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Great info here. Thanks!
Even useful for late model MB owners.

I tried this method to help prevent rusting from the inside of the fenders/rear quarters and wheel wells. Hopefully it does what is intended.

Would be interesting to know if late models have drain tubes too. I would spray down with rust inhibitor as well.

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'91 560SEC, '91 300SE (sold), '98 Yota, '02 S-10 Hauler
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Yup, I too had cowl rust on the SE that I fixed and not long after buying the coupe I noticed the boot carpet was wet after a rain. I know this isn't the proper fix and there is likely some rust at the glass seal but after pulling her into the garage (heated for this purpose) and sitting several days with the boot open I ran a fairly thick bead of black RTV between the rubber window seal and the painted metal all the way around and another bead between the rubber and the glass. Boot's been dry since and I also limit riding in the rain, I know you can get caught out in it sometimes anyway but still . . . . .

I removed the battery tray, hit it with a wire wheel and repainted it along with cleaning the leaves and crap out from under it and from between the firewalls. I also took the time back then to check the cowls, they were clean and no rust there. It helps that I'm not near any ocean and with MAYBE one snow day a year here no salty roads. They "brine" them downtown Atlanta when it does snow but I keep the coupe tucked in the garage on those days too
 

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420SE 1990 ,500sec 1982, 220a 1955.
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Rusted corner

I love a good rust thread. This is my Coupe which has had many issues with rust . Removing the carpets from the boot one afternoon I detected pinpricks of light around the tail light assembly, seen from inside. Removing the tail light assembly and found it to be just hanging on. Either side of the tail light also was paper thin and had issues . Probably an old repair now at the end of its life , surprisingly the steel is quite thin in parts.So from Dean in Perth WA , I managed to get the whole corner from his parts car. I cut back to solid steel and fitted up the corner.
 

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1986/1990 W126
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
That's really impressive. And you've given me another couple of areas I'm going to want to cut off my spares car before it goes off to the crusher.

Thin metal in places is probably crumple zone related. We have crumple zones on the end of our crumple zones, to help protect smaller cars. Isn't that gentlemanly.
 

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420SE 1990 ,500sec 1982, 220a 1955.
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I didn’t think of crumple zones, but that trunk/ boot area would be a place for a really good crumple test. On this side I had to do the spare tire well and right back to the rear of the wheel arch . This car is gen 1 and has the rubber coating so it’s twice as hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Thats some dedication there. I'm impressed.

My SE has some impressive welding that my paint guy did on the front wing. He wasn't happy with the shape of the arch after this work and yes it's not right. But the fact remains that he cut an arch off a BMW 5 series and welded it to mine. Metal from the dark side, also somewhat hilarious.

He did a great job but the arch isn't the correct shape at the front. And amusingly it has just started to rust on pretty much the same spot as the original arch.

I have procured an original non rusty wing to replace this one when the time comes. Had no idea he was going to do this to fix my blisters.

Rear arches on the SEC are most definitely a point to be checking. The beginning and end areas of those arches can lead to all sorts of rust - when only a small problem may be visible.

On my SEC I whipped off the cladding and did what I could do arrest the rust there. It actually seemed to work, pretty much. I haven't the money time or skills to be cutting all that out for a permanent repair. One side rear arch is pretty bad though and will have to be tackled during the respray. It's still possible to be considered a cosmetic repair though.

We have to be more concerned about structural rust here. In particular we have the rule of distance between rust and suspension components etc. If it fails that during the annual test then eesh..
 

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Ian, very useful forum and am reminded that wing, bonnet, boot, estate and saloon are all good solid words. I would be curious to know what "...the rule of distance between rust and suspension components etc." is, if easily available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I had to check as i didnt remember. But it says 30cm here:

MOT INSPECTION MANUAL Appendix C Structural Integrity and Corrosion

Heres a picture of the rear arch and what it does if it goes bad.

This is the rear sweep of the arch - this is a late model SE but the SEC has vulnerability in the forward section of the sweep too. More than the saloon, perhaps because of the cavity and draining. Anyway on either model, rust proofing stuff can be easily used in the forward part as it can go in the cavities.

In the picture, that section that houses the flap is visible too. That whole area can need replacement. However I believe this is often because of the missing splashguard that slots on and disappears usually. I've no problems with mine but I have taken care of them with lots of really good protective stuff.
 

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“The dark side”. I like that. Speaking of BMW . I’ve spent the last few years restoring a BMW 2002. I know it was made in the 70’s but the rust in that car was amazing. And I drove it home ! I had been over it and knew what I was getting myself into but half way home (the car was on the other side of Sydney) the floor started to get very hot. I pulled over and lifted the carpet to find that the carpet was the floor. Well there was some floor stuck to the carpet and a great view of the exhaust and road. Three years later I sold the fully restored car to a collector in Melbourne and vowed I would stick to Mercedes from now on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Love those Beemers. I had a 2002 Touring once in a kind of petrol green. 70's cars rusted so bad. The old MB from then are shocking, but most cars were really. My biggest disappointment was Rolls Royce. They rusted so bad..

Here is the only small piece of a BMW that I own.. It needs to go but its not urgent.
 

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In my twenties (I’m 66 now) I lusted after a 2002 (golf yellow with the black interior and very German with its wheels filling the wheel arches) but on an apprentice wage ..Fast forward 40 years ,once I had finished restoring the car and used it for club events and shows all I could think of was how much nicer the 126 was ,especially the 500 sec. Only nine years difference . It’s interesting how cars get under your skin . Staying in a swish hotel in Salzburg in 86 ,a black SEL with cream interior pulls up to the entrance and a super model exits from the rear seat, long legs blond hair but it’s the car I remember, glossy and luxurious, inside just the right amount of wood and leather. Back home in Australia I enquired about price only to find out the SEL was the same cost as a house! But it stayed in my subconscious
 

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That's really impressive. And you've given me another couple of areas I'm going to want to cut off my spares car before it goes off to the crusher.

Thin metal in places is probably crumple zone related. We have crumple zones on the end of our crumple zones, to help protect smaller cars. Isn't that gentlemanly.


Yeah. Here’s a small section I cut out for a friend that had rust under his rear window. Next time I do this, I will probably chop it at the A and B pillars instead.




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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Hahaha. thats another way of doing it! Actually pretty sensible though.
 

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With several rusty w126, I look forward to contributing.

Hazy rear window = bad seal and moisture desperation.

All Mercedes of the era have several drains that need to be clear to allow moisture to drain out. Where are they?
Door bottoms?
Trunk wells x3
Gas tank filler drain
Firewall down vents... into the frame rails?

I don’t know, but these are talking points you can add to.

Top Body rust I’ve seen:
- rear wheel wells, tops and backs I’ve seen
- front fenders in front of the wheels above the bumpers
- door bottom rust
- front frame rail rust


I’m sure I can add more later.


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Fonzi
The left front frame rail rusted out on my 89 420sel. I had had the front fender and rear window rust taken care of years before and that wasn't a problem. I dumped the car before I had some real problems due to the rusted out subframe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Another place that rust can be a problem - underneath the front headlamps. On my spares car here its OK so I'll cut the area off probably before I get rid of it. I did a through job of rustproofing this area on my SE once I realised it had started to rust there. It would be much better to be preventative though by cleaning and using Dynax wax or something quality like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Just adding another area I've become aware of because of a leak in my SEC. The front cowl we've already mentioned, under the windscreen wipers etc. I had already cleaned and treated mine, which looked good anyway.
However, there is metal you can't see, tucked up under the screen there. On one side of the car, there is only very little access. That bit there on each side is quite thin and can get perforated. I've got pretty bendy hands but I could only just feel the problem area.
I also discovered that under the screen, the 'ceiling' under there, is a panel not unlike the area under the parcel shelf with the circular holes.
I would recommend getting spray up into these holes and all over the panel in general. I use a spray attachment with Dynax S-50 wax, the attachment sprays in all different directions so it's really helpful.
The area with bad access you just have to do your best cos you literally can't inspect it really.
Well worth protecting though. Screen out would be better, but hassle.

Do be aware of the aperture for the interior blower fan, and don't get spray in there. I filled it with kitchen roll.


Automotive exterior Rock Rust Rust Tire Automotive wheel system Rim Automotive tire Rust
 

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Ian, that 3rd pic with the drains is exactly the same place (The Cave) that I fixed on the SE and the hole is just about in the very same place too
 
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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Updating this with example pictures of areas to be aware of around the front wheel well brace area for the brake support rods.
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