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Old 02-02-2003, 12:59 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 52
I hadn't been keeping this thread current, although the car is almost done. I made a deal with another mercedesshop member (who happened to have been interested in the same parts car that I was looking at) to tow the car to his shop and then have me take just the parts I needed. He probably still has the transmission, but I can't speak for his interest in selling it, I think he was wanting to keep parts on hand for future projects of his own. You can contact him through the forum as "autozen".

Good luck.

I'm going to post a wrapup when my 300 is back on the road.
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Old 02-20-2003, 01:31 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 52
Just checking in with a quick update. I'll do a more detailed one later with details like part numbers. The bottom line is, the car is back on the road and driving very well, with just one drive line problem to sort out. Although I took to heart the advice of TXBill who did a similar repair and had a car that "never drove quite right" afterwards, I couldn't easily walk away from the car when I'd put so much effort into the running gear already. Here are a few tidbits I picked up...

Any airbag deployment is going to be costly. Not only does the airbag fire, but also the pre-tensioners in both seatbelts, and most SRS control units (according to the factory manual I have on CD) consider the deployment to be a one-shot, unclearable fault, meaning that even if you replace the airbag and other widgets, you need to replace the control unit, too. Replacing all these parts could add up a hefty bill quite easily. In my case, I had bought a parts car, but individually they are probably expensive components. After I carefully replace all the parts, I will probably bring it by the local dealer I know fairly well (after I get the SRS light to go back out) for them to give it the once over. They might resist. The detailed repair procedures surrounding the SRS system combine the best elements from pyrotechnic safety and chain-of-evidence preservation. For obvious reasons, they don't make it easy to cut corners, so if the airbag deploys, its going to cost you.

Like TXBill discovered, it looks like any solid hit to the front of the car is ultimately absorbed by the engine itself after crushing through just a few light duty items. The engine and entire driveline shift rearward by some distance. In my case, by about an inch. Although you can manhandle things back into place with a light winch or come along, it is very, very difficult to tell with all the rubber components in the driveline mounting exactly where all the movement took place. I got my transmission and motor moved back about half the distance it needed to be by just loosening up the rear mount and shifting things so that the bolts sliding in their longitudinal adjustment slots went from the extreme rear limit of their adjustment to the extreme front, but once that limit was hit it was not clear how any more could be obtained. After a week of no trouble after this adjustment (and a related adjustment to the shift linkage so that the shift lever really indicated drive when it was in drive and so forth) I thought things were OK but I am now getting a very serious clunk clunk when the transmission shifts from first to second and second to third, so some rubber driveline component must have been in tension after the adjustment and has now failed. I can tell that I have some horsing around yet to do with the driveline.

That one clunk clunk on shift problem aside, the car drives wonderfully. None the worse for its adventure. I had to replace the hood, hood springs, fender, both headlight assemblies, one blinker assembly, radiator, air conditioning condensor, top radiator support and both light buckets. On the front of the motor, I had to change the fan, fan clutch, fan bearing bracket, and the power steering pump. I also had to replace the automatic transmission filler tube because my old one got crushed between the block and the firewall when the motor got pushed back.

Driving the car home from the body guy's distant shop was an electrical adventure, with one working headlight, and one dim headlight, and the windshield wiper coming on of its own volition on every bump until I pulled the fuse. Those problems were all traced to the two ground connections on the newly welded in radiator support and light buckets. The body guy didn't scrape off the new paint when he put the ground lugs on. Other than that adventure, the car came home under its own power, driving well from that first trip, and I even took it back a few days later for a little extra fiddling with the hood fit.

Now that the car seems to be driving well, It's over at the local discount Maaco paint shop for a not-quite-MB spec $500 paint job that will at least return it to a monotone appearance, and give it some gloss for its remaining years. The old paint was strong, but had some very visible flaws, so we opted for a full repaint.

Stay tuned for more details and perhaps pictures.
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Old 02-20-2003, 01:55 AM
afmcorp's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: NW Indiana LaPorte
Posts: 571

i might suggest that you part it out on EBAY. the items that are obviously parts off a wreck or something always seem to sell. so if you got the room and maybe the time you might be able to recoupe some of your expense.

it wouldn't surprise me that your front end has moved around what with the front crumple zone.

good luck!
Thanks Much!

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Old 02-20-2003, 01:58 AM
Johnson Chan
Posts: n/a

I hope you had better luck with them than i did. When i was young and dumb i went there and they told me how great there service was.

long story short, i got there "signature line" top of the line paintjob for like $2000 and there was human hair in the paint! streaks, sanding marks, dust in the paint, and all sorts of defects AND they painted it the wrong color of black, it wasnt #199 (pearl black).

i ended up having to sue them because the entired paint job was flaking off WITHIN 1 year and the clear coat was completely gone so i my polishing pads were black and they WOULD NOT honor there warranty.

So i sued them and had the thing redone at the MB dealership. Just becareful and take some good before and after pics and keep your receipts. Goodluck...
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Old 02-20-2003, 02:33 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 52
Did not end up with a parts car to part out, owing to a special deal I made with another forum member to take title to the parts car for next to nothing in exchange for towing it for me.

Regarging Maaco paint, I don't expect much (I was being sarcastic when I said it was near-MB-spec), but I have two things in my favor. First, most of these low end shops (Miracle, etc.) generally use decent if inexpensive paint and apply it OK, but just skimp on the prep. To guard against shoddy prep, I paid my inexpensive body guy to prep the whole car *before* I took it to Maaco, so their paint ought to stick even if they don't do much prep themselves. Second, I picked a specific Maaco quite some distance away from me because my same body guy has had four cars done at that specific shop with the same "quality" of paint (same Maaco job) and none of them have flaked in two years and counting. Oh, yeah. And Maaco corporate was advertising a "half off" deal so I was $500 out the door even with their "higher end" job. I knew I wasn't going to put a $2,500 paint job on a $3,500 car I just sank another $3,000 into, but I think I'll get my $500 worth of shine out of Maaco. I'll let you know how it comes out.
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Old 06-18-2003, 07:22 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 52
I thought I'd done a final wrap up on this thread long ago, but stumbled on it again. Well here it is (for those who might find themselves in the same predicament)...

Car is driving wonderfully, now. Some of my transmission problems were due to the fact that I had totally ruined the transmission by foolishly towing the car on its back wheels. The long dolly tow behind my body shop guy's van with the rear wheels spinning completely overheated and cooked the transmission. The only thing that saved me was the generosity of the forum member who bought the donor car from me offering an execellent price on selling me back the transmission installed. I did not have the heart to do it myself and the price was low enough I could live with it. I chalk that particular bill up to my own ignorance, not the wreck or the body guy towing it. I helped load the car on the dolly and should have known better.

The last of my "clunk, clunk" problems were that both motor mounts were broken. On one side, the aluminum dome on top of the rubber isolation bushing was shattered so the bolt was free to pull out, and on the other side the "support arm" that comes out from the engine to connect to the motor mount was broken off at the end. Motor was just sitting in there. With the mounts replace, no more "clunk, clunk" and I now have smooth shifting.

Interestingly, the car still "slams" into reverse with a hard clunk when the car is cold (chirps the tires), which I once thought was the transmission but now that I (for other reasons) had to replace the transmission it does exactly the same thing.

My Maaco bargain paint job looks good and has not (yet?) started to flake or peel. Good thing I had the whole car painted because it is definitely a subtly different color now (a little darker), but I like it.

My water pump started leaking and I replaced it. Might have been wreck related, maybe not.
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