Carb vs Injected Mercedes - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2009, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Carb vs Injected Mercedes

I'm in the process of buying my first Merc and have a fetish for classical styling!
My particular interests lay in w108's and w109's.
Now, to get straight to the point, what pros and cons are there to buying a carb/injected Merc?
I'm used to older V8's with carbs and have had no real issues with them.
On the other hand, I have read a few people's opinions regarding Carb fueled Mercs and tend to have a few issues.
Are these issues a constant occurrence?
I have been told to stay away from the Carb models but there are a few cars i've got my heart set on that are not fuel injected.
Can someone please ease my fears here and set the record straight?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2009, 03:40 PM
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Always go for the fuel injection.
Bosch invented it for a good reason.
A carburetor is like a plastic squirt gun, Injection is like a perfume atomizer.
Note the intake manifold runner length of the inline 6 F.I. vs Carb, long runners = more low end torque, better fuel mileage, more upper HP.
If you have no choice, the carbs can be made to operate perfectly.

The W108 mechanical injection was a very expensive option at the time,
Same with the 4.5 V-8 electric analog system.
Both are rock-solid systems.

Brian O
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2009, 05:08 PM
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Mileage with these old sedans will be quite poor with either one. I agree that the fuel injection system is the way to go if you have a choice. We owned a couple of 280SE's and a 280se 4.5 sedan back in the 1980's. Great road cars!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2009, 04:30 PM
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While I agree that FI is probably a better way to go, both my former 42 year old 108 (bought new by my dad, I recently gave it to my son), and my 36 year old 114 were (are) carburated. The carbs. on the 108 have never been touched, save one new float and two new accelerator pumps, and I rebuilt the 114 carb. last year. It really only needed a float though. Both are on their second fuel pumps. My guess is that the FI components are considerably more expensive when there is a problem. Never having owned one, I am just speculating though. IMO I think you'd be safe going either way. They are all solid automobiles, that if given reasonable care will last longer than any of today's vehicles.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2009, 06:23 PM
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I have to say that having owned cars with carbs and FI that each has their advantages which were already discussed here. Personally I wouldn't avoid a car with a carb simply for that reason, unless it's a model that changed midway through it's life to be fitted with FI. If you're choosing between two totally different models buy what speaks to you regardless of the setup. If you're in an especially cold climate most of the year a FI will likely be easier to get motivated in the morning however.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2009, 08:41 PM
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The MFI system is very reliable and rugged. A clean fuel system is very important though and crud in the tank can cause problems. The electric fuel pump has a suction screen that can become blocked, brushes need to be replaced, the oil in the earlier injection pump needs to be clean and at the right level, the linkage needs to be lubricated and kept properly adjusted or more importantly not adjusted.

This is much like a carb system

Then there is Megasquirt EFI to replace the carbs.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 01:44 PM
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I say go for a 108, the SEL version. If you go for a 109, you'll need to worry about air suspension, and they cost a ton of $$ to fix when stuff starts going bad. The 280SEL is more or less the same car as the 300SEL, but with "traditional" suspension. I've got a 108 with FI, and when it runs right, the car is a dream. The fuel system can be finnicky to get set up correctly though.

I've also owned a 114 with a solex carb, and I hated the damned thing so much (the carb) that I replaced it with a weber. In retrospect though, I should have just rebuilt the solex and called it good.

If you decide to go for a 108, this forum has a lot of online resources to help with any tinkering you start in on.

Let us know which way you go!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 11:50 AM
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The W108 2.8 280 SE/SEL is the best, most durable and most livalble way to go... You get the mechnical F Injection and all the good that gos with that and the bullet proof inline 2.8 6 cyld. Avoid the very trouble prone (in old age) 4.5 3.5 EFI cars unless you want to pay again what you paid for the car just to get it to idle. Plus the awful gas mileage of the v8;s. and also avoid the 109's with air susp. unless you really love pain, in which case buy a 300SEL 6.3 and get all the power and problems one human can stand.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 02:35 PM
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I owned a 114 280C with a solex carb. If you like hard starts, rough idle and stalling at busy intersections, go with a carbed mercedes.

I now own a 115 300D, needless to say in my case FI is much less troublesome!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 04:56 PM
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It's not the fuel system that should make you decide on what car to buy. Better find one with a good body and a nice interior. good luck!
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