Buying a Pagoda... Jerky gearbox... and other issues.. hmmm - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Buying a Pagoda... Jerky gearbox... and other issues.. hmmm

looking at used Pagodas now... 230SL with auto box

fairly clean car overall.. a couple things though:

-jerky gearbox.. shifts were notably jerky, slightly smoother if let off accelerator

-dripping differential - looked pretty oily.... guy said 'only a couple drips now and then' but not sure. wasn't noisy per se...

-rust (of course) - rear 10inches of rockers looked notably patched with fiberglass or something


how much am I looking at for gearbox rebuild? or for differential? do they have to be specialist done or is it something a regular tranny shop can do?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 01:47 AM
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40 years old

photos are usually more objective and show more than a description...

Alex
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 06:43 AM
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My initial question is what is the asking price of the 230SL.
Auto boxes in the W113 aren't the smoothest and most times can be corrected with minor adjustments.
These cars are rapidly appreciating and can absorb the cost of even a long term restoration.
Keep in the mind that parts, even sheet metal, are very expensive.
Ed A.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 09:38 AM
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Schlampe,

I want to confess to being a total newcomer to MB. However I've done some street rod building and restored the '36 Chevy pickup in the photo with my own 2 hands (not with a checkbook) over the last 50 +/- years. That pickup has no bondo in it and I painted it in my home garage in the early 1970s and this is what it looks like today.

From that experience I believe that the body damage in the car you are looking at will be vastly more difficult to correct than any mechanical issues like getting the transmission shifting smoothly and replacing leaky seals. If you are a do it yourself guy seals are generic and are readily available and inexpensive from bearing suppliers.

I would much rather take on a project with visible, known rust damage than something that's been crudely buggered up with an unknown quantity of bondo and/or fiberglass. I've seen guys struggle to remove bondo and fiberglass and that stuff is way easier to slather on than it is to remove.

Ray W
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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yeah exactly.. i'm always scared by the small amount of rust you see - and what's actually hidden behind it.

adjustments - interesting - what kind of gearbox adjustments can you do? it was definitely not within the 'normal' range or smooth for these cars
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 10:23 AM
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Check Welcome - Mercedes Benz 230SL, 250SL, 280SL Pagoda Group for your Pagoda enjoyment.

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 #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 11:13 AM
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"yeah exactly.. i'm always scared by the small amount of rust you see - and what's actually hidden behind it."

Schlampe, you are so right on that. On my '36 Chevy pickup the bottoms of the doors were rusted away. Before I could make the patch panels I had to trim out the rust back to solid metal that I could actually weld to. The area trimmed out was significantly larger than the obvious rust. Because that pickup does not have tight compound curves in the doors I was able to make the patch panels from flat sheet metal.

The next challenge was welding them in. ANY sheet metal welding can cause tremendous heat distortion so placing tack welds at intervals of about 1 inch and welding in very short sections with the adjacent areas kept cool with wet rags was critical. If any weld joint other than a butt weld, for example a lap weld, is made some filler (lead or bondo) will be needed to conceal the exposed edge of the patch. I made only butt welds, hammered when still red hot then ground smooth, to preclude the use of filler. That is all a time consuming and tedious process that I actually enjoy doing but if a guy had to pay hourly labor to have it done he'd better be related to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. At the end of that patch panel welding process there is inevitably some "oil can" in the sheet metal that had to be removed by metal shrinking, another tedious process. I still remember chasing an oil can all over one of those doors until I cornered it (literally worked it into one of the corners) and then said to it "I've got you now". I took 3 semesters of evening adult education classes to learn "coachwork" and actually enjoyed the challenge. Paying someone else to do it was not a financial option.

adjustments - interesting - what kind of gearbox adjustments can you do? it was definitely not within the 'normal' range or smooth for these cars

I have never seen the inside of an automatic transmission, my experience is in manual transmission repair. There are, however, people who don't just "fix" automatic transmissions. There are people with a deep understanding of how those autos actually work, what their weak points are and how to make them vastly better than anything the factory ever made. Being a newcomer to MB I know nothing about MB automatic transmissions. However there are many people who sell automatic transmissions for drag racing and street rod applications that can reliably handle the abuse of 1000 horsepower drag cars. I have a GM 2004R overdrive automatic from Bowtie Overdrives in this street rod and it is silky smooth when cruising gently yet can still lock up and "boil the hides" at full throttle, and it's been doing that reliably for over 10 years. There are certainly people who can build that kind of quality into a MB automatic. Upgrades to switch pitch and lockup converters may even be available to you. A lockup converter is a great feature because it both increases fuel economy and lowers transmission oil temperature, increasing transmission life.

Ray W
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 03:30 PM
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Wbain,

I'm probably the guy guilty of the brakes-breaks mixup. I actually do know the differnce but don't catch my own misspells. I was an off road motorcycle racer in AMA desert competition from 1968 through 2001. All of the bikes I campaigned had brakes but despite that I did break a few bones.

Ray W
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 04:44 PM
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the rear axle usually looks greasy, pinion seal or the boot .park it on a clean floor and see .most of the time you see nothing .to check level , wheels must be on ground , or with wheels hanging [ hoist ]you just reach fluid with small finger as far as it goes . transmissions are old and clunky , but are durable .
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 06:38 PM
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Agillot,

Yes, the entire rear axle looks like is has been dipped in gear oil and then had a coating of road grime sprayed on. My deal with my wife is that I'm going to "get it running". I'm going over the brakes with a fine tooth comb but this is not a restoration. I'll also try to put a sharp tune up on the engine, which may include rejetting the Weber carbs if necessary.

There is a very dark color on the spark plug porcellains so either they are too cold, the timing is off or the engine is jetted too rich. Hopefully jets are available for those Webers like they are for Edelbrock and Holley carbs.

When I had a 1964 VW bug I found that round Mikuni main jets for motorcycles were a perfect fit in the Solex carburetor and the numbering systems between Mikuni and Solex were compatible. Those Mikuni jets may fit Solex carbs used on MB. That's the street rodder in me speaking.

Ray W
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