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Newsletter No.103, NSW concouse, wiring looms, heavy paint

Newsletter Number 103
11th September 2006

Welcome to newsletter number 103. This one is on time and has some interesting info on Wiring looms and Transmission conversions, also news of some updates to our forum. Don't forget our planned 10th Birthday bash for the website at the upcoming Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT Concours, I have included the directions on how to find us. From the feedback I have to date it looks like being a great day. Also we have the usual line up of interesting articles for you and info on the Mercedes-Benz club of NSW Concours which is on this weekend..

Hope you enjoy it.

Thanks John and Sandra Green.


Mercedes-Benz club of NSW Concours this weekend.

The Mercedes-Benz club of NSW annual Concours is on this Sunday the 17th and is to be held at Heritage Park, The Entertainment Quarter, Fox Studios, in Moore Park (off Lang Road).  The following is part of a posting from John Skene on the club forum, it sounds like a great weekend.

Apart from our members, the general public is again invited to come along and appreciate the old through to the new Mercedes Benz cars that our members will have on display.

New for our 2006 Concours will be a number of cars from Will Sanderson's unique Mercedes Benz car collection that will also be on display; Sandersons, who live and breath Mercedes-Benz, is a major sponsor of the NSW Club.

This years Concours consists of 24 Classes to enable all Club Members to display their cars in the appropriate model or manufacturing years, and vie for a Concours award.  With the the normal Model/Year classes (shown separately), we again have Historic Plate class for members cars that are only normally seen on Club outings, at the other extreme is the Road Class for club members cars that are used everyday.
There is also an Engine bay award for the best “as new” engine bay, a Long Distance award for whoever has driven the greatest distance to our Concours to compete, plus the President's award where the President has sole discretion on the winner. This lucky car can be unique, or have a great history, or just that the President prefers it on the day. If you are not entering the Concours itself, please list your car and bring it along for the "Display Cars)" area.

We are hopeful that everyone interested in classic cars will be interested in our Mercedes Marque cars again this year.


Lets celebrate 10 years on the web.

Did you know that M.B Spares & Service had a fully developed website before Mercedes-Benz Australia did? Yes, that is right, on the 1st of November 1996 we launched our website under the URL  If you click on it you won't find anything as it was changed to a few years later.

Anyway, this November is the 10th birthday of our website, and this is quite an achievement as 10 years ago there were very few companies with a serious web presence. Over the years our site has grown and grown. It has had several major changes, the biggest of which was the change to this format in February 2003. We average around 75000 page requests a week and get more e-mails than we know what to do with some days.

So to celebrate we would like to invite all of our customers and Newsletter readers to a birthday party. We have been considering this for some time and have had various thoughts on what to do. Then all of a sudden it became clear. The Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT have moved their annual Concours from mid September to mid October, the 15th to be precise, and given that we are a major sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT we have decided to invite you all to come along on the day and  enjoy some Canberra hospitality. 

The ACT club Concours is one of the highlights of the Mercedes-Benz club calendar in Australia and is held on the foreshore of Lake Burly Griffin. Each year an excellent display of rare and exotic Mercedes-Benz's are on display and it is a day not to be missed for anybody interested in the marque. Local service clubs provide good German food (and some standard Australian stuff) and there will even be a Vito van that makes coffee!

Here are the directions to find us. First you need to find your way to Anzac Avenue. It is on the North side of the lake and is the road that leads up to the War Memorial. At the Lake end of Anzac Avenue is a Roundabout and not far from the Roundabout is a set of traffic lights that is the intersection with Commonwealth Avenue. You need to head east on Commonwealth avenue and turn South on Wendouree Drive. You will see a sign post to Blundell's Cottage. Access to where we will be is via a gate directly opposite Blundell's cottage. If you would like to print off a map of how to get there then you can go to and enter Wendouree Drive Parkes and the ACT.  If you select to highlight places of interest it will bring up Blundell's cottage for you.

The full details of the event are listed here . Don't forget that if you want to enter the Concours you need to enter.  Entry is only open to financial members of a Mercedes-Benz club, however anybody can come along on the day and display their car. If you want to come to the dinner on the Saturday night then you need to register .  So put the date aside and stay tuned for final details which will appear in the October newsletter. 



Bio-degradable wiring looms?



Do you own a Mercedes-Benz made between 1993 and 1997?? If so, I may have some bad and good news for you. For some reason there is a serious quality control issue with the wiring looms that were for the engine management systems on these models. What happens with them is that the plastic insulation on the wires becomes very brittle and breaks away leaving bare wires. This results in short circuits which in most cases just leads to a miss in the engine, but in extreme cases results in the car simply dying on the side of the road or even worse causing the Engine Control unit (ECU) to fail. Often the symptoms of this problem occur immediately after a major service or engine work as the loom has to be moved to do this work. When it is moved, the brittle insulation breaksaway and leaves bare wires. The Photo below is of a complete engine management loom for a E220.




And this close up shot is of some of the connectors showing the bare wires.




So what is the good news? Well not that much really. This problem has been around for many years and many cars had the loom replaced under warranty when they were still under warranty or not long after the warranty expired. For some reason it seems that all of a sudden we are getting a huge call for these looms all over again and we have negotiated some super deals on them. Here are some examples:

W124 E280 early version loom, normally $2997.50, our price $1750.00
W124 E220 late version loom, normally $2270.00, our price $1300.00
W202 C220 loom, normally $3556.30, our price $2000.00


Finally why the story about them being Bio-degradable? Well, I do know that all Mercedes-Benz cars have every piece of plastic marked with what sort of plastic it is. The idea is that it is possible to strip down a Mercedes-Benz into all of the basic types and recycle it completely. It has been suggested to me by one customer that the wiring looms have been made to be Bio-degradable!  A more likely scenario is that Mercedes-Benz made a poor choice back in the 90's when they selected a supplier for the looms.



Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT Concours details.


Sunday the 15th of October will be the Mercedes-Benz club of the ACT's 31st Annual Concours and as mentioned above, M.B Spares & Service will be celebrating the 10th birthday of our website at this event and you are all invited to attend.  If you would like an application form  to have your car judged at the Concours please go to this page and print it out, refer to the table below for class's. Please note that you must be a paid up member of a recognised Mercedes-Benz club in Australia to apply to have your car judged. However, everyone is welcome on the day if they are a member or not. Please mail the completed form with payment to the address on the form.

If you would like to go to the Pre Concours dinner then you need to go to this page and print out the form. Please note that there are different address's for each form.


OZVETS changes to OZBENZ.

Hopefully all of you know that we have a forum on our website? Well, last month it had a name change. Here is a brief history on the forum and the logic behind the name change. 

The OZVETS forum can trace its origins and its name back to 1996, when a small group of Mercedes-Benz nutters (including me) started the Mercedes Veterans mailing list. It was a very simple style mailing list (as most things on the net were back then). The administrator was a Uni Student in Switzerland called Alex Gabard.  As it grew and Alex completed his studies the list admin was taken over buy a group of list members from the USA and was hosted by  The name of the list was still called the Mercedes Veterans list but was more commonly referred to as the "Vets list". This was mainly due to the fact that sponsored several lists.

The number of Australian list members grew and we slowly became a little tried of listening to some of the rubbish that our US members carried on with (sorry guys) so we asked to start an Australian version of the "Vets list". The costs involved were paid for by M.B Spares & Service and the OZVETS list was born in late 2001. It was however still just a mailing list which is rather out of date technology these days.

In early 2005 had some hassles (it was run by volunteers) and the list was not always available.  A vote was taken from the members and in Jun 2005 the list evolved into the forum that we are using today.  M.B Spares & Service is still paying the costs and we now have over 370 members. Not long after this, the original "Vets list" vanished forever.

The issue with the name OZVETS was that it does not mean anything now that the original VETS list had gone. There was nothing in it to identify it with what we were are all about. So I felt that we should have a look at our name. Luckily the URL for the forum does did reflect our name so a name change would not effect the way we were found on search engines.

However it was not my choice and a poll was conducted of the forum members which you can find here. The results were:

                                                                 NO CHANGE 9%
                                                                OZBENZ CLASSIC FORUM 47%
                                                                BENZ CLASSIC FORUM OF AUSTRALIA 26%
                                                                AUSSIE BENZ CLASSIC FORUM 16%

Which was a win for  OZBENZ CLASSIC FORUM. However there seemed to be a move to drop the word CLASSIC from the name and shorten it to OZBENZ FORUM. Which is the new name we have settled upon.

The URL will not change and you will all still log on the same as before. The other change that will happen soon is a full update of the software that runs the forum so you will see a different look to the forum in the next few weeks.


Heavy paint

Even wondered how much the paint on your car weighs? Most likely not, I hadn't until the subject came up on our forum. The claim was made that in the 60's there was about 70kgs of paint on a Mercedes! Here is some research on the matter from one of the forum members:


After trawling through a hundred or so archived printed brochures, I found the following data in three of them, as detailed:

1. "Application of undercoating of elastic PVC material at points of special stress (26 lbs per unit). ... Second priming ... first lacquer ... both coats of surface lacquer (Altogether 50 lbs per unit). Which thus adds 50 lbs value above and 26 lbs below the chassis."
M-B Passenger Car Programme 1965; published August '65 by D-B Germany; page 5.
That amounts to 76 lbs or approx. 34.5 kg.

2. "The Mercedes-Benz 280 has a particularly hardwearing paint covering (around 20 kg per vehicle). ... The permanent underseal (around 14 kg per vehicle) for the underside, the fenders, the sills and the underside of the front section. The extra protective wax coating for the engine compartment and the whole underside of the vehicle, including axles, drive shaft, fuel and brake lines. Hollow parts which become inaccessible later are coated with zinc paint before assembly to prevent interior corrosion. The axle housings and engine block are coated inside with a special heat and oil-resistant paint ..."
280S 280SE 280SE 3.5 280SEL 3.5 (W108 series catalogue); published by D-B Germany, January '71; pages 22-23.
That amounts to 34 kg or approx. 75 lbs.

3. "Altogether, approximately 34 kg of paint, underseal and wax are used on every car."
 280 280SE (W116 series catalogue); published by D-B Germany, August '72; page 27.
That amounts to 34 kg or approx. 75 lbs.

4. "A total of 32 kg of paint, underfloor protection and wax are used on each vehicle."
The Philosophy of a Fine Car, by Sturt Griffith BE - an Australian motoring journalist; published by M-B Australia (date not given, but during the era when the W116 and revised W114/115 were current models, so first half of '70s); page 31.
That amounts to 32 kg or approx. 71 lbs.

My claim to memory of having read "70 kg" was fairly spot-on with the numerals - just with the wrong units (kg instead of lbs). None of the above sources, however, indicates whether those given weights are wet or dry. If they are dry weights, that indeed is one hell of a lot of paint!

(Gordon Balfour Haynes)


Links of the month.

- Interested in 80 and 90's Mercedes-Benz coupes? Check out this site. Here is a great story of a very unique 560SEC

- Back in Newsletter 69 I had a short article about a very strange looking 170 and an equally strange story as to how I got a picture of it. Anyway as I have often proved in these newsletters the world is a rather small place as I have recently received this e-mail:

Dear John,

I own a 1950 MB 170S Cabriolet A ( see attachment1) and live in the Boston area of the USA. We started an international and web based club of fellow Mercedes 170 and 220 owners at . In researching pictures to put into our gallery and sightings pages, I came across your posting from jan. 2004 about the very interesting looking custom bodied stretched 170S sedan. ( see attachment2)

What else do you know about this car?  I was a little bid confused as you stated that the body was built in Spain and the picture was taken there,  but you got the pictures from a visit to New Zealand? Where is the car located now?

Did the body builder build more just this one or was this sort of a Pullman limousine for taxi service and perhaps built this way for all cabs in a specific town?

I would love to be in contact with the owner if you have the info. Perhaps even have him join our club...

I hope to hear from you soon,

Regards, Volker Nahrmann

Now unfortunately I can't help Volker with any more info than what I put in the article, but it just goes to show how wide read my newsletter are! Check out his website at . Go to the sightings page and have look at some of the excellent shots. Click on the pictures of each type to see more pictures. And if you are into 170's and 220's they have a great links page.

- Now I know not everybody will like this one but here is one mans dream W111 coupe.

- And finally here is possible the worlds scariest (to drive that is) 190E.

More 6.9 parts on special.

Seems we always come across 6.9 parts on special. The latest offering is the level control valve that is linked to the front and rear sway bars. Part number is A126 320 06 58 and we have two for sale at $1350.00 including GST. The normal retail price is $1898.00. What makes this an extra good deal is that these are no longer in production. We tried to order some of these for a customer from Mercedes-Benz in Germany only to be told they were no longer available. So a few quick phone calls and we secured what stock was left elsewhere in the world. Two are sold and we have two left so be quick.

Auto to manual conversion??

We get quite a few requests for manual transmissions for various models. Being the considerate parts suppliers that we are we always ask what they want to do with it rather just sending it out. Most want to do a auto to manual conversion, but have no idea just how difficult a task this is. Here is an approximate list of what you would need to do such a job:

- Tailshaft (longer for a manual)
- Rear transmission cross member (wider than an auto)
- Gear box
- Clutch plate, pressure plate, throw out bearing
- Spigot bearing for end of crank
- Fly wheel
- Clutch master and slave cylinder and hoses to plumb it
- Remote reservoir for master cylinder or brake master cylinder reservoir with line out for clutch
- Manual pedal box with clutch pedal and rubber
- Wiring loom for reverse lamps and blank out for inhibitor switch
- If the car has cruise control you need an extra kill switch for the clutch pedal
- All of the nuts, bolts and brackets to fit the above

To fit to the car you need to do the following:

- Remove engine and auto from car
- Remove crankshaft from engine, fit flywheel, clutch and pressure plate and send for balancing
- Reinstall with new main and conrod bearings
- Put engine back in car
- Fit pedal box, clutch master cylinder and wiring loom
- Fit transmission and tail shaft
- Bleed system and drive away.

Done correctly by an experienced MB technician I can't see it being done in under 3 days labour (8 hours per day). The crank needs to come out and be balanced as they are balanced as an assembly with the auto flex plate. I have seen a few 4 cylinder models including a 240D that did not have the crank down and they had terrible vibrations. I have also seen two Roundies/Pontons that had been converted from Hydrak (Clutchless manual system) to conventional manual without having the spigot bearing put into the end of the crank. Both had terrible vibrations when you changed gears.


Cars for Sale.

Not that much action on the car sales front due to the short time lapse between the newsletters this time. The most notable car to come in and go out is a beautiful 300E-24 sedan, in white with immaculate black leather. It has been sold to an ACT club member so expect to see it competing at there upcoming Concours.  We have also sold the 300SEL and a beautiful one owner 1977 280E!

Don't forget that, we don't just sell Mercedes-Benz's. We have access to all manner of models and can help you find what ever you are looking for. Just as an example at the moment we have this Holden Monaro CV8  , a HSV Clubsport and a Range Rover Vouge TD6 or sale. So if what you are dreaming of owning is not here then please feel free to contact me on 0419 295 458 and I will see what we can do to find you what you want.

And finally don't forget the two 170's that we have for sale, both are excellent examples of the model.

You can check out all our Mercedes-Benz's for sale here.   Or you can check out all the other cars we have for sale here:

New cars into stock:

 420SEL sedan 1990 model

260E sedan 1989 model only 99000kms

300SEL sedan time warp car

Cars sold:

300E-24 sedan

Also in stock we have:

ML270 2002 update model

E300 Turbo diesel 1997 model

E280 1994 model only 113000kms

E320 1993 model only 79000kms

300SEL sedan

280CE coupe 1979 model

170S, classic sedan

170SD, classic Diesel sedan

280SE Rare Crayford station wagon

So that's it for another newsletter. Hope you liked what you saw. If you have any ideas or want to contribute any articles, pictures or other material please e-mail me here. Also, don't forget that you can check out the old newsletters here
Thanks, John Green.