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Thread: HOW-TO: Determining the age of your engine wiring harness

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    HOW-TO: Determining the age of your engine wiring harness

    See attached photos. The manufacturing date of the harness will be on the tag. If the date is 1996 or newer, the harness is not original. The new replacement harnesses made from at least 1998-up (possibly earlier) have improved insulation and do not fail after a few years like the originals did.

    F.D. = manufacture date (this is the important date)
    Z.D. = original design/release date (not sure which)

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Dave M.
    1997 E420 (Bugeyes)
    1994 E420 (Blondie)
    1994 E500 (Q-ship)
    1992 500E (Mach 5)
    1987 300D (Sportline Stage 2)
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Except it appears that the depicted harness was manufactured on August 24th, not August 14th as indicated in the caption.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    D'oh. Typo! To be fixed shortly...


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Great thread!

    What do you make of this sticker on my harness? The sticker is on the main thick wiring bundle that connects to the box, not on the small wire that gsxr pictured.

    My car is an early production 1994 E500, built 10/93.

    Assuming this is the sticker I am supposed to reference, it does show a 2003 date code which would mean it isn't the original failure-prone version.

    Strange that it looks like "1268" and "1998" hand written below.

    The other side of the sticker is in the second photo. It looks like the part # (124 440 2006) and DELPHI, who I don't believe was an original supplier back in 1993.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Cadence; 09-22-2011 at 02:54 PM. Reason: phoot.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Well, I'm pleasantly surprised to find my harness with October 14th 1999 manufacturing date (F.D. 14.10.1999 by DELPHI as well, PN: 124-543-9526) and all this time I thought my harness was original. The previous/original owner gave me all of the receipts he had, but now I remember not asking him about the wire harness and the receipts did not list any kind of work aside from just service records. The only logical explanation would be his brother replacing the harness while the car sat on his car lot in Santa Barbara for 2 plus years - they told me they had the car advertised in the local paper for almost two years with no response before they tried Autotrader.

    I checked the part number from my tag online and found only a few places that carry it, with quite high prices:

    £631 Pounds - http://uk.mbspecialist.com/mercedes_...em/1245439526/

    ¬571 Euro - http://mbspecialist.com/mercedes_web.../?q=1245439526

    ¥108,000 Yen ($1415) - http://www.mbstore.jp/product/17 W124/E500

    $593 USD - http://www.parts.com/oemcatalog/inde...archCatalogOEM


    This is a great tip for future owners who can find out whether they need to factor in the price of a harness at purchase, as well as the potential condition of the harness.

    , Dave!

    Btw, on the other side of the tag, what does the Z.D. date mean/stand for? Mine Z.D. date is October 25th 1990 - 25.10.90, or maybe it's the initial release date?
    Last edited by szvook; 09-23-2011 at 02:03 AM.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Updated original thread per questions above... 'Vookster is correct:

    F.D. = manufacture date (this is the important date)
    Z.D. = original design/release date (not sure which)


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    That Delphi plant in Linhó, Portugal, has been closed since 2006.

    I wonder where they are making the harnesses now?

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    I wonder where they are making the harnesses now?

    Hello Gerry:
    After conversations with Delphi and Leoni this is what I found out:
    Harnesses are made in several locations depending on the one needed.
    Delphi - Spain
    Delphi - Poland
    Leoni - Poland

    With kabel supplied by Leoni Germany and Gebauer und Griller Austria and connectors by Tyco (Amp) Germany/Italy and LK (Leopold Kostal) Germany. The 2.5 and 4.0 mm contacts are now supplied by Herth and Buss and the JPT contacts are supplied by still another supplier.
    All the AMP connectors are made under contract and are seldom available after-market.

    Kind Regards,

    Ron

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Updated original thread per questions above... 'Vookster is correct:

    F.D. = manufacture date (this is the important date)
    Z.D. = original design/release date (not sure which)

    Just to add:

    F.D. stands for "Fertigungs Datum"
    Z.D. stands for "Zulieferungs Datum"

    Your explanation is correct though

    This is mine:
    Christian K.
    06/1992 500E - DB199 Blauschwarz-Metallic
    09/1989 300E - DB172 Anthrazitgrau-Metallic
    11/1998 E430 - DB339 Violan-Metallic
    06/2003 CL55 AMG KOMPRESSOR - DB197 Obsidianschwarz-Metallic


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron500E View Post
    Hello Gerry:
    After conversations with Delphi and Leoni this is what I found out:
    Harnesses are made in several locations depending on the one needed.
    Delphi - Spain
    Delphi - Poland
    Leoni - Poland

    With kabel supplied by Leoni Germany and Gebauer und Griller Austria and connectors by Tyco (Amp) Germany/Italy and LK (Leopold Kostal) Germany. The 2.5 and 4.0 mm contacts are now supplied by Herth and Buss and the JPT contacts are supplied by still another supplier.
    All the AMP connectors are made under contract and are seldom available after-market.

    Kind Regards,

    Ron
    Thanks for this info Ron, interesting !

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Here are photos of my wiring harness that I took tonight. I proactively replaced my harness in the late 2004 / early 2005 time frame, FYI.

    Cheers,
    Gerry
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Great thread, I knew that the harness on my E420 was replaced by the PO but did not know the vintage....looks like 7-04-1999 for me. Any way to verify the other two harnesses?

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I only see one label behind the controller box with the label 25.10.90 and part number 124 543 2526
    Not sure if it's the right one?

    WP_000125.jpg
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    That looks to me like a ABS/ASR wheel sensor label.

    The wiring harness label should be directly BEHIND the CAN box but ahead of the firewall. The label should be within 10-12 cm of the end of the large rectangular connector plug where the wiring harness starts ... between this connector and where the harness enters the engine compartment through the inner firewall.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    No, that is the correct wire (cam position sensor), but there are TWO dates on the label. You need to check both, as described earlier in this thread.

    Dave M.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Right, there is another date on the label: 11.11.91

    WP_000132.jpg
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Yep, that's an original harness....

    Dave M.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Oh no!
    Could it be that someone has done a repair on it once:

    WP_000137.jpg
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Maybe, maybe not. Some of the factory harnesses are wrapped with black fabric tape just like that. Difficult to say without comparing to other cars, or better yet, removing the tape to inspect the wires. Almost all DIY repairs I've seen use plain solid color wires. If the wires inside are all factory colors (striped) then it's likely original, not repaired...


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I thought that the rotting harness problem had been resolved by the time the 95s came out but my 95 034's harness was replaced in 2001. Maybe some mechanic sold the P.O. a bill of goods and convinced them that they needed a new harness? In '01 this car was only 6 years old! Seems hard to believe that the O.E. harness was already bad at that point! So what's the story on the 95s?

    Also, just out of curiosity, did this problem exist on the 91 Euro market M119 LH cars?
    Regards, Eric
    Last edited by 400Eric; 05-07-2012 at 03:45 AM.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I have not seen any evidence that late build cars received good harnesses or ETA's. My '94 harness was replaced under warranty in 1998, I believe, in less than 5 years.

    I think the problem also affected all Euro build 124's but the Euro folks would need to confirm that.

    Dave M.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Speaking of the DEVIL
    Yesterday my car decided to jump while idling, so I checked my wires on the engine and they fall apart

    cabel3.jpgcabel2.jpgcabel1.jpg


    Have anyone seen the same problem with the lower harness: A 124 540 27 30 (Starting motor) or other harness beside the engine cable harness?
    Last edited by borring; 05-07-2012 at 10:04 AM.
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I want to replace my lower wiring harness as it does look worn and it looks easy enough to make compared to the upper wiring harness.
    Is there a 'How To' guide for removal/fitting?

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    borring: that looks exactly as it did with my car. Do yourself a favor: do a thorough check. Upper and staring harness, ETA, MAF and replace the temp+oil senders while you're at it.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Borring: Yes, the lower harness has been known to degrade as well. Mine looked worse than some of the photos of peoples' upper harnesses. Some symptoms included battery charging issues, car being kicked into LHM, and false oil pressure readings. Replaced with a new one about a year ago and all symptoms have not returned.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Got my new harness today, I have noticed that the plug behind the computer (my previous picture) is different the new one. It looks like a phone stik, the old one is much bigger, do I need a converter?
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by borring View Post
    Got my new harness today, I have noticed that the plug behind the computer (my previous picture) is different the new one. It looks like a phone stik, the old one is much bigger, do I need a converter?
    Photos? Part number? No converter is needed...

    Dave M.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Your photo from post #1 versus my photo from post #13
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by borring View Post
    Your photo from post #1 versus my photo from post #13
    Those are the same. It should make sense after you unplug the one on your car now.

    Dave M.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Sorry my mistake - it fits my 500E
    I did a compare on a V6 before I reached my home which was bigger.

    I bought 3 new sensors so I can replace the old ones together with the old harness.
    sensors.jpg


    I was also considering a replace of the eight injectors at the same time, but had to reconsider due to the price at the local Mercedes dealer ~$200 each

    I'll post a few more pictures when I do the installation.
    And I still need to check the lower harness on the starter and the harness in the ETA.
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I'm almost done installing my new harness!!

    1) I started with the big plug and I managed to push it trough the hole without removing any other wiring:
    2.jpg

    2) The hardest part was closing it again, but it helped to secure the new cabel.

    3.jpg

    3) I swiched the cable plug by plug, and cutted the old harness as i proceeded.
    cut.jpg

    4) Until I was done
    8.jpg7.jpg


    Only problem is replacing the the 4 pin Water temp. sensor as I don't have a 22mm Drive Deep, so I'm going to the tool shop tomorrow.

    But I'm also confused about how to install the Water temp. sensor as it has numbers 1,2,3,4 on the plug, but no numbers on the sensor?

    9.jpg4.jpg

    To be continued!!!!
    500E '92

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Well done, thanks for the photo updates! I really like to see this stuff, so keep 'em coming.

    Oh, and the water temp sensor has a flat edge, I guess the plug will have a little extra blob in/on it as well.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Looks great! Don't worry about the 4-pole temp sensor, the two outputs are from the diagonal pins, and it doesn't matter which way it connects. The numbers are more for diagnostic purposes and/or for assembling the harness.

    Dave M.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    09.09.92 i guess it´s the old harness .
    500E: -93, 326Hp/5 800rpm, 480nm/3900rpm, 0-100: 6.1s, 250km/h. 485 Rosewood, 273A Brasil. WDB1240361B928395 More Picture at Instagram/Twitter: @doktormercedes
    240D: -82, 590 000km
    C250TDT: 1997, 430 000Km.
    E420 Sportline:
    (M119.975) -94, 279hp/5700rpm, 400nm/3900rpm, 0-100: 7.2s, 250km/h SOLD
    300E manual: (M103.983) -86, 180hp/5700rpm, 260nm/4400rpm, 0-100: 7.9s, 230km/h SOLD

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Today I decided to have a peek at my harness label and found this generic looking statement:

    NOT ELECTRICALLY TESTED PN A 124 543 9526

    I removed the label for a better photo. There are no visual issues with the harness, which is the one installed at the time I purchased the car. The connectors and insulation are in good shape and the car operates properly. The CEL is on but codes yet to be pulled. Has anyone seen this before?


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    What does one expect to pay for the labor to replace the upper harness? Lower harness? I am in. San Diego, any recommendations on Mb mechanic? By the way, are the 400e/e420 harness the same part number as 500e

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    It would be reasonable to pay anywhere from 3-4 hours of labor to have a professional shop do the replacement work on a harness.

    The 400E/E420 and 500E/E500 harnesses are DEFINITELY different part numbers between the two motor displacements/chassis. I don't know specifically if there are differences between the 400E and E420 harnesses (GSXR can say for sure), but the 500E and E500 have different upper harness part numbers depending on the VIN/model year of that car (details here).

    I would say all told, to have a shop purchase and install an upper harness would likely be around $1,100-1,200+ with sales tax.

    The upper harness alone can be purchased for around $700, and it is a DIY job.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    The upper harnesses can be replaced in less time, say 1-2 hours, and is an easy DIY job. Although the 400E and 500E have different part numbers and are a slightly different design, it appears they may be interchangeable. (??)

    The lower harness requires more time and effort, probably 2-4 hours, and is a medium DIY job. The 400E and 500E lower harnesses are completely different and are NOT interchangeable. The connectors and routing are very different.

    Remotemark had a newer upper harness available pretty cheap in the classifieds, not sure if it's still available...


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Clarification: There is a difference between "DIY" replacement time, and professional "book" replacement time. Stevester's question seemed to be wanting to know how much labor it would be to pay someone to do the job, not perform it himself.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Correct. My estimates are what I'd expect from a shop. DIY would be on the longer side of those ranges.


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Adding up the "book labor" job components I do think it would be on the order of 3-4 hours to do the cable. I will ask my mechanic how much labor time he charges (roughly) to do a harness.

    I don't know that he's done many V-8 124 harnesses, but he could certainly give me off the top of his head what it would be to do a 6-cylinder harness, and an 8-cylinder being more complex would require more time.

    I will also look up when I get home late tonight how much labor it was for my independent mechanic in Portland to replace my own harness back in 2004 or 2005. I know for a fact that they used a mixture of "actual" and "book" time to charge customers, and this was managed by the shop foreman and owner who where both on the shop floor daily supervising the line mechanics.

    I don't think I'd want to know what an MB dealer would charge for this job....

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I've BT and DT on both. Any shop that charges 3-4 hours for the M119 upper harness is price gouging. I think someone posted elsewhere on the forum that they did it in 45 minutes as DIY? Now, the lower harness is a different story... that one is not fun.

    I'm also not sure if there is a formal book time for all harness replacements. I was unable to find anything in the MB ASRA system for either the engine harness or the starter harness.


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I just spoke to my mechanic. He said for a 6-cylinder harness job, speaking on an "off the cuff" estimate basis, it would be 5-6 hours' labor -- and likely more for a V-8 harness. They are not exorbitant or gouging in any way in the work they do, but they are thorough (G-Man has used them so he knows they do good work). He also told me that the published book time is significantly more than the 5-6 hours.

    I will check the labor on my harness later tonight when I get home.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  44. #44
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I've never replaced an M104 engine harness so I can't comment on those. I have done the M119 upper harness and it is a very simple plug & play procedure. Two hours would include several coffee & donut breaks.


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I've done both the M104 and M119 upper harnesses. Both are relatively easy, 2-hour jobs for the most part. To me the hardest part of the upper 119 harness is refitting the plastic clamshell through the firewall...especially if you do it in cooler weather.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I had my harness replaced in June of 2005 by MBI Motors in Portland. The labor they provided for the job was 3.5 hours. This time was discounted from more than 4 hours because of other jobs performed during the same service.... and I don't (and didn't) feel "gouged" by this labor bill, for this harness-replacement job.

    Motor mounts were replaced at the same time at 2.8 hours of labor. Vacuum lines to the purge system were replaced at 0.5 hours.

    Front brakes were done at 0.75 hour labor.

    All exhaust hangers and serpentine belt were also replaced at this service for a total of 1.0 hour labor.

    The 3.5-4 hours of labor by a shop is very consistent with my original post (#37 above) on this, in terms of what an experienced shop would charge for the job. Sure, anyone can slap-dash a harness on in an hour, or change the pads in both of their front-brake calipers in 20 minutes (10 minutes a side). Are those rushed jobs of good quality, looking out for problems, taking the time to do the job right, route cable ends correctly, not break plastic pieces, etc.? Highly doubtful ... certainly not the way that **I** work on my cars, or would want my mechanics to work on my cars. But what others do, is up to them. Sounds like we've got some very profitable potential mechanics here on the 500Eboard !! Career change ?!?!

    Cheers,
    Gerry

    P.S. FYI: The upper wiring harness on my wife's 1995 E320 wagon was done by Robert Fenton's shop in the Bay Area immediately before I purchased that car in 2006. That original harness had 132,885 miles on it. List price for that harness at the time was $1,010 (part number 124 440 29 33) and labour for the job was 4 hours, as my records show. Current list price for this part is $1,250.

  47. #47

    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Thanks for all the info on this subject. Are both the upper and lower harness notorious for cracking, etc.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    The upper harness is much more susceptible to heat and age-related damage, and it's much more common go be the first to go. However the lower harness does fail, given mileage and time. I'd say that most E500Es in use today have had their upper harnesses replaced, and if not, the harnesses are in dire need of it. The lower harnesses generally last much longer as they are not baked so completely due to their location and what they're attached to.

    Harness replacement (particularly the upper one) is a de rigeur item for baselining engine running issues. More often than not, original harnesses are the cause of poor/rough running, stalling and other such issues. The good thing is that once it's done, it should never have to be done again. I have yet to hear any reports of the failure of the replacement harnesses, although I am not personally 100% sure they are made of "non-biodegradable" materials, I'm strongly assuming they are.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Maybe shops typically increase labor by 50-100% to pad their profit margin, like they increase the prices of parts for the same reason? 2 hours to change the M119 upper harness is not "rushing" to "slap-dash" a harness in place. Replacing an M119 upper harness is just not that difficult or time consuming. Everything unplugs easily and it slides out. As Glen noted above, the hardest part is dealing with that pesky clamshell clamp at the firewall. I'd be curious to hear Jono's thoughts.

    Open invitation for any forum member: I'll install your harness FREE while you video and time me. You provide the harness and get your vehicle to my shop in Idaho.


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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Open invitation for any forum member: I'll install your harness FREE while you video and time me. You provide the harness and get your vehicle to my shop in Idaho.
    Too bad, mine has been replaced last year... !

    Are the numbers you mention when the shop provides the new harness, or when you provide your own? If you think to save some $$$ by ordering the parts yourself, I'm pretty sure most shops will tell you the job took longer - they miss the profit on the parts themselves.
    "But if you really must have the Porsche — if you really must have a Porsche sedan — you can buy a 500E and have enough left over for something air-cooled"

  51. #51
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    I had my harness replaced in June of 2005 by MBI Motors in Portland. The labor they provided for the job was 3.5 hours. .
    Curious why you didn't do the job yourself, considering you fix most stuff on your cars? No time?
    1994 E fünfhundert (170kkm sold )
    1997 S 600 L (164kmiles sold )
    2004 ML270 (64kmiles remap oil burner sold)
    2001 CLK55 AMG (79kmiles)

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by bing View Post
    Curious why you didn't do the job yourself, considering you fix most stuff on your cars? No time?
    At that point in time, I was only doing a fraction of the diagnosis and repair work that I do now on my cars. My competencies at that time were more on the 300SEL 6.3 and 450SEL 6.9 models for diagnosis and repair, and only general maintenance on my other cars.

    Also - the W124 and C126 were still quite new to me back then. I also had my mechanic install my nitrous system back in 2004 -- a job that I most certainly would do myself nowadays. I have a lot to aspire to, to get to the level of mechanical proficiency of GSXR and Glen to be able to do harnesses in 45 mins-2 hours though.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    I'll install your harness FREE while you video and time me. You provide the harness and get your vehicle to my shop in Idaho.
    What, no house calls?

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    Quote Originally Posted by JordiC View Post
    Today I decided to have a peek at my harness label and found this generic looking statement:

    NOT ELECTRICALLY TESTED PN A 124 543 9526

    I removed the label for a better photo. There are no visual issues with the harness, which is the one installed at the time I purchased the car. The connectors and insulation are in good shape and the car operates properly. The CEL is on but codes yet to be pulled. Has anyone seen this before?


    IMG_20120919_165023.jpg
    Did we ever learn anything about this harness? The reason I ask is because my 744 car has the same one that I installed in 2002 or 2003. I'm wondering if I should buy a new one in case the "NOT ELECTRICALLY TESTED" one ends up failing like the original. At the moment it appears fine...

    Thoughts?
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I think you're fine, Glen. If you haven't had any problems, and the harness was made after 1997 or so, then you should have good wiring and no problems.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    That's my assumption too but the current price is good enough to think about holding onto a spare. The high miler's harness is dated 2005 so I'm safe there.
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    If you are fearful about your 744's harness, examine it closely or slit it open to see if you can see any deterioration. It's old enough now that physical evidence (if the wiring were bad) would be apparent IMHO. Having a spare is never a bad thing though .... you could always sell it for a high price to a fellow owner for the eventual day when it is NLA

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    I replaced my lower harness and oil level sender this past weekend. From start to finish with the use of a hoist and a few breaks I had the job done in 3 hours.
    Definately not as bad of a job as what ive read on here, pretty straight forward.

  59. #59
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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness

    What is the part number for the lower harness? Based on the condition my upper harness was in I should plan on doing the lower in the near future.

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    Re: How to determine the age of your engine wiring harness


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