1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 34

September 9, 2017

Car Photo Day!!

I have been talking with a gentleman for the past week or so about a 1982 380SL. He lives in Winston-Salem, NC. Every second Saturday there is a Winston-Salem Cars & Coffee held at Reynolda Village. Reynolda is the name the Reynolds family, of tobacco fame, gave to their family home. It is now open to the public and is a beautiful home filled with period furniture and artwork. Reynolda Village is on the Reynolds property and houses unique shops. So it is a great place to take your wife to a car show!!!

We met, I looked over the car, drove it and decided it was not what i wanted. The price was attractive (asking $5300 OBO) but it had more needs than I want to address and he did not have any history on the car. One encouraging point in its favor was that it had been converted to the dual row chains. In the photo below you will see his car parked next to what turned out to be an ’81 380SL that also happened to be for sale. It’s owner was a gentleman I met a couple weeks ago at the Mercedes show. This one had a motor from a 500SL. I drove it and it was a better car than the blue one. Again no history but this one did have fewer needs and the body was better. I think i will keep looking for my next project car.

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The owner of the blue car had never attended this event and we spent the next couple hours together looking at the cars. He has owned a Porsche 944 in his past and thinks he would like to buy an air cooled 911. Since I have had lots of experience with these cars, as we looked at the 911’s there, I discussed the pros and cons to the various models. If he is going to get an air cooled 911, he better do it soon as the prices are still very high.

One of the first cars we came across was the 240Z. What a spectacular car. One of the best cars there.

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The 240D in these photos was sandwiched between the 240Z and the Ford GT.

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This 1960 Jag sedan was also very nice as was the XKE.

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I asked the owner of this car why he didn’t bring his “big” car!!! 1960 Desoto.  My grandpa had a 1959 Desoto.  You could always tell that it was his car by the trail of tobacco juice down the driver’s side.  He loved to chew his tobacco!

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This was a replica of a 1935 Morgan but very nicely done. I would not be looking forward to adding coolant the reservoir was located in the passenger footwell.

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Very nice TVR.

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I love these Alfa Duetto’s. I could see one of these in my garage someday. In case you are wondering why I don’t have a closeup what looks like a Ferrari GTO in the background, it is because it is a replica on a Datsun 280Z chassis.

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Among the many nice cars there, this 356A stood out. According to the card on the windshield, all of the restoration work was done by the owner. He is very skilled.

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This Diablo was a good representative for the exotic Italian cars present.

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This 635 was very nice and had a number of performance mods including a fuel cell in the trunk.

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A beautiful XKE coupe leaving the venue.

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What kind of car show would it be it it did not have a contingent of three Delorean’s.

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It was well worth the 45 mile drive on a beautiful Saturday morning. Around 60 degrees when I arrived and mid 70’s when I left. Windows down driving on the way back. By the way, those two 380SL owners would not want to run me for pink slips!!! With the new injectors and the throttle bushings, the car just purrs down the highway.

My wife had a reception for an art show at her gallery last night. I parked the Mercedes in front and had a number of people ask about the car. One of them is a BMW guy doing a restoration on a E30 convertible for his wife. After looking it over, he told me he would like to have a ride in it someday. I replied that now would be a good time and we took a 20 minute drive through city streets, some backroads and a short stretch on an interstate. He was so impressed with how the car went down the road that he said if he had the garage space, he would make me an offer. I was glad he enjoyed the ride!!


1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 33

September 1, 2017

Originally Posted by dobrodan View Post
Those flat springs and eccentric bolts are your caster adjustment. It is likely that you will need an alignment, or at least have it checked. If you haven’t moved the car and you reassemble the flat springs before the sway bar kit you may be OK. The bolt with the flat sides is the adjuster for caster, so try not to move it. There is another caster adjustment at the top of the king pins but it is to be used only if you can’t get it in with the flat spring adjustment.

Thanks for the info. I happened to have only one set of bushings for the adjuster as I did not realize that it takes two bushings to complete a side. Turns out the right bushing was in great shape but the left one was not. I pried out the old bushing after taking some “before” photos and tried to put it back together the same way it came apart. There is a metal ring one each side with a notch and there is a matching notch in the bushings. I did not turn the bolt to remove either side so I am hoping the alignment will at least be close. I do want to get an alignment later on anyway.

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September 5, 2017

I talked with the powder coater and he may have the sway bar done either today or tomorrow.

In the front wheelwells, there was a residue left after I had power washed them earlier this summer. When I was cleaning up the sway bar areas, I had overspray of the Simple Green on the left front wheelwell. When I wiped it off, I could see that the residue came off relatively easily. Today I worked on the wheelwell. The rear part is textured and the combination of Simple Green and a brush cleaned it up nicely. I also cleaned the topside of the upper control arm. Looks much better.

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With that wheelwell finished, I moved over to the right one. Big difference here as there was a heavy black substance covering most of it. I ran out of time to complete it but did get a section clean.

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September 6, 2017

It took me about two hours to clean up the right front wheelwell. Upon doing so I discovered more issues caused by the battery. I had previously applied some POR15 to parts of this wheelwell. I now have some more areas to coat. Once it dries, I will paint it to match the body color.

I had run out of POR15. According to Google, the population of the town where I live, Rockwell, NC, is 2144. Would you believe that we have Autozone, Advance and NAPA auto parts stores with an O’Reilly’s under construction. And none of them had POR15.

There is an old time parts store in Salisbury that caters more to the trade than to retail. A call to them found that they did have it in stock. My wife’s gallery is across the street from them. So she had the honor of visiting an auto parts store. It is in a very old building near the train station. She thought the place would be a mess but was pleasantly surprised to see how organized it was.

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I paid the powder coater his $10 for doing the sway bar and installed it this afternoon.

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This project is a perfect example of how one thing leads to another when working on an old car. It began as a simple job of replacing the bushings. I expected to remove the sway bar, clean it up and re-install it. Discovering rust on the bar led to two trips to the powder coater. Cleaning up the area around the sway bar led to cleaning the wheelwells. Cleaning the wheelwells led to having to do some painting. Jobs on old car are rarely simple or quick.

September 7, 2017

First thing to do today was apply the POR15. After letting it dry overnight, I will paint those area with the body color paint tomorrow.

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Next I cleaned the rear wheelwells. Neither of them had any of the undercoating that I found in the right front wheelwell. Cleaned up pretty good but I could not get everything out of the textured areas. Some of the areas that look dirty in the textured area are some spots that have the paint worn away caused by throwing up debris since the car was new.

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The new oil pan arrived the other day and I installed it today. I always love it when they place these stickers on the parts. Lots of fun to get them off. It is a Bilstein part made in Italy?? The new one has the smaller drain plug compared to the original one. The 35 year Mercedes dealer mechanic said the oil pickup was close to the bottom of the pan and I you can see that in the photo below. That is why he thought I should do something with the pan.

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September 8, 2017

Originally Posted by Tomguy View Post
Honestly I never liked how large the old plug was. Oil was almost guaranteed to overflow any drip pan I had. I had to lift it up high enough to fit a bucket underneath! It’s nice to see they changed that.

I don’t have access to the parts diagram book any more, since it went with my car when I sold it. Shouldn’t there be a screen on the pickup tube?

Your progress on the car is incredible. I really think you’re doing a great service to that car and having one hell of a good time in the process. For a car that’s appreciating in value rather quickly, combined with your work, I would expect you can probably sell it in 4 years for 3 to 4 times what you paid for it!

Thanks. I am having a good time and it does feel good to know that I am making a good car better. It was about time in its life to have someone like me own it.

I don’t know about the screen but I did find something interesting today on the inside of the old oil pan. The 35 year mechanic I met was concerned that the old oil pan was dented because he said the pick-up was very low. There is a faint outline of the four feet on the pickup on the bottom of the oil pan. From day one this car has had great oil pressure. I didn’t see any difference today when I drove the car.

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Yesterday evening I discovered that the POR15 had dried in the right front wheelwell. Using the same paint I had used in the engine compartment, I added a coat of body color paint. Not a perfect match but it looks much better than it did.

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9-8-17 RF wheelwell


1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 32

August 30, 2017

When I installed the cabin filters, I removed the cowl molding and noticed that it was very brittle and that parts of it had broken off. I ordered a new one and installed it just before going to the Mercedes show.

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Yesterday I did the final adjustments to the cruise control. It is now working well. As I mentioned previously, there are a number of dip switches on the main control unit that determine how the cruise reacts to inputs. It is a matter of experimentation to determine the correct settings as every car reacts differently to the inputs.

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After receiving the comments about the kick down issue, I first made sure the accelerator pedal would make contact with the switch. My carpet kit did not include a cutout for the kick down switch, which i remedied by cutting a hole. Also, I had added the Coco mats which are very thick. After checking it out, I cut off a portion of the mat to make sure the pedal had full travel.

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I then went under the car to locate the switch. After removing the plug, I checked to make sure I had 12V to one side of the switch. I did. I then found the solenoid connection on the passenger side of the transmission. I applied 12V to it and the solenoid clicked, so it appears to be working. Unfortunately, I did not have a helper to depress the gas pedal to see if I get 12 volts at the solenoid with the kick down switch engaged. At this point, I am guessing the switch has, as they say on Wheeler Dealers, perished.

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August 31, 2017

I have had new sway bar bushings for awhile and finally got around to working on them today. After taking the sway bar off, I noticed that it had a rusty area on the right side. I didn’t feel comfortable with that rust so I used my angle grinder to take the paint off and to grind down the rusted area. It is now at the powder coater.

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I had two embarrassing things happen at the Mercedes show. One of my new found friends was looking at my engine bay and asked if I had changed the power steering filter. I told him I didn’t know it had one. For no apparent reason, I decided to remove the knurled nut on the PS reservoir and proceeded to drop it. It fell down next to the reservoir. After feeling around on the ground, we could not find it, even after backing my car up to reveal the ground better. Four guys and a woman are now looking all over the engine area with our phone flashlights trying to find it. To no avail. To secure the PS lid, we used the nut holding down the air cleaner.

I was upset that I dropped it and could not understand why we couldn’t find it. Just before leaving, I decided to look one more time on the ground. A couple of passerby’s asked what I was looking for. I now had another team looking on the ground and in the engine bay area. Suddenly, one of the guys said, “I see it!” He was looking down between the distributor cap and the radiator hose. I looked down in that same area and could not see it. He looked again and said he still saw it. I reached under the car to the area above the sump and, sure enough, it was there. The embarrassing part was that there was so much crud on top of the sump, that it captured the nut before it hit the ground. My now best friend will forever be called “Eagle Eye!”

Now that I had the sway bar off, I decided it was time to clean the sump area. In the process, I discovered another treasure…the wing nut for the air cleaner!! It looks like it had been there for quite some time.

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The 35 year Mercedes mechanic I met at the show noticed, while looking for my errant nut, that my oil pan had significant dents. He said the pickup was not far from the bottom and, if it was him, he would remove the oil pan to knock out the dents. I planned on doing that until I found that I could buy a new oil pan for $25. It is on the way.

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He also noticed that I did not re-install the electric cooling fan correctly. It should have been installed so that the back of the fan housing was flush with the condenser. I corrected that yesterday.

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I was surprised when I removed the sway bar brackets that they were fastened with a 24mm nut. That is, by far, the heaviest fastener I have even seen on a sway bar mount. However, I assume the reason is that it also is the front mount for the suspension piece that I don’t know the name of.

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I removed this right one and cleaned it up along with the sway bar brackets and hardware. I also cleaned up the right suspension and the engine mount. Lots of dirt!!

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1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 31

August 26, 2017

I attended my first MB club event today in Dobson, NC at the Shelton Winery. I have been here once before for a car show and it is a wonderful venue with lots of shade trees, a good restaurant and good wine. I would guess there were nearly 75 cars there. This was my first chance to see other cars like mine and to talk to very knowledgeable people. I learned a lot. It was a very pleasant way to spend a day and we even had very moderate weather.

One guy there had transplanted a 4.5 motor into a 280SE coupe. He attributed marking every relay and fuse panel to being old and forgetful!!!

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He also had this cabriolet. I really like the wood on these dashes.

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This cabriolet was even more spectacular.

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There were a number of pagoda SL’s in attendance.

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Only one Ponton but it was very nice and very original. The owner worked for 35 years as a Mercedes mechanic at a dealership in Richmond, VA. After spending some time with him, I wish he lived near me!!! Among other things, he knows how to make 4.5 engines make more power. I may have to go to Richmond.

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In my estimation, best engine bay went to this 280SE. The attention to detail was exacting. The car next to it was his as well. They are just two among many that he owns with the youngest one having been with him for 19 years.

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The owner of this car is president of the region and rescued this car from the crusher. It was one among a number of 280SE and SEL’s there with 4.5’s.

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The backgrounds in these images show a good view of the venue and the turnout.

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1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 30

August 20, 2017

I left early this morning to drive to a Cars and Cappuccino in Charlotte, about a fifty mile drive one way. I take a twisty two lane road, with a 55 speed limit, over to the interstate that I typically set the cruise at 63mph. The cruise was very slow to engage but once I had it set, it worked great. Going up and down some hills wasn’t as smooth as it should be. More adjustments needed.

Once I was on the interstate and had the cruise set, it worked great and kept the speed within two mph. Again, it was slow to engage.

One of my friends has a ’90’s Volvo two door coupe. When I first met him, he had a 5.0 Ford V8 in the car in a very professional installation. During the past year, he took that motor out and installed a Chevy LS3. He does great work and you would think that LS3 came in the car. On both of these engine conversions, he had used the same Rostra cruise that I used. He told me that he originally set his dip switches for V8 high. I set mine on V8 low as it does not have high horsepower. His didn’t work the way he wanted either and he eventually set the dip switch for four cylinder low and it works great!! The setting was the exact opposite of what he thought he should be using. He told me to keep experimenting with the settings until I found the one that worked. His car is also beige so we created our own beige European car section.

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Cars and Cappuccino is supposed to be for European cars only. More and more non-European cars were beginning to show up and about four months ago, a Corvette left the event with tires burning. The property owner said they did not want them back. So they did something unusual. On their Facebook page and on threads on various car sites, they said they were going to make the event invitational. If you wanted to attend, you were to send them a list of the cars you had to determine if you fit the bill. Then they sent those who had the correct type of cars an email with the location and you were asked to refrain from forwarding the email. You pay $20 per year and get a cling on sticker that can be used in a number of cars. This lets them know you have paid your dues.

I was gone on my RV trip for the first two events so today was my first time at the new venue. It worked out great as there were about forty very nice cars, they opened the restaurant early with a limited menu and everyone had a great time. Nobody created a scene when they left. It’s a shame that car groups have to resort to these types of procedures to keep their venues.

Italian cars were well represented with a number of Ferrari’s and a Lamborghini Miura.

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There was a LeMans replica MGA there that was outstanding.

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The Germans were well represented by Porsche and a E34 M5.

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An unusual Porsche there was a 968 cab in a very purple exterior and interior. I had never seen this color combination before and the owner said it was one of three. Not sure I would have ordered a car in this combination but it was striking.

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There was also a 356SC there with a 912 motor. It was for sale but I did not see the owner to get a price. It contained an early Porsche cup holder prototype!

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A great time was had by all!!!

1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 29

August 19, 2017

On Thursday I worked on completing the under hood work on installing the cruise control. The blue wire needed to be hooked up to the tach. The reason for this wire is that the cruise control will sense any sudden change in the engine RPM, such as accidentally engaging neutral, and quickly shut off the cruise control. Since I don’t have a tach, I knew that I should be able to pick up this signal at the coil. I wasn’t sure which side of the coil to use, so I called Rostra and was told to use the negative side. I also needed a ground in the engine bay so I used the common ground at the coil. The cruise servo box is supposed to be at least 10″ from the coil. I had the box physically that far away from the coil but I had routed the coil wire so it entered the coil from the left side. I changed that wire over to the right side to make sure I did not get an electrical interference from the coil.

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The two wires from the speed sensor were way too long so I shortened them while making sure the wires remained twisted as you see in the photo. For some reason it is important to twist these wires. With that done, I inserted all of the wires in convoluted tubing and tidied up the engine bay with zip ties.

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Today I also worked on the wiring for the cruise control inside the car. To feed the wiring into the car I got out my trusty coat hanger and pulled the wiring through the hole made by the person who installed a cruise unit back in 1976. I found a grommet that was the correct size to seal the hole.

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The red wire from the cruise harness was to go to the side of the brake switch that had 12V with the ignition on while the purple wire went to the other side. The function here is to turn off the cruise when the brake is engaged. Using my voltage tester, I determined which side was which. I found the switch, unplugged the brake switch cable, cut back the insulation, and soldered the wires to the appropriate sides.

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As I mentioned earlier, I had to change out the cruise control switch to a remote unit. This unit uses a RF signal sent from the switch to the receiver that is plugged into the cruise harness. Both it and the main harness are to be hooked up to a 12V ignition hot wire. I used the same one that I had previously used for the hard wiring for the GPS.

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By late afternoon, I had the wiring part of the installation completed. There is a wiring status check using a voltmeter that could now be performed to make sure each function of the cruise will work. All systems were go!!

This morning I placed all of the inside wiring harness in convoluted tubing. There was lots of extra wire but it would have taken me forever to shorten each wire so I bundled everything up and secured the switch receiver and the wiring loom under the dash.

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Now I could reinstall the cover under the AC, the seat and the steering wheel. When I had installed the refurbished Becker radio a few months back, I had forgotten to install the AUX input that Becker had provided. I remedied that this morning.

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Now that I had the seat and steering wheel in place, I could determine the location for the switch. Since there are no wires, it could be mounted anywhere. Using a combination of velcro and very thin double sided tape, I mounted it on the bottom of the steering wheel hub. It is easily accessible while driving and has a factory installed look.

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Now I was ready for a test drive. The cruise works and the hitting the brake pedal shuts it off. It is a bit slow to engage but there are changes to the dip switch settings that can adjust that. On Monday I will talk to Rostra about which settings will make it work like it should. I have had to do this every time I install one of these units as there are a lot of adjustments.

This was also the first time I have driven the car with the new throttle bushings. Much more responsive and, under hard acceleration, it will now hold the car in gear much longer. It still does not kick down to a passing gear, so I will need to address that.

August 20, 2017

I took my wife to dinner yesterday evening in the Mercedes. I like to use cruise even on relatively low speed roads in towns to keep me from going too fast. The cruise was very jumpy, to the point that the bucking could make one queasy. That drive told me I was going to have to make some adjustments.

1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 28

August 9, 2017

To complete the job of installing new windshield washer hose, I thought I needed to remove the cowl sheet metal. Turns out I only needed to removed the fresh air intake grill. However, before I figured that out, I had already removed the windshield wipers. Even though I did not need to remove them, I will show you how I did it just in case someone has a need to know.

First I covered the area around the wipers with tape. After lifting up the cover, I removed the nut with a 13mm socket. To remove the wiper arm from the post I used a small puller. There wasn’t room to line up the center post of the puller with the wiper post so I screwed the nut back on and used the puller on it . It did not take much pressure to remove the wiper arm but I could not manually do it.

The silver colored plastic nut cover lifts off to reveal a 19mm nut. Once it is removed, along with the sheet metal screws, the cowl trim could be removed. Since I had them off, I removed the tape and used my polish around the wiper arm posts. This is a hard to reach area with the wipers in place.

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Next I removed the aluminum fresh air grill by removing the screws at its base. Once I had it off, I could access the windshield washer line. Unfortunately, the longest piece of hose I had was about six inches short. More is on the way.

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I also took this opportunity to replace the cabin air filters. There is a large one on the right side and a small one on the left. They were very dirty and even had holes in them.

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Since I am at a standstill on the cruise control install until the new switch arrives, I decided to install the rebuilt clock I had purchased before we left on our trip. Following instructions I found online for removing the instrument cluster, I unhooked the speedometer cable at the transmission to give it slack.

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I had already removed the cardboard cover under the dash for the cruise control install. It was also advised to remove the bolts that fastened the parking brake bracket to give more room to get to the back of the instrument panel.

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Since I have a column shift, I also needed to remove the bowden cable for the shifter. It is located on top of the shift column on the right side of the steering column.

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I also removed the steering wheel which will make it easier for me to work under the dash for installing the cruise control. After working under there today, I think I will also remove the driver’s seat.

The upshot of all this is that I could not reach the knurled nut that is supposedly holding in the instrument panel. When I reach up there I am encountering what feels like an air duct for the HVAC system. I cannot reach the back of the instrument panel. I even removed the radio and the sunroof switch but I still cannot access the rear of the instrument panel. It does pull out a about a 1/4″. Tomorrow I will put the car back on the lift to see if there is a retainer for that speedometer cable between the transmission and where it enters the inside of the car. I am hoping that there is no knurled nut on he back of the instrument panel.

Originally Posted by 124Coupe View Post
Ha! Been there, done that. My 4.5’s knurled nut is now stored in the glove compartment.

That’s where mine may end up.

My wife reminded me that I have a troubleshooting camera which I had totally forgotten about. It is charging on my workbench. I’ll see if I can at least locate it.

August 10, 2017

After spending the morning doing lawn work, I broke out the camera to see what I could see. I bought this camera at Harbor Freight and it works great. It has a light at the camera end of the cable which really helped in finding the knob. It can also be hooked up to a computer and you can download to a Mini SD card.

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The first thing I did was to stick the camera end through the radio hole. By looking in through the hole, the light soon lit up the knob. It was there.

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Now that I had an idea of where the knob was, I placed the monitor in the driver’s footwell so I could see it while I was trying to feel for the knob. I taped the camera cable so it would not move if I bumped the camera.

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I tried shining a light up there to see if I could find a place where the knob would be accessible. After much fiddling, I finally stuck my hand up in a narrower hole. After some wiggling, I could see my fingers on the monitor. Before too long, I got one finger on the knob. Fortunately, it was not screwed on very tight. After some more contortions, I was able to spin it off. Victory was mine!! The knob will be placed in the glove box.

8-10-17 knob8-10-17 instrument cluster

Now I could pull out the cluster far enough to remove the nuts that retained the clock.

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With the repaired clock installed, I hooked up the battery, set the time and then waited to see if the hands moved. They did. Now all I have to do is put everything back together.

8-10-17 interior 2

August 16, 2017

After five days of doing projects on the house, after mowing the lawn this morning, I finally got back to the car today. I finished up the windshield washer hose installation. I had to remove the right cabin filter to give access to the hose in the cowl area. To get the new lines to fit over the nipples, I had to use a heat gun. Once warmed up, the hose slipped on.

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The other job I completed today was installing the new bushings on the throttle arm. Now when I push down on the gas pedal, the throttle body opens all the way. I popped off all of the rod ends and lubricated them as well.

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Now I can work on completing the cruise control installation.



1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 27

August 4, 2017

Originally Posted by berfinroy View Post
At the risk of telling many of you what you already know, Bosch’s first generation electronic “D jet” technology was used by many maufacturers in the late 60s and eatly 70s, such as Porsche and Volvo, (see below). The point is that there are relatively few color coded injectors that were used across the entire line of applications. If, like the early 4.5 injectors, the connector is blue, it is the same unit regardless of the source. And therein lies the possibility of saving some money, since anything with a “Mercedes” label on it is likely to be more expensive!

D Jetronic users:
Mercedes 250E, 280, 300, 350, 450. Porsche 914. Saab 99E. VW type 3,4. Volvo 1800E, 1800ES, 142, 144, 164E. Citroen SM, DS. BMW early 3.0Si. Jaguar XJ-S,XJ12.

I was reminded of that when I was searching for the injector boots. I had owned a 914 back in the day and had forgotten that it had D-Jetronic fuel injection. I bought the Bosch injectors on eBay for much less than those with a Mercedes emblem.

In anticipation of attending Cars and Coffee tomorrow morning, I washed the car today. I always feel more comfortable having a fire extinguisher in old cars. I was debating on where to install it but did not want to drill any holes. I came across some wide velcro. I tried a piece on the carpet and it stuck well. So I applied a piece of that Velcro to the fire extinguisher and stuck it to the carpet in the left rear footwell.

8-4-17 fire extinguisher 28-4-17 fire extinguisher
I had purchased a Garmin hard wire kit and finally got around to installing it today. I found a 12V ignition source under the dash on the left side and ran the wire alongside the door trim to the base of the left side of the windshield. I hate having a cord running to the GPS from the cigarette lighter. Much cleaner look this way.

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August 8, 2017

They had a great turnout at the Charlotte Cars & Coffee. I’m guessing at least 500 cars. I didn’t see as many interesting cars as at some other times I have attended. Nice Mustang with photogenic fuel injection. This Lincoln suicide door convertible was outstanding. The owner had just installed an electronic fuel injection throttle body which sits completely under the air cleaner, including the electronics. He said it worked well and he was done with cars with carburetors. I also likes the Noble.

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The car ran great!! No issues. However, I have always wondered if I have full throttle. So I drove over to my son’s house so we could check it. I mashed down on the throttle and Matt said that it was only opening about half way. He did notice that something was amiss as the bushing on the firewall was completely gone and that rod was not allowing the throttle to fully open. The new bushings are on the way and I am excited to see what it feels like when the throttle fully opens!!

8-7-17 throttle

8-8-17 throttle 2

During the NASCAR race this past Sunday I began to install the cruise control. It is a Rostra unit and similar to others that I have installed, including a couple of them on motorcycles.

The first step is to install the control unit. Unlike older units like the one that was installed on my car back in 1976, today’s units have the electronics and servo control all in one unit. Since the instructions say it should not be installed inside the car, on the bottom of the car, in the fenderwell of the car, or within 10″ of the coil, the only place left to install it was on the left front inner fender next to the master cylinder. They send a straight bracket that you have to bend into place. Once I figured out exactly where I going to locate it, I began bending the bracket to make it work. By this time it was late so I finished up installing the control unit on Monday.

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After finishing mounting the control unit, I needed to attach the cable to the throttle. Since there had been a cruise control installed when I got the car, I knew where I needed to attach it to the throttle. The instructions are very adamant about measuring how long you make the attaching cable and how much slack you must have. With that figured out, I needed to attach the square opening mount for the throttle retainer. It is another flat mount that you must bend into shape to work on your car.

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It needed to be mounted outside the air cleaner so the cable could run over the cam cover. However, I did not have any obvious attachment points that would work. After fussing around with it for awhile, I could see that the ideal place would be on top of the cam cover. Finally I pried out the spark plug wire retainer and, lo and behold, there were two M8 threaded holes there.

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Evidently there is a metal guard on the bottom side of the cam cover as the holes were not very deep and I could feel the metal stop inside the cam cover. So I needed a short M8 bolt that had a shallow head. I found a stainless steel button head bolt that was a bit too long. I installed a nut on it and ground the end down to the correct length. I also ground off some of the head to give me more clearance. I then cut the bracket down to basically a right angle with the square opening facing the left side of the car. After painting it, I used red loctite to fasten the bolt to the cam cover. I then cut off part of the spark plug wire retainer and mounted it in the remaining hole.

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To mount the plastic cable retainer to the cable, the instructions say to thread a 1/4-20 nut onto the cable to make threads. Once the threads are made, the plastic retainer is screwed onto the cable and then inserted into the bracket I made. The cable was now routed from the control unit, looped behind the vacuum booster and then back to the engine.

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And that part of the installation was complete.

Since the speedometer is cable driven, I needed to install a magnetic sender. It needed to be mounted so it would face the drive shaft near the front. After mounting the sender, I secured two magnets to the drive shaft. It so happens that the old cruise control used the same type of system with the magnets taped on rather than secured with a wire tie.

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Another flat bracket was supplied that need to be bent into shape. The sender was to be 3/4″ away from the drive shaft and centered on it. To gauge the distance I used a piece of 3/4″ wood. Much easier than trying to use a tape measure.

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The next step was to run the wire forward up to the control unit. I ran it forward along the bottom rail to the point where it needed to go up. To get it into the engine bay, I ran a straightened coat hanger down from the top, taped the wire to the coat hanger and then pulled it up into the engine bay.

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Now that I had it in the engine bay, I could insert the wire ends into the plug supplied in the kit. That plug is then inserted into the matching plug on the control unit harness.

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With that part completed, I decided to mount the cruise switch. The old unit had one mounted on the turn signal arm. Having used those in the past, I ordered the same type for this car. However, the turn signal arm was too large a diameter to fit the switch. They will be taking this one back and I have ordered a wireless one that uses a RF signal. I can mount it anywhere.

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While I was inside the car, I removed the cardboard panel under the dash on the driver’s side. Two of the cruise harness wires go to each side of the brake switch. In looking for that switch, I came across the windshield washer pump on the floor. I have new windshield washer hose and have been wanting to install it. I removed the old hose from the pump, and, after taping the new hose to the old hose, tried to pull the new hose through from inside the engine bay. Didn’t work as the tape made it too wide to go through the hole in the grommet. So out came the coat hanger again. It worked and I now have that hose routed to the windshield washer tank. To replace the other line, I will need to remove the windshield wipers and the air intake cowl at the base of the windshield.

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1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 26

July 29, 2017

I am back from our RV trip, the motorhome is clean again, and I am ready to work on the Mercedes. Three of the eight injectors were leaking externally and were deemed no good by Witch Hunter. So I ordered three new Bosch injectors. Once they arrived and I looked at them, I decided to go ahead and order the other five to have all new injectors. So I have five used injectors, that have been cleaned and flow tested, for sale.

The boots on the fuel injector wiring harness were either gone or in tatters. Also the wires appear to be very brittle. Mercedes Classic has the boots at, get this, $89 each!!! I did a Google search for D-Jetronic boots and found that Auto Atlanta had them for Porsche 914’s at $9.50 each. Since the wires are brittle and to use the new boots, I found new fuel injector connectors. I will be making up a new fuel injector wiring harness including the wiring to the Cold Start Valve. I am waiting for all of the parts to arrive and should have everything finished sometime next week. While we had a great time on our trip, I am looking forward to working on the car.

BTW, one of the places we visited was Crater Lake in Oregon. It is a must see sight!! Amazingly beautiful!! 1900 feet deep with the deepest blue water color I have ever seen. It is at 7600 feet elevation and there was still lots of snow there in July.

July 31, 2017

After trimming the shrubs and mowing the lawn, I did not have much time to work on the car today. However, I did get some organizing done.

To do that organizing, I needed to strip back the wire coverings to expose the original wiring harness. Before I did that, I used a magic marker to place a cylinder number on each connector. In doing that, I discovered that the cold start valve, a water temp sensor and the cold air sensor on the air cleaner all used the same connectors and boots. I have more connectors and boots on the way.

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The connectors have a rounded and a flat side. Once I had the wire covering stripped, I noted which color of wire ran to each side of the connector. I found a cylinder layout online. Next to each cylinder number, I drew the outline of a connector and drew in two connector lines. I then wrote down the wire color for each fuel injector connector as well as the cold start valve, the water temp sensor and the cold air sensor. Now I am ready to begin the new wiring from the firewall to the various leads.

7-31-17 Injector Wiring

As you can see by these photos, the wiring had some issues. Most of the boots were either missing or in tatters, the shrink wrap on the wires to the connectors was hardened and some of the wiring covering had failed.

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The air temp sensor connector must have failed in the past as there were two separate leads to it rather than a single connector.

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Here are the cold start and water temp sensors leads.

7-31-17 Injector Wiring 47-31-17 cold startI removed the old injectors from their packing from Witch Hunter. They clearly marked which injectors were bad and have each of the cleaned and tested ones packaged individually.

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The new Bosch injectors are made in Spain.

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Here are the new connectors and boots.

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Tomorrow will be the day to do some wiring and hopefully install the new injectors. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in the engine performance. There should be.

August 1, 2017

I worked on the left side today. I had been thinking about what order I needed to do things to make a lead. Obviously, the first thing was to cut the wires. With that done, I could use the old lead as a guide as to wire length. The wire colors I had did not perfectly match the Mercedes color but were close enough. The one exception was the black/white wire to the cold start valve. I used a solid black wire there.

After cutting the wire and cutting new wires to the proper length, I soldered them at the firewall. After they were soldered and the joint was protected with shrink tube, I slid 3/16″ shrink tube over the length of the wire leaving about three inches at the injector end. In anticipation of doing this, I had bought 33″ lengths of shrink tube in both 3/16″ and 1/4″ size.

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After I had applied heat to the 3/16″ shrink tube, I slid the rubber boot to the end of the shrink tube. I then cut a shorter pieces of 1/4″ shrink tube and slid it over the 3/16′ tube up to the boot. After soldering the connector to the wires, I slid the 1/4″ tube over the solder connection to the connector. After applying heat to the shrink tube, I could then slide the boot into place.

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I used a NAPA silicone friction tape to wrap the wiring harness, installed the injectors and completed the wiring for the left side, including the wiring to the cold start valve.

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August 2, 2017

I am waiting for two boots to arrive so I can complete the wiring. I did get all four of the injector wires fixed up and have done what I could with the air temp and water sensors wires. I also installed the new injectors with the fuel rail. So once the boots arrive, I will not have much to do to finish up this part of the project.

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Initially I had found the injector connectors on Rock Auto for $4.87 for a package of three. I ordered four packages. Rock Auto sent me a message saying that they could not fill the order. So I went on eBay to order some from four different vendors to get at least nine of them. They all arrived this past week.

The other day when I realized that I needed a couple more, I went on eBay to order some more from the same four different vendors. All four of those vendors canceled their order as they could not get them. Once the orders were canceled by the eBay people, I went to Auto Atlanta’s site where I had ordered the boots. They had the connectors at a higher price. I ordered four from them. In the meantime, Rock Auto found a package of three which arrived yesterday. So I have enough to complete the job. Hopefully they produce more as I am sure others will need these connectors. The connectors and boots have shipped from Auto Atlanta so I should have them tomorrow.

August 3, 2017

The parts arrived on time today so I could finish up the job. After I buttoned everything up, I turned on the ignition and let the fuel pump run to check for leaks. I had to crank about three times before there was enough fuel to start it. I settled into a smooth idle. Once again I checked for leaks and everything was dry.

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This is how the wires were connected to the air temp sensor on the air cleaner when I got the car and how it is connected now to the new sensor I had purchased.

1-15-17 1973 Mercedes 55_edited-18-3-17 injector wiring 5

I took the car for a test drive. The engine was obviously more responsive. I won’t be winning many drag races but I could tell it had more power. I will be curious to see if my warm start issues are still there. We have a Cars and Coffee in Charlotte this Saturday. It’s about fifty miles away so it will definitely be warmed up by the time I get there so I can test the warm start issue. No leaks when I checked the fittings after the test drive. Hurrah!!!

The threshold rubber I had ordered earlier was for a SE. While the fronts fit perfectly, the rears were 4″ too short. I believe I mentioned earlier that I was able to find the SEL threshold rubber on German eBay. Those pieces had arrived just before our trip. I did have time to install the rears today.

8-3-17 threshhold rubber




1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 25

April 25, 2017

It is our high pollen season here so the car was basically green when I got it back from the PDR guy. Upon washing it yesterday, I discovered that I had forgotten to pull out my t-shirt to cover my belt and had lightly rubbed the paint on the front fender with my belt buckle when leaning into the engine bay. Out came my polish.

The mars were easily removed but I was surprised by what my rag looked like. It has the paint color on it. The guy I bought the car from and the guy he dealt with in California did not think the car had been painted.

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Back in January I had used a 3M light polish with my orbital buffer on the car and the pad had not turned color, like the rag did, which led me to believe that the entire car had been clear coated. Thus no original paint. Now I was curious so I tried each panel to see what came off on the rag. Turns out the rear doors, rear quarters and the trunk had clear coat. That 3M polish is very mild so that may be the reason it did not turn color.

I had been curious as I did not see evidence of overspray, even on those areas that had been painted. Also, the stone chips on the nose are consistent on both the lower part by the turn signals as well as the hood. The rest of the car was single stage paint.

4-25-17 paint

So I ended up completely hand polishing and then waxing the entire car!! Some time ago I had bought a Griot product for removing wax from plastic and rubber trim. I hadn’t used it before but all the door rub strips had lots of wax on them. It worked reasonably well. Didn’t remove all of the wax but the trim does look better.

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April 27, 2017

I installed the dirt shields in the front wheelwells yesterday. The rubber seal and some strip caulking should seal it up well.

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I had ordered a set of Coco mats which also came yesterday. They have a very thick backing so I now have tons on insulation in the front footwells.

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Some extra curricular work happened today. Yesterday evening I got a text message from my 16 year old grandson. He had a fender bender and wanted me to find a front spoiler/valance and right front fender for his 1987 Porsche 944. My text back was “Are you OK”. He texted back that he probably would not have texted me about the parts if he hadn’t been OK. Which was a good point and I was happy to hear that good news. He was passing a large truck on a two lane road when the truck came over towards him. It was either hit the truck or head for the ditch. He chose the ditch and hit a small sapling on the right front. My son said it was a relatively cheap learning experience.

Craigslist found a guy about 30 miles from here parting out a 944. He sent me a closeup of the dent in the fender which was slight enough for the princely price of $25. What I didn’t catch was that price was with me taking the fender off. He was nice enough to lend me a 10mm socket and wrench along with a 10mm open end wrench, which was all that was needed. Fortunately, I had brought along a moving blanket to place the fender on. This was sorely needed as we had heavy rain the past two days so it was muddy in the junk yard. The photo below is of the parts car when it still had wheels on it. It was on the ground today.


I found the ’87 about three years ago. My son paid $3000 and spent about $2K fixing it up. So they don’t have much money in it. Last summer Garrett spent a couple days at my house for a P&W Seminar. That would be Polish & Wax!! He was thrilled!! Unlike his dad and me, he is not really a car guy. Computers are his thing. Although he will get some hands on experience this weekend as he will be removing the fender and the front spoiler.

garrett's car 2garrett's car

In discussing the accident, my son and I came to the conclusion that Garrett did not have enough horsepower. Had his car been quicker, he would have been around the truck before it pulled over into his lane. Matt just happens to have a LS1 motor sitting in his his garage and is itching to install it in the 944. We had installed that motor in Matt’s ’79 El Camino. He replaced it with a 4.8 liter iron block LS motor with his custom designed turbo system. It dynoed at just over 700HP at the crank. That motor is in his very, very stock looking El Camino, which is his daily driver. The paint is very tired and has dents. The only giveaway’s are the 3″ exhaust pipes and the wide black steel wheels with drag tires on the rear.

April 29, 2017

When I removed the old coil to install the new one today, I discovered a blob of paraffin located beneath the coil. I hadn’t noticed this before as it is partially hidden when the coil is in place. It appears the insulation melted on the failed coil. I did notice some residue on the rear of the coil but I thought it might have come from some of the dirt that entered the engine bay when I power washed the bottom of the car.

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I drove the car about 30 miles and everything seemed fine. I do have the old coil in the trunk along with the necessary tools to install it. By the way, the old coil was also made in Brazil.

May 19, 2017

After a couple weeks off getting ready for our trip, I had some time to work on the car today. I had previously purchased a injector seal kit but had not gotten around to installing it. I began on the left side by removing the fuel lines on each end of the fuel rail. I loosened the top clamp on the hose from the injector to the fuel rail and then lifted the fuel rain away from the injectors.

There is a 10mm bolt on the retaining clamp. Now the injector can be easily removed. At this point I realized that I could have removed the fuel rail and the injectors as one piece which is what I did on the right side.

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Because there was debris around the injector hole, I vacuumed it away. The bottom rubber seal was still in the hole so I hooked it to remove it and then vacuumed again. With the injector on the bench, I could proceed to remove the short hose. Since the bottom of the hose slides over a barbed end, I had to cut the lines away from the injector. With that done, I could remove the c-clip that retains the rubber mount and then the retaining clamp. After a thorough cleaning, I reassembled everything with the new parts and installed new hoses on the fuel rails.

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Everything was going great until I discovered that two of the four injectors on the right side were missing the plastic piece that covers the end of the injector. Without those pieces, the bottom seal did not fit tightly as it should. I e-mailed the photos of the injectors to Tom at Mercedes Benz Classic who said I definitely needed those parts and that he had them. Part No: 000-987-53-35. Eight of them are on the way so no driving the car this weekend.

5-19-17 injectors 35-19-17 injectors

May 20, 2017

Originally Posted by Tomguy View Post
Looking good! The missing pintle caps coupled with the previous repair of the injector hoses (the factory style is crimped hoses on the bottom, not clamped) indicates someone previously serviced the injectors – and broke the pintle caps in the process! You may be fixing an issue you didn’t even know you had. Without those pintle caps it’s likely that you had vacuum leaks by those injectors, causing the cylinders by them to run lean and the rest of the engine to run rich. Make sure to report back what difference you have, if any, in running after!

Due to the conditions of those injectors and previous questionable service history I might suggest seeing if you could set up a test flow bench to compare the flow of each injector. You can use a canning jar below them all for example, while connected to the fuel rail and the fuel pump running, and wire them all to turn on at the same tine, and ensure they all deliver the same amount of fuel. Or you can test them individually, and fire each one for a given time (ex: 30 seconds) and make sure all of them deliver the same volume.

It will be interesting to see if there is any difference. The car starts hard when warm. Once it does start, it runs fine. I wonder if these leaky seals could be affecting that. When I pulled the plugs a few months ago, they all looked the same and were burning clean.

I did have one injector with the crimped line. It was a bear to remove. After cutting off the hose flush with the crimp connector, I had to dig out the remaining hose with my utility knife. Once all the rubber was out, the connector could be removed.

The injectors received a new seal kit on June 27, 1997 at 127,754 miles. I only have records back to 1991 and 96K miles. Is it likely that the injectors would have been replaced by 96K miles? I had considered installing new injectors but the car runs fine so I could not justify spending $1,000 for new Bosch injectors.

May 21, 2017

Originally Posted by berfinroy View Post
New injectors are rarely needed. “Remanufactured” (cleaned and flow tested/matched) will do just fine. There are many sources, including-usually-our forum sponsor, Pelican Parts, although they seem to be out of stock at the moment. Witchhunter Performance is another good source with current core exchange price of $22 per injector.

Thanks for the lead on Witchhunter. I looked them up and will be sending them my injectors. This will be the perfect time as I will be gone on our trip and won’t be driving the car. They include new seals and pintels. Since I have the new seals and the new pintels are on the way, I am going to ask them if they can do the work for less money.

May 22, 2017

Witchhunter Performance has some FAQ’s on their site that were helpful. One suggestion was to check the resistance of the injector coil to make sure they are all within 10% of each other. I checked mine and they were all the same at 2.7ohms.

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They recommend that the injectors be installed soon after they do their service to avoid rust forming. If the injectors are going to sit for awhile, the inside and outside should be sprayed with something like WD40, wrap them individually in a paper towel, and then store the injectors in a sealed plastic baggie in a dry place. Since I am going to be gone for two months, I did the WD40 thing and bagged them. I will take them with me on our trip and mail them to Witch Hunter a couple weeks before we are to return home. They have a six day turn around time.