I fell asleep at the wheel of my 1982 300 TDT on Sept. 28. I woke up
in intensive care in Salt Lake City at the University Hospital on
October 3. After a few weeks in the hospital to recover from my
injuries and surgery to repair my broken shoulders some friends drove
out from California, where I live, to pick me up and take me home.
We drove 5-1/2 hours south from Salt Lake to Loa, UT to pick up my
car. (Yeah, that must have been a long ambulance ride) The only
damage to the car was to the driver's side black rubber wrap around on
the bumper and to the back-up light lenses. The steering was not
knocked out of alignment.
But I was pretty badly injured.
If I had had an air bag I probably would have walked away with about
the same amount of injury the car sustained when I swerved off the
road into the soft sand of the dry arroyo where I was found.
Is it possible to retro fit a 1982 300 TDT with an air bag?
Oh my gosh Heav.... I am sorry to hear of your accident. As for your answer,
as a simple retrofit, the answer is no. I know MB actually made airbag an
option on european model 1985 but that was a W126 that I heard of.
I don't think anyone with a W123 has an airbag installed but I can be wrong.
Maybe Juergen would know as he is the expert on the W123.
Sorry to hear that. You must feel better now since you are online and
Tiger is right. I am not aware of any airbag on W123, at least not in
US. I would expect it will be a big project to retrofit if it is ever
possible. The steering wheel (or even the column), circuit, impact
sensor, just thinking about it makes me feel dizzy.
I hope you will recover soon and wish you all the best!
that I heard of.
But of course you are right, forget retrofitting.
On later W123 airbag (driver airbag) was an option,
at least here in Europe, start was January 1982
(MB code 44/2).
Price then was 1.570,70 German Mark, at that time
a basic (no power steering, no power windows, no
sunroof, no aircondition, no radio - nothing!)
European W123 (200 gas) started at 24.408 German
Mark, so it was expensive and *very*! seldom
ordered (ABS was 2.599 German Mark).
In 1984 the W123 got front passenger seatbelt
tensioners, these got their info from a crash
sensor box, which also was used for the optional
So in a W123 from before 1984 one would have to
retrofit the crash sensor box plus the airbag -
theoretically possible, but where to get the
parts from? (and at which price?)
Ok, parts suppliers were Petri AG, Aschaffenburg,
Germany (now Takata-Petri AG) and Bayern Chemie,
Aschau, Germany (now TRW airbag systems), but I
seriously doubt they can help...
Also there was a front passenger airbag available -
besides one single photo I saw I don't know much
about that, only that it was no regular option,
but available by special customer order only.
Take in mind airbags do age - there have been
successful tests with 20 year old MBs with
airbags, but in reality you would have to get
*new* produced parts...
So yes, theoretically possible - practically not
As much as I am a really big fan of the W123
series (from 25 years of driving), one has to
face that it is NOT a safe car by today's
standards, today we have seat belt tensioners,
ABS, ESP, and at least 6 airbags, that's
*worlds* better than any W123 - these were safe,
very safe cars for their time, but one has to
take in mind that the W123 series was presented
ages ago in 1976.
heav, were you wearing the seat belt??
The seat belts are life saver #1!!!!
In case you did and you want to keep your W123
DO change the driver's seat belt - get a new
one from MB!!!
All the other systems are supplemental only,
that's why the airbags are labeled as "SRS",
"Supplemental Restraint System" - SUPPLEMENTAL!
Besides that always make sure the seat belt has
no loose but is tight over the clothing and also
adjust the headrest accordingly, means top of
headrest in a line with the top of the head.
In case you will change your car, have a look
at later MB models.
W123 successor W124 was available with one and
with two airbags: Driver airbag an option from
the beginning (MB code 442) and standard from
somewhere in 1992 on, additional passenger
airbag an option (MB code 291), standard from
somewhen in 1995 (or 1994?) on.
Next successor was W210, started in 1995.
Driver and front passenger airbags standard
from the beginning, side airbags front option
(MB code 292), but standard from 1996 (June?)
Current E-Class W211 strted in 2003 has 6
airbags as standard, driver airbag, front
passenger airbag, front side airbags and side
window airbags, rear sidebags are an option
(MB code 293).
And next E-Class W212 from 2009 will have even
more airbags (knee airbags)...
Hey Juergen... Wow! That was alot of info!
I think for Heav, his next step is to get a diesel W124 wagon. I don't think
there is a diesel wagon of W210 in USA or for late model at all.
I do agree... it should be time for Heav to upgrade to later model for more
Wow! heave, I'm also really sorry to hear about your crash -- and
curious to know if you were wearing your belt. That's because I drive
the same wagon as you! Scary stuff. I always think of these cars as
being so safe, because as Juergen and Tiger pointed out, for their
time they were. Very sobering.
I wish you a very speedy recovery and the same for your venerable Benz.
Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes.
I was wearing my shoulder harness/seat belt. I am sure it prevented
further injury. I love my 123 TDT, and the engine has only about
15,000 miles on it. I get 33 mpg with the new engine.
The car was practically undamaged in the accident.
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