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Old 05-20-2003, 12:58 AM
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Angry Can't Believe a 190e is More Difficult to Service Than a 944 Turbo

Hello all, I must apoligize in advance for the rant but I just cannot believe that a 190e can be more of a pain in the rear to service than my 944 Turbo. I have an 87 190e 2.6 and just tried ti change the serpentine belt. As you can guess I have been defeated tonight. I bought the fan clutch holder and the special 8mm hex tipped socket ( the Mercedes one not the Pep Boys special). Just the socket alone will barely fit between the radiator and the fan let alone the mini 3/8 drive breaker bar or socket wrench. I was hoping not to have to remove the radiator and front bumper on this car just to change a stupid belt...and it's not even a timing belt. Who designed this? Sorry for the rant but It takes less than fifteen minutes to change a serpentine belt on my VW...yes, I know it isn't of the same caliber of a Mercedes....but come on, this is rediculous. To have to remove a radiator and front bumper of a car just to change a serpentine belt??? Who ever designed/worked on this part of the car should be shot.
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Old 05-20-2003, 01:14 AM
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Fan & fan shroud removal first?

I have a 1.8 and i think that there is more "workspace" in the engine bay than a 2.6 so maybe it is easier to change the belt on my car.

That would explain your pain...

Would it have been easier if you had removed the fan and fan shroud first?

Just a thought.
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Old 05-20-2003, 01:32 AM
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Actually, the socket is used to remove the nut holding the fan on the fan clutch and the shrouds were moved away. There is a 3/4" clearance gap between the radiator and the fan. They really shoehorned this engine in there.
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Old 05-20-2003, 04:43 AM
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Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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The story goes that the 190 was deliberately designed so that a six cylinder engine would not fit, and it would only ever have the four. However, MB engineers were more ingenious that the designers, and managed to squeeze the six in.

I don't know if this story is true, or just an urban myth, but it's easy to believe when you look at the engine bay.
Cheers, Neil
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Old 05-20-2003, 11:06 AM
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If you're still defeated, go to and search for "socket cap set". Invaluable for those tight spaces.
Rick Miley
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Former MB: 99 E300, 86 190E 2.3, 87 300E, 80 240D, 82 204D Euro
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Old 05-20-2003, 11:14 AM
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Basically a true story, but the details are a little different. When designing the 201, installation of a six was not envisaged. The 201 design began in the late seventies and was MBZs response to the energy crisis, so only a four cylinder engine was planned, but when fuel prices dropped the engineers got creative. The 201/2.6 was first shown at the Tokyo Auto Show, circa '86. In production the early 2.6s have front end sheet metal that is 3mm longer than the fours, and you can verify this by looking at the front overhang spec and overall length. This fooled a lot of body shops!

Circa 1990/91 the longer front end became standard for all 201s.

As far as the belt change is concerned, I haven't done it, but picked up the following procedure off this forum.

"Slacken the large bolt (17mm) that goes through the centre of the tensioner. Then loosen the adjuster nut (13mm) and the pulley moves back so you can fit the new belt. Set the adjustable plastic arrow at the end of the cast triangle and tighten until it's at the other end. Finally, tighten the 17mm nut."

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Old 05-20-2003, 12:19 PM
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Location: Indianapolis
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My W124 manuals have a NOTE saying something to the effect that an alternative way to replace the belt is to loosen the alternator bolts and tip it to the side to remove tension from the belt".

Haven't tried this, makes sense though, and it's straight out of the factory manual.

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Old 05-20-2003, 09:12 PM
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The issue of serviceability is one reason I actually have a preference for the 2.3 M102 (4 cyl) in my 190E. Whilst I love the sweet, smooth and revvy M103 (6 cyl) like in our 300TE and would have liked the extra performance of the 2.6 in the 190E, I do not like the way it is shoe-horned in there. The W201 also gives sharper handling with the lighter four. Indeed, the W124 is also claimed to handle better with the four but the extra power and smoothness is nice in the larger car.
107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
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201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
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Old 05-20-2003, 10:04 PM
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Don't panic. It's not as bad as it looks! The upper radiator support/cross-member can be loosened and set to the side. This will give you enough room to remove the fan. Just remove the six 10mm bolts(three on each side), as well as the two in the center, in front of the A/C condenser. The hood release cable can be left alone. The upper radiator support can then be lifted up out of the way. The radiator can then be tilted forward enough to allow you to remove the fan safely. I know it's tight, but it works. I've done it hundreds of times. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-21-2003, 10:18 AM
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I'm not sure the clearance situation is all that much better on the 124.

Instead of the special hex key socket tool, just use an ordinary L-key wrench. Grind off the short end as needed to get the proper length for clearance, and put a short length of 3/8 steel pipe on it for extra leverage.

I also cut my fan shroud in half for easy removal. Cuts are at 12 and 6 o'clock, and zip ties through a couple of drilled holes hold it together. Not 'pretty', but very practical.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 05-21-2003, 11:18 AM
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Just saw a photo of the engine bay in a 6 cyl 190e.

Oooooohhhhhh...not good.

Really tight fit.

mbsickness, i share your grief...
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Old 05-21-2003, 11:19 AM
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When I replaced my W124 serpentine belt, I removed the fan shroud first, (and you can carefully get it completely out of the engine bay without removing other parts).

I then loosened and removed the 3 7mm hex bolts from the fan and removed the fan blade out of the engine bay.

This allowed enough room to gain access to the belt.

The belt tension is such that you can easily pry a screwdriver between one of the pulleys and the belt and coax the belt completely off.

Did the reverse of the above procedures to install. Total replacement time: 30 minutes.

Total replacement time on the VW: 1 minute!
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Old 05-21-2003, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for the input. I'll give it another try in a few days as my house is getting first priority. I think I will try to "lean" the radiator forward and see if that works. Other wise it will all come apart. Since I am changing the tensioner and shock, would it be better to remove the radiator anyway? Just a thought. Thanks.
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Old 05-21-2003, 03:01 PM
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Originally posted by Duke2.6
In production the early 2.6s have front end sheet metal that is 3mm longer than the fours, and you can verify this by looking at the front overhang spec and overall length. This fooled a lot of body shops!

Circa 1990/91 the longer front end became standard for all 201s.
amazing piece of trivia! - thanks Duke.

Looking at Carpoint verifies this - you can see the difference in overall length between a 1988 2.3 and 2.6.

the 1989 201s had the longer frontends as well.

this is useful to know, when trying to source fenders from the scrapyard.

it's also interesting to show your engine to people who don't know about the 190e2.6. When the hood is closed, they have an idea in their mind of the size of the engine, based on the size of the hood. When you open the hood, they are surprised by the size of the engine. I was - when I bought the car.

Last edited by bobbyv; 05-21-2003 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 05-21-2003, 03:37 PM
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A tidbit of useless info from me....

The belt on a 126 chassis with the 3.0 can be changed with no tools at all.. If the tensioner is already set to the correct or acceptable tension, you can just grab the belt at the top pulley, and pull it right off.. assembly is the reverse.. So, if your'e stuck on the side of the road

Draw a diagram first.. The routing is tricky...
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