1983 280E Shock Absorber Issue

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1983 280E Shock Absorber Issue

Postby Evanlw85 » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 9:10 am

I just bought a 1983 Mercedes 280E w123 m110 in pretty good condition. It needs new shocks to pass rego.
1) I'm curious as to whether the shock absorbers for this model are a standard type, or some special mercedes ones. The mechanics are charging me $235 for the 2 front shocks and $250 for the rears. They are Gabriel brand, so i'm assuming they're about average quality... I dont know much about mercs yet, but i'm trying to learn.

2) Also, i've read a bit about the vacuum central locking (very classy). Mine is rather slow to lock. about 5-10 seconds. Is this normal, or do i have a leak?

3) And one more question: If i wanted to get a replacement drivers seat (due to sagging) how much should i expect to pay for a M.B.Tex vinyl seat?

Thanks for your advice(s)!
-Ev
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Postby ADow » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 12:45 pm

Replace the shockers with whatever Benz recommended - they are rated for the vehicle and you won't be disappointed. Someone on this list will know what you should put on a w123. That quote sounds a bit high to me even for originals. Ask the list sponsor (MBSpares) for a quote.
5 - 10 seconds is slow to lock. Should take about 1-2 secs. Search this forum for pages of advice about how to diagnose and check your vacuum system.
If the seat cover is not damaged, you can have the original rebolstered by a car upholstery person for about $125. Let them take the seat out and put it back in - it's not as easy as it sounds!
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Postby Hendrik » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 1:51 pm

ADow wrote: Let them take the seat out and put it back in - it's not as easy as it sounds!
Alastair

Huh :?: :?:
Taking a seat out of a 123 is as easy as spilling Beer, undo the seat belt slide and take out back two bolts, move seat back and down (make sure to free movement before undoing bolts) and remove front two bolts.
Take seat out.
Go to wreckers and find another one to put in, preferably a passenger side one. Put in seat, fit front bolts (do not tighten fully), push seat forward and up (making sure that the slide and lift mechanism are lubricated and move freely), fit rear bolts and fasten seat belt slide, tighten all seat bolts.
Sit on new seat and have cold beverage to celebrate job well done.
I have done this a few times and never encountered any difficulty.
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Postby O319-coach » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 2:14 pm

$235 for the 2 front shocks and $250 for the rears.


M.B Spares & Service can sell you the real thing for only a little more.

Front shocks are $308.00 a pair and rears are $290.00 a pair. Given the price differance I would not risk it. As you get to know your car you will learn that original is best. (not trying to be smart, just helpfull, I am sure other list members will agree)
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Postby Evanlw85 » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 2:43 pm

Thank you all for your quick replies.
Ok, so in that case... whats the difference between a set of $60 shocks and a set of $300 shocks? Do people give you money when you drive past them because your shocks are just so sweet? (fingers crossed)

Are the $308.00 pair manufactured by Mercedes? if not, who actually manufactures them?

I have limited resources :) I'd love to spend $600 on shock absorbers knowing i'm in the best possible hands... however, having just purchased the car, my wallet is feeling strangely lighter. And i just cant seem to justify it to myself... This is a weekend car for me, i live in the middle of the city so i never have to drive far.
Short question: Will i die a horrible flaming death if i buy cheaper shocks?

Heres your chance to convince me! :D
Good luck,
Evan
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Postby O319-coach » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 3:06 pm

Are the $308.00 pair manufactured by Mercedes? if not, who actually manufactures them?


Did you know that Mercedes-Benz do not make cars!

They assemble them from parts sourced from manufacturers. The shocks we sell are SACHS which is an Original Equipment supplier to Mercedes-benz.
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Postby Evanlw85 » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 3:30 pm

O319-coach wrote:Did you know that Mercedes-Benz do not make cars!


:oops: Nope, I had no idea about that one. I was assuming.
Heheh; learn something new every day. How embarrassing.

Sorry if i'm frustrating you guys, but please bear with me.

So, expensive shocks = better...? Handling, speed, braking, cornering? etc?

Thanks
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Postby Evanlw85 » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 4:02 pm

Oh, and another question... This one will probably be stupid also.

What how do i tell if i have self levelling suspension?
In the sense of actually taking a look at it.

I assume this would change the cost of any shocks i was looking at.

-Evan
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Postby O319-coach » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 4:04 pm

Presuming it is Australian delivered then no ride level. It was discontinued in 10/79 for Aussie cars. If not sure look behind the l/h headlamp to see if there is a plastic reservior there/
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Postby Hendrik » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 6:44 pm

Evanlw85 wrote:Thank you all for your quick replies.
Ok, so in that case... whats the difference between a set of $60 shocks and a set of $300 shocks? Do people give you money when you drive past them because your shocks are just so sweet? (fingers crossed)

Evan

$240 :) :) :)
Seriously, if you plan on hanging onto the Merc then spend the extra on good equipment. I have never tried cheap shocks, what is the point of buying a first rate automobile and then making it ride like a third rate eastern european communist jallopy?
Those ebay shocks are an attractive price but the Merc suspension is designed a certain way and some factory copying the outside dimensions of the original shocks does not mean they will work like the real thing.
If you wanna go real cheap, go to a self service wrecker and pull out some used ones.
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Postby Captain Echidna » Tue 26 Sep, 2006 9:30 pm

Every part I have bought from MB spares has been identical to what I pulled off, the only exception being an interior light which had slightly different connections, and this was explained before I ordered it.

With other cars I have owned I discovered non-genune factory parts are often terrible, even though they look the same.

And buying through MB spares often the parts are cheaper than bits I have bought for my toyota and holden. Without knowing this mob I would have not bought a merc and having done so verry happy with it.
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Postby Evanlw85 » Wed 27 Sep, 2006 9:55 am

Ok now, i seem to have a large plastic water reservior behind my LHS headlamp. What does this mean to me?
Heres an image showing the where abouts.
Image
You guys've convinced me, i'm going to go for quality over budget.
-Ev
Last edited by Evanlw85 on Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Evanlw85 » Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:06 am

Do any of you know who makes the best workshop manual for this car?
I've seen the Childers and the Haynes versions, and i don't know which to get.
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Postby Hendrik » Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:51 am

Evanlw85 wrote:Do any of you know who makes the best workshop manual for this car?
I've seen the Childers and the Haynes versions, and i don't know which to get.

Neither, Mercedes makes the best. MB spares has some copies.
The aftermarket manuals are alright for basic repairs and maintenance but if you are seriously going to do some work you really need the good manuals.
I've got the technibooks manual, which is alright but not good enough for serious repairs.
You do have self levelling suspension if that is a pic of your car, the resorvoir is on the other side and the pump is attached to the front of the head.
What you circled is the windshield washer resorvoir, do not put anything but water and windshield washer detergent in there :D :D
The self levelling system takes a special oil, which is pretty dear but can be obtained aftermarket.
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Postby Evanlw85 » Wed 27 Sep, 2006 12:20 pm

HA! I had a feeling it was the windscreen water reservior. Coach told me to look behind my left hand side headlamp (i assumed the passenger side) and i thought "Who am I to argue". Anyway, thats not a photo of my engine, twas the first one i found online that showed the large reservior.

I'll check tonight when i get home as to whether i have that one on the other side. I'll take a photo, to be sure. ;)

Cheers!
-Ev
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Postby ADow » Wed 27 Sep, 2006 1:42 pm

Taking a seat out of a 123 is as easy as spilling Beer

Hendrik - This is good to hear and you obviously have direct experience. I have been told by others that replaciong and adjusting the height track was difficult - and the guy that rebolstered my driver's seat said it was a difficult job. But it might be a W108 problem only.
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Postby Hendrik » Wed 27 Sep, 2006 2:52 pm

ADow wrote:Hendrik - This is good to hear and you obviously have direct experience. I have been told by others that replaciong and adjusting the height track was difficult - and the guy that rebolstered my driver's seat said it was a difficult job. But it might be a W108 problem only.
Alastair

Yes replacing the fore aft and up down rails is a bit more complicated but still in the easy category of jobs on a Merc.
They do need regular lubrication and be moved every now and again, otherwise they get hard to shift.
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Postby ADow » Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:30 pm

Hendrik - I've been driving #1 daughter's 300D to work this week as she is away interstate. I serviced it on the weekend I feel entitled to take the liberty. The driver's side seat sags a bit - as the car has done over 400,000ks this is probably not unexpected. What should I pay for a second hand seat?
Alastair
ps What is it about Mercedes diesels that makes them so enjoyable to drive? Is it the lack of acceleration after the initial lunge? Is it the head turning rattle of the engine? Is it the fact that you have to wait forever for the glow plug light to go off? Despite or perhaps because of these little idiosyncracies the thing oozes soul and character, and it has a bullet proof, indestructable feel and solid comfort that makes you feel like driving straight past work and on to Darwin.
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Postby Hendrik » Thu 28 Sep, 2006 8:39 am

ADow wrote: What should I pay for a second hand seat?
Alastair
p

Depends where you go, they are pretty cheap at the U pull it but from other wreckers they are a bit more pricey.
What colour are you after?
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Re: 1983 280E Shock Absorber Issue

Postby Tony From West Oz » Thu 28 Sep, 2006 10:12 pm

Evanlw85 wrote:I just bought a 1983 Mercedes 280E w123 m110 in pretty good condition. It needs new shocks to pass rego.
SNIP
3) And one more question: If i wanted to get a replacement drivers seat (due to sagging) how much should i expect to pay for a M.B.Tex vinyl seat?

Thanks for your advice(s)!
-Ev

Now to deal with your sagging drivers seat.

I took my drivers seat out and wrtapped "pool noodles" in cloth to prevehtchafing and used them to provide added support to the RHS of the seat. This restored my comfort at very low cost. The main cost was the loss of a significant amount of skin on the pressed metal seat parts (those things are SHARP!), so wear some gloves to protect your hands.

While the seat was out, I saw the evidence of previous repairs to the springs. the same springs broke again at the same location.

If the upholstery is in good nick, this will provide a good, medium term repair (2 years so far). If the upholstery is poor, swap out the seat.

I believe that the passenger side seat base can be swapped into the drivers side, but I have not done it myself.
'83 W123 300D 325000km (Josephine) sold.
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Postby Evanlw85 » Sat 30 Sep, 2006 8:26 pm

Alrighty... Thank you all for letting me pick and your expansive brains. Car is now Rego'd
Central locking fixed with condom seal.
New Shocks in. (good ones) (no self levelling suspension)
And i'm now sitting on a freakin pool noodle. (until i get a chance to get to the wreckers) A vague idea of how much one costs would still be handy.
Ordering a techincal manual...

Anyone know a good wreckers for merc bits around Central Coast/Sydney areas?

Also, there is a button next to my hazard lights which i'm assuming is the alarm system button, there is definately an alarm in the car but i cant figure out how to active it and i'm scared to fiddle with it incase i bust something.
Its a round red button about the size of a 10 cent piece.

Also, My blower stopped working today. Any clues as to why that would happen? (dont say; turn the knob. as i've tried that one) ergo no air con for the moment.

Cheers,
Evan
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Postby Chai » Sat 30 Sep, 2006 9:24 pm

Regarding the non-operating ventilation fan, check the fuses. Give each fuse a spin to improve the electrical connection (corrosion can build up after many years).

Don't know the answer to your other questions.
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Postby Boyracer » Sat 30 Sep, 2006 11:53 pm

Ev - your pool noodle will cost about seven bucks at Clark Rubber. :lol:

Also believe it or not and FWIW, you're getting off lightly with the price of shockies. If you want a real shock, ring a Honda dealer and get a price for shockies for an '88 Civic. Something like $600 for the rears alone. :shock: A bit more net research and I learnt that KYB were OEM for Honda and I was able to source a new set for $190.

Also, I'll hazard a guess re your mystery button. Back in the days when these cars were new, some alarms were activated by pushing a button similar to the one you've described. The light in the button would then flash. To de-activate the alarm, you stuck your key in the ignition and turned it to the accessories setting. Be ready to wrestle the steering wheel if your steering lock is engaged or you won't be able to turn the key and the alarm won't go off!


:wink:
Cheers,
Michael

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Postby Evanlw85 » Sun 01 Oct, 2006 7:22 pm

Fiddled with fuses... no success.

Once i get the technical manual I'll take myself through step by step.

Ok, next question.

My merc is Classical White (Classicweiss) 737.
I was wondering how one would go about getting the correct paint and how much it would be.

It seems the previous owner botched a trolley love-tap repair by using the wrong white. So that small section of the panel is a different shade. And i wouldnt mind getting it seen to.

No luck with the Alarm... seeing as the battery is new the alarm was probably disconnected to get it in, then not reconnected again. (the light doesnt light up)

-Evan
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Postby Boyracer » Sun 01 Oct, 2006 9:52 pm

I go to an automotive paint shop in Miranda. All you need is the paint code and they'll mix it up in whatever quantity you want in acrylic or two pak.

You can also buy a pressure pack and spray your own.
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