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  #1  
Old 01-17-2017, 11:09 PM
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Projects on my new, to me, 1973 280SEL 4.5

Since 1978 I have been a PCA member and have owned a number of Porsches over the years. During that time I have had three previous Mercedes; a 1984 190, a 1986 190 2.3-16, and a 2012 Sprinter based motorhome.

Since I retired eight years ago, I have kept myself busy by buying a good vintage car and then trying to make it better. Four years ago I did a body off restoration on a 1964 Corvette coupe, two years ago I did a partial restoration of a '67 Porsche 912 with a 1983 SC motor, and I did a pro-touring Camaro with a LS1 motor about seven years ago. And there have been smaller projects along the way.

























Since I currently did not have a project, the search was on through Craigslist, eBay, Bring a Trailer, Autotrader, etc. For something different, I decided I wanted a big four door sedan. The search soon was narrowed to Mercedes. I really like the W126 cars but ultimately settled on an earlier car.

The US government was kind enough to send me to Germany for 26 months back in the mid sixties. The W108's came out during my time there and I have always loved the clean looks. Fortunately, the car pictured here was for sale only a couple hours away.

It is a 1973 280SEL 4.5. The car had always been a California car until about a year ago. The first owner sold it in 1991 with 96K on the odometer (I have a copy of the bill of sale). The second owner sold it to the North Carolina owner a little over a year ago with the mileage being 174K. I have all the original manuals with the service manual showing service stamps through 20K miles.

The second owner, who lived overseas, kept all of his records from the time he bought it. It was regularly serviced and stored at a Mercedes specialist with the storage instructions stating the car was to be stored with the cover on and was to be driven at least 20 miles every month. When the owner was going to be in town, he would call the specialist to have him service and clean the car so it would be ready to go.

At 132K the heads were done and the timing chains replaced. Four thousand miles and seven years ago the valves were adjusted. The bill shows that the timing chains and guides were inspected at this time and were in good shape.

In 2000 the car was rear ended with evidently slight damage as the estimate was for $2860. Since the car now has a base/clear finish, I would assume the entire car was painted at that time. They did an excellent job and evidently removed the trim as I cannot find evidence of overspray.

As with most old cars, it does have some needs. I will be addressing those in the coming months. I also am very open to any advice on items discussed in this thread. As you will see in the photos below, the engine bay needs attention and I will begin there.














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  #2  
Old 01-18-2017, 08:18 AM
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Nice looking collection there! Welcome to the forums! This is a great place for asking questions when you run into puzzles with your new Benz.
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  #3  
Old 01-18-2017, 12:42 PM
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You found a nice car there. The two tone paint looks to be in beautiful condition! Doesn't look like there's much (if any) rust either. Was the paint two-tone from the factory?
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2017, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTD View Post
Was the paint two-tone from the factory?
I believe the LWBs had it more often than not. jerhofer, you can check your data plate under your hood. Here's the codes for paint:
https://www.sl113.org/wiki/DataCard/PaintCodes

Your base is probably 467? And if the two-tone is factory, it will have another number after the "H" or "G", and a dash if not. For example, 467 H 461
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2017, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTD View Post
You found a nice car there. The two tone paint looks to be in beautiful condition! Doesn't look like there's much (if any) rust either. Was the paint two-tone from the factory?
There is no rust on this car other than some light surface rust in the trunk area in the lower side areas. Based on the condition of the trunk seals, I am betting the trunk leaked a bit. I have a new seal on order. Can't say the same for the rusty exhaust system which I will be replacing.

The car was located in the Sacramento area for most of its life and kept in covered storage.











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  #6  
Old 01-18-2017, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by gmog220d View Post
Nice looking collection there! Welcome to the forums! This is a great place for asking questions when you run into puzzles with your new Benz.
Unfortunately, I no longer own any of those three cars. I have limited space and money. But it was fun working on them and I enjoyed them while I had them. I am not known for keeping cars long term. On the other had, my son has had his '69 Camaro (currently powered by a 525HP LS3) for 17 years. Not sure if he is really my son!!









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  #7  
Old 01-18-2017, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomguy View Post
I believe the LWBs had it more often than not. jerhofer, you can check your data plate under your hood. Here's the codes for paint:
https://www.sl113.org/wiki/DataCard/PaintCodes

Your base is probably 467? And if the two-tone is factory, it will have another number after the "H" or "G", and a dash if not. For example, 467 H 461
I found this site with 108 color codes.

Mercedes Farbtabelle -

Mine is Autumn Beige with a Tobacco Brown roof.
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2017, 09:02 PM
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Since picking up the car Sunday afternoon, I have been busy.

As I mentioned in my first post, my first project will be making the engine bay look better and repair any issues I find. Since the nasty looking air cleaner dominated the engine bay, it was removed and placed in my bead blaster. The bracket for the electric fan was the next bead blast victim followed closely by the battery tray. Good news here was that there was lots of dirt but zero rust below the battery tray. During my previous projects I found a guy locally who powder coats very reasonably. The parts were taken then to him this afternoon.





I spent most of the other day using the bead blast machine. As I walked towards the car, I discovered that the hood pad was lying on top of the motor. I pulled off all of the remaining small pieces. Since I want to replace the pad, I knew the next step involved lots of scraping to prepare the hood for glue application.

Knowing that I was about to create a huge mess, most of which would be falling on the motor, I covered the engine bay with plastic bags. Now I was ready to use a plastic scraper to remove the remaining loose material. That was followed by liberal application of 3M adhesive remover and more scraping. I still have more to do but progress has been made.











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  #9  
Old 01-19-2017, 09:54 AM
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Think "RUBBER". It doesn't last 46 years regardless of mileage. And there are a lot of rubber parts to the front and rear suspension, engine and transmission mounts, driveshaft flex disc and midway support bushing, and brake lines. Also the fuel delivery system..replace all rubber parts thereof. If any of these things have not been done in the last 20 years, they probably should be. Alsio plastic oil feed connectors to the camshafts. (This is not ment to be a comprehensive list; other suggestions welcome.)
More incidental but still worth mentioning is the matter of foam. The stuff Mercedes used bach then completely decomposes over time. Used, for example, as padding in the "B" pillar, you will find that it's just GONE. More importantly, it was used to seal the AC plenum to ensure that all the cold air went where it was supposed to go; that, too, is GONE. Replacing it is a bit of a pain, but will improve AC air flow. And continuing to use R-12 (still available on Ebay, but expensive) once you are sure there are no leaks.
Absolutely wonderful drivers once they are sorted out...although gas mileage is quite poor, the 70s bening the nadir of poor performance and gas mileage in our quest to diminish smog emissions.
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Present vehicles:
1973 300 SEL 4.5
1959 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I
Past vehicles;
1958 Bentley S 1
1976 ex-Max Hoffman 6.9
1970 300SEL 2.8
1958 Jaguar MK IX
1961 Jaguar MK IX
1963 Jaguar E-type factory special roadster
1948 Plymouth woody
1955 Morgan plus 4
1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2017, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerhofer View Post
There is no rust on this car other than some light surface rust in the trunk area in the lower side areas. Based on the condition of the trunk seals, I am betting the trunk leaked a bit. I have a new seal on order. Can't say the same for the rusty exhaust system which I will be replacing.

The car was located in the Sacramento area for most of its life and kept in covered storage.
Wow. That undercarriage is beautiful! Not easy to find them like that here on the east coast.
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2017, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berfinroy View Post
Think "RUBBER". It doesn't last 46 years regardless of mileage. And there are a lot of rubber parts to the front and rear suspension, engine and transmission mounts, driveshaft flex disc and midway support bushing, and brake lines. Also the fuel delivery system..replace all rubber parts thereof. If any of these things have not been done in the last 20 years, they probably should be. Alsio plastic oil feed connectors to the camshafts. (This is not ment to be a comprehensive list; other suggestions welcome.)
More incidental but still worth mentioning is the matter of foam. The stuff Mercedes used bach then completely decomposes over time. Used, for example, as padding in the "B" pillar, you will find that it's just GONE. More importantly, it was used to seal the AC plenum to ensure that all the cold air went where it was supposed to go; that, too, is GONE. Replacing it is a bit of a pain, but will improve AC air flow. And continuing to use R-12 (still available on Ebay, but expensive) once you are sure there are no leaks.
Absolutely wonderful drivers once they are sorted out...although gas mileage is quite poor, the 70s bening the nadir of poor performance and gas mileage in our quest to diminish smog emissions.
I had already planned on replacing all of the rubber that is suspect. The car was converted to 134a back in 1996 if I remember correctly from reading the records. There was a very faded sticker on the air cleaner that is now gone because of the bead blasting. You can see it in the engine photo above. I will check out the AC plenum when I replace the carpet.

Thanks for the tips.
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2017, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CTD View Post
Wow. That undercarriage is beautiful! Not easy to find them like that here on the east coast.
The 912 pictured above was also a no rust California car with the bottom looking nearly as good as this car.
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2017, 04:50 PM
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Water can get into the trunk past a leaking rear windshield seal and will drip down onto the wheel arches and maybe other places as well. And, if the W108 is like a W115 there's a seam in the upper corners of the trunk opening, where the rear quarter panel is welded to the body. If that joint is open you can get water leaking there too. You'll get a good look at these seams when you have the old seal out.
Attached Thumbnails
Projects on my new, to me, 1973 280SEL 4.5-w115_trunk-1.jpg   Projects on my new, to me, 1973 280SEL 4.5-w115_trunk.jpg  
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2017, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by gmog220d View Post
Water can get into the trunk past a leaking rear windshield seal and will drip down onto the wheel arches and maybe other places as well. And, if the W108 is like a W115 there's a seam in the upper corners of the trunk opening, where the rear quarter panel is welded to the body. If that joint is open you can get water leaking there too. You'll get a good look at these seams when you have the old seal out.
Thanks for the tip. I will check that out.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2017, 09:50 PM
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I spent all morning scraping glue on the hood. It should be ready for installing the new pad. Lots of fun!!!




The mount for the engine ECM was originally finished in zinc yellow color. I know a guy who can apply that finish so I removed the ECM and the mount today. It is located in the right front corner of the engine bay. It is a two piece mount with the top part securing the ECM in place while the one side of the larger piece has a number of electrical components mounted on it.

After removing the top part of the mount and removing the ECM from its cubbyhole, I could remove the lower part. There are two 10mm socket size bolts located on the inner part of the radiator support and one 8mm socket size bolt located at the bottom. With those out of the way, I snaked the mount out of the hole and then removed the attached electrical components. The lower components are fastened either with bolts or screws while the upper parts slide into a slot. To remove the upper parts, you insert a screwdriver at one end and push the part back so it can be released from the hole. Pretty simple. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon driving about 50 miles to the plater. I should have them back in a week or so. I found the size of the ECM to be interesting. It is huge. I have had a number of 944's over the years and their ECM is half the size of this one. That in a car that came out 10 years later.




















The drier for the AC is also in this cubbyhole.


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