1996 E230 Significant Power Loss

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Greg in Oz
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1996 E230 Significant Power Loss

Post by Greg in Oz » Mon 19 Nov, 2018 10:18 pm

My elderly parents are no longer driving and we currently have their two cars whilst deciding what to keep and what to sell. One is a 1996 E230 Elegance with 4 speed auto which they have owned since new. It has travelled a little under 170,000km, largely on rural roads and highways and has been exceptionally reliable. Just last month we drove it from Sydney to the Darling Downs region of Queensland and back and it did that trip with ease using between 6.2 and 7 litres per 100km at each fill over the 2500km travelled.

My brother took the car to use a couple of weeks ago and returned it tonight complaining of a severe loss of power. I have just test driven it and can confirm that it is very much down on power, especially once the engine reaches normal operating temperature. It needs to be held in 1st or 2nd gear just to be able to drive it and is reluctant to rev. Attempting to use full throttle sometimes causes severe pinging and even greater loss of power. I also notice the induction and/or exhaust note sounds different to how I remember it. It appears to idle normally and runs at normal coolant temperature. There is no exhaust smoke nor fuming in the crankcase and the oil is clean and at the correct level. I haven't checked the coolant as the engine is still hot.

When it misbehaved for my brother, he called road service who could not diagnose the fault but suggested a possible transmission problem. I have noticed that if the engine is revved in neutral it returns very quickly to idle speed when the throttle is closed almost as though something is loading the engine. I also notice a buzz or rattle from under the car in the region of the transmission.

I am wondering if the exhaust catalytic converter may have collapsed internally and is blocking the exhaust flow and causing the rattle? Apart from that I'm at a bit of a loss. I'm not especially familiar with the M111 apart from knowing they are a boringly reliable engine. Any suggestions from those who know these better?
107023 - 350SLC: 1973, 3sp auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold July 2012 after 29 years ownership)
107026 - 500SLC: 1981, 4sp auto, thistle green, green velour
124090 - 300TE: 1990, 4sp auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex
124090 - 300TE: 1992, 4sp auto, malachite (spruce green), black MBtex
201024 - 190E-2.0: 1985, 5sp manual, black, black MBtex
201028 - 190E-2.3 Sportline: 1990, 5sp manual, arctic white, blue leather
201028 - 190E-2.3: 1992, 4sp auto, blueblack, grey MBtex
201028 - 190E-2.3 Sportline: 1990, 4sp auto, signal red, black cloth (parts car)
201034 - 190E-2.3-16 Cosworth: 1985, 5sp manual, blueblack, black leather
YG2S8 - Mini Clubman GT: 1972, 4sp manual, blue, parchment vinyl (my first car which I still own)

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PunkJr
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Re: 1996 E230 Significant Power Loss

Post by PunkJr » Mon 19 Nov, 2018 10:34 pm

Does the '96 have OBD? - maybe a member in the Sydney are has a DAS Xentry unit.

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Ivanerrol
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Re: 1996 E230 Significant Power Loss

Post by Ivanerrol » Wed 21 Nov, 2018 11:01 pm

The cat on my "96 M111 C200 failed at just over 200,000K's.
Intermittent blocking.

If you get under the car and pound away on the cat - if the internals are broken you will hear them rattling around.

I removed the cat and first section of the exhaust of my car. Bit's and pieces of cat internals fell out.

New cats can be welded in. OEM ones are nearly four figures. After markets $400 - $500.

Buying a used Cat at a wrecker is a lottery. You need the exact same cat. The part number will be stamped into the cat.

The faulty cat I removed off my car looked brand new after I cleaned the outside.

If not the cat, the MAF can cause all sorts of issues.

The "96 W210's should have escaped the dreaded wiring imbroglio.

If you find someone with the appropriate MB Sentry you will need someone who is very experienced at interpreting the data provided. A friend was led around the bend with a non MB specialist with a generic scanner that showed codes on a '97 W202.
W211 - E240
W204 - C280
Departed
W202 - C200, C180, C180
W126 - 380SE , 380SE (Ex SA Import), 560SEL
W124 - 300e, 260e (ex Japan)
W111 220s (Indonesia) 4 speed manual column shift
W123 230
W116 450SEL
W140 420SEL
W210 E240, E240
W209 CLK 240
W201 190e 2.6 (ex U.K.)

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John Green
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Re: 1996 E230 Significant Power Loss

Post by John Green » Fri 30 Nov, 2018 1:09 pm

PunkJr wrote:
Mon 19 Nov, 2018 10:34 pm
Does the '96 have OBD? - maybe a member in the Sydney are has a DAS Xentry unit.
Early W210 did not have OBD. They had the 38pin round plug in the engine bay (l/h rear). Some generic scanners have adapters that will convert from the 38pin plug to OBD style.

I would suggest the air mass sensor is the issue, they are after all a service item with a recommended life span of 100,000kms. Very easy to check if you know someone with a similar car as you can swap them in under 5 minutes.
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Greg in Oz
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Re: 1996 E230 Significant Power Loss

Post by Greg in Oz » Sat 01 Dec, 2018 8:15 pm

I finally had a chance to have a look at the E230 today. I am now almost certain it is a faulty catalytic converter. When giving it a thump I can clearly hear the internals of the cat rattling around inside the casing. Unfortunately, neither end of the cat is close to a joint in the exhaust system which would allow it to be removed and visually inspected for collapsed internals.
107023 - 350SLC: 1973, 3sp auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold July 2012 after 29 years ownership)
107026 - 500SLC: 1981, 4sp auto, thistle green, green velour
124090 - 300TE: 1990, 4sp auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex
124090 - 300TE: 1992, 4sp auto, malachite (spruce green), black MBtex
201024 - 190E-2.0: 1985, 5sp manual, black, black MBtex
201028 - 190E-2.3 Sportline: 1990, 5sp manual, arctic white, blue leather
201028 - 190E-2.3: 1992, 4sp auto, blueblack, grey MBtex
201028 - 190E-2.3 Sportline: 1990, 4sp auto, signal red, black cloth (parts car)
201034 - 190E-2.3-16 Cosworth: 1985, 5sp manual, blueblack, black leather
YG2S8 - Mini Clubman GT: 1972, 4sp manual, blue, parchment vinyl (my first car which I still own)

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Ivanerrol
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Re: 1996 E230 Significant Power Loss

Post by Ivanerrol » Sun 02 Dec, 2018 9:22 am

The cat comes as one piece - pipe from the exhaust manifold to the cat and then the cat exit pipe to the first muffler.

If you have a hoist it’s “not that big of a job” to change. It’s the part that’s expensive.
I’ve done them upside down withe the car on jack stands.

I’ve had hit and miss luck with used cats from wreckers.

If you go to an exhaust shop, they will cut out the old cat and weld an aftermarket one in. Last quote I had was between 4 and 5 hundred - the prices have gone up considerably.
You can get the bits on steel bay but you need the exact part number. This will be stamped on the cat.
W211 - E240
W204 - C280
Departed
W202 - C200, C180, C180
W126 - 380SE , 380SE (Ex SA Import), 560SEL
W124 - 300e, 260e (ex Japan)
W111 220s (Indonesia) 4 speed manual column shift
W123 230
W116 450SEL
W140 420SEL
W210 E240, E240
W209 CLK 240
W201 190e 2.6 (ex U.K.)

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