My 1984 190E have been joined at the hip since 2007. I bought it from a drag queen. The interior was covered with makeup and glitter. A bit of scrubbing brought the interior back to life.
I saw the car sitting on the road near my home about a year before I purchased it. It was never moved. One day, the city put a tow-away sticker on it. I saw this, and decided to ask around about who the owner was. I was told by the first person I asked, and I bought it from him. He told me that he had owned it for about a year, and that he couldn't keep it up anymore. He replaced the windshield, and had the ignition switch rewired, and a new radio installed, and a few other things. He had given up trying, and just parked it.
Believe it or not, I drove the thing home. I live just 2 blocks from the seller.
I set out doing general D-I-Y stuff: Oil changes, filters, fluids, antifreeze, thermostat, new battery, radio antenna, serpentine belt...
Oh, the belt... Someone had installed the belt around the outside of all of the pulleys and just tightened them alltogether. The water pump was in this mess somehow. The belt squealed constantly. I installed a new belt the way that the MB manual suggested. Instant squeal stop!
The first part to break was the belt tensioner. Replaced it and went on.
Then, the power steering pump pulley started wobbling. The threads on the pump shaft mounting flange were totally stripped out. Replaced the pump with a used doner item, and found a correct pulley thru the MB dealer... used.
Got this all fixed and started driving it.
I gotta say it, this is the best handling car I have ever driven. It feels alot bigger than it really is, and is squeak and rattle free.
Then, the water pump began to seep at the weep hole. Bought a pump, and replaced it on a Saturday.
Then, the belt tensioner adjuster bolt disintegrated. Threads were non-existant on the adjuster bolt itself. Ordered a new one from MB. Installed it the next weekend.
Then, the alternator died. Regulator and brushes. Got a regulator from my doner car, and it had a new set of brushes on it already. Fixed it.
I was visiting my folks one afternoon, when the car suddenly backfired, and died. Turned out to be a bad distributor rotor, which was real easy. Problem is, that when the old rotor fell apart, it scraped up the inside of the distributor cap. So, I replaced it, too, and found that my wires were rotton while I had them off. Found out how much 4 plugwires cost for a Mercedes. After the shock, I bought and installed them.
Drove the car for awhile. Liked the way it runs and handles.
Car tranny stops shifting properly. Vacuum modulator. Bought it and had a friend replace it for me, as I dont have jack stands, or ramps available to me. Fixed that one, and while we had it up, he replaced the brake pads and emergency brake shoes. Now it stops as good as it drives!
I went to stop the car one day in a parking lot. Turned off the switch, and the entire lock assembly came out of the wheel lock assembly. Towed it home.
Got a used lock assembly from a doner car, installed MY lock in it, reinstalled it, along with a new ignition switch to replace the rigged switch that the drag queen had done that required me to turn the ignition switch to 'on' and press a switch installed under the dashboard to run the starter! I bet it took longer to find where to connect that pushbutton switch to the harness than it took to replace the lock assembly itself.
Driving down the road one day, and watched my temp gauge start bouncing allover the place from hot to cold, and jumping around. Found several wires on the engine harness that had been nicked and damaged by someone in the past. Went through all harness wiring and repaired all damaged insulation. Bouncing gauge syndrome stopped. Drove the car for a few months and enjoyed that MB quality.
Then, the replaced radio died. I never liked it, and since I own few CD's, decided to replace it with an original. One afternoon, the previous owner rode by in his car to see how the work was going on the Benz, and dropped off the original Becker 612 Grand Prix with a cassette deck! He had found it in some junk, and was wondering if I might want it. Sweet!!
Installed the radio. Fortunately, the original plugs and wiring was not severely damaged behind the radio, and I had it working in about 2 hours.
Driving the car with an original radio really makes the OEM Benz speakers talk like they've never talked before, and I dont mean loudness. The sound is much more full and rich than when the other radio was installed.
Was driving down the road one day, hit a bump, and the radio died. It turned right back on with no problems, and continued to play just fine.
Took a couple of overnight trips to visit friends. The car behaved like a dream. I dont get tired driving this car for 6-8 hours like I do my other car, a 1985 Oldsmobile Toronado.
I was driving home from work one night, crossed a railroad track, and the radio died, and never came on again.
I am an old TV repairman by trade, and I decided to troubleshoot the radio. Found several bad connections behind the button control PCB that were easily fixed. I know 20+ years will break things. Now it works.
Next, the odometer dies. Doner car has a good speedometer assembly that indicates 140 mph. Now, it's in the car. Replaced all instrument lamps while I had it all apart with OEM numbers. Looks really nice at night now.
Heater motor starts squealing. Cant stand that, and replaced the motor itself. When I raised the garage door to start working on the car sitting outside, a hand-truck fell out of the garage and hit the fog light lens on the drivers side! Also, it broke the fog light reflector assembly. I finally found a used headlight assembly, and bought 2 new headlight surrounds from the dealer. This makes the whole front of the car look new and modern again! Also, I got the heater motor going, and all is well there.
Car started idling badly. Made sure all molded hoses were in place, and replaced all of them. Bad idling continued, and I had my friend check it out. He finds several problems in the engine management systems, replaced the fuel pump and filter, and got it running right again. This also cured the hummm that I was hearing inside the car. The new pump is almost silent. This was on Wednesday of this week.
On Friday, I went to pick up the car after work. I get in, start it up, and it runs great. I go to put my foot on the brake to shift into reverse, and the pedal goes to the floor!! I find the brake fluid low in the master cylinder, and top it off. I get back into the car to pump the pedal a few times, and I start smelling antifreeze. Its the heater core. I pumped the pedal, but the pedal never came up enough for me to drive anywhere, so I decided to leave it at the shop. I went to lower the hood, and heard a POP sound. The gas cylinder for the hood assist blew the seal and soaked the underhood around it with oily goo!
I am currently hating this car. I thought it loved me as much as I loved it, since I was doing all of this maintenance and many needed oil changes regularly I wanted it to last. The dealer is on a first name basis with me now, and that is not good!
My best friend thinks the car is posessed. Should I have a need to worry?
The heater core is something I can do myself. That will save alot of $$$. The gas shock is nothing bad. The brake problem is kind of bad. The fluid leak is caused by the rear seal on the master cylinder, and has possibly ruined the vacuum booster too. More money More money More money!!!!!
Again, when it runs, its wonderful to drive, and when it dies, I suffer.
Thanks for reading all of this. You are a brave person.
I am not a drama person, but this car takes the cake!
Other Baby Benz owners tell me their cars are dependable. Are they bold faced liars, or is my baby a horrible posessed demon that means me harm as slowly as possible?
I am telling you all this with a sense of humor. I need it. I've spent more on this car than I have any car in my past. I started driving at 16, and am 52 years old now.