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Junkyard Find Mercedes Cosworth Updates: Into the Shop!

When we last left off, I was probably running out of interesting things to tell you about my junkyard-find 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth. Man, that’s a mouthful. Anyway, the good news is a few months ago, it finally left my cramped garage and headed up to my mechanic’s shop in Providence, Rhode Island, a well-regarded specialist known as German Motors. We’ve got our initial assessment work done, and as you’ll see below, being a junkyard car has given us plenty to sort out.

In the last installment, I explained how happy I was to have found a rare 16V-specific gas tank after the yard unceremoniously ripped mine out when they inventoried the Mercedes. One of the obsolete parts still with the car was the 16V-specific oil cooler, which attached to the radiator – one of the few parts they sold. See where I’m going?

The yard severed the lines of the oil cooler to where it attached to the oil filter housing when they removed the radiator, making for a potentially costly repair. Fortunately, I found a complete assembly in the UK on Facebook Marketplace, which will make this aspect of re-assembly much easier.

In addition to several hoses that were either cut or removed when the original gas tank was stripped out, the owner of German Motors also noted that the metal bracket holding the fuel tree had likely been run over by a forklift or other junkyard apparatus. It could be straightened, but that would take time, and time equals money. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz Classic still had the part in stock so we can go about re-assembling the tree with the new fuel pump and filter. One of the hoses that was obsolete was found on this junked Mercedes 190D, which turned up in my local Pick-N-Pull yard in Cumberland, RI.

In the process of combing over the 190E 2.3-16 one more time, I noticed another clue that confirms for me beyond a shadow of a doubt this car was acquired through Mercedes’ European Delivery program: this piece of hardware inside the trunk is used to hold a European warning triangle in place in case of an accident. It’s required for highway travel overseas, so combined with the Austrian dealership badge on the rear panel, this junkyard find Cosworth’s story keeps getting more interesting. Check out the video on the Barn Finds YouTube channel for the full story – and a preview of my latest project car acquisition.


  1. Todd Fitch Staff

    What a great project, Jeff! I must confess I’ve never heard of these Cosworth models, though I did once bid on a Mercedes-Benz 500 E (W124.036), the Porsche-MB collaboration. Is the fuel injection electronic or mechanical? Going from Wikipedia it sounds like it would be electronic. Best of luck. Keep us posted!

    Like 3
    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Hey Todd. It is a conventional electronic Bosch system, so nothing too complicated. Well, relatively speaking!

      Like 2
    • Richard Greene


      I was like you when I was younger! I bought a 62 XKE OTS. I would go any distance to find some part! I once drove 700 miles to get some small part! Another story about junkyards. Our local yard had a 89 Mercedes 560SL come while I was there. I ran to the owner who DROVE the car to the yard to sell it to them! I asked how much he would sell it to me! He said they will give me $500. You give me $800 & it’s yours! I still drive it! It has only 74,000 miles. The reason he getting rid of it was the brake system quote to repair was $3800! The problem was ONLY sticking rear calipers! Repaired for $200 doing it myself!

      Keep the patience! You WILL get there!


      Like 5
      • Jeff Lavery Staff

        Richard, we clearly operate along the same wave lengths. Very nice score on that SL – amazing how such a small thing can scare people away from an otherwise sound car. Appreciate the positive vibes!

        Like 1
  2. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Fantastic update, Jeff! You’re the master of locating parts, I can’t wait to see this baby evolve over the next few months.

    My old BMW 528it wagon had a spot for a triangle which came on the European market cars and it always bugged me to see that empty space. After searching for a few weeks I found one, even though nobody but myself would ever know about it. I have a factory fold-out warning triangle in spare tire compartment of the Audi TT which I don’t think I’ve even opened yet after all these years.

    Like 3
  3. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Jeff, updates like one keep us readers hoping to find our own Golden Chalice on the Holy (car or truck) Grail.
    Thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations as the chapters you provide make for a good read and encouragement to fulfill our own mechanical search.

    Like 4
    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying the updates. Hopefully, we won’t hit any major roadblocks in the next few weeks so we can see this car running again.

      Like 1
      • Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member


        Like 0
  4. Charlie Mullendore

    Since it sounds like you’re on Facebook, you might want to join the “Mercedes 190 Parts For Sale” group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1911864739071890/

    Like 1
    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Hey Charlie. I think that’s actually where I found the oil cooler. Thanks for the tip.

      Like 3
  5. HydTech

    Y’all should have a group hug.

    Like 3
    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      If I could, I would. My wife got tired of hearing about all of this LONG ago.

      Like 2

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