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Rocambolesque Reader
11/23/21 6:13 p.m.

Winter work has started.

First, I pulled the diff with the help of a friend. Much easier to do on a concrete floor than on a gravel driveway...

Here's the RacingDiffs kit:

I took my time and it was fairly easy to remove the diff housing from the case and install the blocks.

However, on those diffs, the circlips are the shims to preload the bearings. You can't put the last clip in without stretching the case!

Time to buy yet another tool...

It is the standard case stretcher from Amazon. It is designed to work with standard Dana axles. I figured it would work with some custom adapter plates...

So I drew plates that would bolt on the side of the diff to fit the tool. I also drew another plate model to bolt to the case (at the "top" and "bottom") to hold the diff on jackstands. I ended up combining both in one plate:

It took me a few turns with an adjustable wrench and the clip went in!


Next is axles...


Rocambolesque Reader
11/23/21 7:19 p.m.

When I was removing the diff, I found out that the axles were greasy. I pulled them to refurbish them.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the boots were dry and cracked.

Obviously, water got into the outer joints on both sides...

Unfortunately, you cannot get aftermarket axles anymore. They seem to be only available from the dealer... at 450$ a piece! The only available parts are the boots and the outer joint. I decided to get 4 boots and clean them up as best as I could and run them.

For those who are interested, I found this shop (not affiliated by any means) who makes stronger aftermarket axles and even a conversion kit that uses universal joints for high torque figures. Basically, for the price of stock axles from Mercedes, you can get stronger ones:

Here's the finished units after a lot of cleaning and re-greasing:


While I was working on the rear subframe, it was time to fit the rear sway bar. As I said previously in this thread, common knowledge around Mercedes forums is that the only bars that fit the W201 chassis are the W201 bars. This means that if you want to upgrade, you need to find 16V or even Evolution parts, or go with the aftermarket Ultraracing bar. Both are $$$. Then one day, I found a post of one guy racing a 190E in Lemons or Chumpcar or something like that who said that a CLK430 bar fits good and works. The W208 CLK is very similar suspension-wise to the W202 C-class, which is the successor to the W201 190E. I got on eBay and found a CLK430 bar and ordered it. The diameter is 16 mm. There's also the CLK55 bar that was also available and can be found used, which has a diameter of 18 mm. Stock W201 is 13 mm.

To remove the old bar, you need to drop the subframe and remove the upper links... Fun.

I don't have pictures of the new bar in the car, but it went in. It's about 0.5" wider than the W201 bar. I think it'll work. I am still waiting on bushings for it. I went with universal Energy Suspensions poly bushings instead of OEM.

For the end links, the W201 uses a plastic part. I was hoarding S124 wagon metal links for a long time and it was time to install them. I thought they would be bolt-on, but no! The bottom bushing is wider by about 10 mm! Fortunately, it's just a solid rubber bushing with a steel tube inside. I cut a few mm off each side and they went in. I'll take more pictures later.


And finally, the stock US headlights had yellow fog lights. The DEPO e-codes I bought in 2015 had regular white bulbs. I swapped that to get the original look:



TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
11/24/21 10:21 a.m.

   That sure looks like a lot of work.   When you put the axles back in, be sure and use a torque wrench, to the proper torque.  If not the bolts can snap like a dry twig,  don't repeat my mistake.   Might even consider new bolts.  I used new bolts on a similar set-up, after the first set broke (the ones not properly torqued).

Rocambolesque Reader
12/7/21 9:43 p.m.

The rear bar is in. You read it here first, on GRM: W208 rear sway bars fit on a W201. Stop looking for unobtainium 190E Evolution II bars and get the 16 mm or 18 mm units from the CLK430 or the CLK55!

I finished the install with universal Energy suspension bushings:

On the pictures, the camber links were not installed. I re-installed them and cycled the suspension. It seems to work. There isn't a lot of clearance between my aftermarket camber links and the bar. It might not fit with stock camber links...

Another thing I wanted to fix was the wheel offsets. The car looks good from the side, but from 3/4 views, the wheels are "hella sunk like the Titanic" (saying this takes me back to my stance days circa 2010...). I had 20 mm and 12 mm spacers laying around that I was using with the stock wheels. With the wider wheels and un-rolled fenders it wouldn't clear so I took them off.

To start, I installed a wheel with the 20 mm spacer to see how it would look. It was poking just a bit too much:

So I hammered the fender lips flat (I heated the fenders with a heat gun so the paint wouldn't crack) and fitted the wheels with the 12 mm spacers. I think it's right:

I put the other side wheel on, and there was much more fender clearance... Something was wrong. But then I noticed that when re-installing the sway bar, I swapped the camber links from side to side! So next time at the shop I will swap the links back, I just might get enough clearance to fit the 20 mm spacers!


russian Reader
12/7/21 10:00 p.m.

Are you planning an M111 swap? I know that ECU which plugs directly into Bosch 2.0 ECU harness you know :)

Rocambolesque Reader
12/8/21 5:30 p.m.

Thought about it, but no. 

You're talking about RusEFI?

yupididit PowerDork
12/8/21 7:57 p.m.

Do you have anymore S124 endlinks? 


Also, I need more information on your dif mods.

Rocambolesque Reader
12/8/21 10:49 p.m.

I got the S124 endlinks from Rockauto. They're Delphi #TC2119. You need to cut the bottom bushing so that its total lenght is 40 mm in order to fit it inside the W201 control arm.

The diff kit is from Racingdiffs:


We'll have to wait until spring to see how good it works. From the info I could gather on the internet, it seems to work well for moderate power levels. 

I can send the dwg file for the diff spreader adapter, or I can get a batch made if more people are interested.

russian Reader
12/8/21 11:07 p.m.
Rocambolesque said:

Thought about it, but no. 

You're talking about RusEFI?

yep that one :)


Rocambolesque Reader
3/19/22 5:42 p.m.

With the rear bar in place, it was time to install the front bar. I thought I could just get away by flipping the stock brackets around to put them in the stock 190E 2.6 position and use the correct bushings for the new bigger bar, but it didn't work. I realized that the new bushings had a larger OD and that the actual 2.6 brackets, which were also used on W124 cars, had provision for the larger bushing. So I had to purchase those. I also had to purchase the other "half" of the brackets (no pictures) and that took long to arrive. But now it's pretty much installed.

With that done, I did other small jobs like aligning the rear bumper, which sat crooked since day 1. It's a bit far from the body, but at least now it's centered and the gap is even. It'll look better when painted.

I had a local shop turn my rotors and I painted the hats with VHT exhaust paint.

I wanted to polish the faces of my wheels and repaint the "windows". I made the mistake of having them sandblasted to remove the paint/clearcoat, as the good "aircraft paint remover" stripper isn't available in Canada. The guy who did the job told me he would use a fine sand and I asked him to only do the faces. He returns the wheels 1 month later, fully blasted with a coarse sand... I thought about having them powdercoated, but shops quote 750$ for that and that's for basic colors and finishes. So I see a whole lot of sanding in my future. More on that later, but here's one wheel after hitting the face with a 60 grit paper on a DA. I will have to sand more to get all the pits out.

The next big job was to rebuild the lower radiator support. It was rotten from the inside out, but was still holding the rad in place.

I removed the bumper. While doing that, I found out the side brackets were also rusted and I will repair them. It shouldn't be too hard.

About that time, I figured that my ITB idea wasn't really the best and that the way to take advantage of this big strong engine and those long gears was by going turbo. I don't know when exactly that would be done, but I had to keep that in mind while building the rest of the car. If you look at the previous picture, you'll notice that the stock support is a formed tube tied to the top "cross tube" with brackets. The rad is installed in the brackets. It's light and strong, but at the same time, the area between the back of the bumper and the radiator was occupied by the brackets. That means there is no room for an intercooler. Also, with the location of the tow hook, both boost pipes would have to come from the left side of the car. But with the shape of the lower radiator support tube, there would be no room to pass the tubes.  The plan was to build a new, removeable, radiator support, that would take less space.

I started by cutting the old rusted tube.

I used a 3/4 steel tube and flat side brackets made out of flat bar:

The brackets would bolt into the frame rails and the tube would now be located under the fan shroud:

I made some "weld nuts" to fasted the bolts into the frame rails:

Made some brackets:

Welded onto the tube:

I added gussets to the side brackets and installed the thing in the car:

Holding the radiator:

Now there's enough space for an intercooler!

It even has tapped 10-24 holes to hold the belly pan.

Now it needs paint and I have to cut the old parts off. 

The next big job is the timing chain.





Hoondavan HalfDork
3/21/22 4:13 p.m.

I really like the detail behind this thread. I hope someday I own one of these MT Benzes and can benefit from the knowledge shared here (example: budget swaybar updates & potential end-link issue).  Happy motoring!

Rocambolesque Reader
7/11/22 10:30 p.m.

Put the diff back together. When doing this, I realized that the ratio is 2.86:1, and not 3.27:1 like I thought I had for some reason. During the reassembly process, I had a bit of trouble with the circlips that hold the stub axles in. Originally, there were radial clips at the end of each stub. The clip would rest against the face of the side gears. With the "LSD" blocks in place, there was no more room for those clips. Racingdiffs include circlips to convert the stub axles to a "push-lock" style (like you would find on some inner CV joints). I had the wrong clips, they sent new ones, all is good.

Moving on to rust repair on the bumper brackets. Starting with the right side:

Left side was almost identical...

After that, I went over the welds with seam sealer like this



I had a lot of painting to do on the front end. I started with the front crossmember:

While I was in there, I decided to refinish the top radiator support where the OEM paint was slowly chipping away.



Side brackets primed and painted:


Filling and smoothing the inside corners:


I don't remember if I showed this here, but the front right fender was rusted and got damaged when I rolled it. There were a few rust holes in it, but the general shape was OK. Since welding this was not really possible (too apparent and I'm not good enough to weld the "class A" surfaces hehe) and finding a new fender was difficult, I decided to fill the holes with POR-Patch and smooth them with filler.

Then I got to masking in preparation for primer and color coats:


Finally, primer and color

In the end, it looks like the primer sprayed further than the color, giving me that "line" you see in the last pictures. It doesn't really matter, because this area is almost invisible with the headlights installed. I was satisfied of the repair and the finish from the spray cans!


After claybaring, the fender came out great. Now 100% invisible, but miles better than it was and surprising finish from a can. I put clearcoat on the fender, but not in the engine bay.






Rocambolesque Reader
7/11/22 10:53 p.m.

Now a special post for those who said they enjoyed the details in this thread:

Before reassembling everything, I had to solve another issue. The headlights mount with 3 screws. 2 on top of the radiator support, and 1 at the bottom of the headlight assembly. The bottom one screws into this expanding plastic clip thingy. Now, I couldn't put rusted screws on my freshly painted radiator support... Also, I lost one of the bottom screws and both my plastic expanders were broken. I got new expanders, but to make a long story short, I couln't find the screws for sale anywhere. They were part of a "headlight installation kit" that is mostly NLA or prohibitively priced. The top screws were similar to a regular metal screw, but the bottom ones were unthreaded at the tip to push into the expander. Those are the old parts:

By measuring the screws, I found out that the thread was identical to a #10 metal self drilling screw. So I bought a pack of long ones on amazon:

Built a "lathe":

Got something close, but not perfect. By chucking the head of the screw, the runout at the tip was too big and the resulting diameter was inconsistent. 

I ended up chucking the tip, "machining" (with a file!) a portion of the threads and cutting the screw to length.

Now that's good:

Works as intended:

I made a total of 6 screws. 2 had the special tip and the other 4 were just the stock metal screw cut down. In the end I hit them with cold galvanize to finish them:

More reassembly tomorrow maybe...



Rocambolesque Reader
7/12/22 7:58 p.m.

After fabricating the screws, I reassembled the front of the car:

And finally:

Once the car was on the ground, I realized that there was a problem with the front sway bar. It wasn't matching the control arm's angle anymore with the lowered suspension:

So I flipped it

I noticed that the headers were slowly melting the plastic loom on one part of the wiring harness, so wrapped it with DEI sheating:

FIxed the alternator wiring while I was in there, it was bugging me since day one (sorry, no before pic):

Finally out of the garage!


For some reason, it now drives muuuch better than last season. I didn't get pictures of this, but over the winter I changed the fuel tank vent valve. The car was always smelling like fuel and there was pressure/vacuum in the tank. Now it doensn't smell anymore and the thing runs smooth!

Now the wheels... If you remember a few posts back they were full of pits from sandblasting. Well, after many hours of 60 grit all the way to 2000 grit, let me show you the result:

Needless to say I am very satisfied! I will finish the remaining 2 over the next days and paint the non-polished parts. They will look wild on the car!

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