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1976 450SL, 1945 Willy's CJ2A, 2007 Dodge Nitro
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1976450sl (Edit: Sorry it was actually tdskip.) gave me a great idea. I loved his thread about his 1000 mile trip. I too have been preparing for a trip. My wife, 2 daughters, and I are moving from Yucca Valley, CA to Mt. Shasta (my home town). I will be moving first and preparing to start school. I will be going in my 1976 450SL. I have been getting it ready on a very tight budget. So far I've spent about $500 getting it road worthy. I've been driving around town for a few weeks. Each day presents me with an issue, but I think I've worked out most of the kinks.

This is what I've done so far:
- Replaced fuel pump and filter
- Cleaned all fuel lines
- Tested fuel volume (good)
- Cleaned and tested WUR
- Removed fuel distributor and cleaned it out and made sure the plunger is free and moving well.
- Replaced fuel pressure regulator (my issue with this is that I can't test fuel pressure, only volume as I don't have the proper gauge).
- Tested vacuum. I'm getting about 12 psi at idle. When I rev it drops and when I let go it jumps to about 18 for a second.
- Tested spark and checked spark plugs (they look brand new).
- Adjusted the timing. Book says TDC, but at that point it ran like crap so I used an old method my father-in-law helped me with where we found a steep hill and advanced the timing until it backfired when I mashed the gas pointing up hill then backed it off to just where it didn't backfire. This got me the most power. I guess he got that method from an old Jaguar manual.
- Bled brakes and checked pads (look new too).
- Removed starter and checked flywheel for any damage (had to replace solenoid so I just checked out everything while I was at it).
- Changed cigar lighter for cigarette lighter, I really didn't want to but I had to because it wasn't working and now I can plug my phone in.
- Built a deck for the back seat area and added a cheap Walmart speaker box.
- Painted the car viper blue pearl.

Still to do:
- Change the oil and filter (just did this but I'll do it again anyway).
- Change belts
- Change CV boots (one is cracked).


The car only has 18000 miles since the engine was rebuilt. The problem was that it sat for about 7-9 years.

I know it's far from perfect, but the car drives really well. Still need to change the accumulator. I'll have to order it from the internets when I get to Mt. Shasta. It really purrs when it's going and it idles smooth. Since receiving this car and driving it for the first time I've wanted to take it on a journey. It's the best driving car I've owned and I absolutely love it.

I'm bringing a tool box with metric wrenches and some other good stuff. I've got AAA and a chunk of money in case I break down. I have a few spare parts too.

Thanks to tdskip's thread I've really got a good idea as to what I'll need and need to do. I really just wanted to hear some opinions on anything else I might need. I'll be posting pics along the way and keeping you guys up-to-date on how it goes. I have a few days until I leave.

I'll put up a couple pictures of the route I'm taking. The first part is 688 miles from Yucca Valley, CA to Sacramento. I decided to take the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to San Francisco. I've always wanted to make that drive. The second part of the trip is from Sacramento to Mt. Shasta. There are some really cool farms along hwy 70 with fresh fruit to snack on along the way.



 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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32,348 Posts
I was pulling your leg. I knew which one you were referring to.
You seem to have a good grasp of what is needed and have done many maintenance items.
 

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1976 450SL, 1945 Willy's CJ2A, 2007 Dodge Nitro
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I was pulling your leg. I knew which one you were referring to.
You seem to have a good grasp of what is needed and have done many maintenance items.
Haha, I've seen a lot of your posts so I had a feeling you might be messing with me. I do appreciate you catching that though. I wanted to make sure everyone knew who I got the idea of the thread from.
Even though I have done a lot of maintenance and have a decent grasp of what's needed I still am a little nervous.
I would be very appreciative of any advice, especially from experienced long trip makers.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
1979 280sl 4 sp w/ac 1957 MGA 1998 volvo xc/70 2004 F150
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6,050 Posts
Besides things to take with you, keep in mind:

- If your running hot, turn the heat and fan on full blast, it will act as an additional radiator.
- If the alternator goes continue driving with all accesories off (lights/wipers, radio etc.). It may be enough to get you there. Also, you can get pretty far on a charged battery.
 

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL
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973 Posts
Haha, I've seen a lot of your posts so I had a feeling you might be messing with me. I do appreciate you catching that though. I wanted to make sure everyone knew who I got the idea of the thread from.
Even though I have done a lot of maintenance and have a decent grasp of what's needed I still am a little nervous.
I would be very appreciative of any advice, especially from experienced long trip makers.
If the gas pumps when you stop for fuel are on a lateral grade, pull up to the pumps so that the fuel filler is on the UPhill side and the fuel will run DOWNhill.

Filling the tank the other way on a previous long trip shorted me almost three gallons because, I surmise, an air bubble forms on the opposite side of the SL's tank when filling the it from the downhill side.

Have a safe and enjoyable journey, bud!

Good road,
 

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1985 380SL(2) 1973 450SL
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491 Posts
ok. log onto to Hotwire.com...I hear they have some really good airline rates and 1 way bus tickets. Also make sure you have roadside assistance and towing on your Auto policy.

Enjoy the ride! lmao
 

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Registered
1976 450SL, 1945 Willy's CJ2A, 2007 Dodge Nitro
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Besides things to take with you, keep in mind:

- If your running hot, turn the heat and fan on full blast, it will act as an additional radiator.
- If the alternator goes continue driving with all accesories off (lights/wipers, radio etc.). It may be enough to get you there. Also, you can get pretty far on a charged battery.
Thanks Pete, great advice. Luckily the alternator is fairly new and the battery is brand new. :thumbsup:

If the gas pumps when you stop for fuel are on a lateral grade, pull up to the pumps so that the fuel filler is on the UPhill side and the fuel will run DOWNhill.

Filling the tank the other way on a previous long trip shorted me almost three gallons because, I surmise, an air bubble forms on the opposite side of the SL's tank when filling the it from the downhill side.

Have a safe and enjoyable journey, bud!

Good road,
Thanks, that's something I would never have thought of.

ok. log onto to Hotwire.com...I hear they have some really good airline rates and 1 way bus tickets. Also make sure you have roadside assistance and towing on your Auto policy.

Enjoy the ride! lmao
Haha, I actually have priced out plane tickets for the way back since I have to come back to pick up the moving truck. I don't want to make the trip twice in the car.
 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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747 Posts
I'm assuming you've done the basics like oil+filter change, check all fluid levels including differential, check tire pressure. If you've never serviced your trany it might be a good time to change the fluid and put in a new filter.
 

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1976 450SL, 1945 Willy's CJ2A, 2007 Dodge Nitro
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I'm assuming you've done the basics like oil+filter change, check all fluid levels including differential, check tire pressure. If you've never serviced your trany it might be a good time to change the fluid and put in a new filter.
Servicing the tranny is a good idea. I definitely should. I've never checked differential fluid. Could you give me a quick lesson in doing that? If not I can look it up, but I will be doing that today for sure.
 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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747 Posts
Servicing the tranny is a good idea. I definitely should. I've never checked differential fluid. Could you give me a quick lesson in doing that? If not I can look it up, but I will be doing that today for sure.
On my 380SL there's a hex-drive threaded plug on the rear of the diff case. I recall buying a set of 1/2" hex-drive sockets at HF for this job. There's probably a more correct way to do this, but my method was to remove the plug and fill with the 90wt gear oil I had on hand. I've always followed the rule of thumb that it's full when it reaches the lower edge of the fill hole.

Back to basics.. you'll also want to check your belts, hoses, and front-end alignment; particularly if your car pulls to one side on straight flat roads or if you're noticing strange or uneven tread wear. 900 miles on a misaligned front end can tear up your tires fast.
 

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1976 450SL, 1945 Willy's CJ2A, 2007 Dodge Nitro
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
On my 380SL there's a hex-drive threaded plug on the rear of the diff case. I recall buying a set of 1/2" hex-drive sockets at HF for this job. There's probably a more correct way to do this, but my method was to remove the plug and fill with the 90wt gear oil I had on hand. I've always followed the rule of thumb that it's full when it reaches the lower edge of the fill hole.

Back to basics.. you'll also want to check your belts, hoses, and front-end alignment; particularly if your car pulls to one side on straight flat roads or if you're noticing strange or uneven tread wear. 900 miles on a misaligned front end can tear up your tires fast.
Awesome, I will get that done today, thanks for the info.
I was really surprised actually at how the car doesn't pull either direction and the tread wear is perfect. I've never had an older car that drives straight.
 

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82 380SL 96 SL500 03 SL500
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900 miles isn't that far.

If you're comfortable that you won't be stranded driving near home, you should be fine.

If you're not.... well, at least you have your AAA card & cash.
 

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1976 450SL, 1945 Willy's CJ2A, 2007 Dodge Nitro
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
.



Confirm that you can remove the fill plug BEFORE you remove the drain plug.
Good thing I have a computer in my garage. I almost didn't do this. Thanks for the tip Dave. Love this Forum, you guys are on it.
 

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1976 450SL, 1945 Willy's CJ2A, 2007 Dodge Nitro
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Changed the rear differential gear oil. It was perfect golden color coming out. Those #14 hex plugs were incredibly tough to remove. I don't have a hex set so I just took a 14mm bolt and drilled a hole through the nut and put a nail through it. Then cut off the nail and filed it smooth.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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29,512 Posts
If the gas pumps when you stop for fuel are on a lateral grade, pull up to the pumps so that the fuel filler is on the UPhill side and the fuel will run DOWNhill.

Filling the tank the other way on a previous long trip shorted me almost three gallons because, I surmise, an air bubble forms on the opposite side of the SL's tank when filling the it from the downhill side.
You're starting to scare me Herb.
 
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