The sheet metal on the canals around the jack points seen as the four holes at under the doors were quite rusted out. Actually I had to weld three out of the four.
The jack points themselves were rust free when removing the sheet metal in the canals around the jack holes. They are made out of very thick steel and also have the protection of having the canals as protection. The canal sheet metal on the other hand didn’t cope so well with the road salt and it is especially exposed at the corner where it meets the wheel wall. Here a lot of dirt and salt can accumulate behind the plastic inner fender and it also is exposed from the engine and roof water drains. At the picture under you can see a hole straight into the coupe where it is next to the engine water drain.
When welding it is very important to treat both sides of the weld with anti rust paint to keep it from rusting again, and also do this soon after the welding before the rust can attack the weld seam.
The rear right jack point also had to be welded as can be seen on the picture below. This is also the point where I got a new camera, so there is a huge difference in picture quality.
When seeing how thin the canals are and the rigid thick structure of the jack points, one can see how extremely import it is to never jack up the car outside the designated areas (you might end up with the jacks going straight through the car).
I didn’t bother taking pictures of the third one since it was much less of a hole and not so spectacular as these two.
Disassembly is fun – when you don’t have to assemble it again..
How do you fix a car that is almost at light restoration level? Well you strip it down piece by piece and the hardest part is categorizing every washer, nut and bolt and storing it in a safe place so they don’t get lost. And even harder, figuring out where it all goes in when you are about to assemble it all together again. If 300 bolts are left after you put the car together, then stop and try again!
So what part do I have to take off? Well the list is long… I have to remove everything that is in the way of the welding areas and that might catch on fire. I have to remove all the mechanical parts that I have to replace and for disassembly and replacing of bushings. Mercedes has a million rubber bushings in the “complicated” suspension system for ride smoothness, and they wear with time and the ride will feel loose or be rock hard. It can even be a safety concern if your suspension will move in directions they shouldn’t.
So here is the list:
Interior such as seats and carpets
Body trim, lights, bumpers
Front fender panels
Parking brake cables
Rear suspension assembly with both trailing arms
Rear stabilizer bar
Fuel pump and filters
Rear Brake Calipers
Might have forgot something though…
So how does the car look like then when it is assembled?
You might have noticed that the car shop is in a barn? Well it is not luxurious, but it’s the best I can do for now. Quite cold in the winters though (sometime -20°C) and not optimally lighted, actually light is the biggest issue over temperature.
The Project Car – Everything looks good until you really look
I am “restoring” or you could say fixing my 1984 280CE W123. To give you an idea of why it is not an exactly a restoration, but more of hidden problems that needs to be attended, check out the pictures of the car below.
As you could guess, the problem is rust related in some places out of view. It is leaking water when parked and the rear trailing arm needs to be replaced. Will probably find more issues and need to change wear parts.
My 280CE coupe has suffered from road salt in the wintertime and has not been driven on a daily basis in approximately three years time due to an MOT failure. Because of the ridiculous amount of money needed to have a body shop weld and repair the car. The only option was to win the lottery, or do it yourself. The choice fell on the latter one. After some hard decisions and money well spent on welding equipment, the tool collection have been growing into a basic DIY mechanics workshop. The essential part here is the MIG gas welder. The rust is going to lose this battle for sure!
Late summer of 2011 the project getting the 280CE healthy again started. This is not intended to be complete a restoration of the car, the goal is rather to remove all the rust and rand replacing worn wear parts like rubber bushings with new ones. Although the paint job isn’t perfect, I don’t want to do a complete repaint yet. A respray must be done by a professional anyway. Engine and drive train are working perfect and don’t need much attention expect replacing worn bushings and regular fluid changes, and the leather interior is holding up good, but the cream colored carpets may need a clean after many years with dirty shoes and coffee spills. Hey I found a German Deutsch Mark coin under the seat!
The first job is to dismantle any parts from the car that need to be removed before rust termination and welding can proceed.