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Old 04-14-2000, 09:56 PM
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This is an alert! After a SERIOUS failure of my plastic tank radiator (blasted thing just blew apart at 50 mph on a freeway) I want to alert everyone to the reality that this lousy plastic piece of german junk is likely to blow apart at any time. Please watch your radiator's age and spend the $1000 ($500 if you are smart and buy it on line and get some nice person to install it for you for $50) it costs to replace it once in a while before you have to replace a $4000+ engine. This is especially true if your engine mounts have ever failed (so I am told by my dealer, after it was too late!)

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Old 04-14-2000, 10:20 PM
Mike Murrell's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 2,574

What Make/Model/Engine this did problem occur in?

Mike Murrell
Boerne Texas
'91 300-SEL
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Old 04-14-2000, 10:28 PM
MB Shop Retiree
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Hockessin, DE
Posts: 1,047
My radiator reserve hose/tank blew once and I lost all pressure to the radiator coolant. I quickly turned off the car and moved it to the side of the road. The reason being was that the ring on the plastic tank wasn't holding the hoses tight enough. Besides, that hose had never been replaced. It was always inspected thought at every service. I made sure I didnt have the car on a second longer then needed when it happend. And even though it was a hot day, the car and engine are fine. $200 to replace the reserve tank.

Chirag (Charlie) Patel

- 99 Mercedes-Benx ML 430 V8 w/custom TV, Video, UHF, speaker system
- 93 190E 2.6 (4-sale) w/ an amp, equalizer, and CD-changer, integrated w. stock stereo for integrated cellular phone speaker system
- had a 93 190E m103 3.2, 5-speed trans,
- had a 88 300E 2.6
- had a 84 300TD w/275k+ miles
- 2001 C-Class - Maybe (if 190E sells)
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Old 04-14-2000, 10:32 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
I belive that we do this repair on the 124 for about 550 installed with an OE part. and a thermostat

Donnie Drummonds
1992 500E (very soon I hope
1981 280GE SWB
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Old 04-15-2000, 09:42 PM
Posts: n/a
Yeah, what a piece of German junk, my plastic, German, junkie radiator only went 410,000 miles without any problems, but it blew up when I hit a coyote at 55 MPH.

And then to show how dumb I am, I put another plastic German piece of junk radiator on, and it's only made it another 100,000 miles, it'll probably blow up any minute.

Plastic German piece of junk!

Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 516K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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Old 04-16-2000, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
BEFORE casting so many stones at the Germans, realize that this design was mandated by our Government!! Have you heard of LEAD posioning?? Solder is composed of lead & repairing of radiators is dangerous to your health. ALL car companies use plastic/aluminum for weight & heat transfer. There are aftermarket radiators from 3rd world countries still made from brass/copper/lead.

[This message has been edited by M.B.DOC (edited 04-16-2000).]
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Old 04-16-2000, 01:49 PM
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Please go back and read my post. It was totally tongue in cheek.

My point was that I've had absolutely no trouble with plastic radiators.

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Old 04-16-2000, 02:05 PM
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Location: Springfield, MO
Posts: 270
My radiator blew up at about 60k on my 300E. I think it was around 550-600 to replace.

'92 300E
'74 Vette
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Old 04-17-2000, 02:42 PM
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Location: Tampa, Florida, USA
Posts: 214
Lead poisoning!

Argh, I'm gonna have to stop drinking my used coolant, then.

- Nathan
'83 240D, 250k miles
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Old 04-17-2000, 08:16 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Here.
Posts: 315
Well if some of you think that the german radiators are "german pice of junk" then here is an excerpt from a short letter from the local paper about two weeks ago (from the Wheels section). The gentleman was listing the parts he replaced on his Jeep (don't remember the exact model or year (it was not that old though) I can dig up the copy if really neded) during 250k miles of driving. It included 3 steering racks, and six (count them, 6) radiators. I am on my second at about 225k on my 300E. My Reanults also had aluminium/plastic rads they always lasted at least 150k miles.
By the way if you don't do your maintenance or don't pay someone to do it for you bad things bound to happen. Nothing like a quick peak under the hood once a week.

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Old 05-07-2000, 07:17 PM
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I have an '86 190E 2.3-16v. Recently, the plastic radiator inlet elbow developed a crack causing the coolant to shoot out like a geyser. I took the radiator to the Reseda Radiator shop (Reseda,CA) and where it was disassembled and repaired in just 2 hours for $135. They installed a new tank that has a metal reenforcement sleeve inside the inlet elbow and also put a new gasket on the outlet tank. All in all, they did a superb job and I've had no trouble at all.
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Old 02-23-2004, 12:09 AM
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Location: AL
Posts: 1,219
Those radiators ARE junk and they DO blow up. It's happened to me four times. I was only stranded on the side of the freeway once. The other times I had learned to clamp the hose onto the remaining plastic nub long enough to get home. And once I helped a stranded motorist with the same problem with that trick.

It's an extremely serious situation with potentially devastating results.

Especially bad are the older radiators that don't have the metal ring in the neck. I assume all those have exploded by now.

The plastic gets brittle and the neck snaps right off. The plastic tstat housing was the same way and MB changed it to metal.

MB should be ashamed. When I spoke to MB customer dis-service about it, the attitude was, "So? What do you expect after 100K miles?" Maybe those aluminum wheels are supposed to fall apart at 100K miles, too? Heck, why not, with thier reasoning?

Geez, it's not a wear item like tires. I haven't seen where the radiator is supposed to be replaced at specific intervals.

Nor have I EVER had a radiator totally fail like that in any other car except MBs. Little leaks? Yes, long ago. Catastrophic failure? Never.

But yes, I love the 124 series. EXCEPT for the radiators and the evaporators.
2012 E350
2006 Callaway SC560
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Old 02-23-2004, 02:01 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Colleyville, Texas
Posts: 2,694
Of the radiators that failed.

What antifreeze were you using?

One of the technical advisors in the Mercedes Benz Club of America, a chemist by degree did an analysis of the various antifreezes available. The Mercedes antifreeze remains PH neutral thoughout its life. This prevents the deterioration of the plastic that makes up the radiator.
Use Mercedes antifreeze and you won't have a problem with the radiator.
86300SDL 275,000 miles, original radiator.
82 300TD radiator replaced at 160,000 mi Center section collapsed
88 560SL only 90,000 miles original radiator
All my cars have Mercedes antifreeze and only Mercedes antifeeze, even the 65 Mustang.

1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
1980 240D, owned 1990-1992
1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
2008 Hyundai Tiberon. Daughters new car
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Old 02-23-2004, 04:12 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Northern Va.
Posts: 3,386
Plastic radiators are a consumable and need to be replaced every 100K miles or 10 years. That goes for the overflow tanl as well.

Don't forget the hoses.


Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL


Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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Old 02-23-2004, 09:44 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Long Island, NY U.S.A.
Posts: 102
Whats wrong with using Prestone DexCool (orange stuff) ? Its good for aluminum engines and is silicate and phosphate free and also the 5/150 blend is good for 5yrs/150,000mi. to boot!


59 Ranchero
83 928 Euro S
84 928 Euro S
87 300D Turbo-Frybrid "WVO, Tastes Great - Less Filling"
90 750 IL
91 560 SEL
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