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1988 560SL
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just joined, so I am new to the site. I recently purchased a 1988 560SL. Smoked Silver (some call it champange) with brown soft top. The car has saw little use over the last 15 years. The original owner had driven it up until 1995 and clocked 70,000 miles. The car was sold, and the next owner only put 5,000 miles on the car over the next 15 years to the present day and traded it in to a MB dealer. MB mechanics did some work on it (new brakes, mounts, belts, AC re-charge, and standard maintenance). I did notice that the driver's side power window was not operating...the dealer agreed to fix that. The dealer also agreed to a 90 day limited warranty. I believe the car to be mechanically sound, but you never really know until you drive it for a period of time...all the basic items that you look for seem to be sound. The interior is mint...pebble leather (tan). I would give the body and paint a B+ (not perfect...but, pretty close). Minor issues with the body are a hardly noticable scuff on the front left bumber rubber (I read on this forum that you may be able to use ligt sandpaper and shoe polish to take care of that...I'm a little nervous about taking sandpaper to it...but maybe I will give it a try)... and, very slight scraping (about an inch) over the back left panel. There is also a bit of paint cracking, for lack of a better description (the size of a dime..very small) on the hood..my guess is this was due to the heat of the engine...thoughts on this are welcome. Given the bumper scuff and the scrape were both on the left side...I concluded that the vehicle was side swiped...but you would have to get up there with a magnify glass to discover it. Now, to my original question...when I examined the soft top, I noticed a small hole in the corner of the plastic window...probably due to age and lack of use. The canvas itself is fine...can I just have the plastic replaced????? And is that a big deal? Also, the small body scrape...I can live with this being that 99.9% of the rest of the car is in pretty good shape...but is that something that can be fixed (my concern is with matching the paint -- current color is gorgeous).
 

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Registered
1986 560 SL
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7,355 Posts
Welcome to BW.
Sounds like a nice car. Post some pics.
To replace the window you would need to remove the top, then reinstall it after the fix. It is glued on so that's a lot of trouble; you may as well replace the whole top.
Use very fine wet sandpaper (1000 - 2000) to remove the bumper and paint scuffs.
 

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Registered
300sl 1987
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748 Posts
Hi,

I just started the process of replacing on of my windows WHILE mounted. Let's see what happens. So far:

1- I removed the MOUNTED soft top from the car and it's sitting in my living room for ease of work.

2- I've located the procedure in the service manual and ordered all glues and sealants.

3- I have an old soft top I got for free with sound windows which I will be using. I have removed one window from this with no problmes.

4- I have located the right thread material, thickness and needles.

5- Next I am going to hand-sew the window I removed back into the donator soft-top to see what happens.

6- Then I am going to repeat for MY soft top.

Fingers crossed. Will report as I go.

Cheers
 

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Premium Member
89 R107, 05 CDI
Joined
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2,536 Posts
Hi,

I just started the process of replacing on of my windows WHILE mounted. Let's see what happens. So far:

1- I removed the MOUNTED soft top from the car and it's sitting in my living room for ease of work.

2- I've located the procedure in the service manual and ordered all glues and sealants.

3- I have an old soft top I got for free with sound windows which I will be using. I have removed one window from this with no problmes.

4- I have located the right thread material, thickness and needles.

5- Next I am going to hand-sew the window I removed back into the donator soft-top to see what happens.

6- Then I am going to repeat for MY soft top.

Fingers crossed. Will report as I go.

Cheers
Pictures please.
 

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Registered
1987 560sl, 2005 SL65 AMG
Joined
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34 Posts
Hi,

I just started the process of replacing on of my windows WHILE mounted. Let's see what happens. So far:

1- I removed the MOUNTED soft top from the car and it's sitting in my living room for ease of work.

2- I've located the procedure in the service manual and ordered all glues and sealants.

3- I have an old soft top I got for free with sound windows which I will be using. I have removed one window from this with no problmes.

4- I have located the right thread material, thickness and needles.

5- Next I am going to hand-sew the window I removed back into the donator soft-top to see what happens.

6- Then I am going to repeat for MY soft top.

Fingers crossed. Will report as I go.

Cheers
Can you tell me where you found the thread material, etc. I need to do some work on my soft top as well.

Thanks,
Eric
 

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Registered
300sl 1987
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748 Posts
I will post picts later, it's too late for me now where I live.

I explained the situation and I got 100% polyester german thread branded 'Gütermann' the right thickness & colors. I also bought some sewing machine neddles, the ones graded for thick leather. I guess any specialised store can provide you with that easy.

Having removed the donor window, I am quite confident it's an easy job as long as I develop decent sewing skills before getting into it :-DD A sewing machine is out of the question as the top is mounted so I will have to mimic a sewing machines pattern.

Will post picts.

Cheers
 

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Registered
1988 560SL
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
After reviewing the posts here...I've decided to purchase a brown new soft top from ARO New Page 2. Best one that I came across that matches the original.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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29,512 Posts
After reviewing the posts here...I've decided to purchase a brown new soft top from ARO New Page 2. Best one that I came across that matches the original.
And Putt will give you all the installation advice you need...................
 

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82 380SL 96 SL500 03 SL500
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6,164 Posts
I will post picts later, it's too late for me now where I live.

I explained the situation and I got 100% polyester german thread branded 'Gütermann' the right thickness & colors. I also bought some sewing machine neddles, the ones graded for thick leather. I guess any specialised store can provide you with that easy.

Having removed the donor window, I am quite confident it's an easy job as long as I develop decent sewing skills before getting into it :-DD A sewing machine is out of the question as the top is mounted so I will have to mimic a sewing machines pattern.

Will post picts.

Cheers

Here's the tool you need to sew the window back. They're available inexpensively in most craft shops and include an assortment of needles stored in the handle.
 

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Registered
300sl 1987
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748 Posts
Wow!

that's a cool tool I didn't know about. Will look for it definetely.

So far with std sewing machine needles I have been able to do some practice and results are impressive.

I have already got hold of the glue but the seam sealer is no longer provided, I am looking for a replacement. I hope to have all hardware ready and start in 2 weeks with the project.

Cheers
 

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Registered
1985 500SL 130K (Horst)
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4,442 Posts
I'm curious to see how you make out and to see your pictures. I had a new German top installed three years ago and both plastic side windows this past year have developed a small whole where they crease upon folding. Really sucks.:(
 

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Premium Member
'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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10,338 Posts
Wow!

that's a cool tool I didn't know about. Will look for it definetely.

So far with std sewing machine needles I have been able to do some practice and results are impressive.

I have already got hold of the glue but the seam sealer is no longer provided, I am looking for a replacement. I hope to have all hardware ready and start in 2 weeks with the project.

Cheers
West Marine have inexpensive kits that come with thread, needles and awl.

BAINBRIDGE INTL Needle at West Marine

Sailors use these things to repair sails when at sea as well as for leatherwork etc. It would seem to me that for those without skills or patience, asking around sailmakers or canvas shops should come up with someone who can still hand sew.

Great work Bereng - I am sure it will work out for you.
 

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Registered
1986 560 SL
Joined
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7,355 Posts
West Marine have inexpensive kits that come with thread, needles and awl.

BAINBRIDGE INTL Needle at West Marine

Sailors use these things to repair sails when at sea as well as for leatherwork etc. It would seem to me that for those without skills or patience, asking around sailmakers or canvas shops should come up with someone who can still hand sew.

Great work Bereng - I am sure it will work out for you.
The trouble with any hand-sewing method is that you need access to both sides of the fabric. How many stitches in a window? That's a lot of jumping in and out of the car if you leave the top in place .....
I suppose bereng will have a slightly easier time with the roof assembly off the car, but it's still going to need tons of patience.
 

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Premium Member
1973 450SL 2004 E320 4Matic Wagon 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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3,197 Posts
The trouble with any hand-sewing method is that you need access to both sides of the fabric. How many stitches in a window? That's a lot of jumping in and out of the car if you leave the top in place .....
I suppose bereng will have a slightly easier time with the roof assembly off the car, but it's still going to need tons of patience.
A stitch a day, keeps the....
 

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Registered
300sl 1987
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748 Posts
So,

here are some picts.

Removing donor:



All donor bits:



Finally got the sewing technique right. 6 lower stitches:



You will notice the plastic window has a metallic plate on one of it's corners, to prevent malformations leading to rips (I presume). All 107's happen to have a rip (or an almost rip) at the forward-lower corner of the window, because when it folds it bends the plastic too hard.

The question is what to put in there so that when folding you get a more gentle angle on the pastic preventing the rips... I though of some sort of flexible plastic, maybe some flexible metal that returns to shape. Mmmm Any suggestions welcomed as I have not clue as to how to solve that...

Maybe my dentist can provide me some 'brackets wire'. It's a piece of high-quality, super-rust-proof, flexible metal. But may break after N fold-unfold cicles.

Cheers!
 

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300sl 1987
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748 Posts
Hi Guys,

I am stuck trying to find a good seam sealer. I have the following candidates:

-3M marine grade silicone seam sealer: looks more like a joints sealer to me and they don't answer emails.
-Aquaseal: Looks nice but more towards the outdoor world
-Seam grip: Spot on though still focused towards outdoor activities.

As a wild stab in the dark, has anybody had any experiences with any of these?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Registered
300sl 1987
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748 Posts
Ok so:

-3M finally answered saying none of their products was the right one for the job
-Aqueaseal hasn't answered yet.
-Seam grip answered and they seem to have the right stuff. Besides after much reading looks it's been used widely with great results.

So far:

-Glue: at the dealer
-Seam sealer: ordered
-replacement parts: already with me.
-Old glue/sealer remover: will try with alcohol, otherwise will have to investigate.

This xmas I hope to get it done.

Cheers
 
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