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1989 190E 2.6L Engine Turns Off Mid Drive

1470 Views 58 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  tychobrahe
Hello,

So I know there has been a lot of posts about this and I have tried to search and comb through those posts but I am not sure what to do from where I am with this car.

To start off, I recently purchased a 1989 190E 2.6L. Its been off the road for a couple of years and needs some TLC. When I went to check out the car, the guy had to jump it as it hasnt been started in a while, but after starting it, the engine roared to life and ran actually pretty smoothly. We went for a test drive and it was about 15 minutes and I got it up to 60 MPH.

I got it towed home as I driving behind the truck. When I got home, I was excited to drive it and I went I took it out for a drive, it sputtered and shut off. Luckily, I was able to limp it back home but had to restart the car many times. So I thought it was a fuel issue as I knew there was fuel in the tank.

I removed the entire gas tank, replaced the in-tank filter and inline filter and cleaned out the gas tank. It was really bad in there and I am really glad I went through that hellscape because it was damn dirty in there.

So, today, after installing the tank and new filter, connecting the lines and new gas I took it for a drive. Took a second to start it for the first time in 2 weeks but after than, she started right up every time! I did noticed though a weird sound coming from where the fuel filter/pump was (this may lead to what the issue is, but we will get to that).

So I took a drive down to the gas station and filled up, no issues. I then went to a drive through car wash because she really needed it. This where the problems came back. As the car was getting washed and just sat there, it turned off on me. I didn't think much of it, and started the car again, started up right away. However it kept happening with the car just sitting there. At one point the engine wouldnt start up, so I have to get the car in neutral and push it out of the carwash... Got it into a parking spot, started the car up and started to drive home, about 2 times the car stopped on some main streets and the final distance it stopped about 5 times before it finally got home.

Here is where I am a little lost on what I should do next. When I test drove the car it ran fine, but when I got it home it started stopping mid drive (same day). I replaced both fuel filters and cleaned the tank which it desperately needed. But the issue still occurs. I checked the OVP relay with a test procedure I found on this forum and it tested just fine (btw its an original Mercedes OVP relay, its date stamped with 7/5/89...) Could it still be the OVP relay?

I did mention went I started the car for the first time there was a weird sound coming from the fuel filter/fuel pump location, could that be my issue? A family member suggested that sludge from the fuel tank could be in the fuel lines.

I know these two things could easily be the issues I am seeing, but I want to make sure before I go buying parts that wont fix the issue. What else could I check to eliminate any other suspects?

To be honest, I know these are kind of dumb questions but I am just hoping to get some direction here.

PS. I have a new battery in and I do have new non resistor spark plugs, oil and oil filter on the way. I also replaced the air filter, but that was after I stopped driving the car.
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· Premium Member
1992 190e 2.3 8v, 1993 190e 2.6 Sportline 5 speed
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449 Posts
You will need a set of pressure gauges.

There is a vacuum line going to the EZL, the EZL is located on the driver fender - under the hood. This vacuum signals the EZL to adjust the ignition timing. If there is no vacuum signal to the EZL, your ignition timing will be wrong. To test if you have vacuum at the EZL, pull off the connector at the EZL you should feel vacuum while the car is running. This doesn't prove the advance is working. You need to get a timing light to check actual advance and watch the timing advance as you increase rpm's.

Hang in there, you are making progress.
 

· Premium Member
1992 190e 2.3 8v, 1993 190e 2.6 Sportline 5 speed
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449 Posts
You can also check for spark, a strong spark. It should be blueish not yellowish colored.
 

· Registered
W201 190E 2.6 A/T
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Thank you so much for help! Hopefully I can get to testing it soon.

I do have a question regarding timing. Lets say I do have vacuum at the EZL, is there a specific degree of advance I am looking for as the RPMs increase? Like what should it be at idle and is there a certain amount of timing advance I am looking for at certain increased RPMs?
 

· CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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50,164 Posts
I put in an order for a fuel pump relay. And will be waiting for that, but in the mean time, I think im going to clean up fuse contacts and double check the grounding points.
That, plus replacing corrosion prone tin fuses with copper, should take care of some electrical gremlins, or at the very least establish a baseline to work from. I had similar issues with a distributor cap hairline crack, whenever it got a bit wet of even humid (+ check the contact spring top center.) Actually cap & rotor are the first things I change after getting an older car. Fuel filter(s), you have on your list, plus fuel pressure should be checked.
On gen II = 91 and later 190E 2.6 there is no longer a separate fuel pump relay, but a big MAS behind the battery.
When my engine died for no reason in my 91, another 2.6 specific MAS from the wrecking yard has been doing the job for the last 6 years.
In my experience, just throwing new parts at an issue can become more costly than having an experienced mechanic diagnose and fix the issue in the first place.
If you have self service wrecking yards in your area, trying used parts doesn't cost that much.

edit: another time, an idiot mechanic snoozed to tighten the nut on the bottom of the distributor, and the engine stopped.
 

· Registered
W201 190E 2.6 A/T
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #48 ·
That, plus replacing corrosion prone tin fuses with copper, should take care of some electrical gremlins. I had similar issues with a distributor cap hairline crack, whenever it got a bit wet of even humid (+ check the contact spring top center.) Actually cap & rotor are the first things I change after getting an older car. Fuel filter(s), you have on your list, plus fuel pressure should be checked.
On gen II = 91 and later 190E 2.6 there is no longer a separate fuel pump relay, but a big MAS behind the battery.
When my engine died for no reason in my 91, another 2.6 specific MAS from the wrecking yard has been doing the job for the last 6 years.
In my experience, throwing new parts at an issue can become more costly than having an experienced mechanic fix the car in the first place.
If you have self service wrecking yards in your area, trying used parts doesn't cost that much.
I agree on going for used where I can. But I believe with the parts are I ordered new are more wearables like fuel filters, relays, fuses, and ignition parts.

I do actually have new fuses, completely forgot to install them when I went for a drive.. Ill do that soon as well.
 

· CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
Joined
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50,164 Posts
I agree on going for used where I can. But I believe with the parts are I ordered new are more wearables like fuel filters, relays, fuses, and ignition parts.

I do actually have new fuses, completely forgot to install them when I went for a drive.. Ill do that soon as well.
One of the former W201 moderators here used to host the manual, which included the engine versions common in North America. I have the manual downloaded on one of my laptops, but the power plug is defect, and I have no access.
Perhaps another member can help, or provide a link? I use sandboxie plus for peace of mind.

The engine turning off in the car wash, may be significant.
 

· Registered
W201 190E 2.6 A/T
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #50 ·
I dont really know if the carwash had any significance. I was able to start the car a minute after getting it out of the drive thru wash. The car had the same issues before and after the car wash as well.
 

· Registered
W124, 230E 5 speeds Manual, 1987
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616 Posts
I dont really know if the carwash had any significance. I was able to start the car a minute after getting it out of the drive thru wash. The car had the same issues before and after the car wash as well.
I have ready signaled that and it may be a real sign of a cracked distributor cap. The synptoms doesnt necessarily improve when it s not humid but they will absolutely get worst with humidity. If you are that curious You can spray some water around the cap and see what happens. You may identify your problem that way if it s related to humidity😅
 

· CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
Joined
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50,164 Posts
I have ready signaled that and it may be a real sign of a cracked distributor cap. The synptoms doesnt necessarily improve when it s not humid but they will absolutely get worst with humidity. If you are that curious You can spray some water around the cap and see what happens. You may identify your problem that way if it s related to humidity😅

+1 The misting thingy your mom / wife use for ironing. With engine running, if water sounds a bit scary, you can also use WD40. Instead of stumbling / stopping with water mist, the engine will speed up.
 

· Premium Member
1992 190e 2.3 8v, 1993 190e 2.6 Sportline 5 speed
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449 Posts
My guess is that it is a bad intermittent ignition coil, especially if the previous owner has used resistor plugs and if you have a weak spark. There is no way to test an intermittent coil, that I know of, except with an oscilloscope.

I don't like to guess without testing first but in this case, if the above is true, then I would replace the coil.
 

· Premium Member
1992 190e 2.3 8v, 1993 190e 2.6 Sportline 5 speed
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449 Posts
Ok.
How do you test for intermittent failure of the coil? The secondary coil will heat up and fail.
 

· Registered
1990 Mercedes 190E 2.6
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109 Posts
That, plus replacing corrosion prone tin fuses with copper, should take care of some electrical gremlins, or at the very least establish a baseline to work from. I had similar issues with a distributor cap hairline crack, whenever it got a bit wet of even humid (+ check the contact spring top center.) Actually cap & rotor are the first things I change after getting an older car. Fuel filter(s), you have on your list, plus fuel pressure should be checked.
On gen II = 91 and later 190E 2.6 there is no longer a separate fuel pump relay, but a big MAS behind the battery.
When my engine died for no reason in my 91, another 2.6 specific MAS from the wrecking yard has been doing the job for the last 6 years.
In my experience, just throwing new parts at an issue can become more costly than having an experienced mechanic diagnose and fix the issue in the first place.
If you have self service wrecking yards in your area, trying used parts doesn't cost that much.

edit: another time, an idiot mechanic snoozed to tighten the nut on the bottom of the distributor, and the engine stopped.
Where can you find COPPER torpedo fuses???
 

· Premium Member
1992 190e 2.3 8v, 1993 190e 2.6 Sportline 5 speed
Joined
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449 Posts

· Registered
W201 190E 2.6 A/T
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Hey guys, sorry I havent been able to do much on the car or post about it but I think I have potentially good news.

I have been busy with work but I decided to make some time to work on the car. The first thing I wanted to do was to check for vacuum at the EZL then check timing because I already own a timing gun. I located the EZL and unplugged an electrical plug to just look inside for corrosion and I noticed a small whitish tube disconnected from a rubber elbow coming off the middle of the EZL.. to be honest, I think I pulled it off by accident when taking out the electrical plug, but I put that back together and checked it for vacuum with the car on and it has vacuum.

I tried to find the timing marks near the pulley but I have no idea where it is and I originally was going to come on here and ask how to spot it. But in the mean time, I decided to rev the engine in the drive way and I was able to go well past 3k RPM, something I wasnt able to do before. I thought maybe since the engine wasnt under load, so I took it for a drive and there was no issues... The engine was sitting at 80 degrees the entire time and I was pushing upwards of 5k RPM, no bogging down, stalling or shutting off. It just ran.

So I think my issue was a fuel pump relay and a loose or disconnected vacuum line to the EZL.
I want to say problem solved but I am going to hold out on that for the time being.

I would still like to check timing, so if someone could help out with that I would appreciate it. I also still plan on replacing most of the ignition parts (plugs, plug wires, cap and rotor) but I am still waiting on the damn spark plugs...

Thank you guys for the help and advice, I truly appreciate it! I will keep you guys updated if anything else happens!
 
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