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Thread: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

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    HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    One of the often overlooked "soft" parts on the 500E (and other W124 and W126 models) is the coolant overflow tank that sits behind the passenger-side front fender. This tank is attached to the underhood coolant tank (the big white tank where where the "radiator cap" is) by means of a small-diameter, black, braided hose that passes through the engine compartment wall near the CAN box and hood hinges, and into the space behind the fender where the overflow tank is located.

    The purpose of this tank is to catch coolant that wants to escape the underhood coolant tank when the cooling system pressure is extremely hot and/or high. Since this is a sealed system, when the cooling system pressure is reduced, the coolant that flows into the overflow tank will flow back through the hose into the main underhood coolant tank.

    With age, and underhood engine heat, this braided rubber hose becomes hardened, and eventually fossilized. This especially happens in the underhood area near the coolant tank, where the hose attaches to the coolant tank's neck. Here it is constantly exposed to engine heat, and thus hardens. Generally the hose retains more flexibility in the area behind the fender, where it doesn't see as much heat and elements exposure. However, age does take its toll on this hose, as it does with ANY soft part on Mercedes-Benz automobiles ... whether the car sees regular use or not.

    MB no longer makes the OE-style "cloth braided" hose, and instead has superseded the hose to a plain, rubber hose of same inner diameter. This hose is purchased by the meter from a dealer or via parts.com or other vendors. I purchased a couple of meters of this hose last year, as I did this same job on my 560SEC.

    Total time to do this job, taking one's time, is around 30-45 minutes. Note that there are some "auxiliary" jobs that can and should be done when this hose replacement job is done -- specifically the cleaning out of the area behind the inner fender-well cladding, and behind the plastic cladding immediately behind the rear wheel. I clean out this area every couple of years, and i was highly surprised at the small mountain of dirt and debris that was loosened when I removed the inner fenderwell cladding. This small mountain of detritus on my garage floor was of greater elevation than any mountain or hill that occurs within the {admittedly rather flat) Republic of Texas.

    If you CANNOT pinch the braided hose significantly together approximately 3-4 inches from the underhood coolant reservoir neck, then your hose is fossilized and ready for replacement. You know how I'm always harping that EVERYONE'S E500E always has at least $5K worth of maintenance? Well it's both big things like motor mounts, and "little" things like this hose, that are nearly always in need of replacement, yet are almost completely overlooked by owners.

    In any case, this HOW-TO article describes how to perform this job.

    Tools needed:
    • 1/4" ratchet with short extension
    • 8mm and 10mm 1/4" sockets
    • pliers or other sharp cutting tool to cut correct length of rubber hose
    • X-acto or box-cutter knife (optional) to remove fossilized hose from neck of underhood coolant tank


    Part number:
    • MB: 230 476 87 26 (approximately 30" (0.8 m) of hose required) -- MBUSA MSRP $31/meter; parts.com $22.20/meter
    • Aftermarket: CRP/Contitech 916030-000527 -- AutohauZ $9.53/meter


    First, here are a couple of photos of the finished job (and inspiration for this job) on my 1989 560SEC.
    IMG_3250.JPG IMG_3251.JPG


    And next, a couple of "overview" shots of the situation on my E500. Notice a few drops of white coolant sprayed in the area of the coolant cap. This is because of a torn and frayed coolant overflow hose-end where it attaches to the neck of the coolant reservoir (it's the hose on the LEFT side of the first photo, without a hose clamp). On hot/high pressure days, the coolant would leak/spray slightly out of this hose-area where it had fossilized and weakened on the end of the nipple on the neck of the coolant tank. This caused a very minor coolant leak in the general area.
    IMG_3246.JPG IMG_3247.JPG IMG_3249.JPG


    And a couple of photos of the new hose, which is MB part number 230 476 87 26.
    IMG_3252.JPG IMG_3253.JPG


    The first thing you need to do is to carefully jack up the car. Place a jack-stand under the frame, and keep the jack engaged as a safety measure. Although you won't be under the car for this job ... mainly inside the wheel well .. it's important to be safe. Take this opportunity, while the wheel is off, to grab a flashlight and check the condition of your front brake pads, to be sure you have a good amount of material remaining. In my case, I had about 60% of my front pads remaining - plenty of pad for the near future.
    IMG_3254.JPG


    The next step, is to begin removing the inner fender liner. It is secured by 7-8 plastic nuts in a semicircular pattern around the edge of the wheel well. Look carefully to locate these, and use your 1/4" ratchet with the extension and 10mm socket to loosen and remove them nuts from their studs embedded in the car's structure. Note that there is a single, 10mm metal screw on the front edge of the panel, just behind the bumper, and that there are also two 8mm screws that secure the inner fenderwell lining to the bottom of the car. These must be accessed from underneath, using the 8mm socket. Carefully set these nuts and three screws aside. You DO NOT need to remove the screws that secure the front edge of the fenderwell lining underneath the front of the car, at the plastic underbelly location. It's pretty self apparent how much you need to remove in order to move the panel aside to reveal the coolant overflow tank behind the front fender.
    IMG_3255.jpg IMG_3256.jpg IMG_3257.jpg IMG_3258.JPG IMG_3259.jpg


    After you've removed the nuts and screws, you can reach up with your fingertips and begin to separate the inner fenderwell lining from the fender. Note that there is a rubber "gasket" that edges the outer edge of the fenderwell lining. This may come off of the edge of the fenderwell and this is OK. Just note its position as it comes off and set it aside. Pull the fenderwell lining away from the rear edge of the wheel well. This should expose the area behind the front fender.
    IMG_3260.JPG IMG_3262.jpg


    Here's a close-up of the end of the overflow tank, where the hose presses onto its plastic nipple.
    IMG_3263.jpg


    After separating the fenderwell lining from the fenderwell, it was quickly apparent that there was A LOT of dirt trapped in there. Normally this is dry dirt, but because of the monsoon-style rains that we had here on Friday here in Houston, this dirt was pretty wet and caked up. I used my fingertips and a flat-blade screwdriver to scrape out as much dirt and debris as possible, forming this small mountain on my garage floor. I would bet that your car is probably the same or worse, if you haven't gone in and removed this dirt in the past few years. I would estimate that this pile of dirt weighed at least 0.5-0.75 kg. You can also see the aforementioned rubber edging gasket for the fenderwell liner, in the foreground of the photo below. If this rubber gasket is torn or otherwise brittle, it should be replaced as its purpose is to keep dirt and debris out of the fenderwell area.
    IMG_3261.JPG


    Here, I show the end of the frayed, braided hose at the nipple of the underhood coolant tank. The fossilization of the end of the hose led directly to its fraying and general inflexibility, allowing it to leak small amounts of coolant around the immediate area.
    IMG_3264.jpg


    Here are some photos of the process of threading the old, braided hose (after being disconnected from the underhood coolant tank) out of the engine compartment and down into the area behind the front fender.....
    IMG_3265.jpg IMG_3266.jpg


    ... and removing the end of the hose from the nipple on the overflow tank.....
    IMG_3267.jpg IMG_3268.jpg


    Once you have the old hose removed, put it up against the new hose and measure it out for correct length. I added a couple of inches to the length of the new hose, for good measure. Use your cutting implement to create the appropriate length of new hose.
    IMG_3269.JPG IMG_3270.JPG IMG_3271.JPG IMG_3272.JPG


    The next step is to thread the length of new hose into position, using the original route where the old hose went. I started the new hose from inside the fender area, threading it up into the hood hinge area through the rubber grommet, and then pulled it along the original route with my fingers, inch by inch, while feeding new hose with my other hand from the fender area. You can see the progress of the new hose in the photos below.
    IMG_3273.jpg IMG_3274.JPG IMG_3275.JPG IMG_3276.jpg IMG_3277.JPG IMG_3278.jpg IMG_3279.jpg


    When the hose is threaded through the gauntlet and eye of the needle, then you can attach the end of it to the nipple on the neck of the underhood coolant reservoir.
    IMG_3280.JPG


    And do the same for the other end of the hose, attaching it to the plastic nipple on the coolant overflow tank behind the front fender.
    IMG_3281.jpg IMG_3282.jpg


    Then, reassemble the fenderwell liner, putting the rubber gasket into place (use the other fender for reference, if needed) and then sliding the liner back into place on the studs. Fitting the part aft and below the wheel well is the biggest and most critical issue, so be sure to re-assemble it correctly. Again, use the other side of the car for reference, if needed.
    IMG_3283.jpg IMG_3284.jpg IMG_3285.jpg IMG_3286.JPG IMG_3287.jpg


    Put the wheel back on and torque the lug bolts down after lowering the car from the jack stand. Here's an oveview of the finished hose installation.
    IMG_3288.JPG

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    By the way, here is the EPC diagram of the coolant overflow tank behind the front fender, and the length of hose that connects it to the underhood coolant reservoir.

    The expansion overflow tank (inside the fender) part number is: 124 500 04 49 (current MBUSA list $32.00; parts.com $22.80)
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Good writeup, Gerry. I never knew that tank existed.

    It would definitely be an indication of a prospective seller's degree of attentiveness to his car. I would bet you are the only one on this board who has replaced this hose. Would a failure downstream of the reservoir (#44) have much adverse effect on the cooling system?
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Good grief. A hidden tank that no one knew about!

    Here are three more jobs I have to do.

    Thanks Gerry, keep on producing these great "how to" vids.
    Last edited by Trae; 11-05-2014 at 04:19 AM.
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    1991 560SEC ECE/1995 E320 Cabriolet

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Failure of the main underhood coolant reservoir would indeed be a big deal. There are four places the tank can leak from, in addition to if it split. Those four places are the coolant overflow tank hose nipple; the hose nipple for the hose leading to the coolant tank from the radiator; the coolant level sensor bung; and the radiator cap opening.

    I have replaced the underhood coolant tanks in both my SEC and my E500, as they get old and yellowed with age and use. The yellower and older the tanks get, the more likely they are to fail and spring a leak somewhere. Plus an old yellow tank looks like crap underhood.

    In both cases, removing the braided hose leading to the overflow tank in the fender resulted in a failure of the end of the hose due to heat and age. You can have a short-term work-around by cutting off the end of the hose and re-attaching it to the underhood tank nipple, but the whole length of hose underhood has been heat-baked, so it's all brittle and in need of replacement. Given that it's a cheap and easy job, with simple tools, and under $10 of hose per car, it's a no-brainer to do this job.

    That said, if the coolant overflow tank in the fender fails, it will just leak coolant down the slot between the wheel housing and fender, and down onto the pavement. But it's still a coolant leak. The good thing is that the overflow tank is just that .. more or less an emergency tank to capture coolant pressurized out of the underhood tank. The overflow tank in my experience rarely has much coolant in it.


    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Part numbers for the rubber gaskets?

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    what's this with a red hose ?

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    That's a vacuum line to the black plastic vacuum reserve tank, located next to the coolant overflow tank. That tank stores vacuum for when the car is off and/or when the engine isn't producing vacuum.


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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by CB500E View Post
    Part numbers for the rubber gaskets?
    What rubber gasket(s) are you talking about? The rubber grommet that goes into the hole between the fenderwell and engine compartment, that the hose passes through? That grommet is #107 on the diagram above, in the EPC.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    That's a vacuum line to the black plastic vacuum reserve tank, located next to the coolant overflow tank. That tank stores vacuum for when the car is off and/or when the engine isn't producing vacuum.
    What is incredible -- and probably a testament to MB engineering -- is that after 20 years, most of the cars have had no vacuum leaks caused by the storage tank or the red hose under the fender well. Is this only used when the battery is dead? I thought I could hear the pump under the seat power up when I turn the key to unlock the doors.
    Jon D.
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    What rubber gasket(s) are you talking about? The rubber grommet that goes into the hole between the fenderwell and engine compartment, that the hose passes through? That grommet is #107 on the diagram above, in the EPC.
    No, the rubber pieces between the fender and fender liner

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Gerry do you know the PN for the harness/tube guide grommet ?

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by ivanned View Post
    Gerry do you know the PN for the harness/tube guide grommet ?
    According to the EPC, the part number is 126 997 15 81.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Thanks


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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    My coolant reservoir overflow tank hose has been leaking where it joins the coolant reservoir tank. Not much, but some white crud around the end of the hose and on the tank. I replaced the hose today, following Gerry's "HOW-TO." I taped the new hose to the end of the old hose and used the old hose to pull the new one into place, feeding the new hose from the wheel well. Old hose measured 31.5 inches long.

    Like Gerry I found a lot of dried dirt at the bottom of the wheel well lining and I am happy to have that cleaned out. Some day I have to clean the driver side. The hardest part of the job was replacing the lining, specifically getting the rear-most screw back in. If I were doing this again I might start there and work up through the wheel well, leaving all screws/nuts loose until the lining is in place and then tightening them up.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by CB500E View Post
    No, the rubber pieces between the fender and fender liner
    Part 1078840198, found in EPC under "88 Attachment parts / 015 Front Fender", cost is surprisingly cheap, full list is only $8.00.
    Last edited by Half500; 12-18-2015 at 04:55 AM.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by ghm View Post
    The hardest part of the job was replacing the lining, specifically getting the rear-most screw back in. If I were doing this again I might start there and work up through the wheel well, leaving all screws/nuts loose until the lining is in place and then tightening them up.
    I had this problem too until removing an additional screw securing the outer plastic trim panel, then the liner slid in easily.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    I have replaced my hose per this nice write-up, but am wondering if the overflow tank should be replaced. I pulled it out and inspected it, there was no fluid in it but it has some black mold/residue from where fluid was apparently loitering at one point. I am replacing my main coolant reservoir and flushing the fluid for this same reason.

    Does coolant go into the overflow in any normal operation, or just in cases of severe overheating, where I likely have bigger problems anyway (like oil in my coolant)? I don't want nice clean fluid going into a nasty overflow tank and sucking debris back into the main tank.
    Last edited by Half500; 12-17-2015 at 11:26 AM.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    FYI,

    The original continental externally braided hose is still available in the aftermarket if you want to stay original in appearance. Gerry, you need to clean the other side also ASAP!!! The hydraulic bracket on the drivers side is $$.

    Michael

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Michael,

    Source for the original braided hose from Continental?
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    I got mine from pelican parts- but all the wirly pac suppliers have it.

    Just order it by the size and comes in meter increments.

    Michael

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    Michael,

    Source for the original braided hose from Continental?
    This is Cohline hose not Conti, but here's the link provided earlier:

    http://www.partsklassik.com/p-258-75...word=2122.0600

    UPDATE: I ordered 3 meters from the link above, and they sent a full 3M length of hose in a nice heat-sealed plastic bag.


    Any vendor who is stupid enough to provide multiple pieces of 1-meter hose lengths needs to get a whipping with all of the 1-meter lengths tied together at one end... just sayin'. Had that happen to me once a few years ago (forget the vendor, sorry). REALLY ticked me off...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Any vendor who is stupid enough to provide multiple pieces of 1-meter hose lengths needs to get a whipping with all of the 1-meter lengths tied together at one end... just sayin'. Had that happen to me once a few years ago (forget the vendor, sorry). REALLY ticked me off...

    LOL, MBUSA will do the same thing now and then. Talk about getting your cranky pants cinched up tight!
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Is this the same part number for the overflow hose which goes to the radiator?
    And what is the lenght of it?
    Thank you in advance.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Coolant Reservoir Overflow Tank Hose

    Quote Originally Posted by mercepor View Post
    Is this the same part number for the overflow hose which goes to the radiator?
    And what is the lenght of it?
    Thank you in advance.
    No - different hoses, different diameter. The hose to the radiator is 8.0mm ID without a braided cover. Overflow hose to catch tank is 7.5mm ID with braided cover. The 8mm hose will work for the overflow, but the OD interferes slightly with the radiator tank cap...


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    Body panel plug

    While I was in there behind the fender liner I noticed a body plug that was damaged... center portion was rotted out. Same issue on both sides of the car. Don't know if it really matters, but when I see a hole my OCD side wants to plug it.

    I had several false starts trying to find the right plug (doesn't seem to be labelled correctly in EPC), so thought I'd share the part number that worked: 000-997-40-20

    Attached photos show location of part on passenger side, and new vs old part.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Body panel plug

    I pulled my sub-fender cover off today to check things out. It seems that somewhere along the way, a PO re-routed my overflow tank hose through a different hole and the hose was not even connected to the tank! I replaced the hose through the proper hole, using GVZ's pictures, but I can't figure out what is the purpose of the other vertical drain hose in his picture (scalloped) that is right next to the drain for the windshield. Also, it looks like the 500E windshield drain goes all the way down, whereas my E420 elbows over and empties right behind the tire.

    Anyone have a part number for this scalloped hose or is it the same size hose as the overflow hose. Also, I think there is a grommet in the fender well where this hose goes through but I can't find the part number. Maybe there is only one grommet for this hose and the windshield drain hose.

    I think I also found Half500's blown-out body plug buried in the dirt at the bottom of my fender well (000 997 40 20). That will be on my next order to Napperville.

    The first pic (left) is GVZ's. The second (right) was what my recovery tank looked like when I pulled the cover off. The hose wasn't even connected to the tank.
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    Jon D.
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    1995 E420

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