1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 11


The front shocks went on today. The rear shocks haven’t been on the car for very long but the front ones have and I noticed that the front end could use some help.

The right side required removing the battery to access the top nut. Installing the first shock was somewhat challenging as, once I was able to compress the shock and remove it from the top hole, I then to had to figure out the best way to extract it from the control arm and to re-insert the new one.

2-6-17 shock 4

Installing the new shock was a bit tricky as well as the lower two studs on the shock have to be at just the right angle to go through the holes on the lower A arm. Took a few tries on that first shock but, as is usually the case on a job like this, the second shock went on in about a fourth of the time.

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Tightening the top nut was made easier by the special tool I bought. There is a notch in a 17mm wrench with an angled head to hold the shaft while tightening the nut. It worked very well.

2-6-17 shock tool2-6-17 shock 5

BTW, these shocks are the only two clean things on the bottom of this car!!

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My buddy Reese came over this afternoon to help me install the hood pad. He is a car guy as well and lives a few houses down from me. We help each other out on projects whenever an extra set of hands is needed.

I watched a video on how to install a hood pad. The guy recommends putting a light coat on the pad, then a heavy coat on the hood followed by another light coat on the pad as it will soak up some of the glue. He then recommends laying a piece of visqueen on the glue side of the pad starting about 8″ from the top. Once the glue is tacky, he says to start at the top, get it lined up stick the pad on the hood. Once you have that part sticking to the hood, then pull off another foot or so of the visqueen and stick that part to the hood. Do this again until you have the pad in place. The visqueen keeps the pad from accidentally touching the hood causing it stick somewhere where you don’t want it to stick.

I had the plastic cut to size and was ready to go but we decided on an alternate plan. To make sure the new pad fit and to make sure we knew how it went on, we stuck the pad in place without any glue. Once we did that, we realized that by tucking the pad in at the top and sides, the pad would stay in place. After discussing it a bit, Reese said he thought we could pick up the bottom half, apply the glue and then stick that part to the hood. Once we had the lower half attached, we peeled back the top, applied the glue and fastened it to the hood while tucking the pad into place. That plan worked like a charm. It always helps to have another set of eyes look at a project.

2-6-17 hood pad 42-6-17 hood pad 32-6-17 hood pad 2

The existing exhaust is in pretty poor shape, especially at the rear. It appears to have been scraped on the bottom of the pipes between the two mufflers and on the bottom of the rear muffler. Judging by the rust on the scraped area, it happened some time ago as there was a hole in the crushed area. I am sure the exhaust was restricted through those pipes that had been partially crushed.

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I was fortunate to find a used Borla stainless steel exhaust on eBay. It is in very good shape and, being stainless, may well be the last exhaust system installed on this car.

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Since the exhaust was in poor shape and to make taking it off easier, I cut the system into four parts.

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2-7-17 exhaust 10

I had soaked the exhaust bolts at the manifold with a penetrant for a number of days. Removing the left side exhaust pipe at the manifold was fairly easy as I could get a wrench on the top side. The right side, with its two outlets, was much more difficult. I was able to get one of the four bolts out from the bottom, but I could not get a wrench on the top side of the other three bolts. So I lowered the car, removed the battery, and was able to get a 1/8″ ratchet on the other three bolts from the top. I had to remove one spark plug wire.

At this point I considered calling my buddy Reese to have him hold the socket on from the top while I went underneath to loosen the other end. However, I hate to call him unless there is no other option. Kind of a pride thing here. Once I had the socket on the upper bolt, I used black duct tape to tape the ratchet wrench to either the valve cover or the battery tray. This kept the socket in place while I was engaging the other end. Worked like a charm.

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Now I was able to mount the rear muffler. To engage the rubber hangers, I used a tool designed for that job. It was a big help but getting those rubber hangers on was a challenge.

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Now I was able to mount the rear muffler. To engage the rubber hangers, I used a tool designed for that job. It was a big help but getting those rubber hangers on was a challenge.2-7-17 exhaust 52-7-17 exhaust 3

With a little shaping of the exhaust pipe openings, I was able to mount the forward muffler.

2-7-17 exhaust 2

At this point I ran into a problem that stopped the work for the day. I had purchased three exhaust rings that slip over the end of the exhaust where it meets the exhaust manifold. Unbeknownst to me, there are two sizes of rings and I only had the one larger one used on the left side. I have the smaller rings on order.

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The exhaust sealing ring arrived and I was able to complete the exhaust installation. I had an exhaust leak at the connection of the front pipes to the forward muffler. To solve that issue I ordered a a pair of band clamps from Summit.

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