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Old 12-09-2000, 04:14 PM
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I have been driving an '81 280E (w123) for the last few months, it is my first car. The car was in fair condition, most records are left from the previous owner. A friend of my dad's, a mechanic who worked with mercedeses for over 20 years, helped me fix up the car a little, putting in new tie-rod assemblies, new oil filter/oil change, various other not too-major things. The problem is that he moved, so I can't get help from him anymore (I intended to start working seriously on the car in february/spring, with him). I don't have the money to take the car to a mercedes dealer, and all the other mechanics in my area are crooks or don't know anything about mercedes cars. I was wondering if anyone on here could help me with these questions? I know many are stupid or very basic -
first the routine 123 problems - my vacuum sytem stopped working; it used to be that when i hit the ignition, all the doors would unlock, and when i locked the driver door they would all lock, but now nothing works. Is this a serious problem, or just a faulty vacuum somewhere (I'll test them all eventually).
The A/c also stopped working. Generally, what is needed to fix faulty 123 a/c's, a compressor/some freon if i'm lucky?
And, of course, there is a LOT of play in the steering wheel. It moves a good 3 inches to the right. I have new tie rods, new, thicker tires, so do i need a new steering box? Is that very expensive?
Now the more serious problems -
after coming to a stop, when i accelerate, then let go of the gas pedal, the car rolls, and i hear a thump noise coming from the back of the car. Is this a transmission problem, or something less serious?
Finally, this may be just the car's age, but during the winter in the morning the car's movement is very jerky for a little while. It helps if i rev it up pretty hard. Is my idle speed too low?
Thanks a lot in advance, any help is appreciated. I really want to fix up this car! (by the way, in my signature it says new intake/exhaust, i never got a chance to put the parts in my car; i sold them)
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Old 12-09-2000, 04:38 PM
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When my A.C. wouldn't work it was a simple fuse that appeared okay but needed to be sanded with fine emery paper, to get a good contact for the compressor to come on.

Do you have a Hayne's manual or Chilton's manual for your car? Those would help a lot.

Try using the search menu on this board to look up many of the topics you need to know about. You will get a lot of good information that way.

Have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you look at the steering components. You may be able to tell what part is "giving" under the strain. The "weak link".

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Old 12-09-2000, 08:00 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
I'm not exactly sure, but doesn't the 123 climate control run off vacuum? If so, your door locks and A/C are related. You definitely have a vacuum leak somehwere.

Do your lock ever operate, maybe while the engine is running? If not, then I would start under the hood, there should be one vacuum line coming from the manifold, with a check valve. This line should "T" with one leg going to a vacuum resevoir (probably in left fender) the other leg through the firewall or to a distributer block on the firewall.

Good place to start is with performing a vacuum test at the check valve, then work your way through the system. Vacuum leaks also effect engine performance.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

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Old 12-09-2000, 09:17 PM
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hey guys, thanks a lot for your help so far - i greatly appreciate it. I'm gonna take a look at the car over my winter break (too much work now), and the vacuum will be the first thing I look at.
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Old 12-10-2000, 06:18 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
You proabably have a leak or a disconnected hose in your vaccuum system. Buy yourself a vaccuum pump with a guage and start checking, working from the engine back. The lumpy idle when cold could be any number of things from a bad fuel distributor to a bad enrichment valve. You may need a new steering box (very expensive), or an adjustment (expensive).

Good luck.
Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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Old 12-10-2000, 08:27 PM
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You're in Falls Church? I'm in Mclean.
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