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Old 05-15-1999, 02:32 AM
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I recently acquired my first MB - a 1987 300E with 51,000 miles. I have had a mechanic catch up the neglected brake/coolant flushings, alignments, trans service, etc. Are there any areas that need special remedial attention on a southern CA car that was driven only 4k/year avg? A neighbor that has owned several MB's and "knows all about them" has recommended that I only use Michelin Pilot tires and Bilstein shocks, but should immediatly change out all the suspension bushings, and put 16" rims and ATE Performance rotors with Mintex (sp?) pads and stainless steel brake lines to "get the most out of the car". I like a firm ride and sporty handling with great braking power, but am not interested in destroying the car or causing problems with the ABS or suspension, or pounding the body into a rattle trap. Any comments or recommendations would be appreciated!
Old 05-15-1999, 07:14 AM
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Hi, I recentlly just put in a set of ATE power disk( I think they only make front rotor for 300E)and Mintex Brake pads from Bekker import. They are not very good, similar to the factory rotor and pads. In my opinion, if what you looking for is excellent barkes go for brembo brake system. If you don't really want to spend big bucks you can try the brembo cross drill rotors and ferodo pads. Stainstell brake lines never try that before. Another thing about the brakes. You should use better brake fuilds with higher temp, and DOT 4.
For handling I use koni shocks and H&R springs, but I talk to others, they all recommand eibach springs, and Bilstein shocks. Tires ? There are a lot of other selection besides Michelin Pilot tires. You might want to check out some of the tire test results on the tire rack offical website . Pirelli makes pretty good tires, like the P-Zeros, others like dunlop, bridgestone also makes excellent tires.
I think you should think about changing the sway bar, putting on a tower, struct bar etc..
By the way I think you should post this on the performance. That way you will receive more valuable advises.
hope this help
Peter regards
Old 05-15-1999, 04:26 PM
Lee Scheeler
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Congratulations on your purchase. Since the maintenance is now being done and you want to focus on performance you have some options.

Brakes: stick with stock or raid the corporate parts bin. The 93+ 400E brakes will fit under the 15" stock wheel and will be a massive improvement over originals. The stainless steel lines wont hurt. (may not help either, but its not a bad upgrade) Stick with OEM pads. Brembo would be my second choice but price out your options. If it were my car, I'd just pass on the aftermarket when it came to brakes. Either raid MB parts shelves or live with what you have.

Suspension: The M103 300E has a very capable suspension stock. If you want to exchange some comfort for sport then I'd try the H&R springs with Bilstein "Sport" shocks. As wide as you can go and still fit the stock fenders is 225/50/16 or 225/45/17. Before I went out and bought 16" or 17" wheels and tires I would try a tire swap first. 205/60/15 fits the stock rims and should sharpen up handling a bit. Oh, skip the strut tower brace and all that crap...the W124 chassis is so stiff that you will never need to worry about that kind of stuff unless you are converting it to an ITS racer. (in which case the interior and many other things would be ripped out as well!) A 400E swaybar should bolt on but it will hurt ride a bit. I wouldn't replace any bushings unless they were worn. Start with less expensive/less invasive stuff first. Find out where your tolerances for comfort vs handling are. Tires or tires/wheels usually give the greatest "bang for the buck" handling improvement.

Tires: Of all the street tires I've driven I have been most impressed with the handling of the Michelin Pilot SX MXX3. (expect to see them on my 500E) Michelin also makes another good tire by the name of "Pilot SX", it is one notch down from the MXX3. The Pilot XGT V/Z4 is not worth the money and stinks besides. The Pirelli P_Zero Asimetrico would be my second choice behind the Michelin MXX3. Dunlop is a good deal for the money but not a front runner by any stretch. Bridgestone makes a good tire but it is slightly "softer" all around. That is okay, but we are talking about max performance here... Firstone SZ50 is an good tire for the money as well. Perhaps the best dollar-overall performance ratio. Conti's just plain suck, there is no nice way to say it. Cost no object I would get the Michelin MXX3 or the PZero Asm. The Michelin has the advantage of being able to be rotated more so you should get longer life from the set vs the Pirelli. (important when the tires are $200 or more apiece!)

Enjoy your new ride and if you need anything more feel free to ask. Oh BTW, if you really want to get nuts I know of a twin-turbo kit for that car that is good for 300HP.

Happy Motoring...Lee
Old 05-15-1999, 09:04 PM
Bill Wood
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Another thing to consider is the "Sportline" option. This was available from the factory on your car as an option. It included stiffer springs and shocks, wider eight hole alloys, wider tires, quicker steering, more supportive seats and a smaller diameter steering wheel. The car is also a little lower.
You can buy any or all of these parts for your car. It would be a good way to keep it all MB and use parts that are specifically engineered for your car. You wouldn't sacrifice ride quality for extra performance or run the risk of ruining your car by gambling on aftermarket parts that really don't meet MB standards.
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