W124 Gullideckel wheels

I recently bought an additional set of W124 Gullideckel wheels for my 300TE.   The wheels on my car look quite good, but the price was reasonable and its good to have a spare set.   I have lots of spare W126 wheels, but they use a different offset.

I like how the factory wheels look on the wagon, so I have no plans to swap them out for a period option.    The period AMG wheels look great on the C124 though.     I hadn’t thought much of those wheels until this week when I decided to get a new set of tyres for the 300TE.

I had a voucher for a local tyre shop expiring in August, and Michelin were doing a cash back offer.    Since the tyre on the car were 7-8 years old, it was time for a new set.     I went with Michelin XM2s.    Before I went and had them fitted, I checked those other wheels I purchased to see which was the nicest set to fit with the new tyres.    While both sets were pretty good, the ones on the car were slightly better.  At the same time, I noticed something – the wheels were actually different.

The W124 Gullideckel wheels are also known as 15 hole wheels.   And the main difference between the two sets was the raised sections between the holes had a different profile.   The set on the car was more pronounced.   The other set, which apparently came off a Series 3 E280 were less raised. The holes were also a different shape, my wheels having a squarer hole and the later ones being rounder.   While I was aware the wheels came in different widths,  I had (naively) assumed that all the 15×6.5 Gullideckels for the W124 were the same.     I had hoped to be able to mix and match them – e.g. if I scraped one of the wheels on the car.    They are different enough that I would need to treat them as two separate sets.

W124 Gullideckel wheels

While I was having the new Michelin’s fitted, I asked the tyre centre to put the best of the old tyres on the spare.   As with Mercedes of this era, the spare is a proper alloy, but it was fitted with an ancient Michelin MXV.    I couldn’t find a date code on it, so it was probably from the 1990s – perhaps even original to the car, although it looked like it had some use on it.     With the spare out, this gave me the opportunity to properly compare the two wheels:

  • Left – 300TE Wheels:  124 401 0802.   15×6.5 ET48
  • Right – ‘E280’ Wheels:  124 400 1802.   15×6.5 ET49

Looking at the EPC, the wheels on my car seem to be correct.      However, I don’t think the wheels off the E280 were original to that car.   The part number seems to indicate they are a pre-89 wheel.    This makes sense, as most of the 3rd generation W124s had the later 8 hole wheels.    The first picture below shows the wheels on my car, and the second photo shows the second set I purchased.

W124 Gullideckel wheel
W124 Gullideckel wheel

From what I can piece together, the factory changed from forged to cast wheels in 1989.    The set that were apparently from an E280 (pictured above) is actually an earlier forged set.    The forged wheels are stronger and lighter.  This would appear to be an early example of Mercedes cost cutting and turning away from their earlier philosophy of “The best or nothing”.  Had I known this, perhaps I would have gone with the forged set with my new tyres?  Perhaps I should look out for one more of these wheels so I have a complete set of five.

Before I put the spare wheel away, I took the time to clean out the very muddy spare wheel well.    Should prevent rust forming if moisture gets in there.

Spare wheel well

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