I am going to buy new wheels for my '94 E420. What are the pros and
cons of moving to a 16" wheel from the standard 15"? If I find a good
deal on EBay (for instance) what specifications should I look at to
make sure that the wheel fits? The current wheels are 6-1/2J X 15 H 2
(according to the manual) - what do these codes mean?
Also, I have disconnected the factory alarm system because of false
alarms. Does anyone know if there is a common cause for this? I'll
have the dealer look at it in the future to try to find the problem,
but I'm wondering if anyone out there has run across this problem and
might be able to suggest a common problem so that I might avoid hours
of shop time.
And also, when you lock the car from the outside, you have to unlock
it from the outside or the car won't start. I'm having a problem that
occaisionally the car won't start when it is unlocked using the key
and I have to relock the car from the outside, wait a minute, unlock
it again and try to start it. The car never starts when I unlock it
from the trunk. Again, any ideas on where to start looking for the
Other than these things, the car is very enjoyable. I have driven it
round trip from the west coast to the midwest three times and each
time was extremely enjoyable. Cruising across the desert at 90 mph (or
so) in this car, listening to Miles Davis is one of the greatest
experiences you could have. I drove it at over 100 for a small stretch
and the car seemed to say, "OK. Is this all you want? Yawn..."
The 16's and 17's look better! Go to tirerack.com where you can shop for
wheels and see how they look on your year/model/color Mercedes. They also
will list the proper size tire should you go with on a larger rim.
The numbers you mention are 6-1/2" wide and 15" in diameter. You can go an
inch or so wider in the rim usually. The key thing to match is the number of
lugs and spacing (yours should be 5-lugs by 112mm or 5x112). And the
offset - yours is probably 35mm or 41mm, just look on inside of the rim and
there will be a number like ET35 or ET41.
On eBay sometimes it also gives you more choices if you know other MB models
that have the same offset as yours because people do not always list the
offset. (e.g. the older W124s have the same numbers as the new CLKs).
I'm about to purchase new wheels for my 87 300D (same chassis as your E420).
I settled on getting 16x7.5 Reproduction 8-hole wheels which are of the same
design as what you have now. Tirerack has them for about $120 each. With
7.5" wide wheels, I am going to have to fold the fender lip on the front of
the car in to clear everything.
If you get a larger size wheel, they will look better, but ride quality will
deminish as you have to get lower profile tires to keep the same total wheel
diameter (and therefore not mess with the speedometer). Wider wheels allow
you to get more rubber on the ground, but they increase rolling friction a
bit and may decrease fuel mileage.
16x7 seems to be the optimum size for the 124... looks good, wide enough.
Only thing you have to do is find a wheel that you like that is in the
proper size for your car. However, I'd reccomend you figure out what your
priorities are before you get new wheels -- if you want looks or increased
handling, go with 16's. If you just want more rubber on the road, I
reccomend 15x7 "Sportline" 8-hole wheels, which you can get in reproduction
form from Tire Rack... more rubber on the road, and if you get 205/60/15
tires (sportline OEM), you'll see a difference in handling... but if you get
205/65/15s the car won't look odd at all, it will be totally normal looking
but with more rubber on the ground.
Not sure about the alarm stuff... the non start sounds like an ignition
disabling thing in the alarm box going haywire.
As you go to a wider rim you needless offset (to move the edge of the rim
further away from the hub/brake suspension.
So on most W124 cars like yours: If your orginal wheel is 6.5x15 ET49, a 7"
wide wheel would need an offset of about ET44, and a 7.5" wide wheel would
require and offset of about ET35.
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