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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #21
I need a brief and ridiculous question answered:
Why would the car be missing the bolt that holds the engine to the left-side rubber motor mount itself? Assuming the rubber mount was oriented incorrectly (it indeed is), would this contribute to why my engine is crooked in relation to the frame horns? Forget it all, how do I even get access to the left motor mount on an M110 engine?

I am looking more and more in the direction of a possible mechanic shop called Benz Friendz, somewhere in Seattle (who maintained the car until I got it), for all these questionable "botch" repairs on this car. Has anyone heard of them? Do they really even exist?
 

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85 Audi Coupe Quattro, 71 BMW turbo 2002, 73 BMW 2002tii, 85 BMW 635csi
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Engine mount bolts are accessed from under the car. A hex drive head is what you’re looking for, recessed in the crossmember. Helps to have a engine hoist when changing. Some jack the engine up if they don’t have a hoist.
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #23
Engine mount bolts are accessed from under the car. A hex drive head is what you’re looking for, recessed in the crossmember. Helps to have a engine hoist when changing. Some jack the engine up if they don’t have a hoist but you risk engine shifting out of alignment which could make putting bolts back in a PITA.
For safety's sake, I won't be lifting the engine until I have a proper hoist (any idea what one of these M110s would weigh?). I have heard of some people jacking the engine from the oil pan (I hate the idea), it even says to do so in the almighty Haynes manual.

I first noticed the motor mount problem when I saw that there was a bolt on the top of the right motor mount, but there wasn't one on the left. In fact, I could see daylight straight through the left mount, where there was obviously some form of attachment. Plus, I have confirmed that one of the two rubber mounts is not oriented right, I just have no frame of reference to identify which one!
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #24
Wednesday's Update:

I was finally able to remove the K-Jet metering valve from Rusty and clean it out. I used a 50/50 mixture of Simple Green and water to degrease the inner walls and the "Starship Enterprise" valve inside. It was then that I noticed that the big metering vane was slightly out of alignment. Is there a special way to adjust it?

The pictures I took of the dirty valve vs. the clean valve are pretty self-explanatory. I will leave them here.

Like I keep saying, these are fairly minor and insignificant updates, but they are a step in the right direction for this car (I hope).
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #25
Monday's Update:

Project Rusty has been going smoothly over the past few days. Things may be getting better financially, our garage rebuild is going well, and I have a new challenge.

When our garage is completed, we are going to transplant Rusty into it so I can start getting serious with this restoration. Moving Rusty will be the challenge to be solved. I am currently attempting to make the car as mechanically functional as possible to make it so we don't have to push the car by hand into the garage. The K-Jet meter went back in, the throttle linkage nightmare went back in, and later today I am planning to put the basics of the interior wiring back in place.

Yesterday, before I reinstalled the metering valve, I pulled the throttle body thing off and cleaned it off with my lovely Simple Green. The gunk on the valve part I actually had to cut off, it was so baked on. Then I went after all the rotation points with either ATF, moly-graph, or silicone grease (I think the ATF is my favorite), and got the linkages to operate with very little friction, up to my highly critical standards!

That's all for now, I will report back, maybe later today, if I can manage to get the engine to start.
 

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85 Audi Coupe Quattro, 71 BMW turbo 2002, 73 BMW 2002tii, 85 BMW 635csi
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Ditch that cast iron fuel distributor for the updated alloy style.
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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158 Posts
Discussion Starter #27
Ditch that cast iron fuel distributor for the updated alloy style.
For the right price!

No, I am probably going to do it some time in the future anyway, the last thing I need is for the thing to rust together and start leaving oxide deposits in the gas. My real challenge is finding one for under $300. For now, however, "If it ain't broke..."


Or is it?
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #28
Tuesday's Update, in a way:

After my little adventure, I managed to get the engine started, kind of.

On Sunday, I threw everything back together to check for fit and function after my cleaning obsession. I didn't really get a chance to do any work on the car on Monday (it was pouring rain-like it should be around here), but I did today.

*I am about to say exactly what I did, and I may make some people quite mad. However, I am merely repeating this story here for diagnostic reasons. This is not to weaken my ego (if I even have one) or to show you people what a lousy mechanic I am. I am learning here, and that's really what matters, right?*

I reinstalled the spark plug leads (which I may or may not have done correctly), and checked all the wiring for the fourth time. After everything had looked okay, I attempted to start the car.

It wouldn't start.

After that, I gave everything another thorough inspection. I had accidentally installed the leads in relation to the firing order, not the cylinder position. The distributor cap was 180 degrees off and sitting crooked, so I fixed that. I tried starting it again.

It wouldn't start.

At this point, I thought the engine was flooded. So, I pulled the fuel pump relay and cranked the engine, thinking this would relieve the fuel pressure and the unburnt fuel. In my hesitation, I left the relay off when I went to start the car again.

It started up well, then died.

It was then that I realized my "mistake", but thought I was on to something. So, I tried it again, without the relay, and decided to install the relay as it was running.

The engine started well, then forcibly died when I installed the relay.

I tried another theory. I tried starting the engine without the relay, flooring it, and then installing the relay.

The engine started right up, revved up to speed, but it almost stalled when I put the relay back in.

The engine was running, but it was stumbling and shaking violently all over the place. I had to hold it at half-throttle just to keep it from stalling. The engine's sad sound hit me like a stab through the heart, so, out of sheer pain, I let the pitiful engine die. I turned on the battery tender, closed the hood, and walked away.

That leaves me to now. It makes me emotionally sore seeing the engine run like that. What I want to know is what to do to make this engine run like it did a month ago. Granted, I probably just left something disconnected, but I want that confirmed before I do anything else which may be potentially destructive to the engine. Maybe I just need to adjust something? This probably isn't enough information, so I may take some clarification pictures tomorrow.

One last thing I forgot. When the ignition is off, the fuel level indicator jumps forward as the clock ticks. This is new. Useful?
 

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Could I get more info as regards to this?! What cars/years had alloy? Running outside with a magnet to check my 280TE!
You don't need a magnet, the black fuel distributors were iron, where as the silver ones were alloy. Starting 1982 they went to alloy and all replacement distributors from the dealership were replaced with alloy ones as well.
 

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1984 280TE Euro; 1983 240D; (Sold)1982 300D Turbo
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You don't need a magnet, the black fuel distributors were iron, where as the silver ones were alloy. Starting 1982 they went to alloy and all replacement distributors from the dealership were replaced with alloy ones as well.
Well I didn't run out to my car with a magnet, had to go to work! But being my 280TE is an '84, and the fuel distributor isn't black, I'll take it as mine is alloy.
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #32
Here is a picture of my cast iron fuel distributor (the black one, has some rust), and here is a picture of the silver alloy one (which won't ever rust) that I pulled off of the Internet (no personal association). Note the subtle differences!

CIS means "Continuous Injection System", right?
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #33
Wednesday's Update, sort of:

Well, folks, I am still here, and it is almost time to start welding. Things are about to get better financially, I am about to have some time for Rusty (hopefully), and I admit have run out of excuses. We do still need to get ourselves a welder, and that is the purpose of this "update". Oh, and to give a vague idea that I have actually been working on the car.

I spent yesterday and today peeling back seals and pulling off more trim looking for rust and leaks. I found a bad leak around the base of the windshield gasket (not seated correctly), but surprisingly, there was no sign of rust there. I pulled the rear lights out to check the lip and sealing surface for rust (moderate rust near the bottom of the signal orifice), and temporarily treated the rust that was already there with one of those lazy "rust converters".

On to more important things. What I wanted to ask here was about welders, or more specifically, welder options. I'd like to go with sanity here, so what is a proven welder one of you people has used successfully on a Mercedes that is under $300 and is relatively easy to use? I am leaning toward a basic MIG welder, but that would probably mean something from Harbor Freight. What do you people think?

Additionally, from the last picture, does my jackstand setup look safe enough (for you, Nutz)? I placed two large concrete pavers under them, and stuck some fairly good quality compressible wood between the 'stand and the rail. The car does NOT shift, shake, or move in any way.

Here are my update pictures, somewhat ordered:
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #34
I've got a source of free automotive sheet metal from a potential donor car for Rusty now. Here is the story, whether you want it or not.

Back in December, we had a massive windstorm, toppling many trees. We have an old 1992 Subaru Legacy station wagon with a tired transmission that we parked for a while until funding was enough to repair it. Unfortunately, our placement of the car (in a forest, not my idea) led to an inevitable scenario. The windstorm knocked a 90-foot hemlock right across the side of the car, collapsing the A-pillar and deforming the firewall. The car was completely uninsured, so don't start talking about insurance claims. And since the car is missing two-and-a-half windows, it naturally has a nasty smelly interior now. However, the car still runs well and actually doesn't drive too bad.

What I'd like to do now is use certain less-structural body panels (doors, trunk, hood, roof) to chop up and use as patch panels. After that, the Subaru could become anything. I am assuming I can use the sheet metal from this car, or is this one of those "Can I or Should I" scenarios?

Or am I just insane?
 

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85 Audi Coupe Quattro, 71 BMW turbo 2002, 73 BMW 2002tii, 85 BMW 635csi
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Might find metal is way thinner on the Subaru than on the Mercedes, but yeah, metal is metal and patches can be made from it. Might be galvanized metal on that Subaru, so don’t breathe that in while welding. Small fan pulling air away from work will make it better if so, ie, work behind fan, not in front.

Basic MIG welder at the lowest setting and smallest wire is what is required. Wire feed speed is key to getting dialed in and distance/time from work. Tack, let it cool before next tack so it won’t warp. Use compressed air to speed things up between tacks.

My suggestion if you’ve never welded sheetmetal before, practice on scrap metal before you attempt on the car. Burn-through can make a hole repair get larger and larger and.....
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #36
Might find metal is way thinner on the Subaru than on the Mercedes, but yeah, metal is metal and patches can be made from it. Might be galvanized metal on that Subaru, so don’t breathe that in while welding. Small fan pulling air away from work will make it better if so, ie, work behind fan, not in front.

Basic MIG welder at the lowest setting and smallest wire is what is required. Wire feed speed is key to getting dialed in and distance/time from work. Tack, let it cool before next tack so it won’t warp. Use compressed air to speed things up between tacks.

My suggestion if you’ve never welded sheetmetal before, practice on scrap metal before you attempt on the car. Burn-through can make a hole repair get larger and larger and.....
You are absolutely correct, wire feed speed makes all the difference. During my practices with my educational administration's fancy Miller MIG welders, I found my welds improve exponentially the more I dialed in the wire speed to my individual welding "style." I had much splatter to start with, but as I improved that day, I felt the welds did too.

On the topic of galvanized metal; if I really have the heart to cut up a car, even a deformed one, I think it would be better for me to try to grind off the galvanizing before I try welding it. Is Ol' Rusty galvanized as well, or is it just an electrochemical dip I see under the paint?

And by the way, how are the welds? This is actually my third time welding, so I'd say either the MIG welder was really high-class, or I am actually somwhat improving. I've got a long way to go, but I am halfway there already. The first attempt that day were the cruder-looking beads (in the back) on the first metal doughnut thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Monday's Update, just a little update:

I reinstalled the front wheels and dropped the car. Done.

On to the real reason I am writing this:

As I have been working around the floor, planning and scheming the final repair, one curiosity has stood out to me. Near the beginning of my ownership of this car, I removed the front seats to do a full cleaning of all surfaces (I knew about the rust at this point). The two rear outer seat mounting brackets spot-welded to the floor that the seat frames bolt to were not allowing me to unbolt the seats from them. With everything stuck, frozen, or in general states of disrepair, I didn't notice that the brackets were totally rusted to hell. With a slight shift of the seat, they completely disintegrated, while the seat(s) lost all footing to the floor in that corner.

I would like to know if I can get these brackets new, or if I would have to fabricate something myself. There isn't really much on these parts around the Internet, so I assume it usually isn't a problem to others. So, if any of you people know where to get a pair of these brackets, I could really use the help. If not, I could probably fabricate a crude-yet-functional facsimile.

I really need to quit making these huge intros for something as simple as a floor bracket. Complaints are welcomed.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Monday's Update (chronologically), it's been a while:

Engine diagnostics, headliner and sunroof work, moral and psychological dilemmas, and more cleaning of interior areas are following.

It's been two weeks, and I have only had the time to really sit down with Rusty during the last 3 days. The majority of this update's progress was achieved yesterday. I finished removing all interior trim pieces (I didn't break any!), and I cleaned out all my "junk" scattered throughout the car. I have almost been able to completely remove the headliner, in preparation to fix the rotten surround tray, but I am still stumped by how it is attached at the back of the sunroof opening (the headliner is pretty nasty and moldy, and it has more than a few tears in it - should I just cut it out?). Next up was the floor. The rear seat area was fairly dirty, so I spent a few hours cleaning up that whole vicinity (Simple Green, paint brush, and many, many paper towels).

While cleaning around the sunroof, and attempting to remove the brittle baked-on packing tape I had put around the sunroof out of desperation during the wet winter, I noticed that the roof paint had developed very small rust spots across the entire surface. The curiosity was that they didn't seem to penetrate the paint. My only explanation is that I may have, during my grinding, inadvertently thrown metal particles onto the roof, where they sat and rusted. Is there any way I can remove these, as well as the packing tape?

I've also been cleaning up some interior pieces, now that I have the time (little kid on summer vacation). I scrubbed clean the 3 floor carpets the car came with (I thought I would have to throw them away, they were so nasty - a plastic scrub brush and Dawn are THE way to go, before and after is incredible), and I "treated" some of the rubber parts in moderate shape with that ArmourIt stuff. Now, the dashboard doesn't look too bad, as well as that rubber boot that covers the turn signal handle mechanism. I also experimented with cheap Harbor Freight brand rubberized undercoating on the center lower valance panel rock shield thing (mine is pretty deformed to hell, so it's more of a finishing test), and the results were promising.

I decided to finally get to the bottom of my stupid engine problem, and I think I have it identified (here goes). When I try starting the car, it runs fine until it builds fuel pressure. I remove the fuel pump relay, try starting it, and it runs fine until it loses fuel pressure. The engine stalls WITH the relay because it is being forced to run too rich. The engine stalls WITHOUT the relay because it is being forced to run too lean. When I feather the accelerator enough to get it running, it sputters and shakes in protest because it is getting too much fuel. A few months ago, I removed the airflow metering valve to do a super-clean. During this time, I must have screwed something up during the reinstall, allowing too much fuel to the injectors. OR, I have a wiring issue. With the bustle of the removal of the dashboard, I may have pulled something off that is critical to the regulation of fuel pressure. During my realization of this, I had the hood propped open. When I had completed my final report in my mind, and my arms were out of the way, the hood quickly slammed itself shut. I would like to think of that as Rusty saying, in a very firm fashion, "Du hast den Fehler gefunden. Sie sind fertig."

We may or may not have the opportunity to get ourselves a welder during the next few days. I will throw an update on here if we are able to.

That's all for now, feel free to tell me how expensive new headliners are.
 

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85 Audi Coupe Quattro, 71 BMW turbo 2002, 73 BMW 2002tii, 85 BMW 635csi
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The WUR is also supplied power by the fuel pump relay, not just the fuel pump. WUR is under intake manifold toward the rear, fastened to block. Inspect there.

WUR controls the K jet warm and cold control fuel pressure.
 

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1981 W123 280E "Rusty", 1987 W124 300E "Hans"
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Discussion Starter #40
I will check it momentarily.

Is there anything in particular I should look for? I took a look at it earlier, and noticed the whole assemblage was coated with oily detritus. That won't necessarily affect its functionality, will it?
 
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