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  #1  
Old 01-15-2002, 09:46 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Plattakill, NY
Posts: 137
Grey market info

I have a grey market 1980 W126 280se with manual trany. I have had no problems with getting parts so far. I was interested in some genral info. The speedometer shows miles (128,000) and I thought a German model would have KMs. How would I go about finding out who brought it over, and what the real milage is on it. Any thing I should look for on as far as maintaince (ie timing chain etc.). It looks like it was well maintained and then the previous owners grandson got the car and he did not maintain it well at all. How hard should it be to change the clutch? I think it may be on it's last legs. I am going to start with the hydrolics first to see if that helps. It is not hard to work on and fairly cheap. Thanks for any info.
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Currently
1991 Mazda Miata 174000
1991 Subaru 189,000 Winter beater

got rid of:
1984 VW Vanagon 195,000
1976 350SE Euro 185,000 KM
1973 280SE 4.5 (boy do I regret that)
1980 280SE European W126 4 speed manual (miss it)
1989 BMW 735iL 119000 (good riddance)
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2002, 08:22 AM
LarryBible
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The car originally had a km/hr speedometer, it was changed when grey marketing the car into the US.

If the clutch is not releasing correctly the problem very well could be hydraulics. Yes, it's just a clutch job, nothing special about it compared to any other clutch job. If you've never done an MB clutch before, about the only thing that you will find to be much different is the driveshaft. There is a big nut in the middle of the driveshaft that you must loosen in order to collapse the driveshaft an inch or so. After collapsing the driveshaft, you can then remove the flex coupling at the rear of the transmission.

If you are a good manual transmission driver, you should be able to run the transmission a half million miles or more with no trouble. I would recommend putting Mobil One in this transmission as a little insurance. If you ever DO have transmission trouble, rebuild parts will be a pain to find and quite expensive.

Good luck,
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2002, 11:27 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
And if you have access to a digital camera or scanner, there are a bunch of us that would love to see a shot of the interior. Especially the center console/shifter area .

Wow, a W126 with a stick
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2002, 05:32 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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Silver Boat,
The original importer should be noted on the identification tag on the driver door frame. You should have gotten a copy of the original EPA and DOT certification releases when you bought the car also, as this can be brought up when you register your car in a state with an empowered bureaucrat behind the counter and the rules are you should have them.

Like Larry said, the car had to have the odometer/speedometer changed to miles as part of the DOT certification but there is no calibration required, and often the speedometer and odometer have really poor accuracy. This can make the mileage off significantly, and can make you an inadvertent target for the cops with radar.

The clutch and transmission for a US 280E might have been a source of parts for you if they were actually imported. I do not think even the 280E was available back then with a manual transmission though, so you may have some difficulty finding replacement parts. If there was a problem with the hydraulics you would most likely see fluid leaks. Since the clutch is hydraulically operated, you should expect to have a very light feel. This is not an indication the clutch is going. Mercedes makes a shim a few mils thick that they slip into a slot on the slave cylinder that actuates the clutch. When the clutch is worn down, the rod sticking out of the slave cylinder extends further. To measure the advent of the clutch's "last legs" a slot is machined into this rod, and it aligns with the slot in the housing, allowing the shim to pass further into the housing of the slave cylinder. If you go get this tool you can keep track of the condition of the clutch relatively easily.

Hope this helps, 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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  #5  
Old 01-25-2002, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Plattakill, NY
Posts: 137
Quote:
Originally posted by JimSmith
Silver Boat,
The original importer should be noted on the identification tag on the driver door frame. You should have gotten a copy of the original EPA and DOT certification releases when you bought the car also, as this can be brought up when you register your car in a state with an empowered bureaucrat behind the counter and the rules are you should have them.

Like Larry said, the car had to have the odometer/speedometer changed to miles as part of the DOT certification but there is no calibration required, and often the speedometer and odometer have really poor accuracy. This can make the mileage off significantly, and can make you an inadvertent target for the cops with radar.

The clutch and transmission for a US 280E might have been a source of parts for you if they were actually imported. I do not think even the 280E was available back then with a manual transmission though, so you may have some difficulty finding replacement parts. If there was a problem with the hydraulics you would most likely see fluid leaks. Since the clutch is hydraulically operated, you should expect to have a very light feel. This is not an indication the clutch is going. Mercedes makes a shim a few mils thick that they slip into a slot on the slave cylinder that actuates the clutch. When the clutch is worn down, the rod sticking out of the slave cylinder extends further. To measure the advent of the clutch's "last legs" a slot is machined into this rod, and it aligns with the slot in the housing, allowing the shim to pass further into the housing of the slave cylinder. If you go get this tool you can keep track of the condition of the clutch relatively easily.

Hope this helps, Jim
Great info Thanks

There is no identification tag. frustrating. Did not come with any paperwork other than the title. The car belonged to his grandfather and he did not get anything. I asked at the DMV but they said with how old it was there are no emissions requirements so do not worry. Thinking about trying to contact DOT about the car, but I do not want to open a can of worms. The only thing that appears to be changed is the speedometer and the seat belt light. It has Euro lights, bumpers and emissions. (no cat, no unleaded restrictor, no egr, etc.)

The clutch is available locally. Guess I am lucky as there is a good parts shop near me. He has a gray market car himself. So he has good sources and get parts from Germany if he has to.

So how hard is the clutch going to be? I figure the Trany is going to be heavy. I have done a few clutches in the past. (1 VW FWD and 1 MG) Worried that the transmission may be way to heavy. The VW you get every thing un hooked and just lower it down on your chest and roll out on your creaper. I do not think this would work with this transmission as it looks to weigh about as much as my whole VW! Do not want to drop it on my chest !

I noticed your from Old Lyme. My daughter lives close to you. We drive thru your aria on our way to there old house in New London. Not sure what town she is in now as she just moved. I know she is about 1/2 hour from Pfizer. (where she works)
__________________
Currently
1991 Mazda Miata 174000
1991 Subaru 189,000 Winter beater

got rid of:
1984 VW Vanagon 195,000
1976 350SE Euro 185,000 KM
1973 280SE 4.5 (boy do I regret that)
1980 280SE European W126 4 speed manual (miss it)
1989 BMW 735iL 119000 (good riddance)
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  #6  
Old 01-25-2002, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
Silverboat,

It may be that the original importer took a "once in a lifetime" exemption for the car, and that would explain some of the lack of paperwork. In 1980 I believe there were emissions standards that were being met by retarding the spark to lower temperatures in the engine so you formed fewer oxides of nitrogen, and an air pump and exhaust gas recirculation. I do not think catalytic converters were the norm at that time, so you may not have needed an Oxygen sensor and fuel pressure control valve. At any rate, if the car is here and registered I would leave a sleeping dog alone.

Many grey market cars have the original bumpers, but with steel structure added behind the chromed and shaped exterior to meet the standard of the day for crash resistance. You can check by looking behind the bumpers and seeing if there is a strip of flatbar going from mount to mount across the front and rear bumpers.

Pfizer has two locations here now, one in Groton which is their older facility that included R&D, product development and production. The new location took the R&D facility into New London to make room for the other activities in Groton, I believe. Pfizer is a major employer in the area, and the newer, better, and bigger R&D facility brought a lot of new, young, and reasonably affluent professionals to the area, driving up real estate values. The area is still pretty rural when you get 10 minutes out of New London, and the smaller towns are run by old Yankees who like things the way they used to be. Old Lyme is a great town to raise kids, but don't expect DSL or cell phones to work here!

Good luck with fixing your clutch if that is next. I would agree this is no VW, and a proper lift with a stand for the transmission would make the job much safer. I have never done this on one of these beasts, and like you have done it on a VW bus and bug in the old days as a matter of routine. Once again, Good Luck! 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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  #7  
Old 01-25-2002, 03:08 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Antone
Posts: 408
If you have a Sam's Club close to you go check them out for a small jack/stand combination that will probably hold your transmission. It sells for $100. Otherwise, you will need to put the car on jack stands high enough to have room for you and a helper to use one of those inexpensive floor jacks (like $19.95-$29.95) to support the trans. while you and a helper hold/balance the trans when lowering it and moving it out from under your car.

Good Luck!
Tom
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  #8  
Old 01-25-2002, 07:46 PM
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mine has the stamp, and the importer name, 83 500se, their shouldn't be anyway of taking that thing off, its on it pretty good, might leave a mark if you tried
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2002, 11:21 PM
grey500se's Avatar
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Location: VA 20 miles west of D.C.
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yea, my grey market is waived from all emissions, its pretty nice, I used to get emissions on it, until I took the cats off, and they wouldn't allow that, so I called up the Emissions department, and got the paperwork, it was well worth the long distance calls
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