My 84 300sd restoration project - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 05-07-2011, 02:35 PM
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My 84 300sd restoration project

I picked up an 84 300sd for $1600 a couple of months ago and am slowly restoring her. So far I've swapped the headlights out for a pair of the clear led lights I picked up off of ebay. Started refacing the interior wood trim with burl wood vinyl (not as good as original wood but way cheaper and still looks decent in my opinion). I had to buy a piece of wood trim for the glove box since it was completely gone, and I have to glue the metal piece back on over the passenger side vent. I rigged up a multiport power supply on the back of the change holder.

Here's a couple of pics of the exterior from the day I bought it




Here's a few pics of it with the new headlights on:





I didn't get any interior pics as it was just too hideous lol.
But here's a couple after I redid the center console wood and stuck on the glove box wood.



*UPDATE*
Here's a couple shots with the passenger side vent piece back on:



I have the vinyl on the passenger side trim that goes over the vent and will glue it back on later today.
I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the look of this vinyl for the price. A hell of a lot cheaper than getting new wood and I think looks just as good, maybe even better than what's available for these things now. I kind of wish that I would have went with a more reddish tinted burl though.

I have a set of chrome wheel well trim coming and am probably going to stick the chrome mirror covers on it. I also need to reattach the drivers side back lower plastic trim, it was just laying in the trunk when I bought it. I'm debating having it repainted though so I'm holding off on getting these things done until I decide what I'm going to do. I'm leaning towards having it completely repainted black and doing away with the plastic grey trim and just running a chrome strip instead. There are a couple of rust spots under that plastic trim that I'd like to have fixed and a couple of rust bubbles starting in a couple of other spots which is the main reason I'm leaning towards a complete repaint since these have to be addressed anyway.

Things slated for the interior:
1.Obviously I need to finish doing the vinyl on the rest of the wood trim places.

2. I'm thinking about replacing the center console trim with new pieces fabricated out of plastic and faced with the burl vinyl as I plan on adding a double din 7" ttf monitor and car computer with radio tuner, I've got a pretty killer design put together on it. I currently tether my droid to my laptop and use an rf modulator to play it over the radio so I can listen to internet radio since I like to listen to talk radio and there's really not a lot of strong stations where where I live. Plus I can listen to my library of mp3's. I have a 10" ttf monitor that I attach to a mount on top of the dash currently but the 7" double din set up with the micro computer tucked into the dash nice and neat will be much easier and cleaner. I plan on actually moving the acc controls down to where the radio and ashtray is now and sticking the monitor at the top.

3. I currently have a custom set of new seat leathers being made, hopefully these are finished soon as I'm super stoked about getting them in. Here's a pick of the mock up I made for them:

I'm going to do the old pool noodle trick on the seats while I have them apart to firm them up. I'm also thinking about sticking some memory foam on the top to replace the old hair pad. I also have 2 carbon fiber seat warmers coming with the new leathers so those will get installed then also. I think I'm going to stick the toggles for them where the current speaker fader is since it won't be needed once the new set up is in.

4. While I have the seats out I'm going to give the carpet and plastic dye a try. The carpet as you can see in the pics is absolutely disgusting, i'm guessing it was originally palomino but it's aged into a gross greenish gold color. I'm going to try and dye it the off white color I used for the inner parts of the new seat leather. I'm going to try and redye the plastic the same palomino but have heard people say the sem stuff is quite a bit lighter than the actual trim which is actually a good thing in my opinion since I think it's too dark and I plan on redoing all of the plastic. I'm going to hold off until the actual seat leathers come in so I can make sure it's a good match to the outer pieces of the seats, the color in the mock up is a little off since I did a semi-transparent color layer over the stock grey the ad showed. I think I'm going to change the door inserts to the white as well.

5. While I'm putting the new leathers on I'm going to build a cup holder into the arm rest. I think I'm just going to cut a hole in it and stick in stainless steel poker table cup holder insert. I may also get some of these fold up things and attach them to the sides of the armrest Folding Cup Holder - Interior Accessories - Car Accessories - Griot's Garage I've seen some good reviews of them.

6. I was planning on replacing the cluster with a plasma cluster from moman on ebay. I've been waiting impatiently for the last several weeks for him to start selling mph versions since he only had kph until now, only to find out he didn't plan to make the style I had wanted lol. I'm still debating on going with one of the other versions, as it is the dash is just way too dark and I have a hard time seeing it at night. I really have to squint to see the clock and fuel gauge. I even replaced the bulbs and it was still way too dark. I did jump the rheostat when I had the cluster out also so it's as bright as it gets. I'll think about this one for a few weeks, I'm still too bitter from the news that the one I had my heart set on isn't going to be made lol.

7. I'm leaning towards sticking a pair of the illuminated door sills on if I can find a set for the sd body length, or maybe just going with the etched stainless steel ones. Still debating on this one.

8. I need to replace the overhead dome light, I'm thinking about maybe doing something a little bit different there and maybe setting up an ultra bright led thing. Haven't really put too much thought into that yet.

9. I plan on adding the chrome border to the shift plate and replacing the shifter handle with a burl one with the mb wreath on the top. There's a chrome shift plate with mercedes-benz etched into it at http://www.ioffer.com/i/chrome-gear-...w202-141724255 that I really want to use also, it looks amazing in the photo.

Some of the mechanical things I've done so far are:
1. Sunroof would open but not close, I took the switch out and cleaned up the terminals but it still didn't work so I cleaned the rails up and ended up buying a used motor off of ebay. The switch seemed to stick a bit still so before trying to swap out the motor I took the switch apart again and realized that the little ball bearing on one side wasn't seated right, fixed that and it worked like a champ lol. So if anyone needs a sunroof motor from an 85 300sd I've got one for $50.

2. Extremely hard shifting, quick glance under the hood and found some vacuum lines not connected all the way. Snugged them back up and helped quite a bit but still shifted too hard. Replaced the valve arms on top of the valve cover and got a little better but still shifts a little too hard once it warms up. Shifts great for a little while before it gets warm though. I might just take it to someone to go through the vacuum system in detail.

3. When I first bought the car I started smelling fuel and noticed the headlights going dim the longer I drove. Once I got it home I realized that the guy I bought it from had replaced one of the injector return lines with a vacuum hose lol!! Obviously once the hose started getting warm it popped off and spilled fuel everywhere. Picked up a piece of rubber fuel line from nappa and replaced it, seems to work like a champ. I also looked at the alternator belt and it looked brand spankin new, but apparently the guy didn't know how to tighten it as it was extremely loose. Tightened it up a bit and no more troubles.

4. Had the tranny flushed and new fluid put in and had the oil changed to amco synthetic the day I got it. This car had sat for a few years before I bought it so I changed the oil again two thousand miles later to royal purple. Let me say that this car was a son of a gun to start in the cold, without ether you'd kill the battery before it would start. After putting royal purple in the car started sooooo much better, and the engine seems to run much smoother also. Even with the car sitting in the heated garage it would take a while to fire up after sitting over night, now the thing starts up just as fast as a new gas engine. I'm super impressed with the royal purple oil, it's expensive but in my opinion it's worth it. I also ran fuel additive for the first few tanks of fuel since the fuel was a year old when I picked it up. I've picked up a new primary and secondary fuel filter and will be replacing those this weekend.

Some mechanical things slated to do still:
1. Have the vacuum system gone through in detail.
2. Cut a coil out of the front springs, these things look like 4x4's with how high the front ends sit. Will replace all of the shocks with new blisteins also when I do the springs. The back seems to sag a bit lower than the front so I don't think I'll need to cut the back but will see how it looks once the front is cut and the new shocks are on.
3. The passenger side front window doesn't work at all, I need to do some trouble shooting to see if it's the switch or the motor. The back passenger side window doesn't roll up all the way so I need to fix that, probably when I pull the door apart to recolor the plastic on it.
4. I'm going to replace the motor mounts and shocks, it shakes a bit at idol.
5. I'm also going to replace the flex disk, I haven't even looked at it yet but it's so easy and cheap I'm just going to do it so I know it's new.
6. I'm going to have the air conditioner converted to the new style, it currently doesn't work. I'll probably have that done when I take it in to have the vacuum system checked out.
7. I need to pull the blower motor out and try cleaning the terminals up. It currently only works if I smack the bottom of the dash lol. The first few times I smacked it I heard tons of crud falling onto the bottom of the dash cover lol so I'm sure a good cleaning will fix it.
8. I need to pull the cruise unit out and hit the solder points with an iron. The cruise works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it kicks on when I don't expect it to which is a little disconcerting lol.

The next big purchase for this car and my number one priority after the seats are a new set of wheels! These 14" bundts are hideous in my opinion and just way too small for a car this size. I really really really want a good set of chrome lorinser rs80's. There's a great set for sale on here for $800 that I found the day after I sent the $550 for the new seat leathers so I couldn't snatch them up. Hopefully he still has them in a few weeks, I really want those on my car lol.

Last edited by sfraise; 05-08-2011 at 02:08 AM.
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#2 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 01:50 AM
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Ok, got all of the dash trim done.



Also took the cruise control board out and hit all of the capacitor solder joint with a soldering iron. Will give it a try in the morning and see if it did the trick. Will be nice to have cruise working again since I make a 6 hour drive in this thing twice a week.

Last edited by sfraise; 05-08-2011 at 01:54 AM.
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#3 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 09:08 AM
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Mm not getting the pics

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#4 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 09:24 AM
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sfraise,
Where in Iowa? I used to work in Marshalltown and lived at Twin Anchors RV? Golf park out side Nevada, Mo.

Also , most of us throw away the Chrome Wheel Arches as they are deemed not attractive and they catch water to rust out the arches under the Chrome. Yes they are 80's Bling, but ........

PM'd you.

"I know you think you understand what you thought you heard me say, but what you thought you heard me say is not necessarily what I meant!"
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#5 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 11:40 AM
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Looks nice so far. Keep us updated. Where did you get the vinal wood grain? I'm still trying to get good pieces of the original stuff, but I may just give up on that and do what you did.

Thanks,

Chris

Chris in Alabama

1984 300SD (Buzz)
purchased 2/2011 with 260K showing
on a non-functioning Odo

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#6 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 11:53 AM
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Yeah that vinyl looks alright.

Good idea about re-siting the acc controls for a screen. Have you seen the thread, i think by member Mustang. He did this and it looked brilliant.

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#7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianrandom View Post
Yeah that vinyl looks alright.

Good idea about re-siting the acc controls for a screen. Have you seen the thread, i think by member Mustang. He did this and it looked brilliant.
Yeah, if it's the one I'm thinking of it's where I actually got the idea for it.
I've actually got this killer idea to do away with all of those push buttons and toggles altogether by using a computerized actuator set up and just controlling them from the computer screen in the dash, u can do a search for usb or computerized switches to see what I'm talking about. That's a project for a way later date though lol.

I got the vinyl off of ebay from metrodecals.com.
15 inches wide by 5 foot long ran me $30 and was enough to do all of the dash and console wood and redo the change holder plus screw up on the shift plate and change holder and completely redo them. I may have enough left still to do 2 doors but not sure.

I may make a video tutorial on the best way to do this vinyl when I do the door pieces, there's a bit of a knack to it to keep the bubbles out. You want to make sure that the surface is completely smooth and clean, and then start in the middles and slowly work it towards the edges with ur fingers, if u see a bubble pull it back a bit and go again. I first tried using a plastic paint scraper but found just using ur fingers worked a lot better. If ur wood has cracks in it you'll have to take all of the laminate off, otherwise the cracks will show through vinyl since you heat form it. Also let me say DON'T attempt to do your change holder like I did with all one piece, it's just not going to work and it will look like crap. The vinyl just doesn't conform to that much rounding that close. You need to use one piece for the front, bottom, and back, and use another piece for the left side, and another piece for the other side. You also need to remove the vinyl thats already on it so that u r applying it directly to the smooth black plastic. I'm still not happy with how my change holder looks and I have some issues with my shift plate as the different layers of laminate is pulling apart. I plan on remaking those pieces out of plexi-glass along with the acc panel so I'm going to tweak the design a bit so it looks more fluid and like one piece, and will probably put the vinyl on the change holder pieces before I put it together.

I took my blower out last night, it was filthy!!! Like an inch thick patina of old black sticky gunk lol. I ended up just sticking it in the sink and spraying it with bolt lubricant (kind of like wd-40) to get all the gunk out, then washed it all out with water, maybe not the best idea but had to get the lubricant out otherwise it would smell horrible every time u turned it on lol. I accidentally broke the little tab that the lead connects on to on one side so had to solder it on directly. Works like a champ now though.

I also hooked my cruise control board back up and went for a test drive but it still didn't work. I went through and hit the rest of the leads on the board (only hit the capacitors the first time), will give it a try later tonight. I have my doubts though, when I pulled the board it smelled burnt which usually means a capacitor failed, I used to build circuit boards for motorolla for a couple of years and they have a distinct burnt smell about them when they fail. If it doesn't work this time I'll just order a new one.

My new seat leathers should be here either the end of this week or sometime next week. I can't wait to get those things on and get that carpet dyed!

I'm debating what I should do next, I was thinking about trying to buy some new wheels if I can find a set of lorinser rs80's or replacing the shocks and cutting the front springs next, but I might hold off on the wheels and shocks and take it in to have the ac converted over since it's going to start getting hot out soon. I guess I can live with ugly wheels for a few more weeks if I have to, but I know I'll be kicking myself if I have to live with roasting for a few weeks lol.

**BTW...
That thing on my steering wheel is a velcro thing that I stick my wireless keyboard with touchpad mouse to, and that black think on the dash is what my 10" ttf monitor attaches to so I can be unsafe and work while I drive lol. I've been debating what to do with that monitor once I get the indash set up in, and am thinking about putting it on the back of the passenger side seat so the kids or whoever can watch movies or use the computer from the back seat. I've also got this idea rolling around in my head on rebuilding the steering wheel and using one of those roll up keyboards to conform to the contour and building the touch pad mouse directly into the wheel so it looks better, along with some multimedia buttons for volume/play/pause. It's just an idea though and the very last thing on my todo list at this point lol.

Last edited by sfraise; 05-09-2011 at 03:53 PM.
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#8 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 03:45 PM
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I can't get over how far ahead of their time these cars were design wise and how well these things were built. I have a hard time believing it's a 1984 every time I look at it lol. I would stick it next to any car 10 or 15 years newer any time, both in looks and mechanically, especially with the newer head lights on it. And the amount of things that still work on this 27 year old car baffles me, most American made cars of this age aren't even on the road anymore, let alone still have the auto door locks still work and the paint still shine up like new after that long.

I bought this car to have a cheap fuel efficient ride back and forth to work since I make a 6 hour commute to the twin cities and another 6 hours back home every week. I didn't really have any intention of really putting any other work or money into it but once I got it home and realized what it could be I had to bring it back to life lol. I figure by the time I'm done I'll have less than 5 grand in it, no car payment to worry about, and have one hell of a nice car with all the bells and whistles a new car has. Plus I get to see that star on the hood every time I drive lol.
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#9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 09:31 PM
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still cant get the cruise amp working

Still cant get the cruise working right, went back through and addded a bit more solder to a few of the pints that seemed lacking but still no go. All it will do is accelerate when i hit the cruise, wont actually engage and stick. Will have to just order a new one I guess.

Made an appointment at a benz mechanic to have the air conditioner converted and have the vacuum system gone through to see if we can get the shifting where it needs to be and give it a quick look over mechanically to see if there's anything I've missed off hand.

There was a delay in my seat leathers, the embroidered logo didn't come out as well as it should have so had to change it from silver on black to just black, guessing it will be at least a week still before I get them. I really want to get them in so I can color match some carpet and vinyl dye so I can get the carpet and door inserts done while I have the seats out.

Heres how the original logo came out:

Here's the new design i decided to use:
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#10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2011, 03:41 PM
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.......
So I get an email this morning from the seat leather guys with an image for approval, for some wacky reason they thought they should use silver thread instead of black for the new logo against white leather lol. I sent them back an email directing them on the correct way to do it but haven't heard back yet, going to be forever before I get those damn things now.

On a bright note I took the car into a local shop here called JB Eurotech, anyone in the twin cities area should check them out, I really liked them. Got my air conditioner converted over and blowing good cold air now. They also did their routine inspection and I had them check the vacuum going to the tranny since it's been shifting hard.

The good news is its getting good vacuum up until the modulator valve, which means a quick swap out on that and it should be good to go. The bad news is.....

1. Apparently since the car had sat so long the caliper must have froze and somehow breaking the hat part off of the rotor lol. I've never in my life ever heard of that ever breaking like that. So I need to replace the rotor and caliper on the front passenger side. It seems to drive ok, only thing you notice is it pulls to the left a bit when u brake.
2. The rubber boots that act as engine shocks are collapsed and need replaced, I already knew this but had them take a better look to make sure the motor mounts were ok which they were.
3. Back wheel bearings are a bit worn but in my opinion have plenty of life left in them.
4. A back sway bar is a bit loose but not an immediate fix by any means.
5. The exhaust is starting to come apart behind the muffler, again no big deal.

So overall I'm pretty happy, nothing really serious was found outside of the broken rotor which I'll try and get fixed maybe this weekend. Hopefully I can find a modulator valve somewhere locally to throw on there before I head back home this weekend, otherwise I'll have to order one and guess it wont get changed until next week. I'm really anxious to see if that solves the problem. I thought maybe there was a major leak in an acc vacuum pod since it wasn't switching to vent as fast as I thought it should but I guess it's normal for them to be a bit slow switching.

The guys at JB Eurotech took me back once they were done with the car still up and went through everything with me. The guy that did the work was awesome and even though something like the rotor being broken is a safety concern they didn't try to pressure me into having them fix it.

Now if I can just get my damn seat leathers in life would be great lol.
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