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Mercedes 300E 2.8 160K miles
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Under consideration is a 93 400E Silver/Gray 160K mi, $2550,cold AC, "runs great" . I'm a current 93 300E 2.8 owner with similar mileage, my first 124. I've owned 126's, 116's, 123's, a 107, & a 115, diesels & gassers. I'm a huge tri-star fan & am very impressed with my 300E! My questions regarding this 93 400E consern potential pitfalls that I may expect with my purchase. Is wiring harness of a 93 constructed the same on a 94 E420 as there is a 94 Blk/Blk w/160K miles, "runs excellent", same money & hot ac, otherwise vg cond available as well. Besides the wiring harness are there special areas of consern that pertain to the 400 series 92-95? Also I've been researching the MB forums for as much info available on the net and several ideas come to mind. In spite of fact that my late uncle Iereson's declaration to "Never vary from original manufacter's specifications!" (he was a mechanic for N&W Railroad working on steam locomotives) I still would like to know about suggested modifications in regards to the 400E/E420. How difficult is differential mod, how does this mod effect longivity, gas mileage, what is cost, & can used diff from other models work? If so, what model donor car is needed & how difficult is swap, how much time would it take & can a DYI guy effect the mod? How about chips to increase milege & performance. Do they work & do they affect reliabilty & longivity as well? Then wheels & tires. If above mods are advisable would you recommend changing to 16" or 17" wheels & wider tires? Putting together an aggresive gran touring sedan w/ apx 6sec 0-60 that gets 25mpg is my goal. How feasible is this fantasy of a poor man's 500, maximum bang for the buck autobahn sleeper? I'd like to thank you in advance for your imput and advise! PS: My late uncle's advice is very hard to ignore, but he was also superstitious as he never would buy a green car "You can if you want to, but I never will!" And he never did. I used to ask him to just touch the hood of my car as it seemed that if he did the car would be blessed, however an original green 500 at the right price might be a tempting exception to his advise.:bowdown:
 

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1995 E420; 1995 E320 Estate, 1995 C220 (GF)
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Wirning Harnesses in the plural - engine top and bottom, plus transmission are all possibles.

Timing chain guides - plastic, break after years, great destruction possible. Replace ASAP.

Oilers - not sure if 93 still had the metal tubes, later years used plastic tubes atop the head to insure oil flow to something. The plastic was not durable enough - not quite.

Viscous fan clutch - $500. Nuff said.

A/C - cold now means it hasn't failed yet. Nor has mine - wish me luck. You know what they say about hard drives? there are only two kinds - those that have failed, and those that will. I'm hoping that newer miracle sealant will save me if need be.

Speedometer/odo - can fail in instrument cluster - $200 to get your odo back.

Head Rests - people who try to force the headrests up and down probably have already broken the mechanisms - Shade tree repair possible, allot half a day.

You can spend much money to not make the 400 faster. Just enjoy it for what it is.

And searching here would answer your questions, rather than asking us to spoon feed you. E.G. have you looked at what people here have done to their 400s? No, else you wouldn't be asking your hop up questions. Not that they aren't valid, it's just you aren't the first, nor even the five hundredth person to ask....
 

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Mercedes 300E 2.8 160K miles
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
1st thanks for the reply. I'm thinking you are a Falcons fan. We got you when you come to Tampa! Are you a 1/2 empty glass kind of guy? I see you are rockin' a 95 E420 w/ a 5spd auto, with how many miles? How long have you owned your car & are you happy with the stock E420? Hell, I'm in lust with my 2.8!2.8 Thanks for the info about the oilers, but it looks like we both need to source that info. My question about harness(es) dealt with the materials used between 92 & 93 400E vs 94 & 95 E 420, is there a difference or are both the early cars & the later series both prone to failure? Possible chip use dealt with picking up better mileage as well as performance. Larger wheels & tires, probably 16's would make car more stable at higher speeds & give better grip in a 3,500 lb powerful car. If I didn't relate those queries in a proper and respectful way, I apologize. My questions are based on my likes, not out of laziness. I've searched the forum here & MB World and have found both to be filled with amazing info. If there is an easy way to access opinons about the differential modification I would be greatful to know the path to enlightenment on the subject. Not to make excuses, but the searches I have made on this forum have not revealed the info yet. I can assure you that I admire Mercedes in general, stock or modified! Is there a check for timing chain guide failure w/o removing the heads? What are the 1st signs of viscous fan clutch failure? I repair a lot of my own problems and use alot of very good condition used spares located in various bone yards in the area. I spent quite some time today reading about a M119 transplant in a 300CE that is fascinating. I guess the shop owner/master mechanic did not feel satisfied with the stock I6 24V. It's ironic that he solictited a reply wondering why he used a 4.2 instead of a 5.0 M119, just the opposite viewpoint that you have expressed, as the respondent felt the guy doing the project didn't go far enough. I hope your AC stays working as you know the 124 was engineered for longivity, although the use of plastic timing chain guides gives one pause as to wonder what that is about, much less oilers. Most of the time my questions will deal with how to attain maximum effect at minimum cost. I'm not afraid of a ten letter name like Mercedes & I doubt you will find me spending $500 on a fan clutch repair. To me Mercedes represents form meeting function in most complimentary fashion. High art displayed on the highway & on the raceway as well. If I can find a great M119 124 variant for not much dough & effect simple modifications that add to the car's performance without sacrificing realiabiliy, then that is a win win for me! You are right to point out there is plenty of other details to sort out & I do appreciate the advise. One final note though.....Go 'Bucs!
 

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W124 Moderator
86 190E 2.3L 16V, 2 95 320TE's, 02 S500
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Cooley Jr.

Welcome and thanks for your questions. The diff swap is not an easy job. Period. There is allot involved besides the diff unit itself. It becomes even more difficult if the car in question has ASR (and I suspect it does)

I'll be down in Sarasota in a week or so to help out another forum member. If you want to experience how well a 400E runs, take a ride in mine.

Jayare
 

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2000 SL500
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193 Posts
As for the oilers, I have a '93 and I assume I have the plastic ones because they have failed and are causing a lot of lifter tick.
 

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1995 E420; 1995 E320 Estate, 1995 C220 (GF)
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>1st thanks for the reply. I'm thinking you are a Falcons fan. We got you when you come to Tampa!

I live near Atlanta. I care not for Falcons, Thrashers, Braves nor Hawks. The eat my tax money.

>Are you a 1/2 empty glass kind of guy?

I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy.

>I see you are rockin' a 95 E420 w/ a 5spd auto, with how many miles? How long have you owned your car & are you happy with the stock E420?

Not sure any 420s (124 version) came over here with 5 speeds. I certainly didn't mention that, since mine is the usual four-speed automatic. Had it 5 years now, won't sell. Happy with stock? yeah, unless I would wanna put in the 2.83 diff. But this is my highway cruiser, my town car, my stylin' pimpin' ride. When I want sports, I climb in the miata. When I want to haul, the truck. Horses for courses.
>Thanks for the info about the oilers, but it looks like we both need to source that info.

I don't need to - I replaced plastic with metal when I bought it. I also don't need to know if your has plastic or metal - but you do.

> My question about harness(es) dealt with the materials used between 92 & 93 400E vs 94 & 95 E 420, is there a difference or are both the early cars & the later series both prone to failure?

I think 93 is the beginning of biodegradeable harnesses, but then again, searching this would give you a lot of info.

> Possible chip use dealt with picking up better mileage as well as performance. Larger wheels & tires, probably 16's would make car more stable at higher speeds & give better grip in a 3,500 lb powerful car.

Chip will hurt mileage, with dubious gains. Larger wheels and tires, although nice, will result in greater unsprung weight, greater rotational mass, and other thing that work to defeat your purpose - but enough to notice? Depends on your use. I agree factory sizes look too small, but again, I'm not asking my car to perform outside its design limits when I drive. I understand fully, not a critique, but info most larger tire/wheel guys don't think about.

>If I didn't relate those queries in a proper and respectful way, I apologize. My questions are based on my likes, not out of laziness. I've searched the forum here & MB World and have found both to be filled with amazing info.

No problem with your tone, but I searched my own self and found these answers here. I'm not sure how to reconcile your statements that you searched, found lots of info, and didn't find what you needed. I know there is an art to search terms, but not that much...

>Is there a check for timing chain guide failure w/o removing the heads?

Try removing the valve covers and looking down the timing chains.

>What are the 1st signs of viscous fan clutch failure?

My mechanic putting his hand on the idling fan with motor up to temp and stopping the fan without injury.

>I repair a lot of my own problems and use alot of very good condition used spares located in various bone yards in the area. I spent quite some time today reading about a M119 transplant in a 300CE that is fascinating.

Most posts point out the difficulty of putting a V-8 where Mercedes didn't prep for it. Hey, I'd rather drive than have a shop queen, but your call.

>Most of the time my questions will deal with how to attain maximum effect at minimum cost.

Maximum effect + minimum cost - find a 420 and drive it. Maintain it. Ask 2phast how much money he's invested.

> I doubt you will find me spending $500 on a fan clutch repair.

OK, but do you really want to put a used one in? After all, used just failed, so to speak...

> To me Mercedes represents form meeting function in most complimentary fashion. High art displayed on the highway & on the raceway as well. If I can find a great M119 124 variant for not much dough & effect simple modifications that add to the car's performance without sacrificing realiabiliy, then that is a win win for me!

Good luck. Work the suspension first or the diff swap. Then evaluate whether you want to spend more for diminishing gains. Hope you enjoy the V8!
 

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I would guess.. the car needs work just by the asking price.

Look at the parts prices.. almost everything is 3-4X more that's M119 specific. The later model cars have welded balljoints to the lower control arms- at that mileage might need work.
Fan clutch/fan support/ idler bearing/ air pump or airpump bearing/motor mounts/wiring harness/ timing chain & guides/ oil tubes. All these things tend to be more expensive.

How tight is the steering- any vibration will most likely require $$ to get it to go away.
Distributor caps/rotors are expensive for this car too. PS pump leaks are a nasty job to fix.. bare to get the pump off to overhaul and the return lines- not a fun day.

Don't think the chip mods are worth a hill of beans- the 92' brain (ECU) has full throtal enrichment which is good for about 10 hp. Beyond that.. drop a used SL 5.0 liter engine in it...

Love mine and it's going to get a diff mod soon. More expensive than the M103 ever was...

I've written some pretty detailed threads in the past on the subject if you dig around.

Michael
 

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I should add...

Talk about diff changes is CRAZY until you have upgraded to larger and wider rim/tires.
Those 15X6.5's absolutely are very marginal with the stock diff. Limited slip now that the factory carrier is NLA is an expensive proposition.

I don't think there would be any real life difference with the 2.82 diff- they use it in the S-class and the 500e's.

I'd guess without seeing the car it could be made nice.. but you'll spend easily 3-5,000. That's assuming paint and interior are nice.


Michael
 

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I should add...

Talk about diff changes is CRAZY until you have upgraded to larger and wider rim/tires.
Those 15X6.5's absolutely are very marginal with the stock diff. Limited slip now that the factory carrier is NLA is an expensive proposition.

I don't think there would be any real life difference with the 2.82 diff- they use it in the S-class and the 500e's.

I'd guess without seeing the car it could be made nice.. but you'll spend easily $3-5,000 in parts. That's assuming paint and interior are nice.


I LOVE mine..

Michael
 

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1994 E320 Coupe, Midnight/Rio Blue/Gray, 107K miles
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It may help to look at this project from another direction. W124s sell for very short money right now. The only reason to buy one with issues and put your time (and as much money as you paid for the car) into making it nice would be if that is part of your bliss in the car hobby.

If you look hard enough and long enough, a pristine example of our various E-class models always surfaces on the market. You should be able to snag a really good no-excuses eight cylinder for $6-7K, I would think. The good info here can become your buyer's guide rather than your "work list" :)
 

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I agree...!!!

Much better and cheaper to find a near perfect example since they are less desireable these day. 6-8k for a nice one. I have one now and am actually looking for one which meets that criteria. I'm considering 500e's also.
 

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Mercedes 300E 2.8 160K miles
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
>1st thanks for the reply. I'm thinking you are a Falcons fan. We got you when you come to Tampa!

I live near Atlanta. I care not for Falcons, Thrashers, Braves nor Hawks. The eat my tax money.

>Are you a 1/2 empty glass kind of guy?

I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy.

>I see you are rockin' a 95 E420 w/ a 5spd auto, with how many miles? How long have you owned your car & are you happy with the stock E420?

Not sure any 420s (124 version) came over here with 5 speeds. I certainly didn't mention that, since mine is the usual four-speed automatic. Had it 5 years now, won't sell. Happy with stock? yeah, unless I would wanna put in the 2.83 diff. But this is my highway cruiser, my town car, my stylin' pimpin' ride. When I want sports, I climb in the miata. When I want to haul, the truck. Horses for courses.
>Thanks for the info about the oilers, but it looks like we both need to source that info.

I don't need to - I replaced plastic with metal when I bought it. I also don't need to know if your has plastic or metal - but you do.

> My question about harness(es) dealt with the materials used between 92 & 93 400E vs 94 & 95 E 420, is there a difference or are both the early cars & the later series both prone to failure?

I think 93 is the beginning of biodegradeable harnesses, but then again, searching this would give you a lot of info.

> Possible chip use dealt with picking up better mileage as well as performance. Larger wheels & tires, probably 16's would make car more stable at higher speeds & give better grip in a 3,500 lb powerful car.

Chip will hurt mileage, with dubious gains. Larger wheels and tires, although nice, will result in greater unsprung weight, greater rotational mass, and other thing that work to defeat your purpose - but enough to notice? Depends on your use. I agree factory sizes look too small, but again, I'm not asking my car to perform outside its design limits when I drive. I understand fully, not a critique, but info most larger tire/wheel guys don't think about.

>If I didn't relate those queries in a proper and respectful way, I apologize. My questions are based on my likes, not out of laziness. I've searched the forum here & MB World and have found both to be filled with amazing info.

No problem with your tone, but I searched my own self and found these answers here. I'm not sure how to reconcile your statements that you searched, found lots of info, and didn't find what you needed. I know there is an art to search terms, but not that much...

>Is there a check for timing chain guide failure w/o removing the heads?

Try removing the valve covers and looking down the timing chains.

>What are the 1st signs of viscous fan clutch failure?

My mechanic putting his hand on the idling fan with motor up to temp and stopping the fan without injury.

>I repair a lot of my own problems and use alot of very good condition used spares located in various bone yards in the area. I spent quite some time today reading about a M119 transplant in a 300CE that is fascinating.

Most posts point out the difficulty of putting a V-8 where Mercedes didn't prep for it. Hey, I'd rather drive than have a shop queen, but your call.

>Most of the time my questions will deal with how to attain maximum effect at minimum cost.

Maximum effect + minimum cost - find a 420 and drive it. Maintain it. Ask 2phast how much money he's invested.

> I doubt you will find me spending $500 on a fan clutch repair.

OK, but do you really want to put a used one in? After all, used just failed, so to speak...

> To me Mercedes represents form meeting function in most complimentary fashion. High art displayed on the highway & on the raceway as well. If I can find a great M119 124 variant for not much dough & effect simple modifications that add to the car's performance without sacrificing realiabiliy, then that is a win win for me!

Good luck. Work the suspension first or the diff swap. Then evaluate whether you want to spend more for diminishing gains. Hope you enjoy the V8!
I do appreciate your feedback, thanks again as all of your logic seems to amplify my late uncle's sage advise to "always go with the engineer's original designs & specs". So, if you want a 500 don't try mods on a 400, just be happy with a 400 seems right to me. As for used vs new on spare parts I have found many used parts with little or no wear for very little dollars. By reading more forum posts I have found more info than search inquiries, try 400E differential modification or 400E diff swap searches, It didn't get me very far. I have had many great suggestions provided by other forum contributors, including yours! I have located a 7/92 400E that upon further research, as strongly suggested by you, has a very good chance of having metal oilers as the change appears to have occurred 8/92. As to diff swap AMG Dave (MB Forum) is the suggested guru & "You are correct sir!" (Ed McMann (sic) reference) many great entries on this subject do exist. Thanks again, Tracy:surrender:
 

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1995 E420; 1995 E320 Estate, 1995 C220 (GF)
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Tracy, I hope you get a great one, and enjoy it forever. You may find they are more capable than you thought - as did a Chrysler driver who didn't want to be passed on GA 40/US 64/74...hint - not a straight road.

In your searches, when thinking 400E, also think E400, E420, E Class, 124, W124...
 

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'97 CL600
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I bought a '95E420 a couple of years ago. It was formerly owned by a Canadian NHL players wife. Perfect condition. Someone changed over the speedometer to MPH but other than that it has been pristine. I added 17" wheels with 225/45/17 tires. I also replaced both wiring harnesses. But other than that there have been no problems. we love the car especially on long road trips. Cruising between 80-100 is bliss.
Anziani
'93 300CE 192K
'95 E420 122K
 

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Mercedes 300E 2.8 160K miles
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Discussion Starter #17
Hello Anziani thanks for your reply. It's great to here from another satisfied 124 owner. I see you are from Palm Springs, Ca. (not exactly hockey central) so how did you end up with a player's wife's E420? I'm located in the Tampa Bay area. Not a typical hockey setting either, but the Lightning brought home the Stanley Cup, so go figure. I'm also interested to know more about your E420. What is the mileage, color ext/int combination & more about the 225/45/17 modification. How is the ride vs the stock set up that came on the car? Also I notice you have a 93 300CE. Can you describe your feelings on the extra 100hp of the M119 V8 vs M104 I6? How long have you be into Mercedes & 124's? I own a '93 300E 2.8, my 1st 124. It's a great car & a lot of fun to drive. The solid feel of this car is wonderful. I'm thinking the extra 100 horses is sweet! Did you modify the tire/whl combo on your coupe? I'm thinking of going with 215/55/16's on the 400 & leaving stock 15's on the 300. Thanks, Tracy
 
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