EGR Nightmare - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Dec 2017
Vehicle: 1990 190e 2.6
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EGR Nightmare

1990 190e check engine light came on and it was an EGR code. My mechanic told me that the tube going from the EGR around the back of the engine, and then connecting to the intake on the other side often gets clogged up with carbon. He's worked with these cars since they were new in the 1980's and says they typically get clogged every 50k miles. This is where my adventure began.

All I had to do was disconnect the pipe the connects to the back of the EGR and try to clean out the carbon. I decided to remove the EGR and clean it out with brake cleaner and change the gasket underneath it too. I ended up breaking one of the two bolts that holds the EGR into the exhaust manifold. The was able to get the EGR off but the broken bolt was flush with the manifold and would require a bolt extraction kit. I tried and failed. The bolt would not budge under any circumstance. I had a couple of mechanically inclined buddies come over and try too but again no luck. Long story short we completely destroyed the bolt hole while trying to remove this broken bolt. Without this bolt the EGR could not be properly sealed and would not function properly. My simple EGR service resulted in me having to order a new exhaust manifold. I was able to find a used one on ebay for $60. Not the end of the world but very annoying.

While waiting for the new manifold I attempted to clean out the carbon from the pipe that is connected to the EGR and goes around the back of the engine. My mechanic was correct. The carbon has completely clogged the pipe and is rock hard. I have tried to begin to scrape it out but its like trying to dig through a rock with a spoon. The carbon is rock hard and I don't know where to begin in removing it. Air from an air compressor can't get through. Water from a pressure washer can't get through.

Does anybody have any ideas? My current scraping tool is a wire hanger...
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 12:53 AM
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Vehicle: 89 190E 2.6 x2
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Oh man sorry to hear about your struggles w/ those EGR bolts. At least the manifold was easily replaced.
So I actually performed the same job on a W124 EGR setup a couple months ago.
I bought a speedometer cable and hooked it up to a drill to create something similar to a plumbing snake. Snaked the tube in and ran it on low speed and gradually the cable cleaned out the tube until I got all the way through. You’ll want to disconnect the other end of the EGR pipe as well so you don’t push carbon into your engine.
This W124 video was very helpful.
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#1.1989 190E 2.6 355 Diamond Blue Metallic, lots of euro goodies, Borbet wheels, Koni shocks, Brabus W124 springs

#2.1989 190E 2.6 877 Blue Green metallic, Euro headlights w/ HID projector retrofit, 15" AMG monoblock wheels, AMG replica body kit, rear lip spoiler

#3 1992 190E 2.6 888 Teal Blue Metallic, donor car parted out.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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That is great advice! I will try just that. Appreciate the input and video. Interesting that I couldnít find any posts in this forum about the cleaning of the EGR tube. Any EGR equipped Mercedes of this era should also be experiencing this problem.

Havenít replaced the manifold yet. Wonít do it until I clean out the tube. Any tips there?

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 11:10 AM
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I had to clean the EGR tube on my 201 to pass its first smog. Luckily the bolts removed without issue, was scared AF backing them out because they seemed soft.

Rooting the tube was similar to what 355 describes. I sprayed carb cleaner down both ends and let it sit while I worked on other things, so it soaked at least 45min-1hr. I used a .130 bass guitar string (I don't play 5-string anyway) with the ball end in the drill chuck as a rooter. Used a piece of hose and blew on the EGR inlet on the exhaust side after every few min of rooting to see if I could blow through. Eventually a bunch of black carbon chunks and shit blasted all over the engine bay. I suggest putting a rag over the other end.
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