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450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
~1972 350slc 4-speed just acquired. It appears to have last been tagged in 4/2003 (16+ years ago). The oiler tube is flopping around and these things concern me, but I’m wondering if they are salt crystals left from condensation evaporation or what. The starter is incredibly weak, and this thing is a long way away from starting, but the motor does turn, and I know the previous owner turned the motor over after this thing came out of the barn auction he bought it from. So there’s been some recent cranking. There’s oil in the pan, but the Oiler tube by cylinder 1 is flopping around. So it’s possible we’ve been eating away the metal. But is this metal shavings that have somehow jumped from the cams/rockers to the cast part of the camshaft?

Any idea what we are looking at here?



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Discussion Starter #5

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1984 380SL
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I think these are metal shavings that are result of ill-advised dry cranking.
Yeah, that's what they look like to me. What's impressive to me is how they're stuck pointing. That car must have sat long enough that the vehicle body became magnetized!

It's like those old filing cabinets in grade school. Mind blown!
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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I’m not sure there will be anything challenging about making this car run and drive to verify the drive train. It will be timing consuming though.
Fonzi, looking at some of the threads you've going I honestly think you should consider starting a YouTube channel to document your adventures. A fountain of knowledge for those of us less versed to learn from. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, that's what they look like to me. What's impressive to me is how they're stuck pointing. That car must have sat long enough that the vehicle body became magnetized!

It's like those old filing cabinets in grade school. Mind blown!
The motor has spark, but the throttle linkage is very sticky. The guy I bought it from (who bought it at auction said he pulled the spark plugs because it cranked so slowly, which it still does). I called him to get a rundown of what all he had done with the car and known about it. I figured since he had cranked it, I’d give it a quick go. Now I see that this is a good reason to lube the camshafts and probably even start the car with valve covers off the first time (if it’s an engine you care about). I’ve started so many dead d-jet 4.5 motors and have so many spare parts from them that I’m rarely concerned if they blow up. This 3.5 is “rare” to me. So I’m going to take caution that I might otherwise not. Plus, it seems to generally be more neglected mechanically that the last ~4-5 cars I’ve recently brought back to life. For example, not a single one of them has had seized throttle linkage, not this bad anyway.

After dropping the kids at school this morning, I started getting ready to pull that passenger valve cover but decided I better blow any dust and dirt off the motor before I do that. That lead to a garage organization while trying to find the blower air compressor fitting. Then my hands just got too darned cold. Maybe some time later today.

And I will get a magnet on those shavings.

The reason I ask if they could be something else, my friend Jason Birch @rwd4evr said he saw something that we each described similarly but in much greater quantities on an old motor he recently disassembled, and it was built and built upon itself, too much to be metal shavings, perhaps salt crystals left behind from condensation. Maybe in his case it was condensation that would just drip off the cams/lobes, but would not do so in the casting surface of the camshaft sections. I don’t have any pictures of what he saw on that 1960’s car that appeared to have sat for 30+ years.

Hopefully I will get a magnet on the shavings later today.


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Discussion Starter #11
I tested with three different magnets, and none of these hairs seem to jump to the magnet, even when touched with a rare earth magnet rolling across the camshaft. I was able to bend one of the hairs with the rolling magnet. I don’t know if any of this is going to show up in this video.



It is possible that these are aluminum shavings though, as I can see a few places that the aluminum heads have been contacted by the timing chain. Clearly the TC will need service, but I’m not sure this is the place to discuss that. More for the main thread.




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See if you can carefully remove some and drop into a small beaker of water and see if they dissolve. If they do then I would say it is ok and just some sort of salts of some sorts and change the oil. If they don't dissolve and drop quickly to the bottom of said beaker then they could be Aluminium which would not be good news as the cam bearings are Al.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
See if you can carefully remove some and drop into a small beaker of water and see if they dissolve. If they do then I would say it is ok and just some sort of salts of some sorts and change the oil. If they don't dissolve and drop quickly to the bottom of said beaker then they could be Aluminium which would not be good news as the cam bearings are Al.
There’s no concern where aluminum may have come from...



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Discussion Starter #15
I’m going to give up on my quest, as I’m willing to accept that these could be aluminum shavings or some type of crystal. The hairs are too small to collect, and there are just too many other things going on to worry about these hairs. I was just wondering if anyone else had ever seen this. Maybe I can post the topic in the vintage (iron block) and w126 (most popular) forums to see if anyone else has ever seen these before.

Worth noting is that it’s below freezing here. But I guess if these were water/snow crystals, then they’d melt when I touched them with the warm magnet, not bend.

I also think that any type of salt left behind would most likely be crystal and not bend like I think I saw the one do when it was touched with a magnet.

I am fine with believing that it’s aluminum.

How it found itself attracted to the cast part of the camshaft is an interesting query though.


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