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Old 03-03-2003, 07:53 AM
Blu 420Sel's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 274
Recomended Reading?

Hi everyone,

I can't tell you how great it is to find this resource, I must've read thousands of posts by now. To date my repair experience has been limited to regular maintenance with the occassional brake, alternator or suspension repair. However I'm tired of being at the mercy of the local machanics and I have always wanted to learn how to tackle larger engine repairs so I think I'm ready for the plunge.

I'm planning some fairly extensive upper engine repairs in the next couple months on my 420sel (chain, valves, etc) and I was wondering what reference materials everyone is using. I have the 2-CD set that is all-over ebay as well as a number of basic generic automotive repair books:

How Cars Work by Tom Newton

Worktext for Automotive Technology: Principles, Diagnosis and Service

Auto Fundamentals (Text) Martin W. Stockel, et al

Not to mention MikeTangas's amazing photo-documentary on his website

Is there anything else that you would recommend? I have been contemplating getting the MB shop Manual but I have had a tough time tracking one down. Is it worth it and does anyone know where I can find one?

1988 420SEL 170K
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Old 03-03-2003, 09:42 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 375
Hi Blu 420Sel,

I found "How to understand, service and modify Bosch fuel injection & engine management" by Charles O. Probst very good.


Reinhard Kreutzer (white 420 SEL)
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Old 03-03-2003, 02:52 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237

I have been working on mechanical stuff, everything from lawn mowers to 40,000hp Fiat super tanker engines, for about 45 years. A couple of words of advice.

First, buy good tools. Don't waste money on either cheap **** or expensive stuff. Snap-On and the like are good but are no better than Blackhawk, which are actually made by Proto. Get Blackhawk at your local parts house. The Popular Mechanics brand found at, and I hate to say it, Wal-Mart were voted a good buy by Consumer Reports mag. They also have a good set of jack stands. Remember, expensive tools dosen't make one a good mechanic. They help, but unless you are making your living with your tools middle of the road tools made by a reputable manufacturer are as good as any.

Many tools boast that they have a lifetime guarentee, and charge accordingly. This is great, but I will tell you honestly that in all my years of pulling wrenches I doubt that I have replaced, through guarentee, more than 5 tools. Besides, most all tool companies offer this guarentee so it isn't really a selling point.

Some Craftsman tools are good but I stay away from their hand wrenches. They have sharp edges around the head and hurt your hands. Their sockets are as good as any but pricey unless you get them in complete kits. Williams flat wrenches are good.

Stay away from pawn shop tools except for anything but pipe wrenches, large wheel pullers, etc.

Work on a cement floor inside. Use good quality jacks and jack stands. Use a hydraulic jack type engine puller and a proper engine stand. Both Harbor Freight and Great Weastern have a good and moderately priced selection. Have good lighting, a good work bench, a parts cleaning vat, and plenty of room. Don't try to do rifle drill in a phone booth.

Go by a couple of independent garages and ask the owners what they would recomment. I am sure they would take it as a compliment.

Good luck.
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Old 03-03-2003, 10:56 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Re: Recomended Reading?

Originally posted by Blu 420Sel
Not to mention MikeTangas's amazing photo-documentary on his website
I think you're confusing me with Brother Thomaspin. Same cars, same work, but he spends a little more time fully documenting each step. I on the other hand grab a picture or two, here or there, as I see fit, but commit the process and bolts sizes to Rainman memory . I did document a lot of work in a single thread, but no specific web pages for me, just a whole bunch of photos stuffed on my ISP's server.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 03-04-2003, 08:39 AM
Blu 420Sel's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 274

Hi Mike,

Sure enough you're right. Boy that's embarassing, I'm not sure how I put 2+2 together to get 5 but I suppose I did.

My appologies to Thomas, please don't let the fact that I put the WRONG NAME on your work detract at all from my respect and admiration (hehe- shessh I'm an idiot). Both of your postings have been enourmously helpful already and I'm sure that I wouldn't be nearly so eager to attempt tackling these kind of repairs if a resource like this board didn't exist.

As a way of familiarizing myself with all of the relavent issues and proceedures I've been compiling many of the relavent posts on various issues into a Word document in order to provide a highly detailed discription of the repair process. For instance there are dozens of posts on Valve Stem Seal Replacement that discribe in greater or lesser detail how the process should work step by step. Different people tend to focus on different issues and so by cobbling all of their discriptions together I'm starting to produce a pretty 'comprenhensive' guide.

Anyway I can't take any credit for the work since they aren't my 'ideas' but I do think it might be a valuable resource for other new-bee's like me and I'd be happy to donate this document to whoever would be willing to post it, if they think it's good enough. Mostly I just hate to be a leech and I'd like to give back where possible.

Thanks again!!

1988 420SEL 170K
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Old 03-04-2003, 10:04 AM
Blu 420Sel's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 274
Hi Kip and Reinhard,

Thanks for you replies I'm happy to get all the advice I can get my hands on at this point!

Kip, thanks for your thoughtful comments. That's some resume you got posted in your profile. Kind like having a real-life Indiana Jones right here in our newsgroup! I spent a litttle time in the Middle East and North Africa a few years ago while I was in grad school. Its an amazing place! I hope I have the oppertunity to go back one day.

You have to tell us some stories on open forum sometime.

1988 420SEL 170K
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Old 03-04-2003, 10:19 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
Blu 420SEL

No apologies needed - any day my mechanical skills are mistaken for Mike Tangas's is a good one!
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