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Hey, new member here. I was actually looking for a BMW to use as a daily driver but instead found this 1990 300E in incredible shape for $600 because someone stole the catalytic converter. Looking forward to learning a bunch and spending too much money on this car! Here’s a pic of my wife sitting in it
 

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The underside of this car doesn't have a single speck of rust on it, the interior looks practically new except for the driver's side bolster that apparently wears out in all of these. Only issues (other than the missing cat) is the passenger side window doesn't roll up, which I believe is the switch, and the uh, trim rings(?) around the headlights are pretty dead with age but the car had two brand new ones still in boxes sitting in the back seat. It sat for about two years but with a jump it started right up. Suspension feels good, not sloppy or worn out. 190K miles, seems well-maintained. In the glove box was the original maintenance booklet, it got every factory service for the first 100K miles or so, after that I'm not sure but the condition of the car tells me it was taken very good care of and most likely wintered in a garage.

For now my plans are to just use it as a nice daily driver so my '12 Mustang can sit peacefully while accumulating mods to reach my goal of 500RWHP. For the Benz I'm just planning some basics, window tint, obviously a tuneup and replace the cat. I was thinking of sportline springs and maybe something to replace these hideous factory rims.
 

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Missing/stolen cat? Why? Was this car in a boneyard per chance?

The driver's bolster don't all wear out. Just a matter of how people enter the car.

500 ponies out of a modern Mustang seems pretty tame. My old Mustang was dyno'd at 610 all the way back in 1996 after I was done tweaking it.
 

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W124 Moderator
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Welcome to the W124 fold and thanks for taking the time to complete your profile. There is a deep pool of knowledge here that can help with just about any issue you may encounter.

Take some time and read through the various topics in our DIY sticky. You'll learn alot about the car and it's common issues.as well as site tools etc.

Again, welcome and glad to have you.

Jayare

Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Missing/stolen cat? Why? Was this car in a boneyard per chance?

The driver's bolster don't all wear out. Just a matter of how people enter the car.

500 ponies out of a modern Mustang seems pretty tame. My old Mustang was dyno'd at 610 all the way back in 1996 after I was done tweaking it.
Crackheads and junkies will steal cats and sell them. It was sitting behind a Benz mechanic shop for two years because the prior owner apparently just bought a new one and never cared about getting this one back. The shop was too busy to really bother fixing a car this old and cheap so it sat there. One of the employees finally just sold it.

500 at the wheels is my goal, and on the new Coyote engines you can get surprisingly close with just bolt ons. I could supercharge it and get 700 but I would rather spend that money on suspension and brakes and wide tires so I can autocross it semi regularly. 610 sounds like a blast though!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Welcome to the W124 fold and thanks for taking the time to complete your profile. There is a deep pool of knowledge here that can help with just about any issue you may encounter.

Take some time and read through the various topics in our DIY sticky. You'll learn alot about the car and it's common issues.as well as site tools etc.

Again, welcome and glad to have you.

Jayare

Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
Thanks! I’ve been spending my lunch breaks reading everything on here, which is both good and bad. It’s always good to have more knowledge. But I was originally going to keep this a stock daily driver, and now I’m dreaming of sportline suspension, amg rims, and somehow finding an old supersprint header somewhere on the internet.
 

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the plastic things around the headlights are known as 'headlight doors' for some reason.

better than replacing them is to get the Depo brand 'euro' style headlights specific to the pre-facelift W124's.

my cabrio here has those... they have glass lenses, the fog lamps are integral. they have a much better lighting pattern than the pre-facelift USA 124 lights.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'd just get H&R springs.

Sportline won't make hardly any difference and a ton of work/labor just to for what...1/2" lower? 5% stiffer?

I had H&Rs w/Bilstein sports on my 1994. Rode awesome and wasn't that low, but low enough to be noticeable.

I have Eibachs (no longer made)/Bilstein sports right now on my 1990.

Shocks makes a bigger difference on ride than springs (unless they're super slammed). Defintely budget for some shocks and so them all at the same time.

Nice score!
Hmm, thanks for the tip. I would like to lower it a little, maybe just an inch, but I don't really want a stiffer ride since it's my daily driver and my wife will be riding in it plenty. I was thinking maybe just chop a loop off each coil spring (with new shocks of course) to keep the ride soft and lower it a little bit.

First I have to deal with this damn window! It won't go up. It's not the switch, so it's either the regulator or the motor. And wow, what a pain in the ass.
 

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Sounds like you already ruled out the broken wires at the door hinge. Most common problem for most 124's and 201's.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Actually I need to check that. I'll do it tomorrow. I would certainly rather deal with that than installing a new regulator. I watched a few youtube videos and it doesn't look fun, especially since it's still pretty chilly outside. Thanks for reminding me of that, I'll cross my fingers that that's the problem!
 

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Yeah, I hear you. I was dreading my 201 window not working all of a sudden after I removed the door card to take care of some paint-free dent removal. I was sure I messed up the regulator. When I was fiddling with the card to put it back in I noticed one of the wires was a little loose.
Sure enough if I jammed it back in to make contact I could move the window. Opened it up and soldered it back together. Good as new.

Cheers!
 

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Hmm, thanks for the tip. I would like to lower it a little, maybe just an inch, but I don't really want a stiffer ride since it's my daily driver and my wife will be riding in it plenty. I was thinking maybe just chop a loop off each coil spring (with new shocks of course) to keep the ride soft and lower it a little bit.

First I have to deal with this damn window! It won't go up. It's not the switch, so it's either the regulator or the motor. And wow, what a pain in the ass.

Don't cut coils on a 30+ year old car.

They're probably worn out and just cutting them won't make things ride any better.

New springs aren't that expensive. Unlike labor.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well fortunately labor is free for me, since I'm too cheap to ever pay a shop!

From what I've been seeing, it looks like the H&R springs provide a nice looking drop. That's probably the route I'll go if I lower it, my only concern would be the front bumper scraping on anything and their performance with potholes, since I live in Baltimore and we have plenty of awful roads. Of course most of this is, in the end, speculation. I'll probably not end up doing much to this car other than keeping it in good shape. Unless I find a good deal on eBay or something, at least. I do have some nice rims saved in my watch list...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh I know not to use stock shocks, no worries there. That's a recipe for disaster!

I was going to work on my window issue last night but my wife had a good job interview so we celebrated a bit instead. Hopefully tonight I can get that damn window up.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, the wiring in the door looked just fine. I swapped switches so I know it's not that either. When I push the switch I can hear a click coming from the door, so the motor seems to be getting power. I removed the motor from the regulator and hooked the wiring up and pressed the switch and it started turning, but just in one direction. After releasing the switch, the motor kept going. If I pressed the switch "up", then the motor would stop. So I'm not sure if I need a regulator, a motor, or both. In the meantime I cut some wood to fit inside the door and wedge the window up, and put the door panel back on.



I also got a 2.5" catalytic converter in the mail. Once my muffler comes in, I'll be heading to a muffler shop to get a new exhaust, and then I can finally drive this thing around. I'm pretty excited for that.
 

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FWIW, the window motors are pretty durable on these cars. The regulators, on the other hand, should be considered a wear and tear item especially if you don't lube the tracks and gears every couple of years.

That old factory grease just turns to tar with age. I like Mobiltac NC375 for anything with open gears exposed to the elements such as the regulators, wiper transmission, etc.
 

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BTW, what you described is very similar to what I had when "one" of my wires were broken. Intermittent operation, only goes in one direction, etc. Also the motor did make a "little" noise sometimes as one of the strands must have been barely touching. This noise had me convinced that it must be the regulator. Did you open the door card and tug on the wires individually to make sure they are truly "in tact".

I was dreading the window regulator replacement before I diagnosed the real problem.
Oddly, it was my hardly ever used driver side rear door. Go figure. None of the other 3 doors have had any issues over the past 30 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah the wires all looked brand new. And the motor would work, albeit strangely, on it's own. Attached to the regulator it just clicked, nothing else. Mine is the passenger front door, which judging by the wear on the interior, was not used very much. Strange indeed.

I'm pretty sure a set of the AMG O.Z. rims would solve this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
FWIW, the window motors are pretty durable on these cars. The regulators, on the other hand, should be considered a wear and tear item especially if you don't lube the tracks and gears every couple of years.

That old factory grease just turns to tar with age. I like Mobiltac NC375 for anything with open gears exposed to the elements such as the regulators, wiper transmission, etc.
I'm wondering if this is the issue. The regulator itself seems to be in fine shape, and everything moves and the big gear isn't missing any teeth. But the grease is old and sticky, so the motor would really have to work to raise the window, but lowering it gravity would help it down. I'm tempted to try just re-greasing everything to see if that works.
 
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