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Old 04-19-2015, 11:23 PM
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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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Old 04-20-2015, 12:13 PM
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It will be interesting to see the progress.

Good luck with it.

Some will be disgusted with your tampering, but I for one am totally ok with it. It's not as though the 124 sedan is a rarity in any way, either.

Please do keep us posted.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:03 PM
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I'm also ok with this. Can't wait to see your progress.
1977 MB 240D 4 speed 145K - Nearly Perfect
1993 MB 400E 212K - New Project
2014 Honda CR-V 85K - Wife's DD
2018 Ford F150 5.slow 15K - My DD

1979 MB 280E 90K - Sold
1983 MB 240D 238K - Scrapped
1984 MB 300D 347K? - Sold
1984 MB 300TD Wagon - 188k - Sold
1987 MB 300E 5 speed 258K - Scrapped
1991 MB 300TE 5 speed 276K - Sold
1993 MB 400E 130K - Sold
1995 MB E320 Wagon 190k - Sold
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:48 AM
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So the vette is fully harvested. I decided to run the 700r4 with no 4th gear lock up for now. The painless lock up wiring kit requires cracking open the pan and installing another pressure switch, something i don't want to tinker with just yet.

thanks to my lovely assistant (wife) She helped steer while I rolled it out of the garage.

Now time for the w124's turn..

ermm.. we have an issue.

I Never realized just how long this sucker is. No matter how I parked it, I couldn;t have enough space between the car and my tool box to still be able to close the rear door. oh well! I figure if i'm going to let the ass hang out, I may as well just give myself the room I need.

Not visible in this picture... the overhead light the hood was about to hit. So much for service position..

well.. If i Pull the grill, I can probably swing it.

yep, It fits.

I spent a little bit yesterday doing some more specific measuring and cleaning of the chevy bits. The motor is 30 years old or so and has been rebuilt once, but that hasn't saved it from getting all sorts of grime and garbage on it. I didn't go crazy with it because it not going to be that kind of build, But i got enough off of visible places that im happy and everything is dry.

As it sits right now.. the chevy motor is 28" from the back of the dizzy cap to water pump pulley. the m104 is.... 28" from the the back of the valve cover to the fan shroud. Perfect. I'm going to have to run auxillary electric fans if I keep the radiator in the stock location, but that should be the bulk of my issue.

Surprisingly, there is plenty of width clearance. With the ridiculous intake and the fairly wide exhaust, the I6 isnt exactly a space saver. The only thing I havent been able to measure is the height of each. hood clearance will be interesting with a carb and air cleaner.

I also ordered what should be the last batch of parts I know i'll need until I start fitting things together.

HEI spring style cap & rotor
65k volt coil
4-8psi adjustable return style FPR (going to use the mercedes fuel pump system**)
couple of carb gaskets
5 row auxiliary trans cooler. Going to need it not running 4th gear lock up. As I plan on eventually switching over to manual gear box, this will do the job just fine.

**Though I am not sure how I will keep the pump operating as I am sure it is controlled by the ECU, and the ecu will see no Crank signal once this carb'd motor is running. I may just have to run a toggle switch and some new wiring to the relay and manually turn it on/off.

My biggest hurdle in this operation is the lack of knowledge I have of Mercedes operating systems. I never spent much time working/diagnosing them and you can only pull so much out of the manuals.

For instance.. The fan controller in the ECU. Would it recognize a GM coolant temp signal? I don't think anyone here knows for certain.

Anyways, headed out to the shop to further tear down the benz.
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:03 PM
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successful day today, spent a decent three hours in it.

Got all the accessories (minus water pump) off, the engine harness removed out of the way, all the vacuum lines, fuel lines, coolant hoses and miscellaneous crap out of the way.

Figured out which fuel line was the supply and which the return, the hard way. Guess the accumulator is still good. also, why the **** does the fuel line run through the AC line??

got the exhaust/radiator etc removed as well.

so now its just trans stuff, motor mount bolts, starter and whatever other crap that comes up as she comes out.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:55 PM
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Fuel is run to a heat exchanger on the AC suction side to keep it cool.
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Old 04-27-2015, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 97 SL320 View Post
Fuel is run to a heat exchanger on the AC suction side to keep it cool.

this.. kind of makes sense? but is that the return fuel? I labled the line that does NOT go through the ac suction line as the supply as it was the one that was chock full of fuel after sitting for a day.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:19 AM
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Yep, return side is cooled before heading back to the tank. Lessens evaporative emissions.
90 300TE 4-M

Turbo 103, T3/T04E 50 trim
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3" Exh, AEM W/B O2
Underdrive Alt. and P/S Pulleys,
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90 300CE 104.980
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:45 AM
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I would fab up a fixture for the pulley to make it look like a gattling gun, but thats just me.
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Old 04-28-2015, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by duxthe1 View Post
Yep, return side is cooled before heading back to the tank. Lessens evaporative emissions.
this.. makes sense. over engineer EVERYTHING!!

Though I will be getting rid of basically every emissions component on the car. Minus a cat as I need one for CT emissions testing through 2018. (25 year exemption)

I did some more measuring.. I really hope the oil pan clears the steering linkage. I know I'll have to notch the factory crossmember for sure. (note: cut out the center section), but I wasnt counting or expecting it to be held so high up.. so.. kind of a bump in the road. well see.

PLanning on going out tonight and doing some more work on it, hopefully get the motor/trans out.

While I have a moderate amount of attention: what do yall think the m104 and trans are worth? I have no idea which trans it is, it is a 3.2L m104. 167k on it.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:53 PM
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Successful day today! Got the motor, trans, front half of the driveshaft pulled. I tried to pull it with the front half of the driveshaft still attached... not happening. engine hoist simply wont lift enough to get the proper angle. By far the most aggravating gas sedan engine pull i've ever done. the motor is like 9 miles long!

had to pull it near vertical to get it out, not fun doing it by myself.

the plus side is..

SO MUCH room for activities. It's more spacious than I anticipated, and I finally got some measurements on the motor height. With the carb, no air cleaner, the SBC is 25" top to bottom. the m104 from valve cover to oil pan is 27". perfect. I am absolutely 100% going to have to cut the center section out of the cross member, but whatever is lost will be found in the weld in cradle I have.

Also looking at the steering linkage (which was my main concern..) The center linkage is literally the only thing that will get in the way. I'm thinking I'll just make a drop linkage. drift bros do it all the time for more steering angle. basically some heim joints into some round stock, a tubed sleeve and some bolts. will allow it to function as intended and I dont have to run a front sump oil pan.

so yeah..

heres the heart in all its glory!

who wants to guesstimate on what its worth? runs fantasically albeit has a couple leaks.

I probably wont start dicking around putting the chevy motor into the benz until this weekend. I want to roll the benz out of the garage and hose the hell out of the engine bay, as you can see, OK dust and years of oil leaks were not kind to it.

While we're on the topic of it.. How much of the crap thats left in the bay can I get rid of? all the misc vacuum crap and emissions crap? I basically just want to keep the heat and HVAC functionality, I'm pretty positive its just the white vacc line that runs by the brake booster?

I'm probably going to have to lose the AC, which I don't think works anyways.. but thats what sunroofs and windows are for. Power steering will remain a mystery. The vette pump is HUGE. it may actually work to keep the pump where it is, and graft the bracket from the merc to the sbc. we shall see.
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Old 05-02-2015, 07:50 PM
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Alright... pretty big update enroute.

got another good chunk of stuff done.

gutted the AC system, bunch of miscellaneous crap and pulled what wiring was easy enough to get to.

started off with some choppy chop.

not enough.

much better. width I need and still enough structure left to the LCA mounts to work. that will all be reinforced when everything's good and buttoned up too.

next.. motor.


turns out the steering linkage (as i suspected) is going to be a huge issue.. but more on that later.

had to cut out the radiator support to A. fit a new radiator and B. it makes it so much easier to get this loaf in and out.

with the drag link still in, I snapped a picture of the clearance for the oil filter. Its perfect. it actually is about a half inch off center in this picture, so I'll gain a half inch of space between the filter and LCA mount which is always welcome.

now.. I pulled the motor again and pulled the drag link to see what it would take to get it all to work.

perfect. like a bug in a rug. The trans tunnel needed a bit of.. Massaging. just a half inch deep by 1" wide by 3" long strip so the edge of the pan assembly could sneak up into it. This is where the motor will hopefully be mounted. there is plenty of oil pan clearance to the ground, the trans tailshaft is tucked up into the tunnel and best of all...

5* on the nose! the manifold has a two degree pitch for the carb mounting surface so its level.

Now.. to address the steering issue. I was going to build a drop linkage for the drag link. simple, effective solution done all the time by driftbros.

but wait! theres more!

if I turn right.. then the pitman arm hits the oil cooler... if I turn left, the idler arm hits the starter! DOH!

so.. back to the drawing board. Its going to be my single biggest hurdle to figure out.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:50 PM
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Hola tengo en mercedes modelo 85 lo mande al taller y hay mismo le quitaron el sistema de jettronic y al ponero les quedo fallando el motor y me disen que nonse acuerda de como lva si me pueden ayudar se los agradeseria mucho
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by raulbt9 View Post
Hola tengo en mercedes modelo 85 lo mande al taller y hay mismo le quitaron el sistema de jettronic y al ponero les quedo fallando el motor y me disen que nonse acuerda de como lva si me pueden ayudar se los agradeseria mucho

ˇBienviendo a forum! Es possible escribo un poco mas sencillo y usar puntuacion? No comprendo un poco de esto palabras.

Es possible empeza un nuevo tema para tu pregunta. Pero no sabe es pregunta o comentario.

Espanol es mi segundo idioma.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:43 PM
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Lol. I hope he comes back.

Your project is cool. If I had a car like that I would be racing high school kids with rice burners for pinks all day long. Put on a quiet exhaust with an electronic transfer switch to open it up. Wear a sweater and thick glasses.
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