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Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
11/12/18 7:37 p.m.

In reply to meareweird :

Yeah, this one is a keeper.  I wish I stumbled on to these ten years ago when they were more common.  

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/5/19 5:51 p.m.


DAY 172......

It has been a very mild winter so far and the Mercedes has yet to be put away for the season.  The car occasionally gets sidelined for a few days due to random repairs but overall it has been regularly driven.   The lack of a block heater appears to have zero effect when temps dip below freezing so apparently the engine is still very healthy.

Let's look at a typical random repair the 32 year old Mercedes recently had..



Bollocks, the old girl has taken to pissing diesel fuel when left in the garage for a few days.  The stink of diesel fuel doesn't necessarily bother me like it once did, however I reckon this is somewhat of a fire hazard.  



The fuel leak was determined to be a result of aging delivery valve seals on the injector pump.   This is the sort of repair that cost about $25.00 to DIY  or a few hundy if you get an indy involved.  A Mercedes service dept would probably get over a grand to make this right.   The  ' delivery valves'  is Mercedes nomenclature and I'm not really sure what they actually do aside from delivering diesel fuel to the injectors.  I'm still such a noob when it comes to diesels.



To gain clear access to the delivery valves, the intake manifold needs to be removed.  I have gotten quite good at removing the intake manifold and can usually have it off in less than a half hour.  I think a pro could probably do this sort of repair with the manifold in place but a short cut like that would increase the chance of getting crap inside the injector pump or worse.

Quick fact...Because diesel, the intake manifold is not required for the engine to run.  The engine will run fine without the manifold but there will be no boost from the turbo.


OK, these thingy's are locked into place with a splined collar.  The purpose of locking these things in place it to prevent any torque from reaching the injector pump when the injector lines are loosened or tightened.  


Once these locking collars are removed we can dig deeper into the injector pump.


Of course you need to get a special tool to remove the next part.  This tool was purchased on Amazon for $15.00 with free shipping.  I didn't really look at where the tool was coming from, all I cared about was it was guaranteed to be delivered in a few days.   Whelp, this was a surprise, the tool came from the UK and somehow managed to make it to my mailbox in three days.  I don't know how they do stuff like that.


So many points....




The O-rings and copper crush washers required for this repair were less than $10.00, however I had to pay  a few bucks for shipping.


This is where it takes surgical skill to pull the old crush washers out of the injector pump and put the new ones in.    With the intake manifold removed this part of the job is a lot less stressful.  The heart of this Mercedes IS the injector pump.  The pump is prohibitively expensive to repair and hard to find.   Anyway once the crush washer is in place  the O-rings slip onto the splined thingy's before the unit is reassembled.



 The last technical step in this repair is to torque the delivery valves down.   Over at the Mercedes camp they specify that the valve needs to be torqued,  then released, then torqued again... and then released then torqued a finial time.  This sequence of torquing seats the crush washer inside the pump to prevent any leaks.   Keep in mind on the turbo engines, the fuel pressure is 1950 psi or 135BAR.  

The result of this afternoon adventure was a leak free injector pump... not too shabby.


Stay tuned!






Cousin_Eddie HalfDork
1/5/19 6:05 p.m.

Well done on the pump reseal. A lot of folks would have shied away from that repair just out of injection pump complexity fear.

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/5/19 6:16 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie :


I find that working on this car is very enjoyable because it is completely different than anything I have ever worked on. Perhaps things would be different If I could not research on the internet.

Next up is my HVAC hack.... Stay tuned!


Cousin_Eddie HalfDork
1/5/19 6:19 p.m.

I truly think that with our modern mediums of information exchange that pretty much any person with the desire can figure out how to do pretty much any project. The internet machine has made the world a smaller place to me. I now got buddies all over the world who can tell me how to do whatever I need to know.

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/5/19 7:20 p.m.

The good news is this Mercedes spent the better part of its life in Fort Lauderdale FL... so very little rust. .... the bad news is the car has a lot of sun damage.   Fortunately the parts car that I recently purchased has all the parts I need to restore my Benz.

Let's take a look at some highlights of the interior restoration....


The cracked dashboard was only the tip of the iceberg.   The HVAC system on this car is imposable to service  with the dash in place, so in this adventure we will sort some stuff out the GRM way... Let's take a look...


 The adventure starts with removing all the little bits on the dash panel.  Most of the bits were FUBAR so disassembly was easy.  The actual hard part was to disassemble the parts car without damaging anything.  


At some point I managed to get the dash apart and began trouble shooting the HVAC system.  This car is equipped with an overly complicated climate control system that uses an 1980's era computer.  

The computer was DOA and I wasn't really motivated to find another one.  From what I was able to gather on the internet, the climate control computer varies by model years and due to wire harness changes, no substitutions are possible without making changes to the harness.   Anyway, while I had the dash apart I confirmed that all the vacuum pods were functional and leak free.  I also went ahead and confirmed the electrical vacuum valve assembly was fully functional.  I spent a lot of time looking the system over and decided on a plan.



So a quick recap.... the climate control computer was NFG (wood grained thing).   On the other hand, the electric vacuum valve assembly was still fully functional.   

I toyed with the idea of building an Arduino based system, but I really don't feel a simple problem requires  that much effort.  All I need is to be able to control the defrost, floor and recirculation for winter time shenanigans and I'll deal with the air conditioner when the whether gets warmer.  



A remote control  relay board was sourced from Amazon for less than $20.00.  This board will allow me to control the  HVAC system vacuum valve via a key fob.   LOL,  yep, this is a bit half ass, but I have done worse.


The remote control relay board was fitted with a terminal block so I could splice into the  vacuum valve.  I cut the vacuum valve harness out of the parts car so I wouldn't damage  my harness.  Perhaps sometime in the future I'll find a proper climate control computer for a 87 190D but for now this will work.


Fast forward a bit and the relay box is wired into the car.




The relay box tucks under the dash and is hidden by this panel.  The finial result is a fully functional HVAC system that is controlled by the key fob.    Normally I say ' not too shabby ', but in this case its more like get 'er done! 


Stay tuned!





Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/5/19 8:01 p.m.

The radio.....


When it comes to car audio, nothing but the best should be considered, especially for a Mercedes. There are plenty of big names to choose from, however I feel that keeping with the German heritage is both a natural and logical solution.  When this car rolled off the assembly line it was fitted with a premium Becker Grand Prix AM/FM cassette sound system. The OEM type Becker systems are still available on ebay for a kings ransom, however I'm not sure an older system would provide the necessary interfaces for a modern experience. Dolby and auto reverse are features of a bygone era. Back in the day, a Blaupunkt system was considered an upgrade.... so let's go that rout.


.......and when Elisha saw it, he cried   'Oh how the mighty have fallen'


The Blaupunkt Toronto is available through big name retailers such as Wallmart and other grocery stores for seventeen dollars and forty five cents  ($17.45). I'm sure they accidentally put the decimal point in the wrong spot because there is no way a brand new Blaupunkt can be had for less than a pizza.


So technically this radio has roots established in Germany.  Seems legit.  

Blaupunkt translated to English means " blue point " The blue dot that proceeds the brand name originally was a quality control mark, or in other words the blue dot meant the device passes and for better or worse, it was good to go.    Whelp, at the very least, this Blaupunkt Toronto earned its blue dot.


Fairly large heat sink on the back of the unit.   


The head unit was wired into the car without using wire nuts.    Also, while in the neighborhood both the front and rear speakers were replaced with Kenwood units.


Because I'm basically a 12 year old at heart, I made the radio say   E36 M3.  LOL  : )   Sorry for the blurry picture.




Actually,  the Blaupunkt looks pretty good.  



.... and finally the car is finished... for now.  The dashboard transplant came out great.  The HVAC hack works excellent and the radio is... not too shabby.


Stay tuned!

crankwalk SuperDork
1/5/19 11:48 p.m.


yupididit UltraDork
1/6/19 7:54 a.m.

I absolutely love reading this thread. Good work! 

Norma66 Reader
1/6/19 9:20 p.m.

Wow great work so far. Great to see you just dive in a figure it all out.

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/13/19 3:19 p.m.

Thanks for the comments, they ara always much appreciated. 

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/13/19 4:03 p.m.

While doing research on the 190D I came across an obscure reference to the Focke Wulf 190D. Suddenly I realized that my Car/ WarBird collection was 3/4 complete. So far, I have owned a Triumph Spitfire, a Mercedes 190D and Zero Mitsubishis. I reckon some day I need to buy a Mustang....

For years Mercedes, BMW and Audi touted their firm seats as German engineered posture firing designs. hmm.... the truth is, German cars are not very comfortable to sit in. Yeah, I see your raise hand back there... put it down, this topic is not open for debate.

The Mercedes 190 is not a sports car, nor is it a luxury car... it is simply a small Mercedes. If you have ever driven any older Mercedes you would likely compare it with a tank. As far as tanks go, the 190 is like a panzer where as the 300SDL is more like a Tiger II. Don't get me wrong, I like driving tanks, but this car is hella uncomfortable.

Anyway, the drivers seat in my 190 is in need of attention, let's take a look.


Looks like the spring is broken....this would explain why it felt like a spring was broken.   Anyway, broken springs are common with older Mercs and the accepted repair is half ass.  I think it would be best to take this repair to the next level and replace the whole seat base.

Fortunately the '93 parts car has a perfect seat base and as a bonus it has an undocumented feature.


Getting the seat out of the parts car was extremely difficult. At one point I actually gave up and decided to watch TV instead.

The trouble with removing these seats is the height adjustment is often seized and there is no way to gain access to the rear mounting bolts.   Height adjustment is accomplished by pulling up on the side lever and moving the seat forward.

The trick to getting the height adjustment to move is to hook the adjustment lever with a bungee cord.


Close the drivers door on the bungee cord to keep the lever unlatched and then get into the back seat.  Once in the back of the car, put both feet on crossbar under front seat and knees against the seatback. Push forward with all your strength and the seat will eventually move forward. It is exhausting!   At this point the rear mounting bolts can be removed.


Once the seat was out, I brought it into the house to warm up. The impact driver reduced the seat to manageable chunks is a few seconds.

Thankfully, the seat cover/cushion was pretty easy to remove.  At this point the seat tracks wer lubricated to ensure the seat would be fully functional when returned to service.


The 1987 seat back was trial fitted to the 1993 seat bottom.  This was a concern because the latter model seats are 'updated' and I wasn't sure if the older seatback would work with the newer seat base.  Mechanically the seats are identical so not problems here.


Apparently one of the updates on the newer seats is the addition of this foam block.   I suspect this chunk of foam helps to keep the springs from breaking. 



After trial fitting the 1987 seat cushion, I discovered there is  extra space between the springs and the cushion.   A little bit of  investigating  indicated the '87 and '93 cushions are slightly different.   To get the best fit, it was determined that some sort of filler was needed.


I cut a chunk of foam for filler.  This foam was something I had in the garage and was the perfect size.


Refitting the seat skins was pretty easy.  Basically the skin locks into this flange.  I ended up opening up the flange in a few spots with a screw driver to get the skin to slip in.  Once the skin was in place, I used a block of wood and hammer to  close the flange.

The finished seat with the undocumented feature.  This knob adjusts the hight of the front of the seat, however it is not mentioned in the owners manual.  


The repaired seat back in the car.  The good news is the seat  feels exactly like a Mercedes seat should feel like.... the bad news is the seat feels exactly like a Mercedes seat should feel like.     Hmm.... this is one of those repairs that was necessary but  at the same time may have made the car more uncomfortable. 


Stay tuned!














Norma66 Reader
1/13/19 8:20 p.m.

I really like your approach on this project. Solid updates and refreshes to a car that works well in mostly stock form. Carry on!

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/13/19 9:05 p.m.

In reply to Norma66 :


I feel fortunate that i was able to locate a parts car loaded with all the stuff needed to repair this old Merc.  More adventures coming soon.

orthoxstice New Reader
1/13/19 10:03 p.m.

I spent an agonizing day doing the mercedes source "repair" on a friends completely fubar'd W123 driver's seat. After all was said and done it was still terrible to sit in haha. 

Ah well, no car is perfect. 

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/14/19 4:11 p.m.

In reply to orthoxstice :

LOL, the Mercedes source "repair"  is what I was avoiding.  

Years ago my X-wife managed a fleet of pre-production Mercedes, she was in charge of mileage accumulation and durability.  The most common complaint she would get was the cars were uncomfortable to drive for the full 8 hour shift.  The folks over at Mercedes told her that the seats were not designed for comfortable long journeys.  The philosophy at Mercedes was the driver and passengers need to exit the car every few hours because it is unhealthy sit..   


conesare2seconds Dork
1/14/19 8:45 p.m.

When I was with Pep Boys we sold this brand as a budget-friendly offering. Their commitment to quality and attention to detail was such that the box for one model literally said BLAUPUNKT one one side and BLAUPUNK on the other.  Poor Nakamichi, Acoustic Research and Blaupunkt. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
1/14/19 9:47 p.m.

Cool thread Doc.  I look forward to the next installment! 

PS: previously mentioned Spitfire will hopefully be getting a new engine soon. smiley

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
1/15/19 6:58 p.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Hi 'ya Ian,  I'm afraid to ask, but what happened to the Spitfire engine?   'ya know I have an extra diesel engine if you want to try something weird.


Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
2/2/19 3:08 p.m.

Not much going on with the 190D, however I do have a special update.

Due to blowing snow, sub zero temperatures and whiteout conditions, my employer recommended that I take Tuesday off and stay warm.   Anyway , I used my day off to order up a set of complete rocker panels for the Benzs project.   The rockers on the Benz are remarkably solid, but do have a bit of damage around the jacking points.   I certainly do not need to replace the full rockers but I just could not pass up this deal.   For a mere $50.00 each, I was able to purchase a nice set of replacement rocker panels.

The cost to ship these gems from Roanoke Virginia to my front door was a staggering fourteen dollars. ($14.00). WTF is up with that?  During three of the coldest days this winter, somehow FedEx managed to drag a 6 foot box 603 miles across hella bad roads to my humble home. Nice!

The panels were sourced from Raybuck in Pittsburg PA. From what I understand, Raybuck takes the position of a middleman in some instances. These panels were sold by Raybuck but were not part of their physical inventory. The panels actually came from KeyParts in Virginia.   Anyway, Raybuck sent me no less than 900 emails notifying me the rocker panels were on their way.   I E36 M3 you not, I received well over 900 emails on Wednesday afternoon.   Hmmm I reckon one would have been enough.   Anyway, I don't pretend to understand what that was all about.



The rockers are YUGE!  The gauge of the steel seems fine, but I'm no expert.  Unfortunately these panels are not EDP coated so they will need to be prepped accordingly.   Now, like I mentioned before, the rockers on the Benz are fairly solid with only minor rust around the jacking points.   It may seem like a waist, but I will only be harvesting patch panels from these full-length rockers.   I reckon the fun will begin sometime late this spring.



The panels were manufactured by Klokkerholm in Denmark.   According to various sources on the internet, Klokkerholm sheet metal products tend to be poor fitting.   While this may be true, I don't see a problem with using them as patch panels.


Stay tuned!




Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
4/7/19 10:43 a.m.

Day 264.

The little Benz was supposed to spend the winter safely in the garage, however that didn't happen.  Due to circumstances not worth explaining, the Mercedes was put into service for a few weeks in February.  If you recall, the car is not equipped with a block heater nor does it have a fuel  heater.   During the coldest two weeks in February, the turbo 5 cylinder fired right up without any drama.  My only complaint is the car felt a little sluggish after it warmed up.  Perhaps the lack of a fuel warmer  was the reason the power felt a little off.

I'm not sure how the Germans expected folks to drive these things on snowy or icy roads.  The moment the car looses traction, the engine RPMs will bump up then the turbo will spool.... and then you go sideways.  It takes some getting used to...

Anyway, after a few weeks of winter driving, it was time to rinse the salt off at the local drive through car salon.  Whelp,  the exhaust must have bumped something while going through the car wash, because when I reached the  end of the tunnel, the car was slightly louder.  

let's take a look at the carnage.


The exhaust broke at the ' flex joint '.  It appears it has been broken for a long time and the previous owner used some kind of patching fabric to wrap the joint.  

So it turns out the 2.5L turbo 190 is a sort of unicorn and certain parts are not available anywhere on this planet.   The exhaust is a primary example of NLA parts and needs to be fabricated.


So we need to make this.......


After a bit of head scratching, I went ahead and fabracobled a replacement part.  The finished part was painted with high temp header paint.  From past experience header paint holds up really well considering the environment it lives in.  


I used V clamps to splice the new exhaust into the tail pipe assembly.  Thankfully the tail pipe assembly was replaced by the previous owner and is in perfect condition.



Motoring down the road belching toxic waste from the tailpipe never felt so good. smiley


Stay tuned!

Run_Away Dork
10/6/19 3:29 p.m.

Bump for updates! :)

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
10/6/19 6:00 p.m.

In reply to Run_Away :

I was hoping nobody would notice the lack of updates.  The sad truth is I got bored with the project and sold the car.   Now that we are on the subject of project cars.... I also sold the B3 / BP-4W Miata.   The only current project is the  Caddy hack 2.8 with a six speed manual. 

yupididit UberDork
10/6/19 11:52 p.m.

How dare you

2/18/21 8:34 a.m.

Hey! I bought this car! I picked it up in September for $1500. Still has the rusty jack points and dented door. The first thing I did when I got home was swap in a 5-speed and I've been dailying it ever since. It's had a full suspension overhaul (bilstein B8s, cut springs, 400e/16v swaybars, new control arms) and 1.5 cosworth seats were swapped in somewhere in between this thread and when I picked it up. 

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