Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. My name is Tony from Southern California. I am a W126 enthusiast since I was a child. My mother had a maroon 420SEL back around early 1990s and my father had a black 300CE. I loved that car. It was the car I learned with a permit and finally got my license on. Now that I'm older I have found the time to own and drive one again. However throughout my life I owned many cars but I always had the itch to modify. I've seen many photos of modified W126 and love the look even more. I decided to build one for myself. I have a friend who's father owned a 1988 560SEL Black/Palomino since new. I asked to buy the car several years ago knowing it had issues. Finally last year they sold it to me and I got right to researching and working on it. Learned a ton from this forum. However bad luck struck and I decided to scrap the project but at the same time found a new specimen. I purchased another 1988 560SEL in much better condition dark blue(Dunkelblau 904) on palomino. I really wanted a black one. Anyway, while I was working on the original 560 I bought an AMG body kit and a set of Aero II as well as the Dolud air suspension. Later found out a good friend of mine has a set of Aero III hiding in his storage and offered them to me. I will be rebuilding the Aero III instead while the AMG kit along with the cladding are painted grey (Altograu 7700).

I am repairing or have already repaired items on the car that needs attention. I listed them below.

1) SRS Light - Constantly on when purchased. Took steering wheel off and cleaned the 4 ring tracks and the prongs that glide on them. Also swapped out the SRS sensor module box that sits under the radio from my first 560 to newer one since the first one I bought didn't have any SRS issues. Started the car and SRS light flickered a little while steering but eventually it permanently went off. Problem solved.

2) Rear seats reclining mechanism - Saw on you tube a gentlemen who cut the tubing and shortened it and solved the issue. Did the exact same thing on mine and worked. Problem solved.

3) Odometer - First 560 odometer works so swapped out just center section of the cluster to make things easy. Had a hard time popping out the entire cluster using a modified coat hanger. Took out the driver side dash speaker and used my hand/finger to help push from behind along with my coat hanger and it worked. Also cleaned up all the foggy bulbs while it was apart. Cluster lights glow alot brighter now Problem solved.

4) Radio - Some of the display LCD bars were not working and the volume button wasn't very responsive. Swapped radio from first 560 and works much better however one bar on LCD intermittently works. If I push on the radio face in the middle it's visible. Anybody know what the issue is?

5) Power Steering - Has a leak but I believe it was happening for awhile seeing how messy and dirty it is around the area. First cleaned the pump with brake cleaner and observed a leak coming from high pressure hose nut to the pump. Turned it 1/10 turn tighter and seems like it stopped but monitoring any more leaks on floor and waiting to put the car on a lift.

6) Alignment - Car wanders and constantly giving adjustments. Going to check idler arm and bushings when I get time to put up on a lift.

7) Suspension - Noise on small bumps at low speeds. Read it could be Guide Rod Bushing. Will check those later

8) Center Air Vent - Been reading it has to do with those pods. Will be looking into that some more.

Picture of the first 560SEL I bought which I decided to scrap and now for sale.
2619862


AMG kit arrived from Russia/Japan
2619863


Test fitted front bumper just for kicks.
2619864


Picking up new 560SEL in much better condition. Dunkelblau
2619865
2619866


K40 Radar that still works
2619867
2619868

2619869
2619871


Dolud Air Suspension from Lithuania
2619870



I know there are probably purist in here and won't like what I am doing but at least it's something new to follow and not be bored with the same old. I will be updating pics and progress as I go. I hope to learn more as I go from you guys.
 

·
Moderator
1991 500SEC sub 50K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 150K mi. 2018
Joined
·
4,283 Posts
Hey Tony,

Welcome aboard to our BenzWorld machine!

Having read your post, I like what I hear as you've approached your car's issues
in a sensible manner & gotten results. Kudos.

Those air suspension components look to make up a very well made system.
I'd never looked into that, though some fellow members on here have.
I am sure we can benefit from your experience and the obligatory pictures of the process.

The radio issue is internal to the unit, so either another unit or send it Becker in
New Jersey for refurbishment and maybe add a Bluetooth component to it as well?

Cheers man,

MBL
 

·
Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
Joined
·
4,085 Posts
Tony, love it all! Will look forward to watching your progress.

Hey, if you're along the route between San Francisco and Newport Beach, would love to stop by and meet you and your car. My wife and I are headed down there next weekend.
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank you all...

I am guessing this is no good. Opened up door to grease up check strap but noticed this on back side. Or is that normal? Looks too clean cut to be a crack.

UPDATE: Nevermind. Looked up other pictures and seems normal. Greased it up and put it back.

2620045
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'm doing this write up because I never found a detailed one and this should help a lot of people to reduce damage. This is just the driver's side front door panel but the passenger side front door panel is identical. This is just how I did it after doing it a few times so if you have another way of doing it then please let me know. I was doing this to re-grease my door check strap since it was very hard to open and very notchy. I also greased the door hinges first but it only helped a little bit.

Door card removal
1) Lower window all the way to the down position. I do it this way so I can get a good grip on the top of the door card and putting back is easier as well. This is up to you.
2) If you don't want to drain your battery like me or burn out your bulbs or heat up the bottom lamp housings of all your doors then just remove the fuse at location 15. Since the door will be open for awhile might as well just take out the fuse or disconnect battery. Also your ceiling lamp near the rearview mirror might be a good idea to turn off. Not sure if this 15 fuse is part of that light.
2620055


3) Remove door lock knob spinning counter clockwise.
4) Remove small long phillips head screw from pillar. Completely remove screw because if you leave it sticking out and close the door on accident you will damage paint. Remove vertical trim by lifting up and out.

2620056


5) Remove bottom of door card step light lamp with flat head screwdriver or if you have nails it can be done. Also be careful not to let the wire connectors smash your paint if you accidentally close the door so maybe shove them inside.
2620058


6) Other write up I've seen they never mention this but remove the speaker grill. It's only 2 phillips head screws with countersunk finishing washers on the bottom. I noticed with it out taking off and putting back on the door card made the job much easier. These screws stick up inside long enough to interfere while maneuvering the door card up to get the top hooks. Basically the screws hit the speaker housing not allowing door card to move up. (Thank me later for this tip)
2620057


7) Remove "C" shaped chrome piece surrounding the door latch mechanism. 2 phillips head screws. Use a quality screwdriver please so not to damage the screw head. These screws are the pretty shiny kind so would be hard to find if damaged.
2620059


8) Remove the 3 seat position control levers by popping them straight off with your strong fingers. If you are like me and weak then use a trim remover tool or something that won't scratch a whole much. AFTERWARDS DO NOT FORGET TO REMOVE PLASTIC "C" CLIP ON THE BACK ADJUSTER!
2620067
2620068


9) There is a plastic piece behind/surrounding the interior door opener lever. This is also very fragile and I used a pick to get it out by unhooking the front 2 tabs first. I never tried starting from the rear...maybe it's easier. Anyway, you will need to actuate the lever to remove this. Sometimes it comes out easily or like me it didn't on the back tabs. My case I angled it out far enough to reach a phillips head screw that sits behind it. This screw holds that whole black metallic trim and with that screw out it gave me more room to wiggle the plastic piece out.
2620061
2620062


10) Remove 2 large phillips head screws on the arm rest pull handle. Just so you know they are in a 45 degree angle.
2620064
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
11) This part gets a little tricky and it is possible you might break some plastics. You will actuate door opener lever and at the same time pull slightly on the metal trim. You will notice the seat adjust trim move too. This is when you need to pull the seat adjuster trim off. Study my pictures carefully and see how it all hooks in. I've seen many of these broken and it never sits correctly ever again. I think some have pulled the metal trim far enough to stick a phillips screwdriver to take out the final third screw that holds the arm rest pull handle and that can also possibly get it all out in 3 pieces. arm rest pull handle, metal door trim and plastic seat adjuster trim. I never tried it this way. Pictures below are actually when I was reassembling so be cautious. I decided to do this write up after I finished and was putting it all back together.
2620071
2620072

2620073

2620074
2620075


Hopefully you successfully removed those pieces. I think that is the hardest part of it all. You should have pulled the arm rest handle and metal trim off together by now. Like in the picture below.
2620076


12) Remove 2 phillips head screws that hold the seat adjuster switch to the door. These have a possibility to fall in the door. If you are removing door card no problem but while assembling be careful. Use tape with screwdriver and screw if necessary or else you will have to take door card off to retrieve. You will have to wiggle and angle the unit out. There are 4 plugs you will need to take off. It's dummy proof so you won't put them back on wrong.
2620077


13) Now the door card should be able to lift and off the door. I used two fingers to pull on the door card in picture below to clear the lever. Do not pull with crazy amount of force but just enough while lifting to clear.
2620078


14) Tips to putting it all back together: UPDATE! Hook on the closest to speaker hooke first. Then the front hooks. Then guide the door lock rod into the hole. Make sure door lock is extended all the way up in the unlocked position and then screw a couple turns the plastic knob. Then use your fingers to stretch the top so the 5 hooks grab on. Also, when putting the seat adjuster control module do not tighten until you get the metal trim with door handle in position and screwed in. Then alighn the seat control unit with the metal trim. Good luck!
2620268
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I forgot to mention that with the door panel removed it is a good time to grease up the window regulator and locking mechanisms.

The speaker grill has a thin foam pad that is(was) attached to the grill on the inside. All of my deteriorated. I used a computer dust blower with the straw to clean it up.
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Door Check Strap for front driver side.

1) After removing door card remove speaker housing and plastic piece that sits behind it. This will give you room to stick your whole arm in. All the window regulator and arms get in the way so this will give you the angle and leverage to get the door check strap out and in. Remove 4 x 8mm nuts and unplug speaker. It should all come out easily.
2620082


2) Remove "C" retaining clip and tap the bottom of the pin up. Then use a plier to wiggle upwards. Careful not to hit or scratch your paint. There is a nylon washer in the middle too. Don't lose it. Then there are 3 x 10mm bolts to remove. Just remove and clean up old hardened grease and re-grease or replace entire unit.
2620081
2620083
 

·
Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
Joined
·
4,085 Posts
Wow. Nice job. This is going to be very helpful for beginners. Thanks for taking the time.

You might consider making it a separate post with a descriptive title to make it easier to find when searching.
 

·
Registered
2004 E55; 1984 500SEC
Joined
·
30 Posts
Great write up Tony! Will be following this post. I am in Pasadena, CA, if you are in my area or want to meet up. Steve
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Ugh...received my joint cover replacement for the second time. Finally got correct part from a dealer here is the US. I ordered 1268851423 from starpartz.co.uk because it is listed as "MERCEDES W126 SE,SEL FR/RIGHT BUMPER CHROME JOINT COVER". I got it and it was too short. Turns out it is for a 500SEC Euro bumper. I ordered 1268852423 and I believe this is the correct part for a Euro 560SEL. It costed me a lot more though than the SEC part. Live and learn.

In the picture left is Euro 560SEL, middle is USA 560SEL, right is Euro 500SEC and for sale.
2620590


Ordered these that bolt the center chrome trim to the bumper. Mine were corroded with rust. Reasonably priced.
1269941045
2620605
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Some tips on changing valve cover gaskets:

Today I changed the driver side valve cover gaskets. Driver side had obvious signs of leaking oil for awhile. Noticed the lower two 10mm bolts were not even tight. I changed the passenger side last week. Just for future information if your air distributor hose is hardened then this will be tough to do on the passenger side. The transmission dip stick tube gets in the way of the valve cover to go on/off easily. Because of the hardened air distributor hose I had a tough time keeping the rubber gasket on the cover while putting it back on with the dip stick tube getting in the way. I then decided to try and take the air distributor hose off but ended up breaking. Luckily I already have the new hose to replace it with and did so after I put the cover on. Driver side I thought was easier even though you have to unbolt some stuff. First was the fuel lines that feed the fuel distributor and return. Fuel kept spewing out of the line but lifting it straight up and using a bungie cord hooked to the hood stopped it with gravity. Then unplug the ignition wires and EGR vacuum line. Also unbolt from the rear of engine the vacuum brake booster line. I believe after that it wasn't hard to take off. Since there is no transmission dip stick tube it made it a lot easier to clear the cam towers so there was no need to take air distributor hose off.
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Alright guys. The other day I got a chance to put my car on a lift to see what I have to deal with. When I bought the car the exterior looked great except some minor rusting under the rear window trim which I will fix later. The engine bay looked great too which seemed a lot of things were replaced and well maintained. When I looked under weeks later now it is different story. First the car drove good but on slow speed small bumps I can hear some rattling or kinda thunk sound in the front suspension. I already was thinking it needs new guide rod (Brake Support) ball joint which I was right. Then there was oil/dirt mix everywhere on the left side. Caked on. I believe the oil also destroyed the left support arm front bushing. It was coming apart and it felt like gummie worms. Most of the ball joints for steering and control arm ball joint boots were torn. Ticking time bomb before they start to fail I assume. So today I ordered almost a complete steering setup. Ordered a remanufactured steering box (I think this was one of the culprit for the oil leaks), drag link, steering dampener, idle arm rebuild kit, left and right tie rod assemblies and low pressure hoses(I believe were also leaking from the clamp areas).

Taking all my old stuff out was a nightmare. Everything was going great at first. Mind you I was doing all this laying on the floor. Sucked out steering fluid from reservoir with my mityvac and removed filter. Then unhooked both low and high pressure lines from the steering box and let that drain. Took out the 2 hoses that make the low pressure line. Took out the allen head screw that connects gearbox to column coupler and the 36mm nut that holds the pitman arm. This is where nightmare starts. I tried my puller on the pitman arm and it wouldn't budge but I was using a puller that's meant for something else. Tried knocking it with a hammer on the side but still nothing. Then I decided to just take all the other ball joints off the pitman arm so I can take the gearbox and pitman arm off together to take it to my friend's shop to remove their. The ball joints on the drag link were not wanting to come out. Only ones I could get off were the tie rods on both sides. Then changed plans again and removed gearbox, pitman arm, drag link, dampener in one piece. OMG my shoulders are aching and burning right now. Once I got it out I got the drag link and pitman arm seperated since I had alot of room and leverage to really get to town on it. The arm flew some feet away once it popped. Scared me alittle. Anyways, now just waiting for all my new parts to put it all back together again.

2621071


Just so you know I read a bunch of DIY on this forum and they mention on the rebuilt units you need to move over the hose connection adapter but I think it's a good idea to also put new copper washers. I have the part numbers for each but not sure which it's for in the pic. 007603012405 & 007603016401
2621072
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
I’ve just completed an entire front end build myself including steering box. Lowered it as well. The before and after difference is very rewarding!
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top