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1994 S420
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Since there are quite a few people interested in modding their W140, I figured we should put together a general tutorial for everything you can and can't do. I especially want to include the things you can't do to a pre-1995 model, since that seems to be a common subject around here. Feel free to add stuff I missed, I know a few of you have also heavily modded their W140's.

Here goes:

1-Grilles:
OPTIONS:
The most common option is a normal S600-style grille (silver with black slats).

It's also possible to purchase the same style grille with a star in the center,

both of these are available in a variety of colors, from black to silver, as well as carbon fiber. It is recommended to REMOVE your standing hood star and replace it with a flat one if you choose to go with an in-grille star.

Pictured below is my car with a flat hood badge and a (dented) black S600 style grille:


HOW TO INSTALL: It's a fairly simple DIY job, you need a screwdriver and that's it, simply unscrew everything and replace the grille (be sure to screw the new one back in).

2-Headlights+corners:
OPTIONS:
Headlamps- This is also an incredibly common mod, if you look at the picture above you will see that my headlights are actually crystal with HID bulbs, and my corner lights are clear instead of orange. There are several ways to go about this, you can purchase the headlight kit off of eBay (search W140 xenon), the headlamps are glass.


There are other options, such as smoked headlamps which look silly in most people's opinion and reduce light output, the casings are also reportedly plastic. There are several types of corner lights available, clear/Euro, crystal, and smoke. I have crystal ones which are transparent with some chrome in the inside, the clear/Euro ones are translucent with a tinge of orange on the sides, and the smoke ones look silly without black/smoke headlghts. If you want to go for a more exotic look, projector headlights are also available, pictured below is a car with black projectors (does not reduce light output) and smoked corners.


HOW TO INSTALL:
Removal of the headlights is a pain in the ass, there are pretty much a million different bolts and screws you have to undo, but HERE is a good guide to removing them. Installation of an aftermarket set is identical, just do everything in reverse.
HERE is a guide to installing an HID kit into your STOCK headlamps if you don't want to purchase the eBay set.

FAQ:
Q: What HID kit/temperature should I get?
A: A Zero kit is generally very reliable and can be purchased for about $200, the ones that come off eBay will burn out bulbs left and right because the ballasts are badly set up. Try to get a 6000K set, they provide the most white light and have a small tinge of blue, while an 8000k set will have a bit more blue, but still be pretty white. THE HIGHER THE NUMBER IS DOES NOT MAKE IT BRIGHTER.

3a-Tail lights for POST 1995 cars:
OPTIONS:

There are red/crystal tail lights and smoke tail lights, both of which can come with LED's as an option. If you purchase the LED tails your bulb out warning light will come on until you install a proper resistor. Make sure to buy the 3-piece set otherwise your middle reflector bar will look different.

HOW TO INSTALL: I'm actually not sure how to install these, will update later.

3b- Tail lights for PRE 1995 cars:
OPTIONS:
You pretty much have two options, paint them or leave them be. A common thing to do is paint them black (smoke them), which I have done and you can see in the picture below, or you can paint them red.


HOW TO INSTALL:
You will have to get a body/paint shop to pull your lights, spray a coat of whatever color you desire, and then a clear coat. The clear coat is a necessity, it gives it a gloss look, prevents orange peeling, and protects it from damage/peeling. BE SURE TO HAVE THEM TAPE OVER YOUR REAR LOCK/UNLOCK SENSOR/REVERSE LIGHTS

4-Tinting the windows:

OPTIONS:
Any % tint you want, the lower the %, the darker the tint is. Generally people will do 5-20% rear, and the front depends on your state laws. California permits up to 83% tint up front for UV protection, but you can get away with 45% no problem (speaking from personal experience). Do NOT be an idiot and tint your front windshield.

HOW TO INSTALL: Ask any local tint shop, most car stereo/audio
places do tint as well.

5- Exhaust, some people want something with a bit more grunt than the stock W140 exhaust so here you go:

OPTIONS:
If you want something cheap, go with Flowmaster, Magnaflow, or Borla, these will be pretty loud and unrefined though, so be warned. If you are interested in spending a bit more money there are more options, such as Remus, Meisterschaft, and Eisenmann. These are much more expensive but have a much higher sound quality, they are bit quieter and far more refined, with none of the bubbling/gurgling associated with the cheaper brands. A sound clip of my car with Remus exhaust and a resonator delete can be found HERE.

HOW TO INSTALL:
Any muffler shop can install these for you, if they say they can't they're just lazy and you should find a new shop. If replacing the rear muffler isn't enough do a resonator delete as well.

K I'm gonna finish this tomorrow, too tired to do a huge wheels/tires/suspension write up...
 

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1994 S420
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
6-Bodykits:


OPTIONS: A body kit will normally include a front bumper, side skirts, and a rear bumper, sometimes with a rear spoiler as well. There are several options, the best of which are from Brabus (second picture), Lorinser, and Wald (first picture). Each body kit looks different, Lorinser being the most conservative, Brabus looks a bit more aggressive, and Wald is "VIP" style, trying to look the most aggressive/low to the ground.

HOW TO INSTALL:
You will need to find a shop to paint and install these kits for you, it should cost around $1000, good luck doing it yourself. DO NOT buy pre-painted kits as the paint will most likely not match your own.

7- Spoilers:
OPTIONS:

This is the most common spoiler, a "wing." Personally I think it's overdoing it a bit, but to each his or her own. These are usually attached by 3M double sided tape or drilled into the trunk lid. Be careful buying the pre-painted ones as they might not match your car's paint.

This is another very common mod, it changes the lines of the car a bit and makes it look a bit more aggressive. Keep in mind it's possible to have both a roof spoiler AND a trunk one.

This is the more subtle option of the 3, it's a "lip" spoiler and changes the lines of the car slightly, making the trunk look a little more modern.

8-Engine Chips (ECU upgrades):
OPTIONS:

There are 2 options here, you can be cheap and get a chip off of eBay which will result in some power gain, but the power comes from forcing the engine to run rich. You will lose mileage, and my car actually developed an extremely rough idle if the car had been sitting for as long as 2 days without being driven. Not only that, but on occasion there would be a very strong sulfur smell (running rich) which means the chip was most likely damaging the catalytic converters.

A REAL chip consists of an ECU remap, and can be purchased HERE. These guys actually take your chip and basically rewrite it in order to make the engine run more efficiently, thus increasing both power AND fuel efficiency.

HOW TO INSTALL: Will update this section later...off to class

9-Steering wheel swap 1995 OR LATER ONLY:

OPTIONS:
There are a variety of options for new steering wheels, they come in all sorts of colors, black, white, wood finished in any color etc. The issue is that you CANNOT purchase a new steering wheel for any car produced before 1995, the mechanics behind the wheel are different and they will not fit.

HOW TO INSTALL:
There is a very handy guide HERE and HERE.

Please note the correct size of the bit is T30, not T25/27.

10-Shift knobs 1995+ ONLY:

OPTIONS:
Again, there are a variety of knobs available, from wood to different colors, to ones with AMG/V8/V12 emblems on them.

HOW TO INSTALL:
If your car is 1995+ simply put the car into Neutral and push down on the shifter while turning counter-clockwise, this should make the head of the knob pop off and just put the new one on. For a '94 or below I have no idea what the procedure is, I haven't been able to get mine off, I believe you have to replace the whole shaft, this should be done by a professional as you could damage it trying to do it on your own.
 

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1994 S420
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Discussion Starter #3
Reserving 3rd post as well since there's a lot left to do...also updated the first post with a lot more information/pictures.
 

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93 300se,92 300se,93 600 sel,92 500 sel,79 500slc,02 1.8t bug,01 a8,01 s80 t6,96 bmw 740il,86 rx7
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Hetzel,

This was a great thread, Thanks for showing us some of the mods that can be done. I really enjoyed it!!!
 

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1994 S420
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501 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Um, I'm not sure about the correct wheel offsets, anyone know? (too lazy to search right now)
 

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93 500 sel - 95 s500
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612 Posts
great idea!

this would have been gold when I was new to the site, im sure it will help many along the way.

Thanks Hetzle!
 

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1994 S420
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Discussion Starter #10
Updated again
 

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1994 S420
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Discussion Starter #12
how bout changing the steering wheel to one that has wood grain on it, like the s600's?
This is possible if you have a '95+ the swap doesn't work with '94 or below, I'll do that real quick...
 

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never thought of it before but cant u put a car fone in?
i dont see much use 2 it since everyone has cell phones but it would b cool to get one.
does any1 have one ?
 

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1995 Mercede-Benz S500
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I have a phone in my car... i tried to make a call just to see what it would do and the automated operator came on saying i need to setup an account with Verizon lol.
 

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1995 S420 19" giovanna's, tint, in-dash tv.1986 mustang LX supercharged 4 eyed pride~
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so I read hetzle's tip to remove the shift knob on my 1995 s420 and the knob wouldn't come off. I know my car was manufactured in 94.5 but is listed as a 95...is this normal? I wonder what other items are pre 95 on my "95"
 

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1994 S420
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Discussion Starter #17
so I read hetzle's tip to remove the shift knob on my 1995 s420 and the knob wouldn't come off. I know my car was manufactured in 94.5 but is listed as a 95...is this normal? I wonder what other items are pre 95 on my "95"
I could be wrong, that's what my mechanic told me should work to remove it, or maybe it's because your car is mechanically a pre-'95. I'll continue to update this thread this weekend, I'm flying home today from Riverside.
 

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1994 S420
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Discussion Starter #18
Updated.
 

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1993 W140 500SEL Black/Black, 12014 Ford Fiesta ST Blk/Blk
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1,128 Posts
I'm liking this thread a lot, particularly interested in the lighting mods, one thing that's for certain is to able to see at night. Not to mention how sick you can make a W140 look with certain body kits.:)
 
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