BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Jul 2005
Vehicle: 1977 280SE Loaded
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RE: Now what?
I just started restoring a 280se which is basically the same car with a gas engine. Mine sat for a number of years also. I did not know what to expect so I stumbled into problems. Here is what I should have checked initially:
- Electrical connections - Almost every connector, light bulb, switch, fuse etc has corrosion on it. Many systems were intermittently working. So I checked everything and cleaned each connection with sandpaper and put some diaelectric grease on exposed connections. Surprisingly everything worked great after that. Not one blown bulb or fuse.
- Fuel Hoses - Should have checked that before starting the car and I would have saved the gas the spilt all over the place when a line burst. The problem lines on my car were the ones that connect to the tank. The outlet, return and vent couplings were brittle and fell apart in my hands when I replaced them.
- Vacuum connectors - Every plastic vacuum line was good in my car but every rubber connector had stretch and was leaking slightly. Each leak was not that noticeable but all of them together made the engine run funny. I ended up just trimming the ends about 1/2 each and switching the connectors which were not long enough. Made a big difference in acceleration and idle.
- Paint work - My paint was heavily oxidized and covered with tree sap. I though I might have to repaint it as cleaning did little to remove the stains. I ended up wet sanding the whole car with 1500 grit paper to get the stains out. The I used a buffing machine with turtle wax polishing compound (white paste in a tub). I finshed of with the Meguiar's three step Deep Crystal system (Clean, Polish, and Wax). The paint work is now almost good as new with a nice mirror sheen.
- Power Windows & sunroof - Every one worked at a different speed and the sunroof had difficulty closing. I started of by sparying all of the guide rails and gears with WD40 to free them up. I then cleaned and regreased them. Run smooth and quiet now.
- Central Lock - After going through the manual and a long period of troubleshooting I found that my central locking did not work because the actuators in the doors has split rubber diaphrams. It turns out that these are normally the first to go in cars that sit around. Mainly its just the top diaphrams on the actuator. I ended up switching some of the diaphrams between the actuators because the bottom one were still in great shape. I could not find a place that sold just the diaphrams so this ended up saving me $80 since I only had to buy one complete actuator.
I have not worked on diesels so I cannot suggest anything specific for them. I would however recommend changing every fluid and filter in the car. I highly recommend that you check out the online manuals that are at:
I ended up downloading everything for my car and it has proved to be indispensable for troubleshooting. They are all PDF files so you can hit the save button in the viewer. Good luck with your resto.
1977 280SE DOHC Loaded Califonia Car