My First Benz: W108 72 280SE - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Nov 2014
Vehicle: 1972 280SE
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My First Benz: W108 72 280SE

Hello fellow Benz owners. After searching I came across an amazing 280SE that I couldn't turn down! Due to the lack of love it's had over the last decade, I opted to have it towed home rather than risking a tire blow out, failing brakes, or engine issues. I am now the 2nd owner, and has 99k on the clock. Here are a couple questions I have regarding the Benz community I hope to seek out here.

1. Where do you guys buy parts online? I have a cart currently full at for a solid tune-up (and lots of filters).
2. I haven't found a W108 + M130 factory manual yet. I did order a haynes for 9 bucks. Any other recommendations for reading/maint material?
3. Any recommended maintenance item's you'd perform outside of the norm? Brake lines? Fuel Injectors? Blinker fluid?

Thanks and I hope to post progress getting this gem purring and back on the road.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 02:45 PM
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Mercedes blinker fluid is super $$$$$$$$$. If you have to ask you can't afford it.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 03:03 PM
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Vehicle: 90 350SDL, 95 E300D, 97 SL500, former W108/W112/W114/W123/W124/W126/W140/W220
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Update your profile so we know where you are.

Silly as it may sound, try your Mercedes dealer for some things. I approached mine over 15 years ago and just told the guy behind the counter that I could buy parts from him or I could buy them online, and I would rather buy them from him.

Since that day I have been paying jobber prices at the dealership.

While they're not always the cheapest, there are some things like suspension, brakes and steering bits that you don't want to buy aftermarket. Consider that while they might be expensive, you're probably replacing an original part with one that will last as long. Do the math and it makes sense.

Soft parts like filters can be sourced any number of places, since there are several OEM manufacturers, such as Hengst, Mann and Mahle. I like to use these guys for Mann filters. They don't always stock what I need, but their prices are really good, especially if you buy in bulk. If you plan ahead you can get filters from them for far less than even places like AutohausAZ and others.

Understand that the really, really important thing when it comes to aftermarket parts is to have a good parts guy who knows the business and can give you choices, as well as steer you away from the crap that's out there. One name you want to avoid like the plague is URO.

Anyway, I have a long time parts guy who really knows his stuff when it comes to suppliers, and won't hesitate to tell you to go elsewhere if it's a better deal for the right part. His name is Gary, aka Dr. Fatty, of - Wholesale European Parts - Mercedes / BMW / Volvo / Saab / Porsche and more!

Gary has been in the business for many, many years, and has a very good understanding of what suppliers are good and who aren't. This is especially important these days with the rash of cheaply made knock off parts that come out of Asia. For example, go look up a part for your car and you may see a very wide range of prices for that part. At the bottom will probably be URO, then in the middle the OEM suppliers will cluster, then at the top will probably be OE (Mercedes). When the difference is 10-20%, it rarely makes sense to go aftermarket in my humble opinion.

Some parts for your car might be hard to find, which will point you to the MB Classic Center. Tom and the rest of the guys there are very good, but parts from the Classic Center are often very expensive. Amazingly, they are often available through the regular dealer distribution as well. if you have a good relationship with your dealer this can save you some serious coin for those near "unobtanium" parts.

Ask a lot of questions. Do your due diligence before taking on a repair. These cars aren't that difficult to work on, and with the age of yours many, many of us have gone before you, so there is a lot of stored knowledge out there to tap into here and on other forums.

The 108 is a really cool car, and one of the best looking (after the W111/112 in my opinion) Mercedes ever built. You're ahead of the game in a lot of respects because you have a fuel injected model. The carbureted models were as good, but some people find them difficult to work on. That's another story....

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 04:12 PM
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looks like you found a pretty nice car. A bit of cleaning up and it will a nice car. MB sells a CD repair manual for W108/109 chassis. The manual is on two CD's and can be purchased at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA. I have had my W108 for 39 years and am starting to replace things for the 2nd time. I have driven it 100K and it now has 200K miles. the car was my father's originally in 1968.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 04:17 PM
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damn, great find!


Albany, NY, USA

92 300ce and others
"Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night
because rough men stand ready
to do violence on their behalf."

Si vis pacem, para bellum
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 05:40 PM
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Looks like you got a nice car there. Personally I would start with the obvious. All fluids and filters also clean out the fuel tank. It sounds like a royal pain but as stated before these cars are pretty easy to work on. I just cleaned my tank on my 4.5 and I couldn't beleive how much filth came out. The mechanical fuel pump is something you want to look after they are not cheap. I replaced the strainer in the tank as well as the fuel filter. I joined this forum back in April and it really is a great source for information and is friendly and helpful. Congrats on the new/old car Cheers John
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 05:41 PM
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One more thing. I loved these cars so much I bought two!!!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 08:51 PM
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Beautiful looking car to start with! Congratulations!

A couple things to add:
-Consider doing a valve adjustment. Like LWB said, do you due diligence, measure twice adjust once, then measure again. I bet the valves on that old girl are pretty out of spec. Once you have the valve cover off, might as well also replace the valve cover gasket (readily available and not expensive). Have a look at the valvetrain. It should look clean and absent of sludge. Check camshaft lobes to be sure that none are scored/gouged.

-Again, like LWB says, you nailed it by getting a fuel injected model. The M130 is in my opinion the pinnacle of vintage Mercedes motors. Rock solid reliability, and great balance of power, economy, and ease of maintenance. Yours uses an electric fuel pump, mounted just below the fuel tank. Remove the cover that houses the pump, and replace all non-metal hoses and clamps. Would not hurt to blow out the steel lines that go to the engines, either. These are often the first spot for leakage after sitting for a long while. Up front, there are a few more rubber fuel lines that may need attention.

-If the car is hard starting, the cold start valve is a common culprit. It either doesn't work at all, or works too much. Easy to diagnose, but if the car starts right up and the plugs aren't getting fouled up quickly, then leave it as it is.

-Last suggestion, find one of the original-type metal oil caps! That plastic one just doesn't look right in there.

Plenty more beyond this, but this depends on how far you want to go with it, and how the car runs/drives. the 108s are awesome!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 08:26 AM
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Welcome to the fam - nice looking car you have there! Take a look at the "Online Resources" portion of the forum - tons of tech articles and other things that pertain to the 108 models (and others).
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 12:01 PM
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looks like your doors need new weatherstrip, just wait until you find out what that costs...

Other culprits may be your drive shaft donuts.

Replace all your brake fluid and tranny fluid and filter as well as rear axle.

But it will all be worth it, you found a nice car.
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