New to MB Need help with '69 280SE - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2005, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Hi,

I am trying to acquire a '69 280SE coupe owned by a late mentor of mine.

The body/chasis are solid. Paint is 20+ years old but decent. Very small amount of rust here and there but nothing fatal. Has 4spd automatic and 6 cyl mech. injection engine with a blown head gasket. Has not been driven in 8-9 years. Interior is UNrestored. It looks a bit worn after 200K miles. Leather and wood look weathered but still usable as is.

I received rough estimates by a resto shop. $6,000 for a rebuilt engine with exchange, $2000 for installation, $2000 for injector OH and some minor stuff. And another $10,000 for brakes, fuel line, radiator, shocks, etc., which need to be looked at after sitting for so long. This of course depends on the condition of the car so it's only a rough estimate. Must I be prepared to drop $20,000 into a car which ran fine 10 years ago?...

Based on these estimates and how much the car is worth in running condition, I am going to offer $1000 for the car itself, as is. What do you guys think of that?

Are there ways to get cheap parts for this car? I am in Washington DC area and the car is in Atlanta GA. I am a grad student and I have an academic conference in Stuttgart coming up soon. Do some of you travel to Germany looking for engines or other parts? If so, what's a good place to start? (BTW, I am looking forward to a visit to the MB museum in Stuttgart.) Can a newer engine be fitted in this car for less?

I remember about 10 years ago the car got about 13-14mpg city/hwy combined. It is not so good from a 2.8L engine. Is that normal?

Any information, concerns, comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for all input.

mt700a1
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-18-2005, 10:15 PM
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

NADA book or Kelley Blue book should help give you an idea of what the car is worth in prestine, average and non-working condition. Also, surf around and see what other cars that are similar are being sold for... asking price and the price as sold.

If you do any restoration please keep it stock. The car will definitely retain it's value.

Good luck...

Scott
'Helga'
70 280SE
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2005, 05:23 AM
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Niemoller and "DB depot" are both the best places in germany where you can buy parts.
If it has blown head gasket the engine will be really rough,In fact i'd bet that it's not only the gasket but a corroded head ,which is bad because new heads are no longer available.
The price quoted to my mind ,for the engine is a bit consevative,I would source another engine in good running order before spending that,because you will find that far more will be needed.i would go for a Kjet equiped W110 twin cam engine and trans from a w126 280SE ,simple to install and it bolt straight in.No worries about the MFI on the original engine which will cost at least $1500 to get working properly (and there are only two places in the US that do them)
$10,000 is way too much for brakes and shocks.You can buy these parts from the sources i mentioned and fit them yourself.Always replace the rubber hoses.
Most important though is the two front suspension mount bushes which will need doing and the rear torque arm bushes.They will be worn out by now.
These cars always bring good money and any money spent on them is alwys returned in the sheer pleasure you get from driving them.http://www.niemoeller.de/englisch/katalog_d.htm
http://www.dbdepot.de/englisch/108/index_1024.html
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2005, 08:12 AM
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

The prices quoted to you seem a bit ridiculous to me. There is a good chance your original motor could be rebuilt for less than what is being quoted. Have tests been performed to determine that the lower end needs rebuilding as opposed to it just needing a head job? If need be, I have a m130 (euro spec) with about 50k miles on a factory rebuild that I may be persuaded to part with. The car it is in is a very rare Euro 280se sedan with factory 5 speed. The chassis needs restoration. If you want an m110, I have a good euro spec one of those sitting in my shop. The IP rebuild will run around $1500+/- depending on how worn things are in the pump, and yes there very few places that can rebuild them properly. I only know of one that I would trust on the east coast and have been dealing with them for over 10 years. A complete brake and suspension rebuild would cost far less than what you were quoted. Chances are the quote is so high due to the radiator having a dealer list well in excess of $3k. For the radiator, have it recored if necessary by a competant shop and pay far less. This car should see between 18-21 mpg in good operating condition. The low mileage being experienced is likely due to the car being in poor tune and/or the IP being worn out. When these pumps wear, they tend to become very rich in their delivery. The m130 motor is a simple and very robust motor. My recomendation is to keep the car original. This will help maintain its value. Frankencars, while fun, just lose value and seldom come out as nice as the original. To make them as sorted as if it left the factory in the new configuration takes an incredible amount of labor and resources.

If you wish to have the car inspected, I am located about 30 miles NE of Atlanta and am well versed in Mercedes from the 1930's to the 1980's. The w111 is a car that I am very well versed with. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Regards,

Mathieu J. Cama
Old World Automotive
Vintage Mercedes Repair and Mechanical Restoration
Serving the Mercedes community since 1986
Lawrenceville, GA
cama@oldworldauto.com

1961 Unimog 404S
1965 190c
1967 250s (for sale)
1970 280sl
1970 280se
1971 280se 5 speed
1978 280slc 4 speed
1982 280te
1982 300sd
1983 300sd
1983 240d 3.0 4 speed
1984 300d 5 speed (sold)
1985 500sel Euro w/ hydromat
1986 190e 2.3-16
1989 560sec AMG
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2005, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Thank you for your input. I used to have a 79 Buick Electra which needed constant attention, but this is a whole different ballgame. I sure appreciate any information on how to bring the 280 back to life.

I looked around and found out the following. A 280SE coupe in running condition can be bought for as little as $6,000 depending on cosmetic condition. A fully restored (rebuilt motor/trans, new leather, wood, and paint) can go for as much as $22,000.

Since I will probably have to spend at least several thousand dollars to bring it to running condition, $1,000 is not a bad offer for the unrestored car, I think.

$10,000 for shocks, brakes, etc., I was quoted was really not a quote. I described the condition of the car to the mechanic over the phone and asked what are the typical costs to go through the whole car and do the typically anticipated repairs given the history of the car. I was told to be prepared to spend about $10,000 for repairs in addition to $10,000 for engine+injector rebuild. I certainly hope it will be less than that...How much does a used m110 engine in good shape cost? Is it significantly less than a newly rebuilt one? Mat, could you tell me a little more about the engines you mentioned that will fit in this car?

The mechanic who had workd on the car for over 20 years made the last diagnosis several years ago. Blown head gasket, and what the car needs is a new motor. He might have been aware of other issues that made him decide on a new motor instead of a head job... but I don't know. He doesn't have his own shop anymore and he saw the car several years ago. I should determine the condition of the motor first before deciding on a rebuild job.

So '69 280SE Coupe is W111, and the sedan version is W108, is that right? And the original equipment 6 cyl. 2.8L engine is m110? What is Kjet, and is it different from the original engine with Bosch MFI? Is it also called m110? Is there a good reason to choose a DOHC Kjet engine over the original? Is W126 automatic trans better than the original trans? These are basic questions I am sure, but I was a bit confused by the information avaliable on the internet.

I understand that it is probably best to keep it stock, but I also would like to know the advantages (if any) of using components from different cars.
I haven't decided on where to get the car fixed yet. I received a recommendation for Bud's Benz, from the guy who had worked on the car for 20+ years. Their website is nice....almost intimidatingly nice. I am sure they do great work but I am not sure if I can afford or need it.... I would like to bring the car back to good running condition but I am not going for a concours-winning, restored classic. Any thoughts on where to take the car for my purposes? The car is currently in Atlanta GA.

Thanks!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2005, 04:13 PM
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Your car came with a SOHC m130 w/ MFI. The m110 was a DOHC and came as carbureted, d-jet, and k-jet variants. While this motor has more power than an m130 to fit it would require modification to the fuel supply system and ignition modification. Also a transmission change would likely be required. Personally, I would keep the car original as the coupe is a special car and does have collector's value. If you wished to convert it to manual transmission, I can do so for you.

Seldom does a blown head gasket mean the motor needs to be refurbished. Over the years I have replaced a number of m130 head gaskets due to failure of the gasket. However, if the car had sat for a long period of time with coolant in the cylinders, extensive work will be required as the motor is likely seized. It would be worth a cursory examination to determine the worthiness of your motor and car to determine if it is indeed worth the effort to make it road worthy or better suited as a parts car.

WRT a shop, I would recomend you look into the services I have to offer. I guarantee I am less expensive than Bud's Benz and perform work to an equal or higher caliper. I have over 19 years of experience on vintage Mercedes and operate a shop about 30 minutes NE of Atlanta in Lawrenceville. Please view my web site at www.oldworldauto.com. I work on vintage Mercedes from the pre-war era up to the 1980s. I received my training through an apprenticeship of many years with a 1950's factory trained tech who has sinced retired. I have no employees and am the only person who will work on your car. It is not my aim to become a large shop as the quality of work often becomes compromised. My facility is designed for long and short term projects. Prior to being in this facility I worked out of my home. The pictures on my web site detail both work performed in both facilities. You are welcome to come and visit. Please call me if you have any questions. My shop number is listed on the web page. My hours are 9am-6:30pm. Outside of that by request.

I hope to hear from you.

Regards,

Mathieu J. Cama
Old World Automotive
Vintage Mercedes Repair and Mechanical Restoration
Serving the Mercedes community since 1986
Lawrenceville, GA
cama@oldworldauto.com

1961 Unimog 404S
1965 190c
1967 250s (for sale)
1970 280sl
1970 280se
1971 280se 5 speed
1978 280slc 4 speed
1982 280te
1982 300sd
1983 300sd
1983 240d 3.0 4 speed
1984 300d 5 speed (sold)
1985 500sel Euro w/ hydromat
1986 190e 2.3-16
1989 560sec AMG
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-21-2005, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Thank you for all the comments. Mat, I will definitely keep in mind that you shop can do everything the car needs. Any more thoughts or ideas? Anyone?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-21-2005, 11:54 PM
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Here is my 280SE Coupe restoration. This is where it is now after about 9 months work. It will be done in two weeks. I already got an offer from a guy who visited the body shop but I am not selling it. It has new show quality body and paint work and all new interior (almost all) w/ all leather and restored upper only wood pieces. The goal is to make it a true #2 car.

It is a long process, parts are hard to find and expensive but I think these cars will one day be classy collectors.

Enjoy

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/davidhoh@sbcglobal.net/album?.dir=3659&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http% 3a//photos.sbc.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Enjoyed viewing the gallery. Very nice. I personally think that this body style is the most elegant design I have ever seen in cars. I've always wanted one since childhood. Newer models don't appeal to me much. Maybe they will 30 years from now, but I doubt it.
The one I am trying to buy have (had) a wooden tray between the front seats. Temp control lever for the vent had a plastic part which came off all the time. Shifting from 2nd to 3rd was very clunky. It revved fairly high at hwy speed (>3000rpm at 65mph) but was very stable at that speed. AC worked well when it wasn't leaking. There were no seatbelts. The turn signals between the headlights and radiator grill have the same torpedo shape. I noticed that some cars have driving lights(?) there instead.
I have about a year left in grad school and this is going to be by far my largest investment in a car. I did minor stuff for my 79 Buick like rebuilding the carb, brakes, plugging holes in the gas tank with JB Weld(worst idea ever! Leaked gas all over the road when the car was rear ended), replacing gas lines, etc. So I wouldn't worry much if it was another older GM car, but the Benz looks very different. Right now I am reading old messages and learning the issues other people had to deal with.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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RE: New to MB Need help with '69 280SE

Latest update. My late mentor’s 69 280se coupe was towed to Bud’s Benz in Georgia upon the recommendation of his old mechanic. I felt that I should honor his recommendation and get an estimate and see what happens from there. I got a complete list of items that are probably needed for the car. The car has 220,000 miles on it.

They found coolant standing in cylinder #5, confirming the damages done by blown head gasket. I can see a lot of rust on a camshaft through the oil filler hole. The car sat for nearly 10 years, and there is probably a lot of internal rust that I could not see.

Engine rebuild with new and rebuilt components such as distributor, alternator, radiator re-core, fan clutch, water pump, AC compressor & hoses, etc., etc. is around $14000, including labor. The list has about 30 items in this category. They will only rebuild and replace components on the original engine, but will not swap engines, even with an identical unit. Engine itself with head and block is $6000, but the surrounding components and labor add up to about $8000, making the total $14,000.

Brakes with new calipers, hoses, wheel bearings, master cyl. and booster, etc. is $4000 including labor.

Fuel pump, injection pump rebuild, fuel lines are $3400 including labor.

Front suspension with new control arm kits, sway bar, king pin set, steering gear box, pw steering pump, shocks, etc etc is $5000 including labor.

Rear suspension with trailing arm bushing kit , donuts, clunk bushing, pinion seat, etc. is $1000 including labor.

Transmission (4spd automatic) rebuild (if needed) is $3800, including installation.

So this thorough rebuilding of mechanical parts will cost me roughly $30,000.

I received this estimate based on an identical car that they are working on right now. Perhaps some of the repairs listed above are not needed, but they are pretty certain that at the least the car needs a complete engine rebuild and fuel system rebuild.
In a way I appreciate the fact that they are not underestimating the cost. I think this is pretty much an estimate for the worst case scenario.

Now, since I am new to this, any opinions or inputs will be greatly appreciated. Bud’s Benz is a reputable shop with history, but they might be too fancy for my needs. All I want is to get it to reliable running condition again. Mat gave me good advice a while ago, but if others have opinions about the situation please let me know.

This is largely an emotional decision, and the car is worth restoring to me. But if you know that this is clearly a bad move, I would appreciate your voicing the opinion as well.
Thanks,
mt700a1

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