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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings brethren of the W124. I have a brief question about V8 engine transplants that I hope can be answered by the Merc engine gurus in the house.

The engine of my 1994 E420 W124 developed a hairline crack in the cylinder head, that resulted in my scouring the junkyards in search of a replacement cylinder head, only to find that there weren't any in my neck of the woods.

I was almost resigned to junking the car, when I stumbled on a junkyard Mercedes 5-liter V8 engine, that I promptly bought, despite being unsure about whether a 5-liter M119 V8 motor can in fact be dropped in as direct replacement of the stock 4.2 liter engine that came with the vehicle.

The engine I have acquired for this transplant bears the following serial number : 119 960 12 010 979 E10,0

My brief lookup of this motor tells me it comes out of a Mercedes that was manufactured between 1990 and 1992, whereas my E420 is a 1994 model. This difference in year of manufacture, between the car and the motor I intend to swap into it, got me wondering whether I will need to also source any of the computer modules from a 1991 vehicle, in order for the 1991 V8 motor to work in a 1994 car. Any opinions on this question would be much appreciated.

Secondly, I would like to find out if I can expect to encounter any compatibility issues between my 5-liter transplant engine, and the transmission in the car, that was originally designed for a 4.2 liter V8 motor. I do not drive my cars aggressively unless there is some emergency, so I am hoping that the 5-liter V8 will not prove too powerful for the stock transmission to handle. Any thoughts on this question would also be most helpful.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Yea, I would have found a +97 S500 with a 722.6 tranny, but he was attached to his old 93 W140 S500 which he paid $40k 18 or so years ago, so he was a bit emotionally attached.

My buddy just did a transplant for the same years, but for a 5 liter version of the M119. 92/93(S500-W140) have a wider serpentine belt, but the bracket behind the harmonic balancer was different, so what he did is grinded the bolt head off to get the bracket on both engines, and just left the bolt off as he could not get the harmonic balancer off... The 92/93 S500 has screw adjustment tensioner, but all the later cars have a spring tensioner. Just go with spring tensioner to avoid dealing with the screw

If he had to do it a third time(sadly he did the job twice-installed two engines), he would just buy the complete engine with all the accessories, so it is just a swap-no taking things off, or putting things on. The first junk yard engine for $75 knocked badly, so the second $75 engine runs like a top...

In the first(94 engine-his first one) picture the spring tensioner bracket disappears into the rear of the harmonic balancer..

Remove engine and tranny at the same time...

In a mater of minutes you can have the engine/transmission in the car.... Install the motor mounts on the engine..

Hope it helps

Martin
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This information is very helpful, Martin, and I have noted the advice to go with the spring tensioner for the serpentine belt, rather than the screw adjustment tensioner that is on the engine.

I would probably have played it safer if I'd bought the M119.960 five-liter engine and its own transmission as one unit, but the engine was already removed from the donor vehicle, and was sold without the transmission, hence my uncertainty as to whether this will be a direct, performance compatible bolt-on to my E420's existing transmission.

I expect that whatever incompatibilities exist between the 1991 engine and my 1994 E420 car, will become apparent as the transplant surgery proceeds. I post pictures in a few days as this experiment gets under way. Having purchased the engine, I am pretty much committed to at least trying this swap. My hope is that whatever accessories needed for a good fit by the 5-liter engine, can be removed from the 4.2-liter V8.

Something tells me I'll need some good luck to pull off this transplant, and I will post updates here for sure.
 

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You will see that hard to get to bolt...

The compressor was not disconnected on the W140, but that was the next pain in the process, and it was a hard to put it back on the W140. Not sure where it is at on the W124.

Martin

Glad it will help you..

Martin
 

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If you haven't already, check out the material at 500eboard.com. Plenty of guys over there have experience with both the 5.0 M119, as well as the 4.2. There's probably someone over there thats already done the exact swap you're talking about.


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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Boeing 777, I clean forgot about the 500E forum, and will now look into the forum archives there, to see what lies in store for me with this transplant. Much thanks for this timely reminder.

The 500E Board is indeed the definitive internet authority on the Mercedes M119 five-liter V8 engine, and I again thank you for reminding me about this mother-lode of information kindly shared by real experts on this specific motor. This one thread kept me busy copying and pasting to save in my M119 dos-and-don'ts file.

http://www.500eboard.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=27

Then there is this specific topic that directly answers my numerous questions about the surgery set to ensue in a last-ditch bid to reanimate my dead E420, and in the process hopefully create a poor man's E500, since the real deal, classic Mercedes Benz/Porche 500E or E500 would be out of my price range, were I ever to spot one of those rarities, even as a barn-find.

http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7229

Differences of opinion about the requirement to swap out the timing chain cover notwithstanding, it is reassuring to know all ancillaries that do need swapping over from the 4.2 liter V8, to the junk-yard 5-liter M119 engine I just bought, from the oil pump and sump to the new timing chain and upper chain guides that were installed in the E420 not many miles before the cylinder head gave way, are all there ready to be re-cycled into the 5-liter V8.

I will post updates with pictures, as the mechanical carnage unfolds here in the next few days. In the spirit of optimism essential for this sort of experimentation, my only question at this point should be : What could possibly go wrong with this plan ?
 

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Boeing 777, I clean forgot about the 500E forum, and will now look into the forum archives there, to see what lies in store for me with this transplant. Much thanks for this timely reminder.

The 500E Board is indeed the definitive internet authority on the Mercedes M119 five-liter V8 engine, and I again thank you for reminding me about this mother-lode of information kindly shared by real experts on this specific motor. This one thread kept me busy copying and pasting to save in my M119 dos-and-don'ts file.

http://www.500eboard.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=27

Then there is this specific topic that directly answers my numerous questions about the surgery set to ensue in a last-ditch bid to reanimate my dead E420, and in the process hopefully create a poor man's E500, since the real deal, classic Mercedes Benz/Porche 500E or E500 would be out of my price range, were I ever to spot one of those rarities, even as a barn-find.

http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7229

Differences of opinion about the requirement to swap out the timing chain cover notwithstanding, it is reassuring to know all ancillaries that do need swapping over from the 4.2 liter V8, to the junk-yard 5-liter M119 engine I just bought, from the oil pump and sump to the new timing chain and upper chain guides that were installed in the E420 not many miles before the cylinder head gave way, are all there ready to be re-cycled into the 5-liter V8.

I will post updates with pictures, as the mechanical carnage unfolds here in the next few days. In the spirit of optimism essential for this sort of experimentation, my only question at this point should be : What could possibly go wrong with this plan ?


Thanks for taking the time to come back and update on your findings! Looking forward to the build.


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Your donor 5.0 is a .960 with CIS, while the later 97x series was LH-injection. So the intake is totally different.

I would look for a 93-95 5.0 for a direct swap
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Hindsight is 20-20, and now I profoundly regret using a 119.960 vintage V8 from the 1990 to 1992 era, and the reason is that contrary to my assumption, the engine block of the 119.960 bears totally different engine mounts that are NOT interchangeable with the engine mounts on the 4.2 liter V8 I just replaced. This major discrepancy did not make itself apparent until the engine had already been shoe-horned into the car, at which point it was obvious that there was a 2-inch lateral displacement between the engine mount brackets on the motor, and the points of attachments to the engine mounts on the vehicle chassis.

The junkyard only permits a week after purchase, for buyers of engines to return them, if the motors don't fit or don't work, and now with that week expired, I am pretty much committed to using this motor.

So, for the first time ever, I am going to roll the dice on a truly crude and dicey jungle mechanic solution to the misaligned engine mount problem. The shade-tree mechanic handling this job assures me that carefully shaped pieces of heavy equipment tires will now have to replace the stock engine mounts. Before Benzworld readers get to laughing too hard at my acceptance of this hideous and potentially catastrophic band-aid fix, I must add that my choices at this point boil down to either scrapping the car along with the engine I bought for it, or taking a chance on this utterly insane alternative to using stock engine mounts.

As if this debacle is not disheartening enough, the engine-start phase of this mad surgery is looming just a few hours from now, and that is when I will learn for certain whether this transplant was worthwhile, or wound up as a failed experiment. Most car owners here in the Third World prefer to buy cars fitted with little 4-cylinder lawn mower engines, meaning that V8 engines are really hard to find even in the junkyards. This 119.960 engine that I am attempting to utilize in my E420, was in fact the only Mercedes M119 V8 engine that could be located after all the usual sources were scoured for weeks on end, and that is why I went ahead and bought a 1990 engine even though I knew that a 1993 to 1995 M119 would have been the ideal fit for this car.

Anyway, here a a few pictures of the shade-tree mechanics struggling to shoe-horn the engine and transmission into the W124. Note all the high tech equipment in use ha ha. Anyway, I hope to follow up this tale of sorrow with a positive footnote confirming that the engine did fire up and work, after a fashion. That final episode will unfold here over the next 24 hours, and I will report back here, regardless of the final outcome of this demented idea.

The following items were removed from the old 4.2 liter V8, and bolted on the 5-liter V8 : The exhaust manifold, the oil filter housing, and a component that the mechanic described as a "turbo", which runs off the serpentine belt, but which I know is NOT a turbo charger. Will include pictures of those parts later, if anyone is interested in seeing what they were.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Something tells me I'm going to need luck on this one, Chemie400. There are so many aspects of this transplant that have the potential to go spectacularly wrong, and one can only hope that any failures that do occur, don't do so at highway speeds.

As I looked on in resigned dismay, the mechanics wound up taking a blow-torch to the engine mount cross-member of the car's frame, in order to lengthen the engine mount bolt holes into slots, thus enabling the standard engine mounts to be used. To gain access to the top surface of the engine mount cross-member, they had to cut through the strengthening lower wall of that cross-member, and that does not look as strong as it ought to be. Then again, my choices have boiled down to making do with this motor, or scrapping the car, so I chose to gamble on a few jury-rigged jungle fixes, to hopefully squeeze a few more years of use out of this car before the junkyard finally claims it.

The downside of this Texas Chainsaw approach of hacking away in order to line up engine mounts, is of course the weakening of the cross-member on which both engine mounts are located, particularly since this car will ply crater-riddled roads most of the time. Compared to the original nutty idea of fabricating engine mounts out of heavy equipment tires, however, this surgery on the car frame is the lesser of two evils, particularly considering the scarcity of M119 engines in junkyards here.

With the physical fit of the engine resolved in this blundering manner, the true challenge of making this 1991 V8 engine run in a 1994 W124 lies directly ahead. Looking at the worst-case scenario of the computer modules in the car being wrong for this engine, I do have an intact 1991 Mercedes 500SL parts car from which it may be possible to harvest electrical parts as needed, if indeed such cannibalized electronic parts from a R129 can be made to function in a W124. That last resort is one I hope will not become necessary.

Tomorrow, once the muffler has been fitted, the moment of truth will be upon us, and I will duly report what happens when the ignition key is turned for the first time. Stay tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Well to my great relief, the M119 5-liter V8 engine fired right up, once it was hooked up in its new home under the hood of my W124 E420.

When the oil sump was removed, bits of the plastic timing chain guides were found, confirming that as expected, the timing chain guides and rails are shot and will need replacing right away. For that reason the motor was not run for more than a couple of minutes, which was just long enough to ascertain that all the wiring was hooked up properly, and that the beast roared when the gas pedal was depressed ever so briefly.

Tomorrow, the new timing chain, and all the new chain guides that I had installed in the outgoing 4.2 liter V8 motor, shortly before its cylinder head gave way, will be removed from the 4.2 engine, and swapped into the "new" 5-liter engine.

I can now confirm with absolute certainty that the conventional wisdom expressed by members of the 500E Board, suggesting that a 1991 vintage 5-liter M119 engine would not run in a 1994 W124, due to electronic module incompatibilities, has now been proven to be a totally false premise. The only incompatibility these mechanics found was with respect to the engine mounts, and a couple of the ancillaries that are powered off the serpentine belt.

For anyone else contemplating the creation of a poor man's E500, I can now testify that this engine transplant is feasible, and will only require modification of the engine mounts if an earlier 5-liter M119 engine is used, in comparison to the car's date of manufacture.

Specifically, to retrofit a direct bolt-in 5-liter V8 M119 engine into a 1994 Mercedes E420, the serial number to scout for in the junkyard should start with M119 972....which was made between 1993 to 1995, and NOT the M119 960 (Made between 1990 and 1992). Similarly, I cannot vouch for the suitability of M119.982 5-liter V8 engines that were manufactured from 1996 to 1998, if the W124 E420 undergoing the engine transplant is a 1994 like mine.

I'll wrap up this account in a couple of days from now, as soon as the timing chain and guides are replaced, and I get to carry out that long awaited road test of this new power-plant.
 

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Well to my great relief, the M119 5-liter V8 engine fired right up, once it was hooked up in its new home under the hood of my W124 E420.



When the oil sump was removed, bits of the plastic timing chain guides were found, confirming that as expected, the timing chain guides and rails are shot and will need replacing right away. For that reason the motor was not run for more than a couple of minutes, which was just long enough to ascertain that all the wiring was hooked up properly, and that the beast roared when the gas pedal was depressed ever so briefly.



Tomorrow, the new timing chain, and all the new chain guides that I had installed in the outgoing 4.2 liter V8 motor, shortly before its cylinder head gave way, will be removed from the 4.2 engine, and swapped into the "new" 5-liter engine.



I can now confirm with absolute certainty that the conventional wisdom expressed by members of the 500E Board, suggesting that a 1991 vintage 5-liter M119 engine would not run in a 1994 W124, due to electronic module incompatibilities, has now been proven to be a totally false premise. The only incompatibility these mechanics found was with respect to the engine mounts, and a couple of the ancillaries that are powered off the serpentine belt.



For anyone else contemplating the creation of a poor man's E500, I can now testify that this engine transplant is feasible, and will only require modification of the engine mounts if an earlier 5-liter M119 engine is used, in comparison to the car's date of manufacture.



Specifically, to retrofit a direct bolt-in 5-liter V8 M119 engine into a 1994 Mercedes E420, the serial number to scout for in the junkyard should start with M119 972....which was made between 1993 to 1995, and NOT the M119 960 (Made between 1990 and 1992). Similarly, I cannot vouch for the suitability of M119.982 5-liter V8 engines that were manufactured from 1996 to 1998, if the W124 E420 undergoing the engine transplant is a 1994 like mine.



I'll wrap up this account in a couple of days from now, as soon as the timing chain and guides are replaced, and I get to carry out that long awaited road test of this new power-plant.


You live and learn! Hope it holds together for you until you decide on a suitable replacement :) make sure to post some pics of the installation 'carnage' when you get a moment.


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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The muffler system gets re-installed today, while the almost-new timing chain and chain guides are cannibalized from the outgoing 4.2 liter engine. Hopefully tomorrow the timing chain and guides will have been fitted in the 5-liter V8, to use for the time being while I order new chain guides, just in case the guides I am re-using were in any way degraded at the time the cylinder head of the 4.2 liter motor briefly overheated and warped just enough to leak past the head gasket.

Took some pictures of the parts removed from the 5-liter engine. Don't ask me to name them all ha ha. Note the R129 notation on the close up shot I took, signifying that my junkyard M119.960 5-liter V8 engine originally powered a 1990 Mercedes 500SL. In the group photograph, I included an engine mount bracket, because one had to be removed from the 4.2 liter engine, to see if it could simply be transferred to the 5-liter V8. The blow-torch cutting of the engine mount bolt holes on the W124 chassis became the last resort by default, when the engine mount bracket's bolt patterns were found to be different on the two engine blocks, with neither engine mount lining up to the connection point on the chassis, prior to the blow-torch chassis modification.

I also included a picture of the welders who "customized" the engine mounts of the W124, while taking a break from replacing rusted out panels of my 500 SEC, in a last ditch attempt to get a few more years of use out of that other old relic, whose M117 Five-liter V8 engine runs smooth and strong. This 500 SEC would have failed a UK-style MOT decades ago, but out here in the African sticks where motorists get a lot more leeway, this old road warrior is still street legal.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh well, it looks like my much anticipated test drive will have to wait a couple more weeks, until the delivery of new timing chain rails and guides from Pelican Parts.

Turns out that contrary to my optimistic presumption, a couple of the timing rails in the M119 5-liter engine are in fact different from those I recently installed in the M119 4.2 liter engine, so the car will sit for a while longer before I finally get to test this transplanted engine on the road.
 

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If you haven't already read through this "Going for it" thread, do so. Transplanting a M119 into a coupe. Use that thread title in the search tool.

Jayare

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow thanks for this mention, Jayare. And there I was thinking I was boldly going where no man had gone before, only to discover that this path has been blazed long before my time.

I'm going to check out this thread you have mentioned, so I can hopefully learn from the mistakes of others, rather than from mine. Much obliged, sir, for that timely mention. I might learn something preemptive, that can be done during the time that I will be awaiting the new timing chain and chain guides to arrive.
 

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Looking for feedback on MB V8s

If i was going to do an engine upgrade on a clk, is an M119 an option? Would an M117 be a better choice?
Is it worth it to just rebuild and add forced induction to a 4.2 single cam?

You know you want to...I do if you don't. Let me know what you think and links to people that have done this would be awesome.
Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hello Dat is Goot. An update is definitely overdue on this project, and I am pleased to confirm that the car runs smooth and strong with the M119 5-liter engine replacing the original M119 4.2 liter engine.

The engine swap was not as straight forward as one would have expected, because the engine mounts did not match up, and had to be re-positioned on the car frame with some complicated welding, to make the engine fit. The air cleaner needed to be modified to fit as well, but other than those two adaptations, the M119 5-liter V8 engine worked out very well in what used to be a mundane E420.


I found that by manually shifting through the transmission gears, I was able to get much better acceleration out of the car, than I did by leaving the gear selector in "drive", as I did in the past. As expected, my DIY E500 responds to throttle inputs with vastly improved acceleration over its performance with the previous 4.2 liter V8, though having just finished up the reanimation of 2009 CLK550 with a replacement M273 V8 engine with 5.5 liters displacement, this E500 is tame in comparison to that much newer Autobahn-bred speed demon.

I'll post some pictures of the completed swap before long.
 

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Hello Dat is Goot. An update is definitely overdue on this project, and I am pleased to confirm that the car runs smooth and strong with the M119 5-liter engine replacing the original M119 4.2 liter engine.

The engine swap was not as straight forward as one would have expected, because the engine mounts did not match up, and had to be re-positioned on the car frame with some complicated welding, to make the engine fit. The air cleaner needed to be modified to fit as well, but other than those two adaptations, the M119 5-liter V8 engine worked out very well in what used to be a mundane E420.


I found that by manually shifting through the transmission gears, I was able to get much better acceleration out of the car, than I did by leaving the gear selector in "drive", as I did in the past. As expected, my DIY E500 responds to throttle inputs with vastly improved acceleration over its performance with the previous 4.2 liter V8, though having just finished up the reanimation of 2009 CLK550 with a replacement M273 V8 engine with 5.5 liters displacement, this E500 is tame in comparison to that much newer Autobahn-bred speed demon.

I'll post some pictures of the completed swap before long.
Damn you wrecked this for me now. All I am going to see is "I am groot" whenever I turn this on. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a handle that doesn't totally suck? I am crushed.

(If you haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy this may not make any sense to you.) but I digress

You have no idea how happy I am to see other people wanting and succeeding to hot rod these German beasts. These Mercs are everything American cars wanted to be, strong rigid platforms that don't flex. Independent suspension, I mean seriously It took 40 years to get irs into a mustang? Interiors that don't suck, need I say more.

They do have a couple glaring issues though, lack of manual transmissions is one. The traction control and security can be a serious pain in the as*. And lack of a grassroots hot rod movement. And a shortage of donor V8s and 12s for that matter.

but I digress again, I am sure i had a question.... What is an M273? There it is....
 
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