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Registered
1991 300TE 4Matic
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

I'm new to this forum, I've been an active member on Rennlist, GTRCanada, revscene, nicoclub, and nwn, (Porsche 944, Skyline GTR, Nissan President) and now come full circle back to german car ownership. I'm learning alot about my new car but I have a couple newb questions. If anyone would bear with me and at least point me in the right direction I'd be much obliged. I'm handy so I can do most things myself if they dont involve raising the car!

I just picked up a 1991 300TE yesterday with 242k km on it in great shape. Runs like a dream, almost everything works. But here are my concerns:

1) The yellow triangle "!" light comes on when I hit about 70-80 kmh and goes off when I decelerate or hit the brakes, but always comes back on. I know this light has to do with traction control but is this a bad thing? Should I get it looked at ASAP or is it something I can do myself?

2) The PO said the rear brakes were just done and are brand new including calipers because they seized from sitting, so I believe they are still seating...but when I come to a stop at a light, right before I stop, the ABS kicks in and the brakes grind and my pedal pulses for a second or two. Is this a new brakes thing, or an ABS problem? Car still stops fine...

3) My central locking is sluggish and won't lock all doors, but if I pull up on one it will unlock them. Usually the locks pop up while I drive and I have to push them down one by one when I exit the vehicle = annoying. I know it uses a vacuum system, so maybe it needs lubrication/new pump?

4) My radio goes off everytime I shut off the car, and I have to reset the stations. Radio problem or wiring problem?


Sorry again for the newb questions but I appreciate any answers or at least directions to the appropriate threads.

I'll post pics soon! Thanks for your help!!
 

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Registered
2008 E350 4M, 2016 Audi Allroad, 2019 Audi Q5
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5,447 Posts
3) Central locking -- find where the vacuum leak is.

4) radio -- wiring issue, You probably have the ignition and constant 12v backwards, hence it works, but when you turn off the car it loses all saved settings.
 

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Registered
1989 300te, auto, 200k miles
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279 Posts
Hey man, welcome to the club. Not familiar with the traction system on these W124s but my first reaction the warning light issue was -bad wheel speed sensor?
 

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Registered
2008 E350 4M, 2016 Audi Allroad, 2019 Audi Q5
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5,447 Posts
It is possible you may need to rebleed the brakes.
 

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Registered
1991 300TE 4Matic
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I was thinking that about the brakes, good plan. I'm gonna take it in to check the warning light thing, but the power issue makes sense, nothing works when the ignition isn't on, so there's no constant power. Would this be a wire to the battery or the fusebox?
 

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Registered
2000 e320 4matic
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3,401 Posts
My 88 doesn't have a warning triangle. is your car 4matic?
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD/'90 300D/'94 Quattro/'89 Vanagon TDI/'01 EV Weekender VR6
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52,233 Posts
Yes, his yellow triangle issues appear to be regarding the 4Matic $ystem
 

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W124 Moderator
86 190E 2.3L 16V, 2 95 320TE's, 02 S500
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12,758 Posts
I was thinking that about the brakes, good plan. I'm gonna take it in to check the warning light thing, but the power issue makes sense, nothing works when the ignition isn't on, so there's no constant power. Would this be a wire to the battery or the fusebox?
Welcome,

This issue is located at the electrical connection point of the radio. I suspect the car no longer has the OEM head unit. Pull the radio and re-wire correctly.

Good Luck,

Jayare
 

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Registered
1991 300te 4matic
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146 Posts
The yellow triangle "!" means the 4matic (transfer case) is engaging or becoming active. Your car thinks it is losing traction. With these cars there is lots to go wrong, are all 4 tires identical? Is the hydraulic fluid level correct?
On the bright side, that light is supposed to come on when your system is working - look out for the "4matic" light, that one is bad...
 

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1991 300TE 4Matic
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The yellow triangle "!" means the 4matic (transfer case) is engaging or becoming active. Your car thinks it is losing traction. With these cars there is lots to go wrong, are all 4 tires identical? Is the hydraulic fluid level correct?
On the bright side, that light is supposed to come on when your system is working - look out for the "4matic" light, that one is bad...
Ok, that's what I thought was happening. I've been doing some searching on here and I have a feeling I know what's happening and I'm concerned. Like Silversleeves said, the 4matic transfer case is working. But I'm also having the issue I discovered today where I'm doing slow turns in a parking lot and the car stops moving and lurches and skips forward through the turn....don't need to know these cars to know that's bad.

The car runs smooth otherwise and the tranny is pretty smooth. i don't have any 4matic lights yet, and I have good traction so I think it's working. Also, i drove the car on the highway today and the light stopped coming on. Is my transfer case still ok? I haven't even had time to check seals or change fluids yet, but will this help?

And as for the stereo Jayare, you are correct it's an A/M stereo. But would this poor wiring affect the dash clock and door lights from not working when the ignition is turned off?

As for the ABS issue I don't know yet, I asked a Benz mechanic and without seeing the car he mentioned it could just be a sensor or something...

This car is in such great shape otherwise, I just don't want to have the thing fall apart now... :crybaby2:
 

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Premium Member
Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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1,719 Posts
The yellow triangle "!" means the 4matic (transfer case) is engaging or becoming active. Your car thinks it is losing traction.
Each time that occurred on my 4matic, a sensor solved the issue...had that 4matic for 5 years, this is first winter without. Great experiences - all - with that car.

 

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Premium Member
'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,422 Posts
Ok, that's what I thought was happening. I've been doing some searching on here and I have a feeling I know what's happening and I'm concerned. Like Silversleeves said, the 4matic transfer case is working. But I'm also having the issue I discovered today where I'm doing slow turns in a parking lot and the car stops moving and lurches and skips forward through the turn....don't need to know these cars to know that's bad.

The car runs smooth otherwise and the tranny is pretty smooth. i don't have any 4matic lights yet, and I have good traction so I think it's working. Also, i drove the car on the highway today and the light stopped coming on. Is my transfer case still ok? I haven't even had time to check seals or change fluids yet, but will this help?

And as for the stereo Jayare, you are correct it's an A/M stereo. But would this poor wiring affect the dash clock and door lights from not working when the ignition is turned off?

As for the ABS issue I don't know yet, I asked a Benz mechanic and without seeing the car he mentioned it could just be a sensor or something...

This car is in such great shape otherwise, I just don't want to have the thing fall apart now... :crybaby2:
You're only going to throw codes if the 4matic light is on-basically. Part of the system works with the individual ABS front wheel sensors and the one middle senor in the center of the rear axle. It also works with the brake switch...about a $15 part. I suspect one of your front wheel sensors is dirty/bad. Also there is a sensor in the steering wheel for turning that is part of the 4matic system.

This is a common problem with 4matics and usually turns out to be the front wheel sensors or the steering wheel sensor. Removing the little plate and pulling the fill plug on the TC will tell you a bigger story. If it overflows and is a mixture of hydraulic oil and ATF, you're done...it's over. That means the aluminum piston in the TC has failed and your seal is leaking. Unless you like gambling on pick 'n pull TC's, the only other option is to find a dealer with a factory rebuilt, steel piston TC...currently about $3,000. If it's just a leak on the outside of the case, you might try transmission stop leak, but don't count on that.

Kevin
 

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1991 300TE 4Matic
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Ok thanks Kevin, I'm crossing my fingers that's the issue. In the meantime am I doing serious damage to the car by driving it and should I park it or is it ok to drive and just avoid tight turns? Earliest I can get it in is wednesday, and it seems to drive fine otherwise...
 

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Premium Member
'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,422 Posts
At slow speeds the 4matic always kicks in (below 3.1mph) however, you're just not supposed to feel it and the light is not supposed to come on. The 4matic 'brain' gets signals from the following; ABS front wheel sensors, rear axle sensor, brake stop light switch, steering wheel angle sensor and throttle position sensor.

I suspect that your 4matic 'brain' is being feed a faulty signal in that it goes to a more aggressive stage (three stages total) of 4matic, as you're parking and turning....causing the noticeable hopping. Above 3.1mph, the 4matic system is supposed to shut off and resume normal rear-wheel drive.

I don't think you will do any damage, as long as the car resumes rear-wheel drive above 3.1mph on a clear road. The system is designed to come on and stay on until normal traction is resumed, so I'm guessing you're OK for some parking 'hop' until you can get it diagnosed.:thumbsup:

Kevin
 

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1991 300TE 4Matic
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Cool, that helps Kevin. I'm taking it off the road till I get to take it in. Seems like that would be the issue, seems to turn fine at slow speeds if I just turn on the car, but if I've been driving that's when it hops; as if driving it at higher speeds engages the 4matic then it never disengages until the ignition is turned off. I'm crossing my fingers it's the sensors, I REALLY like this car and other than this issue it's great and I hope to own it for a long time.
 

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Premium Member
'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,422 Posts
The 4matic is indeed a seductress....and the wagons even more so.;) I know in my case, I've never been snowboarding in a better car and three or four guys with gear, no problem.

Good luck and DO let us know what the mechanic finds! Every bit & font of information on the 4matics, helps us all who own them. :thumbsup:

Kevin
 

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W124 Moderator
86 190E 2.3L 16V, 2 95 320TE's, 02 S500
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12,758 Posts
""And as for the stereo Jayare, you are correct it's an A/M stereo. But would this poor wiring affect the dash clock and door lights from not working when the ignition is turned off?""

More than likely yes.

Jayare
 

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Registered
1991 300TE 4Matic
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Ok, she's in the shop right now, I'll hear back end of today or tomorrow..I really love this vehicle, I'm praying I don't get bad news, because I can't really handle a $3k bill right now. Maybe even more, my mech was saying that Mercedes in town here won't even work on the transfer cases, they ship them to Toronto because no one has the tools.
 

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Premium Member
'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,422 Posts
Usually, the dealers stocked rebuilt TC's that had a certification sticker. This was all due to the fact that the aluminum pistons would fail and the re-builders would replace with steel, seal the case back up and bleed. My research showed that the going price for one of these cases from a dealer, averages $3K. That's an outrageous expense considering that's just the TC, not installation and the fact that the cars are presently not worth more than the TC part & installation. Some people on this forum have paid a shop as much as $5K+ to have their TC's replaced. That's OK I guess if you don't mind helping your mechanic's kids through college.

I don't see the future very bright for first gen 4matics....their rep is such that people just shy away. I wish the neglected ones would somehow drift to a yard within 100 miles from me.:(

Kevin
 
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