Fitting S124 factory cross bars

Ever since I purchased my 300TE, I had wanted to replace the aftermarket roof racks with the S124 factory cross bars.   The car came with a set of Rhino Sportz roof racks, which looked like a decent, name brand roof rack.   However, my wife was quite keen for a set of roof racks for her car, and these would fit perfectly.   In addition, I was aware of how much better the S124 factory cross bars look on the car.   They are probably not as practical, but I can always temporarily fit the other roofracks if needed.

When I first purchased the car, I did some gumtree and eBay searches, and asked around in the club to find the S124 factory cross bars.   I was told they were like hens teeth.   Annoyingly, my father had a set of these in his garage for about 10 years after he sold his 1987 230TE.   I presume they were thrown away when my parents moved as I never saw them after that.   I suspect that is what happened to most of them.   The first owner forgot to put them with the car when selling and eventually they got thrown away.

When I was in the UK recently, I found a seller who had a set of four for a reasonable price.   I quickly snapped them up and had them overnighted to my hotel. This was in the same parts set as my amber turn signals and instrument cluster housing.   I no longer buy anything from the UK due to the exorbitant shipping.  However, bringing an extra box back as luggage was no problem.

The next problem was removing the old racks from the car.   It didn’t come with the key or any tool.   Luckily, the key number is printed on the lock cylinder, and there are plenty of eBay sellers who offer the keys at a reasonable price.   With the locks out of the way, it was just a long allen key to remove the old racks.   2.5mm from memory.   The car already looked much cleaner without the racks.

S124 factory cross bars

The Rhino Sportz racks went onto the S211 with ease.   Even though it was made 17 years later, the roof rails have the same profile.   They are just further apart, as the S211 is a wider car.   Now I know how they work, it will be a simple matter if I need to adjust them in future.

Rhino SportzNext was to install the S124 factory cross bars on the 300TE.   The owners manual was particularly useless here.   It just indicated that the arrows should align with the direction of travel.   Normally the Mercedes-Benz owners manuals of this era are better than that.   I could have made a case for both directions, but they seem to look like they should go with the arrow facing to the rear of the car.   I figure that means its travelling forward.

At first I couldn’t work out why they seemed to long to fit between the rails.   After trying a couple of them, I eventually realized one side moves.   The cross bar I was trying was a bit stiff.    Once I worked that out, it was pretty easy to put the bars on.   They are a very clever design, and quite slimline.    When chosing the bars to install on the car, I went with a combination of the best cosmetic shape, and easiest to move.   I placed them in the same spots the Rhino Sportz racks had been.

S124 factory cross barsThe other thing I noticed, was that three of my bars had a large knurled nut to tighten them against the rails and the other had a smaller one.   There must have been a change during production.   I’m not sure what type my car is supposed to have, but since I had three of the larger ones, that is what I used.     Other than the knurled nut, the rest of the bar looked the same.

S124 factory cross barsI haven’t decided if I will keep the other two racks, or sell them off to try and recoup some of the money I have spent.   I’ve also not decided if I will leave the cross bars on the car, or only install them when needed.   I’ll have to see if they whistle when driving.    I didn’t take the car on a test drive, as there is no point burning a logbook day for a short drive like that.    I think they look pretty good on the car though.    They are very subtle and you can hardly tell they are on.

I also recently swapped the clear front corners with the amber ones.  It was a five minute job and I think makes the car look a lot better.

S124 factory cross bars

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