The little things on my 280SEL that make the difference - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Apr 2016
Vehicle: 1972 280 SEL
Location: Maryland, Unites States
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The little things on my 280SEL that make the difference

I inherited a 1972 Mercedes 280SEL (w108) from my father. It wasn't till about 3 years ago that I actually made enough money to consider working on it. It wouldn't start, the tires were rotted and the body had rust. So I've had the body redone to remove all the rust (and a few holes that were there), had the transmission rebuilt, put in AT-205 in to stop the oil leaks, replaced a fuel pump that was leaking, had to use seafoam and non-ethanol fuel a couple times when I realized that ethanol fuel was gunking up my system to the point it wouldn't start. Found R12 to recharge the AC which now works. Now I can worry about the little things.

When I started working on this car the speakers would "pop" when you turned on the radio but no radio would play. I attributed this to the antenna being rusted and bent so I replaced it but now I hear the click and no "pop" from the speakers. I know that becker will refurbish the radio if I take it out and mail it to them but I'm not sure its the radio as the light won't turn on on it either. I assume the blue cable is whats getting the power to the radio how would you recommend checking it? Which fuse would be blown out if it didn't work?

The overhead lights don't seem to stay attached to the liner in the car. As far as I can tell there isn't a part that you use to attach it to. Have you folks experienced this? How would I keep the lights in there?

The wood under the windshield is cracked and it peeling. Where would I find just that one strip of wood? I don't need all the wood in the car just that one section.

Lastly my gear shift selector doesn't actually show the gear I'm in you have to feel where its shifting before you take off. Can this be welded together or do you know where I can find the cable that attaches to it? The odometer doesn't seem to work either. Is this worth investigating? What would you recommend as a first step?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 03:58 PM
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Vehicle: 73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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Nice where in MD? I may be close to you.

You will find that the engine and tranny will last eons if maintained well. There will always be rust, unfortunately. As for the gear selector indicator, a cable connects the indicator to the shifter. Perhaps it's off or broken? If you decide to fix the odo, I have a place in San Diego that did mine. Great work ...
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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I live on the Eastern Shore. I think the engine and transmission should last awhile they just sat for too long and I think the deals dried out more or less. The gear selector cable is actually broken in two. I'm not sure I want to ship out the odometer, I would also want to make sure whats broken before I ship it out.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 08:50 PM
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The odometer usually fails because of a cracked gear. You can fix it yourself. Instructions and parts are available from here
Odometer Gears - Mercedes-Benz - Mechanical Speedometer
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 11:42 PM
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Post some pictures of the windshield lower trim. Maybe I can help you with that.
Nice looking car. You will find plenty of help here to get it up to speed

All the best John.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wroding View Post
Post some pictures of the windshield lower trim. Maybe I can help you with that.
Nice looking car. You will find plenty of help here to get it up to speed

All the best John.
Here are the pictures of the trim under the windshield. I wasn't sure how to best take a picture of it as the instrument panel covers some of it from a distance you'll see it in my original photos as well.

TZ_280SEL I'll have to look at the odometer and see what if any of the gears are damaged. Thank you.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 04:54 PM
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Its hard to see from the pictures if its the veneer that is coming up, or the finish? It looks to me that the finish is flaking and lifting, if so that's an easy fix. Veneer is a little more tricky. I am working on a vacuum press for this kind of job.
Cheers John.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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So today I went to a car audio place to get my radio looked at to see why it wouldn't work. They were not at all interested in looking at my car they said the AMP and the radio had to be replaced because I didn't hear the popping sound anymore. I was like you didn't even go into my car. I had to stop buy Advanced Auto Parts and one of the people there said to check my "power port" and if that was bad it is a fuse. Well I don't smoke and I never thought about using that port for power and that port doesn't work either (one more thing to bug me). Now he said the fuse should be behind the radio but I don't see a fuse box back there.

There is a fuse that is missing from my fuse box and I don't know if I should get a red or blue fuse to put in there, if a fuse should even go in there, and if the other ones are bad or not. Im used to home fuses where it turns black how do I tell if these fuses are bad or not? Do you folks know which fuse goes in the missing spot and to check for the fuse for my radio/cigarette outlet?

Also Mercedes couldn't order the trim under the windshield but they said the local high school may be able to replace/ fix it.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2016, 07:04 PM
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You might find a nice wood dash piece on ebay, or if you google mercedes wood refinish san diego there is some shops down there you could send it to for repair.

I personally don't know if the school is coing to be the best option, let's see what others say on that

For the fuses best to buy a set of fuses from pelican parts or something and replace them all for new ones anyway. Can't help on the empty spot however - not by my w108 to check right now
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2016, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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You're right the school heard the year of my car and didn't even let me get to the wood and told me to go elsewhere. You're right that a professional would be better.

I think I've decided the fuse is for an option component that I don't have because there are no cables going to it. My Uncle thought that maybe the radio and cigarette lighter weren't grounded but I'm not sure how to verify it.

My car has been in the shop to replace an exhaust manifold for the last week so I have been unable to try much.
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