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The Concours Run 2023 – Day 3: MBCV Garage Day

The third day of our classic Mercedes road trip was focused on a Mbcv Garage Day.   The subject was electrical troubleshooting.

However, before we could have the Mbcv Garage day, we had to get there.   We started in Traralgon, and drove to Ferntree Gully (A suburb of Melbourne) to the MBCV Club rooms for the garage day.     For the once and only time on this trip, we took the motorway.   I guess in keeping with this trip, while it carries the ‘M’ designation, it wasn’t really a proper motorway as it didn’t bypass many towns.

The drive in was uneventful, and after a quick breakfast stop, we arrived at the MBCV Club room.   We were all blown away by how great a setup MBCV have.    The club has purchased a strata industrial unit, and kitted it out as an ideal club room.    On entry, there is a small lobby with various trophies and club memorabilia.   To the left is a meeting room, and upstairs is a mezzanine with a few other rooms, for example to store technical literature and brochures.    The main part of the warehouse is open plan and has a hoist and a well set up set of tools.

The main space is highly versatile, as it can be kitted out with folding chairs for club meetings or workshops, or used for a garage day.    The club also run a tool loan program from the club room, and store their club trailer and other equipment.

Being in an industrial estate is perfect for the club room, as most of the time all the parking is free when club events are running (weekends and evenings).    Having the club rooms was integral to the the relaxed nature of the MBCV garage day.   I understand MBCV runs these events regularly at the club rooms.   Its something that the MBCNSW really should consider.   I understand MBCV had a couple of hundred thousand dollars in the bank, and borrowed a couple of hundred thousand more to purchase the rooms and kit them out.   In addition, they had volunteer help and working bees to really set up the club room well.     The location of the club rooms was chosen in a place central to most members.

Todays MBCV Garage day had all the NSW visitors as well as 10-15 MBCV members.   It was a good amount.   The day started out as an informal catch up and an opportunity to check out the other members cars.   Most MBCV members had arrived in W124s, but there were a few others like a W123 and a W220.

From there, there was a short section on electrical troubleshooting theory, followed by some examples to practice on.    Those examples had issues that could be found using a multimeter.

After lunch, there was the core focus of the day.  One of the MBCV members had recently purchased a 1989 260E W124.   The car was fitted with an aftermarket car alarm and immobilizer.   The problem is that the car is permanently immobilized.   The previous owner went to drive it, found the car immobilized, and then parked it up for at least a year.    The current owner purchased it, and it became our electrical troubleshooting guinea pig.

Our working theory was that the aftermarket immobilizer had failed,  permanently immobilizing the car.   We started by removing what we could of this system.   Our theory was that the system worked by cutting some of the factory wires, and sending them to the immobilizer control unit to only let current pass when the system allows.     We were able to sort out the starter motor this way, but not the fuel pumps.

After pouring over the wiring diagram, we worked out the factory wire should be red, white and black.    Starting a the pumps, we started to work backwards to find where the system had power.    The system did not have power at the pumps, or the plug connection under the rear seat.   However in the passengers foot well, it did.

I really enjoyed the tech day – it was nice to have an informal focus on fixing a members car and discussing the common problems everyone had.    After the tech day, I also purchased some W124 spares from an MBCV member.  I managed to fill up the back seat of the 560SEC with various trim pieces for a beige wagon interior.   Some of them quite large.

After picking up the parts, I went to a self service car wash to clean my car up for the concours tomorrow.   It was quite a good setup.   By this time I was running late to get back to the hotel to meet the rest of the group.   I selected the eight minute wash, and it did a good job.  After seeing the car dry, I realize I missed some of the caked on dirt on the Sacco panels.  I was too focused on getting the bugs off the front.

After the wash, it was time to check int our hotel, the Parkroyal Monash Melbourne.   The two main factors in choosing this hotel was the secure undercover parking, and proximity to the dinner event.    It was great to have the undercover parking, although getting into the parking was the most frustrating experience I’ve ever had parking.     We had to park on level B2, but couldn’t find it.   We were told to follow the red line.   The red line or ramp to B2 was nowhere to be found.

The shopping centre had installed some kind of number plate recognition software, and it didn’t work.   It took at least two minutes to recognise number plates, and some cars took far longer.   Not sure if they were paying or speaking to an operator.    To simply get our cars to B2, it took about 40 minutes.

From there, we went to a local Golf club to have dinner with some of the MBCV members before the show.

I had a great day.   I got to meet some MBCV members I have spoken to on many occasions, but not actually met.   Not only that, but I also got to attend a very enjoyable MBCV garage day.     In the course of the day, I covered 198km.     Tomorrow is the show.

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The Concours Run 2023 – Day 3: MBCV Garage Day


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