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Old 02-25-2003, 04:35 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Posts: 19
manual transmission in a 124

I have been looking for a good 124 wagon for a while. Today I drove one imported from Germany and fell in love head over heals. It was an '86 300TE with a 5 speed manual. What a difference! What fun to have that marvelous straight six actually on tap!! Unfortunately, the car was a dog in every other way. So the qustion is, how feasible (and pricey) would it be to retrofit a 5 speed onto a North American 300TE (or,even better) a 300TD. Actually there is a very interestig car on the market here right now - a Japanase import 230TE - nice low mileage car, but automatic and a tad underpowered. Could one fit a 5-speed in that? Who might have such a transmission on this side of the Atlantic?

Thanks for any and all thoughts.
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Old 02-25-2003, 04:39 PM
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190E LimitedEdition Owner
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Virginia Beach, Va
Posts: 1,036
I have a 5-speed in my 93 190E 2.3 I wonder if it is the same transmission?


1998 C43 ///AMG
1999 C230 Custom 5-Speed Manual
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Old 02-25-2003, 05:24 PM
Posts: n/a
My main driver is an '88 300E with a five speed. There are only about 300 '88's and about 700 '86's that were shipped to the US as US eqipped cars. I too love driving one of these great cars with a stick.

As far as conversion, there is only one way I would attempt the transplant and that is if I had the ENTIRE donor car in the shop next to the recipient. This is the only way you could get everything exactly right.

My 300E is starting to get a little run down at 242,000 miles. It will go many more miles, but my thinking is to find a really nice, clean, low mileage 300E and use my current car as the manual transmission donor car. Then the rest of the car would be a parts car from there on out.

I love these cars enough that I would go through this hassle, but again only with the entire donor car at hand.

If the Euro wagon you looked at could be had cheap enough, you might consider the same approach.

Good luck,
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:04 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Posts: 19
Yes, I had that thought of that. That is, buying the Euro one and using it as a transplant car. In fact, I thought of buying both the Japanese 230TE and the Euro 300TE, swapping the trannies and then dumping the Euro one. They are both underpriced because they are oddball - although the 300TE is really not in good shape either. But would the trannies swap given the different engines?
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:58 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 627
I too would love our 300TE to be a 5-speed manual but they are unheard of in Australia. It took me long enough just to find our very tidy wagon. Anything in a manual here is rare which is why I bought the 190E 2.3 5-speed Sportline recently (very rare combination here). I can enjoy that and my wife (who prefers the auto anyway) drives the wagon.

Possibly, in your case you could buy a good auto wagon and find a cheap manual sedan as a donor car. Beware using a manual box from a 4 cylinder behind a six. There could be a compatability issue. I know the autos in the fours and 2.6 (six) were different to those in the 3 litre and larger powered cars.
107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.
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