Date registered: May 2013
Vehicle: 1961 190SL
Location: Northern California, USA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
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You seem to know your way around cars.
I am intrigued by your adeptness to make other parts work on the 190SL.
I have several old Mercedes and wouldn't mind finding more reasonable solutions for my car repairs.
Those wheel cylinder kits for starters and the Raybestos rebuild for the brake booster as well.
I can possibly help with parts sources specificly Mercedes when needed."
Thank you for that welcome Alex. I am a product of the Southern California car culture that I grew up in in the 1950s and 1960s. There is a particular incident that affected me when I was a teenager that has stayed with me for over 50 years.
I had a neighbor/friend who had an automotive engine shop. On my way home from school I used to stop by that shop regularly to see what was going on. One day a Model A Ford engine was being rebuilt and my friend explained that he used then current Oldsmobile pistons in Model A engines instead of expensive original or expensive reproduction Ford pistons. I blurted out "You can use Oldsmobile pistons in a Ford" and his response forever changed the way I look at automotive endeavors - "Why not?"
So, when I began this 190SL "get it running" project I brought that attitude with me. In looking at what needs to be done I am looking for the most efficient approach that will in no way diminsh the value and safety of the car. I realize that this is an enthusiasts' forum and one should not criticize the objects that one is supposed to be enthusiastic about. However the 1961 190SL that I am working on exhibits some major design defects that tells me that it might have been an OK prototype but it was nowhere ready for production. Here are some examples I've discovered in just looking at the brake system and fan belt. I expect to find more as I get deeper into this project.
The engine must be raised to allow fan belt removal because the harmonic damper/lower pulley is too close to the front cross member to allow belt removal.
In order to pull the starter to inspect and replace if necessary the bearings and/or bushings and brushes my research indicates that either the generator and induction system has to be removed or the generator has to be removed then the engine has to be loosened from its mounts then raised and tilted and a suspension component has to be removed. On every other car or truck I have ever worked on if you want to pull the starter you simply remove the battery ground cable, the wires at the starter then unbolt it. That a difference between 1/2 hour and 1/2 day of mechanic fees for the average motorist.
The flexible brake hoses are apparently made of a material that is incompatible with brake fluid and they swell shut and fail. In 50+ years of car maintenance, tinkering, street rod building and restoration I have never heard of this. My 1971 Dodge van that I bought new has the original brake hoses and the 1936 Chevy pickup that I restored in the mid 1970s has the hoses I installed new then, all working perfectly.
Some of the flexible brake line connections are very difficult to access.
I am going to figure out the most effective ways to deal with these kind of problems and I'll happily share what seems to work and I will gratefully accept suggestions from other forum members who are experienced in these cars. From what I see it is just plain old bad design that paints the mechanic/restorer into a corner with these inherent design defects.
I'm not a mechanical engineer but I notice that the front wheel bearings are supposed to be set up with zero end play on this car according to Factory MB shop manual information obtained from my local public library. Every other car, truck and trailer wheel bearing adjustment I have ever made required a specified amount of end play to compensate for the fact that braking heat causes the hub to elongate slightly, increasing the distance between the bearings, thus reducing/eliminating end play. Although adjusted according to the MB method, the outer wheel bearings on my wife's 190SL showed discoloration consistent with having been overheated when I removed all the bearings to clean and relubricate them. Also, the washer between the outer bearing and the adjusting nut does not have a tang that engages the spindle to keep it from being spun by the outer bearing and it has obviously been spun and scored.
Alex, if you know of modern brake flexible hoses from a dependable supplier (Raybestos, EIS, Wagner, etc) that will fit and are not damaged by brake fluid I would really appreciate knowing about them. Thank you for your kind offer to share parts information.