Still going fine after all the snow and a daily round trip of 100 miles. Great!

Slight problem with revs, though. She's revving a bit high on tickover - which I really don't like as she makes a bit of a 'thunk' going into 'Drive'. It doesn't sound as though it's doing the gearbox much good.

My main fixer says that it's the Idle Control Actuator. A quick call to my local MB dealer reveals that this costs around £500 - for a part about the size of a fag packet! Ouch was not the first word that came to mind - but this is a family-friendly blog so I'm not going to say what really was the first word...!

Also, reading the brilliant book about the history of the W124 by James Taylor that my long-suffering wife bought me for Christmas 2017 I discovered that a transmission fluid change is recommended every 33,000 miles. No idea when that was last done for Clara!

124 Book

I booked her in for a transmission fluid change and Yikes! He called me to say that he had drained out 1.5 litres of fluid and put 6 litres in. He also swapped the Idle Control Actuator with the one in my other coupé and apparently it made no difference.

Close shave. If you don't know when your last transmission fluid change was done get it checked or get one done as soon as possible!

Thank God I had it done when I did! Still no further forward with the idle problem though...

With the car booked into a classic Mercedes specialist to see if we can get this idle problem sorted out we went out for the afternoon.

Clara In The Woods

After we had driven a few miles on the way home I noticed that the mileometer and the trip meter were no longer going round. This is now going to be a major problem: no reliable fuel gauge and no means of knowing how far I had driven on a tankful of petrol!

We did stop off on the way home - and to our surprise one of Clara's cousins was there: a 320, though, not a 300.

Clara And Friend

Clara ended up staying a little longer at the specialist garage - a few more parts now required!

It turns out that it WAS the Idle Control Actuator that was causing the high tickover. I decided that £40 for a second hand one that may or may not have the same problem in the future was a better bet than £500 for a new one. £460 change buys quite a few more actuators and fitting if necessary!

The problem with the clocks was most easily solved by getting a complete second hand set. These were around £150 - and fortunately the mileage on them was only a little more than Clara had already done. She now shows 2,500 more miles than she has actually done, but at over 170,000 miles this is only a very small percentage error. I also took the opportunity to get the garage to replace the lights in the clocks - so now I can see all the dials in the dark, which is excellent!

We also solved one other niggling problem: the oil pressure gauge had never worked properly: it would shoot up to maximum as soon as the ignition (not the engine!) was switched on. Clearly this is not right... My worry was that having an accurate oil pressure gauge would tell me that the oil pressure was not what it should be. Surely there must be some pressure there, though? We've done 15,000 miles together with no problem...

Fortunately, the oil pressure switch is under £40, so not a big expense. Oh, and the oil pressure? Fantastic: 3 bar as soon as the engine is started, 1.5 bar on tickover when the engine is warm and pressures that you would expect for any given driving situation. Prayers answered once again!

So after some worry and expenditure I now have fully working gauges, a mileometer and a trip meter that go round (and the trip meter can be reset: yippee! No more photographs of the clocks every time I fill up with petrol: a ritual that I shan't miss!), fully lit dials in the dark and an oil pressure gauge that reads as it should.

Onwards and upwards...

17 MOT Test Time Again