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  #1  
Old 11-09-2018, 10:32 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Cape Town
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Thank you!

My first post, and not a question.

I just wanted to extend my thanks to the forum, for the discussions and commemts, and specifically to Pelican Parts, for their very detailed and informative technical articles. I've been a lurker here for quite a while, sifting through information to try and get my wife's addictions running.

She's German, you see, and likes big old Mercs, the older the better. Her first 1991 W124 230E gave great service, until it went on an uncharted trip into the desert and the rear suspension sort of seized up. Then it started leaking severely through various holes in the bodywork, due to us living next to the sea - rust is a major problem.

Then she fell in love with a W123 280E, for the looks, and she wanted something bigger. Of course, the fact that it had a built-in smoke screen generator was not noticed, the bodywork was perfect. Reality bit when a compression test pointed to a rebuild - rings shot on 4 cylinders.

So, onwards and upwards! Next in line was a 1996 W124 E320 Sportline, the current beast. (I assume you're noticing a trend here? I'm already starting to save for the 450 SLC). Anyway, the car was a steal, at roughly $3000, perfect bodywork, engine solid, though it had a little misfire, and gear changes were not ideal...

So, did a gearbox recon, on the recommendation of the workshop we got the car from. Still misfiring (which was diagnosed as clutch grab by the mechanic initially, hence the gearbox work), so was sent back, with little change.

Then I lost my cool. Bear in mind that I have never worked on a Merc before - my vehicles have been Volkswagen Beetle and Jetta, and now currently an old (very reliable) Mitsubishi Pajero. I've always been scared of Mercs.

Started research. This forum came up first, and exposed me to the wiring issue. Then it got serious.

Replaced HT leads, misfire gone. Harness had been replaced already, all good. Cruise control dies, gear changes still a mess, then it entered limp mode, or so I thought. Started sticking in 1st, and missing gears completely.

Took it to various workshops who supposedly specialise in Mercedes, and the verdicts were all the same - gearbox. I was quoted exhorbitant amounts to get the gearbox redone, even though it had already been done. Unfortunately, the guarantee on the original work had expired, even though the car had only done 6000 km since - it was a time issue, 6 months or, and the car had stood for about 4 months while we were overseas.

Frankly, we couldn't afford another gearbox job. On a whim, I posted a question to a mech on JustAnswer, and he came back and said that this car does not HAVE a limp mode. News to me - not one Mercedes mechanic mentioned this.

So, I was casting around looking for other possible causes, and the forum came up again - Bowden cables, vacuum modulators. Ah! Tried various settings, and and lo! Gear changing better! Not perfect yet, I still need to get a feel for it. I also need to investigate the vacuum modulator, so far I've only been playing with the Bowden cable. However, I'm fairly convinced I've negated the need for a gearbox rebuild, and my faith in the local workshops has taken a nosedive.

Regarding the cruise control: took it into a workshop to get the codes read off, and they said they said they could not read them. The mech didn't even know where the diagnostic box was! I grumbled off, did some research, built my own code reader, and extracted the codes. Didn't tell me too much besides the fact that my ISC was faulty.

So, removed that, investigated, found corroded wires, replaced. Still no joy. Did some MORE research, tracked the problem down to the ISC clutch coil, which was open circuit.

At this stage I knew nearly everything about the car - I'd identified every relay, every module, every vacuum hose. Removed the driver side under-dash 3 times looking for the cruise control computer, only to find it under the passenger footwell (yeah, apparently from 1996 they moved it there). I'd got to a level of testing detail that I could confidently go out and look for a second hand replacement throttle actuator without buying a dud.

Good thing I did - I found 4 of the beasts, at various prices, and tested them on site. Happily the cheapest one was working perfectly - cost me $100. I had to, of course, open it up and replace the wiring, but at this stage that was easy.

Took the car for a test drive an hour ago. Everything is working perfectly, apart from some final adjustments I need to make to the Bowden cable and vacuum thingy. I probably also need to change the fuel regulator, which is leaking slightly.

However, I just want to stress that this forum has saved me $$$ and increased my knowledge of Mercs infinitely. Admittedly, I used some other resources too, but this forum has given the most insight.

I have herds of photographs of the process, but most of the subjects are already covered, so I'm not posting any now. However, if anybody wants some information, I'm happy to lend a hand

My wife now calls me a Mercedes Whisperer

Again: Thank You.
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2018, 02:13 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
dieselarchitect
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 34,348
Cool story! The Mercedes whisperer. We have numerous of them here with different profiles of experience.
__________________
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2018, 06:34 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,734
Great posting. With so much dynamic happenings in your region of the world currently. Nice to hear from someone there working on their Mercedes.

This excellent site has not really evolved into dealing with the later versions of this brand to a great extent. This differentiates it from many other followers of other brands sites.

Many of us members have no desire for the latest and greatest versions of the current Mercedes products either.
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2018, 07:06 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
dieselarchitect
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 34,348
Many of us live in the dreaded rust belt where cars slowly die of cancer if driven in winter.
__________________
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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