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Old 03-07-2008, 04:50 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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NEED Opinions...1970 280SE...Great condition

So I've found what I consider to be a very good condition 1970 280SE. But it doesn't seem to start.

The man's father was the original owner, and he has had the car since his father passed on in 1977. It has been garage kept the entire time he's had it up until the last 4 months and driven moderately off and on since 77.

4-6 months ago it started to have an overheating issue.

The gentleman took it to a local shop to have it diagnosed. This is what he has said: "It had an overheat problem which a local mechanic thought was due to a timing problem. The water pump was removed and inspected and found to be good. No water was found in the oil so a head gasket problem didn't seem to be the problem nor a cracked head which would also have caused coolant in the oil. So it appeared that re-doing the dual point distributor would solve the problem. The mechanic then proceeded to put new points in the distributor and was then going to set the timing correctly. He was then not able to get the motor to start which is where the situation is now. "
I conclude the local mechanic doesn't know what he's doing, the guy told me he didn't specialize in euro cars, specifically not older ones.

Overall the car looks great. It was repainted and had some rust repair done to it at that time. It has great interior, all power windows work, and the man says the transmission and differential are both good.

He has been very good about answering all of my questions promptly and taking pictures of areas I asked him to for me. He even had the mechanic (where he's currently keeping the car because it now won't start) put the car up on a lift for me so that they could check out the underside.

This is what they found: "The unibody (frame) still has most of the undercoat and basically no rust. This is the same for the floor pans. The left core support for the radiator had a small rust hole. In the mechanic's opinion the car is very sound underneath with most of the undercoating still in place--not bad for a car 37 years old."

I am wondering what the experts here think about these issues. Specifically the overheating problem and why the car may not start after he messed with the distributor/timing... I'm really interested in the car.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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Old 03-07-2008, 04:53 PM
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No crying in baseball
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Inside a vortex
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You might want to post this on the tech side as well. What is the asking price for the car?
"It's normal for these things to empty your wallet and break your heart in the process."
2003 S430- "Yolanda"
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:20 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Posts: 439
It is a special person not a nut head to install dual points and get them set correctly. It could've overheated cause it needed water. Simple as that
or a stuck thermostat. My 33 year old 450 has had everything replaced. Stuff that old needs to be addressed. Not just a new paint job. I've had that 280 SEL and it is a masterpiece when running correctly. Everyonce in a while (I lived in Atlanta with this one) in the summer the car would heat while in stop and go traffic. Used to scare the hell out of me, but after awhile I never paid any attention because it would go to normal after it ran some. ( I had the 4.5) So if you know the car turns over, and all of what you say is true, I would doubt it would cost you more than 150.00 to get some nice MB guy where you live to get it started. And if the plugs, wires, caps and filters are not shot, I will bet a donut that it will run just fine once you run some Chevron Techlaline (sp) and good gas thru it. My 450 sat for 3 years. It took a tank to clear the old rotten fuel out of it just for starters. But it is worth it. Hope you have some savings allocated to this because you may need it.

Timothy Evans
CELL 310 990 6780

1985 380 SL
2010 CL 6.3 AMG
*2009 CL 550 Sport 4matic
New addition-1984 380 SE
Newest Edition 1986 300E AMG
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:47 AM
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Location: Minnesooota
Posts: 43
I've seen this ad I would buy it if I lived in the area it is available, but to me I wouldn't pay more then $1000 which is what I got mine for, but if you can afford more then that I say go for it. These engines are pretty solid so as long as you replace the parts that wear and do it properly it will last along time.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:31 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 59
Could be good...

These m110 motors are reliable but they're not easy to rebuild ($$$). You should be suspicious because of the overheating problem. If there's a problem with the head gasket then the car is going to the wrecking yard. Pay someone to perform a leak down test. If the leak down is more than 20% or the difference between the cylinders is more than 5% then the car is worthless.

If the motor is tight then it's a problem with the D-jetronic injection system. Fixing the injection system is usually (except for the fuel pump and related parts) done from the top of the engine with a shop manual in one hand. That could be good way to learn about a great car. Taking a financial beating on a lost cause engine is not a recipe for fun.
Steve S
Support Tech
UnwiredTools, LLC

1982 380SLC
1994 E320TE
1998 E300DT
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:56 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Florida / N.H.
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1970 -280SE is 108 chassis with the M130 engine and Mechanical Fuel Injection.
A Dalton
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:25 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 4,256
And an M130 doesn't have a dual point setup. I presume the car is a straight 6, and that means the description of the problem is wrong.

Also, it might well mean that the ignition system is fried because a 1970 car would have a transistorized ignition system.

Getting an accurate diagnosis would help. If you're handy, even w/o benz experience, you should be able to get it running again. If (and this is a big if), the price is right.


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