Date registered: Dec 2005
Vehicle: 2005 C350, 2002 ML270CDI, 1969 230S, previously 2002 A160, 1985 380SEC ivory, 1983 380SEC grey
Location: Adelaide South Australia
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my 1968 230S has a similar hose, and I believe it to be the crank case breather.
As engines suffer wear and tear, the piston rings let small amounts of burnt gas into the sump, which pressurises it with oil fumes. They have to go somewhere other than pollute the atmosphere, so there is usually a hose or a pipe to redirect the fumes into the carburettor intake, 'recycling' them.
It would be best to restore the connection...