1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 6

Today I began working on the right side of the cowl area which contains a bracket that holds fuse blocks and relays. My first inclination was to clean it in place but I could soon see that would be very difficult. So I took it all apart. Once I had the bracket clean I could see that it needed to be refinished. It is now at the refinishing place. I am looking for a cover for one of the fuse blocks because one is missing.

1-23-17 fuse block 21

The bracket is held to the firewall with two screws. Each of the fuse blocks is fastened to the bracket with two screws. I took a bunch of photos to make sure I re-attach the wires correctly. After taking the photos and removing the wires from the fuse block, I zip tied the wires together for each fuse block. Should make it easier to put everything back together.

1-23-17 fuse block 181-23-17 fuse block 131-23-17 fuse block 31-23-17 fuse block 5

1-23-17 fuse block

I worked on the right side of the engine compartment today. I did find some rust that would have been under the battery tray. It is surface rust which I will treat with POR 15. Probably due to brake fluid leakage, there is also an area where the paint is gone under the brake booster on the other side.

As you can see in the photos, the covering on the wiring harness was also harmed by the battery acid. I used some convoluted tubing to protect those areas. I didn’t have time to do any polishing of the painted surfaces today.

1-24-17 engine bay 141-24-17 engine bay 131-24-17 engine bay 61-24-17 engine bay 71-24-17 engine bay 41-24-17 engine bay 101-24-17 engine bay 2

Gratuitous garage photo!

1-24-17 garage

The work has been on a hiatus the past three or four days as I had a project to do on my motorhome. Since the weather is supposed to be nice for the next week or so, I cleaned up our daily drivers today.

It is cool here today so I washed the cars in the lower garage with the lift. That’s also where the furnace, TV and sound system are. To give me a bit more head room (and to avoid hitting said head on the low hanging tires), I removed the wheels and tires today. I had a balance issue on the drive home so I cleaned the wheel and tires so I can haul them to the tire place and not make a huge mess in my station wagon.

The exhaust needs to be replaced. On eBay I found a used Borla stainless steel exhaust for a 4.5. It is in the stock configuration and in very good shape. It was also cleaned up today in preparation for its installation.

In Microsoft Access I created a database containing all of the service records that I have for the car. Those date back to 1991 when the second owner purchased it with 96K on the clock. The very first record is for a PPI done prior to purchase. The second record is a work order fixing those issues found on the PPI. The car was sold in 2015 so the guy owned it 24 years. The total dollar figure for the 24 years was $48K and change. So his average cost per year was about $2K.

The most interesting part of entering the information was how the costs have changed. The same shop was used for most of the repairs over that period of time with the hourly rate going from $45 per hour to $90 per hour. But the cost of the oil filter remained at $9.35 until about 2005 when it went to $11. However, the third owner (the guy I bought the car from) was only charged $10.50 for an oil filter back in December, 2016.

The oil of choice over all of those years of ownership was Pennzoil 10W40. There were many oil changes over the years. The third owner used Valvoline synthetic. I may go back to Pennzoil the next time I change the oil just for old times sake!!

Now that I have the data very accessible, I will take the time to hit some highlights on a future post. My impression was that the second owner fixed whatever needed to be fixed. The one thing that is not there is a bill for a paint job. There is an estimate for $2800 for rear end accident damage in the year 2000 and there is a reference in one of the service bills about taking the car to the body shop for repair. But no bill.

Another quirk happened in the year 2000. If you recall, there was much consternation about what would happen with computer dating during that year. Evidently it affected the computer at the repair place. I had placed the work orders in a three leaf binder in order. As I came upon three entries for the year 2011, I discovered a discrepancy in the mileage figures. After looking over the entire work order, I found where someone had hand written the date of the receipt of payment and it was in the year 2000. I made some notes on the affected work orders for future owners.

Below are some highlights from the service records.

174K-1/17 – Current mileage

174K-1/16 – Speedometer repair

172K-3/15 – New set of Michelin tires

170K-5/11 – New plugs, valve adjustment, inspect chains and guides, adjust timing and fuel ratio, replace fuel hose at rear of car, new battery (still in the car)

168K-3/09 – replaced alternator

166K-8/07 – Replaced driver’s door window regulator, installed new driver’s door window

165K-7/06 – Resealed transmission, replaced rear main seal, replaced transmission cooler hoses & PS hose, new radiator core, Sealed PS box

164K-5/05 – Replaced windshield with PPG unit, new windshield seal (The seal cost more than the windshield!!)

159K-1/05 – replaced exhaust manifold gaskets, installed electronic ignition, replaced swing axle boot

157K-12/04 – replaced both rear brake calipers & pads, replaced front pads and sensors, installed new rear wheel bearings, replaced rear brake hoses, replaced both front door weather strips

153K-8/04 – Replaced fuel tank sending unit, replaced brake booster vacuum line, installed new heater control wheels

148K-7/03 – Replaced throttle valve & switch, replaced brake booster, replaced AC compressor, drier, expansion valve, replaced front flex disc, installed radiator mounting kit, replaced all fuel hoses

141K-12/00 – replaced rear shocks and hydraulic compensator, installed sub frame mounting kit, replaced front springs, installed new exhaust system, replaced driver’s door check, Replaced RF window regulator

138K-6/00 – resealed PS pump

136K-7/99 – replace brake master cylinder

135K-6/99 – Valve job on heads, replaced timing chain and guides, replaced AC blower motor

131K-7/98 – replaced steering damper, tie rods

127K-6/97 – replaced fan clutch

8/96 – New leather and pads for front seats, new rear seat foam

114K-7/96 – Replaced auxiliary fan

107K-6/95 – Replaced ECU, converted to R-134a, replaced all AC hoses, drier

102K-6/94 – Replaced water pump, belts, radiator, thermostat


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