2022 ACT German car show

Yesterday was the 2022 ACT German car show. It was the first since 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 events unfortunately cancelled due to COVID. The ACT show always punches above its weight in that it attracts not only the large base of cars from the Canberra region, but normally has cars drive in from southern NSW, northern Victoria and often a few from Melbourne too.

As with the 2019 event, I chose to drive down on Saturday so I could show a car and attend the dinner. This year I chose to bring my 560SEL on the trip. The […]

W126 Becker Radio install – part 3

I am currently in the process of installing a period correct Becker Radio in my 560SEC. In part 2, I had the system up and running. The final task was to tidy up the installation and re-install all the trim.

The first step was to properly organize and tidy up the wiring. I wanted a neat install, and to hide all the wires out of the way. The Alpine amplifier I am using is small enough I could tuck it in with some other control modules in the passengers foot well.

I mounted the amp with the back face up […]

W126 Becker Radio install – part 2

In part 1 of this series, I had begun installing a Becker Mexico 1402 in my 560SEC. I had planned out my install and done the core wiring for the Becker itself. Today, my goal was to complete the wiring of the ancillary components and test the system.

I decided to use two X30 harneses for the install. I had four available plugs on the X30 power block, so it kept it neater if I used two. The main purpose of the first one was to connect my USB ports. I also used one of the ground wires for the […]

W126 Becker Radio install – part 1

My 1987 UK Market 560SEC was originally sold with Becker Mexico Cassette player (option 251). I’ve been planning for a while to re-install a period Becker radio, with a few of my own upgrades.

My first task was to research the radios and purchase a suitable unit. I ended up purchasing two radios, Becker 1402 and Becker 1480. As the skills and parts to repair these radios are getting harder to find, I wanted a primary radio and a backup unit. I am installing the 1402 and will get the 1480 repaired and keep it as the backup. I have […]

Locating the W126 X30 power block on RHD cars

I’m currently planning to re-install the Becker Radio in my 1987 560SEC. At the same time I will be installing a small amplifier, a bluetooth FM Injector and a couple of unobtrusive USB charging ports.

The second generation W126 wiring harness provides a factory way of adding additional accessories. This is the X30 power block. Up to 8 accessories can be connected using factory plugs and their own wiring harnesses. The number already connected will depend on options installed on the car.

Other than the direct power for the amplifier, I plan on using the X30 power block for the […]

Becker 374 Operation Instructions

The Becker 374 Mexico Cassette Vollstereo Reverse was the standard radio installed in the S-Class from 1979-1981 models in Australia. It was seen on the last of the W116s and I believe the early W126 too. This radio replaced the 485, the last of the pinstripe models in the W116s. It was the last of the older style radios with knobs to be found on the S-Class before the digital display radios were introduced.

The most significant difference between the Becker 374 and the similar looking Europa was the auto reverse function. The Europa was found in W123 models of […]

Stuck W116 ignition barrel – part 3

I’ve ben grappling with a stuck ignition key on my 280SE W116 for some time. In part 1 I finally managed to move the key to position 1, but could not unscrew the collar to remove the tumbler. In part 2, I tried a special tool, and then attempted to remove the whole steering lock. As the collar and tumbler was still on the steering lock, I was unable to get it past the dashboard. At that point I rigged up a temporary solution to take it to mechanic.

I was hoping he would find something I missed and get […]

Uprated W126 A/C condenser

When I purchased my 560SEC, the A/C was not working. It hadn’t even been converted to R134A. I suspect it had never worked while in Australia. The car came out of Queensland, and I’m not sure I would want to drive a car without a car up there. The long time owner was in the Army, I guess tougher than me! When I purchased the car, I first concentrated on the important stuff like the timing chain. After that was sorted out, I had the A/C converted and charged up. It’s no longer possible to buy R12 in Australia unfortunately.

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Becker 868 Operation Instructions

In Australia, the 560 models were standard with a Becker 868 Mexico CD Player. This doesn’t sound like much of a deal in 2022, but back in the mid 80s this was a huge deal. Should you have wanted to upgrade your 300SE or 420SEL from the standard Becker Cassette player to the CD, you would have paid more than $2,000 extra in 1990. This is almost $4,500 in todays money.

In most countries, the CD Player was an optional extra even on the 560 models, but Mercedes-Benz Australia priced them so high they needed justification for the difference between […]

Becker 1402 Operation Instructions

I am currently installing a Becker 1402 Grand Prix electronic in my 560SEC. I don’t have the original owners manual packet for the car, so I didn’t have an instruction guide. In any case, since my 560SEC is a UK version, it would have originally had a slightly different Becker that looks visually the same. There were a couple of buttons I wasn’t able to to identify, so I borrowed the instruction manual from a friend with a 1989 420SEL.

The Becker 1402 was standard on the W126 from 1988 in Australia (other than the 560) and at least some […]