Finishing the “Restoration”

The restoration battle has been won
Me 1 – Car 0

The car is welded, put together again and finished! Who would believe that? I am super proud of my own work. I managed to strip downm weld and then assemble the car on a tight schedule. In the process I learned how to weld body panels. I in fact learned so much through this project that I know tons of new stuff about W123s.  This job was the inspiration to create this very site.

The project included the tricky disassembly of the whole rear sub frame and drive train with following refurbish. This has been almost two years of work, although with large gaps between quite intensive working periods.

Which areas did I end up welding? I couldn’t cover all of them in the blog.

Sounds like a lot, the issue was that it had many places with small holes, and with welding the job is just as long when it involves small or large areas. You still have to remove old metal, remove paint and body protector coating, maybe interior parts, cut out new metal piece and shape it, weld it in place, grind it, polish it and paint it. Same process over and over again.

What mechanical areas did I fix? The car was from before very mechanical sound and basically I just replaced rubber wearing parts.

  • New flex disks for drive-shaft
  • New center bearing and hanger for drive-shaft
  • New upper control arms and sway bar bushings at the front suspension
  • New shock absorbers, Bilstein original extra stiff for flatter cornering
  • New fuel hard lines and rubber hoses
  • New sway bar bushings and links rear
  • New subframe rubber mounts
  • New brake rotors and pads
mercedes benz 280ce front without bumpers
Without bumpers and needing some paint
mercedes benz 280ce rear without bimpers
Rear Facing

Basically all the lower sides and front needs repaint, these are areas not so visible, none the less I got some paint with the right color code (172).

right front corner before respray
Right front corner
left front corner before respray
Left front corner – red base paint
Respraying lower front and sides
Respraying with second base paint layer
Respraying side
Painting continues
leather interior w123 280CE
Assembling the leather interior again

So what is the result? Well a car that looks really good and drives like like a new Mercedes. Super smooth and fast!

It went from looking like this in (2012):

Stripped 280CE front
Stripped car

And one year after (2013):

Mercedes 280Ce and 300TD
The product of lots of work and dedication

Replacing the right side Mirror

There is nothing like a new mirror smell in the mornings

The right mirror has been fucked, it was broken while parked in the street and is just hanging on with some tape. It is actually not that obvious, however when traveling at highway speeds the mirror is vibrating by the wind. The angle of the mirror is not right when closely inspected either.

Used electrical right mirrors for coupes are quite hard to find actually, and new ones are very expensive at a Mercedes Benz dealer. So with this in mind I have tried to find a good used one. It is nearly impossible to find those kind of used coupe parts in Norway, too small market I guess, much easier too find used parts for sedans and wagons. Anyway I have been trawling the Internet for a used right side electrically operated mirrors for my coupe, all it took was some great patience and a will for not throwing in the towel and go directly to a Mercedes dealer.

Who would have thought that I found it on ebay in Germany while I studied in Thüringen? Only 130€, or anyway a lot cheaper than new of the shelf by an amount of 300€.

Old mirror hold togehter by tape
Old mirror hold in place by tape
plastic trim for mirror
Just flipping off the plastic trim to get to the mount
W123 mirror mount
Mirror is mounted by a couple of scres and the electric wire
Old and new mirror compared
Comparing the broken mirror, mechanism hold together with copper wire
Mirror 280CE
New mirror, good as new!

This was by far the easiest fix on this car so far, it took me only 5 minutes!

Overhauling the bumpers

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

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.