w111 / w112 highway speed issue, overdrive, oversize tires, differential? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Vehicle: 1986, W126, 300SE - 1965, W111, 220SEb
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w111 / w112 highway speed issue, overdrive, oversize tires, differential?

Hello All,

I am utterly new here, a virgin posting, please forgive if I dont understand rules of engagement totally yet.

I am the (terribly proud) second owner of a 1965 SEb coupe, of my grandfather-in-law here in Santiago Chile. It was one-of-his daily drivers, in totally functional condition, but not a show vehicle, vinyl seat covers to protect from the kids bathing suits, dogs, oxygen tanks etc... . I got all the paperwork since 1965... And much to be done to bring it back to, say, 1969...

First question: what can be done to lower the motor revs at highway speed? This has the original 4 speed. 13" tires. At 3500 RPM only breaking 90 kmph + -.

Winding her up to 4000 RPM+, the rest of it flows great, comfortable, smooth, controlled, brakes steering fine. But seems like a lot of motor spinning. What can be done to lower the revs?

Overdrive? I dont see this suggested online, but this seem logical. Was it an option? Anyone have aftermarket / Borg Warner experience?

Rear differential? I see online some swap options, but, ummm, this wouldnt improve the already glacial acceleration? Would it? How simple is this for an w111, in a place with few parts / donor cars?

Larger Tires? She seems woefully topheavy with the original 13". I understand 14" were standard later. I see some references to 15" (In USA car renovation and in original Africa deployments). I think this would be an esthetic improvement...so I might do this anyway. Anyone have any specific advice / experience? What donor vehicle would have the right wheels?

In advance I thank all for your time and response,

Scott
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 12:33 AM
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w111 / w112 highway speed issue, overdrive, oversize tires, differential?

Welcome! I see Kent Bergsma of MercedesSource liking to put the rear end from a 4.5 w108 on other cars because it has a ~3.27 rear end, but as you say, acceleration will suffer.

Don't forget to enjoy it for what it is!
A little 2.2 liter engine is made to rev.
Noodles likes this.

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Last edited by Fonzi; 05-12-2016 at 12:40 AM.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Vehicle: 1986, W126, 300SE - 1965, W111, 220SEb
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Thanks Fonzi.

I just feel like I am beating it up running at 4000 RPM....I am used to lower revs I guess. If the motor is good for it (and it does wind up nice) then I can get used to it. Anyway this is not being used for long distance commuting, so I should probably just chill out about it...

Thanks for the differential link reference, will check it out.

Would you have a link reference for 15" rims / tires? Traditional ones, not a pimp-up..

Thanks!! Appreciated!!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 11:12 AM
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Would you have a link reference for 15" rims / tires? Traditional ones, not a pimp-up..



Thanks!! Appreciated!!

I wish vintage oem 15" wheel options were more abundant. 15" steelies were available for the 600 "grosser" limousine, but I think the wheels and hubcaps might be very expensive if you can find them.

15" alloy wheels were/are available in the bundt style which is pretty classic from the 70's. But 1980's and later 15" alloy wheels provide you a lot of options.

Find the look you want, and then people can help you find the wheels or tell you your options.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 11:13 AM
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[QUOTE=AustralMercedes;14350930]Thanks Fonzi.

I just feel like I am beating it up running at 4000 RPM....I am used to lower revs I guess.)

Welcome to the forum! Those little engines did not mind running at that high of RPMs. However it is imperative if you run the car long distance to be sure you are up on your oil change, you use a heavy oil, and you either put a stablizer or zink in it.
As for the differential... I know on both of my w111 3.5's the rear differential is possibly the most complicated looking thing you have ever seen. I will try to attach a picture. It would be slightly challenging if you dont have much mechanical experience. However with the help of some literature on the vehicle, you should be able to do it well.
Im not sure if your car and mine have the same rear axle, if you could please take a picture. However if I was you I would stick with what works... if it ain't broke... don't fix it.
Also you could mess with the tires however it will mess up a few things: your speedometer, odometer, travel, and collecability. If you want to have this car as an investment and sell it later in life... dont do anything to it! However if you want to use it... Figure out what works best for you. I wouldent put an overdrive on it but thats just me, there will always be someone somewhere saying that your doing it wrong. So do whatever you feel is best, but also look at what people who know what they are talking about.

Good luck my freind, welcome to the forum, keep us updated, and hope to see you more here!

God Bless,

-Bergermiester
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 01:55 PM
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The 108 and 109s are also high revving at highway speeds. It's something you'll just have to get used to, unfortunately. There are some aftermarket mods you could do, like adding an overdrive (this requires surgery to your driveshaft and mods to the undercarriage), installing a multi speed rear end (requiring surgery to the drive shaft and the undercarriage also), or swapping in the rear end from a 108 or 109. I am told, through a number of unrelated folks, that the 111 will take the rear end of a 108/109 without any mods, but I've never attempted this, and I'm only repeating someone else's report.

Were it me, I'd swap in a new Chevy LS crate motor and mate it to an 8 speed automatic tranny, and then I'd hunker down to take all the abuse and hate mail the purists would lash out with

Good luck with the car, let us know if you come up with a solution that makes sense to you.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 06:08 PM
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Cannot put a Chevy motor in this gem of a model!!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by adler View Post
Cannot put a Chevy motor in this gem of a model!!

I agree. 1965 SEb coupe is valuable enough and worth keeping it stock if possible. That's what I think anyway.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: May 2016
Vehicle: 1986, W126, 300SE - 1965, W111, 220SEb
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Wow! Thanks to you all for your time and input. Totally appreciated.

*No LS crate motor, I am afraid. ( I am altering my w126 enough to keep the purists busy... :-0 )
*I doubt there were ever any Grossers here, so steel 15" rims are not really an option. Bundts are not period enough for my taste, not for a w111 anyway...
*Your comments about resale, originality and complexity, tend to shy me off of the overdrive, split rear end idea.
*Would 14" rimsbe more common/ available? I understand they were an option on w112 / later models, I could get 14" rims on the next tire change.
*108 differential is an interesting thought - I dont have any undercar fotos to share just now. First gear is REALLY low, so starting would probably be ok - and passing ability is not really an issue with this rig! So i will look into this, realizing of course that this is really NOT an intense priority.

The best advice of all is something that I say all the time to the locals here
"if it ain't broke, DON"T......." So true. I guess I'll keep patching up the ignored bits, keep the oil filled, get used to the revving, and after I get the windshield patched, the wood refinished and the vinyl off the seats, then start looking for a 108 donor....

And I appreciate all your time and input.

This car is totally original, never wrecked nor rebuilt, all documentation since Hamburg, I am second owner. The car is in perfect working condition, so I get to enjoy it on the road, while renovating its condition back up to where it deserves to be. I feel bound to keeping it pretty close to original. And I wont live here in Chile forever, so resale may become an issue, depending on where I go, who pays for shipping etc.

I'm gonna have a lotta questions. ;-))

Salud from Chile, Scott
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2016, 02:15 PM
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Hi Scott,
The first and most obvious question is - what size tyres are you currently running? Originally, the tyres made when these cars came out (7.25-13) had a very tall sidewall profile - in the order of 80 or 90 aspect ratio. Smaller (and typically more common) cars from the 70's often ran 13" tyres with a 70 or 75 aspect ratio, so the overall diameter was smaller. If your car has these little tyres on then you will get great acceleration but the car will be screaming its head off on the highway. There are many tyre comparison tools available on the web to compare the rolling diameter of various tyre size combinations. On my finnies, I run 14" wheels from W108 and W114 with anywhere from 195/75R14 to 205/70R14 tyres. They are reasonably available, and you can get ones with decent handling. They corner better than the 13" tyres. The ride is also acceptable, but not as comfy as a taller sidewall 13".
I reckon all old cars look great with wide whitewall tyres, but they do cost quite a lot for radial versions. If you want to stay with the original wheels, I would consider going for a BF Goodrich 185/80R13 such as this - 1318580 | Antique Tyres. Not quite the classical tyre look but a good compromise of looks and handling. I run 14" coker wide white radials on my V8 finny and they look great but the handling (especially in the wet) is appalling. Isn't the south of Chile much much wetter than further up the coast (I went to Santiago and the mining towns around Antofagasta a lot) - if so, wet weather performance is pretty important. But around Antofagasta - who cares!

As for changing out the rear end from a W108, yes it will swap straight in (put in new rubbers at the same time) - but if it were me, I would stick to more easily reversible options of changing the tyre size. Anyway, how many 108's are being wrecked in Chile?! You have a 1-owner car that was cherished and appreciating in value a lot (a LHD 280SE coupe that sold here in Australia for $20,000 in 2012 sold last week for $60,0000 - and it was not perfect and had not had anything much done to it) - but classic merc buyers are fastidious for originality. If you are going to part with the car at some stage, the car will be worth more and find a buyer more easily if it is original - so no cutting up the dash to put a modern DIN sized radio in it or anything like that!

Cheers, Drew
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