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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m completely new to cleaning a car aside from taking it to the car wash. I want to give my ‘79 300SD W116 the best care I can though and wash it weekly. Any advice on cleaners, methods, etc? I’d imagine the use of wool would be best?
 

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1986/1990 W126
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Ooh so much to tell. But, do you think this car has any original paint? What kind of condition is it in?
 

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ooh so much to tell. But, do you think this car has any original paint? What kind of condition is it in?
I believe it does! Original astral blue. Good condition overall, though the topside of the trunk is rather faded/ torn. That water or sun-spot type damage— something I hope to repaint a ways in the future.
There is a bit of rust underneath the door (though not on the door itself) / behind the wheel of the driver and back passenger.
Aside from that, overall great condition!
 

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1986/1990 W126
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I do love these cars. Firstly get it as clean as possible. Lots of nice warm PH neutral soapy water. Let the solution float the dirt off rather than you rubbing hard. Doing that creates more scratches. People often use that snow foam type of wash stuff.

Give it a few nice washes and see what's what I would. If any of the paint is original it will be very high quality. But when the clearcoat starts to fail, that might be what you have on your boot lid. Only repainting can solve that, although I've had some lucky results with clearcoating over that on small areas in an amateur way. That approach won't last long though really.

Once it's really clean you can start polishing paint. Lots of elbow grease and cutting paste! Foam pads can be good, used by hand or otherwise. Avoiding rubbing too hard on corners and edges or you'll rub through. Machine polishing can be good but that's a whole other skill to learn and a load of equipment to buy. I use both methods.

Finer polish to refine - so many types to choose from and seal the finish. Meguiars make some great stuff but there's all sorts. Ultimately I put this sealant over the top of the fully polished paint, called Klasse. But only once I can see under a bright light that the paint finish is free of swirls and blemishes.

I once had a W116 that had been painted DIY style. Awful. I polished it so much it literally completely flattened and glossed this awful homedone lumpy semi gloss paint job. Looked great! But a serious amount of hand buffing. And I mean serious 😂
 

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I do love these cars. Firstly get it as clean as possible. Lots of nice warm PH neutral soapy water. Let the solution float the dirt off rather than you rubbing hard. Doing that creates more scratches. People often use that snow foam type of wash stuff.


Give it a few nice washes and see what's what I would. If any of the paint is original it will be very high quality. But when the clearcoat starts to fail, that might be what you have on your boot lid. Only repainting can solve that, although I've had some lucky results with clearcoating over that on small areas in an amateur way. That approach won't last long though really.

Once it's really clean you can start polishing paint. Lots of elbow grease and cutting paste! Foam pads can be good, used by hand or otherwise. Avoiding rubbing too hard on corners and edges or you'll rub through. Machine polishing can be good but that's a whole other skill to learn and a load of equipment to buy. I use both methods.

Finer polish to refine - so many types to choose from and seal the finish. Meguiars make some great stuff but there's all sorts. Ultimately I put this sealant over the top of the fully polished paint, called Klasse. But only once I can see under a bright light that the paint finish is free of swirls and blemishes.

I once had a W116 that had been painted DIY style. Awful. I polished it so much it literally completely flattened and glossed this awful homedone lumpy semi gloss paint job. Looked great! But a serious amount of hand buffing. And I mean serious 😂
Such great information, thank you very much!
I had thought I heard to use water very, very sparingly, but PH neutral probably solves that. I may try out the snow foam like you’d mentioned, just to be safe. Do you recommend foam pads over wool, then?
Thank you again!
 

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1986/1990 W126
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Yeah you can get these foam polish pads to use by hand. I've not seen wool ones for hand use yet.

You can get wool pads for using on the end of a drill, or foam ones too. Using a drill mop for polishing can be good if done carefully but it'll leave swirls all over the paint because of the circular nature of it.

There's so much to know about polishing, you could get lost for hours reading up about it.

Before you can polish any paint though, the surface has to be immaculately clean so you're not running tiny particles of dirt around.
 

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah you can get these foam polish pads to use by hand. I've not seen wool ones for hand use yet.

You can get wool pads for using on the end of a drill, or foam ones too. Using a drill mop for polishing can be good if done carefully but it'll leave swirls all over the paint because of the circular nature of it.

There's so much to know about polishing, you could get lost for hours reading up about it.

Before you can polish any paint though, the surface has to be immaculately clean so you're not running tiny particles of dirt around.
Thank you once again, Ian! May I ask, if you don’t have PH neutral water, what’s the best bet to completely clean the W116 before polishing it? I learned that I’d need a power washer for the snow foam which I don’t have access to as of now. Which soap might you recommend as well? I just can’t seem to find the information that outright says how and how much water/ what type of soap recommended to do the initial clean with. Thank you!
 

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1986/1990 W126
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Oh I don't have PH neutral water or anything. There are lots of nice PH neutral washing solutions you can buy. I don't remember which one I have at the moment.

But lots of soapy water! Loads of it, let the liquid rinse away the dirt. Rubbing hard can be damaging.
 

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh I don't have PH neutral water or anything. There are lots of nice PH neutral washing solutions you can buy. I don't remember which one I have at the moment.

But lots of soapy water! Loads of it, let the liquid rinse away the dirt. Rubbing hard can be damaging.
Great, thank you Ian!
Is there a soap you recommend?
 

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Not really. Any decent quality one from Meguiars is probably what I'd use. But there's loads of good products out there.
Perfect! Sorry, one more question.. I noticed those Armor All sets available in the shop near me. Not really considering one, but wondered if you had experience with those?
 

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Perfect! Sorry, one more question.. I noticed those Armor All sets available in the shop near me. Not really considering one, but wondered if you had experience with those?
Actually.. I’m considering trying Meguiar’s waterless car wash as I can’t find any ph neutral solution near me and it may be easier to give it the initial clean
 

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1986/1990 W126
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I think I'd be careful with Armor all. Only because it seems to sometimes make wood lacquer go cloudy.
And waterless sounds scratchy. Dirt needs to be rinsed away. But it's up to you. Get cleaning! 😂
 

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1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think I'd be careful with Armor all. Only because it seems to sometimes make wood lacquer go cloudy.
And waterless sounds scratchy. Dirt needs to be rinsed away. But it's up to you. Get cleaning! 😂
Hahah thank you! Got Meguiar’s car wash, going to just lightly hose it now. Any clue whether the bumper and trim on a ‘79 W116 is chrome, aluminum, or steel? I got some chrome cleaner from Meguiar’s to test out… it left some swirling with the microfiber towel
 

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190e 2ltr Sportline, 1990 auto
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I would suggest using a clay bar before polishing , the car has to be clean just washing with any good car wash will do,there are lots of videos on Ytube relating to clay bar.
You only have to do it once,then just keep using a good polish , you can never over polish a car, my sportline that I parked up for years,"I am now working on it" still has a great shine on it,I must have polished that car 50 times over the years,I would never take my car through a automatic car wash,
 
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