BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Aug 2009
Vehicle: W114/115 220d (1972) [sold] and W123 300tdt (1984) and two L406DG's (1967)
Location: Toledo, OH
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Newly refurbished 1972 220d (detailed)
This beauty, one of two Mercedes I purchased from the 85 year old original owner, has returned home after extensive sheet metal repair/replacement and paint.
While not too advanced, the car suffered from the usual W115 water leaks and body rot... front fenders, some firewall/footwell perforations, front floors, and rear quarters including the rear inners. Luckily the floor of the trunk was clean.
The replacement panels were primarily NOS genuine MB parts many of which had been collecting dust and moisture in various garages and barns over the last 20+years.
I inadvertently bought the newer style front fenders but Toledo-born panel beater Dave Fackler discovered a factory seam that runs diagonally from the inner top of each fender to almost the edge of the wheel well. He simply drilled out the headlight bucket spot welds, cut the seam, and using the portion of two good pre 1974 fenders that meets the grille, welded everything back together. That saved me from chasing down two more fenders or finding a late-style hood and grille.
With two parts cars to work from we cut out the bottoms of the 'A' and 'C' pillars which form the support for the jack tubes. Between bead blasting the donor supports and some metal fabrication all four support points on the '72 were able to be replaced prior to the outer rocker replacement.
It was truly amazing how flexible (unstable) the body is when the bottom of the pillars and each rocker is removed. The 'C' pillar particularly provides tremendous rigidity as it is an intersection of various planes of the car like the bottom and side of the floorpan, the floor of the trunk, the inner fender panel and roof via the sail panel and rear quarter.
Although POR-15 was used extensively to coat parts before welding, we ended up stripping a double coat of the product from the finished surface of the fenders, rockers and rear quarters. Even with plenty of the POR-15 tie coat primer and self-etching spray primer on hand and a number of phone calls to POR-15 technical support we weren't confident we could achieve the 'tooth' needed for the finish coats of paint to adhere properly.
Following the bodywork the car was sprayed (garage paint job) with Z-Chrome Rust Defender, sanded with 150 grit, sprayed with laquer primer and a guide coat, sanded with 320 grit then sprayed with Omni brand base (3 coats) followed by 2-3 coats of PPG DCU2021 clear. The final wet sand was 1500 grit followed by rubbing then polishing compounds.
The car had been all one color. I decided to go two-tone with the original factory color (DB-304 Horizon Blue) for the lower and DB-050 White for the top and hubcaps. I was most pleased that the factory matched color was much more blue-grey than the robin's egg shade of blue the finish had faded to over the years
New front and rear window seals (front genuine MB, rear Precision Parts ordered from ebay seller route66cruisers), genuine MB vent window rubber seals @$130 per (dealer started $179 per), window channel from Restoration Specialties ($32 per 8 feet versus $60 per meter for genuine MB) and new door and trunk seals. Instead of buying new outer window sweeps/brushes I reused the inners from my parts cars... just changed out the clips after treating them with POR-15.
(Note: I ordered Uro brand seals from Rock Auto for the door and trunk.
BIG mistake. The trunk seal fit fine but the door seals were absolutely worthless. I immediately pulled the driver's door seal and ordered a genuine MB seal for it. I've been cutting and trimming and shaving the other three door seals just to get them to shut. I will end up purchasing and using genuine MB seals for the other three doors.)