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Old 08-08-2001, 10:51 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 44
Unhappy Upper Nipple broken on 124 radiator

Well I finally found a '87 300TD-T. I had been looking for a while...

On my second day of driving I noticed the coolant low light on and the engine temperature increasing... one of these by itself is a potential problem, but both at the same time is a really a bad sign! I pulled over and shut down. Exiting the car I noticed fluid pouring from the front bottom of the car. When I raised the hood I noticed that the top radiator hose was not connected... As I was trying to re-attach the hose I noticed that there was no ridge in the nipple to clamp the hose to. Upon further search I found the missing ridge and about 1" of the end of the nipple inside the hose (it had broken off inside the hose).

I moved the clamp up closer to the end and clamped it "real tight." I then re-filled the coolant (lost the bottle of red line water wetter I had just put in the day before...) and headed for the dealer.

The local dealer says that the right hand side of the radiator (the vertical part that has the nipple attached) can not be replaced separately and I must replace the whole radiator! Is this accurate information or is there a more cost effective way to handle this tragedy?


Steve A
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Old 08-08-2001, 11:07 PM
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Unfortunately I think he's right. The radiator is plastic (at least it is on my 89). The PO had replaced my radiator for the same reason. I think this is a common problem.

Good luck,
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Old 08-09-2001, 12:45 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: California
Posts: 209
I've got a 1982 300TD and had some radiator problems last year.
I replaced my thermostat and coolant last summer and when re-installing the small hose that goes to the coolant reservoir tank the plastic nipple broke off. I pulled the radiator, a pretty simple job, took it to a local radiator shop and they replaced the the top plastic piece, boiled out the radiator and had it back to me the next afternoon. Ran about $100 if I recall correctly. Sounds to me like your dealer wants to sell you a new radiator. The big question though, is why are you taking your car to a dealer instead of an independent shop? Don't think I've ever heard of anyone being happy with service by a dealer.
1995 C280
1999 Triumph Daytona 955I - my speed fix.
1982 300TD - Gone, but not forgotten.
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Old 08-09-2001, 01:15 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Mark West, CA
Posts: 787
Exclamation Two Points...

First, there is no such designation as a "300TD-T". It's either a 300D diesel sedan, or a 300TD diesel station wagon. Both are "Turbo-Charged".

Second, the plastic upper tank is prone to breakage in all Mercedes with plastic and aluminum radiators. The upper hose connection is the most susceptible to breakage due to two factors. The first is over-tightening of the hose clamp, and the second cause is mechanics leaning into the engine compartment to do repairs...

The real culprit is the age and brittleness of the plastic, but the other two are the final "straw".

Depending upon your location, and the type of damage, you may get a local shop to do a repair.

Check out this thread:

Otherwise, call phil at PartsShop for a quote on a replacement radiator: 1-888-333-4642...
"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."
- Marshall McLuhan -

Scott Longston
Northern California Wine Country...
"Turbos whistle, grapes wine..."
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Old 08-09-2001, 01:22 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 44
Thanks for the information... I will try and find a radiator shop and see if it is possible to repair.

The portion of the nipple that broke off was also broken in two so I did not think it could be repaired... as such I trashed it.

As far as why I am not using an independent shop... I have not yet discovered an "honest" and "knowledgeable" shop where I live in Las Vegas, NV. The closest reputable shop I have been referred to is in Salt Lake City, UT., which is about a six and a half hour drive. I have several friends that own older MBZ diesels (which is why I was looking for one). Many of these folks have had trouble with their turbo's due to the "trap oxidizer" problem. To date every person I have talked to who has taken this problem to an independent was told it would cost them $2000 for a new turbo. Not one of them mentioned that this was all covered under a MBZ warranty program. My brother has had his '87 300D for a few years and also went through this same trial. He found through his "trials and tribulations" with numerous independent shops that the local dealer was very good and although not cheap, his bills were much smaller in the long run. They fixed things the first time and if they felt something was not worth the expense to fix, they told him so (ie: small oil leak between engine and trans).

If anyone knows of any really good shops in this area I would certainly be interested.


Steve A
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Old 08-09-2001, 01:28 AM
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Location: Las Vegas
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Mr. Longston.......

I understand that the correct designation for the car is simply 300TD. However I am constantly having people ask if it is "turbocharged" or not. Therefore I was following the naming policy I have seen by many other posters here by adding to superfluous "-T" to the end.

Steve A
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Old 08-09-2001, 03:47 AM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Los Angeles, Calif, USA
Posts: 521
I have seen many times people use 300DT for Diesel Turbo sedan and some articles I read also use it too for sedan. I do not know if it is an official name but it is being used often enough that I understand what people are trying to say, such as in this case, 300TDT for turbo diesel station wagon. Once in a while, I see people use 300TD for Turbo Diesel Sedan that is surely a mistake.

By the way, the 300TD before 1981 and the 300D before 1982 are non-turbo. All 300SD are turbo regardless the year.

For reasons unknown to me, I have seen many (99% ?) early W124 had broken radiator neck but hardly any W123 or W126 with 617 engine. But,they are all plastic! In Steve's case, I think the radiator neck had been broken before the purchase. The previous owner installed the upper hose back by using the remaining portion of the neck. When I purchase a 87 300D, that is the first place I check after I drive the car home. I purchased 3 of them and 2 of them already had a broken neck at the time of purchase. The third one was good because the radiator was replaced by the previous owner.

I know the radiator neck for the W124 gasoline model is repairable. I'm not sure about the diesel model.


Last edited by be459; 08-09-2001 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 08-09-2001, 12:06 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Las Vegas
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David, thanks for the information. I am trying to locate a reputable radiator shop to get their opinion.

Does anyone know if you can install a larger capacity radiator in the 124 body cars?


Steve A
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Old 08-09-2001, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sugarland, TX
Posts: 285
Forget about the repair, they don't work. It waste time and money.

I installed a after market (Nissen) on my 91-124. it cost less than $200.00. I suggest to replace the radiator hoses and the rubber donut supports.

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Old 08-09-2001, 01:31 PM
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Posts: 613
I had the same problem happen on my 1989 300E. Later model vehicles (not sure which year) had a improved radiator that had metal in the flange to prevent it from collapse if it was over tightened.

The radiator shops I contacted could not replace the upper section, so I had to purchase a new radiator with the improved flange. So if you do end up purchasing a new radiator, make sure it is the updated one and not a new old stock radiator.

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Old 08-09-2001, 01:45 PM
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Location: Las Vegas
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Thanks for the help! This is great..........

The dealer did mention that the up-dated radiators have metal support inside that flange and that breakage was very common.

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