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Thread: Medium Pimpin' - 1995 E300 diesel build

  1. #1
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    Default Medium Pimpin' - 1995 E300 diesel build



    Hey all, and welcome to the build thread for my 1995 Mercedes E300 diesel. I've decided to name this build “Medium Pimpin’,” since it’s going to be somewhere between ultra high-budget unobtainability and cutting springs with an angle grinder. I’ve got some fun things planned for this summer, and this should be an enjoyable build. There’s not much done yet on the car, but the build begins in earnest this morning, so I thought I’d do a thread as we go.

    Alright, with that out of the way, on to the story.

    The budget for this build comes from the sale of my previous project, a 1992 Dodge Ram with a hopped-up Cummins turbodiesel.



    I’ve always had a fascination with diesel engines, something about their simplicity and the wonderful clattery noises they make. This particular specimen was a ton of fun: it was loud, quick for a chunk of iron weighing just shy of four tons, and it got attention everywhere it went. What it wasn’t, however, was particularly livable in the city. As fun as it was, it was just ridiculous to try and drive in traffic, and it was fully a foot too tall to get in my parking garage. I placed it for sale after two years of ownership, and a gentleman from Ohio came and purchased it, driving the old lumbering beast all the way back to the Midwest.

    To replace the Dodge, I had my usual set of ridiculous criteria. It turns out, surprise surprise, that the combination of cheap + reliable + good gas mileage + RWD + good-looking is not easily met by the used car market. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and an infinite number of conversations with my incredibly patient girlfriend, I decided upon a W124 diesel, which met all the criteria more or less.

    Mercedes fans will debate about which of the three diesels offered in the US was the best, but what’s not up for debate is the fact that the facelifted W124 looks just miles better than the original body. For reasons only understood in Stuttgart, whereas all the gas models got the facelift in 1994, diesels waited until 1995. That means I was searching for a single year. Oh, and it had to be either black or silver. Oh, and with grey, black, or cream leather, and not that MB Tex vinyl stuff either. As you can imagine, I was looking for a very rare combination, especially considering how uncommon diesels are on our shores. I wound up looking for about three months, until I found a black on grey one in San Francisco. The girl and I bought plane tickets and flew down over a weekend when I otherwise should have been writing or grading papers and took a look.

  2. #2
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    The First Day

    The car was a mixed bag. Its condition was a little rougher than described, but it appeared otherwise well-maintained and unmolested, other than some hideous chrome fender trim. It drove beautifully, had only 160k on the clock, and a clean title (which seems like it is rare for these cars), not to mention the fact that it was $1000-$2000 cheaper than most of the other W124s on the market at the time. We snagged it.

    We left San Francisco at about 2:30PM, with 700 miles to home.



    The Golden Gate became the symbol of our journey, because just about the moment we crossed it, things began to fall apart. In the course of the next twelve or so hours, the air conditioner failed, the car stopped downshifting, a sketchy clanking noise started coming from somewhere under the car, and it became apparent that the factory radio really, really sucked. Nevertheless, car fully decomposing as we went, we screeched into the driveway at about 3AM, exhausted, and fully convinced we had just purchased the world’s biggest piece of shit.



    Last edited by Oh Damn, it's Sam; 06-19-2013 at 03:04 AM.

  3. #3
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    The First Week

    Critical analysis the next morning indicated that a serious detail job was in order. The paint on the car was absolutely littered with scratches of various provenance:



    The interior was just absolutely filthy. The previous owner hadn’t bothered to clean it at all, and a thick layer of what I can only assume is a mixture of dried hand lotion and dead skin covered, no joke, every surface of the interior with thick grey grime.




    I cleaned up the interior, and spent some time with the buffer on the paint. I didn’t have the time to do a 100% job, but if I was going to be driving around in some piece of shit with a broken air conditioner and a transmission that wouldn’t shift right, I wanted it to at least be a shiny piece of shit. One nice thing about this vintage of Mercedes is that many of the paints are single stage, meaning I could polish the bejesus out of this thing. Some Meguiars 105/205 on the random orbital and some Griot’s Garage Best in Show, and the paint actually began to show its original luster.




    There are still plenty of swirl marks at this point, but most of the really hideous scratches have been brought out more or less. I also ripped off the absolutely despicable chrome fender trim and promptly threw them in the scrap pile for the methheads to pick through.

    To fix the collection of issues the car had developed over its journey home, I sent it to the local Mercedes mechanic (European Auto Centre in downtown Portland comes highly recommended by myself) to have them give it a good once-over. I usually don’t pay for work on my cars, but since I’m decidedly a noob at this whole Mercedes thing, I thought I’d let the experts have a crack at it. The conversation went as follows:

    “Hey, so I’ve got this W124, and here’s the list of stuff that’s wrong with it.”
    “Well, how much do you want to throw at it? They’re good cars, but they aren’t really worth much, and I probably wouldn’t put a ton of money into it.”
    “I don’t know, I’ll throw some good cash at it if it’s a solid car.”
    “What engine’s in it? M104? 119?”
    “606.”
    His eyes lit up. “606... wait... that’s a diesel? Oh yeah, we need to preserve that thing, those cars are amazing!”

    I grinned. Here’s a guy who gets it. Amazing might be a little bit hyperbolic, but it is a neat car.

    In the end, it turns out the car is actually really solid, and a new kickdown switch and a duo-valve fixed the shifting and air conditioner, respectively. The clanking noise was just a loose heatshield. Easy fixes, and the car was back in my hands and a thousand times more pleasant to drive.

  4. #4
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    The First Month

    It was now time to start gathering parts. The first order of business was to do something about the god-awful stereo in this car. I’m sure it was nice in ’95, but it was time for a change. I ordered some Image Dynamics CTX65CSs for the front:



    ...and a Sundown SAX125.2 to power them. Just a two-channel, because the 125.4 is like a million dollars, and fuck rear seat passengers anyway. I also grabbed a Sundown SAZ-1200.D:



    ...which will power this big beastie, an FI Q 12:




    I also snagged like a mile of wire:



    This car, of course, needed something to replace the awful 16s with their peeling chrome and missing centercaps. My first thought was to go with the classics and snag a set of AMG Monoblocks for it, but they’re hard to find in the offset I wanted (I’d rather stick to thinner spacers if possible, those monster 20+mm spacers skeeze me out), and, as good as they look, they’re awfully common. BBS LMs crossed the list, as well as Rotiform VCEs (I still really like these), but I kept trolling the classifieds on here and VWVortex until it finally paid off:


    (image courtesy of seller)

    MAE Monoblocks, 18x8.5, springlesprangle 35, already wrapped in nicely-stretched 205/40/18 Nittos, the perfect size for the car. I snapped ‘em up.

    I also thought I’d give you guys a teaser of the direction I’m going for suspension:



    Not all the goodies are in yet for that part of the build, but they’re on the way soon. Need to take a few more suspension measurements before I can get all the stuff to make brackets and so forth. Finally, I threw together a quick photochop of how I’m hoping it will sit. I can’t really photoshop out swirl marks, so you’ll just have to imagine those gone



    So that’s where I’m at so far. This summer is going to be busy. Thanks for looking, and I’ll have more updates soon! Headed out to the garage as we speak...

  5. #5

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    Clean! It's almost strange seeing some coming from a coal rolling jacked up Dodge to a bagged W124. I'd like to see your enclosure for that 12. Nice job so far.
    The only thing lower than my standards is my truck.

    Build thread!!!

  6. #6
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    EXCITED about this build


    W I L D M A N 'S R O D S H O P




    R.I.P P.WALKER 2013/11/30

  7. #7
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    " One nice thing about this vintage of Mercedes is that many of the paints are single stage, meaning I could polish the bejesus out of this thing."


    ^ first your 1995 is not a vintage , Yet. But if you take care of her she could someday be one. Second. single stage does not mean you can polish the bejesus out of it. It actually means the latter. Besides your car is two stage with clear coat. manufactures generally stopped shooting single stage in the early 70s. Third, welcome to stance works cant wait to see this thing aired out !!! The 124 is one of the more reliable chassis of Benz you found a diamond in the rough.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isuzupickup View Post
    Clean! It's almost strange seeing some coming from a coal rolling jacked up Dodge to a bagged W124. I'd like to see your enclosure for that 12. Nice job so far.
    Okay, I swear I'm going out to the garage right now, but thank you for the welcome! I will maintain, however, that my Dodge was not a coal-roller, but actually ran really clean . I don't know, it is kind of a weird switch, but I've had lowered cars before, and I guess I'm just more attached to interesting cars than to one particular style. Anyway, off to work on that enclosure momentarily.

    Quote Originally Posted by SD202 View Post
    " One nice thing about this vintage of Mercedes is that many of the paints are single stage, meaning I could polish the bejesus out of this thing."


    ^ first your 1995 is not a vintage , Yet. But if you take care of her she could someday be one. Second. single stage does not mean you can polish the bejesus out of it. It actually means the latter. Besides your car is two stage with clear coat. manufactures generally stopped shooting single stage in the early 70s. Third, welcome to stance works cant wait to see this thing aired out !!! The 124 is one of the more reliable chassis of Benz you found a diamond in the rough.
    OED: vintage /ˈvintij/: 2. denoting something of high quality, especially something from the past or characteristic of the best period of a person’s work. Anyway, "vintage," used like I used it above, often just means "age," without claiming "old-school" or "classic" or whatever.

    As far as the paint goes, there seems to be quite a bit of controversy as to whether the late W124s are single stage or not, Mercedes having kept with single-stage paint far longer than many other manufacturers (source, another source). Anyway, the point is, the scratches are gone .

    Thanks for the welcome, I'm dying to see this thing slammed!

    Now, off to garageland, for reals.

  9. #9
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    Well, well, well. I like this, but I'm biased as I have a w124, on MAE Crown Jewel monoblocks, and on air...
    Sent from my SGH-T959V using Tapatalk 2
    Instagram: @Eurow

  10. #10
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    I approve of this build. I myself am looking for an older Mercedes Land yacht to DD and work on. Therefore your build is highly relevant to my interests .

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Isuzupickup View Post
    Clean! It's almost strange seeing some coming from a coal rolling jacked up Dodge to a bagged W124. I'd like to see your enclosure for that 12. Nice job so far.
    Quote Originally Posted by aeok18109 View Post

    I approve of this build. I myself am looking for an older Mercedes Land yacht to DD and work on. Therefore your build is highly relevant to my interests .
    Both of these guys said it for me except for the part of looking for a MB land yacht. In to see where this goes. So far, you have my attention.
    Sup. Call me Z.
    My Accord "build".

  12. #12
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    Am I the only one who got the springsprangle reference?

    Looking forward to seeing it on air


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
    IG: @kyle_eagleton

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle_Eagleton View Post
    Am I the only one who got the springsprangle reference?
    I saw it. I just wasn't expecting it.
    Sup. Call me Z.
    My Accord "build".

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrackerTeg View Post
    I saw it. I just wasn't expecting it.
    I'm an astute one. Lol


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
    IG: @kyle_eagleton

  15. #15

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    nice whats the total cost for your wheels and suspension setup.. interested minds want to know

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle_Eagleton View Post
    I'm an astute one. Lol


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
    Well, you are in the Chair Force.
    Sup. Call me Z.
    My Accord "build".

  17. #17
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    like your old truck and it seems you are off to a good start on the new project. can't wait to see this unfold

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrackerTeg View Post
    Well, you are in the Chair Force.
    We have to be the smart ones


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
    IG: @kyle_eagleton

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle_Eagleton View Post
    We have to be the smart ones


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
    lol.
    Sup. Call me Z.
    My Accord "build".

  20. #20
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    amazing pics great stuff here!
    IG @RobthaBavarian





  21. #21
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    yeayah! more e class love. great rim choice.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrackerTeg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle_Eagleton View Post
    Am I the only one who got the springsprangle reference?
    I saw it. I just wasn't expecting it.I saw it. I just wasn't expecting it.
    Last edited by TeckniX; 06-18-2013 at 03:01 PM.


    "Never argue with an idiot; they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"

  23. #23
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    I can dig, classic combo plus diesel makes it awesome

  24. #24
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    Nice write-up!

  25. #25
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    I can't wait for this build to really take off. Good luck!

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