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  #1  
Old 03-07-2008, 12:52 AM
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Repaint/Reassembly

I couldn't paint my 380SL the fall, due to the temps dropping from 95 to 70 to 60 in the span of three days and then tapering off from there This, of course, was AFTER I had put considerable time and money into making a credible spray booth with remote compressor and breathing apparatus in my garage. I did, however, manage to get it blocked and primed there. A person that I met on another board thought he might be able to paint it in the late fall because he had a better heated garage but then the temps got too low and he got backed up, and that made it impossible. So, I had a local shop that usually paints trucks do it with my basecoat/clearcoat, which is a generic rendition of "champagne gold" - definitely a little different than MB's 1985 version of this color. I took the opportunity to give the car a thorough going over and dropped about 1.5K (discounted or carefully shopped) in new parts/stuff on it, in addition to refinishing a lot of things which saved quite a bit of dough. Notable updates are the 88/89 third taillight and the front spoiler, which is a recreation of a Lorinzer spoiler, not a 560SL spoiler. I also redid the seats in leather (seat surfaces only, the rest in vinyl) after getting a really good deal on eBay. They aren't perfed like the true OEM replacements, but they turned out very well at less than 1/2 the going rate for full OEM-like leather (the shop usually makes Porsche seat covers). All body seals were replaced. A new windshield and stainless cowl top (where the top pins go) finished the job. Good thing I replaced the cowl cover AFTER painting because the paint shop put in an additional dent in the old part reinstalling the top, which I assumed would happen. This is a tricky job that is not well-documented anywhere.

One of the nastier expenses was getting the three-piece license plate lamp assembly/trim chromed (no longer available new). This was as expensive as getting the new parts when they still made them. These are die-case zinc, subject to pitting, and the plater's opinion was that the parts weren't very well plated to begin with.

I Also installed a Becker Europa II, a really good looking old school radio, with a trick circuit inside the radio so that turning the knob or pushing a button all the way to the left activates an internal microswitch/relay that allows aux input. This is a much nicer and automatic circuit than the cable that Becker sells. Because this radio puts about 4W RMS at most out per channel, two small amps in the rear deck were added to power all four speakers. An iPod Mini with flash drive, wireless remote receiver, and charging cable is mounted in the top of the glove compartment with Velcro.

The devil is in the details; I even regasketed the cowl vents and repainted the screens, making the car look pretty close to new from a few feet away. This is an important detail item in refinishing and the parts/paint are not expensive.

Still missing are the chrome pieces for the hardtop, which I hope to pick up, including an entire spare hardtop, in the next few weeks, and mounting the iPod remote in the steering wheel burl pad (BEFORE I refinish it's cracked clearcoat...). I picked up a genuine in the box MB OEM top from a pawn shop on eBay (sad story there, I'll bet) and I hope to develop the guts to install later this spring.

Lessons:

1. Don't ever think you can get a car painted well inexpensively. Good paint is expensive (just the good-quality paint supplies alone that I bought at a bargain price cost more than Maaco's least expensive paint job). Masking is NO SUBSTITUTE for removing the parts, and NO ONE can do this inexpensively unless they actually practice slavery. If YOU know your car, YOU are the best qualified person to do this. I even removed all the brightwork except for some of the hardtop. Paint shops usually come up with separate figures for paint and body work. You may say, "I don't need any bodywork on this car". You probably do. I've seen on-the-lot new cars that need bodywork! New paint will make body problems that you don't see much more obvious. I primed and block-sanded this car before sending it to paint, and this is tedious and laborious; but someone's got to do it.

2. Expect to spend $$$$ (four of them) on new parts besides getting a car painted, unless possibly you live in an area where your otherwise pristine car's paint gets baked by the sun. Putting old crap parts back on your newly painted car will be a complete waste of a paint job and your money, and you will probably not really be satisfied with the overall result. At the very least, replace all body seals and remove them and clean the channels BEFORE painting.

3. If you are even vaguely serious about your car, hook up with the "free" mercedes EPC at www.startekinfo.com. I use the term "free" loosely because it will cause you to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on parts.

4. Join the MBCA for among other reasons, to get discounts at many MB dealers.

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Repaint/Reassembly-2107.jpg   Repaint/Reassembly-2107-2.jpg   Repaint/Reassembly-nc3.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2008, 01:31 AM
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Ps

This REALLY belongs on Roncallo's car...I can't help it, I made one for this car too. Putting one of these on a 560SL is a minor fib. Putting one on a 380SL is gross misstatement!
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  #3  
Old 03-07-2008, 05:33 AM
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Welcome to the world. Most people seem amazed when I give a quote of 8 to 10 K to "paint" their car. You do get what you pay for.
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  #4  
Old 03-07-2008, 07:09 AM
88Black560SL
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strife View Post
This REALLY belongs on Roncallo's car...I can't help it, I made one for this car too. Putting one of these on a 560SL is a minor fib. Putting one on a 380SL is gross misstatement!
Roncallo is covered

You can actually buy these. They were used on the early 93 600SL's. I'm just waiting for paint to put this on. I might try to find a 280SL badge in the mean time.

Your car looks excellent as expected.

John Roncallo
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  #5  
Old 03-07-2008, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Geither View Post
Welcome to the world. Most people seem amazed when I give a quote of 8 to 10 K to "paint" their car. You do get what you pay for.
Location plays a big role in cost. I wound up driving my (otherwise pristine, but badly baked by a couple of decades in the desert sun) car 450 miles away to a good paint shop to save 1/2 the cost of getting it painted.

Minimal body work (a few dings in one quarter panel), I supplied all the seals I could find, but the body shop wound up digging out a couple more and buying them from the local MB dealer. Final cost: $7200. The lowest price I could find local to me was $8000, and he wanted to mask & spray. The lowest price to do the job properly was $15000. One of the estimates "starts at $25000 and body work goes up from there".

Well, there was that one place that quoted me $2500. When I read the disclaimer at the bottom about some bugs, dirt and other debris being an inevitable part of a paint job and I waived all claims, I decided I didn't need to get it painted there.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2008, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roncallo View Post
Roncallo is covered

You can actually buy these. They were used on the early 93 600SL's. I'm just waiting for paint to put this on. I might try to find a 280SL badge in the mean time.

John Roncallo
But it's not in the 107 type style...there's a subtle difference
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2008, 09:31 PM
88Black560SL
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strife View Post
But it's not in the 107 type style...there's a subtle difference
It looks like yours has thinner characters. I don't think I will lose any sleep over it.

John Roncallo
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  #8  
Old 03-07-2008, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strife View Post
Lessons:

1. Don't ever think you can get a car painted well inexpensively. Good paint is expensive (just the good-quality paint supplies alone that I bought at a bargain price cost more than Maaco's least expensive paint job).
I know a fellow here in Dallas who owns a Maaco and I have toured his shop. His guys do good work. Not show quality, but for $900 base / clear .. It's not bad.
He uses Sherwin Williams Dimension paint which is a pretty decent paint.

I think because they buy paint in bulk and mix in house they can get a pretty huge discount.

I paid around $225 in paint (1 gallon of base, 1 gallon of clear, reducers and hardener) to paint my 6.9 in DB 735 using PPG omni. The paint was cheap, the elbow grease needed to pull everything off, sand it paint it and put it back together made me quickly realize why painting a car is so expensive.

I painted mine on thanksgiving and it was snowing here in Dallas when we painted it. We put a radiator in the garage and used fast reducer. It worked pretty well.
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2008, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Roncallo View Post
It looks like yours has thinner characters. I don't think I will lose any sleep over it.

John Roncallo
Well, considering the incredible complexity of what you are working on...this is a tiny issue.

I was considering your V-12 project and designing single-chip micro boards to fool the various engine management sensors into thinking that the engine is actually in a 129. These things are so cheap and easy to program now.
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2008, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottinSoCal View Post
Well, there was that one place that quoted me $2500. When I read the disclaimer at the bottom about some bugs, dirt and other debris being an inevitable part of a paint job and I waived all claims, I decided I didn't need to get it painted there.
These new paint systems are very intolerant of dirt. With the old lacquers, you just waited 20 minutes and sanded the bugs off!

My paint job would have been "very good" if the shop I had used actually had a clean spray booth. They usually paint trucks and busses and had a booth the size of a semi. Bugs and dirt on the top of a semi or school bus - who would notice? But on my hood...ick. I would have gone nuts on them except that this particular color (gold metallic) was pretty good at hiding this type of imperfection. It looks good from a foot away.

A lot of shops that do big and little projects build a "booth inside a booth" for this purpose - it's easier to keep something small clean.
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2008, 09:26 AM
88Black560SL
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strife View Post
Well, considering the incredible complexity of what you are working on...this is a tiny issue.
Yes it's not like I'm trying to keep the car all original.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strife View Post
I was considering your V-12 project and designing single-chip micro boards to fool the various engine management sensors into thinking that the engine is actually in a 129. These things are so cheap and easy to program now.
I'm not sure I understand. My engine and all my computers and senors are from an SL600 129. As far as anything knows it is a 129. That could all change real quickly if the stuff doesnt work but why is it desirable for the ECU to know what kind of car it's in.

John Roncallo
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Old 03-08-2008, 02:04 PM
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Well, for example, I was thinking about the transmission, ABS, and ASR - if everything on a more modern car (I'm not that familiar with the 129) is handled by an integrated computer, you might have to translate the different number of pulses from the wheels, transmission, etc - either multiply them up or down in real-time. Or, if you wanted to mix and match transmissions and engines or change shift points - because everything is so integrated now.

The scary thing about Post-2000 cars is that all the subsystem computers talk to each other now, and may go into unknown failure modes if they don't hear what they expect. For example, I understand that (partially for anti-theft reasons) that the HID lights on modern MB's are smart and won't work in a car unless married to the main CPU. Probably also true of the transmission, engine management, etc. You might be OK on a 90's technology engine, but what will 21st century engine swappers (if any) do?
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:28 PM
88Black560SL
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strife View Post
Well, for example, I was thinking about the transmission, ABS, and ASR - if everything on a more modern car (I'm not that familiar with the 129) is handled by an integrated computer, you might have to translate the different number of pulses from the wheels, transmission, etc - either multiply them up or down in real-time. Or, if you wanted to mix and match transmissions and engines or change shift points - because everything is so integrated now.

The scary thing about Post-2000 cars is that all the subsystem computers talk to each other now, and may go into unknown failure modes if they don't hear what they expect. For example, I understand that (partially for anti-theft reasons) that the HID lights on modern MB's are smart and won't work in a car unless married to the main CPU. Probably also true of the transmission, engine management, etc. You might be OK on a 90's technology engine, but what will 21st century engine swappers (if any) do?
Exactly. This is the problem I face right now. Tomorrow I should be cranking the engine for the first time. No start just build up oil pressure. After that it's time to connect all sensors and go for the first start. All computers are integrated. My biggest fear is that I will need to have ESP connected to get it all running. I understand that to start the car I will need the DAS Driver Authorization System connected. Once I get it running I can unplug DAS with the car running and I wont need it again. My rear end gearing is different so I will have to either get my Trans computer reprogramed or do something like you say multiply signal pulse outputs. Since it appears that I will have to make my own toothed wheels I may just change the number of teeth. However I understand the system is very intolerant and ratios need to be pretty much exact so if the required tooth count doesn't come near an integer I may be screwed.

If you have any easy ways out of all these problems. I'm all ears.

John Roncallo
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:06 PM
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Good job Strife.
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  #15  
Old 03-12-2008, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Roncallo View Post
Exactly. This is the problem I face right now. Tomorrow I should be cranking the engine for the first time. No start just build up oil pressure. After that it's time to connect all sensors and go for the first start. All computers are integrated. My biggest fear is that I will need to have ESP connected to get it all running. I understand that to start the car I will need the DAS Driver Authorization System connected. Once I get it running I can unplug DAS with the car running and I wont need it again. My rear end gearing is different so I will have to either get my Trans computer reprogramed or do something like you say multiply signal pulse outputs. Since it appears that I will have to make my own toothed wheels I may just change the number of teeth. However I understand the system is very intolerant and ratios need to be pretty much exact so if the required tooth count doesn't come near an integer I may be screwed.

If you have any easy ways out of all these problems. I'm all ears.

John Roncallo
Not "easy", but not impossible, either.

I hope that the following is not too complicated - I don't really know my audience here.

What I'm envisioning is something that actually exists already, but it is used for another purpose - those "speedometer adjuster modules" that people buy when they have larger (or smaller) tires than stock. I've never seen one for myself, but they probably are microprocessor modules that have a pretty simple program - measure the length of a pulse cycle (from rising edge to rising edge) from an input, multiply (or divide) this length by a factor set by the voltage picked off of a potentiometer (knob), and emit a train of (possibly adjustable voltage) pulses on an output based on the input times or divided by that factor. So, if you have such a module, this is the electronic equivalent of having a continuously variable transmission for your speedometer.

If one were to have or build such a module, it might be tricky to determine exactly what the factor is in your case - with a speedometer, it's pretty obvious and easy to measure/compare to a correct value. In your case, though, it might take some trial and error or measuring a working car's signal with a scope. OTOH, if you had a 32 toothed wheel, and you install a 40 toothed wheel, the adjustment factor would be 32/40ths and this could be hard-coded into a micro or adjusted with a pot and an oscilloscope. Maybe a really sophisticated unit would actually have a character based input/output via an RS-232 connection and the correction factor stored in flash via your PC (non volatile, no battery required to retain the memory).

I should mention that the older cars I'm familiar with use variable reluctance sensors, which put out a really weak signal that requires amplification. The ABS sensors, the crank sensor, and the speedometer sensor use VR sensors in our 107's. The low level requires the use of coaxial cable, which is one of the reasons that they are so expensive and fragile - never mind the fine copper windings of the VR sensor, etc. Newer cars (post-2000, probably) use Hall-effect sensors, which may have built-in amps to +5 or +12 volts. They probably don't require coax. If you take a look at the 107 wiring diagram, you will see the amplifier for the VR sensor in the speedometer, which then gets jacked to a higher (probably +12) volts for the fuel pump relay, idle control, cruise, etc. This output is the connection point that I use to determine the speed for my first gear start module, because it's easier to cut down a voltage than to amplify it.

So, if you were to "fool" your ABS or whatever system with a modified signal, the best place to do it would be after the amplifier but before the signal is needed. In the case where the "amp" and "brain" are one monolithic unit (like the 107's ABS, for example), you would have to use coax, amplify/clean the signal BEFORE it hit the processor, and keep the output signal at a similar low level, all in coax.

This sounds nasty, but it is doable, and there probably is a very small market for it, but it is a market that would probably pay for it. Another example of this type of "hardware hack" is the O2 sensor replacements that fool the computer into believing that an O2 sensor is there (not as simple as it sounds, the OBD-II program is smart enough to know how the voltage changes as the exhaust temp/O2 heater rises).

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http://juliepalooza.8m.com/sl/mercedes.htm

Last edited by Strife; 03-12-2008 at 12:46 AM.
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