Proper care/maintenance for 1969 280se I6 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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SF W108's Avatar
Date registered: Dec 2011
Vehicle: 2010 Mercedes E350, 2006 BMW Z4 3.0si; previous: 1969 Mercedes 280se, 2006 Mercedes C230 Sport
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Proper care/maintenance for 1969 280se I6

Last month I purchased a one-owner 1969 280se I6. Unfortunately the previous owner passed away, so I was not able to get the full run down from them directly. However they were kind enough to have every service record since 1969 (new) to 2003 (mileage 173,000); serviced at Stahl Motors dealership in Monterey, CA. I called Stahl to see if they had any more records, but I was informed that they could have been wiped from their system, as they did not even show the history from 2003 back.
The vehicle currently has 181,000.
I compiled a spreadsheet with the service history from the past 15 years and 45,000 miles, as attached.
Being a newbie to vintage Mercedes, I'd appreciate any lessons learned from those more experienced; as in, without personally seeing/driving the car, what repairs to expect or what should I focus on replacing ASAP (for example how often should one expect to replace motor mounts, bushings, bearings, etc).
Is it recommended that I use fuel injection cleaner (additive) in the gas 3x a year?

The exterior looks great from 10+ feet (a 6.5 out of 10 IMO), not a rust bucket but definitely not a show winner. The original paint and chrome still shine, but the finish has light scratches here and there and a few slight dings here and there. I use the car as a daily driver and the condition is quite OK with me....
The interior is all original and pristine and I'd love to keep it that way. What cleaners/protectants are recommended for the seating surfaces?
What should I use to protect and maintain the interior wood?

I am located in San Francisco. Does anyone have any recommendations for good/trust-worthy shops for proper maintenance in the area?
While I have not joined the Benz club, I find I will in the near future to improve my network of Mercedes fanatics in the area.

I appreciate everyone's help.

Thank You.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 01:59 AM
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Date registered: Dec 2005
Vehicle: 2005 C350, 2002 ML270CDI, 1969 230S, previously 2002 A160, 1985 380SEC ivory, 1983 380SEC grey
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Hi SF W108,
I would suggest a change of engine coolant, probably the auto trans fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid (?) in short, flush and replace any thing that is liquid (including air conditioner?). It is likely that the previous owner would have neglected these in the last few years.
At this age most of the rubber suspension bushes would be worn or have gone hard, so it is likely to be a bit rattly on bumpy roads (like my 1968 W114).
If you want to really go to town then there are door seals, window seals, boot (=trunk?) seals, remove and replace the windscreen and rear window rubbers, etc etc.Once the door and window seals have 'worn'then there is a lot of wind noise at speed.
But if it stops in a straight line (brakes and rear suspension probably good), and doesn't have any judders felt through the steering wheel if you are stopping quickly from, say, 60 mph, then the suspension is liveable with :-)
All the best from Down Under
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 05:02 AM
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Date registered: Dec 2003
Vehicle: 1965 220S, 1999 Volvo V70 (wagon), 2006 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor, 72 350SL 4 Speed
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Nice looking 280SE.

Here is what you need to do.

Change all the fluids. You need to use engine oil in the 20W-50 range. Modern oil has no ZDDP which is used to help protect the engine and the catalytic converter. Use diesel oil as it has ZDDP or Castrol racing oil has this additive. Check the side of the bottle. The transmission fluid is ATF and the fluid clutch, aka torque converter, has a drain plug. The differential fluid has to be changed with the axles horizontal.

Greasing the suspension is very important. All the joints in the front suspension need grease. If this has not been done in a while, you will need to use a heat gun to liquify the congealed grease. Use a rig to lean off the zerk fittings and grease the joints. There are also a joint or two on the driveshaft.

There are two joints on the swing axle joint of the rear axle. Check your owners manual.

Check the front suspension lateral support rod that goes from the center of the front crossmember to the chassis. There is also a steering damper there. Make sure it exists and is not broken.

Filters are available from the dealer and are easy to replace but are not a spin on. Even today, MB uses a replaceable element.

Air filters are also available. It's a big filter, undo the three clamps and replace it.

There is a power steering filter in the reservoir. Undo the top and remove the plate. The filter is under it.

The engine uses mechanical fuel injection. Do not make any adjustments to the linkage. No not adjust the two stops on the venturi or injection pump. DO not adjust the knob on the back of the injection pump whit the engine running. This adjusts the idle mixture along with an air bypass screw on the intake manifold.

There is a small air filter on the injection pump used for warmup. It screws into the engine side of the warm up regulator. Look at the rear of the pump and you will see a cylinder with two water hoses.

Get an account for the EPC, electronic parts catalog. It has all the part numbers as well as the assembly view drawings for the car.

EPC-net Online

You will need a credit card that won't be charged, ie it's free. You will need the firts part of the chassis number, aka vin. It stars with 108 and has a 018, ie 108.018. Look at the chassis number and it in the form 108.018-12-nnnnn. The 12 means: 1 - left hand drive, 2 - automatic. The nnnnnn is the chassis sequence number.

The SL113 forum has a lot of good info because these cars use many common parts.

Pagoda SL Group - Index

Parts can be ordered from the dealer or from the classic center.

Mercedes-Benz Classic Center | Mercedes-Benz

Near Manassas Va. '65 220S, 2006 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, '99 Volvo V70, '72 350SL 4 speed

Not part of the in-crowd since 1952. It's BRAKES not breaks. You break a bone, use brakes to stop your car. /rant
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 05:04 AM
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Date registered: Jul 2010
Vehicle: 1967 250SE (W108)
Location: Michigan
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The brake lines tend to deteriorate from the inside causing the calipers to stick. Looks like the rear were replaced, but not the front.
Also, there is an air filter on the fuel injector pump that often gets overlooked.

I've used a paste furniture wax (Johnson's) on the interior wood. If it's not garaged, may want to look for something with uv protection though.

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