BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Oct 2010
Vehicle: 1988, 1989 MB 560SL/ 1995 MB E320 SW
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Mercedes builds great cars but sitting a mechanical device without proper storage is very hard on them. Planning one day to get the car ready is really a stretch if you are starting with an unknown quantity. I would plan at least three days and if it takes less you are ahead of the plan.
Since you really don't know what you've got and unless you are experienced with this sort of thing, you need to put the car back to a known baseline.
That means new fluids all around, new tires and other consumables, such as windshield wipers, and brakes.
Unless you have the tools, the experience and a place to work, take the car to a repair shop and have them perform a list of those things, looking for gotchas. If you have the cash, the local MB dealership would be my first choice. If not, get a recommend from your relatives for their favorite car repair guy.
A gotcha is leaking hoses, broken pipes, and other things that require visual inspection to detect potential problems. Have the exhaust system checked. It could kill you!
All engine, transmission and gear oil should be replaced. Drain and flush the radiator and replace with the proper antifreeze. Diesel fuel is pretty stable but if you can get the old stuff out and replace with new do so. Of course new filters all around.
Be sure to have them drain and flush the brake fluid and inspect the shoes/pads and calipers. The brake system has rubber parts that will degrade over time, with or without use. Make sure all seals and rubber parts are serviceable.
New battery, check the fuses and lights, get some spares and you are almost there.
Don't neglect checking for a serviceable spare tire and changing gear. You might need them.
I would also suggest inspecting and if serviceable, repacking the wheel bearings and greasing all ball and steering joints. Don't overlook the shocks and steering dampener either.
Once you have everything done that I have included in the above list, take a test drive for about an hour to see if you can find anything that needs further attention.
Let it set for about an hour after your drive and check for leaks, or other obvious flaws. Don't leave before you solve all problems and resolve all safety related faults.
Some non-mechanical considerations are title, registration and insurance plus your own licenses and necessary items.
Before setting out on your cross country trip and every leg, do a safety check: Lights, brakes, fluids.
Have a nice trip!