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  #1  
Old 10-17-2015, 08:28 PM
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Location: Dela-where? OH
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Considering a W114 280

Hey all, longtime Pelicanite, but this is my first post in the M-B forums. I'm looking at a really clean 280 sedan that appears to be well cared for. My main concern is the Pierburg carb. How reliable are these? I plan to daily drive this car 9 months out of the year. Nothing crazy, just 28 miles round trip to work, mostly rural and small town roads. Also getting groceries, hardware store, etc. I'm not afraid of wrenching on an old car. I've got a '74 and an '80 Porsche, and a Silverado to drive in the winter. But those are at least FI. In fact, I haven't owned a carbed car since the late 80s. Is it realistic to think a W114 could make a viable daily driver?
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2015, 10:13 PM
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Rh:

What year model? If '74, is it a California or Federal type?

Yes, they are entirely viable for daily use.
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2015, 11:09 PM
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It's a '74 280 sedan. Don't know if it's CA or federal. It's not in CA, but of course that doesn't mean it wasn't sold there originally. I keep reading on other forums that the carbs on these cars are really problematic. Since I have other vehicles and I don't drive that far for work, I can tolerate slightly spotty reliability if the car has other good qualities. But there are limits.
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  #4  
Old 10-18-2015, 12:27 AM
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What sort of fuel economy are you expecting? My understanding is that the w114 280 doesn't get many mpg.
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2015, 09:48 AM
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Rh:

To quickly distinguish Cal. from Fed., look at the exhaust manifolds. If Fed., the manifolds will consist of two sets of three smoothly curved cast iron pipes. If Cal., there will be two large cylindrical cast iron chambers; they are thermal reactors, the forerunners of catalytic converters. The engine will also be equipped with an air pump, aka smog pump, which supplies air to the reactors.

If yours is a Fed. car, the carburetor is the simplest of three variations that were used over the '73-'76 run of carbureted engines. I have one of that that variation in rebuild now. All were subject to warping, in varying degrees.
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2015, 10:10 AM
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Yeah, I've heard that, about 16 MPG. I can live with that. I'm mainly concerned about getting good day to day driveability, like cold starting, consistent idle, not stalling, etc. Carbureted cars I owned in the past (meaning the 80s) were never very good on that front, but maybe that's because they never had the right maintenance. But this car seems well maintained and I'm willing to tinker with it if necessary.
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2015, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Reiner View Post
Rh:

To quickly distinguish Cal. from Fed., look at the exhaust manifolds. If Fed., the manifolds will consist of two sets of three smoothly curved cast iron pipes. If Cal., there will be two large cylindrical cast iron chambers; they are thermal reactors, the forerunners of catalytic converters. The engine will also be equipped with an air pump, aka smog pump, which supplies air to the reactors.

If yours is a Fed. car, the carburetor is the simplest of three variations that were used over the '73-'76 run of carbureted engines. I have one of that that variation in rebuild now. All were subject to warping, in varying degrees.
Wow, that's good info, thanks. I'll check for that next time I go to look at it. What causes a warped carburetor? Is there any remedy, other than a replacement?
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2015, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrockhound View Post
Wow, that's good info, thanks. I'll check for that next time I go to look at it. What causes a warped carburetor? Is there any remedy, other than a replacement?
The primary cause of warpage is overtightening of the mounting nuts; when they are overtightened, and the temperature of the carb castings rises during operation, expansion of the castings causes some further distortion.
If the warpage is not too bad, repair is possible.
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2015, 12:15 PM
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Hello Rh,

I have been a member of Pelican Parts for many years. I had a 924S, then a 911, now a 2014 Boxster S. I LOVE Porsche!

Welcome to Mercedes! This is a great place to find out every thing you want to know. The Mercedes restoration hobby costs a fraction of what I spent on my Porsches for similar things.

I had a 1972 Mercedes 280 Coupe called Goldie Locks that had a warped Solex 4A1 carburetor. My friend Don was helping me by rebuilding the carb when he noticed it was warped. He used his oven at home (married guys don't try this) to heat the carb and apply pressure, check measurements and do again until that eventually straightened the metal. It can be done.

RH, Did you see the carburetor? I have experienced that sellers often make mistakes when identifying aspects of a car they are selling. The Solex 4A1 was also used on BMW. There should be plenty out there for spares.
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  #10  
Old 10-19-2015, 07:10 PM
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One way to tell if a car is Fed or Cal is to look at the EPA plates or stickers on the radiator mounting frame. Just lift the hood and look down at the part of the body work that has the VIN plate on it and the option code plate.

Hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong.... The Fed version of this car had a black place with white numbers. It was the same place almost all Mercedes used.

The Cal version had a green plate with white numbers. It was only affixed to cars in the 'Western Zone' which could extend all the way east to El Paso.

The smog pump can be removed and the exhaust headers can be replaced and if you live somewhere where you can get away with it this might be the thing to do if you have a Cal version. The state I live in, Oklahoma, allows this on older cars and it is a common swap.

And if the original carbs are worn out you can pick up used ones on Ebay for about two or three hundred for a pair. You can also replace with with a Weber conversion kit with is popular but not cheap.

But these are small things when you finally start driving it. There is a reason people put up with these odd quirks.

Because to drive this car it's worth it.
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  #11  
Old 10-19-2015, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffreyNMemphis View Post
Hello Rh,

I have been a member of Pelican Parts for many years. I had a 924S, then a 911, now a 2014 Boxster S. I LOVE Porsche!

Welcome to Mercedes! This is a great place to find out every thing you want to know. The Mercedes restoration hobby costs a fraction of what I spent on my Porsches for similar things.

I had a 1972 Mercedes 280 Coupe called Goldie Locks that had a warped Solex 4A1 carburetor. My friend Don was helping me by rebuilding the carb when he noticed it was warped. He used his oven at home (married guys don't try this) to heat the carb and apply pressure, check measurements and do again until that eventually straightened the metal. It can be done.

RH, Did you see the carburetor? I have experienced that sellers often make mistakes when identifying aspects of a car they are selling. The Solex 4A1 was also used on BMW. There should be plenty out there for spares.
Thanks, Jeffrey. I've had a 944, and I now have a 911SC, a 996, and a 914. Except for my first 911, the Porsches haven't been money pits, and I think if you start with a solid car and can do a lot of your own work, you can have something reliable for not-ridiculous amounts of money.

As for the carburetor, I have seen it, and it's marked Pierburg, which confused me at first because I thought I had heard of all the carburetor makes out there and that was a new one on me. But I guess Pierburg is just a Solex clone?
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  #12  
Old 10-19-2015, 11:24 PM
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Location: Dela-where? OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idle View Post
One way to tell if a car is Fed or Cal is to look at the EPA plates or stickers on the radiator mounting frame. Just lift the hood and look down at the part of the body work that has the VIN plate on it and the option code plate.

Hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong.... The Fed version of this car had a black place with white numbers. It was the same place almost all Mercedes used.

The Cal version had a green plate with white numbers. It was only affixed to cars in the 'Western Zone' which could extend all the way east to El Paso.

The smog pump can be removed and the exhaust headers can be replaced and if you live somewhere where you can get away with it this might be the thing to do if you have a Cal version. The state I live in, Oklahoma, allows this on older cars and it is a common swap.

And if the original carbs are worn out you can pick up used ones on Ebay for about two or three hundred for a pair. You can also replace with with a Weber conversion kit with is popular but not cheap.

But these are small things when you finally start driving it. There is a reason people put up with these odd quirks.

Because to drive this car it's worth it.
I'm lucky to live in Ohio where the state doesn't check your emissions (unless you live in Cleveland) so I'd definitely look into whatever I could do to release some of the power that emissions left on the table. I did drive the car and unfortunately it had a miss, so I didn't get to experience that turbine-like straight-6 smoothness. I'm trying to get the seller to spring for a tune-up, which I hope does the trick. That said, it does kill my buzz somewhat that the car was put on the market in dire need of a tune up.
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  #13  
Old 10-20-2015, 12:13 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrockhound View Post
I'm lucky to live in Ohio where the state doesn't check your emissions (unless you live in Cleveland) so I'd definitely look into whatever I could do to release some of the power that emissions left on the table. I did drive the car and unfortunately it had a miss, so I didn't get to experience that turbine-like straight-6 smoothness. I'm trying to get the seller to spring for a tune-up, which I hope does the trick. That said, it does kill my buzz somewhat that the car was put on the market in dire need of a tune up.
There may be an old style tune-up shop in your area with an ignition analyzer that uses a scope. If so they can hook up to it and tell you quickly what is causing the miss and even which plug, wire or whatever is causing it.

One quick check is to pull the distributor cap and look at the contacts; the part of the cap where the rotor contacts the electrical leads. If the the leads have a blue powder on them then there is arcing and the cap needs replacement. You might want to check the price of a new cap. Pelican would be a great place to look for these ignition parts as them seem to carry everything you would need to price out the replacements.

If you take it for a quick run and it dies when you slow down this is almost always a burnt valve which is a bit more work than replacing a spark plug wire.

And on the subject of wires.... On these cars you but a full set but normally you buy the plug connector, the wire and the distributor cap connector and screw them all together. This was Mercedes way of saving you money because why replace the entire wire if only a connector is bad?
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  #14  
Old 10-20-2015, 05:45 PM
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Thanks, Idle. All good info.
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  #15  
Old 11-17-2015, 08:09 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Yorba Linda
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I'm also looking at picking up a 73 w114 280 C
going to look at the car this Friday. sellers asking a fare price of $2300
2nd owner has had the car sense 84 garage queen. Owner had a stroke and now can't drive. his son is selling the car and wants it to go to a good home.
from the pic's it's a solid car bit of rust behind rear drivers wheel and on the deck lid at the name plates. interior look amazing and new for car of its age. everything works and car runs and drives AND stops..
Son dosen't know too much about the car. when asked about the engine I was told all he knew was that is was a v6 and has a carb... ugh
looking forward to owning the M110 :-)
It's the Light Lemon yellow color with matching hub caps

sorry for the thread jack~
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