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  #1  
Old 07-06-2000, 11:52 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
For those of you who have followed my experiences with my 180K 300E, here is another chapter. I am not complaining, but in sharing this, I hope that others will learn of the complexities, expense, and pitfalls of the 124 AC system.

When I bought the 300E in April, it had a frozen compressor, and no power to the compressor. I decided to convert it to R134 since I really enjoy the car and want to keep it around for a while.

Here is a summary of what I spent and what happened.

Parts:

From Partsshop:

Rebuilt Behr Compressor (incl clutch) - $465
Drier bottle and switches - $110

From Performance Analysis

Manifold pipe - $400

From dealer

Expansion valve, oil, seals - $120

My plan was to install all of the new components, and take it to a shop for flushing and servicing.

I replaced the compressor, after following the directions to add oil. The Behr unit is shipped without a speed sensor, or manifold pipe connector, so I installed those from the old compressor. Installed the compressor to make the car driveable. So far so good.

With the parts installed, the car was ready to go to Silver Star Motors for flushing, evac, and charging. Shortly before took it there, I discoved that the compressor had leaked a quantity of oil. The shop determnined that this was caused by an improperly installed speed sensor. The result was that the shop R/R'd the compressor, drained the oil, and refilled it. In the course of doing this, they discovered that the belt tensioner, and shock absorber were shot, and replaced them. They also replaced the hose from the condensor to the drier. Then they flushed the system until they quit getting metal out, installed the expansion valve, evac'd it, and refilled it with R134.

Total bill at Silver Star - $1127 ($630 labor, $497 parts and misc.)

Total cost for entire job - $2,342.

Not complaining or feeling screwed. Just want to make others aware of what they are getting into when they undertake major repair to a 124 AC system. I could easily have added $1000 to this total by using all Mercedes parts.

Lessons learned -

Be damned careful to get the compressor speed sensor on correctly and make sure it does not leak before installing the compressor.

System now works great - good luck to all who attempt this.

------------------
Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'86 300E 5 speed
'95 C220 (wife's car)
'98 Porsche Boxster
Past: '79 280E, '82 300D (18 yrs), '77 240D,
4 250C's
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  #2  
Old 07-11-2000, 11:18 AM
CMCon98
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Why is it that european manufacturers can't seem to engineer a decent A/C system? Old American cars from the '60s and '70s had arctic A/C systems that would cool their huge interiors in minutes, and didn't screw up until the rest of the car was worn out. I remember freezing as a kid in my parents' '70 Bonneville. Modern Japanese cars also have good systems, even in the lowliest Corolla or Sentra. By contrast, Benz, Volvo, BMW, and others used primitive piston type compressors well into the '80s, and their systems were/are largely useless on the 95-degree days when you needed them most. Seems like the companies that engineered such wonderful engines/suspensions/seats, etc. could have engineered a good A/C system, or at least purchased a new Caprice and copied the GM system. What do you guys think?
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  #3  
Old 07-11-2000, 01:36 PM
spinedoc's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: North Grafton, MA USA
Posts: 700
Agreed. The 124 A/C system is terrible, especially judging by the high percentage of posts on this site about the 124 A/C.

I have owned many 10+ year old cars, many with terrible maintenance, and the A/C always worked good on these, sometimes needing only a recharge and nothing else. I have owned chevys, fords, toyotas, hondas.

Just something us 124 owners have to live with.

------------------
1987 300E
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  #4  
Old 07-11-2000, 03:03 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Posts: 238
quote:
Originally posted by CMCon98:
Why is it that european manufacturers can't seem to engineer a decent A/C system? Old American cars from the '60s and '70s had arctic A/C systems that would cool their huge interiors in minutes, and didn't screw up until the rest of the car was worn out. I remember freezing as a kid in my parents' '70 Bonneville. Modern Japanese cars also have good systems, even in the lowliest Corolla or Sentra. By contrast, Benz, Volvo, BMW, and others used primitive piston type compressors well into the '80s, and their systems were/are largely useless on the 95-degree days when you needed them most. Seems like the companies that engineered such wonderful engines/suspensions/seats, etc. could have engineered a good A/C system, or at least purchased a new Caprice and copied the GM system. What do you guys think?


A Austrian friend of mine here had an 85 coupe and he had no end of trouble with the european spec a/c, would not cool at all in the summer despite working leak free and all fans running. He told me that this is by design and that the german federal authorities seem to think that anything more than a 7 degree temperature drop is unhealthy for the human body and design their a/c systems accordingly. Whilst this is O.K. for a resonably "mild" german summer, clearly it's of no use here when we have had recent temperatures up to 48 celcius. It kind of makes sense to me as the cooling properties of freon is pretty much the same irrespective of the car inwhich it is cooling and as you state, Japanese systems, certainly here, are really the business, all using the same gas. German spec cars here really arent that popular as a first choice, mainly as people really need a good a/c system for about 8 months of the year. An auto a/c system is fairly common for all cars as all the components are pretty much common for all types. I don't suspect for a minute MB are lagging behind anyone when it comes to design capability ! Only a thought !


------------------
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  #5  
Old 07-11-2000, 08:37 PM
Mike Murrell's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 2,351
Chuck - I sent you $1.00 Sunday night. I suspect you'll get it today; maybe Wed.
Then you won't be broke.

Regards.

Mike Murrell
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2000, 12:21 AM
unkl300d's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 2,267
Thanks for the thought provoking anectdote.
I rely on fog in my city to
a/c my 300D although the 300se
and C280 have performed pretty
good so far at 100 Faren. on trips.
Cheers!
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2000, 12:33 AM
GaryL
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Audi was the only smart one: they bought the GM cadillac system lock stock and control head when they introduced the 5000 in the early 80's. Friends of mine with Beamers and MB's couldn't believe it cooled so much or so fast. I just smiled.

quote:
Originally posted by CMCon98:
Why is it that european manufacturers can't seem to engineer a decent A/C system? Old American cars from the '60s and '70s had arctic A/C systems that would cool their huge interiors in minutes, and didn't screw up until the rest of the car was worn out. I remember freezing as a kid in my parents' '70 Bonneville. Modern Japanese cars also have good systems, even in the lowliest Corolla or Sentra. By contrast, Benz, Volvo, BMW, and others used primitive piston type compressors well into the '80s, and their systems were/are largely useless on the 95-degree days when you needed them most. Seems like the companies that engineered such wonderful engines/suspensions/seats, etc. could have engineered a good A/C system, or at least purchased a new Caprice and copied the GM system. What do you guys think?


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  #8  
Old 07-24-2000, 07:19 AM
LarryBible
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Posts: n/a
For years A/C was something the Europeans put on cars mostly for export to the US. It seems that now many are air conditioned in Europe, so I expect to see an improvement. Of course the quality in many other areas of the newer MB cars has gone downhill, but at least when they are running, maybe we will be cooler.

Have a great day,

------------------
Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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