1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 10


I had a few hours to work on the car today. The next victim was the trunk seal which was in the worst shape I have ever seen. It was so dry that it came off in chunks. After some scraping and using the adhesive remover, I had it ready to accept the new seal. I am putting off installing the new seal until after I clean up the trunk.
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My next job brought me back to the seventies and eighties. The first thing I used to do when I bought a car back then was to change out the sealed beam headlights for European halogen lights. I did it because the lights were much brighter and the beam pattern was leagues ahead of the then current lights. My light of choice back then was usually Cibie. All of those lights were not DOT legal and, to my surprise, are still not legal today. I couldn’t find Cibie lights but I did find a set of Hella lights that fit the bill.

2-4-17 headlight 112-4-17 headlight 10
The lights that were on the car were all Halogen but there were three different brands and they were still sealed beam.
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First I removed the headlight surrounds and used chrome polish on them. I then removed the headlight rings and polished them. I found it interesting that of the twelve screws on the four rings, after 45 years all but one still had the nylon retainer on the rear of the screw.

2-4-17 headlight 7
The upper headlight uses a H4 bulb that gives both a low and high beam.
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The lower headlight used a H1 bulb which requires adapter wires. This light will only come on with the high beams. Back in the day I would have used a 100 watt bulb but settled for 55 watt this time. With the 100 watt bulb, when high beams were engaged, the night was lit up big time.
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I did have time to polish the front bumper where the license plate had been. Looks much better.
2-5-17 front bumper
Now it was time to work on the trunk. Due to the bad trunk seal, I am sure water was leaking into the trunk. The worst area was under the spare tire. I used my angle grinder to clean up both that area, the lower area on the left side and a couple of small spots of surface rust on the upper area. It was all surface rust as all of the metal was solid. There are drain holes in both of those lower areas and there was an additional small hole that had a rubber plug in it on the right side lower area.
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Once I was finished grinding, I cleaned up the entire trunk area. With everything clean, I applied the POR15 to the rusty areas. I don’t plan on painting the entire trunk floor as I have a carpet pad coming for it.
2-5-17 trunk 22-5-17 trunk
The trunk seal was the next job. I masked off the entire area before proceeding.
2-5-17 trunk seal 4
I test fitted the seal and it fit well. However, the test fitting showed that the seal did not want to lay in the channel on the rear rounded corners because of the tension. So I marked the seal on each side about 8″ from the corner and began applying the adhesive to the rear part of the seal first. I lined up those marks on both sides and carefully inserted the seal in the channel. Once I had the rear part in place, I let it set for a bit before installing the rest of the seal. That procedure worked well.
2-5-17 trunk seal 32-5-17 trunk seal 22-5-17 trunk seal
One of the things I removed from the trunk yesterday prior to working on it was the took kit. I used the “delicate” setting on the washer to wash the tool bag. The tools are in great shape.
2-5-17 tools 32-5-17 tools 22-5-17 tools
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