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Old 10-18-2004, 04:14 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 16
New User, New 240D, lots of questions

Hi folks,
I've been reading this list quite avidly for a month or so now, since I've aquired my first Benz and my first diesel. Some of my questions will be a little newbie, but I wasn't able to answer them myself using the search feature.

This car has been somewhat of a PITA for me. In 1991 the drivers front rotor cracked, and the owner put it on blocks in his garage till I bought it (for $600, woo hoo!) a couple months ago. I put on a new rotor and also the caliper. And it needed a new battery, so I bought the Diehard.

The car has 288k on it, but 20k before he stored it, it got a dealer installed rebuilt engine. The car is exceptionally clean for the mileage and pretty much everything works, but since it's been stored for so long I'm having to fix everything all at once.

Interestingly, I went round and round with various friends about how to start the car after sitting so long. Some said pull the injectors and crank it, then change the oil. Some said drain the tank and start it on kerosine. Yeesh, everyone had an opinion. Since I had to get it out of the guy's driveway in a timely manner, I checked the fluids and they seemed okay, so I changed the oil but not the filter. I figured that it would never start on 13 year old fuel, so I decided to crank it without glowing it to try to get some oil pressure up. The car started after literally three seconds of cranking, the oil pressure came right up, and I drove it home that day!

Since then, I've changed all the filters, will be doing the valves soon, bought a starter, replaced the voltage regulator, was able to bypass the dash light dimmer switch, replaced some leaky injector return lines, and spent a lot of time trying to get the mold to stop growing in the interior. So I'm down to a lot of small stupid problems. Here's my questions:

Where do I get the silly little bulbs that go behind the heat control knobs?

The car has a vacuume issue, and I'm pretty sure it's related to the door locks. Is there any reason why I SHOULDN'T just bypass the entire door locking system and be done with it? Does anyone find this feature as pointless as I do?

One injector is knocking pretty badly. Sounds like midgets with tack hammers inside my engine. Goes away once the engine is warm, so I figure it's the injector itself. Can I replace these singly, or should I do all 4 at once?

The first week I had the car, the aux engine fan worked, now it doesn't. Maybe I just can't get it hot enough, but what exactly tells this fan to turn on? I tried firing up the A/C but the fan still didn't come on.

Being my first Benz, I've been a little daunted by this thing. It's a great car, but it's a real learning curve. I've mostly owned 60s and 70s Chryslers, and 60s thru 90s Chevy vans. The Benz is very different. Aside from metric bolts and a fascination with allen bolts, the engineering is just different. It took me 4 hours to get the old starter out, and 15 minutes to put the new one in. That's backwards to what I'm used to. But it's been fun. I suspect these cars really PUNISH those who slack off on the maintenance, and I get the feeling they really like preventative maint. On the other hand, no spark plugs to gap!

Kip Amore

77 240D
93 White Chevy van
66 CruisAire motor home
88 VW Golf

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Old 10-18-2004, 06:09 AM
MS Fowler's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Littlestown PA ( 6 miles south of Gettysburg)
Posts: 2,261
First of all, Welcome to the world of M-B!, and Welcome to this forum. You are asking your questions at the right place. You will find many truly knowledgeable people here.
I', with you on the engineering. My first thoughts when I originally encountered it- a vast two years ago, ( not an expert), was that " Someone thought their way thru this" and it seemed true regardless of what the current " this" I was workiing on.
The vacuum locking system is the " SU carburator" of the W123. They are a neat convienece when they work, butseldom work flawlessly as they age, yet never disable the vehicle. They are a tinkerer's dream as they just invite you to work on them. A very simple system, that holds the allure of perfection, but with enough old rubber aprts that leak, just a little. And the parts aren't expensive. As for disabling it---its up to you, but I like the central locking system. Get yourself a Mighty Vac--handheld vacuum pump and start finding the leaks. With persistance you can achieve perfection.
Anyway, enjoy the Benz.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:35 AM
Rick Miley's Avatar
Spark Free
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Land O Lakes, FL
Posts: 3,086
As MS Fowler said, the central locking system is not terribly difficult or expensive to repair. Just a little time consuming. The problem with disabling it is that, at least on my car, the locks on the passenger doors would fight back. Every time I'd move on, either another one would move sympathetically or the one a moved would move back to where it was. So the only way to get them to really work independently is to remove all the rubber connections on the lines. And if you're going to do that, then you might as well fix it right. The trunk and fuel filler pods are made with a thinner rubber that is not as robust as the door pods, so I suggest starting the diagnosis there.

The light bulbs can be replaced with some from the auto parts store, but it's not quite so easy. The parts store bulbs are higher wattage, so they burn too hot. Even to the point of making the knobs uncomfortable to touch. So go to the dealer for these or call Phil at Fastlane. There should be 5 in the heater control panel and 2 in the A/C control panel. The A/C control panel is tricky to remove (I broke mine), so search for the proper procedure here before you go into it. If you can't find it, ask.
Rick Miley
2014 Tesla Model S
2018 Tesla Model 3
2017 Nissan LEAF
Former MB: 99 E300, 86 190E 2.3, 87 300E, 80 240D, 82 204D Euro
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Old 10-18-2004, 12:05 PM
Jim B+
Posts: n/a
IMHO, you don't need those lights OR the central locking system...

...and there are a lot of other whatzits on these cars (cruise control is just one) that may be expected to go out...and which still present NO great loss.

You have one of the most durable, simple, and interesting cars ever built. The ONLY thing about the vacuum locking system that might present an issue is the trunk release, but you can still open the trunk using the key.

If you have an interior "stinky" from age or moisture, open up a fair sized box of baking soda and leave it under one of the front seats.'ve got something there...and lots of help on this forum to keep it running. Enjoy.
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Old 10-18-2004, 01:30 PM
whunter's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 17,359

Replace all fuses with NEW ones, no matter how they look.
ASE Master Mechanic

Prototype R&D/testing:
Thermal & Aerodynamic System Engineering (TASE) Senior vehicle instrumentation technician.
Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH).
Heat exchanger durability.
HV-A/C Climate Control.
Vehicle build.
Fleet Durability
Technical Quality Auditor.
Automotive Technical Writer

1980 240D
1983 300D
1984 190D
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Old 10-19-2004, 02:09 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 16
Whunter and everyone,
Thanks for the advice, especially on the fuses. I'm sure I'll have a slew of questions as I go thru every system on the car. My limited experience with German cars is that they do break, but you fix them ONCE and it lasts for a long time, so I'm expecting a lot of nagging small problems due to the long storage period. At any rate, it's great to have a forum to ask the experts. Thanks,
Kip Amore

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