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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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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.

Thanks!

Ray Waldbaum
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 01:55 PM
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Hi Ray, welcome to the forum. I'm not familiar with whether there's a 190-specific page, but there are a few old salts here who might be able to help you out. There are even a couple purists who get testy when someone suggests non-Mercedes fixes
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 02:23 PM
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I think you will find members who are willing to help. Yes there are purists, especially so on MB boards, but there are many others who also just want to see these cars on the road rather than rotting away. My advice is to do whatever it takes to get it running and enjoyable but make sure they are things that can easily be put back to spec should you ever sell the car. If there are no permanent changes you will be in a better position when that time comes. Of course the value of the car will be altered dramatically but gain that only matters if you're selling her, but I'd keep it in the family and hand her down the line. Good luck and post some pics, even as she sits now.

-Marrs

The Coupe Group (W111/112 coupes and cabs)official website
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"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Grubeguy,

Thanks for the welcome. Because I've owned the same home-restored '36 Chevy pickup (see thumbnail) since 1965 I've learned that many improved, later model Chevy (and other brand) parts are either a direct fit or are easlily adaptable to it. These parts interchanges are not listed in any parts books but are things that I've stumbled across over the decades. Examples are later model Chevy truck window regulators, 1-piece Delco ignition points, modern Moog tie rod ends, an actual Delco fuel filter that fits inside the fuel pump, Ford Econoline door hinge pins and Porsche 356 door window weatherstrips. I've also changed the rear axle ratio from 4.11 to 3.55 using a visually indistinguishable '37 Chevy car rear axle with gears from a '51 Chevy car installed.

I'm hoping to find similar information concerning service procedures and parts for the 190SL. With regard to service, the Germans are supposed to be such great engineers. Can it be possible that starter removal requires the kind of gymnastics I've read about or is there an easier way? Do brake hoses really collapse in 10 years or less? With regard to later model parts is there an ignition distributor with vacuum advance that will fit or is adaptable? Are any quality, durable brake hoses adaptable? Etc.

I greatly appreciate the concept of correct restoration and when any upgrades are made the original parts will be carefully stored, along with the Solex carburetors, for future reinsatllation.

Ray W
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 05:29 PM
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Your welcome to try here, I would be interested in learning about your car.

There is a 190SL forum International 190SL Group Forums that may end up being where yo would get the best advice.

Good luck with your car. Like any old Mercedes, they do need a bit of refreshing to make them perform and be safe.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Maars & rumb,

Thank you for the welcomes. Attached is a photo "...as she sits now" as you requested Maars. It is a very complete car that restorers might consider a "Barn find" because of its completeness and relative low mileage. That rear axle in the foreground is the one I pulled from my '36 Chevy pickup when I made the 4.11 to 3.55 gear conversion.

Rumb, I like your avatar but I'm too computer illiterate to enlarge it into something I can actually see with my 68 year old eyes. Is that a '30-'31 Ford coupe with a flathead engine and lakes pipes? My first car at age 16 in 1960 was a $40 '31 Ford coupe that I repowered with a stock '47 Ford flathead, and it was my daily driver in high school.

I did look at many pages of technical posts on International 190SL Group Forums. They seem to stoically accept the seemingly outrageous parts costs like $7500 genuine Mercedes remote brake booster and emptying of the engine compartment to access various brake and chassis parts. It my age I'd like to find less strenuous and expensive ways to get my wife safely back on the road in this car she loves.

I'm hoping that others on this forum have the same instincts as I do as what should be possible so that I can benefit from their collective wisdom.

Ray W
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 06:32 PM
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if the starter works , leave it alone . i wonder about the $ 4.00 wheel cylinders .
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 06:33 PM
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Despite all my Mercedes, yes I have a 1929 Model A, 1950's style hot rod.

1948 Flathead, bored and stroked, Offenhauser head and intake, Crane cam, Lake pipes, All parts are period correct. 1934 front axle, 1936 rear, juice brakes from the 40's. 2 strombergs. Rides rough and wild....

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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"i wonder about the $ 4.00 wheel cylinders"

Oops. That was a typo. I meant wheel cylinder kits.

Ray W
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 09:04 PM
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Waldbaum, you're very welcome and thanks for the pics of your wife's lovely 190sl, that is a beautiful car to start with. Get her running and drive her, I wouldn't even worry about cosmetics which is another big area to spend money which you can avoid for now. It does look very complete however. Don't be afraid to reach out to Tom Hanson at the MB Classic Center in Irvine, CA. If you are a MBCA club member you get a 15% discount and some items are surprisingly inexpensive, and once in a while cheaper than the aftermarket version that is inferior in quality. I am ordering gaskets that are $2.40 as an example. Not everything from the factory is going to be costly, but much of it is of course.

I just wanted to add that we have a '36 GMC pickup that's in line for restoration, the first year they made a pickup I believe. Not often we see our rig's sister!

-Marrs

The Coupe Group (W111/112 coupes and cabs)official website
The Coupe Group on Facebook


"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra

Last edited by DirectLA; 05-12-2013 at 09:07 PM.
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