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  #1  
Old 11-18-2001, 02:17 AM
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Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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Questions on my NEW 1988 300E 5-speed

I am driving from Salt Lake City, Utah to Old Lyme, Ct. in my new 1988 300E, which is in unbelievable condition. I need to replace the tires as soon as I get back, as they are pretty worn and have been run by the previous owner in an unbalanced condition. They kind of drone like off road vehicle tires, and vibrate a lot on anything but the smoothest pavement at any speed. On smooth pavement the wheels will start to shake a bit over 65mph. Anyway, the question is the correct tire size. The manual says it takes 195/65 VR-15's and the car has 205/60 VR-15's, which it would seem are mathematically about equal to the manual requirement in diameter, so the speedometer seems relatively accurate. I was wondering if 215/55 VR-15s might be ok, or if I should stick with the factory recommended size.

After driving for approximately 6 hrs straight at speeds in and around 80 mph in Utah and Colorado, the SRS light started coming on on the dash. It would stay on for 1-3 seconds, then go off for 15 to 20 minutes. This slowly and erratically changed to intermittently staying on for up to 20 seconds, and then blinking repeatedly, to staying on for two hours. When I shut the car off and start it up either the next morning or after a nature break, which is a relatively short time, it stays off for a few hours and then the pattern starts again. Any ideas on what the issue might be and how to fix it?

Thanks, Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2001, 06:38 AM
Ashman's Avatar
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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300E 5 speed. Talk to Good ol Larry Bible our resident owner of a 300E 5 speed who knows that car very well.

How is the cars maintenance been done over the years, what is its mileage etc etc. you say excellent condition. It could be a number of things. I would start by using the search feature of the site, to search for things like SRS light 300E, or search for 300e srs and such. you should geta great amount of posts that might already have the answer. But you can still geta good answer here.

When you get it home, make sure you have your mercedes tech give it a good fluid changing of fluids that are needed, coolant should be ensured to be Mercedes coolant. spark plugs gapped right, air filter replaced if necesary, tune up stuff basically to make sure your baby is running right. Then have or check out the electrical items, OVP, SRS relays or sensors, etc etc.

Check the wheels and tires forum, you can up the tire size to a more aggressive size, but I believe the 205/60 is the sportline tire size.

Go to www.tirerack.com and check on the tires and reviews. Also call luke at the tire rack. He can help you get the right tires for yoru needs, and can get them to you and find a place to put them on for you wherever you might be in this country.

Correct me if I am wrong here as well please...

Alon
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Last edited by Ashman; 11-18-2001 at 06:46 AM.
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  #3  
Old 11-18-2001, 07:02 AM
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Location: Jax, FL
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Lightbulb

Do your search under SRS lights or sensors. I think I read that the SRS sensors, located by your wheels, get dirty with brake dust and cannot "sense" anything, therefore the intermittent light . I never had this problem so I did not reasearch it any further.
Good luck with you NEW car.
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  #4  
Old 11-18-2001, 09:49 AM
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Location: Omaha, NE
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I had an intermittant SRS light coming on at one time which turned out to be the slip rings inside the steering wheel. I think this is a pretty common problem with MBs with airbags. One way of determining this is to see if the light tends to come on when the wheel is in a certain position.

Mine was fixed under warranty so I don't know how to do it, but as I recall it wasn't a very expensive fix.
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'93 400E
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  #5  
Old 11-18-2001, 08:13 PM
LarryBible
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Jim,

Congratulations on finding one of these gems. Only a little over 300 '88's made it to the US with the five speed. Mine has over 200K miles now and is getting a little rough around the edges, but it's still a fabulous, reliable and great fun to drive car.

I can't offer too much advice about the SRS system except that it is EXPENSIVE to fix. If you're lucky, the most common problem is the contacts inside the steering wheel.

I know the 205/60's will be okay, but I'm not sure about the 215 55's.

Enjoy,
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2001, 11:22 AM
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Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
I'd run 205/60-15, and have the airbag contact ring & related parts in the steering wheel replaced. I had the EXACT same symptoms, and this was my fix
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1995 E500 street car
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2001, 11:30 AM
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Location: Kingston, Ont.
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On my '88 300e (automatic) the srs light came on due to alternator failure; you may want to check the volts etc.

fd/
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2001, 11:56 AM
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Location: Western Michigan
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For the stock 195/65-15 tires, 215/60-15 is closer (0.7%) vs the 205/60-15 (1.2%).

See at

http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2001, 12:55 PM
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Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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Thanks for the input guys,

I just finished the trip home, 2,528 miles by the odometer and an average of 29.07 miles per gallon. I will retrace my path using MapQuest to check the mileage as I believe the odometer was a little low on miles compared to the highway markers. A lot better than I expected (our C230 Kompressor Sport does not get that kind of mileage) as I never drove much below 70 mph and spent quite a bit of time at 75 mph, which was about 2600 rpm or so. The tires were so bad above 85 mph that I spent the trip a little aprehensive about going much over 75 once I left Colorado.

The car has 97,800 miles on it now, and it does have a few other idiosyncracies, like an unstable idle once in a while that a blip on the throttle fixes, and a built in radar detector that probably dates back to 1988 as it is really primitive and nasty (a Bel Micro Eye Remote unit in the ashtray, which was never used for smoking, another nice feature). It has been serviced by a German car place (Clarke German Auto Service, LLC in Provo, Utah), and had the valve seals replaced, along with the timing chain, at 84,000 miles. A tune up in October which consisted of transmission fluid, differential fluid, plugs, power steering fluid and filter, air filter, and an inspection of the brakes, etc. was also performed. On the way home the car used maybe 8 ounces of oil, which was Pennzoil 40W grade. I will be switching to Mobil 1 and a new filter later today.

The exterior is white, with not a dent or a rust spot, except for the edges of the jack tube on the front passenger side. I will have that taken care of shortly, and before Winter sets in here. I am thinking of having the car Ziebarted to renew the rustproofing.

The interior is pristine. A grey leather with not a single flaw anywhere. No dash cracks, no aging of the wood, other than a slightly cloudy appearance of the wood around the area of the window switches. The right side, front window does not work, and the previous owner believes it is something in the door, not the switch, for some reason he was unable to clearly relay to me. I will dig into that today too.

Steering is tight, muffler is tight, engine runs very smoothly, almost to a fault, as it will let you lug or rev it without complaint. With the radio on, which was a standard M-B unit of the day, I had to look at the tach to figure out if I needed to shift.

Overall it is a great car. I will be exploring the SRS light issue and calling Tire Rack shortly. I will as for Luke. Thanks for the help, and a place to share my excitement over finding the car. Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2001, 01:43 PM
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Posts: 2,632
Depending on the width of your wheels, 215's should work fine.

Also, per the TireRack's spec for Michelin Engery MXV4+ tires:

195/65R15: 24.9"
205/60R15: 24.8"
215/60R15: 25.0"

If your SRS light comes on a long-straight highway driving, 98% it's the steering-wheel's slip-ring and brushes. My 1988 W124 wagon had the same symptoms, and the slip-ring was worn-thru and lots of brush material.

A very CHEAP fix (parts under $70) takes about 30-45 mins.

You do need some long-handled allen tools and you have to discharge the airbag system by disconnecting the RED connector in the passenger foot-well (I would disconnect the battery ground as well afterwards).

Have fun with that 5-speed!
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  #11  
Old 11-19-2001, 01:46 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Carlsbad, CA USA
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Jim,
What a GREAT find...congratulations!!!
Just out of curiosity...does your car have heated seats? And is it leather or MBtex?

Enjoy it!
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Beauty & the Beast and the wagon that could!
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  #12  
Old 11-19-2001, 04:03 PM
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Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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Glen,

The car does not have heated seats, however the interior is grey leather.

I have now checked this car out pretty thoroughly, and everything except the front passenger door window works perfectly, even the headlight wiper/washers! The SRS light behaviour seems to match the descriptions you guys have given for slip ring wear. I will do a search for detailed instructions, especially after the discussion of discharging the air bag by disconnecting the RED wire.... Last thing I want is to see an air bag go off in my driveway.

Thanks again for the tips. Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2001, 08:04 PM
LarryBible
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Posts: n/a
Jim,

I expect that your 29 MPG for Interstate highway driving is just about right. I usually get 27, with country two lane driving which means I do some passing which increases thirst. I used to go to Houston and some other places with mine which were strictly Interstate trips. I could get 29 on those trips. Remember you don't have the inefficiencies of a torque converter swallowing more fuel.

My car, mechanically is as you describe yours, but cosmetically I need a windshield and a left front arm rest, and mine is embarassingly dirty right now.

Do you think that these cars are a little shy on bottom end and mid range torque? As far as how mine runs and drives, the lack of low end torque is the only complaint I have, the car seems geared just a little too tall. But I'm still very pleased with it.

I added the sportline sway bars to mine and it made a noticable difference. These are fabulous automobiles.

Glad you had a fun trip,
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2001, 11:31 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Saugus, CA USA
Posts: 1,989
Curious

I have a 190e with the 2.6 M103 engine and a five speed. I was wondering if the transmissions were the same.
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5 speed '91 190E 2.6 320,000 mi. (new car, fast, smooth as silk six, couldn't find any more Peugeots)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.5l Turbo Diesel 266,000 mi. (old car, fast for a diesel, had 2 others)
5 speed '01 Jetta V6 (new wifes car, pretty quick)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.2l Turbo Gas 197,000 mi. (wifes car, faster, sadly gone just short of 200k )
5 speed '83 Yamaha 750 Maxim 14,000 mi. (fastest)
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  #15  
Old 11-20-2001, 12:12 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Carlsbad, CA USA
Posts: 1,186
I used to own a 5-speed 300E ('86) with parchment leather interior and heated seats. In all the 5-speed 300s I've seen or heard about, I've never come across another with those same two options...I guess it was even more rare than I thought! The car currently resides in Canada with fellow Mshop member, vrsmith.

Someday, I plan to get another to restore
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Beauty & the Beast and the wagon that could!
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