Date registered: Jan 2006
Vehicle: 73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
Location: DC Area
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)
If you go absolutely cheapest route and replace the floor by welding in something you find at home depot, then the metal will cost about $50, if that. You'll want steel, not aluminum. If you rent or borrow a welder, total cost isn't that much.
Taking out the seats is relatively easy - just unbolt the things and out they come. Removing the carpet is just as easy, but likely to be messy. Expect it to be a total loss.
After seat removal, get under the car and see what else is impacted from cutting out the rusty spots - brake and gas lines especially. When you have a completely free area to work with, cut out everything rusty - a Makita rotary tool will run upwards of $55 to buy, with cutting disks $3 each. Make your cuts as square as possible, in order to make their holes easy to replace with the metal you bought from home depot.
Rust Stop ($4 a spray can, NON WATER BASED) both sides to seal the metal and primer ($4 a spray can) it afterwards. Enamel paint ($8 or more per can) is something I would recommend as well, just to seal everything totally. I put on 4 coats and used up all the half cans I had in the tool shed. For the undercarriage, I'd recommend brushing on a small bottle of truck bed coating ($55 for a gallon, $14 for a smaller amount), to prevent rock chips and other road hazards from punching through to the metal again.
All of this is from my own experience.
Automotive carpet from Pep Boys, Kragen, Napa or other such outlets can be had for relatively cheap too. Find a color that suits your fancy, cut to fit, glue it in, and you're golden. A gallon of contact cement will run upwards of $25, a roll of carpet varies. Try a local carpet store too, to see if they have automovite grade carpet available.
In my case, I bought a carpet set from a specialty shop, so it was easy (and costly). If you go the less expensive route, cover the transmission tunnel first, from front to back. Do it in two parts, as the tunnel has an uneven taper. Cover the sills next, and then the bottom. Any aftermarket floor mat set will work and probably look presentable.
None of this will win you first prize in Mercedes perfection and I'm sure the Purist Gods are plotting my untimely downfall, but the project above will be a hell of a lot cheaper than a total restoration, and will last you years.
Also, go to a pickapart and see what's available locally. Welding in replacement floor pans (non rusty ones, that is) from an identical car, might be a good way to go, and possibly easier than cutting out rust and such.
Cost of your car's transport, plus cost of materials above: about $1300 total. Satisfaction you gain from doing it yourself and keeping another Mercedes work of art on the road and upsetting Purists: priceles.
Best of luck! Take before and after pics too - I'd love to follow your progress.
Last edited by Grubeguy; 08-02-2010 at 09:11 AM.