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Hi all

I've been a lurker here for several months, and have picked up a wealth of tips and ideas. There was the one tip that went, "Dont buy the first sec you see/fall in love with."

Judging that this was sound advice, I promptly bought the second one, a stunning smoke-silver 380sec. The engine was replaced but 30000kms ago, and the body work is in exquisite condition. The interior needs much tlc, but all-in-all it was a bargain. And while I've loved every second of driving it, things have begun to go wrong.

The day after I bought it, it started making a knocking sound when changing from 1st to 2nd gear. A shuddery clunk clunk clunk that disappears as soon as the car has a little speed. There is no knocking when I bring the car to a stop, only on the initial acceleration from a standing start. My limited knowledge of mechanicals leads me to believe that either the gearbox or the propshaft are guilty. Has anyone here on the forum had a similar experience and can offer some wisdom? The benz agents themselves have no clue, but recommend I let them strip the gearbox at exorbitant cost, even though they cannot guarantee it will fix the problem.

Secondly, I recently had the tie-rod-ends replaced.
But now the car squeaks almost constantly, whether I'm turning or going straight, at any speed. Its quite melodic really, especially when combined with the knocking sound on take-off: sort of like a fanfare to send me on my way. But I'm thinking it shouldn't be making any noise at all, regardless of how musical it is. So my question is this: are tie-rod ends known to squeak when newly replaced? I have a suspicion the alignment and balancing had to be adjusted, which the workshop did not do. Could this be causing the squeaks? They also somehow managed to get my steering wheel on skew: its at a 45 deg angle when I'm driving straight.

And lastly, a little tale of woe: my petrol cap does not fit, and new ones are no longer produced. A friend suggested a cunning plan involving plastic bags, tissue paper and elastic bands, which, while effective, causes some embarrasment each time I juice my baby up. The speakerboard at the back was modified at some point in the car's history, and then the speakers were taken out, so now the fumes from the exhaust and the fuel cap flood the car each time I drive. This at least is a minor thing :)

Anxiously awaiting advice,

Johnny from Cape Town,South Africa.
 

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1990 SEC
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4,110 Posts
You bought the second one, eh?

Imagine what troubles the first one you looked at would have given you.

The easiest problem to fix is the cap for the gas tank. They have replacements at you MB dealership. Or, if you find their prices a bit lofty, try a wrecker. I think the ones from the w123 fits.

Your steering, tie rods, noises at start-up, etc., sounds more serious.
From what you have described, I would suspect some issues with the suspension and alignment. Take it to a dealership (yes, sometimes it is worth it..) and have them inspect the car. I think a lot of the issues you have described can be caused by bad tie rods, wheels out of alignment and badly worn engine and transmission mounts.
Our cars need a 4-wheel alignment so don't take it to just any old tire shop for a shoddy front wheel adjustment.

My 2 cents.
 
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