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Benzin' (Top of the Stops at the Lights Edition)

Conrad D. Conelrad

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20 hours ago, Volksy said:

Mine stalled the other day. Thankfully a downhill slope. But rare now. 

Have you given it a long run?

It's been in daily use, but no, it's not had a really good proper long run. Longest run probably no more than 70 miles. Maybe I should take it somewhere tomorrow. 

23 hours ago, SiC said:

What resistance is the new pot reading?

I didn't check, I just flung a new one on (I ordered three, assuming this might happen). Unfortunately it started to pelt down with rain before I could get the car up to temperature so I haven't tuned it with the multimeter yet, just placed it physically where the old one was. Car runs perfectly again. You know, for a week or so.


If I'd known it was going to rain, I wouldn't have wasted 20 minutes getting the plug leads back into their plastic guides! Quite happy with it though. I've been cleaning up the engine bay as best I can - I don't have any before photos but when I bought the car it'd been driven with a leaking valve cover gasket and a split oil breather, so everything on that side of the bay was caked with old oil. It was horrible. 

On a less complicated car I'd've just doused it in Gunk and taken it to the jetwash, but I imagine this thing would be immobilised for a month if I sprayed water on it so it's been a lot of solvent and toothbrush action. 


This area in particular was an oil bath. There's still a lot to be cleaned but it's so much nicer. Plus, there no more burning oil smell gently wafting through the vents into the cabin. 


More important work done - I replaced the shifter selector bulb. I despise burnt out bulbs! I've just noticed that the window switches are handed. They made two different switches. 


I also went to a toy fair. There was a white 190 in the car park, and this much smaller one inside, which came home with me. 

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1 hour ago, Conrad D. Conelrad said:

I've just noticed that the window switches are handed. They made two different switches. 

As did Ford on the High spec sierras, but not only that, they had a completely different design for the rear passengers to use.


Great perseverance so far with the 190 by the way, something suggests that there's still an intermittent fault which hasn't been discovered yet, hope it's not the likes of a hidden bit of wiring loom that's got a small cut in it and shorting out at unfathomable combinations of circumstances. 

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  • 4 weeks later...



Here we go again. 

Potentiometer number two has failed. With this one it would occasionally idle too low, stalling when put into drive. After stalling, it would be very difficult to restart. So I've unplugged it. I'm finished with potentiometers, it works better with it unplugged. Cheap AliExpress OVP? Brilliant. Faultless. Cheap AliExpress potentiometer? Work for one week. 

I have been having some silly recurring thoughts about selling it and buying @jmsguzzi's 300E. I was mad jealous when Ghosty bought that thing, it's so nice. However, while on the motorway last night I was thinking about how much I've come to like the leather upholstery, and how much I enjoy being in the 190. It's one of those rare cars where everything just feels 'right' when you're sitting in the driver's seat. But I will keep having intrusive thoughts about SLK320s and that 300E. 

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Oddly as I got the notification that you had posted this, I was in the middle of this....




Mine doesnt look that worn, I replaced it with a £75 one I got from Autodoc a while back. Any change. Nope. Still randomly cuts out when idling. 


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3 minutes ago, Conrad D. Conelrad said:

Have you tried running with it unplugged? To rule it out as a cause if nothing else?

Yes, Mine won't run with it unplugged, won't idle nada. 

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My W211 E320 nearly cut out twice earlier today. Both times coming to a complete halt braking quite hard. Second time the dash lit up like a Xmas tree. Cars you can't trust and cut out suddenly really aren't any fun to own are they?  

No codes and I don't think mine will be as simple a fix as disconnecting a potentiometer. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mine has been getting steadily worse. I took it on a run to Sheffield and back early Sunday morning, runs like a dream on the motorway, but then has been an absolute pigdog in traffic so far this week. 

This morning I pulled the ECU, which technically should cut out the 'E' part of the injection system, leaving it to run just on the mechanical system. Theory is that if it still is up to mischeif then it's something more basic than electronic scorcery at fault. Would you agree?

So, sans ECU it's grumbly when cold, as it doesn't know to engage the cold start injector. but once warmed up, it seemed to go ok.....

Famous last words..

Once it reaches operating temperature (just over 80°) the idle starts to get a little erratic. It'll hunt a couple of times then die. Like it's been switched off. It'll always restart, and provided that i keep it a little bit 'over idle' speed (normally idles around 550rpm) it'll keep running. But in an auto, heel and towing or two feet driving isn't the best, especially that it will only restart in Park, not Neutral. 

I've checked the (new) dizzy cap, and no sign of any moisture in there. re routed the coil lead away from anywhere hot. I'll check a load of earths on Saturday when I get a bit of daylight. 
I have booked it into a Merc Specialist nearby on the 6th March, who are going to run a smoke test to check for any vacuum leaks, they have a couple of 'old boys' apparently who know these. I assume it's going to be expensive though. 

So this weekend I'm going go put all the old parts back on, and send it in 'Virgin'

My freind has a theory that it has some kind of self destruct system, probably installed by the NSA, given it may have  a dubious history - I quote her logic...

"I love the idea that somewhere, below ground, in a tiny room (not the main bunker, more like a side cupboard, shared with the mop) someone has noticed a little red light flashing and is frantically pressing the button next to it. However, as the electronics are as old as the car, all it does is make it cut out. And cause minor traffic disruption in the Horsforth area."



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  • 4 weeks later...

I’m still deep in the throws of KE-Jetronic insanity. The S Class has steadily been getting worse and worse.


I had a mobile classic car tuning specialist out to have a look at it the other week. He was recommended by my local Bosch Specialist* 

We put it on an Exhaust gas analyser to get a measure of how it was running. Badly was the answer. I knew it was running rich, given the wallet raping fuel consumption. So we dialled the mixture back to within a tolerable spec. 

Essentially I bought the last year of this model that did not come fitted with an O2 sensor, Those with an O2 sensor have a ‘Duty Cycle’ which can be read from the diagnostic port with a multimeter, which is a kinda basic code reader, different percentages suggest which parts of the system are faulty. 

On mine the fuel mixture is controlled as the engine warms up by monitoring the water temperature rather than the exhaust gases, so there is no ‘Duty Cycle’ to monitor, only the CO level in the exhaust. This means that aside from measuring the specs of each individual component of the FI System (of which there are many) and ensuring that you do not have even the slightest vacuum leak the system, it is notoriously hard to diagnose. To set this non duty cycle system up, it can only be done on an exhaust analyser, tinkering with it without any form of reference will potentially brick the system.

So how did it drive with the mixture set correctly? Terribly. No power, the gearbox did not know what to do with itself, it was continually cutting out etc etc. F*cksticks.


The car is now really starting to try my patience, and as I discussed with the tuning guy, cars with KE-Jetronic fall into an expertise black hole. Essentially they are too new (and complex) for the classic repair/tuning community to want to get involved or understand how to repair or deal with them. Any modern garage has the same issue, those techies who did know how to deal with KE have now retired/died/been sectioned.

My neighbour used to run a Bosch centre many moons ago, and for a bottle of wine took a gander over the car. We have found what could be a vacuum leak from the rubber ‘boot’ that attaches the injection unit to the inlet manifold, so I now have one awaiting to be fitted this coming weekend. This means stripping off the FI system, then splitting the base off the fuel distributor as the boot is clamped between the lower and upper halves, which to be honest is a somewhat daunting task. 

The theory being that the vacuum leak has been there for a while, and a previous owner has tinkered with the mixture (which should only be adjusted as a last resort - Mercedes put caps and seals on those adjustments for a genuine reason - mine have all been removed) to try and adjust around the fault(s). 

Mr. Imp has an Exhaust Analyser thankfully that I can borrow, so hopefully once the system is air tight, I can set the mixture to the correct level. Whether this will stop the random cutting out that I have experienced since owning the car, as the vacuum/mixture system is of course connected to the ignition system, remains to be seen.

These also have a reputation of burning through alternator voltage regulators, which also can cause mystery issues. Essentially the slightest fluctuation in charging voltage sends the prehistoric electronics into panic. This is regulated by the OVP relay (covered earlier in this thread) which, if detecting a spike, cuts power to the ECU’s causing no end of running issues. These can happen so quickly that the charging system doesn’t even register that there is an issue, so won’t illuminate the dash light. In fact the ABS system is the first to register that there is some shenanigans going on, and will throw that light on instead. I have noticed that on the odd occasion it has thrown the ABS lamp, especially if I’ve given it a bootful to try and clear its throat so to speak. A new one for the alternator was £20, so that will be fitted on the weekend also. 

There is a particularly nasty looking 300SE being broken on Faecesbook down in Nottingham, but attempts to get the seller to let me know what he wants for parts off it have come to no fruition. He’s said I can come and remove the bits, but not how much he wants for them. The idea was to purchase the Fi System for a source of spares.

Well, let's see how the weekend goes…….

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Upthread I complained about my wheel trims and @AndyW201 mentioned that he had a set. Well, now I have a set. And what a difference they make!


A side by side comparison with one of the old ones... they really were shamefully tatty. 


I'm loving how it looks now. 


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I was thinking the same myself.

It does look similar, ride height-wise, to my old car, that the trims came off,


That had been lowered with 35mm GSF springs when I got it, I didn't even realise till the first time I had it on a ramp.


Similar too to my other Nutria Brown 190. I did have this one lowered though... 

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  • 1 month later...
  • Conrad D. Conelrad changed the title to Benzin' (Top of the Stops at the Lights Edition)

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