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Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:39 pm
by Adam Wright
One of the oldest cars in my collection, in terms of how long I've had it, is my Benz C43 AMG. I've had the car for about 15 years, 2nd owner, bought it from a DR in Atlanta. Great car but I've always hated the automatic gearbox. I asked my mechanic if we can swap it, he said can't be done. I asked Mercedes what I could do, they said can't be done. Then I see a guy on a Benz forum and he did it! A six speed manual gearbox. His car was cosmetically a real horror show, but it ran and drove. He was getting married and was telling me all about how much it was going to cost to fly everyone to Armenia for the wedding, so I bought his car, so I can gut the gearbox for my car. My dream of a manual C43 will be realized and may be the only one in existence!

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:46 pm
by M Penta
That will be a great car with a manual, congrats!


Totally different MB, but I installed a manual in a W123 wagon. I had to match balance the 240D flywheel to the om617 flexplate. May not apply to gassers, but you may want to verify. The FW on the OM616/617 diesels are not indexed either, so everything should be marked when removed. I had to make a pilot bushing and do a custom driveshaft and shorten shift rods 3.5". Also installed a 2:88 R end which was great on the highway.

MB never put a manual trans in a turbo diesel, presumably because it would loose boost between shifts. It was not a problem at all though, getting rid of that non lock up converter auto was the best thing I did to that car.

Having the entire swap in an other car should make it much easier (but still a lot of labor!), just verify whether or not it is a zero balance engine and balance FW accordingly. That will be a very cool car when done! You should join Stickshifters of America, they would love that car.

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Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:11 pm
by David Jones
Just for the record I had a buddy in Chicago in about 86 who bought an MB of 70's vintage that had a Toyota engine. Ran well and got better fuel mileage than the original MB.

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:25 am
by Adam Wright
M Penta wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:46 pm
That will be a great car with a manual, congrats!


Totally different MB, but I installed a manual in a W123 wagon. I had to match balance the 240D flywheel to the om617 flexplate. May not apply to gassers, but you may want to verify. The FW on the OM616/617 diesels are not indexed either, so everything should be marked when removed. I had to make a pilot bushing and do a custom driveshaft and shorten shift rods 3.5". Also installed a 2:88 R end which was great on the highway.

MB never put a manual trans in a turbo diesel, presumably because it would loose boost between shifts. It was not a problem at all though, getting rid of that non lock up converter auto was the best thing I did to that car.

Having the entire swap in an other car should make it much easier (but still a lot of labor!), just verify whether or not it is a zero balance engine and balance FW accordingly. That will be a very cool car when done! You should join Stickshifters of America, they would love that car.

Image
The guy who did the swap said he had to mess with a couple of different clutches to get everything dialed in, but it's seems fine now. Before I bought it he sent me a video of him driving it around and I took it out today and it's very fast, and shifts nice.

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:12 pm
by Wes Bender
There were a lot of things that M-B said couldn't or shouldn't be done to their cars. When I was a member of a M-B diesel forum, several of us developed a method of adjusting the fuel injection system, based upon using the glow plugs as heat sensors and balancing the cylinder temperatures by adjusting the amount of fuel being "squirted" into the cylinders. Of course, M-B took a dim view of what we were doing and predicted that we'd have to have the injection pumps recalibrated, but our scheme worked and worked well.

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:31 pm
by Adam Wright
Wes Bender wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:12 pm
There were a lot of things that M-B said couldn't or shouldn't be done to their cars. When I was a member of a M-B diesel forum, several of us developed a method of adjusting the fuel injection system, based upon using the glow plugs as heat sensors and balancing the cylinder temperatures by adjusting the amount of fuel being "squirted" into the cylinders. Of course, M-B took a dim view of what we were doing and predicted that we'd have to have the injection pumps recalibrated, but our scheme worked and worked well.
When I called them asking about how I could convert the car to manual they kind of gave me that vibe, like, "why would you change anything, it's a Mercedes-Benz".

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:33 am
by Harlan Halsey
Back when I got my first Benz, a '76 300D, Mercedes was a different company. They advertised then that they had over 90% of all the parts for any car ever sold in the US. I got parts simply by calling the parts department. If it wasn't in stock, they called me when it came in, usually less than a week unless it came from Germany, then it was two. When the parts were there, I just went down, paid for them, and picked them up. At the time, I was amazed that the service was so good. Then after a decade or so they demanded payment before ordering parts. Then they stopped supplying rebuilt engines. (The Mercedes rebuilt engine in my '80 TD Wagon has over 400,000 miles on it to date.)

A few days ago I needed an alternator for the '80 TD Wagon. They simply told me that it wasn't available. Call Mercedes Classic Parts in Southern California, they said. So now I turn to the aftermarket suppliers, just like for any other old junker.

Sadly, Mercedes Benz is no longer the company on which its reputation was built. They may say "it's a Mercedes Benz", but it really isn't.

About 10 years ago I wanted to replace the "76 300D with a newer Mercedes. I wanted a 3 year old car with about 50,000 miles on it, in nearly perfect condition, probably a 300E. So I asked my new car buying friends what car they recommended these days. The answer unequivocally was the Lexus LS430 "nothing ever goes wrong with them". So I asked a car broker friend, "What would an extended used car warranty from 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles cost?" $2,700.00 for the 300E, $800 for the Lexus! So I asked the Mercedes dealer what warranty were they giving on one of their used 30,000 mile cars? 6 months and 25,000 miles they said. The Lexus dealer gave me a free warranty for 3 years or to 100,000 miles on the 3 year old 50,000 mile LS430. I has a 300 HP quad cam V8 redlined at 6200 rpm which I have never seen. The car is now 17 years old, has 200,000 miles on it, looks like new inside and out and most importantly, my wife loves it. The main drawback the car has is that the front end that is uglier than sin and the newer Lexus are worse. When it is time to replace this car, I doubt that either Mercedes or BMW will be the one.

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:44 am
by Wes Bender
+1 on the "uglier than sin" front end. I too replaced my M-B 300D Turbo with a Lexus ES330, but it's old enough to still look reasonably normal. Probably the last car I'll ever own.

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:01 am
by Adam Wright
The real downfall of Benz was in the mid 2000's when they were merged with Crysler. Those were some real POS!
I bought a 2007 CLK 350, not knowing it was basically a re-badged LeBaron. It was a nightmare, it had 60,000 miles on it but acted like it had 300,000. I had it for a year, it was in the shop 4 times. I traded it on the E350 I have now, it's a 2012, built in Stuttgart, runs like a Benz should.

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:17 pm
by M Penta
not surprised there are other W123 fans here, they are great cars. I ran mine to 405K but it started getting rusty, despite my insane efforts of oil undercoating and keeping clean. It was a good diy car and I did everything to it, and nothing takes the rough roads around here like a W123!

Sold the W123 10 years ago and have been driving a 2003 Tdi ever since, now pushing 320K. After 25yrs driving diesels, my next daily driver will not be a diesel and also not european. They are not what they use to be and a pain in the butt to work on, not DIY friendly at all. The newest european car we have is a 2005 325XI wagon with manual trans. Its the last year E46 and the last of the good Bimmers IMO. I like this car alot, but it keeps me pretty busy. Just got back from a fast 1400 mile road trip with the family and it was a real pleasure to drive, even though it did burn almost 2qts of oil.

No modern European for me, I will be buying a new WRX soon !

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:58 pm
by Alfred Knittel
I have had that dream. My first Benz was a 63. 190D drove that one all over the place. This was back in the 70’s. Took it south of the border a few times . Like 1500 miles of the border. Diesel was like .05 gallon I was in hog haven. I did pick up a Benz last year a 230sl 64. Lot of rust. Going to try to work on it winter. You how you eat an elephant. One bit at a time

Re: Seriously OT, Benz dreams

Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:04 am
by Alfred Knittel
The german cars