Stripping down to the Essentials

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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
  • Exhaust system
  • Parking brake cables
  • Drive shaft
  • Rear axles
  • Differential
  • Rear suspension assembly with both trailing arms
  • Rear stabilizer bar
  • Fuel Lines
  • Fuel pump and filters
  • Rear Brake Calipers
  • Might have forgot something though…

So how does the car look like then when it is assembled?

Car shell 280CE
The Ghostly remains of a car

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.

Stripped 280CE front
Notice I keep the wheel on in the front. The car is jacked up enough in the rear so it is enough clearance
Stripped car 280CE front
Where is my lights?
stripped interior 280CE
Interior pretty much removed

So let get to it, fix all the things!!

fix all the things

The Project Car in Question

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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.

280CE W123 Front view
280CE front view
W123 280CE Side View
Side View, good lines
280CE W123 rear view
Rear view
W123 280CE Front bonnet open
Front with bonnet open
M110 6 Cylinder Engine w. electronic injection
The mighty M110 Engine – last iteration

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.

Operation W123 – Restoration of 280CE

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Restoration Project 280CE

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.

MIG Welder
ESAB MIG welder, Ready for fixing cars