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W126 1990 500SE (ASR) & W126 1991 300SE
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi People!

I really like to keep my car clean, and one of the most satisfying areas to tidy up is the engine bay. It's a shame how badly neglected these cars have become under the hood! Here's how mine looked before I did anything to it:
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With a little more time available, I've changed some parts in the engine, and putting shiny new parts into a filthy engine bay just doesn't feel right! So, I gave my engine bay a spring clean. Mind you, it's quite difficult to do a good job on the V8, without taking it all to bits! The M103 is so much easier to clean. Anyway, by far the cheapest and most satisfying thing to change is that awful discoloured coolant reservoir! A new one only costs £14 from Mercedes, and it's a pretty simple procedure to drain and replace the coolant on these cars.
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What a huge difference! And you can actually see the coolant inside clearly!

Next up is the windscreen washer reservoir. On this car it was really filthy and stained. Unfortunately, they are no longer available from Mercedes, but I managed to pick one up on eBay for £15:
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It was pretty dirty inside, and clearing all that junk out is important, so that we don't clog up our nozzles. It's quite tricky to get in there, but I have found the best way to be soaking the whole thing in a mixture of soap and bleach. The cap and sensor do come out, and new rubber seals are easily available. I've seen many of these that have broken caps, and if you try to order a new cap from MB, you'll find that the replacement part they now sell is blue!! When trying to get the cap off, it's best to warm it up in hot water, to make the plastic more pliable. Here's how it looks against the old one, after a clean:
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And then we have the air cleaner cover, which always hits the eye first when opening up the bonnet. I saw that someone else had polished theirs up, and I liked that look quite a bit, even though I know they originally had a less shiny finish. So I decided to have a go at it with a steel brush attachment on a drill:
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So, this will need a little more work. I'll go over it again with some compound and a buffing wheel. And I'm waiting for the new sticker to arrive! :)

Before & After for those three changes:
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Bonus Pic - Power Steering fluid :D
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Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
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4,468 Posts
Gorgeous.

Do you have 303 Protectant where you live? It's great for putting a nice, semi-matte, new-looking finish on the plastic and rubber parts. I use it all over the engine bay. Keeps things cleaner since it repels dust. And it's not shiny or sticky. Pretty much ideal.
 

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W126 1990 500SE (ASR) & W126 1991 300SE
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Gorgeous.

Do you have 303 Protectant where you live? It's great for putting a nice, semi-matte, new-looking finish on the plastic and rubber parts. I use it all over the engine bay. Keeps things cleaner since it repels dust. And it's not shiny or sticky. Pretty much ideal.
That sounds good! Yes, apparently we do have it here in the UK. I used this on the plastic & rubber, but I'm always looking for something better.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
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4,468 Posts
If you try it, I think you'll love it. I use it on all the plastic, rubber, wiring harnesses, battery, wipers, cowl, air cleaner tubes, radiator support, valve covers, etc. It makes parts look like you just got them from MB. I know I sound like a commercial/advert but I can't help it. It's really great. I buy it by the gallon to get it cheaper.

Oh, it looks great on tires, too. I spray it on and leave it (I wipe everything else per instructions) because I'm lazy. You can wipe it off but it soaks in and makes the tires/tyres look new. Not shiny, just new. Same with window rubber, outside mirror rubber, dashboard.

Okay, I'll stop now.
 

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1985 MB 500sel (Euro)
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329 Posts
What a great idea since we all have extra time these days. Thanks. And, just like I thought my instrument needles were correctly bright yellow, so I thought the coolant resevoir was correctly dingy yellow. Learn something new every day at this forum.
 

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1985 MB 500sel (Euro)
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329 Posts
ok, looked closely at the engine bay. Martin, you inspired me. I'll stand a pint the next time I visit the UK either at my or your favorite local....mine is the White Horse in Parson's Green. It used to be the Ennismore Arms in South Ken, but it closed years ago:(.

Looks like I can clean the air cleaner myself and the windscreen reservoir. will look for a coolant reservoir on ebay. Finally a DIY project that I am confident I can do :).
One question: Is 303 better than Wurth Rubber Restore? Looks like it.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
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4,468 Posts
Looks like I can clean the air cleaner myself and the windscreen reservoir. will look for a coolant reservoir on ebay. Finally a DIY project that I am confident I can do :).
One question: Is 303 better than Wurth Rubber Restore? Looks like it.
Be careful with the air cleaner. I was practicing on a spare and discovered there is a clear coat over it. If you go through that, you'll be doing the full-bore polish in order to make it look good again.
 

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1991 500SEC 55K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 153K mi. 2020
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4,516 Posts
What a great idea since we all have extra time these days. Thanks. And, just like I thought my instrument needles were correctly bright yellow, so I thought the coolant resevoir was correctly dingy yellow. Learn something new every day at this forum.
Me too.. The yellowed coolant tank always bothered me, especially when all we had was the clear yellowish MB coolant. How might one tell at a glance .. the coolant level?

That was an item early changed on both 126s here. When it may happen again in long term ownership... I'll keep ya posted!

Images first from 2015 and later, I think 2017 here.

M

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W126 1990 500SE (ASR) & W126 1991 300SE
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Those cars with lighter colours look so much nicer when the engine is cleaned! Mine being blue/black doesn't look as good inside the engine bay as there is no contrast with the dark colour of the rubber/plastic/rockers. Here is one I've seen for sale - the paint in the engine bay looks as good as the bodywork! I'm tempted to buy it, but alas it has no AC and no leather upholstry.
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I want to try the 303 protectant, but there are a few available here. Which is the exact one you recommend?
 

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1991 500SEC 55K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 153K mi. 2020
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4,516 Posts
Hi again,

Regarding the 303, I bought a container of the wipes.

It just seemed the most convenient way for me.
 

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1985 MB 500sel (Euro)
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329 Posts
Wipes seem good. 303 also comes in several variations of spray (aerospace, automotive, protectant) all of which appear to do the same thing? Also, how long does it last?
 

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Moderator
1991 500SEC 55K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 153K mi. 2020
Joined
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4,516 Posts
Fellow member Brian Carlton introduced me to 303.

Living in very sunny Arizona, I figured he knows what he's referring to for UV protection.

Stay safe, man.

M.
 

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Registered
1990 300SEL, 2005 SL500
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162 Posts
I really like to keep my car clean, and one of the most satisfying areas to tidy up is the engine bay.
I second that.
I look at the pics in this thread and say to myself, what’s wrong with my engine bay?
The answer is nothing, but it could look much better!

Thanks for the tip on inexpensive coolant reservoir.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
Joined
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4,468 Posts
Wipes seem good. 303 also comes in several variations of spray (aerospace, automotive, protectant) all of which appear to do the same thing? Also, how long does it last?
I find it lasts a long time for my level of car detailing. What does that mean? Well, I would say at least a month or two. And even when it no longer looks freshly applied, the engine bay, dash and tires still look good. I would say I reapply every 3-4 months at the soonest. Someone less lazy or who is showing their car might apply more often.
 

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Registered
1985 MB 500sel (Euro)
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329 Posts
many thanks for complete answer. Am off to pick some up before governor belatedly shuts us down. Also hood pad adhesive and adhesive remover. Stay safe.
 
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