1973 Mercedes Benz 280SEL 4.5 Projects 14

Yesterday my Becker Europe II Stereo radio arrived. I had decided to go back to the stock radio and looked at the eBay offerings. However, I never felt comfortable with those auctions. So I called Becker to see if they offered a remanufactured Europe II. They did. It comes with an auxiliary input and a one year warranty.

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Because of what happened on Sunday, I had made up my mind to remove the gas tank and have it professionally cleaned. To begin that process, I clamped the fuel line to the fuel pump so I could remove it from the pump. Once I had it removed, I drained the fuel into a five gallon paint can that I had cleaned. It filled this container three times. The fuel was pretty clean in the container. I have a funnel with a strainer so I poured the fuel into three five gallon gas cans.

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Using the spark plug socket tip from above, I bought a 9/16″ bolt that would fit into the other end of he socket. I tightened two nuts against the bolt, inserted the bolt into the strainer opening and removed the old strainer. It did not come out easily.

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Up to now the draining fuel had been pretty clean. That was not the case with the fuel released by removing the strainer.

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After eating lunch while the remaining fuel drained, I prepared the tank for removal. There are two fuel hose lines attached to the neck that have to be disconnected. In the trunk there is a white plastic cover over the access hole for the fuel sender. The plug to that sender must be disconnected.

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The return line to the tank must also be disconnected. I placed a bolt in the end of each of these lines to keep them from being contaminated.

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I placed a couple of tall stands under the tank to stabilize it while I removed the fasteners. There are two at the rear, one on the left side and one at the rear.

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Since I have never taken a gas tank to have it cleaned, I wasn’t sure about whether or not the exterior would be cleaned. Since I did not want to clean it after the interior of the tank had been cleaned, I cleaned it before taking it to the repair shop.

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I replaced the plug wires, the distributor cap & rotor and the coil when I was cleaning the engine bay. When I pulled the plugs all eight of them looked exactly like this one. I did not replace the plugs as they have only been in the car for about four thousand miles.

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By having the gas tank cleaned and installing a new filter, hopefully I will have eliminated fuel delivery as one potential issue.

Which leads me to today’s post. There was no way I was going to re-install the gas tank without cleaning the area above it. The more I thought about that, the more I became convinced it was time to pressure wash the bottom of the car. I spent a couple hours yesterday preparing my garage for this very dirty event. I usually buy my visqueen at either Lowe’s or the local hardware store with the size being 9’x12′. I happened to be in Wal-Mart the other day and discovered that theirs is 10’x20″. This worked out great as I only needed two rolls to do the walls. I used three more rolls to cover the floor.

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In the engine bay I used tape to cover any holes and stuffed some plastic down alongside the motor. I still had some residue enter this area but it will only require some light cleaning. I also taped holes in the trunk.

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The next step was spraying the entire bottom of the car with nine cans of engine degreaser.

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I donned a Tyvek painter’s suit and cut a hole in the bottom of a garbage bag and draped it over my head. And I still was entirely soaked by the end of the cleaning. It took me about two hours to pressure wash the bottom and another two hours to clean up my garage!!! In the middle of this the mail lady needed a signature for a package. She was somewhat hesitant to approach me and commented that I was really dirty. I then commented that a cleaning project like this is actually just transferring the dirt from the car to me and the garage. However, it does look much better and it will be easier to work on the bottom now. Most of the darker areas in the photos below is the cosmoline that was applied prior to shipping the car. For some reason there is more on the right side of the car than on the left side.

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I picked up the gas tank this afternoon. There was no rust in the tank so there was no need to coat it. Due to the chemical process to clean the tank, most of the paint is gone. I cleaned off the remainder of the paint on the bottom of the tank. Tomorrow I will do the top and then paint the tank a satin black color.

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This morning I finished removing the old paint. I sprayed the top of the tank first with both a primer and top coat. After letting it dry, I did the bottom. I’ll let it dry a couple days and then re-install it.

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The fuel sender seal arrived today. I could now re-install the tank. Using a photo of the dirty tank for reference, I installed felt pads on the top side as close as I could to the original locations by using 3M spray adhesive. The rubber insulators on the pump wiring were gone when I originally installed the new pump and filter. The new ones arrived this past week. With another new fuel filter installed, it is now time to see if cleaning the tank solved my running issues.

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