280E Quasi-Restoration - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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280E Quasi-Restoration

I'd like to do a little chronicle reporting what I do to my 280E, and the problems I have along the way, so I can ask for advice as I go along. What I want to do is consolidate my dumb questions into a single "thread" to avoid having to initiate a new one EVERY time I have something stupid to ask. And maybe this will entertain someone along the way.

I am not exactly new here, and everything I have put on this forum has been leading up to this time, so I won't be starting from the beginning when I first acquired the car.

*For those who are NOT familiar with this car*
I WILL start off saying this car is extremely rusty for a car given to a sixteen-year-old to get licensed in. It started off as a 1981 European 200 model before the engine was replaced (1985?) with the M110 it has now. I believe a US soldier owned it in Bremen, Germany until about that time. By the time I got it, it had rust in all the expected areas (floors, rocker sills, fenders, doors, sunroof, trunk floor, etc...). And now, I have practically sold my soul to this car, learning how to weld, grind, cut, and generally work sheet metal.

I am not going to bore anyone with anything else, so I will put some pictures up here to show where I am at. I should be updating this whenever I do anything significant, probably asking questions as I go.

Pictures should be below:
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 02:15 PM
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Great idea, I look forward to seeing what challenges and solutions you face because I too have a euro 280e
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Here's my first separate update, with a lot of pictures.

I have been struggling for several months trying to get my glued-on fenders off so I can get at the rusty sections behind them. Well, I finally managed to get them off using the recommended method of torching and burning the whole seam of PVC sealant. Both fenders came off quite cleanly, with very little fuss. The left fender lower mounting bolts had rusted to the point I had to cut them off completely, but that was the only real complication. When both fenders were detached, I took my grinder-with-wire-wheel and brushed away the undercoating around the front jack points, as well as a few other areas in that region.

I know there is a lot of rust that got between the tack weld seams, and although I am not sure how I am going to fix it, I am not just gonna slather on some POR-15 and call it good. Also, unfortunately, I learned the hard way how toxic burning PVC fumes are without a face mask. I recommend wearing respiratory protection to anyone doing this, or you will feel quite lousy afterwards.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 06:51 PM
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Get a 2 part epoxy primer if you don’t want rust to come back where you are grinding.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nutz 4 Benz View Post
Get a 2 part epoxy primer if you don’t want rust to come back where you are grinding.
Do you mean that Eastwood stuff? During my introduction to laying fiberglass, I have gained a great deal of respect for hard epoxy/resin-based coatings. Would it act as an encapsulator for the rust I cannot access with my grinder?
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 08:26 PM
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I use PPG , don’t have any experience with the Eastwood stuff. Yes, it closes it off from oxygen and therefor no more rust.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Today's update, or rather Saturday's update, doesn't encompass much as the time available to me for car work was finite. Plus, we get a lot of rain at this time of the year, and it is not pleasant weather to work in.

I removed more of that disgusting undercoating around the rusty locations I could find on the front inner fenders. This hunt for rust never ends, does it? The rocker panel "torsion box" that can be seen is where I want to direct most of my attention for now, due to all the rust around it. I am wondering if I could safely start cutting the rust out, or would that compromise the surprisingly high amount of structural integrity this car has left?

I have also been working out how I will go about fixing my 95% non-functional hood hinge mechanism. I am thinking about drilling out the spot welds around the plate to the side of the hinge mechanism, intending to fix both the hinge and the rust around it, hitting two drones with one rock.

A question, obviously; if I have rust UNDER the spot welds on the "frame rail" where it connects to the front bulkhead, how would I fix it/treat it properly? It doesn't look that bad (knock-on-wood), but I want to address it before it goes the way of the floors.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thursday's update doesn't cover much, but it is indeed one of those little things that reward you as you go along.

After I found myself a gallon of Simple Green, I felt compelled to go clean the engine compartment and forward structure on Rusty. I spent a good 2 nights with a plastic brush and a garden hose, as well as the aforementioned SG cleaner, to bring it to where it is now. I also used that time to make sure all the drain channels and cool little water redirection and deflection systems were clear and functioning normally. During this time, I noticed a lot of little drainage channels I hadn't noticed before, like on the triangular reinforcement plates on top of the inner fenders. It's amazing how well they designed the whole drainage system on these cars.

Most of the time I actually spent looking over the car carefully and examining the whole unibody as close as I could for the purpose of assisting me in planning out how I will be repairing the rust (forgive me if I take this too seriously). I am hoping if I leave the A-Pillar, bulkhead, outer rocker panel, and frame horn mostly intact while I try to fix the torsion box and inner sill (including everything in that vicinity...), that the car won't lose any rigidity while I am cutting or welding. I think I am starting to go insane, any good ideas would be welcome.

I gave the car its periodic engine run, like I do every 2 weeks or so (until I get into the fuel system), and I noticed a slight annoyance. After the engine has been running for about 5 minutes, and I go to turn it off, the engine shudders somewhat hideously before it stops. Would this be related to gummy fuel injectors or worn distributor c&r, both of which I have found? If not, I'll worry about it later, perhaps when the body is solid!
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 03:50 AM
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I really don’t like how you’re using those jack stands. Most importantly how they are on the gravel with not even a piece of plywood under the feet. Secondly, that’s the worst place to ‘hold up’ your W123 in the front.

Regards,
The Wet Blanket
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nutz 4 Benz View Post
I really don’t like how you’re using those jack stands. Most importantly how they are on the gravel with not even a piece of plywood under the feet. Secondly, that’s the worst place to ‘hold up’ your W123 in the front.

Regards,
The Wet Blanket
Noted.
Although I don't much care for putting the stands on the gravel either (when our garage project is done, the floor won't be gravel), I can assure you that the car is extremely secure on them, no shifting in any direction whatsoever. I placed the stands under the two frame horns because they seemed quite strong. I tried putting a lame piece of particle board between the jack and rail, but it happened to disintegrate as I set the car on it. I did not want to put the jack under the rocker panels, due to all the missing metal in that area. I have the jack under the front crossmember for a little extra reassurance, and so I can quickly jack it down if necessary. You seem concerned, so if you think I should change this setup, I can do that.
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