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300TE first improvements

I bought my 300TE in generally good condition, but there were a couple of things I wanted to do right away to improve the car.    I find this is pretty typical with a ‘new’ car even in great condition as every owner has a different idea of how they want the car and what they care about.

The first was the A/C.   I knew the second to last owner had done a lot of work on the AC a couple of years ago and it had recently been cold.  However, when I got the car it was almost tepid.    When I had the pink slip done, I also had the A/C regassed.   The leak must have been very small as it held vacuum well and the air is now very cold.    Great for the Aussie summer.    My mechanic noted that the viscous fan was not really working all that well and the car was relying too much on the electric fan.   The previous owner put a used one on, but it obviously hadn’t lasted.   A brand new MB coupling is $180USD, so I’ll just put a new one on.

Next was an oil change for 375,000km.   Last one I am aware of was at just before 370,000 in October 2020, so a good time to do it.   The oil wasn’t particularly dirty, and the oil analysis report done a couple of years back showed an engine in good health.    The car even cam with a filter, so I didn’t have to order one.

Those were the main short term mechanical improvements.   The rest were largely cosmetic.

The first was the inside rear view mirror.   The housing had cracked around the dimmer button.   I had a good uncracked mirror from my 420SEL parts car.    The W126 and W124 mirrors are ever so slightly different, but not enough to notice unless side by side.   Another easy fix.    In the picture below the mirror is already replaced.

As can be seen in the picture, there is some fading and other paint issues on the roof of the car.   I tried to see if a clay bar would help at all, but it didn’t make a great deal of difference.   The roof is probably as good as its going to get until it is repainted.   I don’t have any plans to do that.

Next easy one was the floor mats.   The car came with regular floor mats that didn’t fit well.   I put in the dealer fitted rubber mats I had in my 560SEL.   I plan to get some of the ribbed mats for that car like most of the W126s came from the dealer with.   The rubber mats fit the more utilitarian nature of the wagon, and how I plan to use it.

Another easy one was the owners manual.   While I had the service book, data card and all the other books in the Owners Manual Pack, I was missing the actual owers manual.   I found one on ebay that was the right year and it is now on its way.    The owners manual pack confirmed the car was sold new with a Becker 1402, as the booklet was still there.   Something to keep and eye out for.

The next improvement I made is more polarizing.   The car was originally sold with a leather steering Wheel.   This was fitted to W124s from 1988 onwards as I understand it.   At some point, the leather wheel had been replaced with a plastic one from an earlier W124 or W126.    Over time the stitching comes undone.    While the plastic wheel was in good shape, I just felt out of place.   And given the wheel is right in front of your face, I wanted to change it.   A MB Club member found me one that was not perfect, but not expensive either, so I did the change.   You can judge if this was worth it or not from the before/after picture below.

I had also noticed I was missing the first Aid Kit and warning triangle.   The warning triangle is specific to the wagon, and I think the first aid kit is too.    I don’t expect to use a 30 year old first aid kit, but there was a specific spot for it and I would like the car to be complete.   The same MB club member who found me the wheel was also able to find me these items so I could fit both to their proper home.   Something that most people are not going to care about, but I like to have all this stuff.

Finally there was the wear on the front arm rest.   Not that surprising after 375,000, that even MB-Tex has its limits.   As part of the same deal with the triangle, first aid kit and wheel, I was able to grab a series 1 W126 MB-Tex armrest.   They are not identical, but I think I should be able to use this plus the one I have to get something working.    If not, I can probably sell it on for what I paid.

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300TE first improvements


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