1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 12


When I bought the car the left rear door would not open. After doing some searches, I discovered the cause is that the either the pin, its receptacle or both are corroded. I was fortunate in that by putting my shoulder against the interior of the door while holding the door handle open, I was able to pop open the door. I soaked some steel wool in penetrant and used that to clean up the receptacle and the pin. I also sprayed penetrant into the latch. I then lubricated the latch and the hinges. I performed the same procedure on the other three doors.

2-10-17 door latch 62-10-17 door latch 52-10-17 door latch 22-10-17 door latch 4

Now that I had the hood pad installed, I could re-attach the grill. I removed the old seal and glue. The new seal had an adhesive back so it was simple to install.

2-12-17 grill 72-12-17 grill 62-12-17 grill 52-12-17 grill 4

The horizontal slats on the grill had a sandblasted look so I replaced them. There are retaining pins accessible from the back. I used a punch on the pins to remove the old slats. The new ones were generic and not cut to length. Since they were thin aluminum, I could easily cut them with a nipper. I then used a pliers to compress the outer edge so it would slip under the grill. After inserting the new retainers, pushing down on the outer edge of the grill provided enough room to insert the flattened end of the slat.

2-12-17 grill 32-12-17 grill2-12-17 grill 122-12-17 grill 92-12-17 grill 8

While cleaning up the trunk I had removed the wire and hose covers on each side. The one of the left was plastic while the right one was metal. It has some slight surface rust so I bead blasted and painted it. Under the left side was a common ground location. I removed the fastener, sanded down the metal and the wire ends and then re-installed everything.

2-14-17 trunk 32-14-17 trunk 22-14-17 trunk

I would like to know what these two items are and their function. The first one is at the rear of the car and has fuel lines connected. The second photo is of a part mounted on the right front of the motor. There is a line that connects these two parts.

2-12-17 fuel2-15-17 sensor

Yesterday I polished the car with my orbital buffer and 3M Ultra Fine Polish. Some paint residue came off on my buffing pad. I discovered that the hood and front fenders still have single stage paint while the rest of the car has a base/clear finish. After polishing, I waxed the car.

2-14-17 polish

This past Sunday my wife and I drove about 35 miles to visit our son’s family in the Mercedes. The car was very low on fuel when we left so we filled up prior to leaving town. The car ran like a top on the way over. After showing off the car and visiting for about a half hour, we all piled into the 4.5 to go to lunch. This is only the second time I have tried to start it when it was warm and both times it was a hard start. I had read in the manual that it should not be given gas on a cold start but could be given gas on a warm start. We finally got it started but, with my son driving, the engine was not running like it should on the way to lunch.

After lunch, we again had a hard time starting it but it eventually caught. This time it ran more like normal on the way back to my son’s house. Because of the difficulty starting it, I did not shut it off while we said our goodbye’s. As we pulled out of the driveway, it was sputtering and not running on all cylinders. It progressively got worse until, about two miles away from our son’s house, it would start but then die as soon as you gave it gas. With help from a local homeowner, we managed to push it into a driveway. My son came over to see if we could get it going but to no avail. We both conjectured that it was a clogged fuel filter. Having run the tank very low may have contributed to that issue.

We called Triple A who arrived about an hour and a half later. Upon his arrival, the car started easily and I was able to line it up for the transporter. The hauler unloaded the car in my driveway going the wrong direction. Again the car started easily and I was able to drive it onto the road, turn it around and drive it into the garage.

I went online to order a new fuel filter. When my son looked at the issue, he commented that he would also replace the fuel pump as it appeared to have been on the car for a long time. In the records I could not find that it had been replaced. During my search for a fuel pump, I came across a thread that gave a part number of a Nissan fuel pump for a 280Z that was exactly like the factory pump. I entered that part number on eBay and, sure enough, it looked exactly like the pump on my car…but at a much cheaper price. I also noticed that there were three rubber bumpers used on the fuel pump/filter mount so I ordered new ones.

All of those parts came today in the mail. I spent this afternoon disassembling everything, cleaning the parts and then re-assembling everything. After cleaning, the box around the fuel pump/filter looked like new with not one spec of rust. All of the hoses looked good except for the one from the fuel pump to the filter.

2-15-17 fuel pump & filter 102-15-17 fuel pump & filter 72-15-17 fuel pump & filter 62-15-17 fuel pump & filter 52-15-17 fuel pump & filter 42-15-17 fuel pump & filter 2

After allowing a little time for the fuel to make it to the engine, the car started easily and ran fine. I took a fifteen minute drive and it ran great. I parked the car in my driveway and my wife and I and the dog went for our daily two mile walk. When we returned, the car started easily. I did some research on warm hard starting and one of the many culprits was a weak fuel pump. I won’t know for sure if I have solved the problem until I get a few more miles on it. Hopefully it is now good to go.

I have not changed the tank filter. I will have to look into that. I am thinking about removing the tank and having it cleaned. I did drive the car quite a bit today with a number of start and stops and it ran perfectly. It started easily every time. I was pleased but I won’t brag yet. Bragging is a guarantee that something will go wrong.

As for my being ADHD, my wife just thinks I am weird!! But she does appreciate being able to drive a clean car. BTW, my buddy Reese, the guy pictured above helping me install the hood pad, thinks I a have a messy garage and can’t hold a candle to his cleanliness. And he is absolutely right!! Everything, and I mean everything, he owns is immaculate. Not only his cars but his lawn mower, his leaf blower, all of his tools, his garbage can, his dog, etc.

That being said, the following may reinforce your wife’s opinion. North Carolina allows one to use a vintage license plate of the year of your car as long as you have the current plate in the car. I found a ’73 plate on eBay. I have a frame I wanted to use around the plate but when I tried to use it earlier, I found that I could not open the fuel access cover to put gas in the car. The reason that it did not work was that there were only holes for the top screws on the plate which allowed the bottom to bow out when opening up for putting in fuel.

So I removed the license plate holder, drilled a couple of extra holes, used some 1/4″ stainless steel nuts as spacers to give clearance for the frame, and remounted everything. But….not without cleaning everything, including polishing the gas cap. Your wife’s opinion is now officially vindicated. Again, my wife has gotten used to having a clean gas cap when she puts gas in her car. So I regularly wipe down the gas cap area after every wash job on all of the cars.

2-16-17 license plate 112-16-17 license plate 72-16-17 license plate 62-16-17 license plate 32-16-17 license plate 2

This device that mounts on the rear of the license plate holder is the vacuum lock for the gas door.

2-16-17 license plate 92-16-17 license plate 10

When I was polishing and waxing the car the other day, I discovered the glass in my exterior mirror was about to fall out. The perimeter plastic retainer had failed. Since the mirror was faded, I ordered a new mirror and seal. To install the mirror, the spring is placed in the mirror housing. Then you insert the mirror and push it back against the spring. While it is pushed back, you install the white retainer around the perimeter, which is what holds the mirror in the housing.

2-18-17 mirror 22-18-17 mirror

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