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420 SEL
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223 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My wife pulled into the driveway this evening in the 420SEL and all of a sudden water and steam started to pour out from the engine bay. After opening the hood I found the top neck of the radiator had completely broken off. I pulled the piece out from the hose and it crumbled in my hand. I never guessed this part of the radiator is plastic. Surprised me that Merc would use something that could fail so easily. Anyway, any ideas as to best place to buy one from and how difficult to install?
[:(] Thanks in advance......
 

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1990 300SE
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1,466 Posts
Same exact thing happened to me a few hours ago. Wierd huh?

Does it look like this?



If so, you can order the part from fastlane for a few dollars. It's just an elbow fitting, not a whole radiator (unless the 420sel is different, I don't think it is).
 

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1988 560SEL sold:
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4,717 Posts
Just as well it took place in your driveway. It could have been worse.

Radiator failure at top neck is a common and well-documented failure in a W126.

Stick with an OEM radiator. Behr is one of them. The neck is still plastic, but after so many failures of the originally installed units, I believe the ones available as replacements have reinforced necks (although it's still plastic).

Try one of the forum sponsors and also do a search on radiator installation.

Also, this might help


http://www.mercedessource.com/store/item.php?item=Radiator Neck Kit
 

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1990 300SE
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1,466 Posts
After some more research, it looks like the 420's radiator didn't have the same radiator fitting that my m103 has. You're going to have to get a new radiator if you can't fix yours right now. Behr has refitted their radiators with reinforced necks, as well as some fiberglass to make it stronger.
 

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Mercedes
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9,038 Posts
There is an aftermarket radiator that I read good reviews on. Its neck is made out of copper. I don't know the brand at the top of my mind.
 

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12-Camel TT S600
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1,794 Posts
get a 300 / 400 HP rated all aluminum radiator from www.becool.com ..they dont have one especially for W126 but i guess a few of their models with fit in directly after a little change in rubber hose plumbing

also check

http://www.rondavisradiators.com/Radiators.htm
 

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2004 ML270
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531 Posts
Don't fit anything other than a replacement that comes with the reinforced neck.

If the original radiator has lasted nearly 20 years why would you bother changing?

Who would go to all grief fitting a non W126 radiator - what would you hope to acheive?

The original units work perfectly and this one issue with neck breakage is fixed on good replacement units.

Matt.
 

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1982 W126; 1976 W123
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52 Posts
Have the radiator core tested and if OK have it cleaned out. The plastic tanks are replaceable.

However, beware. Sometimes the failure of the plastic neck is symptomatic of another problem. Do you have the correct pressure cap, and is it working correctly? Too high a pressure can cause this type of failure.
 

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573 Posts
this exact same thing happened to my car some years ago. the plastic neck broke off..and you can't just change the neck. i had them sort of melt / weld the neck back on...it lasted the 4 weeks that it took me to import a new Behr unit. the new one apparently has a 'stronger' neck...i'll post a picture tomorrow.
 
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