Getrag "Dog-leg" Manual box on old Mercs

d215yq

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Hi All,

I am looking at old Mercedes to buy as a second car and, having had every other W124 already, am drawn back to the one I always wanted, an E320/320CE Convertible. Being in Spain, the manual option is actually rather popular but is a dogleg Getrag box as would be found on a 190E cosworth (and probably others). Does anyone have experience of this and is it easy to get used to beingn "wrong" compared to pretty much any other box ever made?

I know some will say a W124 is a "wafter" and as such should be an auto but quite frankly, as my main car is a new Focus estate, the Focus actually generally wafts better and also is significantly less involved and is auto. So, to me atleast, it makes sense that the second older car where driving is more of an experience be the manual and the everyday newer one is an auto for when i can't be bothered to put any thought/effort into driving.

I also know some slate manual mercedes boxes but have driven a 300D manual with 300k miles for the last 6 years and found nothing to hate about the gearbox action or ratios etc, though this obviosuly is a normal box and not the dogleg one in the W124 convertibles. I also assume there is nothing stupid like DMF or dual shift stuff in a W124 E320 so it's basically just clutch that you have to replace every so often?

Appreciate the replies,
Ben
 

Ron240

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It was "dog-leg" in the title that caught my eye. :D
I have only ever been in one car that had a dog leg first gear, but the model may be a surprise to some - a 1980 Datsun Violet SSS.
I was only 13 at the time and it was my uncles car...a very nice 2 door coupe in bronze metallic that I admired very much. :cool:
Reverse gear was in the same place that you would normally expect to find first, and when engaged there was a warning tone to make you aware you were in reverse.
 

LostKiwi

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You can get used to anything given time.
The dog leg first design was for racing so as to keep all the most used gears in as few vertical planes as possible in order to reduce the chances of a missed gear change with the usual resulting bang from the engine.

They were quite popular on Datsuns of the time - the Datsun 1200SSS and 120Y SSS also both had them.
Mate had a 1200SSS with no springing in the horizontal plane. Finding gears was a lottery! He never bothered fixing it as he just got used to it.
 

rifiki

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Check rear end for damage. It's quite easy to push the gear stick forward into first as in a standard 5 speed box, drop the clutch and the car goes backwards
 

WDB124066

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I'd do the brakes before the trans, the 124 E320 is not a wafter, only the driver is if s/he wants to be. The brakes can't deal with the weight very well when driven hard.
Sort the steering, suspension and brakes properly, the body will roll, do not bother trying to fix that, learn how to deal with it and wind on some more. :):) They are awesome machines when driven hard - after all the multilink suspension in them was the first to be owned by every F1 driver up and down pit row when they were new, no suspension has ever achieved that since or prior - not a wafter at all!!!
 

DSK

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I've driven a Merc 190 Cosworth many times a number of year ago but, never once had an issue with selecting the wrong gear. I was younger and sharper then too but always found the comments on sticking in reverse exaggerated. I covered about 3,000 miles in one back then, only driving it when I visited my aunt for summer holidays and never had one incident.

In fact, all manuals should be like that in my book.
 
OP
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d215yq

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Thanks for the replies, sounds like it's not too much of an issue then. There does seem to be opinion on some corners of the internet that these are some kind of nightmare if you're not a racing driver...I think it would help that it would be the only manul car I drove so would help make it easier to get used to.

It is strange as depsite my new car being a completely different layout and having totally different equiopemnt within 2 drives I was used to absolutely everything....except still 3 months later whenever I need to put a window down I reach over to the centre console (of course the switches are on the driver door). That habit is the only one that won't disappear.
 
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grayb

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My only experience of a Merc manual was as a passenger in a 190E 2.6L back in the '80s. I remember the gearchanges seeming to be very slow...
 

Steve@Avantgarde

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I love the old getrag box! Especially in the cossies.

Yes its a bit clunky and snatchy but thats mid 80s boxes for you! You dont really need to use first and the down shift from 5th to 3rd especially when travelling with a bit of gusto has that lovely retro feel to it.
 

WDB124066

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Here is a thread that may be of interest...

 

Ron240

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I love the old getrag box! Especially in the cossies.
You dont really need to use first
Following on from my previous post in this thread I had completely forgotten about the 3.5 - 7.5 ton box vans I used to drive as part of my job in the early 90's. They were Mercedes and Iveco and all had a dog leg first but it was a crawler gear which was only required when full loaded, so most of the time it was entirely fine to pick away in second gear.
Gearbox ratios on a car are obviously not like this, so surely if you routinely didn't use first gear it would cause unnecessary strain/wear to the transmission?
 

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