Saturday, December 7, 2019

2005 Mercedes E320 CDI Engine Swap

Found myself really lacking on the page here and I figure I can make the attempt to keep track of my phone long enough that I can snap some pictures here and there. This week, an 05 E320 CDI which had locked up it's engine from water ingestion (or so is speculated). At the moment time was a concern, but I'll be allowed to dissect the old engine in an effort to see if anything is worth saving. They're expensive engines!

Here it is arriving on a pallet

Quick check to ensure no shipping damage

replacement engine put on a stand to prepare for a thorough degreasing and removing ancillary parts that will be replaced with new.

The junkyard that supplied this engine did a phenomenal job with its removal. They were very careful removing the parts they do not include and they did a fantastic job ensuring the engine was completely drained of fluids for its arrival. 

first order of business, injector and (oh no) glow plug removal

the one problem with these long shank glow plugs is the plug seat. when torqued incorrectly (or if the seat is dirty upon install) it will allow soot to bypass the seat and make it extremely difficult to remove the plug from the engine. In some cases, breaking off the non threaded portion and leaving it in the cylinder head. Luckily on this engine, this was the worst one and it came out with a bit of a fight.

Now that the engine was prepped for the most part, the shop Europa G gets put to work and brings the E320 in to complete the work.

couple hours later, the engine/transmission/subframe is removed as one assembly for ease of access. Everything will be getting serviced

Don't mind the gloves or the overall mess in the shop - there will be a few more blog posts with an Audi S4 from hell that is the cause of that mess - the last thing I was is something entering the turbo and damaging a fin, so a glove it is. 

transmission removed - what I don't have pictures of is the process used to remove the torque converter from the flex plate of an engine that won't rotate. It's a bit involved, but took about an hour of my time.

skipping ahead in the preparation of the replacement engine. exhaust manifold gasket replaced, replacement hardware should ALWAYS be used on the exhaust side. the copper nuts are egg shaped as to not back off

turbo installed, valve cover thoroughly degreased and resealed, PCV resealed and reinstalled


 resealed water pump (replacement engine's water pump was absolutely perfect), replacement idlers, front crank seal, oil filter cartridge installed

take a step back to admire the conduit everywhere that's crooked and realize you didn't take any pictures of the intake manifold R&R

Engine is placed on the subframe and ready to receive the transmission. 

step back and realize you hadn't taken any more pictures because the work flow was rapid. What was involved beyond the engine's reinstallation was coding the injectors into their respective holes for fuel quantity adaptations. Once the engine was started, the air mass sensor, fuel rail sensor, and air filter quality adaptations were reset. The rest of the vehicle was scanned via Xentry to find any further fault. 

So, with that, we conclude the project with a very happily running E320 CDI that will offer years of service down the line. The engine was a low mile, 90k unit that was entirely resealed for this application. The car is COMPLETELY outfitted with dynamic seating, heated/cooled seats, window shades, Navi, etc. It's about as fully optioned of a car as one could get - it has absolutely not a spec of rust on it and was dealer maintained it's entire life before flooding itself. Happy motoring!

Friday, April 12, 2019


Cancelling the get together for April 14th - we're this late into the year and we're getting a forecast of snow! Go figure.

I'll update again with a new event date.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mercedes Enthusiast Group Meet Up - Sunday April 14th

Here's the facebook event page:

It's that time of year again, CME meet ups - April 14th. Bring whatever you want! A grill will be on site for you to use and like last time, I'll have pizza's coming around noon. All I ask is that you respect the property, no burnouts. Do rev, blow up your engine, etc doesn't matter... just don't do a burnout. This is a rain or shine event, it's only water!

Don't be bashful - most of my cars barely have paint on them!

On some GPS the location shows up as a lake - we're directly across from Fisher Rd, it's hard to miss. 1 block west of the Volo Auto Museum on Rt. 120.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Testament to unparalleled reliability and formidable stupidity

Most people would think of Moab, Utah as an offroader paradise, and they'd be right. Those same people would also consider taking a vehicle that was properly capable of offroading to Moab, and they'd be right again. This is where my sense of adventure comes into play (read: stupidity) and where my little donkey of a W123 wagon somehow manages to do mostly everything I ask of it. While 0-60 times under 6 seconds and properly working cruise control are still out of the question, this little gutless wonder managed to impress in every other aspect.

My initial plan with this car was to just restore it and get it out of my life, but the "get it out of my life" portion of that seems to have taken a back seat. I've been putting this car together in stages, slowly putting the best of what I can find on it before I'm ready to tear it apart and get it painted/fix some of the body rust problems it has.

This is what it looks like for the beginning of the journey. While I didn't have time to get my lift springs installed in the front, it does have the largest spring pads available installed. The rear has lift springs and functioning SLS - definitely taller all around than a standard wagon.
First leg was to meet the group at a start point and make the non-stop drive from there. Here's a friends lifted, all-terrain tired, skid plated TDI VW - I don't know what model, they all look the same to me.

We'll skip the boring drive and head into the good stuff - trail pics.


Me and the donkey

 Some of the views from the trail were just insane. 

It's a good thing I had a skid plate on the car - it was getting utilized to the fullest. Once I get the car back in the air, I want to see where the car was bottoming out and repair those areas. I'd like to make sure the fuel and brake lines running from the rear are better protected as well.

Funny thing, a day after the trail driving was done I had to get a bulb for a blinker for the donkey. The SECOND I opened the door to O'Reillys the counterman "IT MADE IT OUT?!" 


Apparently some of the adventure trail riders and Jeep guys made their way through there and were talking about an old Mercedes wagon doing the trails.

With all the trail driving, hiking in Arches, and expensive dinners sorted in Moab the gang's weekend haul was just about over with. I split off from the group and headed south to pick up a bar stool from a friend in Vegas and attempt Rt. 66 all the way back home.

Reality is, I gave up on Rt. 66 - was not what I was expecting it to be. All the typical Rt. 66 flair you see on TV and in movies was just replaced with I40 and depressing little towns with no sights. At some point in New Mexico I decided to shoot straight north to drive the million dollar highway and make my way back home through Montrose and the Monarch pass. I'm glad I did, because the views changed dramatically.

Coming around a corner and..

This road was amazing - not sure what it was, but if I ever drive it again I'll make sure to mark it. I need rip through it in a Porsche.

I did stop along some of the hiking trails to stretch my legs a bit - there were some short 2 mile hikes for Indian ruins.

I see why anybody would have chosen this spot.

I noticed my fuel gauge running down rapidly while on a random desert road - I pulled over and the engine was covered in fuel. One of the injector return lines completely disappeared! Nowhere in the engine bay - the fuel did a pretty good job of cleaning some old oil leaks though. I carry misc. parts with me all the time, I cut a new section of return line, took a picture of the car's current condition, and finished the 60 mile run out of the desert. 

Once I got out of the desert, I was on million dollar highway roads through the mountains. At this point, I thought I was in the alps. Turbo glowing red from the climbs and me nearly crashing at every turn from the sights.

This is the blue mesa reservoir - I was here late summer a few years ago and it's gorgeous. The change in scenery from ice and snow is remarkable

and the regular Monarch pass "stupid car that shouldn't be here" customary picture. I love driving through this pass on my way home, it's like a final hoorah for a trip. The car earned it's stripes, yet again.

The entire trip covered just under 4000 miles in 8 days - between the mountain climbing, Moab trail driving, 90+mph highway drives, etc the car only had 2 things go wrong. A turn signal bulb went bad and an injector return line failed - for a car that's nearly 40 years old, I'll take it.