Three-pointed star wars: a new hope / THE STORY SO FAR #1977 #Mercedes-Benz-230C
Owned by Nathan Chadwick [email protected]
Time owned One month
Miles this month 0 Costs £2000 Previously
Full horror of the engine damage becomes clear
‘You’ve killed two of them?’ Justin Lazic of Towiw123 exclaimed. Luckily, my ability to destroy the indestructible W123 twice (crash, then engine) didn’t deter Justin from selling me a secondhand #M115.954
engine. For £750 it was a good deal; after all, it’s a rare engine these days.
Better still, when he and business partner Leigh Holbrook dropped the new engine round in their Apricot Orange W123 estate they donated a new water pump – excellent chaps. If your #Mercedes-Benz-W123
needs a spot of fettling give them a try on 07734 858970. The next expense was garage equipment; a trip to Machine Mart (machinemart.co.uk) saw the addition of a lot of Clarke gear to my man cave, including tools, a cabinet for them, a couple of trolley jacks to prop up the gearbox and a 1.5-ton engine crane.
With everything set up, faithful friend and mechanical superhero Bob turned up to aid extraction. With most of the ancillaries off already, progress was swift. It was going rather well – until we dropped the already split chain off the sprocket into the housing while turning the engine over to free the gearbox-retaining bolts. Two hours of poking around with magnetic sticks later we’d removed the coiled-round chain. With the help of a mallet the gearbox was free, and the engine came out fairly simply.
Such jollity couldn’t last long. Stripping the new engine of its ancillaries to fit my ‘old’ ones was enjoyably simple – until we had to separate the metal tubing running from the water pump to the cylinder head’s water gallery. The banjo bolt holding the tube to the ’head snapped off flush to the surface. Then the EZ-Out we sent in after it also snapped off... yes, flush to the surface. Drilling it out proved impossible with normal drill bits (it’s made of ultra-dense chrome molybdenum). So the engine was dispatched to RJ Sutton Engineering in Nassington, Northants. In the end a new bolt head was welded to the remnants of the original. It was then turned and freed.
The threads inside the hole were severely corroded, so we used a heli-coil to form a new thread. Alas, this didn’t match the banjo bolts from the old engine, so now a new bolt needs to be made – which means the Mercedes remains stuck in limbo. It turns out snapping your banjo is painful in more ways than you’d imagine. If you’re in the Peterborough area and need some Bob-related mechanical assistance, call him on 07776 274761.
Nathan has finally extracted the broken down lump from his engine bay. A snapped banjo bolt stops play, however. Bob eases out the old engine. The new unit awaits insertion.