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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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Hehe, Martin, good to see your sense of humor prevails - one would likely go insane otherwise :D I remember those moments well!

Before you go ahead and rip out the dashboard: have you checked the plenum chamber where the heater is - in the engine bay below the windscreen, under a black plastic panel? If you haven't you should as it's notorious for rot and a decent indicator of a car's well being. If there's rot you'll have to get the dash out, otherwise you can leave the dash in situ. Unless you want to take it out just for the craic :D
 

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1979 450SL UK spec
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1,258 Posts
There is also some difficult rust repairs to be done of which I have not yet seen anyone document so am after some suggestions.
As Mikolaj said, you should cut out all the rust and poor welding repairs. Your car looks exactly like mine did.

Check out the repairs to this area at 13.30 into the video.

 

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1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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If you do take the dash out, make sure you take lots of pics and fully record what you did. It's easy to undo stuff but remembering where it all goes weeks later is something else. Use lots of Glad bags and write on them. If you keep them in some sort of order that will make it easier. There are so many nuts and bolts of different sizes. Wear gloves without finger tips so you don't scratch the living hell out of the back of your hands and wear clear glasses so crud doesn't fall in your eyes because you'll be lying on you back a lot.:) The manual has a good description of the job. BTW you can reno your heater box after you get it out- that's a grubby job but well worthwhile as all the foam will have gone.
 

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1975 450 SLC
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #24
If I do remove the dash it will be for renovating the heater box which needs doing, not sure if I will do it this time round though.
I cut and wire brushed and constructed today. Little progress altogether though, but I feel a bit better for getting myself organised. I had to remove the fusebox today as there is lots of rust in behind it and below it. It appears that the Dirivers side RHS is the worst side of all with lots of floor pan to cut out along with the cross brace under the seat will require cutting out and rebuilding along with some straightening as it appears quite bent from a crash I am guessing in the early 80's judging on the repair methods and materials used. Some Brazing along with welding which I think has been done by Oxy Acetylene I think, I am guessing done in pre-MIG days.
Here are a few photos along with my newly constructed front supports I made up with ply.
There is also a dodgey curious repair done on the LHS front which just seems wrong to me, so I will cut it out and redo it.
IMG_4362.JPG IMG_4385.JPG IMG_4387.JPG IMG_4389.JPG IMG_4390.JPG
 

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1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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5,154 Posts
Have you checked the scuttle under the grilles in front of the windshield? I saw an 84 car that was not too bad but the scuttle/firewall was completely rusted out.
 

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1975 450 SLC
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #26
Aussiemerc I have not yet gotten those scuttles off yet (I am going to have to destroy the plastic clips).

I have made some slow progress today and made the decision to remove the RHS front fender so I can gain better access to where I have to cut and weld. A lot of fun getting that off, I first had to find every screw and bolt holding it in then move a very heavy cabinet out of the way then reload it back up so I could open the RHS door far enough to get to the last two hidden bolts.
Lots of old repairs have been cut out plus the extra rust that they enhanced and held in, no doubt blocking up the drain holes. I will have to cut out a strip along the floor and sill panels on both sides with lots of welding back in to be done once I make up replacement panels etc.
The jacking point on the RHS had flexed when I tried jacking it up, I found out why today, the repair which was done had only welded the outside end to the sill. Hence why it started to bend when jacked up a bit. This one will need a bit of work, I am thinking I will have to remove it totally and weld in a complete new one. I do hope I have the car supported enough so it does not collapse on me and give me too much grief. I suspect I should remove the RHS door to take some weight off it but then it may hold it all in shape if left shut when doing the repairs - thoughts?
Yours (in grinding and cutting dust) Martin.

RHS jacking point (Sill inner).JPG RHS front view .JPG
 

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1979 450SL UK spec
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My car opened up a couple of mm when doing all the work on it so you do need to worry about this. It makes getting the soft top up very tight.

Ideally you would remove the engine and front/back subframes/suspension to get all the weight off the extremities of the car causing it to flex outwards and put braces across the door.

The least you can do is keep the doors fitted and dont open them when doing the work.

I ended up just putting braces across the door openings which was less than ideal.
 

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1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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5,154 Posts
Aussiemerc I have not yet gotten those scuttles off yet (I am going to have to destroy the plastic clips).

I have made some slow progress today and made the decision to remove the RHS front fender so I can gain better access to where I have to cut and weld. A lot of fun getting that off, I first had to find every screw and bolt holding it in then move a very heavy cabinet out of the way then reload it back up so I could open the RHS door far enough to get to the last two hidden bolts.
Lots of old repairs have been cut out plus the extra rust that they enhanced and held in, no doubt blocking up the drain holes. I will have to cut out a strip along the floor and sill panels on both sides with lots of welding back in to be done once I make up replacement panels etc.
The jacking point on the RHS had flexed when I tried jacking it up, I found out why today, the repair which was done had only welded the outside end to the sill. Hence why it started to bend when jacked up a bit. This one will need a bit of work, I am thinking I will have to remove it totally and weld in a complete new one. I do hope I have the car supported enough so it does not collapse on me and give me too much grief. I suspect I should remove the RHS door to take some weight off it but then it may hold it all in shape if left shut when doing the repairs - thoughts?
Yours (in grinding and cutting dust) Martin.

View attachment 2612171 View attachment 2612170
The little clips are easy to replace if you destroy them. You need to be gentle with those grilles. Mine are aluminum and very easy to bend. I think Race Diagnostics has forgotten more about the sort of repairs you are doing than I'll ever know. Good luck mate.
 

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1975 450 SLC
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #29
Thanks A/merc I will drill out the centre of the clips carefully and just buy some more.
I am going to start welding in some of the cut outs I have done to reduce the chances of my car getting all out of shape. I do have the car supported at the front and back of the front end so it does not have all the weight on the rest of the car - such as at the centre cross member under the motor and at the rear of the transmission hopefully this will stop the car from bending away.
Now to get the welder out and do a few practise welds.
 

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1975 280SLC
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46 Posts
Just started reading this thread and it brings back so many similar problems.
Not sure if it's been mentioned yet but look carefully around the rear window edge.
If you see any small bubbles/blisters then you will end up removing the glass to do repairs.
I ended up stripping out the whole car and having the shell fine blasted and reprimed. It's a '75 280 SLC so not so different.
 

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1975 280SLC
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One thing I really learned is you can't rush it. 馃槅.
Maybe I decided to go OTT but I'm retired so it keeps me occupied.
Decided to bling up the interior and engine when it was out as well.
 

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1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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One thing I really learned is you can't rush it. 馃槅.
Maybe I decided to go OTT but I'm retired so it keeps me occupied.
Decided to bling up the interior and engine when it was out as well.
Wow those 100 spokes must take ages to clean ! I guess you don't drive in the rain if you can avoid it.:)
 

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1975 280SLC
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Wow those 100 spokes must take ages to clean ! I guess you don't drive in the rain if you can avoid it.:)
Stripped, re-chromed and rebuilt.
Still not completed the car and have stripped out all the fuel injection system and replacing with these carbs, 馃槅馃槅 against all good advice.
 

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1975 450 SLC
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Discussion Starter #34
Wow Andy you are going way further than what I have planned on doing (this time around - I want to get to drive the thing first). I hope to get mine done within the next few months as I am going to have to demolish my shed and then build a new one. Yes I may be biting off more than I can chew, but similar to you I am retiring soon but I want to have mine finished before I retire so I can still pay for it.
I do have 3 more spots I have not yet checked out how bad they are, one on the roof above the RHS door one on the boot lip near the hinge and one on the RHS door near the handle. I may just do the dodgey patch for those for the time being though (depending upon how bad they really are under the paintwork).
 

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1975 280SLC
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Wow Andy you are going way further than what I have planned on doing (this time around - I want to get to drive the thing first). I hope to get mine done within the next few months as I am going to have to demolish my shed and then build a new one. Yes I may be biting off more than I can chew, but similar to you I am retiring soon but I want to have mine finished before I retire so I can still pay for it.
I do have 3 more spots I have not yet checked out how bad they are, one on the roof above the RHS door one on the boot lip near the hinge and one on the RHS door near the handle. I may just do the dodgey patch for those for the time being though (depending upon how bad they really are under the paintwork).
Not trying to discourage you mate and I hope you're driving it soon.
I could have done a lot less I suppose but maybe I just into the 'this thing won't beat me' mindset and carried on.
Re rear window. Paint bubbles near the rubber can mean this.
 

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