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Somebeach Reader
2/21/20 8:27 p.m.

After seeing a cosworth version of a 190E on speedhunters a few weeks ago, and starting a thread on them here. I put the 190E on my list of cars that I would like to own at some point. I also added it to the cars that I like to search to see if i can find any "good deals". Often I get overly excited when one of these cars come up, and that is why i have a barn full of projects. 

During my normal course of searching I check out IAAI.com, last year I bought a 1990 Miata and when through the process of fixing it and going from a salvage title to a rebuilt title. I had fun and learned a lot through the process. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago on my normal IAAI search and a 1993 190E comes up. The worst part/best part is it was only about 1.5hour drive from my house. So I put it on my watch list and about a week ago it gets it's auction date assigned, so i look at it a little closer.It is pretty ratty, seats are torn, has 200k miles, listed as "stationary" for the start code. I also don't have time to make it down to take a look at it for the inspection day that is usually two days before the actual auction date.  So i just had some pictures to go on. 

Upon some further google time, I searched the cool looking seats, and found out this is either a sportline model or has sportline seats swapped in. 


So I go ahead and put in a pre-bid just to see what happens, I am the only bidder for a few days. Then someone else bids me up, so I put in my max bid at about $600, probably more than it is worth but I was excited and wanted it. Next two days I have the high bid again and then the day before the auction someone bids me up to $350, I still had the high bid but I got nervous so I bumped my bid to $725 so with fees it would be a total of about $1,000.

Auction day rolls around and I watch the live auction on my computer, and about have a heart attack. But at the end of the auction I am the winner with a bid of $475. With auction fees I owe $723 on the car.   So I am now the owner of a 27 year old potentially special edition, luxury car, that does not run or drive, and has 200K plus miles! That is the gamble.

 Today I loaded up the truck and trailer and made the drive.


classicJackets Dork
2/21/20 8:34 p.m.

Oh hell yes. Sweet car, looking forward to seeing what comes of this, and what you find.

Somebeach Reader
2/21/20 8:39 p.m.

My Current plans are:

1. Get it running and driving

2. Acess the roadworthyness to see if I think it would make it through the 2020 $2000 challange, seems like it would be a great RADWOOD car

3. Check/Repalce rubber bushings

4. Start planning an engine/transmission swap

I do think this is in fact a sportline model which is fairly rare, however it is very ratty and over 200K miles, I don't think i would feel too bad in swapping for some more power and three pedals. 


{From Wikipedia:

In 1993, for the U.S. market, 2 LE models were offered, limited to 1,400 units (700 190 E 2.3 LE and 700 190 E 2.6 LE). The 2.3 LE was only offered in Emerald Green while the 2.6 was only offered in Black. The 2.6 litre Black Sportline included Recaro seats with red inserts and red piping, rear matching headrests, carbon fiber trim, Sportline gear shift, a sportier steering wheel, headlight wipers, low profile tires, eight spoke rims, and a Sportline tuned suspension which added tighter handling and lowered the car by a quarter inch. The suspension was the same suspension as the 190E Cosworth.}

In my car all the seats have tears, and all the carbon fiber trim is cracked. But none the less I am still excited to get this thing on the street, moving under it's own power. 

The bonus is at first glance is seems pretty rust free for an Ohio car, I also found an old insurance card from 2018 with a Florida Adress so i am holding out hope that once I can check it out better the rest looks as rust free.

The double bonus is that there is maybe a brand new blower motor or maybe just fan in the back seat still in the box. 


Azryael Reader
2/21/20 9:26 p.m.

Sportlines are definitely a good find. I wouldn't be surprised if that very car once belonged to someone on 190rev.

If you want to keep it MB, the M104 is often a common swap, as it's the same size as the M103 that's in there. You can use a Getrag from a 16V if you can find one, but there are other solutions too. I believe the standard 5-speed that came behind the 2.6 M103 190E will work too, but it's not as beefy as the 16V getrag. There's a 6-speed from the W203 C230K that will work too. That's if you wanna keep it MB. You could also look at the M119 V8, but you'll have to engineer a manual swap solution, as many of us already are trying.

There's also the M113 and M113K, a V8 version of the M112 V6, which is the same motor as used in the Chrysler Crossfire, and the Crossfire's 6-speed manual will bolt up to the M113 and kits are available.

If you're going domestic, I'll definitely be interested to see what you do and will follow along!

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
2/22/20 2:09 a.m.

Interesting find! 

What put the car in IAA? Was it insurance damage (I don't see it) or was it a repo, etc? 


PS: nice Tundra! 

Somebeach Reader
2/22/20 6:53 a.m.

In reply to Azryael :

Seems there are some options out there. The biggie on the swap for me would be I still want some basics to work.

Goals would be:

Manual trans, about 250hp while keeping the power Windows, heat, radio,  and exterior lights working and maybe keep some type of power steering. 

But that is still a long way off. 



Somebeach Reader
2/22/20 6:57 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

The windshield has Kars Kids LP, so probably a donation car, but the odd thing with that is that it still has a salvage title.
Seems like a donated car would still have a clear title. If it was clear pre-donation. 

Thanks on the tundra, first time towing with it and it did great.

XLR99 GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/22/20 7:22 a.m.

This should be good!


chandler PowerDork
2/22/20 7:44 a.m.

Not stalking or anything but I think I live four miles straight north of you. I recognize the truck and barn.

Need any help let me know, I've had 3 2.316vs and more 201/124/126 chassis cars than I'd like to count

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/22/20 7:48 a.m.

It still makes me cringe that they load something you paid for with a forklift.  Like how many crushed fuel/brake lines, suspension components and exhaust pipes happen because of that?

Campbelljj New Reader
2/22/20 8:09 a.m.
Patrick said:

It still makes me cringe that they load something you paid for with a forklift.  Like how many crushed fuel/brake lines, suspension components and exhaust pipes happen because of that?

What he said 

Somebeach Reader
2/22/20 9:58 a.m.

In reply to chandler :

Thanks. I knew you were around Findlay somewhere. Our place is pretty easy to see from the main highway. So you our probably right. 

I have a feeling I will need some help so thanks for the offer. 

I only had a little bit of time this morning.  But I had my dad come over to help me unload. 

Battery was stone dead, but with a jump it turned over, then one small sprits of starter fluid and ... .. .

It runs. Backed off the trailer under its own power, and pulled in garage. 
Breaks were very mushy. So I will check fluid there. Next step will be getting the salvage title turned into a rebuilt title. 


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
2/22/20 11:56 a.m.

In reply to Somebeach :

I bought an Avalon out of IAA that was a Charity Donation from some Veterans Charity.  It too was Salvage Titled.  I also see cars donated through Public Radio as Salvage.  I think this has to do with liability.  The Charity is absolving themselves of the fact that you are buying a road-worthy car.  When I have taken Charity Cars to the state inspection they have pointed to me the donation car are all salvage.  I put the Avalon through with no receipts (because I replaced nothing) and the inspectors were very cool with that and generally expecting that to be the case. Easy. 

For you, it is $55 charge and waiting for an appointment.  But, for you the inspection is local.  For me, the closest inspection is 1 hr away.  Cleveland = 55 minutes for me, Bucyrus = 60 minutes for me, Findlay = 90 minutes for me.  I typically go to Bucyrus but I did Findlay once too.  Cleveland is usually so busy they are booked out about 2 weeks more that Bucyrus or Findlay.     

Salvage inspection used to be $53.50.  As of Jan 1st 2020, everything at the BMV went up by $1.50 as a service fee to the BMV office (which are independently contracted.)  

yupididit GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/22/20 12:58 p.m.

The sportline interior alone would've had me bidding on this. 

Somebeach Reader
3/9/20 6:24 p.m.

Due to this being a salvage car, I have to purchase a inspection receipt before I actually schedule my inspection to get a "rebuilt" title so I can get plates and insurance on it. 

I have my receipt, Saturday I finally got a chance to go out and give it a once over.

Goal is to make sure everything is working for the inspection, and to drive it to and from the inspection safely.  It is only about 10-15 miles so not a far drive. 

I started it up (needed a little spritz of starting fluid again), and start to look it over a little better. 

Take  a peak underneath and sure enough a slow but steady leak, about one drip per second of either oil or trans fluid. It was dripping off the bottom of hardline on the passenger side  that comes out of the transmission and goes up to the cooler. Right about where the engine meets the transmission.  (Looked dark like oil, but the location seemed like it would be the trans that was leaking)

I couldn't tell if it was coming from higher up or not, because everything is covered in baked on grime, that comes with living the 200k mike life! Both engine oil and transmission fluid levels look ok. 

I think a major cleaning is in order so I can try to isolate where the leak is actually coming from. 

Any known suspects in that area to check first?

java230 UberDork
3/9/20 6:50 p.m.

Ohhh Following this! Love those things for some unknown reason....

Been watching salvage tundras :D

chandler PowerDork
3/9/20 6:58 p.m.

The front seal on the trans on those is always suspect. It may swell from use or you could try some Lucas trans leak in it. 

NorseDave Reader
3/9/20 9:24 p.m.

That's a good looking 190.  It looks like it has most of the Sportline stuff on it, tho steering wheel doesn't look different from that one photo.  It also looks more than 1/4" lower than stock, probably the suspension is just beat.  If you hunt around, Bilstein makes like 4 different shocks for these cars, and I'm not even talking about the stuff for lowered cars.  There's stock US, stock Euro, and then a few unusual variants, like "off-road heavy duty" and something else.    

I love my 190, just got it back on the road this weekend after swapping the stock fuel system for a Microsquirt and I'm thrilled to have it back, even though the tuning process is far from complete! 

Somebeach Reader
3/10/20 7:04 a.m.

In reply to chandler :

Thanks. Good idea I will get a bottle of that and see if that helps. 

I also sent you a PM didn't know if you got it or not. 

MadScientistMatt PowerDork
3/10/20 7:09 a.m.

Nice score!

Somebeach Reader
3/10/20 7:10 a.m.

In reply to NorseDave :

It looks to be stock suspension, so it could very well just be beat. I was thinking the steering wheel is only a few MM smaller on the sport line than the regular 190E I haven't measured it. But it seems huge, like a tractor steering wheel. 

I will have to read through your thread. I saw the Microsquirt stuff. Looked great. 

chandler PowerDork
3/10/20 10:00 a.m.
Somebeach said:

In reply to chandler :

Thanks. Good idea I will get a bottle of that and see if that helps. 

I also sent you a PM didn't know if you got it or not. 

I didn't, I'll shoot one to you


edit: yeah, in my spam 

Somebeach Reader
3/14/20 7:35 p.m.

Chandler was nice enough to come over today and help my take a look at the 190e and come up with a plan of attack.  Here is my hit list:

1. Stop oil leak- unfortunately probably the head gasket. 

2. Replace old brake fluid with fresh brake fluid. 

3. Check tightness of trans oil lines to cooler and possibly replace. 

4. Replace rear diff fluid

5. Drive it to see what else needs fixed. 

Azryael Reader
3/15/20 8:41 a.m.

Head gaskets are a common occurrence on the M103. While you're there, take a look at the timing chain and guides. Dependin on the mileage/age, it may not be a bad idea to knock those out if the budget allows.

Somebeach Reader
3/19/20 6:14 p.m.

I bought  a bottle of this:


figured it was worth a shot. For $11. Dumped it in tonight, says may take 100 miles or more to stop the leak, I would be happy with it just slowing down. 


If it doesn't I will just take it leaking to the bmv to get inspected, when they reopen.

Then I need to decide if I want to just start looking harder into an engine swap or do the head gasket. 

Seems like head gasket would be a lot of work if I wanted to do a swap anyways. 



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