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W-1-2-3 Go!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since alot of you have already owned your W123 for years and even since new, what do you have to say about its handling?

Here are a few things I have observed. Once too often my car has caught me by surprise when it proved to me that you can push it and still would remain confident and perform that maneuver conservatively. I don't mind that its high center of gravity will induce pronounced body roll. For some reason it does things so confidently as if to say "Don't worry, leave it all to me." Also, when in heavy rain I noticed the weight of the car helps alot when you hit a large puddle of water at speed.
 

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1981 280e
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113 Posts
I have to agree ,had to do a lot of work to other makes i've owned to get them to handle like my 280e and all I've done to it is lower & stiffen the front.
 

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1980 300TD
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57 Posts
My two most recent cars were a 2001 Volvo S60 (base trim) and my 1980 300TD. The wagon handles a lot better than the new Volvo ever did.

For instance, there is one highway exit on my daily commute, where in the Volvo it felt like you were going too fast if you hit 40. It really felt much safer at 35.

In the wagon, you can be going 45+ and it still feels like you're not going very fast. I am constantly having to slow down for the people ahead of me.

I found it really surprising - Volvos aren't exactly POS cars and this is a 25 year old station wagon!
 

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2005 w203, 2013 Town & Country
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2,182 Posts
i say its a big heavy brick - that surprizes me...

with it lowered 45mm, a new set of HD shocks, all new rubber in the suspension using as many "upgrade" limo (as in long version, not sedan) parts as i could...rollin on 17s helps with 4 slotteed drilled rotors, new brake system with stainless flex lines

and a bit over 200hp i love it, thats why i drive it
jake
 

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300SD
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227 Posts
I have a 300SD. I know the W123 chassis is different from the W126, however, I found (once, mind you) that going 60Mph around a large sweeping turn will break the rear end out. The front stick fairly well, and I did not experience hardly any body roll at all. A well know Eurpoean mechanic in my area said that Mercedes Benz has the best front end made. He said BMW and all the others are under it.
 

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'72 220d, 250td, e320cdi
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249 Posts
yea i feel much more confident driving my 240td around corners fast than my w201, it sticks to the road and good in snow due to its wait and slow acceleration! i have skidded the rear end of my 201 out around corners a ciouple of times that the 240 would have handeled
 

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Premium Member
W-1-2-3 Go!
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16,161 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since I also drive my own daily, I get to experience what everybody has posted, except Jake's because his is lowered. Nonetheless, these are great replies!

ndcv - 1/29/2005 3:49 PM

In the wagon, you can be going 45+ and it still feels like you're not going very fast. I am constantly having to slow down for the people ahead of me.
Sometimes I surprise myself too for going 50 in a 40 zone, only to feel that it's going 30. And going 60 feels like you're going 45. Maybe the car's weight and its good torque curve makes it so smooth?

1982_300SD - 1/30/2005 9:44 PM

going 60Mph around a large sweeping turn will break the rear end out. The front stick fairly well, and I did not experience hardly any body roll at all. A well know Eurpoean mechanic in my area said that Mercedes Benz has the best front end made. He said BMW and all the others are under it.
I read somewhere that the rear semi-trailing arms have a knack for giving some oversteer once their toe angles have changed since the rear trailing arms are hinged diagonally on the car, am I right? That might also account for the accidental oversteer effect?

Let's keep them coming if anybody wants to add more.

Personally I love the way the car turns when cornering, I've never felt such confidence in any car I've owned or driven. When I turn that big steering wheel, the car rolls a bit, but you'll feel the balance and there's no sign of front end weight, even if my car is the 300D turbo with an all-iron engine and at 1600kg curb weight!

My dad's Honda Civic, which is heavily set-up, has so much understeer because of the heavy nose of FWD cars. Our current '92 Corolla is very twitchy when turning, the steering response is too quick. My old '89 Lancer had no powersteering, but it felt really light at only 980 kg curb weight, and with less than 70hp, I could zip about the streets of Manila.

I've searched for stuff regarding the W123's front weight distribution. Does anybody know any source to link me to? My car has a fully-laden weight distribution of 52/48 as the weights are stated on the B pillar plate, where the VIN is located. But I'm also looking for the curb weight distribution.

As a last question, does anybody know what the effect of steering camber our car has on its handling? When you turn the wheels fully left, the right wheel itself "leans" inwards slightly. The same goes vice versa. I'm thinking this might contribute to its good turning angle? Or cornering prowess?
 

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bio-diesel!
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[8D] Check this out for pushing it to the limits...I drove my 84 300d with 247k on it from Tuscon AZ to Eugene, OR without shutting it off once....Started right up the next day when I was home without hesitation...These cars are the best on the road. [:D]
 

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Premium Member
W-1-2-3 Go!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If your car didn't shut off, did you? [:D]

Sweet! How many miles is it from Tucson to Eugene? Last road trip I took was 450 miles combined, so roughly 225 miles one way. Stopped once for fuel, just to be sure, and reached 115mph a couple of times [:D]

After that, no more oil leaks! Italian tune-ups rule!
 

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W-1-2-3 Go!
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
SWOOSH!!!!

Well tonight I was on my way back from the airport. I was about to make a right on our street and it was raining. NO CARS!!! And my lane had a green light, so it was safe to make turns.

As I approached the corner at 40MPH and in third (D) gear, I slowed to 30MPH (my highest kickdown speed) before making the turn. When I turned into the corner I released the brake and floored the gas. The car downshifted to second and the RPMs kicked in...

...next thing you know, SWOOOSH!!! The tail flips out!!! So I countersteer!!! At this point my car now faces roughly 30 degrees into the curb/shoulder, tail out and headlights illuminating the sidewalk!!! (I was a car's width from the curb) I let go of the pedal to regain traction and the car fishtails slightly and then goes back to normal as I steer it back to normal.

When I got home I parked the car and couldn't catch my breath! I got down looking at my car, smiling. For what reason, I don't know exactly, but it was a different feeling. No loss of control. I was actually anticipating that, since I know what I did will induce oversteer. Plus it was raining!

Well, we had fun, the car and I!! Now I'm off to bed... Ok start laughing now [:D][:p][:D][:eek:)][:D]
 
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