The nights are drawing in, the days are getting shorter and naturally I'm becoming more and more worried about my 190E's cold starting issue. Leave it inside overnight in moderate temperatures and it doesn't kick up much fuss - aside from a lumpy cold idle - but leave it out in the cold and dark and it really puts up a fight in the morning. Either way, after a couple of minutes of warming, it's back to normality, but one of these days I'm going to be stranded.
I tried a couple of quick and cheap fixes first in the hope that it wouldn't lead to a more pricey solution. First, out came the old distributor cap and rotor arm, both of which were properly grimy and had considerable deposit build-up. Unfortunately, there was no change, so next, out came the 190's ageing plugs - themselves suitably dirty - but once again there was no improvement.
With a busy couple of weeks ahead and little time to do the work myself, I bit the bullet and handed the keys to a local mechanic to diagnose the issue. I was promised it would take around two days and cost £50 to find the issue, and then it'd cost whatever it'd cost to fix the issue. Fine by me.
However, my phone rang just 40mins later and I was told the mechanic would now begin cleaning the intake at a cost of £180+VAT. If that didn't work, then he would begin the next thing, and then the next thing, until he had it fixed, no doubt billing me for some comical amount at the end. "Put down the tools," I said, politely.
So next up is a change of air filter and giving the intake a thorough clean, and if that doesn't work, I'll begin replacing various sensors. Beyond that? Well, injectors? Idle control valve? Who knows. Please get in touch if you have any ideas.
Needing attention, too, is the 190's radio. I noticed the ariel had been removed and stored in the boot when buying the car and didn't think to question it, only to find it wasn't a simple screw-back-on job. In fact, after asking, the previous owner admitted it had been wrenched off in a car wash, so it'll need to be attended to before the signal is back to its best.
But in far more positive news, the 190 now has a brand new set of ZT5 Avon tyres in 185/65/R15 88H spec. They're by no means the latest and greatest in lap-time boosting technology, but I think considering their mid-range price and the 190's extremely relaxed gait, they should prove a good match. I've certainly noticed a slight ride comfort improvement with them fitted already.
I'm also quite pleased with how the engine bay is looking after a spruce up. I'm no detailer, sure, but some careful application of warm water with a sponge followed by a thorough dry has at least made it look a little more inviting. Even so, it's still a tattier-looking engine after 20 years than either my E34 or X300 were at the same age.