Guest Article: MrFrotop buys a coupe

The club guys were right about the bug. You know, the one you catch after buying your first classic Mercedes. It’s not that the W108 3.5 wasn’t enough, but after a couple of years you feel an irrational (yet somewhat justified) urge to have a Mercedes for every occasion. Rescuing all of these beautifully engineered machines from an untimely demise is a noble cause, some might argue. The passion was certainly there but in the end, you need a number of factors to align: funds, garage space and spousal approval. I had only one of those, the rest will have […]

My old W123 280CE is for sale

I owned a 1982 W123 280CE for just over a year between mid 2013 and mid 2014. I hadn’t planned to purchase this car, but I saw it on ebay with Mercedes mis-spelled and nobody else bid on it. The car was described as needing a new radiator, but actually it needed a new water pump. This was better for me. While the labour to change the water pump is orders of magnitude more than the radiator, the part cost is a lot less.

Around the same time, my brother was in need of a car and wasn’t looking to […]

Back behind the wheel of a W123

Today I got back behind the wheel of my old W123 280CE. The 15 minute and 5km drive is actually the longest I ever took in that car! This was a car I rescued more than purchased. The previous owner had it up on ebay with no reserve, had mis-spelt Mercedes and it was claimed to have a leaky radiator. Despite sitting in a muddy front yard, it didn’t look too bad a car and so I became its owner for $830.

I trailered it back to my warehouse and straight away I noticed that while it looked a bit […]

280CE W123 power steering

The 280CE came back for a visit this week complaining of groaning power steering. Turned out that the belt was slipping once the wheel got toward full lock. On further inspection, the belt had become too loose – not because it was stretched, but because the bolt that allows the belt adjustment had lost its threads in the critical area and it was slowly adjusting itself outwards.

The lost threads meant that it was also impossible to remove the nut to replace the bolt. Luckily the power steering pump is fairly accessible from below (especially with a hoist), so the […]

W123 Radio Upgrade – bypassing the factory fader

The 280CE was back today to get a radio installed. When I purchased the car, the previous owner had removed their radio, so there was a great big hole in the dash. Luckily, my brother who purchased the car from me already had a Sony radio he had removed from his previous 280CE. The W123 radio is a standard DIN fitting. Unfortunately most of them no longer have their original Becker radios but generic 90s CD players.

This car still had the factory fader switch installed. That means that there is only a front and rear channel for the radio. […]

W123 Idler arm bushing replacement

The 280CE came back to the warehouse to replace the idler arm bushings. The simple description of the idler arm is that it is the part that attaches to the steering linkage from the passengers side to balance the pittman arm which connects the steering box on the drivers side. Bad bushings in the idler arm mean that the steering system is not as ‘tight’ as it should be, can cause vibrations, poor alignment and so on. It is also often the cause of squeaking or groaning sounds coming from the steering.

The 280CE was not aligned properly, and replacing […]

280CE major service continued

The 280CE came over to the garage to continue the items on the major service, namely:

New Spark plugs Transmission fluid and filter Rear end fluid change Brake fluid flush

We used NGK spark plugs as they offer non-resistor plugs that are easy to find. The original spec for these cars called for non-resistor spark plugs, which are much harder to find now. The plugs that were already in there were Beru and in reasonably good condition.

For the transmission, we changed the fluid, filter and pan gasket, but didn’t drain the torque converter. When doing this it is important […]

280CE coolant flush and M110 thermostat change

The 280CE had been performing well on the road after being put back into service, but the most obvious issue was that it never got up to operating temperature. Running too cool is not good for the engine and also results in higher fuel consumption. As they say, overheating an engine might kill it instantly, but underheating it will kill it slowly. The theory was that the thermostat had jammed open, which is the most common failure point. Despite what you hear, the car should never be operated without a thermostat. Some people in hot climates drill a few holes, […]

280CE Tie rod replacement

The 280CE was making a knocking sound while steering and it had failed its rego due to a bad tie rod, necessitating a replacement. The job is not that difficult, especially if you have the right tools. There are a few good resources on the Internet, but a few things I found:

I couldn’t remove the ball joints with a pickle fork, but it was straightforward with the specialty tool. Raising the car off its wheels put more stress on the joints making the job harder, ramps were easier The joints will break free suddenly, so be careful

Web […]

280CE no longer a colander

Not a perfect match, but a good repair for $300 cash.