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  #1  
Old 08-20-2002, 08:25 PM
mikey-az
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Question Possible to buy ACC diaphragms w/o the whole pod?

I am going to hopefully replace all of my ACC rubber diaphragms in my '90 300E that are part of the vacuum pods that control the vent positions. Do I have to buy the expensive pods, or can I just buy the rubber part? Also, where can I purchase this stuff? Thanks -- Mikey
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2002, 08:47 PM
Michael B
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I'm replacing the diaphram on my 260e, too. Eventually might have to dig inside the dash and remove it... (ugh)

Anyway, I'm sure Fastlane has the parts (and they're great to work with) but there's another website that sells the rubber diaphrams for $5/each.

www.autoluxmbz.com

You might check them out. Very nice (as is Fastlane) and very prompt. Mine should arrive tomorrow. I'm fixing the defrost flaps first... then if things aren't cool enough to fight these Central Florida summers, I'll dive into the dash and replace the one for the "fresh air flap."

Please keep me posted on your progress. Maybe we can help each other out through email. Do you have the repair cd?

Michael B
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2002, 09:00 PM
mikey-az
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Red face pods

Hey, I do not have the CD. I am using info I have gathered from searching through older postings. I am kinda a novice when it comes to auto repair, but I have fixed quite a few things before on my previous cars (Volvo 740 and BMW 318i). I will definitely have to take out the dash to get to the recirculation(2), diverter, and center vent pods though. This is gonna suck ;oP I just bought this car not even three months ago and I had no clue that this was a major problem with the W124s, and I even had it inspected from top to bottom by a certified technician for $100. Such is life.... -- Mikey
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2002, 09:07 PM
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 645
Those darn AC flaps

My A/C only blows out of the center vent except on random occasions. I would like to take off the dash and replace the darn things, but need to know how to get to them.

I would prefer to not pay $200 labor to have this done.

So any help would be useful.
And thanks.
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Semibodacious Transmogrifications a Specialty

1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)

"Time flies like and arrow, yet fruit flies like a banana"
---Marx (Groucho)
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2002, 10:13 PM
R Easley
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Richard Eldridge wrote:

"I would prefer to not pay $200 labor to have this done. "

Good evening, Richard --

Try again on the labor -- it's about $560 -- labor only -- on a 124 like yours -- at a low $70 per hour flat rate. It's at least an 8 hour job and every element should be replaced at that time, including the hidden one tucked inside the HVAC box. Also, you would want to ensure *prior* to this job that you do not have a leaking evaporator (another known problem on 124s in the south).

This is a job that is unfortunately quite common in hotter climates and is rarely seen in cooler areas. A naive purchaser of a pre-owned 124 (300E, 300CE, 300TE, 400E, 500E) could *easily* spend upwards of $5000 or more on a non-functioning A/C if you have the "big 3" on 124 HVAC systems -- all known problems -- vacuum troubles, a leaking evaporator, and a Nippondenso compressor that has gone south (see the archive for "black death").

Someone early in this thread suggested the use of diaphrams *only* when experiencing vacuum problems with a 124. I would strongly caution against doing that -- there's simply too much labor involved -- DIY or not -- to *not* put new vacuum elements in the car. On a 123 or 126, different story, but a 124, I wouldn't put anything else in but new complete elements.

Also, someone mentioned a PPI by a certified technician for $100 and suggested that this should ensure that faulty diaphrams be discovered on the PPI. Unless that certified technician is a MB specialist, they probably don't have a clue how the MB HVAC system works.

Finally, a cheap test to check the function of your recirculation flap is to do a before/after test checking temperatures at the center vents under controlled conditions. In the after test, completely cover your air intake (under the wiper) with duct tape (the aluminum tape type). You'll know by the feel of the interior if the duct tape demonstrates that your recirculation flap was not working . . .

Richard Easley
Waco, Texas
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  #6  
Old 08-21-2002, 02:31 PM
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The A/C pods

Okay, I said $200 becausae the guy who replaced the evaporator on my car told me that it would be around $300 and I figured that most of this was labor.

If it is as much as you say it is, I will either put up with it or fix it myself.

I think the recirculation flap is working, Occasionally my center vent blows cold. Before I asked the guy to fix the evaporatoir I told him about how the #&%#@! center vent did not work and asked him to tell me how much to fix the whole damned thing, which he didn't do.

Hence, I want to fix it myself. I just need some advice as to how to get to the silly pods. Where can I find this info, for as cheap as possible?

Thanks to anyone who wants to help us (as you see there are several of us).

I sure wish the A/C on my Mercedes was as good as the one on my Hyundai Excel!
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Semibodacious Transmogrifications a Specialty

1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)

"Time flies like and arrow, yet fruit flies like a banana"
---Marx (Groucho)
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  #7  
Old 08-21-2002, 04:59 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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Richard,

If your mechanic just changed your evaporator...I wonder if he left some vacuum lines disconnected...
Most MB mechanics will recommend to change those things while they are there. Charge should be mostly parts when you remove the dash. They are on top. You can not miss them!
Did you have that problem before replacement?
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  #8  
Old 08-21-2002, 05:45 PM
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Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 645
my A/C problems

Yes, the car had a bunch of problems: there was a slow leak in the evaporator, the thing blew intermittently out of the center vent, it occasionally blew hot air out of the center vent, and finally the stupid hideously expensive yet remarkably cheap-o looking blower motor died, and the fool thing became uninhabitable with the windows up.

I wanted them to put a copper evaporator in it, but the one they ordered would not fit, they said, and they put an aluminum one in it instead. They did replace a gizmo that had a plastic head connected to a long aluminum tube that was allegedly responsible for the hot air from the center vent problem. I told the guy about the center vent problem at least four times, including in writing, typed out in 14 point Roman.

I just want to find out how to get to the various pod things and replace them myself. It won't matter if the previous mechanic did or did not reconnect the hoses, because if I take it to the shop I doubt they would admit it even if they did. I am not wanting to blame anyone, because that will get me nowhere. I just want the &^##$@ thing fixed. I don't CARE about blaming anyone.

I have found that the best way to do something right is to do it yourself.

I was told that changing the shocks in this car (the tires had cupping wear in the front) would cost $900.00 and that I could only have Boge standard shocks, because "no one sold HD Bilsteins anymore." It was a very, very hard job, they said, and I asked three mechanics, that required special tools and a lift and removing the seats.

Naturally, as a reader of this forum I bought the damn things myself for $421.00 delivered (HD Bilstein, including the steering arm shock). I also replaced the rubber bumpers and the bellows on the front shocks for another $35.00. I was told that no one ever bought those parts, but they were obviously seriously eroded, so the job I did was better than the $900 job I was quoted.

It took me a day, but it wasn't all that hard and al I needed was a couple of jacks (a bumper jack and a bottle jack), a little patience and several good cuss words. I had to remove the liner from the trunk, but no seats. The hard part was getting the holes to line up un the housing s at the bottom of the rear shocks. I used a "picklefork" and a crowbar to get them in and then a couple of screwdrivers that are now slightly bent.

It makes a major difference in the way the car handles. The old shocks were still hard to compress, unlike the shocks I changed on an 82 Buick Regal, which were as loose as a trombone.

Curiously, the Buick didn't ride that much better even with new HD Monroe shocks.

My tire cupping problem has disappeared.

What I need to know is how to get the dash off and how to replace those pods.
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Semibodacious Transmogrifications a Specialty

1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)

"Time flies like and arrow, yet fruit flies like a banana"
---Marx (Groucho)
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  #9  
Old 08-21-2002, 06:52 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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It is NOT hard but, it is labor intensive!

Unfortunately, I had the manuals when I did it. If you going to keep your car for a while, I highly recommend for you to buy the manuals. Consider that an investment that will pay itself off with your very first job: Dash removal.
It is too involved to give you directions without any pictures. there is a lot of things connected under the dash and potentially dangerous i.e air bag(s). I am NOT discouraging you to do the job but, I AM discouring you to do it without the manuals. I hope you understand.
On the other hand, it is definately "doable". I am a DIY'er and I did it.
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'86 300E
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2002, 10:54 AM
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Location: Miami, FL
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About those pods

Member Easley says it is eight hours to replace the pods on a 300D and J Hidalgo says that they are right on top and easy to find and the cost should be mostly parts.

Are you guys both talking about the same 124 body or are we comparing apples and oranges here?

Why don't they make these things easier to work on? I know that GMC deliberately makes their cars impossible to fix inside the dashboard, but why wouild Mercedes (engineered like no other car) fdo this? Why should I ever have a problem with the air not blowing out of the obvious vent? I have never had this problem with any orher car. I think this system is overengineered.

I am amazed by the cleverness of design of my modest Hyundai Excel: the headliner is some sort of harder vinyl that is not stuck up with the usual foam. The instrument cluster can be removed in 5 minutes with a Phillips screwdriver.

And the A/C has had only one leak in 13 years. Now it the silly thing only steered like a Mercedes and felt safe over 60 mph...
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Semibodacious Transmogrifications a Specialty

1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)

"Time flies like and arrow, yet fruit flies like a banana"
---Marx (Groucho)
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2002, 12:18 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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They ARE easy to find...

once you remove the dash.
We are talking about the same thing. To remove the dash, it is going to take you a good part of the day, depending of your mechanical abilities...
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2002, 12:43 PM
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As one who's been there before I offer this. Get a 124 Body and chassis manual and take photos as you go. And forget that part about removing the steering wheel. Just extend it all the way out before disconnecting the battery. Oh yeah, you'll need plenty of time and beer!
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2002, 12:49 PM
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Richard,
I have a 91 300D 2.5 Turbo which is similiar to yours. Before I disabled that vacuum line 2 weeks ago, I had to touch the temperature setting dial so often in order to get the air out of the center vents. Whenever the temp dial's was set closer to the interior temp then the air will come out of there. As it cooled down then you have to reset it again and again and again....just to keep it flowing thru there.

May be you can try this. remove the glove compartment, you will see a vacuum distributor strip with all vacuum lines connected to it. locate and disconnect the 2nd vac. line(green) from top which has connection aligned horizontally. plug the supply end with a short vac hose and BB. this allow the air come out of the center vent at all time regardless what the dial setting is. I think this will let the Recirc flap open too because I don't feel the air is as cold as it was before. This weekend, I'll tape the Recirc air intake completely. I'll just roll a window down whenever I need some fresh air.

Hope this temp fix will help.
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2002, 01:18 PM
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The Center Vent Thing

Thanks for the tip. I too feel that the window is the best way to get fresh air. I was really fnd of windwings, but somehow they have discontinued them.

I will look at the glove box and see how hard that is to remove.

I don't think my steering wheel moves at all, certainly not in or out. I assume that disconnecting the battery will disable the airbag.

I like the bit about how one is supposed to replace the airbag every 10 or 11 or 12 years. Sure, I am going to actually PAY
over a grand because this fool thing just might not work? I use the belts.

I have managed to survive 61 years without an airbag and even riding a bicycle without one of those goofy helmets. The last time I wore one of those, I got so much sweat in my eyes I could not see.


I am not sure which manual I will need. I suppose I will have to call MB. And probably pay through the nostrils. Where is Cap'n Kidd when you need him? Arrr! I have yet to see a 300D manual or disk on E Bay.
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Semibodacious Transmogrifications a Specialty

1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)

"Time flies like and arrow, yet fruit flies like a banana"
---Marx (Groucho)
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:52 PM
mikey-az
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Smile Finally...

Ok, I finally got the dash off of my W124 '90 300E. It took me hours to do (i'm not exactly sure how long...I did it over a couple of days) because I was working without a manual, but it is off and I am waiting for the new diaphragms to come in the mail. When doing this job, it is not necessary to take off the steering wheel or the two lower trim panels (knee bolsters?). You just have to unscrew them from the upper panels and gently bend them down a bit to pull the dash off. You don't even have to disconnect the parking brake lever. All in all, I'd say that this was not a hard job to do, but it is very time consuming and tedious. Thankfully, I have another car to drive while I am working on this one. Another helpful thing for me was to group the screws together in plastic bags and label where they came from and also label some of the connections that go to the instrument cluster. Augh...the things I do for Auto-climate control... ;oP
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