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e190revin
11-09-2014, 01:15 AM
Hi, I've been feverishly searching this board for all things 500E after purchasing one a couple weeks ago so I figured it was time to introduce myself. My name is Zach and I've owned a handful of old Mercs over the years, mainly W201s (I currently have a neglected 2.3-16 project in the garage), but have always wanted to own a 500E.

About a month and a half ago, my fiance and I were driving down a busy road in Mobile, AL and something caught my eye in the back corner of an empty parking lot beneath some trees. I made a u-turn to investigate the 2 tone Mercedes that grabbed my attention. I'm sure my fiance thought it was the start of another one of my 'junk adventures' but she went along with it peacefully! As I approached the car, I thought it must be a 400E someone had tastefully modified. When I was a few feet away, those bulged front fenders became apparent and I knew what it was. I ran to the rear badge to confirm my suspicion. The car looked a bit rough covered in leaves but the odometer showed only 95,743 miles.

I walked to the import car dealership next to the empty lot and inquired about the car. The salesman told me one of his customers bought the car in 2005, put 13,000 miles on it, and came back in 2012 when it started running rough. He just left the car there and drove off in a BMW! I found out the car was still in the owner's name so I asked if it was for sale. The salesman told me there had been a couple attempts to buy the car in the last two and a half years but neither worked out. He told me to make an offer and he'd call the owner to see if he'll take it. Since I had didn't know the extent of the issues, I told him I'd drive back with a trailer the next day if he'd take $500. The salesman stepped away to call the owner and, when he came back, said $500 would take it!

It proved very difficult contacting the owner as he must be a very busy person. After a few weeks and 3 calls that weren't returned, I contacted the salesman. He finally had to threaten to tow the car if the owner wouldn't make a move. The next day, a signed title and bill of sale was delivered to the salesman and I picked the car up a few days later. I gave him a little extra cash for handling the transaction so I ended up paying $600 for the car.

When I arrived to pick it up, I was able to jump start the car after several minutes and it had just enough power back up to my trailer. The tires had a bit of dry rot so I drove a steady 50 mph the duration of the 40 mile drive back to my house.

Upon arriving, the jumper cables came out again and I managed to get the car moved into my driveway after several rough attempts. I vacuumed the remaining leaves from the hood and trunk seals and gave the poor car a good scrubbing.

The next day, I replaced the dead battery with one from my old GMC truck and poured 4 gallons of 93 octane in the tank. Following several attempts, the car stumbled into a very rough idle. Ten minutes later, the idle seemed to smooth out a bit. After checking all the fluids, I drove the car around my property a couple times and throttle response was noticeably improved. After idling for another 10 minutes, a blip of the throttle resulted in a wonderful growl (the exhaust is rusted out around a few welds so it's a bit loud).

I decided it was time to take it on pavement for a test drive. At 1/2 throttle, the transmission seemed like it was having trouble shifting. After doing a bit of research, I found the kickdown switch was stuck. I unplugged the switch, took it out for another drive, and the transmission shifted smoothly though the gears. At that point, I decided to see what it the car would do. As I was rolling along at 15 mph, I pressed the throttle to the floor. A few squealing seconds later, the only thing visible in the rear view mirror was tire smoke!! After a few attempts, 1st gear proved to cause nothing but burning rubber thanks to the aged tires.

After searching the forum, I went with a set of Continental EXTREMECONTACT DW tires I found for $403 shipped. These have helped the traction issues significantly but full throttle from a stop still results in spinning tires.

I also installed a Bosch Platinum AGM battery which provides enough juice to spin the motor with ease. I've cranked the car several times and drove it around locally 4 or 5 times and have only had the initial issue surface again once. After a 10 minute drive, I parked the car and tried to crank it again 15 minutes later. The engine would randomly sputter and eventually started with a very rough, low idle. Throttle response was virtually non-existent and the engine struggled to increase RPMs. I turned the car off for 10 mins, tried it again, and the engine roared to life with no hesitation or lack of throttle response. I checked the upper harness and it has a date of 24.11.97 so it should be ok. I did see random, bouncing oil pressures after this so I'm going to investigate the lower harness. I'm also going to replace the fuel pressure regulator and fuel filter as maintenance items too.

Mechanical issues aside, I have both front doors taken apart to replace window regulators and re-glue vinyl. The headliner and most of the other interior vinyl is also sagging thanks to our warm Alabama summers. About half the wood trim needs to be refinished as well. The driver's seat cover needs to be repaired or replaced due to some wear and tear. A new hood pad is on the way to replace the deteriorated original. The sunroof is stuck so that'll be an in-depth adventure. The car looks to have been re-sprayed a few years back and I'd give it a 7 out of 10. I was raised in body-shops so I can nitpick a paint job. Some wetsanding and a buffer will help a lot though.

I'm looking forward to bringing this recently neglected Mercedes back to its original glory. This has been one of my dream cars and I'm extremely happy about getting such a great deal on it!

I'll try to get some pictures uploaded soon.

Glen
11-09-2014, 01:32 AM
Wow, congratulations on scoring an awesome deal. Looking forward to pictures and your restoration progress.

Welcome to the board!

e190revin
11-09-2014, 02:35 AM
By the way, this is a 1993 500E.

Here's some pictures taken the day after I picked it up:

https://www.500eboard.com/forums/images/imported/2014/11/100.jpg (http://s65.photobucket.com/user/88white8v/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG1470_zps61db5588.jpg.html)

https://www.500eboard.com/forums/images/imported/2014/11/101.jpg (http://s65.photobucket.com/user/88white8v/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG1471_zps77ad3ac9.jpg.html)


https://www.500eboard.com/forums/images/imported/2014/11/102.jpg (http://s65.photobucket.com/user/88white8v/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG1472_zpsc05ec2b2.jpg.html)


https://www.500eboard.com/forums/images/imported/2014/11/103.jpg (http://s65.photobucket.com/user/88white8v/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG1473_zpsf17ece1b.jpg.html)

Engine Bay - The front cover was in the trunk. After replacing the hood pad and the leaking crankcase ventilation hoses, it'll look a little better.https://www.500eboard.com/forums/images/imported/2014/11/104.jpg (http://s65.photobucket.com/user/88white8v/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG1455_1_zpsdf19173f.jpg.html)

gerryvz
11-09-2014, 03:10 AM
:welcome5:

Congratulations! Sounds like one of the best-ever scores we've seen on this forum. The Germans call your new car a "Schnšppchen" (an extremely good bargain or something REALLY heavily discounted).

With so little on the initial investment, you should have plenty of overhead available to take care of the biggest needs. Most all of the major and minor ailments of these cars are well covered here, so it should get you on a good path.

One of the first things you should check out are the condition of the caps, rotors and ignition wires. It would be prudent to replace them out of hand (along with all fluids) to baseline things as you start going through the car.

Thank you for setting up an OWNER thread. It will be the perfect place to document your car's progress as many of our members do.

Cheers,
Gerry

baviking1
11-09-2014, 08:35 AM
Really? A just-broken-in 500e for $600? Absolutely crazy, but congrats. :-)

gsxr
11-09-2014, 09:59 AM
Deal of the century!

:deniro:

Glen
11-09-2014, 10:11 AM
Deal of the century!

:deniro:

For sure!

e190revin
11-09-2014, 12:45 PM
Thanks guys! I've been looking for one of these locally for quite some time and just happened upon this deal. New fluids are definitely on the maintenance to-do list; I filled my Amsoil shopping cart up last night. I've been very pleased with Severe Gear fluid in my '03 Chevy differentials so I'm going to try it in the 500E. Thanks Gerry, ignition components have been added to the list as well.

gsxr
11-09-2014, 12:51 PM
Severe Gear is good stuff, use the 75W-90 version (SVG, not SVT) in the 500E diff. Their "standard" ATF is what you'd want for the tranny. For the engine I'd probably use their AMO or AME.

You'll probably find many items on your new 500E that will need to be replaced or repaired, but with the cost of the car so low, you probably won't mind the investment!

:5150:

Klink
11-09-2014, 02:37 PM
Congratulations to the OP on such an excellent score!

And let this car stand as a shining example of what can happen when one of these cars doesn't benefit from occasional exposure to expertise and experience. Dollars to donuts, this car was abandoned as people awfulized over a "bad transmission" that would take "thousands of dollars" to repair, when the problem was nothing more than a stuck kickdown switch.

I have mentioned this problem repeatedly in different threads and it almost always seems to be discounted because people aren't capable of imagining the complete havoc that this failure wreeks on the transmission function. In the immortal words of Tommy Boy, "I've seen it a hundred times".

Once again, props to e190revin! I love it when one of these cars gets a rescue from oblivion...
:klink:

Trae
11-09-2014, 03:49 PM
Oh come on, really, only $600. . . what a GREAT deal.
Now you have $$$ to make everything right on a great car.
Once you throw the needed service at it, you will be amazed!

Welcome!

Glen
11-09-2014, 05:27 PM
Pretty amazing. With such low miles, the engine alone is worth at least triple what you paid for the car.

AMGTesTDriverNJ
11-09-2014, 06:55 PM
And I thought I got a good deal! Wow! Congrats on this amazing find!

DerFuror
11-09-2014, 07:07 PM
And let this car stand as a shining example of what can happen when one of these cars doesn't benefit from occasional exposure to expertise and experience.

...In the immortal words of Tommy Boy, "I've seen it a hundred times".

This perfect example epitomizes my theory that most people that have/had these cars shouldn't have had these cars...but, that's the way of the world in oh so many aspects.

Congratulations. You have a great opportunity to resurrect one of the best cars ever produced. Be aware that your particular circumstances of crossing paths with this car are unique.

Make the most of it.

gsxr
11-09-2014, 07:17 PM
... I decided to see what it the car would do. As I was rolling along at 15 mph, I pressed the throttle to the floor. A few squealing seconds later, the only thing visible in the rear view mirror was tire smoke!! After a few attempts, 1st gear proved to cause nothing but burning rubber thanks to the aged tires.

After searching the forum, I went with a set of Continental EXTREMECONTACT DW tires I found for $403 shipped. These have helped the traction issues significantly but full throttle from a stop still results in spinning tires.
I just realized that you mentioned tires spinning and smoking. This should not happen unless the car has an aftermarket ASR defeat switch, which has been engaged. The ASR system will prevent wheelspin. The typical full-throttle launch from a stop should result in a chirp from the tires, followed by the ASR system activating, which is indicated by the triangle symbol flashing in the upper/center of the speedometer. The light should stop flashing after the car finds some traction.

Are there any "idiot lights" illuminated on the dash? If so, your ASR system may not be working correctly...

:cel:

Klink
11-09-2014, 07:38 PM
I just realized that you mentioned tires spinning and smoking. This should not happen unless the car has an aftermarket ASR defeat switch, which has been engaged. The ASR system will prevent wheelspin. The typical full-throttle launch from a stop should result in a chirp from the tires, followed by the ASR system activating, which is indicated by the triangle symbol flashing in the upper/center of the speedometer. The light should stop flashing after the car finds some traction.

Are there any "idiot lights" illuminated on the dash? If so, your ASR system may not be working correctly...

:cel:

:plusone:
I was thinking the exact same thing, but I was just too lazy to go there yet...

DerFuror
11-09-2014, 07:46 PM
Are there any "idiot lights" illuminated on the dash? If so, your ASR system may not be working correctly...

...or one of the wheel sensor plugs may be pulled??

Glen
11-09-2014, 08:06 PM
:plusone:
I was thinking the exact same thing, but I was just too lazy to go there yet...

Me too. :-)

gsxr
11-09-2014, 08:32 PM
I was thinking the exact same thing, but I was just too lazy to go there yet...
I was still in shock from the Deal of the Century thing!! Took me a while for the spinning/smoking comment to sink in.

:jelmerian:

Klink
11-09-2014, 09:41 PM
I was still in shock from the Deal of the Century thing!! Took me a while for the spinning/smoking comment to sink in.

:jelmerian:


I know... This reminded me of another incredible buy that an older friend and mentor did in the late '70s. He bought a truly like new in appearance '72 280SE, in beautiful non-metallic Anthracite, which looks identical to the metallic anthracite we all know and love, except it is not metallic, and yes, it was also called "Anthracite". It also had a perfect red interior. I loved the combo, and though the car just looked fantastic. Despite being from the Pittsburgh, Pa. area, it had not the slightest appearance of having ever been in salt. It only had about 30K. miles on it, IIRC. It billowed smoke, misfired, and shifted funny when it did shift. He paid a high line used car lot $600.00 for it. At the time, this car in its apparent condition was a $6K. car all day long. He bought it after having been told that the now deceased owner "didn't take care of it" and now it needed a new engine and transmission (?!?!?). Possible, but almost impossibly unlikely was what my mechanically knowledgeable DIY friend was thinking. My friend had also discovered that "didn't take care of it" actually meant that there were full service records including additional 3K. mile oil changes there at the nearby dealer in Greensburg, Pa (?!?!?, what, nobody else asked around?) He was told that the compression was too high (?!?!?, again!) because of all the oil that was making its way into the combustion chambers. That's the first and last that I have heard of that diagnosis. My friend trailered it to his home 50 miles away knowing that he had a possible project on his hands, and started to check the car out. When he found the transmission fluid low without any sign of an external leak, he knew what to do. A new modulator diaphragm assembly, some transmission fluid, and a set of spark plugs to replace the ones fouled by the transmission fluid were installed. Then he took it to a local transmission shop, where they adjusted the newly replaced modulator to spec. Not one other thing was needed to make it run and drive perfectly. Though he wanted to keep it, he couldn't resist making about 10 times his investment in profit within a month.

That's my personal eye-witnessed best "best buy" MB story ever. The OP's car seems to have some of that same vibe to it. I hope so...
:klink:

Ascension
11-10-2014, 08:14 AM
Dang that reminds me of some of my pawn shop Guitar and amp deals!! Congrats on the best car deal I have seen in a while!

e190revin
11-10-2014, 01:27 PM
Thanks for the all the replies and input! I am glad to be able to restore this vehicle to prime condition and it now resides in my garage so it'll have limited exposure to the elements. I really couldn't fathom someone just leaving a car like this behind and forgetting about it!

I'm not sure if the transmission kick down switch became stuck before or during the 2.5 years of no use. The previous owner only mentioned the car acted like it had a loss of power like it wasn't running on all cylinders when he drove it to the dealership, parked it, and bought another car. Since the fresh battery and fuel, the issue has only returned once (rough low idle and very little throttle response). After turning the car off and trying it again 10 minutes later, the issue was gone. I found receipts where he'd taken the car to the dealership 3 times for this issue, spent around $750, and continued having the problem intermittently.

The ASR is definitely not working at all; a launch results in either single or double black marks. I tried pressing the 'snow chains' button just to see if it functioned and nothing illuminated. I'm waiting for a new kick down switch to arrive but, with the switch unplugged and accelerator to the floor, the transmission shifts to 2nd at around 4800rpm. 2nd to 3rd usually occurs around 5400rpm and 3rd to 4th results in the engine hitting what sounds like an ignition-based rev limiter at 5500RPM. I can let off the pedal and it will shift. This sometimes occurs during the 2nd to 3rd shift.

I'll start with the maintenance items and move forward with the issues. All in all, though, it's a pleasure to drive!<o:p></o:p>


The ASR is definitely not working at all; a lauch results in either single or double black marks. I tried pressing the 'snow chains' button just to see if it functioned and nothing illuminated. The SRS is the only light that's on sometimes and it's been coming on randomly. I'm waiting for a new kickdown switch to arrive but, with the switch unplugged and accelerator to the floor, the transmission shifts to 2nd at around 4800rpm. 2nd to 3rd usually occurs around 5400rpm and 3rd to 4th results in the engine hitting what sounds like an ignition-based rev limiter at 5500RPM. I can let off the pedal and it will shift. This sometimes occurs during the 2nd to 3rd shift.

I'll start with the maintenance items and move forward with the issues. All in all, though, it's a pleasure to drive!

gsxr
11-10-2014, 02:37 PM
Sounds like you have multiple problems here. Pretty likely an ETA and/or limp-mode issue, which could be causing the ASR problem. Your upshift points at WOT are more or less correct without the kickdown solenoid functioning. The "5500 rev limit" might be related to the trans overload switch.

The very first thing you should do is buy or build a hand-held blink code reader, clear all existing codes, then drive the car a bit and check codes frequently. See which codes return immediately, or quickly. Focus on fixing the items causing the codes. See the "De-Coding" section of the forum, there can be many codes which will cause all kinds of driveability problems (as you describe) which will NOT trigger the CEL on the dash... don't think that because you have no CEL that there are no codes!

:detective:

e190revin
11-19-2014, 09:21 PM
Ok, I've been buying up parts over the past week and and have been making some progress on the interior. I finally got around to cleaning things up a bit and am quite impressed with most of the vinyl and leather after some much needed tlc!
I also received my blink tester and put it to use earlier this evening; that was way too much counting for an ole Bama boy!:loony: It looks like there's now an explanation for the lack of ASR but I have yet to locate the root cause. I had several codes across the Electronic Acceleration Unit, Base Module, SRS module, and diagnostic module. Initially, all cleared except fault 12 on the Base module (pin 8) (voltage supply interrupted for ABS Module) and fault 9 on the Diagnostic Module (IAT either open or shorted). When I placed the yellow tester lead on the ABS pin (pin 6), the led instantly lit up but at half the normal brightness. When I pressed the button, the LED would fully illuminate. When I let off the button, it would go back to the half illuminated state. Diagnostic functionality was not working on this pin.

I removed the module cover to access the modules and look for obvious abnormalities. I found the 10amp F1 fuse on the first module was blown so it was replaced. I then pulled the ABS/ASR module and re-seated it firmly. Next, I turned the ignition back on an started checking codes. At this point, ABS/ASR diagnostics worked properly and codes 31 and 33 were read and then cleared successfully. I'm not sure what caused the fuse to blow but I'll keep looking for any obvious signs of over current in the system. After turning the key off and then starting the engine, the snow chain lamp now illuminates when I press the button so that's a step forward. It's a bit too cold for a test run since the front windows have been removed for regulator refurbishment/ motor replacement.

The number 9 fault on the Diagnostic was still present so I pulled the IAT sensor to investigate. The multi-meter I have at home is a cheaper, compact Fluke and will only read to 1000 ohms so I'll take it to work and check it with my Fluke 289 tomorrow.

The following is a list of fault codes I saw:
Pin 4: None
Pin 6: After replacing F1 fuse, codes 31 and 33
Pin 7: 3, 5, 6, 7, 10
Pin 8: 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Pin 16: None
Pin 17: None
Pin 19: 9 (didn't clear)
Pin 30: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8

Klink
11-19-2014, 09:31 PM
Excellent work you're doing there in LA! You're definitely on the right path.

maw1124
11-21-2014, 09:24 AM
Yeah... It's a marvel you make time to update us between prayers of thanksgiving. All puns intended.

Cheers,

maw