercedes sell a repair section for the triangular mount, however they charge £70 for the privilege. I spoke with the guy who did my welding before, he quoted £150 to fabricate a suitable mount, cut out the old one and weld in the new metal. He’s coming on Tuesday so later today I need to jack up the rear of the car and clean the freshly applied paint from the rusty mount and loosen off the bolts from the subframe. The plan is to lower the subframe as much as possible to enable the repair without completely removing it.


I machine polished the bodywork again yesterday, this time with Autoglym Super Resin Polish followed by a coat of Extra Gloss Protection. The paint came up nicely, looks nice and shiny.


The 200E is my only toy not to be garaged. I didn’t want my freshly polished paintwork getting crapped on (orange insect shit leaves horrible stains on white paint) so I’ve pulled out an old car cover which fits a treat.






The cover needed one small modification.




I’ve clocked up another hundred miles and I am pleased to report that the car runs great. I fitted a new thermostat last week and now the engine temperature gets up to 85 deg C and seems to stay there, although I am yet to encounter heavy traffic.


More on the subframe mount later.

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I’ve driven approx 50 miles and it would appear that the filler bodge has remained intact. Evidently there was enough strength in the remaining metal not to cause any movement.




With the subframe bolt removed, the subframe drops down approx two inches. With the fuel punp cover removed, there should be enough access to carry out the repair.




Wob removed, all ready for Tuesday.



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Welding to the rear subframe mount has now been completed. I was at work when the welder chap turned up so I don’t know exactly how the mount was repaired. Perhaps patches were welded over the old mount or maybe the old mount was cut out and all new metal has been welded in? Don’t know and don’t care, it’s done.




This repair cost me £125. Add the £250 that I paid for the first round of repairs, hitherto I’ve forked out £375 on welding, all unforeseen. The joy of buying old cars!


I reassembled everything and slapped more Hammerite on the arch and job done.




Unless I am very much mistaken, there are no other immediate jobs to do on the 200E. I just need to find some time to take it out for a long drive.

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Got this from a car boot sale this morning, bargain at £0.50. Probably out of date?






Nice family photo with the W123:




Went out for a Saturday afternoon drive and took a few photos:










Shabby chic?


Tunes - sorted!




Oil pressure and engine temperature both spot on.




Absolutely loving this car.

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Huston, we have a problem.


After a three hour drive in horrendous M25 traffic yesterday afternoon I parked up the 200E and thought everything was fine.


Drove the car today and noticed a click/clunk coming from the offside rear wheel. The noise occurs when I pull away from standstill or when abruptly applying the throttle whilst driving.


Brakes are fine, no binding. Ditto handbrake.


Driveshaft related problem? What do you guys reckon? Or has this ridiculous heatwave finally got to it?

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  • Peter C changed the title to Mercedes Benz - W123 230E & W124 200E - Today was a good day

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