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Froggy 09-14-2002 10:55 AM

Free horsepower??
Read this in the Performance Paddock forum. Does anything like this apply to our SL's?


Driving MBZ

Registered: Nov 2001
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 199
READ!!! Free HP for W201 & W124 owners! (Pictures!)
Aight i got this off of so i am not to credit for this...This DOES work, i did it as soon as i got home, my car screams now, the pickup is amazing.

Free HP!

Yes, its true, for all the W201 and W124 owners (should be applicable up to at least model year 1993), here is a simple modification that will yield you better throttle response and more power. While researching some other options for upgrading the ignition, I came across some interesting data on the MB service CD. On the Euro spec MB's ignition, there is a item called a reference resistor or R16/1, it is a manually adjustable dial that allows you to retard your ignition timing. On our US spec cars we don't get this wonderful option, but we do have a fixed ohm resister to set out ignition timing. It is a 750 ohm resister which gives us a 6 degree retard in timing. This is standard on all US spec W201's and W124's, its MB answer to the poor, low octane gasoline we have in the US. Now if you are like me and only run high octane 92+ in your car, you can pretty much eliminate the 6 degree of retard altogether. My removing the R16/1 resistor, you in effect end up with no retard. This may be borderline for 92 octane gas, so another option (if you end up experiencing pinging) is to order from MB a R16/1 resistor in 2.4 kohm. This will give you 2 degrees of retard.
So far with no R16/1 resister and 92 octane gas, my 190 is running great with no pinging. The improvement is very noticeable (by my seat of the pants meter). Anyway, if you want to try this on your car I can save you a bit of a headache and tell you where the R16/1 resister is located. On my 1992 190E 2.6, (not sure where its located on the W124 though) it was located by the battery behind the black plastic panel (which is directly behind the battery and hides your ECU and OVP). You should be able to spot it rather easy since it is wrapped in black electrical tape. Once you locate it, just unwrap it and remove the R16/1 resistor, its a small black plastic plug like item with two contacts sticking out of it (MB part number 000 540 24 81). Once removed, you should tape up the wire harness and hide it back behind the black panel. Fill your car up with 92+ octane and enjoy. If you experience pinging or any other strange behavior, you should put the resistor back and see if MB can order you the 2.4 kohm R16/1. Also, on the 16 valve 190Es, the R16/1 is connected to a wire harness coming from the firewall toward the #3 and #4 intake manifold runners, it should be dangling out from the harness and its also wrapped in black electrical tape. Below is the complete chart of values (16 Valve info from the 1986 Service manual and another MB forum).

No resistor = no retard
2.4Kohm resistor = 2 degree retard
1.3Kohm resistor = 4 degree retard
750 ohm resistor = 6 degree retard (standard in US car)
470 ohm resistor = 8 degree retard
220 ohm resistor = 10 degree retard
(part number 000 540 22 81)
0 ohm resistor = 12 degree retard
(part number 000 540 21 81)

Try this at your own risk, I am not responsible for any mishaps or problems you may experience.

I have added some pics of the location on my 201. The harness wrapped in tape is circled in red. The last pic shows what the R16/1 resistor looks like and the part number. Be carefull, on some 190's (the 16 valve) there is a R17 resistor located in this location, make sure you check the number on the resistor before you pull it, the 16 valves R16 is located in another area.

I found the w124 one, look to the left of the brake resivor...It should say 24.81 on it...Might be covered in black tape

Chris Hunter

1987 300E Owner, 138,500m and counting
Former owner of a 1989 Mercury Sable (Transmission Blew, I hate fords) I FIXED HER, now im gonna sell her, only 56,400m...anyone anyone...didn't think so...

Last edited by Chris17H on 02-23-2002 at 07:08 PM

poorstylishman 09-19-2002 01:50 PM

i've read this post over and over... i still can't find the resistor on my 87 190 2.3 8v... i'm dying to try this simple modification, however i don't want to go monkeying around with all the wires and go unplugging something important... soooo if someone could please direct me, that'd be great. thanks... btw, my haynes manual says nothing about this resistor.

i've got 94 octane gas, and it's going to waste! theres even a gas station around my area that pumps 104 110 and 115!!

ctaylor738 09-20-2002 10:01 PM

I don't think this is applicable to the earlier 107's since they have the CD ignition, and timing is set by the light by turning the distributor. Maybe the later ones?

I pulled the resistor on my '86 300E and am very happy with the results. Definitely more kick, especially between 4-6K RPM.

poorstylishman 09-20-2002 10:29 PM

what's the difference in ignition systems... and mines a 201 rather than a 107... didn't original post say "free hp for 201's"?

even if the timing is set by turning the distributor, how would i go about achieving a zero retard in timing?

ctaylor738 09-20-2002 11:17 PM

I think if you go to the original post on the Performance Forum, you will find enough info and pictures to locate the resistor on your 201. It is behind the battery, I believe.

My point was that at least on my 1981 107 , timing is set buy turning the distrbutor and using a timing light, rather than electrically, as in later models like the 124.

run.exe 10-15-2002 07:35 PM

does this apply to 500E/E500 types, too?

if so, where is the resistor-to-be-removed located, exactly?

RSVP / thank you,

dieseldude 10-15-2002 09:13 PM


On the M119 the R/16 resistor is on the left fender well just ahead of the firewall in a cluster of other wired sensors. Problem is, it doesn't actually say R/16 on it.

Do a search for "Free Horsepower W124" and you'll find the legnthy original thread. At the end of the thread, tkd_119 posted a very nice picture of this resistor's location in the M119 engine compartment. It sounds like the benefits are most noticable in the early W124 6 Cyl. cars, so it may or may not help you much. I'm working on a tank of gas with it removed to see if mileage is increased, but I honestly can't feel much performance increase in my E420.

- Ryan

run.exe 10-15-2002 10:17 PM

thanks, 'dude
; )

run.exe 10-16-2002 05:21 PM

reply from Hartmut Feyhl (President of RENNtech)
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but...

(I don't think I'm going to try this "mod," if Mr. Feyhl disapproves...)

-----Original Message-----
From: Hartmut Feyhl
Sent: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 2:02 PM
To: 'Scott M. Shell'
Subject: RE: W124 M119 motor question

Not so easy, sorry. There are many different models and even much more different part#ís for the ignition system (EZL) and every unit works different and the resistors have a different meaning. In most cases, position # 7 is diagnostic mode, on other units itís reversed, on other units only 3 positions work and on some units it doesnít work at all. On those really old models where it does work it can overheat the catalytic converter and destroy it. That is the real reason why Mercedes has on cars equipped with cats a fixed resistor in every country. They were concerned for their cats, not the quality of the fuel.

M119 engines with LH or KE usually have 2400 ohm with cats and either 220 or 470 ohm without cat ( depending on control unit ). If you want to risk your cats you can try it. The difference is maybe 2 hp and not noticeable.


-----Original Message-----
From: Scott M. Shell
Sent: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 2:59 PM
To: Bob Brady (RENNtech)
Subject: W124 M119 motor question
Importance: High

Good afternoon, Bob.

I have a W124 M119 motor question, please.

What is RENNtech's opinion, please, regarding the replacement of the stock (fixed, 750 ohm) R16/1 resistor
with a (European specification) R16/1 resistor (*adjustable* from 0 ohm - 2.4 Kohm)?
What are the risks of performing this "poor man's mod," if any?

Please see comments below, copied from:

Kind regards,

Scott M. Shell (CNE, MCSE+I, CCNP, CCDP)
MIS/IT Director
TightLink Corporation
"The Power of Collaboration (tm)"
918 Parker Street, Suite # A-12
Berkeley, CA 94710-2526
voice: (510) 649-2374
fax: (510) 848-1533
mobile: (415) 823-7777
pager: (877) 666-4208

stick85251 05-01-2004 09:27 AM

free H.P.
Please tell me exactly where the R16/1 resistor is on my 1994 e420. Thanks

Spang4190E 11-27-2006 08:21 PM

I did the 0ohm using a streight wire and it did give me more seat-of-the-pants hp and torque. I have a 1998 2.6 in a 190E, runs great. :laugh2:

myanoch 11-28-2006 09:48 AM

Where is the resistor located on an 88 sl ?

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