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Discussion Starter #1
It's time...

After sitting for a bit over a year while waiting for finances to stabilize, it was time to start fixing up my '83 300D " 'ol blue" (named after blue's clues since I have a toddler and every time I look at it I find more "clues"...) I had considered selling it, even listed it once, but decided to hold on to it and see how things went. (Plus, it was the only vehicle I had with the title in my name.)

I found some rust on it, on the passenger side rear floor board and got it all cut away and sealed/painted with a temporary piece of metal while i waited to get a welder (rainy season was coming and need it to be a DD just in case. I did find some rust behind the front wheel on the same side and both the front jack points have a little surface rust where the paint got chipped away. I treated it and coated it with an under body sealant again till I could get a welder. Up front there is a bit of what seems to be normal rust on the surface behind the bumper, which I will probably take care of pretty soon since my shop area is heated. I have gone over the care with a magnet and my fingers, searching for any more crunches, and so far it seems no structural damage has occurred. I may find other wise depending on how far back the rust has made it on that front passenger area.

My A/C doesn't work (not that I really use it in western Washington) and my heat has only one mode, High Defrost. I have the service manual, wiring schematics, multimeters, home made vacuum tester, and the stubbornness of a mule for that, I will be taking tons of pictures when I get under that dash.

When I bought the car, all 4 windows worked, now neither of my back windows nor the drivers window will roll down, all three will roll up though.

My antenna is a nub...

My vacuum system was all messed up, and I still have a few hoses sitting in a box that I haven't put back on yet. I think they are to the EGR and CC. I'll take a picture of that if i remember just to get some second opinions.

I finally found my exhaust leak, or at least a rough idea... It seems to be between the exhaust on the engine and the turbo. When I get the engine under load I can hear an almost screeching sound that is a lower frequency then the turbo but matches its changes in pitch. Also, when I start the car on a cold day, I can see blue smoke coming up between the valve cover and air filter.

The engine has good compression on all 5, the valves have been adjusted, and the sunroof works flawlessly though. The transmission shifts hard every once and awhile, but I think that just needs some adjustments and new vacuum hoses. Every once and awhile she will shift super smooth and at just the right rpm. I have even beat a ricer at a stop light!

Now the suspension... I knew it needed some love when I bought it, after all I did get the car for $500, but getting under there, now that is a different story.... When driving the car the steering wheel was always loose, it wouldn't straighten itself, and potholes or bumps in the road would cause the care to change direction. Now I know why... My lower control arms? no rubber. My tierods? no seals. Even the boots on my ball joints were cracked and lacking grease. No wonder my wife didn't want to drive it :p

I priced out autohausaz and took a look at some eBay kits and took a gamble. The eBay kit came out at $202.11 and I was surprised to find all the parts in it were Uro, Febi, or Pex. (The next day the price had jumped up to $329.55 $18 more then autohaus)

So on to the first task, the suspension. So far I have torn out the tie rods (fork+sledge= :bowdown: ) and the steering dampener. Used a harbor freight tool on the springs and got the drivers side out, have the shock removed, and all that's left is to take out the brake support, remove the bolt on the lower control arm, take off what ever nuts are loosely holding things together, and start the drivers side cleaning and reassembly. I got the Pex ball joints with the kit, so going to try and do that all myself with the option of going to an Indy shop as a backup. I have air tools, presses, and have read that using an old nut and tapping the new ball joint in works with the beveled edges.
Has anyone painted their suspension while they had it all apart? I feel that since this is the first time it hasn't been caked in mud for who knows how long, that some paint is due.

I plan on doing all the work myself, and learning as I go. This is my first diesel, first MB, and my third german car. (I'm 6'8", they know how to make them for me ;) ) I plan on getting 'ol blue as close to restored as possible, while doing all the work myself. I also plan on keeping a journal on all that I have done in this thread. Somehow sharing makes all those frustrations seem almost comical :p

Wish me luck! :D
 

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I don't want to sound depressing, but don't let this car break your heart. Look around for a better specimen -- they're common in the West. Take your time, be patient. You'll come out ahead spending $4K on a car somebody cared about instead of trying to restore this $500 mess. Look for a 100% rust-free car to sink your money into, for starters. This one is a parts donor, your detailed post suggests that strongly.

Find yourself a cream puff. They're out there. And a little more about the market: URO parts are junk. Stay away from them. Lemfoerder is the gold standard; Febi/Bilstein and Meyle are OK, but when you want durability (like in ball joints) don't settle for less than the best.

Your window issue is likely in the switches and'or funky fuses. Defrost only is prolly the dual-diaphragm vacuum pod, altho there may be other problems. Don't bother trying to fix it should it prove to be bad -- just replace it. The repair kits won't work on this specific pod. Of course, it's the priciest one.

Look out for Autohaus. They have good parts, and they sell URO. When it doubt, spend the extra couple bucks. The forum won't let me recommend a certain parts vendor run by a guy named Rusty Cullens, but he's a solid guy. Google his name.

Ron at GermanStar also has been a reliable parts vendor for me. He's a moderator on this site, so let's see if his name gets censored as well as Rusty's site.

OK, looks like GermanStar is acceptable to forum software. Bottom line, go with a parts jobber you can trust. The world is flooded with crappy aftermarket parts, so you want someone who will help you through the minefield.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I figure worst case is I get a solid body 300td and throw my mechanicals in to it.

Best case is I save another 300d from the junk yard.

I have been dieing to get more welding practice in and will be getting a shielded mig welder for Christmas. Don't dare try it with my stick welder.

I get her fixed up and cancer free and she's getting some good suspension bits, I am just glad there were brand names on the parts :p read posts where it was all in chinese. Was probably made in the same factory though....
 

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I figure worst case is I get a solid body 300td and throw my mechanicals in to it.

Best case is I save another 300d from the junk yard.

I have been dieing to get more welding practice in and will be getting a shielded mig welder for Christmas. Don't dare try it with my stick welder.

I get her fixed up and cancer free and she's getting some good suspension bits, I am just glad there were brand names on the parts :p read posts where it was all in chinese. Was probably made in the same factory though....
Two years ago, I was in the same situation like you. New to car maintenance(both gas and diesel, I even did not know there is fuel filter in car). I learned a lot from this forum and the w123.

Good luck and safety first!
 

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Two years ago, I was in the same situation like you. New to car maintenance(both gas and diesel, I even did not know there is fuel filter in car). I learned a lot from this forum and the w123.

Good luck and safety first!
Leviac,

I'd be doing the same as you as well!

Good luck,
Dave
 

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BTW, here in Ohio that would probably be considered a clean car, it's all relative.

Have fun & enjoy the process!

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I nearly have the entire front end finished (been working on it nights) and its looking a ton better. The big bushings on the lower control arm was missing a good junk off its rubbers and all my ball joints were hosed. Only thing I am waiting on now is a new support joint (the old one created a nice orange cloud when i removed it from the body.) I would say that the support joint was probably causing my direction shifts when i hit bumps in the road as it had a good solid half inch of travel.

I should get it all finished up on Monday when the new part gets in. Alignment is scheduled for Tuesday.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Other then the rust hole in the floor that i fixed and the rust around the front jack points she seems pretty solid. I was worried that there would be rust in the rear area since my rear seal was leaking, but haven't found any (took apart everything in the rear while I was searching for rats nests). Since I need a new front and rear window with seals I went ahead and sealed off what I already had with a few beads of silicone. No more leaks!. Even my sunroof doesn't leak. I even power washed and bleached all of the metal on the inside of the car and replaced the insulation/vapor shielding. Was tempted to use some spray in truck bed lining and really make it tough.

Going to try and take the turbo out and fix my exhaust leak today. I originally thought it was the down pipe, but that looks nearly new.

It's interesting to see the mix of new and old parts and I work my way through the car. One of the support joints was new, one of the ball bearings was new, both the upper control joints were new but the bushings on the lower control arm look like they have been there forever. I have replaced the steering gear box with a low mileage one (~40k miles) and have already swapped out the fan motor and the CCU with refurbished units.

Any tips for tearing out the dash? Have a not so pleasant smell coming from under it and want to trace all my electrical wiring to make sure nothing has melted/been chewed through. While i am in there I probably should fix my odometer...

I got the ball joints out by duct taping an appropriately sized nut to the backside of the joint and pounding on it with the back side of an ax. Took me 3 swings and it popped right now. Thinking that I should make sure that there is always a fresh roll of duct tape in the repair kit for those road side emergencies. Already have a soldering iron and some baling wire in there :p

And can't forget a digital copy of the OM617 and W123 service manuals on my tablet that is always with me. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
BTW, here in Ohio that would probably be considered a clean car, it's all relative.

Have fun & enjoy the process!

Dave
I have seen some pretty rusty cars around here. Considering the $500 I put down on the car with a solid engine, its a win win for me even if I do just use it as a parts car. If our old welder hadn't gone kapoot, I'd have 99% of these rust spots fixed already. Going to start with the ones under the car for the practice then take care of the ones on the side once I can get a decent looking bead. What I have underneath is tacked in with a stick welder and sealed with caulking and an underbody sealer till i get me a decent MIG.

Someday I want to bring an old VW Bus back from the dead, and will have to do a ton of welding on that, so best to get all my practice in on a car that doesn't have any structural damage. :)
 

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Any tips for tearing out the dash? Have a not so pleasant smell coming from under it and want to trace all my electrical wiring to make sure nothing has melted/been chewed through. While i am in there I probably should fix my odometer...

...
Take your time - try not to break anything. When putting it back in be patient.

Are you sure you need to remove it? You can get quite a lot of access from underneath if you remove the lower trim panels and the front seats you can lie on your back and mess about to your heart's content...
 

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I will give that a try. I also forgot I have an old webcam that I could probably tear apart and attach to a rod. will see what I can do to get in there before I tear it out. terrified that I am going to find a nest under there or something and need to bleach it out.
 

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Leviac,

A friend of mine let me use his Lincoln SP100 to rebuild a horse trailer that sat in a field for years & than sat in my yard for another four. I was able to weld sheet metal all the way up to 3/16 angle iron with no problems. Make sure you get a name like Lincoln, Miller or Hobart w adjustable heat & wire speed settings.

After I finished the trailer My wife bought me the exact model used on Ebay. Mine is only a 110. All you need. Even the little bigger ones like 140 & up can't do the sheet metal, according to my friend that bought his to run his body shop. My Lincoln is a tank, built as well as a MB! Last one I'll need, I use it to fix stuff on my farm too!

It's cheaper to keep her,
Dave
 
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