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1966 200D
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Last week I was bemoaning missing a $500 66 Volvo wagon to a friend. He mentioned that his room mate was just given a 1966 200D for free. She had big plans to fix it, but has no mechanical aptitude. I told him that I was interested and to let me know if she got overwhelmed by it. Sure enough she asked if I wanted the car after a few days. I went and took a look yesterday.
The car has been pretty much a one owner car since 1966. In the mid 2000's some kid inherited it from his uncle. He drove it for a year or two, then parked it in 2008. He gave it to my friend's room-mate for free last week. The old man and his nephew kept pretty good records on the car, and seem to have kept up with it mechanically. But that's it.
The body is shot. It's very straight, but very rusty. Its brakes were gone through right before it was parked. The clutch was replaced as well.
I took it for a test ride today after borrowing the battery from a friends Dodge Ram. At first it idled very poorly, but smoothed out pretty quickly. There was a little bit of smoke when it fired up, but it burned off after a few seconds. It does this odd surging sometimes when taking off in first. The engine speeds up and slows down fairly rapidly causing the car to buck a bit. You can get it to go away by working the gas pedal a bit. There are some electrical issues that I'll have to iron out such as, turn signals not working, a faulty tail light, and the headlights needing to be turned on for the engine to fire. The suspension is also very squeaky. It feels pretty good, and if you push up and down on the car it returns to normal after bouncing once or twice, but it squeaks like a banshee. I cant get it to shift into reverse. The knuckle on the steering column that the shifter goes into looks pretty worn. I'm not sure if that would be the issue. I have a feeling this is going to be the expensive one.

I just went ahead and bought it for $400. I figure its hard to go wrong at that price for a fairly well maintained (mechanically) old Mercedes. Do you folks have any ideas what the surging might be? Maybe a vacuum issue? How about that squeaking suspension? The shifting issue? Tips on what I should do before driving it? I will of course change out all of the fluids. Thanks for any info!

 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
Wow! A rare find indeed - but the rust scares me, expensive and unpredictable - that what looks like a small rust bubble may be simple to repair or hide a major cancer.

The other problems seem simple enough or don't make any sense - I have a '73 220D and my thoughts are:
At first it idled very poorly, but smoothed out pretty quickly
Did you turn up the idle adjust (next to the key) it will raise the idle and you turn it back down a minute or two after it's started
There was a little bit of smoke when it fired up,
Normal - it worse when you don't heat the glow plugs enough, better when they are warmed more
It does this odd surging sometimes when taking off in first
Wild guess here - if it has sat for a long time there could be water in the fuel - it might be surging all or the time but you don't notice since it's somewhat under powered. Also lube the throttle linkage - very important.
There are some electrical issues that I'll have to iron out ... and the headlights needing to be turned on for the engine to fire.
To run or to start? There isn't a heck of a lot going on electrically here - glowplugs & starter all in that one pull switch (yes?). If you mean the headlights need to be on or the glow plugs won't heat that might also explain the smoke and rough idle at start as they are probably not getting the current they need - just some power through some weird ground loop or power taken from the headlight switch.

Everything but the rust sounds manageable - especially if you can find a mechanic old enough to remember these.

Good Luck.
 

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1966 200D
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Like I said, the rust is pretty bad. I think this is one of those cars that I can only try to keep it from getting worse and is likely not worth restoring. The rear wheel wells are toast. The trunk floor is toast. The floor pans are toast. There is more that I'm not seeing I'm sure. I'm surprised it's so rusty as it has spent its while life in this neck of the woods, and cars usually stay pretty nice here. I'll get more pictures up today or tomorrow.

As far as the idle adjuster goes, the cable is pretty stretched out. I thought it didn't work, but there was just slack in the cable. I didn't realize this until after I had driven the car. I will use the barrel adjuster under the hood to tighten that up.

I will lube up the throttle linkage and pour some new diesel in it before I drive it home.

The issue with the light switch is you have to have the lights turned on for the car to turn over. You can turn them off as soon as it has fired. The previous owner wired a second radio in (still has the Becker) and did some hokey wiring mechanistry that I'll iron out.

Any idea about the shift linkage issue? Does anyone know here I can find these parts?

Thanks for the info Frank! I'll be this things mechanic now! :D
 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
Any idea about the shift linkage issue? Does anyone know here I can find these parts?
Manual or Automatic? On the column or floor (I thought this old it would be on the column). What happens when you try? Won't go in or goes all the way in too easily and does nothing? Is there some special method for reverse? (on mine you need to lift up to go into reverse).

I know on mine the linkage to the transmission can come off (drivers side under the car). There's a rubber bushing and a metal clip that holds it there.

These parts are available - the internet is your friend here.
 

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1966 200D
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Manual 4 on the tree. When I look at shift diagrams it looks like reverse is closer to the driver than first, but I cant seem to find it. Are you saying I need to tug out on the shifter? I guess I'll be able to experiment more once I get it home tonight.
 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
I do not know for sure but try pushing in and pulling out while trying to put it into reverse. It seems like there is some kind of lockout.
 

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1967 250 SL, 1965 300SE lang
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3,061 Posts
I think if you bought it as a $400 learning experience, something to have a little fun with, and then turn it into a parts car for a non-rusty body car then it was a great idea. I don't think it is a restoration candidate. I think it is a toy to enjoy and learn from, and then mate it with a good body car that has no engine (which isn't impossible to find). Enjoy!
 

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1962 W111 220SE Coupe
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2,289 Posts
The shift linkage bushings are cheap and supposedly fairly easy to replace on the column shift cars. I haven't done it but my shop (MBI Motors in Portland, SE 13th & Hawthorne) replaced mine when I was having lots of other work done. Go ahead and replace the grommet where the shifter connects to the trans as well, that is one of the biggest single causes of getting stuck out somewhere once the grommet wears enough to let the shift linkage pop off.

Did the car come with a manual? I have found several answers to questions or problems that even experienced folks have simply by reading through the manual in detail. It will explain if there is any special "moves" required to shift into reverse. Better yet, take it to one of the indie shops to order the trans bushings and ask them about the reverse shifting while you're there, most shops are helpful with advice if you're buying parts for the repair from them.
 

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2001 Volvo V40
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2,954 Posts
The engine has a pneumatic governor, which works by means of a venturi and a air flap in the intake manifold. The accelerator pedal controls the air flap and thereby the flow of air through the venturi. Basically: more air through the venturi = more vacuum = less fuel.

If there is a vacuum leak or if there is some problem with the governor springs, you can get surging or sawing idle and low speeds.

Here is a topic about the pneumatic governor and how it works:
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/vintage-mercedes-benz/1565074-white-smoke-220d.html
 

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1966 200D
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Update: The car is still very rusty and infested with ants. I found a rather disturbing container pictured below. Any idea what the parts are? The little one appears to be the broken off stud that held the big one on. I found the ant nest in a rag inside of an old tool box in the trunk. At some point some ass hat laid fiberglass on all of the floor and trunk panels, then put carpet over that, pretty much destroying all of the floor boards and trunk floor. Oh well. It was $400.

Govert, the more research I do, the more I think you are likely right about it being in issue with vacuum or the governor springs. I'm hoping its just a vacuum leak, as the car supposedly ran well before it was parked.

Direct, No manual unfortunately. I dropped by the place on 13th yesterday to ask a few questions. I conveniently work 3 blocks away from there. I'm pretty handy and will likely just buy the parts and do it myself. Any small shops I should check out?

Scoot, I will likely just try to keep this old beast running as it is until it falls apart. I will keep it mechanically maintained, and try to arrest the rust as best I can, but a full resto was never really in the plans. Its certainly a jalopy.







 

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'70 280S-'73 450SLC-'81 380SL-'84 500SEC Euro-'92 300SL24-'95 E320
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984 Posts
Manual 4 on the tree. When I look at shift diagrams it looks like reverse is closer to the driver than first, but I cant seem to find it. Are you saying I need to tug out on the shifter? I guess I'll be able to experiment more once I get it home tonight.
I used to have a '63 220S, to engage reverse you pull the shifter towards you and up.
dws
 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
At some point some ass hat laid fiberglass on all of the floor and trunk panels, then put carpet over that, pretty much destroying all of the floor boards and trunk floor.
Actually I suspect it was the other way around - they came with a rubber mat and if they leaked (and eventually they all did) the water would get trapped under the rubber mat and destroy the floor. I suspect the fiberglass was an attempt to repair that damage.

The water can come from the wheel wells (after they start to rust), around the tail lights, the sunroof which drains down through the area between the rear door and rear window (if this gets clogged the water sits there and rusts through) or the rear window seals.

But you're right - for $400 - enjoy it (just don't put anything too valuable in the trunk - it might fall out).
 

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1966 200D
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Ok, could you guys help me diagnose this surging issue? I am assuming that Govert is likely correct, but I am not sure how to pinpoint the issue. Here is a list of symptoms. Any suggestions on what to check? Just so you know this is the first Diesel I have worked on. Itis a bit intimidating. Before this it has been all pre-1967 Volkswagens (which are like working on lawn mowers), so I don't know the names of many diesel specific components.

-Car idles unevenly, rhythmically loping. It does it more so than other Mercedes diesels I have listened to around town. The engine rocks back and fourth while idling. I took a video and can post it if that would be helpful.

-There is no smoke from the exhaust. There is a small puff of white smoke as soon as the car starts, but it goes away after just a second. From what I understand this is good.

-Car bucks a bit, or lunges in first gear. I have to rev the engine up while letting off of the clutch otherwise the car will buck pretty badly in time with the loping engine. It seems powerful enough, but again, I have only weak Volkswagens with with to compare it to.

-I ran the car to get it home on five year old fuel. I now realize this was a terrible idea.

Could it also be that I need to adjust the Rack Damper Bolt? Can I look for vacuum leaks on this car like I could on a gas engine, by spraying carb parts cleaner on the vacuum lines and listen for a change in the idle? Might my issue also just be a clogged injector?
 

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2001 Volvo V40
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2,954 Posts
There is no rack damper bolt on this IP.

The idle is stabilised by the vacuum pulling the rack against a spring. If the vacuum chamber of the governor is leaking, it will start loping. Check if the vacuum chamber holds vacuum. The method is described in the link I provided.

It can also happen if the linkage isn't adjusted properly. The idle speed compensation spring is brought into operation by a cam. You should see a rod running over the valve cover and a rod to the IP connected with each other via a lever. That engages the cam and idle speed compensating spring at idle and low speeds.

Vacuum leakage only occurs at the vacuum chamber of the governor of the IP in my experience. Either the diaphragm leaks or the cam-axle seals leak. You cannot check that with spraying of break cleaner. The cam axle can be checked by putting oil on the axle ends, that will seal it temporarily and it should decrease the idle speed.

Clogged injector will show itself by smoking or a tapping sound.
 
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