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Hello, new to this forum, I am hoping to learn a lot. I recently did some trading of cars and got a 1980 500 SE (grey market car). I am excited about this as I have wanted a Mercedes for about 30 years and now I have a chance to realize one of my bucket list items. I know this car is not an expensive car, not a rare car, but I think it will be a fun car. The car has 124K miles on it, the body is in fair shape. The paint has been redone at some point, the original wheels replaced with 17" rims, etc. This has no chance of being returned to original condition, I just want to drive and enjoy it.

The problems I have with it are:

A slight miss in the engine at idle, miss reduces at higher RPMs but is still there. I think this may be related to the next items.

I took the car to have the emissions checked this afternoon figuring that it would probably fail but would give me an idea of the health of the engine and an idea of what it would need. The emissions failed because the Cat, O2 sensor and the air pump were missing.

I have found a catalytic converter & Oxygen sensor at Summit that I can put on the car. One problem is that I do not know where the O2 sensor should be hooked up to (I don't know if emissions cares if it is hooked up as long as it is there).

The last thing is the air pump, was there one on the car to begin with? Would it have been added to the car when it was imported to the US? What can I put onto the car to pass the emissions test?

By the way, the car passed the actual emissions test, only failing because of the missing parts. The tech indicated that the emissions were even better than most new cars, they just needed to see the above items.

Anybody have a suggestion for the Air Pump dilema, I think I can handle the other 2 items.

thanks

Gary :bowdown:
 

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Fill out your profile information so we know where you are. In this case in particular that could help immensely. About the cat's, usually it seems any of the high flow magnaflow cats or products like it will do the trick.. 02 censor, I don't think it should have one..and the rest, it's completely random. Different importers did different things to make it "legal." Regardless though, it's ridiculous that your state emission tests cars over 30 years old. Just by that fact I can guess that you live in California.

About your car though, it's fairly rare. We'd love to see pictures.
 

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emissions equipment

Gary, Congrats on what is actually a fairly rare car. What state are you from? Here in NY, after 20 years I believe, the emissions are forsaken during inspections! Safety only is what they call it. I guess it differs from state to state. With that said, when my 280SE was federalized, it appears that they installed the O2 sensor into the exhaust manifold, accesible under the Hood on my car at least. Interestingly, my car does NOT have a Catalytic converter but this is not a problem here in NY, my car is 1985. Best of luck
 

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Gary,
Do yourself an immense favor. Take the car to your local hot rod/ custom car Exhaust Shop. the guys there will know which cat will fit your car. They will also know where to install the O2 Sensor. You will need one if your state requires it. As to the Air pump, you can find one at a local JY, grab the crank pulley also and all the mtg.s.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Thanks for your replies.

I live on the front range of the Colorado Rockies. In the 16 years I have lived here this is the first time I have had to deal with the emissions on a car. This law kicked into effect for me about a year ago. I live 3 blocks east of the county line where the dividing line has laid historically. A year ago my county was added to the "emissions required" list. I asked yesterday about the emissions requirement for the older cars and was told that I needed to pass emissions every year instead of every two years. Go figure.

I have also tried to find shop manuals for the car. Everything I have found specifically for this model and year is printed in German. Can I use a W126 chassis manual for the 1985 - 1991 500 SE (Chassis number W126.036 for both), and the engine information in the manuals for the 1980 - 1985 500 SEL and SEC models (M117.963 engine in all of them)?

Putting the CAT ant the O2 sensor in is no problem, getting the air pump in and working will be the problem. I think I will go to a wrecking yard and see what I can find off a 500 SEL or SEC.

There will be more to fix on this as I go but I think this is something I can have a lot of fun with.

Thanks for all your replies and I hope to continue to talking to all of you as I learn more about this car in the future. I will also figure out how to post pictures soon.:thumbsup:
 

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Does Colorado exempt historical vehicles?
Your car is old enough to qualify in most states.
If you don't use it as a Daily Driver, then your insurance is cheaper as well. I would check it out.

That said, yur car passed without the Cat and the O2 sensor, then I would put these items on at a qualified custom Muffler shop. They will know what to do to hook up the O2 Sensor(or not?!?!).

1980 500 engines have higher HP than the newer models and it will have a dual row Timing Chain. You have a desirable car. Most maintenance items besides the engine components are transferable between the 380 and the 500 prior to 1985, so using those manuals. I would try to get the Service CD's, they are a wealth of info, You will have to order parts for the first year 500 SE's were imported, because the suppliers do not have the Grey Market cars or models in their databases,
Also a 12 dollar a year subscription to the Startechinfo online EPC will be invaluable to you.

Us Grey market car owners stick together.
 

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From what I have found on the Air Care Colorado :: Home web site there is no exemption for historic cars. The Colorado dept of Revenue (Department of Revenue - Division of Motor Vehicles:Emissions Information) also does not indicate exemptions available on an ongoing basis, just one time exemptions based on failures of the test after repairs have been attempted. I don't think this is an option for me at this time. I will need to add the missing components and get it to pass.

The insurance company initially gave me problems with the car as they could not find the model in their database (grey market). They needed something that indicated the MSRP of the car so they could insure it. When I pointed out that liability insurance should be based on the driver and not the car they agreed and wrote the policy for me.

I will start finding manuals for this so I can have a chance of working on it.

Thanks:)
 

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From what I have found on the Air Care Colorado :: Home web site there is no exemption for historic cars. The Colorado dept of Revenue (Department of Revenue - Division of Motor Vehicles:Emissions Information) also does not indicate exemptions available on an ongoing basis, just one time exemptions based on failures of the test after repairs have been attempted. I don't think this is an option for me at this time. I will need to add the missing components and get it to pass.

The insurance company initially gave me problems with the car as they could not find the model in their database (grey market). They needed something that indicated the MSRP of the car so they could insure it. When I pointed out that liability insurance should be based on the driver and not the car they agreed and wrote the policy for me.

I will start finding manuals for this so I can have a chance of working on it.

Thanks:)
Try contacting the epa if they still have the paperwork from when the car was imported. It probably was given an exemption when the car was brought over. If you show them the epa paperwork they should back off. Did you tell the testing station that it never had any of that equipment from the factory? Usually they can't require equipment if the car was never equipped from the factory with it.
 

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1980 W126 models in Germany did NOT have emission controls - write it in your notebooks. No computer either. If they got in EPA exempt that only got them in. States still required them to pass that year's emissions. BTDT. Not to worry. If you get it running perfectly - i.e. idles like a cloud and takes off like silk (like a Mercedes should) then all you have to do is really lean the thing out. Worked for me.
 

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Does the car still have a true dual exhaust? I used the Magnaflow 38008 cat converter from Summit Racing for the dual exhaust and had no problem with the nox part of the test.

In California they made the importer add on a "computer" (Lambda control) to the car which is usually placed in the passenger side foot-well under the plastic cover where the passengers feet would go. Since they needed to add the Lamda computer, they installed a single wire o2 sensor to the passenger side down pipe just past the flange that connects the down pipe to the exhaust manifold. That single wire from the o2 sensor connects to the Lamda in the foot-well. The Lambda would connect to a resister which would connect to a frequency valve. Your car probably has none of that.

Since you passed the actual test and just failed the visual, put the cat on, put the o2 sensor right after the manifold flange that connects to the down pipes and run the o2 sensor wire up through the engine bay, through the passenger firewall grommet and into the interior of the car and call it good. If you have no Lambda computer in the footwell, you have nothing to connect it to nor will you have a frequency valve that the Lambda would control.

To find out what your car was required to have when imported just take a look at the importers sticker on the drivers side door jamb. If it is still there it will have an "x" marked in each box of a list of required items that was added to your car when imported. Your car may not have been equipped with an air pump when imported and will probably not need it to pass the test in Colorado. If you do absolutely need to have it to pass the visual you will also need to have the valve and tube to the air cleaner as well.

Since your car was manufactured prior to 1981 you are not required to use an Air Care facility nor pass the enhanced program test, just the 2 idle speed tests. If you took your car to an independent station for your test (which you can do since you are pre-1982), I would take it to a different authorized independent station and see if the first station is making the visual harder for you than needed. You may not actually need to add the o2 and the air pump to pass visual, but probably will need the converter. Doesn't hurt to ask another independent or even an Air Care facility if you need the extra smog equipment.
 

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1980 W126 models in Germany did NOT have emission controls - write it in your notebooks. No computer either. If they got in EPA exempt that only got them in. States still required them to pass that year's emissions. BTDT. Not to worry. If you get it running perfectly - i.e. idles like a cloud and takes off like silk (like a Mercedes should) then all you have to do is really lean the thing out. Worked for me.
That would only be true in California. All the other states at the time followed the federal requirements so they have to still honor the exemption. Other than California other states can't have different requirements.
 

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BB and The Rose are 49 State cars.
Blue Bird was smogged as a 49 state car with 49 state emissions equipment due on a car circa 1988 when BB was Federalized in Houston TX. Any Emissions parts were 49 state parts.

Rose was built (3/86)and imported in 1986 and was in CA and smogged and registered by Sept 25 1986. She was federalized outside of CA, but has a CA BAR sticker (as did BB). She had/has two small pre-cats and one cat and an O2, 3 wire, Sensor, all put on when federalized. She has No air pump and no requirements for one. Her original air cleaner box has the air pump air tube hole and the screw hole for the air pump filter, but the air tube hole is plugged from the factory. CARB sticker does not call for an Air pump.

Hopefully Gary's car will have the federal sticker somewhere on the car. I doubt seriously if there is a CARB (California Air Resources Board) sticker on the car unless it spent any time in CA. Kodiakj2 is right there should be a Fed emissions sticker on the door jamb or on the radiator support.
 
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