Pre-build C43+ clone concept - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 04:11 AM Thread Starter
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Pre-build C43+ clone concept

With the resurrection nearly complete with the 95 C220, and the fact it went extremely well, brain is spinning with all the new found possibilities for the next project. First dip into the Benz world has been great and I've been extremely pleased so far as how well these cars are built and simple to work on.

So......... being the hot rodder that I am, and the fact that for some reason MB stuff is beyond dirt cheap up here, I'm seriously considering stepping up the game for the next car related project.

So this thread is designed to discuss and hash out some of the details involved with building something cool, I find that now is the best time to discover and evaluate problems when anything is possible, and everything is free... saves a ton of time and work down the road. Also stops chasing in the wrong direction. And from the very warm welcome and depth of knowledge here, I think most would enjoy a good game of "what if"

Using the C43 as a very loose template, the basic concept is to take a W202 chassis, drop it a touch, stiffen up everything in the chassis for handling, bigger wheels, bigger brakes, and stuff as much usable horsepower into it as possible. End goals (again in theory) would be a car under 3500 lbs. capable of pulling 1G on a skidpad, stop hard enough to pull the snot from the back of your head, and I would like a zero to 60 time under 4.5 seconds.... top speed may be important, but I wont get to the track that much....

From my limited research, the C43 was a standard C class that used the M113 motor, E55 brakes, SL500 5 speed tranny, and AMG did the tweaking. My initial thoughts are use a 119 powerplant, copy the rest... I most likely will use a C220 pre 1997 for simplicity of electronics (security, and body CPU) and again, I have 5 cars within an hours drive that are under $500... and I would love to have a few extra parts for my current C220 which is stock.

I'll be using a stand alone engine management system, couple more calls to make on that, but I've got a couple folks on board with the idea..

Initial plan is to acquire a m119 motor, tranny, cooling, and anything else I think I may need from a donor car. Get the initial fit and mechanicals working, bodywork etc...Then while all the dialing in and setup is being done with the stock pieces, snag another 119 and build it up as a bi-turbo waiting for the rest to be sorted out. That way I've got minimal investment and time spent getting the thing to actually run, cooperate, and troubleshoot. then with a working platform simply swap the motor out for a more powerful one... This will be a car designed for fun, good weather, stone axe reliable but also over the top ridiculous.

So thoughts, idea, experiences..... lets have em. I am open to any and all input, and I have no "set in stone" concepts other than using the C220.
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 11:48 AM
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We already hashed out that the m119 is a good place to start for your project, and you seem to have the rest of the power train sorted out.

I'll give you some good pointers on the suspension. Basically you will want to use the H&R lowering springs, Bilstein B8 shock absorbers, 28mm H&R front ARB, 18mm H&R rear ARB. While you are at it, I would replace the front lower and upper control arms, and fit eccentric bolts on the lower control arms. In the rear you will have to remove the rear subframe to replace the anti roll bar, so while you are at it, you can replace the subframe and differential mounts. I would also replace all the rear links and the rear lower control arms. You should also fit eccentric bolts on the rear lower control arms. You could run on the thinnest rear spring pad, but you will have to chose the correct front spring pad to maintain a level ride height. I would also not omit to instal the lower spring seals, as well as the spring braces.

This combination of elements will give you the best handling, and it will not kill the ride. You will also be able to adjust the front camber and caster angles, as well as the rear camber angle, so you will be able to maintain the correct suspension geometries all around.

I would not recommend lowering the car any more than the H&R springs do, lowering a car does not inherently do anything to improve cornering grip, and excessive lowering will actually reduce grip. And by god, do not install coilovers. Coilovers are only a marginal upgrade for cars with struts, but you have an enormous advantage of having seperate springs and shocks, so keep it that way! I'd love to elaborate on that, but my differential equations lecture is starting now.
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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, m119 trumps the rest, the m120 would fit but cost, power per lb., availability of performance parts and doner vehicles, and packaging outweigh the novelty of a v12. Which m119 variant needs to be discussed.

Tranny needs to be discussed as does 3rd member options.

Thank you for the detailed suspension mods... echoes what I'm wanting.

Have no fear about creating a low rider, I'm wanting to lower the car very slightly for yes aesthetics, but more to lower center of gravity to enhance suspension mods, stiffening of the chassis, and reducing the unsprung weight.

Coil overs are great in a very limited envelope... this isn't it though. If I were pushed into a packaging restriction, or were concerned with rapid adjustability of instant center and weight transfer I would consider them... however I'm not drag racing this car, nor do I want to give up much ride quality and handling capability.

The stock setup with outboard dampening allows a ton of benefits, not the least of which is the capability to tune the rebound rates at the point of leverage before it causes the spring to react.... this gives a firmer feeling ride with great feedback and response without having a twitchy bouncy spring.... I would spend a fortune tuning coilovers to get close..... no real benefit for the $$$$. I would be better off spending the time chasing the front/rear wt. balance.

Friend has a great chassis shop, wheeled Dyno tuning shop which I use for my diesel... mega squirt is on board with engine management, got a vendor that deals with Wilwood for braking needs... laser cutting, my own mill and lathe, my side business has vacuum forming plastic capability, and I'm learning as much as I can.... this should be fun.

Next "detail" would be rigidity of the chassis, possibly tying in the sub frames, places to shed some weight, brake cooling, creating the overall scheme of things.... body kits? Splitters, tasteful downforce?

paint scheme also is starting to pop in and out... thinking dark gray lower, red pinstripe at belt line, matte black above that. Red trimmed black BBS wheels, looking to work in some NACA ducts for brakes, turbos.... interior will be comfy, but business oriented.
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 04:56 PM
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Well I'm glad we agree on the suspension front There is no front subframe per say, the suspension components tie directly to the chassis. I wouldn't worry too much about chassis stiffness, a lot of this car has roots from the W201 (which was a successful DTM chassis). If you ever get to tear this car apart, you will notice it's already reinforced with lots of HSLA steel, on top of it already being a very solid construction.

Brakes wise, notice that your front brakes already have cooling ducts, I don't think the rear ones will need any additional direct cooling, especially not if you consider dropping in E55 brakes. If you can get a BBK from wilwood, then well, awesome! I saw that brembo has a mad BBK for the w202, but unfortunately they are too expensive for my current student budget.

Excellent choice on the BBS rims, I totally would love to put BBS on my car, but they can get quite pricey (I've got RTX rims now, they are pretty nice).

I'm getting a little jealous here You've got all the resources I wish I had, I'd be building the most awesome MBs everyday


If I were to toss in my recommendation, there are 3 basic m119 engines, 4.2, 5.0, 6.0, but GOOD LUCK trying to find a 6.0. It's extremely rare, found on basically the E60 AMG and the CLK LM (both extremely rare cars). The 5.0 and 4.2 are both pretty common and easily found, with parts available for cheap. I'd go for the 5.0, I know turbos are good fun at making a car fast, but there's no replacement for displacement right? (Plus they both have the same reliability on average). A 5.0 twin turbo in a 22 year old car, eating any supercar that comes your way? That sounds totally awesome.

Transmission-wise, if you want to go automatic, I'd use a 722.6 with a standalone TCM. During the Daimler-Chrysler partnership, the 722.6 (also called the 5Gtronic) was used in chrysler vehicles as the NAG1. The drag racing scene in USA quickly figured that with little modification (mainly running the euro-spec valves in the valve body), the NAG1/722.6 could handle 1000lb-ft of torque like a picnic. There is a standalone TCM available for it, letting it work in any car, and it would be an easy fit in the W202 (actually, the W202 used the 722.6 starting 1997 on all models). Bell housings and flex-plates won't be an issue either.

If you want to go manual, ask the local south-african boys here They will probably know more about this than I will, I find automatic transmissions way too fascinating to be bothered with manuals. The only thing I know is that there is a massive electronic issue with doing an auto -> manual conversion if you use the stock ECM, but you're dodging the chevrolet corvair ou of that bullet.

Weight balance-wise, notice that the engineers at mercedes thought about you 22 years ago, the big heavy battery is at the back A good portion of the engine is behind the front axle, and the transmission is further back too (unlike transverse engined econoboxes), the weight distribution is probably already fairly close to 50/50. I don't see how much you will improve over here.

If by some twist of faith I end up in wisconsin, I'd be glad to lend a hand
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for clarifying the variants, I suspected the 6.0 was rare.... lots of 5.0 cars in the area. I've been reading on another board 500sel something something.com. Tons of custom 119 setups... now closed head vs open? Need more research but I can get into a 92-93 model year dirt cheap....

Since I would be starting the physical project with a bone stock 5.0 and tranny to get the project up and running, initially it doesn't matter. Plan is to shove it in there and work around it. Then snag a second motor to work up into a monster.... it will need custom pistons to lower the compression ratio, so may as well bore it out a bit....again research shows up to 100 mm is safe. I don't know if the cranks are forged, but for the most part the m119 is regarded as bulletproof.

I am super comfortable with turbocharging, I have lost count of the different turbo setups and computer tuning I have done on the truck, but yes turbos are a wonderful way to make stupid power levels.... longevity becomes the real question. Actually though larger displacement and turbocharging becomes a negative at some point. Response time to cram several atmospheres in a huge void takes longer than a small one.

One reason I chose mega squirt is that they have multiple levels of boost retard, rpm and boost fuel and ignition mapping, and they are truly a hands on tuner friendly setup. You can even build your system piece by piece...

I'll stick with auto----as much as I would love to have a stick shift, it brings a level of complexity I don't want.... try finding a clutch to live behind a geometric power curve. And yes, while Chrysler transmissions are pure junk stock.. they can be built to be bulletproof. I also want the car to be comfortable to drive....not going to always be driving triple digits with my hair on fire.

Brake ducting meaning NACA ducts in the body, particularly trailing... the sheet metal begs for it, found some glass front fenders with ducting built in. And turbos make heat instantly... pulling it out from under the hood quickly will certainly aid in keeping performance higher....and they look cool.

Might run the C43 body kit to accentuate the lines and ductwork. But I want everything functional, haven't decided yet on that.

Chassis setup to me is where the project will either be awesome or useless... if it doesn't handle well, and ride well then why bother. That 50/50 split may have been designed into the platform 2 decades ago, but they never designed the m119, lower stance, twin turbos etc.... into that mix. The C43 used the m113 I believe. performance #'s weren't silly impressive in the handling dept.

Another friend of mine built a Shelby cobra clone complete with 427 side oiler.... that car did everything at such a vicious level it was mind numbing to experience....trying to duplicate that feeling.
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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 11:18 PM
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In my mind, there is only one M119 that counts, and that is the 5.0 lt. The 4.2lt was nothing but trouble here in South Africa, so it earned a bad reputation. Ultimately, the W124 was never released here with a V8, while the W140 was most often equipped with the M04 3.2lt or the M119 5.0 lt engines.

Interestingly, the 4.2lt M116 was similar: The W126 420SE was only offered here from 1986 to 1988. Thereafter you could only get the 300SE, 500SE and 560SEL. The 4.2 lt M116 was not smooth, not powerful and not economical when compared to the earlier 3.8lt engine.




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Last edited by PlaneCrazy; 03-02-2017 at 08:57 PM.
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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5.0 it is then... certain years? I'm thinking with the engine management, and overall packaging I'd like to stay within the individual coil to plug years... would make things a bit easier for tuning and keep plug wires from draping over everything.

Also not a fan of high heat turbos and plug wires. Avoiding a cap and rotor and the associated signal losses from several feet of wire would be a benefit with tuning everything.
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 07:09 PM
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I think you will find coil-on-plug starting 1997. The fuel injection systems on the m119 were as follows: LH-SFI (distributor + direct port injection), HFM-SFI (wasted spark + direct port injection) and ME-SFI (coil-on-plug + direct port injection). You'd be looking for 1997, perhaps 1998 cars mostly, when the m113 came around, it quickly displaced the m119 on some models. The m119 crankshaft is forged! So through as much boost pressure at it as your heart desires :P

If you want to use a body kit, you are basically limited to AMG, unless you get extremely lucky and stumble across a Brabus or Lorinser body kit, but damn, good luck on that too! If you do decide to go on an AMG bodykit, there will be some modifications required to the front bumper as the AMG brake cooling ducts are placed more towards the center than on the vanilla W202 to fit the extra set of fog lights. You would have to modify the part of the floor which the side skirt hides, the skirt creates a trap for water and road garbage to accumulate, and can rust that area out badly. I remember a thread of someone who had a C43 which was never winter driven, he pulled the side skirt and there was HUGE rust damage. The owner cut and welded large sections of the floor to fix it, but he did an extremely good job and you could not tell at all that the area was repaired. You could coat the floor with an extra layer of rubberized paint, maybe drill some extra drain holes, and seal off any problematic section to make it a lasting type thing. You could easily lower the car's drag by installing a "diffuser" to block the area between the spate wheel well and the rear bumper, air likes to create a vortex as it passes through there, causing lift and drag. Lorinser solved that problem by cutting some slats in the their rear bumper, but I personally don't like the look of the Lorinser bumpers (the small wing on the trunk is sweet though).

We haven't talked diff yet! I'd recommend you look into Wavetrac. They're the new kid on the block, but they get excellent reviews and they make a differential that fits the W210 (which uses the same diff as the W202). What it is is a torque biasing differential that solves the zero-load condition (unlike Torsen, Quaiffe, Truetrac etc. which behave like open diffs under zero-load). The Wavetrac would be a drop-in replacement, it fits in the factory housing and uses the factory ring and pinion gears, it also uses the factory fluid with no special additives needed.
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 09:00 PM
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The WaveTrac is an awesome concept! The best of the Torsen diff and mechanical locking! I have been thinking about it in my W123 and W202. Unfortunately, it probably won't be easy to adapt to the W123.




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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 08:06 PM
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I do like the Wavetrac. Clutch-type LSDs are awesome, but only for a race car on a racetrack, on a daily car it can be trouble (especially if the preload is high). The only other option for not center diffs was some sort of torque biasing differential, but until the Wavetrac came along they were all useless under zero-load. I'd like to put in a wavetrac in my C220 some day, I do take out my car in the winter sometimes (rarely though), usually during a huge snow storm so I can pretend to be WRC on my street A good diff would make it so much fun.
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