Changing the windshield wiper mechanism front and rear on B-Class W245

The major issue with this car which basically prevents me from driving it is a malfunctioning front window wiper mechanism. It rains quite a lot here especially in the autumn, also it’s illegal to drive without them. While the front window wipers are essential, the rear one is not working either. Side view mirrors are often enough, however the mirrors on this car are so small and “well” designed so you can’t really see whats directly behind you. So I will need to fix that one as well.

The front wipers were almost not working when picking up the car when I bought it and the wipers were stuck in a weird position. Unfortunately it was heavy rain this day and not really possible to drive without it. When inspecting the mechanism it turned out that the motor was fine, but the wiper bracket was broken due to a totally seized right side wiper shaft.

After some 2 hours of fiddling in the rain we managed to get the driver side wiper to work (barely). The drive home was quite interesting where I operated the wiper only when strictly necessary. Thankfully it worked all the way home with no fuzz.

Front Wiper Mechanism

The access to the front wiper mechanism is easily made with removing the plastic cover just over the engine beneath the front window. But first open the hood to get better access to the wiper arms. Some care here is needed so you don’t crack the front windscreen, such as dropping your tools and slamming the spring loaded wipers on the window.

Removing the wiper arms can be a challenge if you don’t know the trick. Unscrew the nut half way, then use an open ended wrench to pry off the wiper arm and voila it’s off. Once both wiper arms are removed, you can remove the plastic guard cover. It’s only held in place with 6 hex screws located at the top of the engine bay. Take care not to loose any tools or screws into the engine bay. You will never find them again from the bottom of the engine bay.

The wiper mechanism itself is easy to take off. There is one cable to the motor, then the mechanism is held together with 3 bolts. When reinstalling a used one, or refreshing the existing one. It’s an excellent opportunity to lube the wiper shafts with some oil and put some grease on the mechanism joints. Much easier than when it’s on the car.

Before reinstalling the wiper mechanism, make sure the joints are installed the correct way. Use the article as reference since there are two ways the joints can attach to the middle pivot bar. Installing them the wrong way might ruin the assembly when turning on the key. Also beware that the motor is really powerful, so don’t put your hand or fingers down in the mechanism while someone is turning the key or checking the mechanism from inside the car. Ideally the battery should be disconnected while working on the wipers.

Before assembling the whole thing, make sure the wiper mechanism works properly by turning on the wiper motor and inspect that the mechanism works without any issues and clears all obstacles under the windshield. There is some wiggle room for the bracket in the 3 mounts. Then you can put back the plastic cover.

Working mechanism, quite fun to look at.

Installing the wiper arms is probably the most difficult with this job, since it needs some fiddling and adjusting to get the correct angle. The two arms are not equal either so make sure to put them on correct to their assigned side. When aligning them, you will need to try them out and see if they have enough clearance when operating while also cover most of the screen. This might take a couple of tries, so be patient. When they are aligned, then put back the plastic covers and your are done.

The issue with this type of wiper arm design is that the wiper arms seem constantly to fight for position. If one binds or get stuck the other wiper will most likely break the other arm with a punch! A problem in older cars with more non-synchronized wipers like these is that they end up fighting for the windscreen and the wiper arms get bent, for example Lamborghini Espada.

Car is now capable to handle rain again!

Feels good to have working wipers again!

Rear wiper mechanism

The rear wiper motor is easier to replace. First remove the wiper arm, or if it’s broken off like mine, remove the nut. Then open the rear hatch, there is a plastic cover under there which can be removed without tools. Just use a plastic prying tool to snap it open.

The wiper motor has a plastic tube which needs to be unhooked. The plastic tube delivers wiper washer fluid to the rear window. Don’t worry, it will not leak water when unhooking it. Don’t mess up the plastic spring, otherwise you will leak washer fluid into the boot. Also unhook the power plug.

Plastic retainer to secure the washer fluid tube.

The window motor is held in place by only three bolts, and when removing these you can slide out the whole motor from the rear.

A new rear wiper blade comes actually wih a new arm as well, since the wiper blade is quite special and non-standard. It is not super cheap, buit not expensive wither. Installation is just reverse of disassembly, remember to test it and check for leaks before finishing at the end.

Working rear window wiper mechanism. Nice when spying on the cars behind you, not that there will be any cars behind this super fast 180CDI!!!!

My experience so far with working on this car is that it’s actually super easy to work on. It seems that if a car is easy to assemble on the factory thus making it cheap, it will also be easy for the home DIY mechanic to do work on. I’m quite happy for that. Older cars are usually more complex in their build and also a bit harder to work on.

Robs out!

New daily driver – 2008 Mercedes B-Class 180CDI W245

2 L Diesel with 109 hk Turbo and CVT Auto transmission. Front wheel drive, with transverse mounted front engine. 5 seats with made from fabric. Not washed in a while with a strong smell of dogs. Some broken stuff like windshield wipers. Welcome to my new 2008 B-Class W245.

“So boring and dull! How can you endure this torture?!? It looks like an egg! It’s not even a real Mercedes! Did Mercedes poop it out from Stuttgart? B for bloopers! I would turn 180 degrees around when seeing this car!”

I can hear some of you thinking this. And perhaps you have a point. It was considered quite ugly when it was first released, however I think the design have matured somewhat and is not that ugly anymore. It blends in with all the other boring cars and it’s still quite dull though. But I needed something cheap, reliable and fuel efficient for commuting to work especially during the winter. And fast before winter starts! A diesel is good since I can save around 2 kr for each liter and it’s more lean than a similar sized petrol engine. I generally don’t like front wheel drive at all, but for commuting during winter in the steep hills around here it’s somewhat of a benefit.

Mercedes B-Class w245 rear
Egg shaped??? Is it a Peugeot?

The car has done 250.000 km which is not little, but not super far either. I got the car cheap which means it didn’t come perfect and has a few things to sort out first. The most critical is the front wind shield wiper which is broken. Second most critical is a faulty parking brake which require new cables in the rear. There had also been drainage of the electricity of the car battery while the car was parked, however this could be due to the non-original extra lights or something with the broken wind shield wipers. Both front and rear are not currently working. The rear one not working is not required by an MOT, but it is annoying when the side mirrors are so small you can’t really see what’s straight behind the car.

Mercedes B-class w245 side
Some hints of rust on the wheel arch, nice!

Cosmetically there is some rust on the wheel arches and below one of the doors. Thankfully there are no holes and the rust can be stopped quite easily. Actually the amount of rust on this car is quite little compared to the age and mileage of such a car in Norway due to all the road salt it’s exposed to during winters. It could also do with some standard service, such as changing the oil, diesel filter, air filter and the pollen filter. Oh, and did I mention it’s not even approved for the MOT haha!! So it could potentially have some more unknown issues!! Exciting!

TODOs before it can be MOT approved is as follows:

  • Replace front windshield wiper mechanism
  • Fix parking brake
  • Stop rust on wheel arches and paint
  • Replace rear wiper motor
  • Engine Oil and filter change
  • Air intake filter
  • Cabin pollen filter
Mercedes B-Class w245 interior
Interior is OK looking, nothing special to see here.

The summer tires are extremely worn, however the winter tires are in good condition with steel studs which is required around there. And winter is just around the corner. Will not bother to get the new summer tires until the spring. The 280CE also needs new tires and will get the priority now. I will keep you updated with follow up articles.

Robs Out!

How to change the front shocks and sway bar links in Mercedes w140 S-Class

Changing out worn shocks might be most effective and cheapest fix that can transform the ride handling of your car for the better. My S600 had very noticeable up and down wobbling when driving over bumps and a quite large body roll making in tight corners. It was becoming a bit boat like there at the end. The S600 is a very heavy car and needs good handling when going fast. A flatter ride in corners also makes for a more comfortable drive overall, so your passengers don’t wake up from their naps.

Changing the shocks will reduce wear on other more expensive suspension components like bushings and tires, while overly worn might damage the suspension. Changing the shocks is in your interest to be an economical DIYer.

The front suspension uses normal a McPherson setup with separated gas shocks detached from the springs and can easily be removed. The rear suspension on the other hand uses the more complicated SLS leveling suspension setup and don’t use shocks at all. Instead it uses hydraulic rams along with pressure spheres. More effort and money is needed when doing maintenance on the rear suspension than the front. The SLS however normally lasts a lot longer if you remember to change the fluid once in a while.

When changing the shocks you should also use the opportunity to inspect/change some other wear items easily accessible in the front suspension. This could be sway bar links or the brake rotors and pads. The sway bar links wear down faster than the other suspension components due to their tiny ball joints and should be replaced whenever cracks appear in the sleeves or any slack starts to be noticeable. Worn sway bar links can make annoying sounds for you and your passengers. We all know expensive cars are known for being the most squeaky cars around, let’s change that!

Preparation

You should expect to use around half day to a day on this job, depending on your skill set, the amount of rusty bolts and your tools at disposal. It’s something you can do easily on a weekend. When doing the job I was even under time pressure since I had to catch a flight the same day. I managed to catch the flight and get the job.

If you want to bundle more front suspension jobs while doing the shocks, I recommend removing the front wheels and inspect the suspension such as the sway bar links, brake pads and rotors as well as the tie rods. Any more advanced jobs than that you will will require a lot more time invested so be sure to plan accordingly. Usually large front end jobs require a re-alignment of the suspension, but is not required here.

Parts needed (as described in the article):

  • 2x front shocks. I recommend premium brands such as Bilstein or Meyle
  • 1x Left front sway bar link
  • 1x Right front sway bar link

Tools needed:

I ended up using quite a tool collection because of rusted bolts on the sway bar links, but this might not be the case for you. I think this collection of tools goes into most home car mechanics tool box, but there might be a couple of them you should consider getting. Always better to be prepared than sitting there stuck without finishing the job.

  • Jack and 2 jack stands
  • Socket set
  • Long breaker bar
  • A set of long spanners
  • High quality hex sockets
  • Torque wrench
  • Hammer
  • Rubber/plastic hammer
  • Pin punch driver
  • Locking pliers
  • Long Hex keys
  • Propane blow torch (super handy when things are stuck)
  • XZN (12-spline) sockets (super handy when Hex nut gets rounded off)
  • Blue thread lock (for brake caliper bolts)
XZN socket set
This is how XZN Sockets looks like. They are always a savior when hex bolts gets rounded off.

Procedure

Start by raising the front of the car and remember to use the E-brake together with wheel stops. Place the front on jack stands. I also like to keep the jack in the up position as redundancy on the side I’m working with. You can lift the w140 with the jack on the rubber jacking pad and place the jack stands more towards the center of the car under the sub frame.

Jacking up a Mercedes w140
Jacking up the w140 with a garage jack and jack stands. Notice the rubber pad location is used with the jack and the jack stands are placed under the sub frame. Always use some padding between the car body with the jack and the jack stands, such as hard rubber or some wood to protect the under body from rust.

The shocks can be removed when the calipers are in place, but to remove the sway bar links, both the calipers and the brake rotors need to be removed to access it. I will first describe how to replace the shocks since it is a much easier job. Then I will describe how to replace the sway bar links.

Shocks

Start by removing the lower bolt. Use a long breaker bar and a large spanner to break the bolt loose. Then move to a ratchet to get the nut off. Use the jack to lift the lower suspension arm a little bit to relieve some tension in the bolt through the bracket hole. Then use a punch to smack out the bolt with a hammer. Be careful if the bolt catches too much, then try to relieve more pressure before continuing. Most shocks do not come with replacements for the lower bolt and nut, so try keeping these in good shape.

Removing lower bolt on damper
Remove the lower bolt on the damper.

When the bolt is loose, open the hood and locate the top nut. The top part of the damper can look different from each other. You have to keep the strut bar still with a hex socket or flat pliers while using a spanner to unbolt it. There exists a special tool to do this with a socket, but is frankly unnecessary except if you’re addicted to tools. This locking nut always comes with a replacement nut and you should throw away the old one. When the locking nut is off you can easily remove the old damper.

Location of top part of damper under the hood
Location of top part of the damper. This old damper uses a hex setup for keeping the damper still while loosening the locking nut.

Before installing the new damper, push it completely down a few times to relieve tension. The installation orientation has no influence if the brand does not specify it. Start by installing it with the top part and the top locking nut. When installing the new damper you must take of not letting the damper shaft rotate while turning the locking nut. Keep it secured while fastening the locking nut. This is to reduce the risk of breaking the internal seal of the damper so it will start leaking. The nut does not need to be extremely tight, but do tighten it until you feel it is secure. It is very important to make a re-tight after the car is on the ground. I will remind you of this again shortly.

Now you will probably notice that the new damper is quite shorter than the old one when you took it out. You therefore have to compress the spring by jacking up the lower suspension arm until you can align up the bolt hole. This might be a bit tricky and use a hammer to punch the bolt through since it is nearly impossible to align them up 100%. Again take care of not ruining the threads on the bolt. The lower bolt and nut should be torqued to 80Nm.

Front shocks w140
Old Vs New shocks. Notice the old one even leaks oil!

Front sway bar links

Now on to the more fun part where you can expect to meet more of a challenge. First you need to turn the wheel you’re working on all the way out to get access on the backside. Start by removing the caliper, it is held by two bolts. You may require some force to break them loose. Prepare some method too hook the calipers up in the spring to relieve tension on the flexible brake hoses. Never let them hang freely. I used long zip ties here and I could just to cut it off when done. But a simple S-shaped hook would have been even easier!

Front suspension and caliper
Turn the wheel out completely before starting.

The caliper might be difficult to get off if the brake rotor has a lip on the edge. Use a pry bar or the back side of a hammer to press in the outer brake pad by using the rotor for leverage. Be careful not to damage the pad material. When the caliper is loose, secure it up onto the spring.

Location sway bar link w140
Location of sway bar link. Notice only one accessible bolt. The other one is behind the disk rotor.
Brake caliper w140 removed and hanging
The brake caliper is remove and secured in a zip tie from the spring to relieve tension in the flexible brake hose and brake caliper sensor.

When the brake caliper is loosened you can start remove the break disk rotor. It is secured by a tiny hex nut, but you might find this lost or broken. Mine was broken off on the right side, but the left one was fine. Loosen the nut with a hex socket. If the brake rotor is sticking to the hub, try hammering gently on it with a plastic hammer. If it does not pop off, it can be quite frozen due to rust and you’ll need heat to loosen it. Ignite up your blow torch and heat the area just around the hub. This should expand the rotor just enough so it will pop off with a light hammer blow. Over heating the hub might make the hub grease melt and run out, so be careful with the heat.

Brake rotor locking nut w140
Brake rotor locking nut with hex. This might have broken off already.

Now it’s the time to locate the outer sway bar link nut. Cross your fingers for no rust. It is located right under the brake rotor. The locking mechanism is not the best engineering, since you’ll need either a special tool or trying to combine a socket with some magic tricks. I used a socket, secured it with locking pliers and then used a hex key sticking through it. After some fiddling I managed to get the nut off. You can usually loosen the bolt the first few turns by using just the socket normally.

The upper nut should be the easier of the two to get off, since the lower one usually gets all the rust and is easier to round off the hex bolt head. Soak it thoroughly with rust penetration fluid and let it work for 15 minutes. Then use a hammer and whack that nut good a couple of times.

Removing front sway bar link nut w140
Removing the lower sway bar link nut. Cross your fingers that the hex will not round out. I only got a 50% success rate.

I got lucky with one side, but the other side I had to drive in an over sized XZN socket with a hammer so it’s surely stuck in there. Then I could get enough torque to loosen the rusted nut. This will obviously destroy the part, but it’s thrown out anyway. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of this process since I was struggling a bit and running out of time.

Broken sway bar link sleeve
The sleeve was broken on the sway bar link. This does not take long until squeaking starts!

Now you should be able to remove the sway bar link. Go fetch the one that fits depending on the side you are working (hopefully you order the correct ones). Fit the top side first, then you move on to the lower side. It can a be a bit tricky to fit the lower side onto the sway bar again. Get a long bar or a long spanner and wedge it between the spring to get leverage to push down on the sway bar.

Use leverage to fit the sway bar link to the sway bar
Use leverage to fit the sway bar link to the sway bar.

It is not necessary to tighten the sway bar links very hard, just snug with enough force so they sit on. Remember these will probably rust tight faster than you can say cheese and the hex bolts will round off again.

old vs new sway bar links
Old vs New Sway bar links.

Caution: Before assembling the rotors, make sure you brush off any old rust off the hub face and the inside of the rotor. This is to prevent rumbling while braking and that the rotor sits on straight! You can use a steel brush and a rough pad to do this. Also brush off any surface rust on the front side of the rotor where it meets the wheel.

The front caliper bolts need a layer of blue thread locker on them since there are no shims or similar. Use 115Nm torque when tightening the caliper bolts.

It can be a bit tricky to mount the wheel if the little rotor locking nut is missing, so a replacement might come in handy here. Otherwise you have to align the hub with the rotor first and then with the wheel when sticking in the bolts.

Now I hope you will take on this task without paying stupid amounts of hours for mechanics to figure this out at a workshop. Go do it yourself!

Cheers, Robs out!

1990 Mercedes 230TE w124 added to the fleet

You might ask how can you go from 6.0L V12 to a 2.3L dull station wagon? Good question! This car will be a workhorse car for all year use, hauling trailers and transporting stuff.

It’s a bit scruffy looking when you get up close and have the impression of standing outside too long without a decent polish.

Lets start with the pros:

  • It’s a Sportline version – Oh yes Sport with 132 HP
  • It has ADS (automatic differential lock), so usable in the Norwegian winter
  • Mechanically the car runs fine, engine and breaks etc.
  • No significant rust to speak of
  • The black metallic color is quite nice and more easy to sell than for example green
  • No electric windows, so less things to break
  • AC seems to work OK
  • It has an electric sunroof that can be opened and closed
  • Comes with a DAB radio – FM is obsolete in Norway
  • It is face lift 1 – looks better than the 85 original and does not have the rust paint problems of face lift 2

And then to the negatives:

  • No electric windows – I need to please my luxurious ego
  • The sunroof tilting function is not really working at the moment – not the end of the world
  • There is a leak from the hose of the rear window washer reservoir – needs to be fixed
  • The cables and vacuum hose of the right front door have been cut
  • The driver seat is quite worn and needs a new sitting pad
  • Door check straps needs to be changed
  • Switch for the rear wiper needs to be replaced
  • Front plastic bumper has cracks – needs replacement
  • Fabric interior, where is the luxury?
  • Ugly unoriginal rims – Needs to be changed for sure. Good thing I have some original w126 rims that can be bolter straight on
  • Worn winter tires
  • The key for the door and ignition are different

So is this a lemon car? Not really, but not a show car either. It has some issues and the age shows. The price also reflected that. The mileage is not low either at above 350.000 km, so at least its driven in properly.

Many of will might ask how I can drive 3 cars simultaneously around. Well obviously I don’t. Mostly my father will use it as his daily driver. I can though see some nice articles come out of it. And having the opportunity to drive a classic w124 can be fun!

This is just a quick teaser. A full review will be posted at the end of the summer! So stay tuned.

Cheers, Robs out