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The Bellypan (aka Encapsulation Panel)

DerFuror

500E Terminus Illuminatus
The discussion has arisen in the past regarding having the bellypan on or off the car.

I'm pro-Bellypan. The car came from the factory with it, therefore it was designed to be part of the overall system for whatever reasons.

The Bellypan is prone to abuse. Some folks don't have one because it has been destroyed over the years & hasn't been replaced. Some don't want one.

Here's a recent example of why a Bellypan is a good thing to have attached to your undercarriage...

I had the 500E inspected at a local service garage by a second-generation mechanic who is probably the only guy I would let touch my car. Our fathers were peers.

Upon checking my power steering level, we got carried away in discussion. The car checked out fine after a thorough inspection & away I go.

After driving, I always park my car in my garage & lift the hood to let the heat dissipate. I noticed the black knob that secures my power steeing fluid container cap was missing!

I'm leaving town for over a month. I leave him a phone message to check around his garage for the part. I get back yesterday & check with him at his garage. No luck. He feels bad about the situation.

Then the epiphany. "Hey, maybe it dropped down into the engine compartment & is resting on top of the bellypan"!

I put the car up on the Race Ramps (garage door down, of course, to prevent any Beatlemania scenes), dropped the bellypan...and there it was.

Bellypan - Yay.
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
:plusone:

I'm also pro-pan. Have them for all my cars. :)

Just remember that US models without the oil cooler don't like going near vMax without some additional reinforcement at the front of the pan... I had posted a detailed thread about this back on 500Ecstasy, click here for a photo.

:duck:
 

samiam44

Active member
Never heard any of it..

Can you re-post the issue. My car has the cooler- what does the oil cooler have to do with it? I drive the > 2X the limit all the time...



Michael
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Never heard any of it... Can you re-post the issue. My car has the cooler- what does the oil cooler have to do with it? I drive the > 2X the limit all the time...
With the oil cooler missing, airflow up front pushes the leading edge of the pan down and below the bumper edge, ripping the pan down on to the pavement. Not good at high speed.

With the oil cooler present, there should be zero issue. Michael, if your 600E has the factory oil cooler, you can relax.

:pc1:
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
So how do we in the US do to prevent air going up the leading edge?
We in the US should never attain the speeds at which this occurs. *ahem*

Otherwise, I think some appropriately-placed Zip ties may fix it. Or installing the oil cooler. I have not had the opportunity to repeat those velocities so I never pursued a fix, but it shouldn't be difficult.

:wormhole:
 

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
So how do we in the US do to prevent air going up the leading edge?
This is a topic dear to my heart and has been a pet peeve since the day they were introduced on the 190's in late '83. Count me deeply in the pro-pan crowd. They reduce lift, lower drag, and help direct airflow where it is needed the most. That last part is most especially true on the V8 124's, as they incorporate ducts that route cooling air into the steering box and steering linkage areas. That could potentially be critical at very high speeds where the exhaust manifolds and down pipes are likely to be glowing a nice shiny orange, filling those areas with intense radiant heat.

They also help keep splash water off your under hood components. This aspect gets particularly important in hot rainy climates as splash water getting on the accessory drive belt frequently results in triggering of the belt protection logic which switches off the AC compressor. If you ever have this happen while speeding down the interstate on a rainy summer night in Central Florida you are in for one of motoring's more intense experiences as in an instant, your interior windows fog up so intensely that it is impossible to see out of the vehicle. You can't even wipe it, the fog immediately and fully reforms a half inch behind your hand...

They may serve to help keep those wire and hose munching critters out from under your hood. Of course it could also just deter them leaving, or tempt them with additional comforting warmth in winter so who knows? YMMV..


Most belly pan and fender liner problems showing up at speed are the result of failing to take them seriously enough. That's the pet peeve part: they aren't treated with enough respect either by the owners that endlessly knock them loose by carelessly dragging their cars over top of every parking stone they encounter nor by most of the repair and maintenance personnel that handle them. Due to their large surface areas, a lot of force is exerted on these components at speed and they will not remain in place when there are any missing fasteners, loose fasteners, missing spring clips, stripped bolts and clip nuts, missing sealing strips etc. All of the requisite seals and fasteners need to be there and be in perfect condition for a safe approach to V-max. I have seen these things destroy tires at speed, creating a truly thrilling driving experience.


I am not sure how much the lack of the ECE standard oil cooler on USA E5E's may have to do with belly pan "blowdown" but the forward most inner edges of the pans do tend to become deformed in a manner that biases them in a downward direction. I have no doubt that at really high speed, once these descending forward edges of the belly pan get below the front spoiler it's all over but the crying.


To guard against this tendency, I obtain two additional belly pan bolts and two of the speed clip style captive nuts. Note that each of these are the same parts that are already attaching the belly pan to the forward horizontal flap of the front fender liners. I drill appropriate holes in the belly pan and the fender liner as forward as is practical and install the additional fasteners, thereby giving a lot of additional support to this suspect area. When I get a chance I will supply part numbers and photos.


When necessary I will also reshape these areas of the belly pan as required. They become quite malleable with a carefully applied heat gun and / or heating lamps, and will retain the new shape as they cool.
 
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2phast

Active member
With the oil cooler missing, airflow up front pushes the leading edge of the pan down and below the bumper edge, ripping the pan down on to the pavement. Not good at high speed.

With the oil cooler present, there should be zero issue. Michael, if your 600E has the factory oil cooler, you can relax.

:pc1:
Exactly what happened to mine on a high speed run ;-) It was so loud when it ripped off, I thought the motor exploded!
 

500e500toronto

E500E Newbie
I'm still wondering what happened to my new bellypan a couple of years ago. 1 day it was there & next time I looked under the car it was gone! I am assuming it pulled itself off 'at speed' but I would think i would have noticed something. Other explanation is that it wasn't put back on at my Indie after an oil change or something. Anyway I ordered another and should have it next week.
 

bing

Active member
Other explanation is that it wasn't put back on at my Indie after an oil change or something. Anyway I ordered another and should have it next week.
Happens a lot ! Some indie Techs/shops don't bother putting them back on which is really annoying. I would have gone back and expressed my anger as this part is not cheap!
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
If a shop that worked on a car of mine didn't replace the belly pan, they'd either be replacing my pan at their cost, and/or I'd never darken the doorway of the place again. That's inexcusable for a shop to deliberately NOT replace a belly pan. It's all of 1-2 minutes' work!!
 

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
Happens a lot ! Some indie Techs/shops don't bother putting them back on which is really annoying. I would have gone back and expressed my anger as this part is not cheap!

Thanks Bing!
Oh, if it was only indy shops that occasionally forget about them!
There was a locally famous incident where this guy who was a shop foreman at the time went on a "completely unhinged" tear through the shop screaming obscenity laced sarcasm while brandishing and waving one of these belly pans almost as if it was a weapon. To this day 14 years later different excerpts of that tantrum have been codified and are screamed out loud, kind of like slogans by a number of people that witnessed or were otherwise subjected to the incident. Today they exist in a kind of single run-on sentence form: "THEYR'E EXPENSIVE AS BALLS AND WORSE THAN THAT, THEY DON'T F/($ING BELONG TO YOU!!" and "YOU WOULDN'T JUST REACH INTO THEIR GLOVEBOX AND STEAL $150 WOULD YOU, HOW IS THIS A DAMN BIT DIFFERENT?"
If there had been smart phones and YouTube at the time that guy probably would've been fired over the sheer "unhingedness" of it.
I just wish I could remember who that guy was...
 

bing

Active member
"THEYR'E EXPENSIVE AS BALLS AND WORSE THAN THAT, THEY DON'T F/($ING BELONG TO YOU!!" and "YOU WOULDN'T JUST REACH INTO THEIR GLOVEBOX AND STEAL $150 WOULD YOU, HOW IS THIS A DAMN BIT DIFFERENT?"
Quite! When I acquired my ML from my sister the belly pans were missing. Of course she's non the wiser and didn't know how long they've been missing. The indie she used were too damn lazy to install them back ...tossers!

ML diesels comes in 3parts, as far as the gearbox, and they are expensive as hell , £400+ total ! I sure wasn't going to pay this so I patiently searched ebay/junkyards and eventually got a set for £100. Fittings , plastic screws and brackets from dealer another 40quid.
 

Ascension

E420 Guru
Should my 95 E-420 have the belly pan as mine has not a trace of one so---??
Wondered about that as I used to seeing them on euros and all my Volvos also had them.
 

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
Should my 95 E-420 have the belly pan. Not a trace of one to be found here so---??
Wondered about that as I used to seeing them on euros and all my Volvos had them.
Yep! The part number is 124 524 31 30. No doubt the 6 bolts are missing: they are part 201 990 05 36 quantity 6 It wouldn't hurt to replace the 6 captive nuts too, they are ususlly also missing or stripped out. They are part 001 994 98 45 quantity 6
 

clarkz71

Clark Vader
Should my 95 E-420 have the belly pan as mine has not a trace of one so---??
Wondered about that as I used to seeing them on euros and all my Volvos also had them.
All 124's have one

The V8 panel is different then the 6 bangers

Part# 124-524-3130 for 034

124-524-2730 for 036
 
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vatc5637

Member
After removing the bellypan to work on the car, I noticed that a crack had developed near one of the attachment tabs at the back of the pan. I'm not overly concerned as the remaining attachment points all appear to be in good shape (plus I've added a couple additional screws in the front per Herr Klink) and the weakened one is at the "rear" (from an airflow perspective), but I was wondering if it is possible to "repair" or reinforce the crack using epoxy or some other material?

Thanks in advance.
 
Nevermind, I found the info and posted the illustration below.


Interesting. Apparently my E420 is missing a belly pan as well. Does anyone have a pic of one illustrating the attachment points? I'm wondering what else might be missing from the assembly besides the belly pan itself.
 
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Clark, EPC is showing a different part number for my E420 from what you listed.



124-520-3842 for #5 in the illustration.
124-524-3830 for #33 in the illustration.

Are the part numbers different for different years of the 034?
 

clarkz71

Clark Vader
The image you show is for euro cars with the metal skidplate.

US cars don't use that

FYI, all models of the W124 have an encapsulation panel

Some have 2 pieces, engine and transmission. Certain diesels I believe.
 
Last edited:
I am pro belly pan as well. I just would like a better solution for the captive nut. I'm always careful not to crank down on the screw/bolt but the previous owner of my diesel was not so careful and several are deformed and come out easily, etc. I have carefully tapped them back into shape with hammer/anvil, but I still wish there was a better solution, like a Dzus fastener or something similar. Has anyone retrofitted anything for this?
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
I am pro belly pan as well. I just would like a better solution for the captive nut. I'm always careful not to crank down on the screw/bolt but the previous owner of my diesel was not so careful and several are deformed and come out easily, etc. I have carefully tapped them back into shape with hammer/anvil, but I still wish there was a better solution, like a Dzus fastener or something similar. Has anyone retrofitted anything for this?
The captive nuts are extremely cheap to replace, screws too. Just order a dozen or so (to have extras), replace them & be done with it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

modzona

E500E Newbie
I paid 117$ for a 124.036 bellypan, 2.66 for each screw and 2.2 for each clip from Tom at mbusa classic center.
 
R

Rudy

Guest
Hi,
it looks like I lost the cover for the passenger side fog lamp. Is it part of the Panel or a seperate part?
Thanks,
Rudy
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
it looks like I lost the cover for the passenger side fog lamp. Is it part of the Panel or a seperate part?
If you mean the plastic flap that allows access to the bumper fog lamp, that is not available separately, you have to buy the complete fender liner.

:runexe:
 
Price Quote from Lionel:

"The paneling is only in Germany right now so it would be a few days before that will come in.And i will have to double check shipping because that may not be able to go normal FedEx because of the size.

124-524-3130 - (1) Panelling - Front $126.75


A0019949845 - (6) Clip Type Nut $13.08

A2019900536 - (6) Sheet Metal Screw $15.78

A2015054186 - (2) Boot $18.76"

Please note that these prices are for 400E/E420 components, not 500E/E500.
 

jlico911

E500E Newbie
Wow. I thought it was only Porsche 993 guys who argued about whether the engine tray should stay on or come off.
 

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
Wow. I thought it was only Porsche 993 guys who argued about whether the engine tray should stay on or come off.
LOL, On MBs they were first introduced on the 190 models (chassis 201) at their inception in late 1983. People have been arguing about them and / or carelessly leaving them off ever since...
 

QuintBenz

E500E Newbie
1994 E420
.....

Acquired vehicle absent splash shield/belly pan (1245243130).

Have at least two from my past 124.030 300E (1245241530).


>Question:
Is it possible/best way
to modify 300E part for proper/optimal air-flow
for use on 124.034 1994 E420 ?
 
Last edited:

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
Wuestion:
Is it possible/best way
to modify 300E part for proper/optimal air-flow
for use on 124.034 1994 E420 ?
Not really. The 400E/E420 and E500E engine compartment undershields have molded in ducting that directs air to the steering linkage ball joints, steering gearbox, idler arm, etc. Exactly how important these may be, and whether or not their maximum contribution is made at lower or autobahn speeds, I don’t know. My strong suspicion is that they keep the temperature of these components manageable during autobahn driving and perhaps even during alpine hill climbing, both situations where the exhaust manifolds radiate a tremendous amount of heat. It wouldn’t surprise me if they are glowing under autobahn conditions...
 
Last edited:

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Ditto what Klink said. :plusone:

Also, I'm not sure if the 6-cyl shield is shaped the same, or if it will use the same mounting points. If you have a 6-cyl shield available, see if it bolts up or not. In a warm, dry climate (i.e., CA) you can probably leave it off. I like them on for when the pavement isn't dry, it definitely keeps the engine compartment cleaner.

Of course, you can still buy a new splash shield for the E420, but they are a bit spendy at ~$150 delivered from Naperville:
https://www.mboemparts.com/oem-parts/mercedes-benz-front-deflector-1245243130

:seesaw:
 

luckymike

Member
I like Klink's description of how the shield helps air flow.

My car has a skid plate. Am I losing some air flow management? Do I need to add any panels underneath?
 

LWB250

"But - but - he'll see the big board!!!"
Long time advocate for and replacer of missing belly pans on my cars. I mean, after all, the guys in Germany put these things on there, so there must be a reason for them. I'm not an automotive engineer, nor have I played on TV, so I'm not about to second guess the people who built these cars.

Amazingly, there are some aftermarket belly pans out there that are surprisingly inexpensive. They appear to be molded from impressions of the originals from the ones I've purchased.

I'm especially hard core about the belly pans that extend beyond/behind the engine area and cover the transmission. I've found more of those missing than the engine ones, or so it seems.

Dan
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Dan, I like 'em too. My 211 came without any, and there are 3 (yes, THREE) and I was pretty upset when they added up to something like $600 to replace. Wish I could find the muppet mechanic who "forgot" to re-install them years ago and send him the bill.

:oldman:
 

S70/2

Member
I once found a huge pile of belly pans behind a jiffy lube that had closed, I guess they just took em off and tossed them out back:doh:
 

edfreeman

Member
Yet another reason this forum is the place to be. After my strip down and repaint, cruising at 80 I hear this flap flap flap. I pull over and the fender liner that wraps up under the bumper cover is hanging slightly below the bumper at 0 mph (it seems to go lower and contact pavement at 80). So, I push it back up under, trying to get it to rest on the bumper ledge (which it doesn’t) and continue home at a reduced speed (60 or less was the sweet spot for no flapping nor contact).

Once home, I crawl under and see how the belly pan, which has been missing ever since I’ve had it, ties everything together and see a fastener or two that are missing. So, the flappers are tywrapped up for now while I acquire everything, fender well covers, belly pan, fasteners, the rubber seal around the fender well cover under the bumper, etc. I’ll start here, as I see some P/N’s already posted, but if there’s any missing, would appreciate an addendum.
 
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