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  #1  
Old 08-02-2015, 02:34 PM
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W111 Bodywork Questions

Please see my post about "W115 Bodywork Questions" for more background info: http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/vintage-mercedes/370673-w115-bodywork-questions.html

I have a suspicion that the fintail may have a few deeper rust issues of concern although I think the car is pretty good overall and definitely something I want to save and keep for a long time. I got it about 15 years ago, it was a Pacific Northwest car most of its life, since then being a California car always garaged. Now that I'm in the Midwest (not forever) it stays off the roads in winter and I run dehumidifiers in my insulated garage in the summer to minimize moisture in the air.
It was repainted once in it's life, has about 450,000 miles as far as I can tell by the records. The areas of concern (as seen in the pics) are behind the front wheels, trunk pan and left rear fender, then there is a frame rail termination point at the front fender where the bottom is corroding. Other than that, it's really not bad, but I don't know what I can't see and I guess the general consensus on rust is its always worse than you think.
I'm wondering if now may be time to strip it all the way down, fix all the metal and seal the car for another 50 years.

Since I don't have unlimited funds to expense this venture, I'm wondering if it would be possible for me to strip the body of all the parts, just leaving largely the shell for a shop to deal with. I have moderate mechanical skill having R&R a few heads and rebuilt the entire front end of the 115. I would think the hardest thing would be to remove the chrome trim and windows without destroying them.
Thoughts? Degree of difficulty of disassembling/re-assembling a fin? Cost for a shop to rotisserie and paint a shell?
Or, based on what you see in the pics, do you think I should just go for localized repairs?
Thank you
Attached Thumbnails
W111 Bodywork Questions-img_20150802_125619_252.jpg   W111 Bodywork Questions-img_20150802_125528_529.jpg   W111 Bodywork Questions-img_20150802_125538_138.jpg   W111 Bodywork Questions-img_20150802_125607_939.jpg   W111 Bodywork Questions-img_20150802_125638_880.jpg  

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63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

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73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6

Last edited by joshhol; 08-02-2015 at 04:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2015, 02:35 PM
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Trunk pan has a lot of surface rust. Treat the surface or cut the whole thing out and put in a new pan?
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W111 Bodywork Questions-img_20150802_125651_961.jpg   W111 Bodywork Questions-img_20150802_125725_900.jpg  
__________________
63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2015, 05:05 PM
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Hi Josh -

Both your W111 and W115 posts leave me confused. You say (in 115 thread) that you are not interested in perceived market value, which I interpret to mean that you don't care if you are upside-down on the cars, you want to fix and keep them even if it is not cost effective. Is that correct?

If so, what is your goal for the car(s)? To keep and drive for 40 years? To be entombed in one of them (if so, which one)? To have show cars? In one place you mention not having a lot of money and elsewhere you ask about costs for a rotisserie restoration.

As to specifics, I can't really address the bubbling rust on the fenders as I've never dealt with that. For front fenders it's easier to replace them. Not sure about rear quarter panels.

Do you care if panels don't match perfectly?

For surface rust inside trunk I would definitely treat rather than replace. What is the point of replacing it unless you are going for show-car, which I think you are not.

Probably the more relevant issue in the trunk is stopping the future water from getting in. In both cars the issue is either the trunk seal or the rear windshield seal. The rubber mat in the trunk of many MB cars makes it worse by trapping the water so it can't evaporate.

All of the choices depend on your budget and your goals, neither of which are clear.

cheers
Scott
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:28 PM
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There actually is a point to be made regarding replacing a rusted out trunk. The W114/15's are uni-body and as such almost ALL the body panels are structural.
Trunk, floorboards, bulk heads, etc. are designed to absorb impact should a collision occur.

The key to replace is whether you have surface rust only or has the metal's integrity been compromised.

A physical examination is needed.
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike D View Post
There actually is a point to be made regarding replacing a rusted out trunk. The W114/15's are uni-body and as such almost ALL the body panels are structural.
Trunk, floorboards, bulk heads, etc. are designed to absorb impact should a collision occur.
If he cares about that he'll drive the damn Jetta! Joking, of course Mike is right. But Josh said surface rust, which often is all it is in the trunk.

Speaking as someone who occasionally drives probably the rustiest W108 around, I suspect that my car would fold in half if I tried to jack it up by a jack point... I'll stop driving it after I get it running better, then I'll part it out and most of the $46,000 in money spent on it will be re-purposed to my other cars.
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2015, 07:08 PM
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Scott,

Yes, I don't really care about being upside down on the cars, however I'm not a person of unlimited means. Sorry it's hard to read my mind on this. I think generally my goal is to have both cars in good health, properly stop the rust and put the cars back to occasional driver use. Not a lot of money I guess is relative. I suppose if forced to provide a figure I'd say I can stomach to spend 10K on the two, if pushed up to 15. After that I'd have to re-evaluate.
Thanks
__________________
63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2015, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
Yes, I don't really care about being upside down on the cars, however I'm not a person of unlimited means. Sorry it's hard to read my mind on this. I think generally my goal is to have both cars in good health, properly stop the rust and put the cars back to occasional driver use. Not a lot of money I guess is relative. I suppose if forced to provide a figure I'd say I can stomach to spend 10K on the two, if pushed up to 15. After that I'd have to re-evaluate.
OK, that helps put things in perspective. I own a 63 220S and I think it's a hoot. It has very minimal rust that will not be repaired, it had surface rust in the trunk. Both of those have been surface treated (encapsulated) and I'm fine with that. My car has a big dent in the left rear quarter panel that I will probably have fixed at some point. Living in S. Cal. the car isn't exposed to more rust encouraging weather so my 220S will always just be a driver that I enjoy. My priority for it is to get the idle a little better and then decide if I'm going to shell out the money for a decent interior (currently poor condition red leather) and maybe have the fender painted. And get the trunk-mounted Artik Kar air conditioner to work again...

I had a really nice 114 coupe that I sold for $4000 - it's in Germany now.

I think if the rust isn't getting worse, you encapsulate the easy stuff and maybe fix some of the more difficult stuff, or maybe defer it and see if it is getting worse. I think the best thing you can do for the car is to use it occasionally and keep it in circulation. I don't think the cost of fixing it is going to change much over time so you don't really have to make a decision about it now.

I would also pick which car you like best and make it better and pay less attention to the other -- in a way they are kind of redundant but if you have the space for them then why not.

Lord knows none of my "normal" cars (Jetta and a Prius) get an indoor parking spot! Those are the disposable cars. The assortment of MBs are the fun cars and a couple of them get indoor parking and a couple just get covered. But since it stopped raining in S. California I'm not too concerned about them being outside. I did just replace the trunk gasket on my 220S and I feel less guilty about it getting wet now because I expect the trunk to get less water in it.

Others can say better than I about the rust bubbles on the body. All I can say is that I had an Alfa 2600 coupe for about 8 years that I bought with a rust bubble the size of a silver dollar and sold with the same rust bubble the same size.

Is one car more special to you than the other?
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
Trunk pan has a lot of surface rust. Treat the surface or cut the whole thing out and put in a new pan?
I don't consider that rust to be particularly relevant. I would surface-treat it and see if anything comes back. Looking at the pictures of your two cars, I really like the 220S with the euro lights. The 114/115 is nice and more modern but I think the Fintail is more fun to drive, at least for me. And it makes such a fun statement.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:04 PM
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Thanks for the perspective Scott. Just trying to get some thoughts as I go into this project. I will start visiting some shops and try to get a feel for them and what they are willing to do,
I'll probably end up on the conservative side on not get in over my head.
As for the two cars, the 115 came to my family when I was 3, I was given it at 16, so it has a lot of meaning. No question the fin is the more "interesting" car but oddly enough I get a lot more compliments on the 300D. Most people around here can't process the fin, seems like they've seen a UFO. The 300 is an easier car to use day in/day out but alas, the Jetta is a necessity in this day and age.

Any thoughts about the quality of water based paint versus oil? Hopefully I can go with oil based, should be possible in Missouri.
Just how many MB's do you have?
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63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2015, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
Thanks for the perspective Scott. Just trying to get some thoughts as I go into this project. I will start visiting some shops and try to get a feel for them and what they are willing to do,
I'll probably end up on the conservative side on not get in over my head.
As for the two cars, the 115 came to my family when I was 3, I was given it at 16, so it has a lot of meaning. No question the fin is the more "interesting" car but oddly enough I get a lot more compliments on the 300D. Most people around here can't process the fin, seems like they've seen a UFO. The 300 is an easier car to use day in/day out but alas, the Jetta is a necessity in this day and age.
The 300D is certainly more economical to drive, but I'm not sure you are talking about putting a lot of miles on either so maybe it doesn't matter. The Fintail has more collection appeal. I like the Fintails because people think it's strange. But it's also quite comfortable and handles well and I love the 4 speed column shift. I don't love the gear ratios... (or I guess rear axle ratio)

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshhol View Post
Any thoughts about the quality of water based paint versus oil? Hopefully I can go with oil based, should be possible in Missouri. Just how many MB's do you have?
I've been avoiding water based paint but that is mostly because I think it is new and probably not worked out yet. We currently have a 67 250SL (new paint, very nice driver, no rust, will never be a show car), a 63 220S (which was bought as an experiment to see if it's fun and it is, and easy to work on), a 65 300SE Lang (because it's LANG and super cool - it is not running and is a big project, but has no rust), and a 1971 280SE that I bought as a parts car because it came with $46,000 in receipts over the past 7 years / 20,000 miles including a $9000 engine rebuild and a $1500 injection pump. It is a complete rust bucket but a good parts car. It drives fine. Also an Alfa Duetto and an Alfa GTV 1973... and a 1993 BMW motorcycle. TOO MANY CARS!!!!

Former cars: 1967 250S, 1968 280S, 1985 300TD, 1971 250C, 1982 280CE euro, several 1981 300Ds that I bought for the aluminum wheels and then put bundt wheels on and sold immediately, a 1971 280 SEL that I sold within a week (just wanted a few parts and it was cheap), 1961 220S (as a parts car for the 1963 220s) And then lots of other strange non-MB cars...
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  #11  
Old 08-03-2015, 09:15 AM
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That's a pile of cars!!!
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63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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  #12  
Old 08-03-2015, 12:30 PM
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All of the rust showing on your car is repairable. I recently had nearly the same work done on a '61 220Sb. I can send some pictures to you of the repairs in progress so you can see what is involved. Basically you need to find a good metal guy and make sure that all the rust is either treated or cut out. The surface rust in the trunk can be treated with Ospho (available at paint suppliers). It will kill the rust and turn everything black. It's also a good idea to put some in a garden sprayer when the car is apart and get it into the areas that you can't see. Just make sure that the floor is covered because it will eat concrete; and wear a mask. The rust showing on the front of the frame rail is very common. You can either cut it out or treat it with Ospho depending on how bad it is.
Another thing to do is to look at the parts book or EPC net to see how the car went together and what parts are available. You may want to replace the rockers rather than repairing them, for instance, depending on the extent of the damage. Here are a few pix of before and after on the left front fender on my car:
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  #13  
Old 08-03-2015, 12:40 PM
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Thanks dobrodan.

The end result looks really nice and the black is striking with the whitewall tires.

Good to know I may not have to go nuts with a total strip - repaint.
__________________
63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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  #14  
Old 08-03-2015, 01:49 PM
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When you are finished with either the rust encapsulation or replacement, ensure the drains on the underneath of the panels are open. This is the second most common cause for rust in the rear fender areas. #1 is a leaking windscreen gasket.

There are also drains along the bottom of the rocker panels which need to be cleaned.
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  #15  
Old 08-03-2015, 06:18 PM
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Mike, will do. The insulating material in the doors on the fin deteriorated and clogged the water drains on the bottom of the 4 doors. All 4 doors had rusted on the bottom, it was a big job to scrape and remove all that sound deadening material, prep the rust and then POR 15 all of it.

Seems I made some progress today after hemming and hawing about this. Went to a shop that had been recommended to me. The guy seems cool and prices don't seem to be exorbitant. They don't seem to mind if I pull all the trim myself and are willing to do things whole or in part.
On the paint, I asked if it's water based and the guy said that it's solvent based, meaning they use solvent to thin it, it's a DuPont product. I imagine it's a urethane paint rather than enamel, they will apply a clear coat at the end stage. I'm sure that's proper, but did the original Benz paint have a clear coat? I'm ignorant as to the variances of paint. Does it sound like I'm on the right or wrong track for paint for an old MB?
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63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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