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  #1  
Old 09-19-2017, 10:33 AM
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1989 300TE Auto Basic Restoration

Hey all, I am the new owner of a Gold 1989 300TE Automatic wagon that I am in the process of performing an amature restoration on.

Car runs and drives, doesn't leak anything, and even the wiring looks like it's in great shape so far! Nothing seems hacked up. This car was taken care of very well for a very long time, then, it seems somewhat recently, somebody who dgaf owned the car. Cigarette packs everywhere, smoker gunk on all switch gear and the front carpets are just...wrecked.

My ultimate plan for this car is to turn it into a daily driver. My current daily is a 2007 Corvette manual that I picked up last year with 10,000 miles on the clock. With a VERY tall first gear, traffic is...no fun. It is also not the most practical car ever for hauling people / things.

This 300 is a survivor, NOTHING in the front is leaking and I was able to drive it the 40 minutes home without issue. Trans shifts a bit rough from 2-3 and 3-4, hoping that can be solved with just a fluid and filter change. Engine runs great, no hiccups or overheating issues to speak of. Idles nice and steady. Will be replacing spark plugs, wires, and probably distributor in due time. Pretty sure I'll need new shocks all 'round, and will probably replace front and rear bushings and engine mounts in due time. Will also need new gas struts for rear hatch.

Interior...needs work. I've cleaned out three mice nests (one behind each side panel in rear and one under center console), vacuumed / ripped up lots of old insulation (will be replacing with Dynamat later). Current state is most of the gunk is gone from the external interior bits, with my next task being completely disassembling the dashboard and console and giving it a thorough cleaning.

The paint is fairly well shot. Not sure if I'm going to do much about it just yet.

I do not have a real deadline on this project as the car is already driveable as-is. I would like to have the interior cleaned up and dynamat-ed and all fluids changed before I drive it regularly.

Anyway, wanted to introduce myself and the car a bit, I will definitely be on here asking questions!
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2017, 11:17 AM
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Pictures! We need pictures!

Cleaning up the carpets may surprise you. Rent a Rug Doctor with the upholstery kit and use the Zep "Heavy Duty" commercial shampoo from Lowe's or Home Depot. It can be truly shocking what will come out! My carpets went from black to palomino!

On a car with a lot to do, it helps to have a sort of game plan, preferably written down. It sounds silly, but it really helps prioritize what needs to be done and gives you a real sense of satisfaction when you start crossing things off.
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2017, 12:06 PM
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A list is a great idea. I might break out some cardboard and do it Roadkill style

And I'll get some pictures up after work, just keep in mind it is not...a looker
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2017, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarbone View Post
And I'll get some pictures up after work, just keep in mind it is not...a looker
If you want fugly, go check out my 300SDL thread in my signature line. It looks alright from a distance, the closer you get, the less "alright" it looks!
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'11 Honda Accord EX - "The Daily" 64K
'83 500SL Euro - "The Money Pit" 116K
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The Diseasel Thread - Everything You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2017, 02:45 PM
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Where are you located? I have a 300te with a decent interior that I'm going to part out
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  #6  
Old 09-19-2017, 08:38 PM
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Some pictures:

Exterior:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/CmdOpGwcz6243I913
As you can probably guess, the top in black is not factory and is unfortunate at best.

Interior:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/IsmfcBQub08JYhss2
The interior is in surprisingly good shape! The wood trim in the center console is pretty shot, and i'm trying to soak the stink out of the front carpets right now, but those are by far the worst bits I've yet found. This weekend I hope to have most of the dash removed, cleaned, and re-installed.

Seats:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/U7hDNSMAj31gZJrf2
The leather is in really good condition, considering it's age and the state of other parts of the interior! The creases have some dirt, so at some point in the future I will just give them a good thorough cleaning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorainfurniture View Post
Where are you located? I have a 300te with a decent interior that I'm going to part out
I'm in TN. What color are your parts car's mats?
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  #7  
Old 09-19-2017, 10:12 PM
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Interior is mushroom/ parchment/ light cream color, edit: just looked at your interior, same color
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2017, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorainfurniture View Post
Interior is mushroom/ parchment/ light cream color, edit: just looked at your interior, same color
sent you a message
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2017, 08:30 PM
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Changed the oil, putting in 6 quarts of 10w-30 Royal Purple HMX with a K&N Gold filter, and went grocery shopping with the old girl:


Noticed a few things:
  1. After warm, subsequent starts cause rough idle and blue smoke and some hesistation while accelerating until driven a bit
  2. Opening the trunk lock caused the alarm to trip, and that allowed me to discover the horn needs replacing
  3. The car drives just fine with the alarm going off...is this expected?
  4. Turn signal's don't work
  5. 3rd brake light doesn't work
  6. Miles and trip indicators are stuck
  7. Brakes work GREAT!
  8. Engine seems to go along beautifully after running for a bit, but there is a bit of smoke coming from the back left, looks like something is dripping on the exhaust
  9. Parking brake works!
  10. Most interior lights work
  11. Transmission shifts better the more it's driven.

Overall, very happy with my trip to Publix. Car needs work, but I'm very hopeful!
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  #10  
Old 09-21-2017, 09:01 PM
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I use 15w-40 diesel oil, 10w-30 is a little thin if in a warm climate. Blue smoke and rough idle may be valve seals. Pull the plugs and see if one side of the ceramic insulators are more fouled than the other. If yes valve seals are shot.
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  #11  
Old 10-05-2017, 09:27 AM
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I don't want to start an oil war, but the viscosities recommended by Mercedes in the late 80's and early 90's was xW-40 or xW-50 for anywhere except if you are in Arctic / sub-freezing temperatures. The 10W-30 is probably a bit thin, at the next change I'd go thicker.

Also, the M103 engine is known for eating valve guides and seals. Keep an eye on oil consumption, if it's worse than 1000 miles per quart, pretty likely you have one or both issues. New seals can buy you some time but if the blue smoke continues, at some point you may need to replace the guides ($$$), or just feed it oil.

Yes, you can drive the car with the alarm going off (a starter lockout wasn't part of the alarm until 1993). Best solution is to disable the alarm, unplug the "Becker" box under the passenger footwell carpet behind the angled partion panel.

Speedometer / odometer MIGHT be fixable with replacement gears. Alternately, buy a used speedometer from a car with the same gear ratio (or "K" number on the sticker on back of the speedo), and adjust the odo to read accurately.

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Old 10-05-2017, 10:35 AM
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Hi, dcarbone, your story sounds familiar. I recently got a 1989 300TE that had been neglected. Mine's also gold with parchment interior, and I even have the same wheels as your car. I'm also in Tennessee, Nashville to be exact.

I can share some pictures and advice if you want. PM me an email address and I'll send you some pix.

Bob in Nashville
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  #13  
Old 10-07-2017, 09:02 AM
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Looks like your car is in pretty good shape. Those seats are MB Tex though. Not leather. As others have suggested I would use a good diesel rated oil like Shell Rotella T or Mobil Delvac in 15-40 weight.

Is the top of your car wrapped or painted? I kinda like the two tone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarbone View Post
Some pictures:

Exterior:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/CmdOpGwcz6243I913
As you can probably guess, the top in black is not factory and is unfortunate at best.

Interior:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/IsmfcBQub08JYhss2
The interior is in surprisingly good shape! The wood trim in the center console is pretty shot, and i'm trying to soak the stink out of the front carpets right now, but those are by far the worst bits I've yet found. This weekend I hope to have most of the dash removed, cleaned, and re-installed.

Seats:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/U7hDNSMAj31gZJrf2
The leather is in really good condition, considering it's age and the state of other parts of the interior! The creases have some dirt, so at some point in the future I will just give them a good thorough cleaning.


I'm in TN. What color are your parts car's mats?
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  #14  
Old 10-13-2017, 10:15 PM
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Well finally got the car back after a few weeks at a local shop, needed both a head gasket and valve seals. Had both replaced, plus some new plugs and other minor work for $1600 all told. Runs fantastic now!

Next on the docket, there is some slop in the steering on-center and the alignment is out. There is also a clunk in the right rear and right front suspension. Have not had a chance to look, plan on doing so this weekend.
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  #15  
Old 10-15-2017, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarbone View Post
Next on the docket, there is some slop in the steering on-center and the alignment is out. There is also a clunk in the right rear and right front suspension. Have not had a chance to look, plan on doing so this weekend.
Steering slop is probably due to linkage (tie rod end, drag link) and not the steering box itself, but you'll need to check everything. Also need to make sure the box is centered properly, the boxes should have near zero play in center, but off-center it is normal to have a small amount of play. If any of the steering parts are worn... replace ALL of them: tie rod assemblies, drag link, idler arm bushings, along with any other worn front-end parts (strut mounts, struts, LCA bushings, ball joints, etc). Then get one alignment at the dealer. If you only replace a single worn item, you end up getting another alignment when the next part wears out, and so on. BTW, don't skimp on brand names, try to get Lemforder for the parts assuming OE/Genuine is not in the budget.

Pretty much only the dealer can align these cars properly, so unless you find an indy MB shop that does alignments properly with the spreader bar, fork over the $$$$ for the dealer alignment.

Don't forget to look at the rear wheel carrier support joints, these are almost always shot, and can affect rear camber. New Lemforder are cheap ($25/ea) but you'll need to improvise or rent the tool to R&R them. There are multiple threads on this topic on this forum and 500E board dot com.

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