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Old 11-15-2018, 10:47 AM
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Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
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Fan tapping radiator, diagnosis? W124, 300TD, wagon

I have a 1987 300TD w124 (s124, om603) wagon, and under braking, the radiator fan slightly taps the right edge of the radiator. I am trying to figure out in advance if my problem is related to engine mounts or the radiator support structure.

Recently, I unfortunately (stupidly) didn't see a large dip in the road and drove over it. Something bottomed out loudly on the road, and moments later I discovered my fan had cut one of my radiator tubes causing a coolant leak. I got the car towed and have since replaced the radiator. I am 99% I have the new radiator installed correctly. But under moderate to strong braking, the fan slightly taps the radiator now. This problem didn't occur prior to driving through the road dip. I suspect under emergency braking, I would again destroy my radiator.

Is there any measurement I can do in advance to determine if this is probably an engine mount issue or if the lower supports of the radiator are bent? I don't have the undercar body panels, so I cannot use them as a test.

If it is the lower radiator supports, does anyone have a suggested way to bend them back, keeping the engine in place? I was thinking of using racheting tie down straps to another vehicles tow hook to try to bend them forward. But I honestly don't know if that is even the problem right now.

I understand I could switch to an electric fan setup, but for now, I am only looking for suggestions to get the original setup working again. Thank you.
1968 220D, W115, /8, OM615, Automatic transmission.
1987 300TD, W124, OM603, Automatic transmission.
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Old 11-15-2018, 10:54 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Anaheim
Posts: 206
Pictures would help here.

You could have broken an engine mount or something as well. I was offroading with a friend in his Jeep Cherokee, and one of his engine mounts let go while on the trail. This caused the fan to hit the shroud every time he hit the gas climbing a hill, as the engine moved from the torque. The fan also hit the radiator when we were descending a hill, just from gravity pulling the engine forward.

Just my 2
Milan Brown 1979 240D (dead), currently rebuilding a 1985 OM617 to swap in.

1996 Honda Civic (daily driver)
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Old 11-15-2018, 11:16 AM
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Hard to say without seeing it but if there isn't any play in the fan allowing the contact then I'd be looking closely for bad motor mounts and/or transmission mounts allowing the engine and trans to move forward on hard braking.
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Old 11-15-2018, 11:17 AM
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Thumbs up

The 560 did this, fresh motor mounts cured it.
I'm not a doctor, but I'll have a look.

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Old 11-15-2018, 11:34 AM
Stretch's Avatar a shield of steel
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Seeing as you're 99% sure the radiator is in the correct position I'd be looking at the motor mounts next - does the car still drive like it should after the pothole occurrence?
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
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Old 11-15-2018, 12:49 PM
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I'd replace the motor mounts and the transmission mount.
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Old 11-15-2018, 01:02 PM
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Location: Wichita
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Have someone you trust put it in gear and give it gas and brake at the same time while you watch with the hood open. I can't give you a measurement of how much movement is allowable, but if one or both motor mounts are broken, it'll be a lot. Since your problem is with decal, pay more attention to when they let off the gas.
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Old 11-15-2018, 05:24 PM
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The 124 lower radiator support is easily pushed out of place/shape. Just tapping a parking barrier will do it. Use a known good 6-cyl 124 as a reference and measure the lower radiator support using the engine crossmember as a reference.

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