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  #1  
Old 08-19-2003, 08:35 AM
David Speed's Avatar
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Question Not used for 5yrs -trying to get 1978 280CE going

I Ďm new to this Forum and the hope I can get some support and advice on my project to get a 1978 280CE running again after 5yrs in the garage with no storage preparation.

It has only 100,000klm on the clock and the body appears good with only some rust in the bottom of the driverís door, so it appears a very worthwhile project, but I have limited funds!!

I have a Chiltonís and Haynes manuals and moderate mechanical knowledge and skills.

Iíve started by draining the fuel (old stale smell) and replacing with fresh
- changed fuel filter
- disconnected return line from fuel distributor and flushed through with fresh fuel
- pulled the plugs & squirting in some oil
- new oil, turned it over with the starter until some oil pressure registered.
- used earthed plug on distributor lead while turning it over and noted good spark

Iím nearly ready to try to start it, but feel the injectors will almost certainly be blocked -fuel pump needed carby cleaner to get it to run.

Should I just give it a go or is there anything else I should do before flicking the switch?
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  #2  
Old 08-19-2003, 09:27 AM
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Bloody good, mate!

At this point, I would be tempted to start it and see what happens.

But you could pull the injectors out and soak them overnight in carb cleaner, and force some cleaner through them with the littlle tube supplied with the spray cans. Some places will test the injectors for you for a nominal fee if you bring them in.

You could also pull the lines off the fuel distributor, spray some cleaner in them and blow them out and put it all back together with new seals.

Keep us posted ...
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2003, 01:44 PM
yorktown5
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As always, Chuck provides good advice. I'm deep into a fix up of a 79 280CE myself. If she starts, and the liklihood is high it will, gummed up injectors will tend to get "leaky" with the result that start up when the engine is hot is difficult as the car floods easily. If this is the case the product Sea Foam, used in several tanks of gas can sometimes recondition the seals and restore the injectors.

Pay attention to the radiator, particularly where the upper hose connects. The plastic can become brittle and start to leak. A 1" diameter copper tube just fits inside the hose nipple on the radiator...a common fix. Otherwise a new radiator is required.

Your Haynes manual should provide guidance on adjusting the valves. And this should also give you a chance to look over the timing chain...although it is a pretty robust set up in the 280 engine. A good running 280 engine, which some call the most durable gas engine MB ever made, will use about a quart of oil every 1000-1500 miles depending on how hard you drive it. If you do better than that, it means there is a lot of life left. By the way, the 280 likes to run hard. Once you have confidence in the car, you shouldn't need to baby it.

I'd flush and refill the tranny including a new filter kit (easy install and under $20)

If you uncover electrical non-function items, the car has the older style exposed element fuses and cleaning corrossion from the fuse contacts might surprise you as to what goes live again..in fact replacing all fuses is'nt a bad idea.

You have the old York piston A/C compressor. In this vintage Benz, you will know it when the compressor is running as they were quite a drain and noisy. Thank goodness the 280 has plenty of power, as the old timers will tell you stories of pre-turbo diesels having to turn off the A/C to climb a steep hill. The good news is that the compressor can be re-used if you convert to the 134A freon replacement.

You won't get much light up of the dash at night...nature of the vintage. There are supposedly bulb replacements that can help.

The most likely to need replacing motor mount is the one at the back of the tranny.

On e-bay motors an "advanced search" in parts and accessories for mercedes 280ce (make sure you check the box to search content and not just the title) will turn up several pages of stuff you might need.

I have many more fresh experiences to share. E-mail me directly for ideas.

Rick
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2003, 04:04 PM
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I say go ahead and start it up!!!

Pulling injectors can cause problems with re-seating them again later. Y'know - too much preparation can be bad thing.

After you drive it about for awhile.... think about performing an 'Italian tune-up' - take it on high speed run with injector cleaner added to fuel.

Basically, if it aint broke - dont fix it. But come back and tell us results you've had.... otherwise this becomes a dead-end thread.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2003, 03:58 AM
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G'day

Thanks for the responses

Finding this Forum has given me a lot more confidence that I can get this car back to its previous glory !

Decided not to disturb the injectors

Crossed everything and gave it a try...........nothing at first then fired for a few seconds....no sign of firing again, so tried Aerostart(Ether spray)........fired up for a few seconds only each time - max ~ 10 seconds.

Some strange noises from the fuel pump

Thoughts..........fuel pump may need further cleaning and output check.........may try squirting some fuel into the air intake next time I get it to fire

Would disconnecting the injector lines one at a time at the fuel distributor (with the system pressurised) be helpful to show me the fuel is at least getting this far -are they just compression fittings or do I need to find replacement seals before undoing anything -my manual doesn't seem to show any seals.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2003, 09:22 AM
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Bloody close!

Cracking the fittings on the FD is a good idea. Believe they just screw in - at least they do on my '81.

It just occurred to me that you might want to check the flow to the cold start valve - that's where the engine gets fuel on a cold start.

IMHO, you are going to have to deal with the injectors and lines.

As a compromise, you might remove the lines from the FD, and clean them out - whatever foul stuff is in them is going right to the injectors.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2003, 12:29 PM
yorktown5
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Just a random thought, but if after a failed start attempt, and short of pulling all the injectors, wouldn't pulling the plugs to check for wetness help answer whether fuel is getting through? I'm thinking that if all plugs look the same (wet or dry) that directs you to common fuel distribution places such as the FP and the cold start valve, but if you detect differences in the amount of gas getting to the cylinders, you can focus on cleaning specific feed lines and injectors. Otherwise you could be cleaning quite a bit before ever hitting the exact problem, and I like the idea of trying to pin down a specific failure point before taking more apart in a random clean out strategy. Just get it running, and the mentioned Italian tune up will do a lot of the cleaning for you, although I expect it will take several tanks of gas and injector additive. It's been my experience too that a strong dose of injector cleaner loosens crud only to have it plug up something else until it can dissolve, and so can make the car run worse for awhile. One MB mechanic told me to run the tank as close to empty as possible, pour in the cleaner, start the car for a few seconds to get the highest concentration of cleaner into the fuel delivery system possible and then fill the gas tank.
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  #8  
Old 08-21-2003, 09:55 AM
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Slow progress-alot to learn about MB Systems!!

Didn't achieve much today, but convinced myself the main problem is fuel supply......kept it running for several minutes until I got tired of squirting fuel into the air intake....idled quite smoothly so ignition system is probably ok-at idle at least.

Located the cold start valve, but spent most of the day finding the right tool to remove it..............picked up most of my mechanical skills on a '59 MGA , Triumph TR6 and Marine Sterndrives......they all had AF bolts etc.......... so Metric hex sockets had to be located.......a long 5mm one for the cold start valve was the hardest to find!!.....MB Engineering is going to be a whole new ballgame for me.......and I haven't even mentioned the Vacuum system yet!!!

I had an idea to short the thermo-time switch to be sure the cold start valve was activated.....it rarely gets below 15C(59F) in my garage in Bribane....... even in mid winter, so if it activates it woud be briefly and may be why it only runs for a few seconds (if the injectors are all blocked)........took me a while to pull the plug off the thermo-time switch......didn't want to break it.......eventually found the clip!!

Shorting the plug didn't seem to help it keep going, so I will have to get the mulimeter and wiring diagram out and check the valve is getting 12V when it is supposed too.......now I have the tools, tomorow I wil go ahead and remove the valve and see if it's squirting.

The idea of checking the plugs for wetness after a starting failure is my next step.......but I will disconnect the cold start valve and make sure it is not leaking, so the fuel could only come from the injectors.

While I was attacking the thermo-time switch I noticed the maze of vacuum tubes & connectors........the rubbers on the EGR valve had perished and would probaly have caused a vacuum leak....most of the other connections looked ok, but my manuals weren't very helpful when trying to sort it out

Can anyone give me any links to more info on the Emission & Vacuum system -our cars are probably set up similar to the California models

I would actually like to take the emissions stuff out of the equation if possible -I presume the EGR can be eliminated by pulling & plugging the two lines to it (unless it's stuck open)

I notice there is no belt on the air pump so I guess the air injection system is inoperative.......so it may already be running un-choked......we don't have any annual emmisions certificates as yet, but I'm sure they're not to far off for Australia

It looks like I am going to have to remove the Injectors eventually.......any tricks or things to watch out for?
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  #9  
Old 08-22-2003, 09:43 AM
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'Cracked' the connections on the Fuel Distributor........expected gushes of fuel when the airflow plate was pressed........got a moderate ooze......it did vary as the plate was pressed and seemed about equal at each point when I took all the connections off...noticed the ooze seemed to be the old stale fuel - which seemed to be a bad sign that there had been no clearing flow to the injectors.......flow cleared to fresh fuel and seemed to increase a bit, but never became a gush

Does this seem what you would expect or does it sound like I have fuel distributor problems?

Next I removed the cold start valve....once again not much flow when I cracked the connection at the FD, but improved after a bit to a gush.......connected the valve directly to the battery and magically got a lovely cone of spray that switched off without a dribble -at least I feel I fixed something today!!

Started her up and amazingly it ran for what seemed like several minutes compared to the few seconds the last few days - but in reality was probably 30secs

After it stalled I noted the connection was off the thermo-time switch, which suggests to me it must have been running on fuel from the jets - asuming the cold start valve would not work with this connection removed........I will have to look closer at the control of the cold start valve -any help would be appreciated

Tomorrow I'll check the plugs for wetness

I'm a bit anxious about removing the injectors -hope I find the plugs all moist with the cold start valve control disconnected

Checked the price of injectors-$A107each!(~$US70) -I hate to think what a Fuel Distributor would cost

Looking forward to getting your opinions on the FD

Will keep you posted on my progress if there is any interest
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2003, 11:00 AM
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I can absolutely see the old gas in the FD turning to peanut butter after 5 years, but it is a good sign that you got a seep out of the lines.

I looked in the book at the injectors. They are the same design as my 380SL. They have a plastic holder that fits into the head with an O-ring, then a rubber seal that fits around the injector, and then the injector/seal is pressed into the holder. It is very simple.

The holders and seals are inexpensive and are notorious for shrinking, cracking, and allowing vacuum leaks. So I think you should proceed with new holders and seals and cleaning the injectors and lines as outlined above. If you can get someone to test them for you after cleaning, so much the better.

BTW - *************** has the injectors for U$23.41. FastLane will match their price and they both would probably ship to you.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2003, 06:18 PM
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Here ya go, mate!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=33554&item=2428827579
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2003, 07:53 PM
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Chuck.......thanks for the Email and posts......I have bookmarked the injectors on Ebay.........I have never made a purchase over the Internet -but looks like an excellent option if I can get them cheap -what do you think would be a fair price for 8 used injectors?

Is there any info on the internet to check the part# of the injectors ?

MB Brisbane have been quite helpful and offered to check the injectors for me -the parts guy should be able to help with part# on Monday if there is nothing I can look up the internet over the W/E

I'll pull the injectors after the 'wet test' later today

Seems I could test them in a similar way to the Cold Start Valve -in 'mid air' connected to the FD and press the air flow plate -what do you think?

Yorktown5...........great to get a contact with another 280CE restorer.......put injector cleaner in the tank at about 10 times the normal concentration and hope to do the 'wet test' later today
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2003, 08:26 PM
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Dump the injector cleaner into the tank, jumper the fuel pump relay, and let the pump run for an hour or so -- this will clean all the varnish out of the fuel distributor.

You can mess about with the injectors after doing this -- once you get them out, attach the lines to the fuel distributor so that they are not in the head -- use something to catch the gas -- and push down on the air flow plate. This will spray fuel out if the fuel pump relay is jumpered. All should produce a nice fog of fuel -- no half patterns, no solid sprays, etc. If it's safe, this will clean them up quite a bit, and let you know if they are good or not. They should also not drip more than a drop in 20 sec or so with the fuel pump off and residual pressure in the system.

However, it's just as easy to get them cleaned. I'd run the fuel pump with extra injector cleaner to clean out the FD, though. Do this before removing the injectors so you don't flush crud back in!

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2003, 10:47 PM
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G'Day Mate!

I wouldn't go more than $50 for the lot.

I would not recommend the ebay injectors without checking - I did cross-reference the numbers on *************** for a '78 280CE and a 450SLC, and they are the same - C1000-13519.

There is also a guy named Davide or David E Frada who is a great resource for MB parts in Oz.

His email is mb300sel@ozemail.com.au. I bought as et of 380SL cams from him.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #15  
Old 08-25-2003, 04:20 AM
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Smile It's starting, ideling...........and accelerating !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peter........I can't thank you enough for your advice....put the rest of the bottle of injector cleaner in about 15 litres -worked out about 130 times normal concentration.......ran pump for an hour and pressed plate every so often to push it through the injectors...at first vibration felt in #4 & #5......then #6......followed by the rest of the fuel lines

Hydrolocked by fuel after all this (as expected).......but I was very happy the fuel was getting through the injectors

Changed the fuel filter.....added some gas...............took quite a bit of turning over, but eventually fired with cleaner still at ~X60.......lots of smoke........added another can of gas........smooth running & acceleration :p :p :p

Seems the FD is clear....and possiby some of the injectors..........'Italian tune' should do the rest with a bit of luck!!

Won't pull the injectors until I see how it runs on the road

Now for some more advice please

5ys ago the transmission fluid & filter were changed.......only driven for a few hundred miles before use ceased

Would you advise still changing the fluid & filter or drive it and see how it goes ?

Anything else I should do before trying to drive it ?

Thanks, thanks, and more thanks for all your advice and encouragement !!!
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