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  #1  
Old 03-10-2003, 10:13 PM
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Share Your Favorite Repair Tips, Short-Cuts

Thinking of the wealth of knowledge this site’s members have, let's post our favorite repair tips, short-cuts, tricks etc.
_______________________________________

Here are some of my favorites:

Differential oil changes: Remove the filler bolt first, if you can't get that out to refill, don't bother removing the drain bolt.

Lubricating a hard to reach part: Dip a long screw driver into the lubricant and then let it dribble down the shaft to the spot you need to reach.

Bolts/nuts falling out of socket when trying to attach in a hard to reach spot: Put a spot of heavy grease on the bolt/nut then insert it into the socket, it will be held temporarily.

Broken radiator or coolant hose - out on the road: Most major parts chains now sell coolant repair kits (about $5) consisting of insert collars of different sizes along with hose clamps and glue. Cut the leaking hose in 1/2, insert the collar, secure with glue and clamp. Not elegant but good enough to get you home or to a source for the proper hose.

Keep us posted,

Haasman
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'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)

Last edited by haasman; 11-08-2004 at 01:20 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2003, 09:06 AM
I told you so!
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,822
- Use Neversieze on ANY fastener threaded into aluminum. This saves a world of trouble later on.

- Use silicone (dielectric) grease at any underhood electrical connection to keep the moisture out.

- Polish underhood ground connections when they look suspect.

- Always install seals and o-rings wet with parent fluid, i.e., brake fluid when installing brake seals, a film of grease on grease seals, etc.

- Use ONE drop of oil on each wheel stud before installing wheel back on car. Use torque wrench on bolts.

- Take pictures or make drawings before undertaking complicated repairs. Bag and label fasteners, parts. Never rely on memory.
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2003, 11:00 AM
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Thought of another one, this one from this site:

When removing the instrument cluster and trying to get your hand to the back to unscrew the speedo cable: disconnect the speedo cable at the trans. This will create enough slack to pull the cluster forward enough.

Keep us posted,

Haasman
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'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2003, 11:57 AM
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Always have a 6-pack of ice cold beer on hand for any major repair job, preferably German or Belgian lager. If possible, have a pretty blonde present to hand the beer to you when needed, especially when your greasy hand slips off the 3/8 ratchet driver and you skin your knuckles on the cylinder head...NOTE: Knuckle skinning may require, in addition to several swigs of lager, a shot of single malt scotch.

A serious tip - To retrieve dropped and/or lost miscellaneous small metal objects within the engine compartment - use a small, but powerful magnet (Lee Valley Tools sells an excellent 1cm magnet that I swear could hold two cars together) attached to a length of string. This has saved my butt many a time...
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2007 E550 4Matic - 61,000 Km - Iridium Silver, black leather, Sport package, Premium 2 package
2007 GL450 4Matic - 62,000 Km - Obsidian Black Metallic, black leather, all options
1998 E430 - sold
1989 300E - 333,000 Km - sold
1977 280E - sold
1971 250 - retired


"And a frign hat. They gave me a hat at the annual benefits meeting. I said. how does this benefit me. I dont have anything from the company.. So they gave me a hat." - TheDon
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2003, 12:02 PM
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Replacing serpentine belt.

Removing the three allen bolts on the fan will allow sufficient room to gain access to the belt for removal. No need to disassemble the fan assembly.

Also don't forget the disconnect the ground lead from the battery prior to performing any underhood work.

It's considered a shortcut if you don't have to detour your original repair effort to replace some expensive electrical component.
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2003, 12:15 PM
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Here's another one:

Mounting a wheel: I always try to move the bolt hole on the wheel hub to the 12 o'clock position. I then make sure the wheel bolt hole is the same. With driveway repairs aligning the lug bolt holes while holding up a wheel and tire can be maddening.

Also try using a large phillips screw driver to help align the lug bolt and the hub hole.

Haasman
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'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)

Last edited by haasman; 11-08-2004 at 01:24 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2003, 03:10 PM
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Location: NW Indiana LaPorte
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mechanic rules i use before attempting any automotive repair.


1. rule one: obey all rules

2. rule two: obey rule number 1

3. (the most important rule) before starting any job that requires a bolt or nut or socket head to be turned... the aforesaid mechanic must make an offering to the knuckle gods by placing his good hand (either right or left and both hands if he's ambidextrous) on his or her shop vise and using a 16oz ball pein hammer strike down onto said hand (s) with sufficent force as to break the skin and cause bleeding (not so much as to keep from continuing to work) but a knuckle buster that he or she will be forced to live with for 7 days after said project has been completed.

Extra points are given for loss of nail or blood spatter....shows initiative and aptitude for following directions

4. at some point during said project the mechanic (that's you) must toss, throw or fatally damage 1 part. said part must be part of a larger assembly but must not be available without purchasing the whole assembly. (this rule is meant to punish your wallet)

5. again at some point during said project the mechanic must step out to the driveway and shout so all can hear. I DON'T NEED NO STINKING INSTRUCTIONS. thus proving your better half's assertions that you're crazy for doing this job yourself. why not give it to someone who knows how to do it right. (again insulting your abilities and hurting your pride)

loud sobbing is worth extra points here also but...neighbors must be able to hear your crying from 2 doors down in either direction. double bonus points if the neighbors across the street and down 3 houses in either direction hears your crying.

so you see folks these rules are to punish your heart, mind, body and soul. all of the above rules are mandatory when working on any automotive project.

PS. anytime your better half walks out to ask "how are you doing" regardless of the situation you must chant these words for them to hear. "PIECE OF CAKE" maybe i'll just start to fix all our cars.
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Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

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Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2003, 04:48 PM
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Ahhhhhhhhh, you're killin me! That was me last weekend when I installed the Kmac camber bushings. I was holding the cold chiesel , removing the old bushing, when suddenly I remembered that I had not made that obligatory offering and decided what the heck, why not make it now. And so I did...WHAMO! Hammer to Thumb. Then I felt much much better having gotten rid of all my sinner thoughts of pride and self accomplishment.
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  #9  
Old 03-15-2003, 01:30 PM
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Bump
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'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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  #10  
Old 03-15-2003, 02:52 PM
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This one has served me well . . .

When all else fails, take a break.

I don't know about you guys, but when I face a dead end or fustrating procedure, I tend to mentally craft new plans of attack, which at that stress level, probably involves large heavy or sharp tools applied to delicate expensive parts. Not a good combination.
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  #11  
Old 03-15-2003, 05:41 PM
Q Q is offline
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When working under the car, use quality jack stands, a wheel chock, leave the jack under it and throw a wheel or something else under there so you just MIGHT have a chance of living if the thing comes crashing down on your chest cavity.
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  #12  
Old 03-15-2003, 07:15 PM
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Tire Pressure: For daily driving remember to maintain your tires consistantly. For every 10 degrees of ambient temperature your tires will change 1 psi.
Always check your tire pressure while the tire is cold (before driving).

Keep us posted,

Haasman
__________________
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)

Last edited by haasman; 05-15-2003 at 10:58 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2003, 12:25 PM
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Tip for not so DIY mechanicks. Check your car after geting it back from the shop ! I retorque my wheels after tire shop does any repair to them. Now I will do the same uder the hood as well.
Did a 120k service, 4k later the air pump puley went south.
Belt felt kind of tight when I was removing it to get to the airpump. Took a look at the tentioner... no pointer there ! I guess they just estimated the belt tention in the shop, thus $300 part and 2 days of agrevation. Why agrevation ? nothing was torqued to the specs so it took me forever to uscrew. Sorry had to went.
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  #14  
Old 03-17-2003, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by haasman
Tire Pressure: For daily driving remember to maintain your tires consistantly. For every 10 degrees of ambient temperature your tires will change 1 psi.
Always check your tire pressure while the tire is cold (before driving).

Keep us posted,

Haasman
Yes, and DO NOT use the old "pop up" style air pressure gauge if you want an accurate reading. It also goes without saying that the pop up kind that are attached to the air nozzle on the air compressor are also wildly inaccurate.

Get a real gauge. Everytime I've left the tire shop, the air pressure is off by between 4 lbs. and 7 lbs per tire.

I got mine at:

www.getagauge.com
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #15  
Old 03-17-2003, 05:47 PM
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Prevent stuck wheels:
Apply a [very] thin coating of anti-seize to the mating surface of alloy wheels to prevent them from fusing to the hubs.
Anti-seize your lug bolts too (of course).

Reduce 'need to bleed':
If you need to disconnect a brake line, you can prevent excess fluid loss (and the need to bleed air from the entire system) by wedging the brake pedal down first. I have a broken ax handle that is just the right length for this. You can even use the power seats to adjust the pressure.

Baste and cut
Cut your brake-bleeding load by sucking out the reservoir with a turkey baster first. Suck it out, then fill with fresh fluid. Less bleeding will be required. Do not use baster for cooking again, just to be safe!

Protect your bleeders:
Are the rubber caps for your brake bleeders missing or torn?
That's trouble waiting to happen.
Cover them with some foil tape (hardware stores), or a glob of silicone gasket maker (just sitting on the tip, do not pack it in).
Silicone gasket material can be easily plucked off the next time you need to bleed.

Protect your bleeders (2):
Place silicone grease on brake bleeder threads to prevent seizing. This is a thick grease available in many auto parts stores [NOT silicone spray!] Material will not harm system (like petroleum greases or oils would), and bleeding will flush out any excess.

Marvelous Milk Crate
An overturned milk crate appears to be the ideal work surface for driveway mechanics doing work on a brake caliper, such as pad replacement. Just the right height and size so that the caliper does not dangle from the hose.

Harness The Power of Hydraulics:
Need to move a big fastener on your undercarraige?
Place your floor jack under a breaker bar handle, and lift!
Much better than messing with pipe extensions, safer, and takes less 'swing' room. Capable of providing precise and massive torque for crank pulley bolts and such.

Winter Warmth:
This may be obvious, but many jobs can be made more enjoyable in the winter if you warm the engine first. A warm engine can even make front suspension or front brake work more comfortable. That motor is a big radiator!

Exhausting:
Want to locate an exhaust leak fast? When the car is cold, have an assistant place a gloved hand over the tailpipe. The leak will become much more pronounced for easy location. If the car stalls, or your friend's hand cannot hold back the pressure, there probably is no leak, or not much of one.

Less Exhausting:
Those big MB exhaust pieces can be super heavy and awkward to position, particularly for a driveway mechanic. Balance the exhaust on a rolling floor jack, then roll it under the car and raise it into position. No problem man!

Shrinkage:
Does everyone know about the wonders of heat-shrink tubing?
Electrical tape sucks. It deteriorates into a sticky mess within a few years in wet or hot conditions. A soldered splice covered with heat-shrink is forever. You can even heat-shrink over crimp connectors to keep them dry. Heat shrink tubing is easy to remove with a knife if the connectors need to be pulled apart.

Liquid Electrical Tape:
Formerly obscure, but now easy to find, liquid 'electrical tape' is far superior to actual electrical tape. This stuff is great for sealing where wires enter a multi-pin connector, the ground you just cleaned, or any exposed copper wire strands that could wick up moisture.

Anti-seize your lightbulbs?:
That's right. Ever had corrosion on your brake/turn/running lightbulb bases or sockets? I'm sure any grease would do the job, but those anti-seize folks have the handy brush, so that's what I grab. Warning: Do not get grease anywhere near a halogen bulb!

Urethane Sealants:
Moisture cure 1-part urethane sealants are a modern marvel. They are super sticky, super strong, super elastic, and long-lasting. These are ideal for sealing up holes in your body. Unlike silicones, these can be top coated, and I think they form a much stronger bond. Do not get any on your skin, as the moisture in your skin will cure it instantly. I have found that PL (Pro-line) Polyurethane Roof and Flashing sealant (readily available at major home centers) is the right consistency for auto use, and performs as well as any of the more expensive products from Bostich, 3M, etc. It does cure somewhat slower than the others, but this can be an advantage in humid weather. I find the 'window and door' urethane sealants are thicker, less elastic, and not ideal for auto use. I have had several samples of various brands on a very exposed piece of sheet metal up on my roof for over 5 years, with no signs of deterioration.

Lube your seat:
MB power seat components are very expensive. Lubing the tracks and other moving parts under there can prevent big trouble down the road. I use spray lithium grease for this. Use a paper towel or a plastic bag as a shield to prevent overspray. If any seat motion is slow or sounds 'strained', get right on it.
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Last edited by csnow; 05-15-2003 at 12:11 PM.
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