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Old 04-19-2015, 11:23 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 50
How to "ruin" a w124..

Suppose its time to start this thread as I'm nearing D-Day.

Hello, Sorry old timey enthusiasts, I'm probably going to piss you off.

now to take a step back;

This story starts with my third Miata and my wife. I was happily driving it 3-4 days a week (I have a Subaru Baja as a daily) when we found out my Wife was pregnant. Immediately I thought.. well, I cant fit a car seat in a Miata.. Time to find something fun with four doors! I've been all over the place.. 24 ish cars in the past 8 years. I spent weeks searching for something to trade my beloved ****box miata for.

I couldn't find anything remotely interesting to me, sure there were plenty of Foxbody Mustangs, GM F bodies and you're typical 9000 honda xyz trade offers.. there was absolutely nothing I could do to those cars that hadn't already been done.

One night, while watching some garbage tv program, I got a text from a local craigslister asking if I would be interested in his 93 w124. I said hmm... send me some pictures. We met up a few days later and I instantly had vision of what to do with it. Nobody around here had built a saloon. nobody I knew had even tinkered with one. Engine bay big enough to do naughty things? check. rwd? check. Oklahoma car, no rust? check. car phone? check. all the essentials were there.

Sure it had its quirks, both passenger windows wouldn't go down. the sunroof only vented, it had an atrocious idle, was missing an exterior body cladding piece and the mirror covers were broken. Oh, and it had some hail damage from the THREE TORNADOES IT SURVIVED.


we signed titles and I brought it home.. hopped right on the google machine and started my research. what could I do to it to make it more.. enjoyable. I loved the looks of the AMG cars, but looks don't make it more exciting to drive. I racked my brain till I reached the Jeremy Clarkson result. MORE POWER!

sweet. I like boosting things. I like superchargers a lot.

But I didn't want to do that to this car. It was too nice, too subtle.. too.. drug dealer-y. It screamed Third world dictator and I wanted to embrace that.

So turbos, or turbo. That's what it would come down to. I did my reading about the m104. I lucked out with an 3.2. Stout motor, make some decent power and sound with a single snail. hopefully that's what this beast needed to get her moving a little bit quicker.

first things first, maintenance.
-Atrocious idle? dirty throttle body and spark plugs with gaps you could fly a ti-fighter through. check.
-front wheel bearings, front top hats, right rear window regulator all ordered.
-changed all the fluids, picked up some wheels and tires from a buddy of mine and a serious wash.

Drove it for a couple months occasionally till it warmed up and I went to tackle some of the more nuisance oil leaks. I sprayed everything down, cleaned it all up, drove it a few hundred miles to try and isolate some leaks.

Much to my not-surprise.. it's leaking from everywhere except the headgasket. oil pan gasket, valve cover, oil cooler, power steering lines, maybe front crank seal? Can't tell if its run off from the valve cover. phooey. I... don't want to deal with that.

**gazes over shoulder towards garage bay number one*** hmmm... I do happen to have a corvette that was smushed in the nose...

** side bar, Was my mother in laws old car (the vette) that she daily drove for 20 something years. A year and a half ago, some young girl made a left hand turn across traffic and didnt see my MIL. wiped out the nose. 30+ year old fiberglass car + saab +30mph = tweaked frame. I asked what she was doing with it.. she said here. take it. fix it. **

Well.. turns out the vette was a little more crumpled than i had initially anticipated. it still ran and drove straight (after I cut off the front frame horns, removed the hood and bumper), but further back on the horn than i wanted to deal with, was a visible bend. BOINK. there goes that project..

But now I have a motor/trans that can virtually drop into anything with the space and for $400 bucks and a weekends worth of labor can push 350hp.

pull merc motor, spend more than that in a rebuild and fiddle with engine management in slightly uncharted territory? motor had to come out anyways... why not just.. put the 350 in it?


here we are. I finished pulling the motor/trans from the vette yesterday along with all the other bits I may potentially need (exhaust, driveshaft yadda yadda). I knew that if I wanted to swap it into the mercedes using the merc crossmember I would need a front sump oil pan and a bit of time with my welder for some custom mounts.

for $79.99 I ordered a "hot rod" weld in subframe from speedway. that solves that issue. Along with it came a new holeshot IM, a holley 600 4bbl with a vacuum secondary and an electric choke. Different HEI distributor with a vacuum advance vs the computer controlled advance.

I really have three things to iron out that I'm not going to be able to tackle until I get the motor/ trans in there.

they are:
1. Alternator/power steering. If I cant make the power steering work, oh well, but alternator obviously takes priority here. custom brackets for the merc stuff? Both cars use a serp. belt so that's always an option.

2. Radiator/cooling fans/trans cooler. I have NO idea if the merc radiator is capable of cooling the 350. I've been trying to find some flow data on the 300E vs 400/500E radiators. I figure if it can cool a 500E, it should handle the 350 no issue. I'm going to try and trigger the fans off the merc
s ecu still. Hopefully it can interpret the coolant temp signal from the GM sensor as the same. If not, standalone fan control module and an external trans cooler.

3. Starter. I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with 80's GM V8 starters, but they are MASSIVE. HUGE. I honestly won't know if it'll fit till I try and drop it in. If not, s10 v8 starter.

I'm using the mercedes rear end, and have a place local to me that will make me a custom driveshaft using an aluminum tube and the appropriate ends of the GM and mercedes gear. cost, $2-300. I'm good with that.

I promised myself I wouldn't start tearing down the merc's drivetrain untill I finished the cosmetic/electrical **** that had developed over the course of 22 years. Today, I replace the rr window regulator for a broken cable, and removed both the driver front window motor, and the sunroof motor. They were both a simple fix, just needed a good cleaning. Both had developed dead spots on the brushes. A couple of screws and a little bit of cleaning and grease and voila. Sunroof moves and all four windows go up and down. still cant figure out why the trunk mounted cd player wont play, but oh well!

So now the important part.. pictures.

when I first got it.

not much happened picture wise between then and now. here she is all cleaned up with the wheels. They're Enkei FN18, 235/35/18 and 275/35/18 staggered fitment. $200, can't go wrong. I have coilovers for it, but am waiting to see where she stands weight and balance wise after the swap before I start tweaking the suspension.

pic of the compound..

dog helping, or something

just about ready to come out


it dissapeared.

no more TPI garbage!

so that's that for now.

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