Planning 300TE repairs and improvements

Now I’ve had the 300TE registered for a month or so, and have put about 600km on the car, I have a better idea of some of the improvements I want to make to it.    I was able to take care of some of the most obvious ones right away.    I’ve been ordering some parts over the last couple of weeks that are now starting to arrive.

2023-02-10 17-53-00

These repairs and improvements are as follows:

  1. Sticky ignition key.    The ignition key is every so slightly sticky.    I am not keen to repeat the experience of my 280SE.      I noticed that the only key I have is a copy, not an original key.   The obvious solution therefore was a new barrel and factory ignition key from the Mercedes-Benz Classic centre.   These W124’s use the same one as the 1990-1991 W126.  I recalled a few years ago that this was still available, even if the rest of the W126 range was now NLA.    I have ordered one of these and two keys.    If you own a W124 of this era, I highly recommend you buy one of these while they are still available.
  2. Rear Tailgate struts.   The rear tailgate stays up via gas struts that are hidden in the roof area.   Mine are worn to a point where the tailgate cannot be left open unattended, or it can randomly slam shut.   The struts are not expensive, but apparently it’s not an easy job to replace them.    It is important to do so, as having the tailgate slam like that can damage the trim.
  3. Brake hoses and pads.   Looking at the service history, I can’t tell the last time the hoses were done.    Looking under the car, they didn’t look horrible, but not new either.     Best to replace them, and also check the pads.    I suspect the low dust pads have been used, as the brake feel is not what a Mercedes from that era should be.    Its too firm.    This is a pain of a job, so I’ll likely have a proper mechanic do it for me.
  4. Viscous fan coupling.   The previous owner put on a used unit, which has now failed.    Sometimes you can get unlucky with used parts.   In any case, a brand new Mercedes-Benz part was not much more than an aftermarket one.    I haven’t decided if I will do this myself, or have a mechanic do it at the same time as the brake hoses.
  5. Self leveling rear suspension fluid flush.   This is an easy job, and the fluid looks a bit dirty.   I have a new filter to install while I am at it.
  6. Coolant level sender unit.   The Coolant level warning indicator randomly comes on.   In addition, the reservoir is over filled.   A good opportunity to fix both issues at the same time.
  7. Instrument cluster repairs.    There are a couple of issues here.   The first is a bouncing speedometer needle, which can often be improved by lubricating the cable with some ATF.   The second is the customer suffers from the dreaded ‘white spot’.   This happens to cars from very hot and humid areas, and my car spent 15 years in Queensland.    I have a good used housing.   The final is the outside temperature LCD is bleeding, something I have fixed before on my W126s.
  8. Front turn signals.   A cosmetic change, my car has the clear lenses and I prefer the original orange look.
  9. Roof rack change.  Replacing the aftermarket roofracks with the factory cross bars.    My wife wants the aftermarket racks for her S211.

None of these 300TE repairs are major, they are all just small things that should improve the car.

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