Long-Sitting 280SE won't start - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Long-Sitting 280SE won't start

Hi all,

I’ll try to make this brief but I’m working with a mechanic to resurrect my battered 108 280SE (engine m130) after sitting for two years because of a blown head gasket. We’ve restored the head, adjusted the valves, put everything back together to the best of our knowledge, etc… etc… etc… and the car has sporadically started three times though never for more than two minutes and it refuses to consistently startup. We did an improvised compression check which was fine, all the plugs are sparking--though more weakly than my mechanic would like—and the timing seems to be relatively near what it should be. There’s also fuel getting to the injection pump and into the injector lines (haven’t checked the injectors because the machinist apparently didn’t have the capabilities to clean them more than superficially). We also tried spraying startup fluid into the air intake with no luck. Any ideas? I’m basically a novice at this all though my mechanic was a little stumped when we called it a day this evening. Any thoughts would be appreciated

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 12:59 AM
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Vehicle: 81 280E, 84 500SEC, 87 560, 89 "300E", 91 500SL, 15 E350 4Matic Estate, 71 BMW 2002, +others
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Is the gas 2 years old as well? If so, you're trying to start it with water so to speak.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 06:41 AM
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You need to clean the fuel system back to front including the injectors. There are some useful videos on youtube, look for Mercedessource and the series on "resurrecting the beast" covers a lot of stuff relevant to the fuel system.

There are 30+ videos in that collection, about 1/3 of them are relevant to you.

There are SOOOOO many things you might need to look at, including fuel pressure from pump, crud in system, crud in fuel filters, dirty injectors, spark, timing, ...

Currently: 1967 250 SL, 1963 220Sb, 1965 300SE Lang, 1971 280SE parts car, 1972 Alfa GTV, 1965 Alfa Duetto, 1993 BMW R100R
Past: 1971 250 C, 1985 300 TD, 1967 250 S, 1968 280 S,1981 300 D, 1982 280CE, 3 Facel Vegas, Borgward Isabella Coupe, Alfa 2600 Sprint, Volvo P1900 (yes), numerous less interesting Volvos, ...
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 01:52 PM
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I got my 220a started today after 15 years in my garage NOT started ...... as nutz says you may need to clean out the fuel ... also I found all kinds of crud in the fuel line dragged from the bottom of the tank. A cheap clear plastic in-line fuel filter may not solve the problem but if it fills up with stuff you will need a tank clean. Does not sound electrical as it starts and runs so may be old fuel or "rubbish being dragged up from your tank ........ the same reason my 55 ended up in the garage for so long!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 01:12 PM
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Agree with above, but check this:

See if the coolant lines to the warm-running device on the pump are getting hot as the engine warms up, and if the thermostat housing on the WRD is getting hot. If they aren't, then you probably have air in the cooling system. If they don't heat up, they will keep the fuel mixture very rich.

Anyway, if so, disconnect the top radiator hose at the radiator and pour coolant into it until it fills. Then reconnect it and try a start.

Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
1998 SL500
1959 220S
1970 280SL
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