Overhauling the bumpers

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You can get w123 bumper parts from Argentina too

Always some parts that needs to be replaced on these old things, this as with the case of the side mirror, the left rear bumper corner needs to be replaced. It is so through-rusted that I will just throw it. Getting hold of chrome parts for the coupe specific version of W123s are in fact quite difficult, especially those bumper parts. These are all chrome that were just for the coupe and the 280E versions on the sedan and wagons. They look so good that people are crazy about them.

I had the task of finding a replacement part with nice chrome. I’m not even sure if this can be obtained from a Mercedes dealer since it is not a wear part.

I found a private Mercedes older car parts dealer in Argentina… across the other side of the world of course. Bought it through eBay and got it the week after! It was not cheap though, was around 230$ for the bumper corner. However the part is in mint condition, not even a scratch in the chrome and the original paint inside in pristine condition. Very happy with the deal and the seller was very professional.

I have to do some rust removal of the other bumper parts, and then I will remove surface rust respray the inner sides for better rust protection.

New and old bumper corner for the 280CE
New and old bumper corner for the 280CE, the left one was brought here all the way from Argentina.
inside new bumper corner W123 280CE
Original paint inside the new bumper corner From Argentina
inside bumper w123
Needs some rust removal and respray.
rust removal bumper w123
Using a drill to remove the rust
respray bumper w123
Respraying inner with base coat
second spray layer bumber w123
Second spray layer inner side on bumper

Drivetrain and Suspension Parts

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Rubber is like cheese, eventually it molds..

The rubber parts, essential to Mercedes comfort and also can be a serious threat of safety when they break. Of course I am changing them now the car is in a hundred pieces, much easier!

The Front flex disk of the drive-shaft connected to the transmission is of a special kind and different of the back one. It is complex where each mount is  in a softer rubber than the rest of the disk. I actually broke the old one when I was taking off the drive-shaft since it was stuck. This part was very expensive for its size and was hard to find in other shops than a Mercedes dealer, but I managed to find one. A secret is that I always order parts from the US, saves me tons of money. The front flex disk was around 130$ while the simpler rear flex disk was only around 40$. The other rubber mounts was not expensive compared. I am also planning to replace the differential rubber hanger at some point too, but I forgot to order the part last time.

suspension and drivetrain parts
Drivetrain and suspension parts
driveshaft center damper and bearing
New driveshaft center damper and bearing

To get the old bearing off the drive-shaft I needed to use a bearing puller, a tool which I have only used for this job, stupid special tools…, but it prevents you for fucking up your drive-shaft column. To drive the new bearing on I used a metal tube which has the same diameter as the inner ring and tapped it carefully on. The car will run ¬†smooth now with much less vibration. The old center rubber mount was very cracked and it was a good time to replace it.

Refurbish of Sub frame Assembly and Differential

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Restoring sub frames might be the next Transformer movie

After removing the whole rear sub frame assembly and all it’s components, they needed some love. Under is an example of all the parts (excluding drive shafts) of the sub frame. Have you never worked with these parts you might not have seen it fully before.

I had to remove some surface rust and then repaint all of the parts. It took a while!

rear subframe mounting plates
These rear subframe mounting plates hold the subframe attached to the car at the jack points

Of course there will be new rubber mounts for the sub frame, both front at the mounting plates and at the differential hanger.

differential 280CE before respray
Differential before respray
differential after repaint
Differential got a nice cool color scheme, why not?

Also the subframe needed a good clean up of surface rust, I used a power tool (angle grinder) with a very stiff wire brush to get off the surface rust and old paint.

subframe before refurbish w123
Subframe before refurbish

After an hour or so with the power tool:

subframe cleaned w123
Subframe after rust removal

My hand were smoking due to the heat and hard vibrations when using the power tool, they were sore for a while after as well, tiring.

hands smoking
Glowing hands smoking in the cold air
subframe main part
Subframe main part after repaint

Rear Trailing Arm

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Rusty trailing arm = death wish

How to get the 280CE approved for the road? Change the rear trailing arm since it is rusted. Not allowed to weld this critical part. So it is obviously number one priority. One can say that Christmas this year came early. I have been searching for a good used one as this for a long time and this particular one I got quite cheap compared to a new one! It even came with a good wheel bearing and the handbrake shoes with the cable. New trailing arms for the W123 from a Mercedes dealer can cost up to 3000$ and I was not up for using this amount of money when there are alternatives.

Rusted rear trailing arm
Rusted old rear trailing arm due to road salt

It weird that this one rusted and the other one is completely fine, also it rusted on a smooth curve and not on a edge.

New trailing arm for W123
New trailing arm

Like new this one! I painted it and changed the rubber bushings as well, however needed a workshop to put the new bushings on. I don’t have a hydraulic press in my basic workshop.