Titivating my Mercedes 124

Titivating my Mercedes 124

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r129sl

Original Poster:

9,518 posts

206 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
This topic is going to be about my disease. Mine is a disease of the mind. More specifically, a disease of the will. I am an addict. My poison is throwing endless time, money and thought at my ancient Mercedes estate. It beats any drug that I have tried. Perhaps the fact that I haven't tried any drugs has something to do with that.

Anyway, back in 1993 I learned to drive in a Mercedes 300 D and I have loved the w124 model ever since. I don't really know why. It's not important. In 2007 I bought a 320 TE at auction. In 2012, my wife wrote it off when a large and previously invisible concrete wall just leapt out in front of her. In May 2012, I bought my ideal 124. Well, ideal colour. And ideal engine and configuration. Not much else was ideal. A smoke silver E300 diesel T-Model. I have a growing family, I drive 55,000miles a year, I was sick and tired of fuelling a 320 TE, SL500 and 500 SEC. So I bought this E300 sight unseen off Ebay. 230,000miles. I made the seller an out of auction offer of £1,200 which he turned down, so much interest was this car attracting. I won the bidding at £1,076. The omens were good.

And when it arrived it was alright.

In the 21months and 47,000miles since it rolled off the flatbed, I have done or had done the following very extensive list of mechanical and cosmetic work:

ENGINE
Radiator
Engine mounts
Transmission mount
Breather tubes
Timing chain
Guide rails
Vacuum pump
Timing wheel
Injection pump (used)
Poly-V belt
Tensioner
Glow plugs
Glow plug relay
Exhaust centre section
Exhaust rear muffler
Fuel pipes

BRAKES
Front calipers
Front discs
Front pads
Rear discs
Rear pads
Brake lines
Parking brake linings

STEERING
Steering box
Track rods
Centre drag link
Idler arm bush
Steering damper

FRONT SUSPENSION
Springs
Shocks
Shock top mounts
Ball joints
Front wheel bearings
Anti-roll bar brackets
Anti-roll bar bushes

REAR SUSPENSION
Spheres
Springs
Pipework
Sub-frame bushes
Diff carrier bushes
All links and bushes
Rear wheel bearings
Prop shaft carrier bearing
Front prop shaft damper
Anti-roll bar brackets
Anti-roll bar bushes

AIR CONDITIONING
Condensor
Evaporator
Receiver/dryer
Cabin air vents
Blower motor

BODYWORK
N/S/R wing repair
Front bumper
Headlamp lenses
Indicator lenses
Repeater lenses
Bonnet star

INTERIOR
Centre console trim
Headlamp switch trim
Heated seats installed
Electric seats (memory on driver’s side) installed
Leather seats installed
Electric mirror switch
Steering wheel
Gear selector knob
Additional sound deadening in doors
Retrofit fire extinguisher
Washer bottle

OTHER SYSTEMS
New keys
Ignition barrel
Central locking vacuum pump (used)
Driver’s door vacuum element
Front speakers (Rainbow)
Headunit (Becker Indianapolis Pro)
Aerial (Hirschmann)
Wheels
Tyres
Washer fluid level sender
Washer fluid bottle lid
Washer bottle
N/S headlamp wiper motor
O/S headlamp wiper motor
Headlamp washer pump
Instrument cluster (used)
Outside temperature gauge
NSR lamp bulb holder
Battery
Cruise control ECU
Wiper motor
Number plates

Having just about exhausted the mechanical possibilities (I am still considering a new alternator and air con compressor, you know, in the cause of preventative maintenance), on Monday it heads to the body shop to have the exterior brought up to scratch.

These are the problems (photos to follow):
(1) both front wings rusty
(2) top edge of n/s/r door rusty
(3) o/s loadspace window lower frame rusty
(4) rust in area of bonnet hinge
(5) inner wings rusty
(6) underside of bonnet rusty at the leading edge
(7) small dent under o/s/r lamp
(8) bodywork dinged and shabby all over commensurate with 277,000miles and the pig ignorant tts with whom I share my office car park

The car will be stripped of all lights, grilles, handles, mirrors, bumpers, trims and Sacco panels as well as door and window seals. The front and rear screens are coming out. The loadspace side windows will come out, too. The rear door quarter windows are coming out. The bonnet will come off and most likely the tailgate, too.

I have ordered two new genuine front wings (£373 inc VAT for the pair) and a new genuine n/s/r door (£125 inc VAT from one of the NOS merchants, very pleased about that). I am hoping to obtain new loadspace side window seals from someone in the Merc club who had them for sale a while ago.

The rust will be treated or removed, the dings filled, the dent pulled. It will be painted from the roof down in DB9702 smoke silver metallic with the bumpers and Sacco panels in DB7176 mussel grey with satin clear. (The roof is fine and it would add significantly to the expense to remove the headlining, sunroof, roof bars and rails and refit the same.) Then I guess it is a matter of putting it all back together again. It will get a new front windscreen. I am expecting this to take three to four weeks.

The cost of the paint job is £2,000 plus the parts I have mentioned. I may well buy a new grille (except at £275, I may not) and new rear lamps. I may also buy new front and rear wiper arms. The rear one in particular is pretty grotty. I wouldn't mind new mirror glasses. But it all adds up and these trim parts are £50 to £100 each.

I am not expecting a perfect, concours car. But I do want something which is rust-, ding- and dent-free and which is the same colour and finish all over. Something which looks good in the summer when it is waxed up. The car gets used, easily 30,000miles a year; my three year old loves washing it (generally with rocks or whatever is to hand) and puking up in it, so I can't be too precious.

I will post photos of the blemishes tomorrow and I will update this thread as work progresses. In the meantime, here it is looking deceptively good doing what it does best:









A bit of the rust is visible in this one (it has worsened over the winter). You have no idea how much fun it is shoving stones through the holes of those brand new eight hole wheels.


Feel free to hurl abuse (I know I could lease a white Audi A4 TDI S-Line for 55new pence a month) or ask embarrassing questions (I know it is not worth spending a penny more on this ancient old car). I have no shame. You have the theory. Let's see what happens in practice.


Edited by r129sl on Tuesday 25th February 22:15


Edited by r129sl on Monday 17th March 13:32

Codswallop

5,250 posts

197 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
I love W124s, as I'm sure many other people on here do to. Doubt you'll be getting any abuse for keeping the lovely car on the road.

80's and 90's Mercs just have something about them that I love. The fact that a W123 was one of the first cars I ever drove must have something to do with it...

jaacck

200 posts

143 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
Quite an extensive list of what you have done to the car to get it to almost the quality when it was new. bit insane but hey ho. each to there own.

Almost bought one of these to drive to barcelona in and sell/abandon when there and fly home but ended up abandoning the trip instead.

Caruso

7,456 posts

259 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
I have the same disease. Just spent £600+ fixing the interior lights on my 162k mile BMW 540 Touring. It does make financial sense though. I'd rather be paying maintenance on really nice older car than depreciation on an average newer one.

derin100

5,215 posts

246 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
YOU COMPLETE LUNATIC !!!




laugh

Then I read down the list and realised it reads basically (give and take some items) the same for my white 300CE !


That is going to be one superb Estate!

clap

0a

23,921 posts

197 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
The best of luck, I have never seen such scroll requirements before on all PH reader car threads.

However the W124 is the best car Mercedes has ever made, and you can't buy a new one.

EDIT: About to do the same with the 300e in my profile that will always be worth even less - nobody wants a lovely green 4 door with all the kit and leather (and rear sunblind/ignorer) apart from me it seems. I don't care!

Edited by 0a on Tuesday 25th February 22:25

Disco You

3,689 posts

183 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
Trigger's broom comes to mind laugh

bmthnick1981

5,311 posts

219 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
Excellent, look forward to following your progress!

sim16v

2,177 posts

204 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
Brilliant!

I was made redundant last year and lost my company diesel Mondeo.

I've just bought a C43 Estate, which I know is the wrong thing to do regarding fuel costs, but I really want a 124 estate next.

Some time soon it will happen!

idiotgap

2,112 posts

136 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
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As you know I'm no stranger to splurging cash on s124 rennovations so I'll be watching your thread with interest. Best of luck!

0a

23,921 posts

197 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
sim16v said:
I've just bought a C43 Estate
My word - more details, impressions, and pictures please!

Hyde

514 posts

151 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
derin100 said:
YOU COMPLETE LUNATIC !!!
This ^^^

I would love to do something similar

Can't wait to see the finished job clap


dbdb

4,374 posts

176 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
That's quite a list of work! I guess it is inevitable that bits of rust need fettling and many of the mechanical parts need to be refreshed on old cars if they are to perform properly and especially if you use them a lot.

I have an XJ40; I'm sure many people would regard me as spending a disproportionate amount of money on that too (several times its meagre value), but that is not the way I see it. I believe that after this volume of work is done, the clock is reset to a great extent and the car won't demand more heavy spending for a year or two.

Unfortunately, the decision to run the car properly involves a real catch-up period. Most of the problems will have been circling previous owners for years, gradually getting worse. Finally, there comes a point when all of the jobs become urgent and need to be done at the same time. It gets expensive and many people just scrap the car. It's why they're rare. It's a sad end for a quality car like the Mercedes 124 or my XJ40. I understand it, but I am glad there are people out there who keep such cars on the road. What you're doing with your 300 D is marvellous!


Hooli

32,278 posts

203 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
I used to have a W124 260e & can understand why your doing it. They are excellent cars & the only way you could fault them is to say they are dull because everything always works exactly as it should.

londonbabe

2,067 posts

195 months

Tuesday 25th February 2014
quotequote all
Great car, and the right colour too.
I thought I was nuts spending 2 grand on my £800 300TE-24, but it's such a terrific car and it now drives like new.
I'll be looking forward to updates.

147lusso

173 posts

145 months

Wednesday 26th February 2014
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Completely get it..my dad has an e320 coup sportline with around 240k.. Essentially every penny invested you will never see again, but it's worth it.! Such a lovely car.

r129sl

Original Poster:

9,518 posts

206 months

Wednesday 26th February 2014
quotequote all
dbdb said:
...I believe that after this volume of work is done, the clock is reset to a great extent and the car won't demand more heavy spending for a year or two.

Unfortunately, the decision to run the car properly involves a real catch-up period. Most of the problems will have been circling previous owners for years, gradually getting worse. Finally, there comes a point when all of the jobs become urgent and need to be done at the same time. It gets expensive and many people just scrap the car. It's why they're rare. It's a sad end for a quality car like the Mercedes 124 or my XJ40. I understand it, but I am glad there are people out there who keep such cars on the road. What you're doing with your 300 D is marvellous!
You have summarised my thinking exactly. I thought it was only me.

Here's the rust. The dings don't photograph but there's a lot of them. It's not too bad for its age and mileage but now is time to sort it.

Edit: the wheels you see are its winter wheels. They're in shabby condition but they're only on from late-October to early-April.














Edited by r129sl on Wednesday 26th February 07:23

jamest

31 posts

270 months

Wednesday 26th February 2014
quotequote all
Great post and very timely for me as I am wrangling with whether to keep my 95 E280 estate. I bought it off Ebay in Sep 2012 with 145k miles for £1200, for no reason other than because I've always wanted one. I drove it home and was immediately disappointed - big and floaty with that dead travel at the top of the throttle making it hard to drive smoothly until you get used to it. I spent a weekend cleaning it up and sent it to AJ Robertson in Hove for a service, check over, geo and new tyres. It was a different car when it returned, I started driving it everywhere and loved it. Then we had our third child, couldn't fit in it as a family anymore (one too many child seats to fit across the back)and it has sat in the garage for the last 6 months. I wheeled it out at the weekend to clean it along with our 'modern' cars, it feels like it will outlive them by 30 years despite being 18 years older. I was set on selling but I can't seem to bring myself to do it so am now considering keeping it and spending some money even though I have no use for it whatsoever. The wheels need a refurb, the two front wings have some bubbling in the usual place, the nearside door mirror surround needs repainting, there is a patch of rust on the rear tailgate, the rear heated screen only partially clears, the tailgate struts need replacing and the fuel gauge is not to be trusted but mechanically it is very sound. I reckon I could get it into fine shape for less than a grand, I'd still have no use for it but it seems so much more sensible than selling it for £1.5k, my wife thinks I am insane.

I am looking forward to reading your updates.

tobinen

9,328 posts

148 months

Wednesday 26th February 2014
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Expenditure comparable to my 210! Good work sir.

r129sl

Original Poster:

9,518 posts

206 months

Wednesday 26th February 2014
quotequote all
I think I have confirmed the availability of new and genuine seals for the loadspace windows at a reduced price.

Must resist the temptation to buy random trim parts...