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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well after about 6 years of ownership I thought it would be time to make a build thread and share the maintenance and mods I've done to my car, hopefully the info will be helpful.

Purchased the car November 2014 with 109k miles. Imperial red on parchment interior.
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Car drove excellent at the time and everything except the outside temperature display worked. Changed the engine oil, transmission fluid, and differential fluid immediately. Car also needed a new cat to pass smog in CA. Drove it without doing anything else except new brake fluid and coolant until 2017. Brakes squeaked a lot during this time. Also during this time I was collecting parts to put new suspension, big brakes, body kit and wheels on the car.

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Found a cheap genuine AMG gen 2 front bumper, it was cracked in several spots and help together with zip ties. For the price I couldn't complain.

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Planned to take the car to Legends of the Autobahn 2017 so I decided to repair and install the front bumper and complete the rest of the kit with fiberglass reproduction parts until I could find the genuine ones later.

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Unfortunately my body shop convinced me that using a reproduction front bumper was easier and most cost effective to mount and paint than my cracked genuine piece. The car was not completed in time and did not make the event. Which in hind sight was a blessing because the fitment of the front reproduction bumper was terrible. The side skirts and rear bumper were actually very good and I was able to compare those pieces side by side with my friends genuine ones and they were identical minus the side skirts not having jack hole covers.

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Put dark amber corners from Hella on and took it up to angeles crest. The car began to leak a noticeable amount of oil during this time.

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Picked up R129 SL Silver Arrow brake calipers that were refinished with new seals.

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Started piecing the genuine bumper together, new hook hook cover, fog lights fitted. I chose to tint the fog lights because the glass on them had many imperfections and the tint hid them very well.

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Had a euro trunk insert shipped to me. These are currently NLA

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Genuine bumper repaired and painted along with a good impact strip.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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Comparing the real pieces to the replica. Front wasn't even close. Rear was spot on and fitment was excellent. Skirts were good as well minus not having the jack hole cover.

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Oil leak kept getting worse so me and my friend who knows these cars very well found that the oil was coming from the rear corner of the cylinder head. Bought the updated head gasket, new head bolts, and anything associated with/while your in there/etc. So many parts not pictured but basically the top and front of the motor and cooling parts will be new.

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Found a set of gently used H&R cabriolet springs and paired them with new Koni shocks. So naturally now I bought new front suspension parts as well. Also managed to find a sport line sedan steering box.

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My wind deflector was missing when I bought the car so I was able to find one a few years later. Made a massive difference in the cabin. On my way to pick up the deflector my car developed a constant misfire.

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Valve cover gasket was wasted so it leaked oil into the plugs and wires. Killed a coil. Replaced plugs with factory ones and put in a new coil. Misfire gone.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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Finally got around to installing some of the parts I was collecting. I had the monoblocks refinished a 2nd time after they started peeling that's why they are off and in the photo. Also at this point there was a ton of brake and suspension work lined up so I decided to to that first.

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H&R vs stock
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Nickel plated rotors, new Koni shocks, Rebuilt silver arrow brake calipers
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New stainless steel brake lines front and rear
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C36 AMG steering wheel
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Euro trunk panel installed and new tail lights.
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Put the genuine front bumper on and wired in the fogs. The correct factory wiring harness is NLA so I chose to have the bumper fog lights to turn on with the headlight ones. Also the correct fog light for AMG gen 2 bumper is an auxiliary high beam, I am using a C36 fog which is the correct beam pattern to be used as a fog light.

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Installed new bottles, powder coated valve cover.

Wasn't able to do the head gasket and the associating parts this round. After the suspension I was super excited to start driving the car so that was delayed. Sportline steering box was installed along with the suspension and brakes. After finishing the work on the car very late I woke up early the next day to get an alignment asap.

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Was able to get the car back from alignment in a reasonable time. Went to the exhaust shop next.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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Had the correct for gen 2 square tips put on in as close to the correct location as possible while retaining the stock muffler. Tips are off a w202 C36 AMG.

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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Loved the car now that it was getting dialed in and shaping up to be what I wanted when I got it. Enjoyed it so much, drove it for another year without issue minus the oil on the floor which was bad but not getting worse. Car never over heated so I figured I had some time.

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C124, A124, S124, W124, W124036. Almost every variant
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Was having a great time driving it. Definitely noticed all the things wrong with the car though. Even though when I got the car it drove good, it basically needed one of everything. Car was still fine to drive but unfortunately the last time I had it out the top tonneau cover latch stopped working. I had previously replaced this part. I was not able to repair the part so it was time to fix whatever else I needed.

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The final thing I did before more work began. Found some LEDs that had a good beam pattern in a color temperature I liked. The main headlight and bumper fog match perfectly, the fog in the headlight is a little more blue. Also for those wondering the bulb out indicator in the cluster does not trigger with the LEDs I used.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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Pulling the head off
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Turns out the previous owner did the head gasket before but used a victor reinz which did not have the reinforcements like the updated factory one and reused the headbolts which were visibly stretched.
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Cleaned up the block
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Head sent out to machine shop and examined. Luckily all the guides are fine and the head wasn't warped. New valve stem seals and resurfaced.
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Front timing cover removal for timing chain replacement. Tons of oil everywhere and we discovered that the fan bearing bracket needed to be replaced.
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Timing chain at 119k miles. If you look closely you will see that it is stretched. This job is a little easier with the head off. I highly recommend you do this if you are doing a head gasket. New guides and tensioner are being installed too.
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Taking the interior apart to access the top hydraulics that are leaking.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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Saw my diff mounts were wasted so I borrowed my friends tool and pressed in some new ones. When we removed the diff we saw it was leaky, checked fluid level and it was fine, but as a precautionary measure I am having all the seals redone.

And this brings us to today, nearly 6 years later and 10k miles. Still working on it and waiting for some parts from the dealer and other places. Hope you enjoyed reading. I'll post more updates as things progress. Happy to answer any questions!
 

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1993 400E
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Impressive work and a truly beautiful car. How in the hell did you fix that bumper that was zip tied together? Also where can I get those led headlight bulbs and how is the night time illumination compared to stock bulbs?
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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Discussion Starter #10
Luckily I have a good relationship ship with a local body shop that painted my w210. He fixed it and reinforced it so it can hold up. I got those light bulbs off amazon. They mimic the beam pattern of the halogen lights which is what you want in an LED. They illuminate the road much better and the light is nice and even. No bulb out indicator on the cluster either. The brand is Auxito. If you search Auxito H4 it's the first one that comes up on amazon.
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Premium Member
1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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7,279 Posts
do you have to leave the back dust covers off the headlights with those?
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
These lights are very slim. The dust covers fit without hassle.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
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Exhaust removed in one piece. Magnaflow carb legal cat that I've been using for the last 6 years
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Resealed diff installed with new mounts and flex disc
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Trans mount and front flex disc removal
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Original transmission mount.
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Comparison of new and old.


Got the resealed diff back in with new mounts and flex disc. Decided to replace the center support, bearing front flex disc, and transmission mount as well. The original mount was still on the car and the rubber was done, a lot of movement with not much force. Flex disc showed signs of wear but was replaced at one point. Center support had some play in it but was usable. Used a puller tool to pull the old bearing off. Pressed in the new bearing in the new support, used a "custom" tool to press the bearing on the driveshaft. We had to pull the exhaust off to get to the driveshaft, on the cabriolet you have to remove the driver side rear chassis brace to be able to do this easily. I also replaced some worn out exhaust hangers as well. It looks like I will also have to replace the bolts for my chassis brace as well. Also used this opportunity to clean the oil under the car. A lot of it got everywhere from it leaking from the back of the cylinder head and flying down the rest of the car while the car was in motion.
 

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1987 560 SL, 1990 300E 4Matic
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You have certainly been busy. Nice work. Your cab. is a very nice looking car. I like it's stance with the replacement springs too.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Recent work done:

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AMG fender spacer kit installed. I technically used the incorrect w201 kit which includes and extra spacer for the bumper, but this I highly recommend as it improves clearance for the wheels and in my opinion improves the fitment of the bumper and fender. The spacers push the fender out 15mm. In the pictures you can see that the tire is less visible. Install is easy. For doing the lower part by the side skirt you will have to remove the cladding which might break some clips so you should have some on hand if you want to do that.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Today I got a nice set of E500 headlights in

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Cleaned them up and swapped my LEDs into them.

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Comparing the standard US headlight to these E500 ones.

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And here they are installed. I did have to get a different headlight connecter and repin the harness to work with these lights. My installation of the lights is not complete yet because I still have to run power to the city light and route vacuum lines for the level adjust. Also still need to tinker with the fitment so they are 100%.
 

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Premium Member
1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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7,279 Posts
Note the E500 lamps have a driving light, not a fog lamp, so you should only use that with the high beams, and never in traffic.... The 500s had separate fog lamps in the chin spoiler... I suppose you could use a pair of relays, the dogs triggered with the low beams, and the driving lights with the high beams...

I'm not sure how they were switched on the actual 500E/E500. Ok, it's shown on the 124.034/036 external lights wiring diagram, but I'm too tired to sort it out tonight. https://freescruz.com/.priv/W124/w124CD1/Program/ETM/24822000.pdf
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I did know about the high beam. The way I have my headlights pinned out retains the way the stock lights operate. I am using the AMG fog lights which are tapped into the main fog light on the headlight. I intend to use a low powered bulb in the now high beam and aim it all the way down because I prefer the high beam the H4 bulb does. I could always switch the pins out to operate like the E500E.
 

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2002 E430 1994 E320
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
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Replaced the older warped rotors with some nice new nickel plated ones

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Got the new chain on and peen'd and the head back on

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Cams installed and timing set. Got the valve cover back on, intake and exhaust hooked up. Very close just a few more odds and ends to wrap up
 
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