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Mercedes Benz - W123 230E, W124 200E & W210 E240 - All back on four wheels and running ok

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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.





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.


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.


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.


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.


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.






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.






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.


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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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. 


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



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


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.


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.


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. 


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.  


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.


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! 


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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” 🤣


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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


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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      YAY! MUCH ELATION! Oh and that old diesel stinks. Time to get the leads off, move the ML and let the 205 tick over for a few minutes to let the engine settle. Next we found out why the front wheels were not for turning...
      So yeah. All the CV Joints were completely solid. But anyways it was mission accomplished for the day. We got it moving and a general once over suggests that it should be easily salvageable therefore if auntie wants the space in the lockup, it's going to have to go somewhere. Time to put it back in and wrap up for the day.

      Thanks to 320 Touring in assistance. The list of work is substantial but not insurmountable. It needs - a battery, front discs, front pads, front calipers, front lower arms, front driveshafts, possibly bearings, rear drums, rear shoes, rear fitting kit, probably handbrake cables, flexi hoses all round, 4 new tyres, 3 of the 4 doors don't work properly, a water leak at the water pump but that can get done with a new cam belt, probably a thermostat, engine oil, filters all round, fresh fuel, a good clean, handbrake light, oil pressure light and a rear screenwash leak inside the tailgate.
      Oh and a sidelight bulb...

      Interim time:
      Lockup secured in Cumbernauld.
      Car transporter trailer booked for Wed 12th Feb to move it. The V70 will do the honours.
      Another bit of tinkering - 4th February
      So it has been agreed the V5 will be transferred in to my name. With an impending trailer move, I thought I'd go back and have another look at things and reassemble the front brakes. I've already installed a new battery so it can be started without the need for leads and it does so quite happily even though the fuel coming from the tank smells like paint. I drove it about in circles for 5 - 10 mins to free up the CV joints and scrape the rust off the brake discs. I also did some straight line tests pulling away in 2nd which seemed to free up the turbo actuator.
      I also found the radio code so I got that working but you'll have to take my word on it 'cos YouTube will just give me a copyright flag.
      I shall leave this one here just now. Not much will happen for a while. There will of course be the drama of the trailer move but once it's in the lockup a plan of action will need to be drawn up. A sensible first course will be, I think, to find someone who will give it a once over for MoT viability before any new parts are obtained. All the obvious stuff should be easily DIYable but I don't know what lurks underneath. Some things like the timing belt and water pump will be paid for but the rest will just get picked away at in due course.
      I also found some period souvenir parking tickets...


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