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Discussion Starter #21
Disconnected the damper from the pump.

Cracked supply line loose from filter, but nut is rusted, so the whole pump assembly or filter was going to need to spin to disconnect without cutting the supply hose on the car. I don’t want to do that. So...

Whole pump assembly removed (as planned really).

The hose from the tank didn’t let much out at all, total varnish, but red brown oil-looking, not black tar.

I got the 19mm hose loose with a nice big 3/4” wrench and some leverage on the bumper. Never again will I try to do that with the pump assembly in place. Got the hose out.

Not as if it would have worked anyway, but the strainer wasn’t centered over the hole. So no chance of pulling the strainer in place.

I put 2-3 quarts of used machine shop cutting oil in the tank and realized it wasn’t coming out the bottom. I considered letting it sit, but decided to move forward removing the tank.

Bulkhead and tank fasteners removed. Had to grind off left three floor bolts because they disintegrated when I put a socket on them. removed the filler rubber donut.

Removed the return line underneath on the driver side. I expected big flow of cutting oil I just poured in but got mostly nothing.

Started pulling the tank out above and disconnected the vent lines on the left. This was perhaps one of the hardest things, at least what caught me by surprise the most. I had to remove the clamps and then twist the hose with channel locks to get it started and finally got those hoses off. Moved to the driver side and repeat.

Removed the sender plug. The top of the tank was covered in water. Maybe it was from my major washdown when I was hosing out the entire car, and it hasn’t been hot or dry enough to evaporate. I imagine that if the top was leaking water here it would be a bigger mess there.

Finally started lifting the tank up. Holy cow. That’s more than dry varnish and 2-3 quarts of cutting oil.

I drained about 3 gallons out of the tank and am now waiting for it to dry the varnish to dust as it seems to always do when you let the tank dry out.

The strainer looked far better than I expected on the top half, almost as if it would have been fine if I just filled the tank. I will clean the strainer and install it after everything starts turning to dust.

Lots of varnish chunks in the tank to dry out. It will be several days. Unless I come across a tank that I can use, this project may be on hold for a little while.

 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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Solid progress Fonzi, appreciate you taking the time to document the journey - which probably takes as much time as the journey itsf 👍🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Solid progress Fonzi, appreciate you taking the time to document the journey - which probably takes as much time as the journey itsf
It’s not just to share but to remember what I’d done. With so many of these cars, I start to mix up what was done to each. This is the closest thing I’ve got to a mechanic’s log on these cars. I haven’t documented everything, but again, this is the best I’ve got.

So I’m starting to think maybe this tank is a little worse than others I’ve been able to dry out. Flakey chunky stuff is one thing, but this tar-like goop that is on the sender is a different type of stuff than I’ve dealt with before. @rwd4evr had this come out of a w108 4.5 he recently brought back to life, but I think his return line was so clogged that the d-jet pressure went up to like 100 psi. He described the fuel hose as, like a fat girl in fishnets. Anyway, before I pulled the sending unit out of this, I repeatedly poured acetone into the return line hole, and stuffed some flexible aluminum wire in. I got air blowing through and would twist up the end and re-clog the end near the swirl pot. Before pulling the sender I decided to stop while I was able to get air through it. Clearly the return line is clogged, but at least with the chance of air getting in, then maybe it will have a chance of drying and flaking.





So seeing that tar like stuff on the sender, I’m wondering if my thought of drying out the tank is going to work. Jason’s got an early tank with the bolt on sender at his shop that I should probably try out. I could also go grab a different tank out of a different SL, but they are probably all just as likely to be mucked up as this one is. And it would be more effort to pull one of those out that’s basically in a junk yard, not like pulling a tank in my garage.

So that may be the next step. I’m assuming there’s no problem using the tank from a d-jet, at least temporarily. And this car really is only getting put back together to be able to really test all its components. It’s pretty rotted, maybe not beyond repair though.

The hood has to be tossed. It’s straight up junk. I’m thinking of taking the blue hood from the 1974 450slc that I have Jason but I don’t know if he wants that (and the original from his drift car) because they are the original color of his drift car. So that leaves me with potentially a totally different color. Then I’ve got to at least rattle can the hood first to keep it from looking like too much of an eyesore.

So:
  • tank
  • hood
  • clean fuel lines
  • install pump cluster
  • figure out why the battery light is on (maybe bad alternator wiring or bad alternator... potentially a reason the car was taken off the road).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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1985 280SL
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Old gas is some of the nastiest stuff I've ever dealt with. When it breaks down like that, it's more foul than when it came out of the ground in the first place

Good luck, Fonzi. I, for one, like seeing these poor cars brought back from near death. I don't have the time, patience or money, it's good to see how it's done.
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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7,482 Posts
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Good luck, Fonzi. I, for one, like seeing these poor cars brought back from near death. I don't have the time, patience or money, it's good to see how it's done.
I do too like seeing old cars revived.
Only 91K miles ... shame on its owners for neglecting this 450SL.
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
I can’t remember the day this car went into my garage, but I’ve been waiting for this gas tank to dry up, and it has done so. I laid it on the ground and did my normal drumming on it, but perhaps a bit harder this time and learned a lesson. The swirl pot can fall off the bottom of the tank, and the filler neck is not indestructible. I dam really hoping to get to Jason’s shop to get the tank out of the ~1984 380sl that’s down there. I am ready to get this purple car out of my garage.

I also have a hood to replace the purple one that is folding in half. That will be one of my first attempts at painting. It’s a junk iron hood that has a small hole in it already. So I believe it’s value is minimal. It has lots of flaking paint, so I might end up taking it down to bare metal on the outside. Kind of crazy. So maybe a sand and prime will be quicker and more appropriate for this vehicle.

I did match up vehicles with pairs, and believe that this car will be matched with a brown 1973 450sl (running and driving) that was also a mouse house, but fortunately has very little rot. That car is brown, and this one was originally brown. So maybe taking key chassis parts from that car and using them with this drive train will make a lot of sense. I don’t know if I will ever get there. But it feels good to have a potential project to match it up with. Maybe there’s something of value that could be done with this rotted car.

But first, make it run and drive and get it out of my garage.

Oh. I’ve begun to list my projects for sale as is at kind of stupid high prices at the moment, at least getting myself ready if a fire sale is ever required. It seems nuts to put a $5000 price tag on this one http://www.mkngarage.com/items/0mb0cars/01_r107_1979purple450sl/
But let’s look at some of the great things:
  • two running driving 450sl
  • euro 4.5 motor nearly as powerful as a 560sl
  • one near rot free body
  • neither is currently a MAJOR eyesore
  • anti-squat rear end in a gen1 r107 rear subframe
  • two sets of small bumpers, one US, one euro

So I’m not exactly batshit crazy with the asking price, nor am I expecting anyone to actually buy it at that price any time soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I got the tank out of the 380sl parts car (left the vapor/expansion tank) and saw that it has no sender and plenty of varnish in the bottom. I think I should beat on this one a little bit, but certainly not like I did on the last. I can roll some nuts around on the inside. I just have to get this purple car running and driving on it’s own tank. Until I do that, I won’t make any progress on it. This tank should cut the mustard. I understand the 380sl was a running driving car before the PO started parting it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Yesterday. Haste makes waste. The tank from the 380sl had crud in the bottom of it. I decided to use it anyway because I had the sender from Purple car to put into it and seal the tank. The 1973 tank is cleaned had the 5-stud style sender, and I haven’t been able to find any laying around. I clearly forgot that the return line INSIDE the tank needs to be cleaned. Dumbass installed the 380sl tank without first blowing air through it to determine it was clogged, and reaming it with a wire like I did to the 1973 tank. So the car would not start with too high of fuel system pressure. I was originally thinking it was due to the bad gas I used to flush the fuel lines, and it did seem like the car was getting closer to starting as I added more and more fresh fuel. But finally the return-to-tank hose by the rear axle started spraying. I’d taken all the time to flush those fuel lines but totally spaced out regarding the one inside the tank.

So now I’m waiting for gas to dribble into the strainer and pumping out the remains, each time with diminishing returns. I don’t want to have to lay under the car and take a massive gasoline bath when the return line finally starts flowing. It’s nearly inevitable, but I figure if I can minimize it, that would be good.

And I thought I was so close. I was closer last night before I put the tank in the car. It certainly would have been easier to clean that return line with the tank dry and out of the car, not laying on my back waiting for gas to come running down my arm or splash into my face. :(
 

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-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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Yesterday. Haste makes waste. The tank from the 380sl had crud in the bottom of it. I decided to use it anyway because I had the sender from Purple car to put into it and seal the tank. The 1973 tank is cleaned had the 5-stud style sender, and I haven’t been able to find any laying around. I clearly forgot that the return line INSIDE the tank needs to be cleaned. Dumbass installed the 380sl tank without first blowing air through it to determine it was clogged, and reaming it with a wire like I did to the 1973 tank. So the car would not start with too high of fuel system pressure. I was originally thinking it was due to the bad gas I used to flush the fuel lines, and it did seem like the car was getting closer to starting as I added more and more fresh fuel. But finally the return-to-tank hose by the rear axle started spraying. I’d taken all the time to flush those fuel lines but totally spaced out regarding the one inside the tank.

So now I’m waiting for gas to dribble into the strainer and pumping out the remains, each time with diminishing returns. I don’t want to have to lay under the car and take a massive gasoline bath when the return line finally starts flowing. It’s nearly inevitable, but I figure if I can minimize it, that would be good.

And I thought I was so close. I was closer last night before I put the tank in the car. It certainly would have been easier to clean that return line with the tank dry and out of the car, not laying on my back waiting for gas to come running down my arm or splash into my face. :(
Your wife must be an angel....I met her but I didn't SEE any wings.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Your wife must be an angel....I met her but I didn't SEE any wings.
I’m not sure what to say about that. Yes, my hobby can certainly be annoying, but IMO it’s better than drinking, gambling, womanizing, etc.

Anyway, I got the tank mostly drained and finally got the return line cleared to the point where air blows through it and it started draining the tank via the return line. Now to replace that hose at the return to tank and get moving in the right direction again. Maybe I will have the car running and driving on the tank shortly. At that point, I can get it out of here.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I used to think this way, but now I debate it in my mind.
Thinking about switching to drinking, womanizing, or gambling?

I will admit there are better hobbies.

I have (once again) decided that I will buy no more cars. A few weeks ago, I came really close to doing a deal on a Westfalia 309d on eBay that had something like a 4.9 rear end with no overdrive and a non-turbo 3 liter motor. That was with my wife’s blessing, but it would have been the most expensive MB I’d ever purchased (even though I would have been able to buy it with the profits from the two AMG cars I sold this year). The deal fell apart because the seller initially said he’d buy a stick shift W126 from me in the deal but changed his mind. The “net zero” increase in the number of cars was key there.

I don’t know if the Angel comments above are with respect to:
  • the car being an eyesore in the driveway (which was always covered)
  • the amount of work this one will require
  • or the sheer quantity of my madness and number of MB projects I’ve taken on.

I think I’d really enjoy doing this full time, and I have several friends that DO work on or sell parts from Mercedes of this era for a real living. Then if it came with stress and the concept of giving up my really good job, I’m sure it would be filled with regret. Now I believe that I can view it as a hobby that at the very least pays for itself in all these ways:
  • financially
  • problem solving and tinkering that I enjoy
  • my kids seeing me have a hobby that I enjoy, and an outlet beyond my job, exercise, and relationships.

It may put a strain on my marriage at times, but I think when my wife realizes how much I have increased the financial values of my projects, she starts to respect it more. That’s tough to do when I say, “this car is worth X”, and she says, “great. Sell it then.” But on the other hand, she freaks out about income that comes in when I do sell a car and if we are going to be audited by the IRS. Yeah, it’s a strain. Sometimes I wonder if it would be smarter to just set them all on fire.

I guess this is the “debate it in my mind” that you also do. @alabassi , I’ve seen your storage once, and at the time I was incredibly overwhelmed, not just by the quantity of stuff, but also by what I believe you explained to me to be your rent. I’m running at about 1/10th the rent you were for my sister’s barn where I’m currently storing 17 cars, a 8x16 trailer and a tow dolly. I’m very lucky, and that money is even “staying in the family” paying for an unused indoor horse arena. I’ve also been working on contingency plans for the event my sister says she won’t do any time soon, kicking me out. Two contingency plans are both buying land that could be used as parking outdoors currently, and be built upon later.

I’m not sure if I posted it above, but I have also assigned every project car to a project. Some of the projects are multiple cars that will make one good car. Many of these people might say aren’t worth it, like a US 1973 450sl. Yes, I agree with that, not worth it. But when you pair it with much more rare Euro projects, I think it’s worth it. This originally brown (now purple) 1979 450sl with rot and a clean title, is probably a good match for the 1973 450sl that is running, driving, rot free, and also brown, but without a title. Maybe someone will be interested in the project in time. Maybe not. When I’ve got less than $1500 invested in both cars, and both have small bumpers, and I’ve got tucked away storage for them where I can shut the door and forget about them as long as I want, there’s not a lot of concern. It’s just fun for me. If my wife can’t see and respect that, then I see that as her problem, not mine. Am I an asshole? Perhaps I am. I don’t know.

Are my priorities screwed up? Probably. I could be fixing up the house. I could be focusing on spending more time with my wife and kids. I’m almost always here for them, listening to their needs. Perhaps I am more of a passive father/husband and should be more active.

One thing I know, I will have no shortage of hobbies in retirement.

...
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Anyway, back to the car...

yesterday I spent a few minutes around lunch poking a wire through the return line in the tank and blowing air through it into the swirl pot. Hopefully I didn’t poke a hole in the screen with the wire. I’m not pulling the pump rig and the tank just to remove the strainer to find out though. That’s another major reason to clean the return line with the tank out of the car. If you can get the strainer out, I’d say it’s ok to do with the tank in the car. So do as I say, not as I do.

It was difficult to push the wire in, but using pliers to push a half inch at a time worked. The wire I have is probably aluminum that’s comparable to 14-gauge house wiring, maybe stronger like 12 gauge. I bought two rolls of it years ago at Home Depot or Lowe’s, and use it all over, like holding tomato plants to lattice, holding a mini bucket of air attachment pieces to my compressor, etc. I had tried some braided wire thinking it would ream out the hole better and also bend more easily, but I think the solid wire worked better to poke through the varnish in the return line.

I put a paper towel over the tank fuel filler, and was hoping to see the air blown into the tank blow the paper towel off the filler, but didn’t. No helper, so no verification other than:
  • when I blew air in, no fuel drips out, but fuel now drips out after blowing air in.
  • fuel was not dripping out before, and it was tough to get that wire through
  • there didn’t seem to be air leakage below the car when blowing air in
  • it sure sounded like the air was freely flowing into the tank

Over a few hours, a 1/2-1 gallon of fuel had dripped into my catch pan. I now just need to replace that piece of hose that connects the return line to the tank, fill the tank with gas again, and run some fuel up to the engine bay before connecting the line to the fuel distributor again. I have some things keeping me busy through Thursday night. So it will probably be Friday before I get to these things. I expect to be driving the car this weekend, and possibly working on sanding and prepping the replacement hood in my garage (so I can scrap that rotted one).

Just documenting my adventures with these cars here because I would never remember all this stuff. Thanks for following and the advice.

Sincerely,
Mike
 

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1972 280CE
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I think I’d really enjoy doing this full time, and I have several friends that DO work on or sell parts from Mercedes of this era for a real living.
I've been selling parts on the side from cars that I've dismantled for more than a decade. I don't do it to make money, more to get rid of parts that I don't need from parts cars that I bought to fix other cars. I'm pretty sure that if I tried to make a living out of it, I'd starve to death.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
It’s Friday. I have lots of work to get done today, but have high hopes of getting time to reconnect that return line and try to make this car drive this weekend. Tonight? Would be fantastic. Although I’ve owned two euro 4.5 with anti-squat (both SLCs), I’ve yet to actually feel the power of one. I know the cool thing of the anti-squat rear end is that the power pushes you forward instead of tilting the car back. The first anti-squat car I drove caught my attention in that way.

I was looking at the anti-squat on @rwd4evr ‘s drift car that he recently installed (and promptly broke a 6-cylinder axle with his US Spec 4.5 and manual trans) a few days ago and realized that the whole suspension is more like a suspension with an upper control arm. I hadn’t realized that there are both acceleration and braking compensating links. It really looks like an interesting piece of engineering. Do 107s with this rear suspension have less of an oversteer problem?

Anyway, I’ve got high hopes of getting this car out and my garage cleaned this weekend.
 

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Don't know if it helps with oversteer as mine is the only one I've ever driven. Looking forwards to seeing it drive, post up your 0 to 60 times to see how it compares to other euro cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
I got it driving today, and it’s not running right, stumbling a bit on acceleration and not feeling strong. I quickly discovered the brake pedal going to the floor after I got the car running. I’d messed quite a bit with the mixture and have been trying to dial it back in, and it’s been requiring somewhat different mixtures when hot vs cold.

The temp went up and I discovered that it needed a lot of coolant. I’m not sure how I missed that but I did catch it before the gauge read 120.

It dieseled after shutting off before, and did the same today. It will reliably diesel a bit shutting it off even when cold. It’s oNly 8.8:1 compression, so I’m doubting that it’s an issue with the fuel. But today I pressed the accelerator when shutting it off, and that reliably stops the dieseling. Does that mean it’s giving it a bit of fuel to keep it from running a lean mixture? Is it possible there’s gas in the oil that is filled right to the top after running the motor for a few minutes (and the motor stopped). That level seems a bit high. I really don’t know.

Anyway, I found the busted brake line dumping fluid on the passenger manifold pretty quickly due to the billowing smoke coming from the passenger exhaust manifold. I figured this was the time to remove the rusty floppy hood that sprinkled rust flakes everywhere every damn time opened it. Good riddens. I did like the way it was the right color, but it is garbage. So I grabbed the spare junk hood that had been sitting in my garage for weeks waiting for this moment. This good also has dents and flaking aftermarket paint and even some rust holes, so the $0.99/can “project paint” was perfect for this task. And the result match all the previous. You may ask why I painted this at all, but I think the black stands out less than the filthy silver that it was before.


Seeing how bad that looks, you might wonder, why didn’t I just keep this one? Did I mention the annoying flakes and how rotted the hood was?



Anyway, I was painting that silver hood black while I was waiting for the silicone I put on this screw to dry.


I played this game before with the “varnished 380slc euro” that had a blown rear brake line. This appears to be a successful cap of the brake line that will allow me to drive the car until I replace the brake line properly. It was too far behind the valve cover to be able to put a flare in this rusty brake line.





So as you can see, rust underneath the battery can be a real problem for the brake line. I think that pine tree junk was a big problem. After I cleared it out, I was able to find and use the drain hole that’s in the frame where it meets the firewall under the battery. That surprised me.

Anyway, I got it running and cleaned it up more and blew the nuts out of the engine bay and sprayed most of it down with a hose to get the debris out and clear the drain holes. Feels almost clean enough to work on it now.

Anyway, with some family stuff going on, I thought it best to get it out of the driveway. So I took it for a ride around the block. Enjoy my crappy video. I need to work on not saying “uhm” so much.


Here it is with my other shitbox projects of the month.




Edit:
Oh. It seemed to not be charging the battery in my driveway, and that battery light was always on when the battery was connected. It killed my battery too. I remembered I forgot to disconnect the battery. When I realized that the battery light wasn’t on, I thought I better go get my meter and see if anything changed. It started charging. Yippee. Gotta love problems that fix themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
More fresh fuel (topped up with premium, only taking 13.9 more gallons) and now less stumble. I don’t know if I will have time to do fluids today. The trans fluid looks low, and now that I don’t see any coolant leaks, I should put some good coolant in the motor (because I put in straight water yesterday). Knowing this car will eventually get torn apart in some way, lots of this will be wasted money, so maybe I will go “budget” for now, including skipping the oil change. It’s not like I’m driving this thing all over the place when it’s only got one front brake. It is possible that could be the only thing that stops it from passing inspection though. I will contact Alonzo who’s name is on the back of this car’s title to see what it would take for him to get the paperwork straightened out for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Stopped by @rwd4evr ‘s shop to dispose of the purple hood, and went on a discovery for cars with potential donor brake lines. ABS cars have different brake line set ups. I could probably bend one of those to make it work but figured I would continue hunting before going after one of those. All the cars that were potential donors had engines in their engine base. I didn’t really look at the one 560 SL that didn’t have an engine in the engine bay though. That could be another possible now that I think of it. However I got extremely lucky looking at the gold 350 SL that only has three wheels on it now. It doesn’t have a right rear control arm. So it will never need brakes again. I went to that car though because I know that it’s drivetrain needs to be pulled out of it so it can be scrapped. The body is so rotted that I did not expect to find a good brake line on it. However I was extremely pleased to find this replacement brake line installed in it. It took just a few minutes to get it out in a single piece. Also I talked to Alonzo about the title and it sounds like it will only cost another $100-$150 to get a nice clean title for the car in Alonzo‘s name. I could get dinged really hard by my state registering a 450 SL because it has an NADA value and would probably cost me several hundred to register it. I will have to see what my state will charge me before I decide to go forward with titling the car in my name after titling it in Alonzo‘s name.

 
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