Date registered: May 2013
Vehicle: 1961 190SL
Location: Northern California, USA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
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Right forum for me?
Good morning guys and ladies. I would like to introduce myself and ask whether I'm in the right place. My name is Ray Waldbaum and I've just begun a "Honey do" that I've been procrastinating for about 15 years. That task is to make roadworthy a 1961 190SL that has been in my wife's family since the late 1960s.
I'm worried that I may offend Mercedes enthusiasts with the issues I raise and I really want your honest opinions as to whether that might be a problem.
At age 68 I've built street rods, restored (with my own 2 hands, not with a checkbook) a National-level winning 1936 Chevy pickup, been an of road motorcycle racer for decades and have a pretty well equipped home machine and welding shop.
That's probably all ok, but here's the potential problem. Within the last couple of weeks I've begun going over my wife's 190SL to make it safe and reliable. Service procedures that I've always found quick and easy on other vehicles over the last 50+ are surprisingly challenging on this car.
Examples: All the brake bleeder screws are seized, to remove the fan belt for inspction and to turn the engine the engine had to be raised because of crankshaft pulley-crossmember interference, my research indicates that to pull the starter for inspection either the carburetors (Webers) or some suspension components must be removed and the engine unbolted from its mounts and tilted, research also indicates that all the flexible brake hoses are prone to swelling shut after about 10 years, and other issues.
I would like to find a forum where acknowledging these design flaws and figuring out ways around them would be welcomed, not resented. For example, with regard to the brake system it appears that the OEM brake booster is a Midland booster with a Mercedes hydraulic cylinder and a brake booster rebuilding facility in Sacramento California is rebuilding mine for $220 plus UPS rather than a restoration shop that would charge 5X that amount. Raybestos front wheel cylinders were available from Summit Racing for under $4.00 each with free shipping. The master cylinder kit appears to be the same one that fits 1939-48 Ford cars and 1/2 ton trucks. Now I'm going to look for alternative brake flex lines that aren't throw away after a few years.
Are any of the others of you of a similar mind in looking for ways to make these cars easier to live with at the expense of authenticity or would that be an unwelcome pursuit. I really want your honest opinions.