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  #1  
Old 11-02-1999, 10:11 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Matthews, NC, USA
Posts: 133
I currently own an 86 300E and a 84 380SE.
Both are pristine and have sentimental value.
I have considered trading them for something
with more performance. While I am not looking to go racing, I would like to explore improving the performance of the 380.
I realize the 300E is likely a better candidate and that a better option might be to just trade for a 400E or a 500E but they are considerable cash outlays. While not against the outlay, I was just curious what might be available for the ones already near and dear to my heart.

Did they ever make a 400E or a 500E in the smoke grey with burgundy interior or did they ever make either in the 1984 Silver Blue with navy interior as I am quite partial to both.

------------------
dwight

Thanks for all the fantastic info, this is a blast. I struggle with what buttons to push to respond to everyone, but this is great.

I'll get back once I get time to absorb the options.

thanks again,

Dwight




[This message has been edited by dwight hinton (edited 11-03-1999).]
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  #2  
Old 11-03-1999, 03:45 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Posts: 1,342
Dwight,
As the saying goes: "how fast do you want to go? = how much do you want to spend?"

There really are not many good options for the 380SE, if you want performance that is a case where you are much better off trading.

Option #1: The 300E is a different story. If the internals of the engine are in reasonably good shape you can do a twin-turbo kit good for approx 300HP/300lb-ft. You'd need to go 225/50/16 on the tires to harness the power, but for about $7500 or so for the turbo kit and another $1000-$1500 you can get wheels/tires. With the extra power you may want to consider the sportline suspension and a conversion to 400E front brakes. That will run you another $1500-$2000. When you are done with that you'd have a car that will probably 0-60 around 6 seconds flat and do the 1/4 somewhere in the high 14's to low 15's easy. Handling and braking will be similarly impressive. It should still be friendly enough for daily driver duty, but consider your resale screwed. Cash outlay of $11,000 for a "hot-rod benz" that would be a pretty serious performer.

Option #2 Sell and get a 400E. The 400E adds power but also more weight. There are two things you'd have to do to any 400E/E420 to get it to sports-sedan status. Those being more rubber and shorter gearing. Ditto for shoe size with the hot-rod 300E...225/50/16. It is the most rubber that will fit a normal W124 without bodywork mods. Given good wheels and tires the car is really MUCH MUCH more capable then when bone stock. That brings us to the second item, gearing. The stock 2.24 differential is WAY too tall for serious performance stuff. If you search the Shop Forum archives you should find mention to the appropriate ratio that will work out of the corporate parts bin. Given a 3.xx diff and the 225's you'd have a mean little sports sedan. The diff (new) would probably run $2,000 tops and the wheels and tires again around $1,500. So we are talking about $3,500 cash outlay + whatever the cost of the car is. A Brabus suspension kit would not be necessary, but it certainly would help! That would get you a car that performed as well as or better than the hot-rod 300E and nudged near a stock 500E's performance ballpark. (okay, when it was a hot day the 500E was performing under)

Option 3: Get a 500E. I've had a 91 300E, a 93 400E, and a 92 500E. There is no TRUE substitute for the real thing. No matter how hard you try (on any realistic budget), you will not be able to match what MB and Porsche did when teaming up on this car. Plus, in time you can always tune the 500E a bit. (search Shop Forum archives for references to 500E tuning...) I've timed my 92 500E on a approx 70 degree night as the following: 0-60 5.3 seconds, 1/4 mile 13.6@107.1mph The only mod off of stock was the switch to 235/50/16 tires in place of the stock 225/55/16's. On the racetrack that car would eat C5 vettes, about any stang or camaroach, etc. Those cars really are much meaner than their rated specs. The downsides to 500E's is a tendency to run hot and they are very temperature sensitive. You both gain and lose large amounts of HP/torque as ambient temp and engine temp changes. They can also suck gas and chew up tires (if driven aggressively) but that is par for the course on a car of that performance level. The 500E would cost more to begin with, but it should hold its value much better than either of the others. You also will not have to spend as much to get it to a serious performance level. With the exception of the odd tuner car (damn 1/3rd of a million dollar Renntech V12 comes to mind) the 500E's pretty much were king of Starfest acceleration events.

One other option does come to mind. Pick up a 190 16v with a bum engine and go to town. A performance rebuilt to 2.5 liters is good for 235HP and a similar bump in torque. (cost approx $4500) Then my personal twist would be to add a Eaton style supercharger ala SLK/C230K. Given the similar engine architecture (DOHC, 4-vavles per cyl, 4-cyl of approx same displacement, etc) I bet the same Eaton used on the SLK would really help the torque characteristics of the 4-cyl a bunch. With the "kompressor" you are probably talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 275HP minimum. Bolt on some 225/45/16 wheels and tires and you have a midget muscle-car that can handle like a fiend as well.

Let me know what your performance goals, budget, and other general preferences are and I'll be happy to continue the discussion.

Hope this helps...Lee
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  #3  
Old 11-03-1999, 01:46 PM
russla
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I did some research in the UK, and there is a tuner that will do the 3.6 or 3.7 conversion for the 300e, (but he's asking 10,000)($16.5k US) while I like my 4matic, for that money, it's easier for me to find a 500 or 400e and upgrade. If anyone knows the name of the company that sources the twin turbo kits, I'd appreciate hearing what it is. I've heard that you can do a low pressure turbo system with out modifying the engine, just adding bits to the induction and exhaust for a bit extra low end grunt. I just don't know who sells it.

From what this tuner was telling me, the prices on all the go fast parts for 103 motors are dropping so they can get rid of them. Not many 124 owners are willing to spend the serious cash on an older car.

Russ

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  #4  
Old 11-03-1999, 03:22 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
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Dwight:

I just did the Sportline conversion to my 87 300E (Smoke Silver, Burgandy interior). It really transformed the car. I've driven a friends M6 BMW coupe, and I like my Sportline better! I am considering the 400E brake upgrade Lee mentioned to better keep me out of the trouble I'm likely to get into while playing with the new suspension. I will probably worry about engine performance upgrades last, though Bekkers has an 18% oversized throttle body for the car I would like to learn more about. I have more fun in the corners than on straight lines, so I will probably keep any engine mods low key. Good luck!

------------------
JCE
87 300E 56,000 miles
Smoke Silver




[This message has been edited by JCE (edited 11-03-1999).]
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  #5  
Old 11-03-1999, 09:08 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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I know Mosselman did the twin-turbo kits but I believe they have been bought out by Lorinser (aka CEC). Not sure if the kits are still available but you can probably contact CEC. If you are still seriously interested I may also be able to find some old Mosselman contact info for you...let me know.

John,
Skip on the oversize throttle body unless you have done some other engine work. Even with cam+exhaust+throttlebody your gains will only be top-end. (and really not that big) If I were going to do something I'd ponder a conversion to the 4-valve head, the turbo kit, a supercharger kit, or even a swap-rebuild. Granted those are all pretty big-ticket, but the gains are as well. The M103 is a top-end high-speed cruising motor. In the 300E with the mods you have it will really be a corner bender more than anything. I'd love to see your car run in a MBCA autocross/timed event.

Hope this helps...Lee

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  #6  
Old 11-04-1999, 12:31 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
Lee: Thanks for the info on the throttle body part - as usual, right to the point and saving me time and money. I neglected to point out in my comments on the Sportline conversion that I had been considering the aftermarket springs, sway bars, and Bilstein Sport shocks before you told me about the Sportline. As you pointed out, the costs were comparable between the aftermarket and the MB parts, the ride was preserved with the MB parts, and MB probably put more engineering design hours into the Sportline than the aftermarket could provide. I love the changes. Where would I get more info on the MBCA timed events you mentioned? Thanks again for all the info and support from this site!

------------------
JCE
87 300E 56,000 miles
Smoke Silver




[This message has been edited by JCE (edited 11-04-1999).]
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  #7  
Old 11-04-1999, 07:51 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Posts: 1,342
John,
Glad we can be of help. Also good to hear you are still enjoying the new suspension. (guess you can teach an "old car" "new tricks"...j/k)

To find out more about timed events in your area get plugged into your local chapter of the MBCA. Read carefully though the Star as well. Between those two you should be able to find out something. My only gripe with the MBCA is that they don't offer enough timed events (autocross, acceleration runs, racetrack runs, etc) either nationally or locally. If you can find one a reasonable distance from where you live I'm sure it would be a blast to go. I'll do some digging myself and see what might be coming up.

Happy Motoring...Lee
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