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Old 09-17-2002, 05:37 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 195
190D snow traction

Winters coming. How is a 1984 2.2 190D in the snow? I am concerned about the traction issue as I have some hills to travel and have had a front wheel drive diesel for many years( VW's).
My 190D is a 5 speed.
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Old 09-17-2002, 06:31 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
The W201 chassis is not the optium car for snow use. It's a little light in the back end, and has an open final drive and no traction control.

I had pretty good success with 190E's in winter conditions by using high quality snow tires and a little weight in the trunk, as close to the back seat as possible.

Don't make the goof of putting a bunch of sandbags in the trunk. This radically changes the weight distribution, and can cause trailing throttle oversteer in a big way. I found only 20-30lbs right at the front of the trunk (close to the back seat) worked to add a little balance, and with good snow tires, the car got around pretty good.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 09-17-2002, 08:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

In general, the Diesel has good low end torque compared to the gas versions, and this is good for snow conditions, especially getting going from a stop in tough conditions. Start in second gear and really let the engine lug (almost stall) until it gets going. The only real extra challenge a Diesel poses is when you lift off the throttle to slow down, the higher compression ratio leads to greater compression braking of the rear wheels only. And that can inspire the rear end to pass the front in low traction conditions. Get used to stepping on the clutch early and avoid engine braking in bad conditions.

I actually like the W201 chassis performance in snow, although my experience is with the 190E 2.3-16, which has a limited slip differential. But it also comes with wider tires, which can cause serious degradation of performance on snow. A little extra weight at the forward end of the trunk as noted above, and the tire size the car calls for as well as a good all season or winter tread design/rubber compound and you should do better than average, especially for rear wheel drive vehicles.

Good luck, Jim
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

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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Old 09-17-2002, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Lakewood NY
Posts: 85
Install new studded snow tires and always travel with 2 fat chicks in the back seat!
J. William Tarbrake
NY State Dealer 7014303DLU
Registered repair shop R7014303
82 300SD modified for waste vegatable oil
92 300SE 270K miles perfect
79 450SEL (2 tone custom paint for special occations) SOLD
80 450SL
79 450SL 69K Miles FOR SALE
86 Carver 28 Voyager twin 270 Crusaders (SOLD)
94 CARVER 32 Voyager(SOLD)
67 Chris Craft 40' Aft Cabin(twin ford 427 side oilers)
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Old 09-18-2002, 10:30 AM
Posts: n/a
The latest issue of the MBCA Star has an article on driving in the snow. The editor went to a Bridgestone winter-driving school in Colorado and reported on it.
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Old 09-18-2002, 11:16 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 57
I put Pirelli P3000 (all seasons) on my 190E 2.3, and about 100lbs (2 bags of top soil or something) in the trunk, works very well in snow, no problems.
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Old 09-18-2002, 12:11 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Lathrup Village, Michigan
Posts: 2,939
I have done well in my W201 with one or two bags of cement in the trunk. Without the weight it gets a little squirrely.
Michael LaFleur

'05 E320 CDI - 86,000 miles
'86 300SDL - 360,000 miles
'85 300SD - 150,000 miles (sold)
'89 190D - 120,000 miles (sold)
'85 300SD - 317,000 miles (sold)
'98 ML320 - 270,000 miles (sold)
'75 300D - 170,000 miles (sold)
'83 Harley Davidson FLTC (Broken again) :-(
'61 Plymouth Valiant - 60k mikes
2004 Papillon (Oliver)
2005 Tzitzu (Griffon)
2009 Welsh Corgi (Buba)

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