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Peter C

Mercedes W124 200E - Rolling Resto - More fettling

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On 3/28/2020 at 8:04 PM, BorniteIdentity said:

I LOVED doing the oil and filter on my 201. The carb engined cars don’t even have a tray underneath so - with a side exit sump - you could undo the sump plug from the top. This looks a nice easy and rewarding job too. 

I myself have made enquiries about a w124 this week. It’s almost exactly the right car - Bornite, 7 seats and Diesel. Shame it’s got grey cloth but that could always be changed at a later date, and I’m not sure if anything would work better with the purple paint. Cream leather maybe?

Anyway, keep the updates coming!

 

My W123 230E is also easy to service. With a relatively high ground clearance up front and no undertray, draining the oil is a very simple task. Working on the 200E is not exactly difficult but the metal undertray can be a handful to manage with just one pair of hands.

I've had a 300TD in the past and whilst the engine was smooth and quick enough for my needs, I would never buy another diesel car again.

 

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On 3/28/2020 at 10:04 PM, lesapandre said:

I could be just short runs causing condensation in the system. It may clear with some longer ones. Great post incidentally.

I have a 124 260. Mercedes supplied some really thick ridged mats in some cars - maybe an option I am not sure. Mine has them - they go over the original carpets. The mats are virtually indestructible. 

A way of telling a decently treated old 124 is to find these mats intact. Mine even had mats over these mats! Mine was a dealer demonstrator I think for its first year had one owner after and was in store a decade. Its 31 now. Good cars are still out there as people hang on to them and love them lots.

Great cars - not many cars were made this well. 

I rarely do just short runs but due to the engine not reaching full temperature on most of them, I hope that the mayo is due to condensation. I had another look at the coolant reservoir yesterday and noted a small layer of mayo sitting on top of the coolant, which was otherwise clean. This means that the coolant is not mixing with the mayo, which is why I think that the issue is related to condensation rather than oil and water mixing together. 

My 200E had a full set of original blue mats, however the mat on the driver's side was very worn under the pedals and the passenger side mat had a black stain that wouldn't clean off. I've seen good sets of mats for W124s sell for over £200, which is more than I am prepared to spend.

Something I learned yesterday, there was a W124 280E, which had a phase 2 body fitted with an M104 2.8 engine, as found in phase 3 cars. I knew that a 220E existed (based on the same arrangement as the 280E) but I've never seen a multi-valve petrol six cylinder engine under the bonnet of a phase 2 car.

Let's see photos of your 260E.

 

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23 hours ago, HMC said:

I’m stumped on the running cool. 

my w124 experience (over several examples) with running cool has always been sorted with a new genuine stat (which you have done) 

There’s no reason why it should do it (and you have tested the fan) but could you unplug the connector to the electromagnetic fan switch and go on a higher speed run to prove that it can’t be somehow switching on.  

The electromagnetic one one my w124 4 cylinder petrol models never misbehaved (I like you had issues with the electromagnetic fan on my w123) but on the w124 would only ever come on when the temperature gauge hit 100; which is exactly when they were supposed to, they also make quite a noise due to the volume of air being sucked though.

You and me both!

I have now fitted two new thermostats, the current one being a genuine MB part and the problem persists. I have removed the original electromagnetic fan and installed an electric fan, which is triggered by an independent sensor located within the radiator top hose. The new fan is set up to kick in at approx 90 deg C and does so whenever the engine is running whilst the car is stationary for a length of time. All good there. Apart from making a lot of noise once engaged, I was concerned that the original electromagnetic fan may not have been properly disconnecting and causing the over-cooling issue but this does not seem to be the case. 

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15 minutes ago, Peter C said:

I rarely do just short runs but due to the engine not reaching full temperature on most of them, I hope that the mayo is due to condensation. I had another look at the coolant reservoir yesterday and noted a small layer of mayo sitting on top of the coolant, which was otherwise clean. This means that the coolant is not mixing with the mayo, which is why I think that the issue is related to condensation rather than oil and water mixing together. 

My 200E had a full set of original blue mats, however the mat on the driver's side was very worn under the pedals and the passenger side mat had a black stain that wouldn't clean off. I've seen good sets of mats for W124s sell for over £200, which is more than I am prepared to spend.

Something I learned yesterday, there was a W124 280E, which had a phase 2 body fitted with an M104 2.8 engine, as found in phase 3 cars. I knew that a 220E existed (based on the same arrangement as the 280E) but I've never seen a multi-valve petrol six cylinder engine under the bonnet of a phase 2 car.

Let's see photos of your 260E.

 

Gosh the mats are that valuable! Once the social lockdown stops I will buzz off to the car and snap some pics. 

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I am not the kind of guy to sit in a field full of old cars and chat with their giffer owners, however on a few occasions I found myself being asked to show the engine bay of my W123 230E. Whilst I took good care of the bodywork and interior, I paid less attention to the engine bay, which I must confess was dirty and looking dilapidated. Approx 3-4 years ago, I took the 230E off the road for a few weeks, stripped the front end and restored the engine bay to the condition that you can see in photos presented on the previous page.

This was work in progress:

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I have since kept the engine bay clean and I am happy to lift the bonnet whenever asked to display the engine. 

Whilst the 200E is unlikely to ever show its face at a classic car show, I had noted that the engine bay looked a bit ropey. As I have spare time to kill and left over materials in the garage from previous projects, I decided it was time for a tart up.

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First part of the process involved cleaning the underside of the bonnet with Flash wipes. By the time I cleaned half of the bonnet there was no going back.

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It was obvious that just a wipe over would not suffice.

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Time to bring out the power tools.

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There was no way of getting the old adhesive off and I don't want to pay £50+ for new sound insulation. The no-cost solution was to paint the underside of the bonnet black, to match the already black painted bottom part of the panel. That looks much better.

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When I first bought the 200E, the air filter housing cover was quite rusty. I temporarily painted it with waxoil and whilst the corrosion was concealed, it was no thing of beauty.

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I removed most of the old paint and rust. I am not a fan of leaving the metal bare, after all the air filter housing sits on a Mercedes four pot, not a big block Chevy. I painted the cover with high temperature enamel paint.

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Another job done, with a shiny black air filter housing cover and a clean bonnet, the engine bay looks a bit more presentable. I am not going to spend more time perfecting the appearance of the engine bay as the 200E will inevitably go out in the rain in the future and end up covered with muck. 

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On 3/30/2020 at 9:08 PM, GBJ said:

This has probably been covered already, but how do you know it is running cool?

Maybe the sender or gauge are wrong?

Because, when driven at low speeds in an urban environment, the engine temperature gauge indicates that the engine has reached its correct operating temperature and as the gauge reaches approx 90 deg C, the electric fan, which I've set to kick in at 90 deg C, kicks in. 

Yesterday morning I made an essential 35 mile journey along the M40, M25 and back home the same way. On the motorway, the engine temperature reached:

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However, once I came off the motorway and drove through town at speeds of less than 30MPH and reached my destination, the engine was operating near enough at its correct temperature.

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On route home I pushed the 200E up to 90MPH on a completely clear stretch of the M40. Once I got home and the engine cooled down a bit, I removed the expansion tank cap to find no evidence of any significant mayo build up. Deeper in the tank, the coolant was clean. If I have a cylinder head or head gasket problem, it's not massively serious just yet.

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Looking at the rad it’s a standard one too, i had a 200 non air con estate and I  used the part numbers for a larger full depth/ width rad from a car with air con by chopping the alloy feet the smaller rad is sat on and using the matching cowling to the cooling fan. Even that did not over cool the car at speed; despite the aircon spec rad being loads bigger (I think as the air con rad is usually sat in front of the engine rad and obstructs airflow)

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1 hour ago, HMC said:

Looking at the rad it’s a standard one too, i had a 200 non air con estate and I  used the part numbers for a larger full depth/ width rad from a car with air con by chopping the alloy feet the smaller rad is sat on and using the matching cowling to the cooling fan. Even that did not over cool the car at speed; despite the aircon spec rad being loads bigger (I think as the air con rad is usually sat in front of the engine rad and obstructs airflow)

Yep, the rad is stock and nice and clear.

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Pretty sure I remember reading somewhere that head gasket failure on these only very rarely allows water into the oil but oil in the water in a more common symptom.  Might be that you do have a slightly leaky gasket causing a tiny amount of oil through but not enough to cause any other issues.

Sadly I don't think there's really any way to conclusively prove it without changing it...so I'd be tempted to just keep an eye on it for now.  Do you know if the head has been off before?  If so it could be residue from a historic issue - it can take ages to get rid of oil residue just using water alone.

Might be worth flushing the system with an appropriate cleaner to try to get rid of it and see if it stays gone.

Do keep an eye on the condition of the coolant hoses though as depending on what type of rubber they're made of the oil can attack them internally and weaken them. 

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That is definitely running too cool. Most Merc engines run at between 90°-100° or they're not happy. 

Having the electric fan set at 90° won't help as you're cooling the engine just as it reaches operating temperature. I'd set it at 100° ish so it kicks in when things begin to get hot. If you're on the motorway with the fan set at 90° the engine will never get to operating temp. 

 

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3 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

Pretty sure I remember reading somewhere that head gasket failure on these only very rarely allows water into the oil but oil in the water in a more common symptom.  Might be that you do have a slightly leaky gasket causing a tiny amount of oil through but not enough to cause any other issues.

Sadly I don't think there's really any way to conclusively prove it without changing it...so I'd be tempted to just keep an eye on it for now.  Do you know if the head has been off before?  If so it could be residue from a historic issue - it can take ages to get rid of oil residue just using water alone.

Might be worth flushing the system with an appropriate cleaner to try to get rid of it and see if it stays gone.

Do keep an eye on the condition of the coolant hoses though as depending on what type of rubber they're made of the oil can attack them internally and weaken them. 

I’ve had the 200E for almost two years now and I don’t recall there being any mayo issues in the coolant when I first got it.

It doesn’t look like the head has ever been off, all the visible gaskets are quite mature.

In my ownership it’s had a couple of coolant flushes, new antifreeze and a new water pump.

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2 hours ago, Pete-M said:

That is definitely running too cool. Most Merc engines run at between 90°-100° or they're not happy. 

Having the electric fan set at 90° won't help as you're cooling the engine just as it reaches operating temperature. I'd set it at 100° ish so it kicks in when things begin to get hot. If you're on the motorway with the fan set at 90° the engine will never get to operating temp. 

 

The correct running temperature of the M102 engine is 87 deg C. That’s the temperature at which my W123 230E has run for the past ten years, rain or shine, ditto all the other W124s that I’ve had over the years.

Bearing in mind that the engine temp doesn’t get near 70 deg C on a run, changing the electric fan setting to 100 deg C will make no difference to the overcooling issue.

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9 minutes ago, GBJ said:

The thermostat isn't working correctly. It may be stuck partially open.

I’ve fitted two new thermostats to cure the problem, including a genuine MB part. Neither made any difference.

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I've owned and driven Mercedes for decades, including W123, 124, 126, 210, Sprinters, Vitos and currently an AMG 203. 

Never known a correctly running Mercedes that didn't run at around 90° all the time. 

The only one I had that ran cool was fixed by replacing the thermostat. As you've done that, the next thing I'd do would be checking the temp sensor isn't on the fritz. 

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On 3/30/2020 at 6:02 PM, Peter C said:

 

Something I learned yesterday, there was a W124 280E, which had a phase 2 body fitted with an M104 2.8 engine, as found in phase 3 cars. I knew that a 220E existed (based on the same arrangement as the 280E) but I've never seen a multi-valve petrol six cylinder engine under the bonnet of a phase 2 car.

 

 

Seems odd to me that you've never encounter these, but I understand as they're really a one year only thing!

 

Temp sensor is the next logical step to look into solving this cold running issue, as I believe it is linked to the operation of the electric cooling fan. Unless it simply is just wrong and the car isn't running cool at all.

 

Edit: I know it is troubling because it could also be head gasket failure. But always try cheap, simple fix before going for more difficult one, right? :)

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From memory there are two thermostats for the m102 - 88 and ninety something. 88 is what my w201 with the same engine had.

As Zel says they very very seldom show coolant in the oil. The head gasket (when failing) begins to let go right at the back of the engine (as you look at it) allowing oil to   make its way into the coolant and show as gravy in the coolant bottle. Eventually when there’s too much it comes out of the overflow tube into the engine bay. 

Good news here is this is all totally irrelevant and is likely just something trivial.

It’s a smashing example. 

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I'd agree with the thermostat diagnosis normally (you can have as much airflow as you like, but a correctly working thermostat will just close off to keep the temperature up), but fitting two replacements makes this seem less likely!

So I'd be checking for incorrectly plumbed pipes, which may allow coolant to bypass the thermostat. Assuming the 'stat is sealing to the housing correctly, and there's nothing significant bypassing it? 

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Might be worth checking the top hose carefully- someone may have fitted an inline stat (one they had lying about that would fit from another vehicle) which is playing up despite your mb one behaving normally. Long shot - and more common where the factory stat location is somewhere hard to get to (not the case here but otherwise I’m all out of ideas)

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11 hours ago, HMC said:

Might be worth checking the top hose carefully- someone may have fitted an inline stat (one they had lying about that would fit from another vehicle) which is playing up despite your mb one behaving normally. Long shot - and more common where the factory stat location is somewhere hard to get to (not the case here but otherwise I’m all out of ideas)

How would that make it run cool?

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On 4/2/2020 at 7:50 AM, paulplom said:

The autoshite repair would be to cover some cardboard in tin foil and cable tie it in front of the radiator. The reduced airflow will have it up to temperature/over heating in no time.

Scroll back to page 6, I’ve already tried reducing air flow to the front of the radiator.

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During winter months this bodge increased the running temperature a bit but once the weather warmed up, the engine temperature was too high, especially when driving around town,  causing the original fan (this was before I fitted the electric fan conversion) to kick in too often.

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Peter - I will keep my eyes peeled for any mats. Our local scrappy had a W124 in but it had gone before I had time to see it. If I see any mats I will message you if you are still looking. 

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On 4/1/2020 at 9:33 PM, mat_the_cat said:

So I'd be checking for incorrectly plumbed pipes, which may allow coolant to bypass the thermostat. Assuming the 'stat is sealing to the housing correctly, and there's nothing significant bypassing it? 

All the coolant plumbing is original and in good condition. The only mod I’ve made is the electric fan conversion.

The thermostat sits snuggly in a new housing.

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4 minutes ago, lesapandre said:

Peter - I will keep my eyes peeled for any mats. Our local scrappy had a W124 in but it had gone before I had time to see it. If I see any mats I will message you if you are still looking. 

Yes please! I’m happy with the EBay mats for now but would like a good set of original blue or black mats.

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