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Old 05-31-2013, 11:05 PM
alamostation's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Port Lavaca
Posts: 145
Project Guderian starts tomorrow. Worst time, worst place.

Time line 2008.

After driving Guderian as a daily driver for about 60,000 miles in five years in San Antonio, the A/C compressor failed. I bought a new compressor and dryer. After I installed the compressor, and threw away the dryer, I found the new dryer did not fit.

While waiting for another dryer, the power brake booster failed. While waiting for the power brake booster, the ignition switch took a dump. The booster has been replaced, which has to be the most difficult work vs. end reward project I have done. You have to be an upside hanging opossum with a two foot extension on your wrench with the luck of the Irish to take on the mounting nuts.

Guderian was due for inspection that month in two days. I bought a one owner 1987 Toyota MR2 to provide transportation while I fixed Guderian.

Before I could get an ignition switch, home owners association hit on the expired inspection sticker. Guderian went into storage. The MR2 became the daily driver.

Fast forward to 2013.

After firing up on a recharged battery after five years of storage. he is now in Port Lavaca, Texas.

I am renting an apartment with an understanding landlord. He doesn't mind a project car or two. The problem is working on a black car in 90+ degree heat with 60% humidity. If it hadn't been for my daughter dropping off her Mitsubishi 3000GT for major repairs months ago, I could have done this in cooler weather.

The issues I am facing:

Replacement of the ignition switch. I have a new one with matching door handles.

Finding the vacuum leak that keeps the vacuum system from working. The vacuum pump has been tested and it works.

The A/C system. Since I threw away the old dryer before trying the new one, the system has been open to air. Dirt dobber wasps sealed both open ends. This may be good or bad.

Replacement of the differential with taller gearing from a gasser. There is not a 30 foot rise within a hundred miles of here. There is no reason to turn the stock 3500 to 4000 RPMs to drive 70 to 80 MPH.

Electronics. The radio, power antenna, power windows, sun roof and door locks don't work. They worked before I stored the car. I think a lot of the fuses have gotten corroded on the ends.

The dreaded water in trunk problem. Did not have it before storage.

Adapting the power seat wiring to accommodate newer installed seats from a 300E.

Replacing the air filter mounting bolts. I bought the mounting bracket with bolts, but my bracket turned out to be fine.

Replacing the hood opening cable. For years, I have been using a Vice-Grip to pull the end of the broken cable. I have a new cable.

If all goes well, upgrading the sound system.

I can't think of a worse time or place to take on this project. Wish me well.

1983 300SD "Guderian"
1987 MR2
2015 Camry
2015 Chevy Spark
2006 Hyundai Tucson
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:22 AM
Stretch's Avatar a shield of steel
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere in the Netherlands
Posts: 14,461
Good luck.

Start with the water in trunk problem - I'd hate for you to fix the rest of the stuff only to find a big hole that needed welding up.
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:42 AM
Jim B.'s Avatar
Who's flying this thing ?
Join Date: May 2006
Location: N. California./ N. Nevada
Posts: 3,611
Thumbs up "Guderian" - great namee for a great automobile!

General Heinz Guderian was one of the most able Reich tank commanders in World War II and lasted to 1945, when he argued with Hitler personally over battle tactics...

A car like an '83 300SD is a fitting name for the car - one well worth restoring, as its safe, comfortable, iconic, timeless and its cast iron diesel engine normally will run far in excess of 500,000 milers *IF* given proper care and maintenance.

All of this in the sexy looking the short wheelbase Bruno Sacco designed iconic body style that can never, never be mistaken for ANYTHING other than a Mercedes Benz, and is one of the truly unburstable w126 automobiles built to the cost no object standard of build quality of Mercedes Benz "the best or nothing".

Amazingly over-engineered, it is nonetheless easy and a delight to repair, as everything is logically placed, and parts, when not obtainable from junkyards, can be bought from the Mercedes Benz Classic Center,


Water in the trunk is one of the few problems in these cars; I had it back in 1996 in mine, and the dealer in San Francisco, (where I lived and worked back then) was unable to repair it. I took care of it elsewhere finally.

To locate the source, successfully, have your girlfriend climb into the trunk, with a flashlight in hand, close the trunk and spray a garden hose full-on at the trunk and rear window, and the flashlight will illuminate and then identify exactly where the water is entering the trunk.

So long as the car isn't hopelessly rusted out, or had the suspension/body badly tweaked in a major freeway pileup, this is indeed the car to restore and enjoy.

It can even be upgraded to look "euro" (FAR BETTER LOOKING THAN THE U.S. VERSIONS of the w126) and European parts -- such as bumpers and lights -- are not too hard to find in good condition - in California yards, anyway.

As seen here, this '84 300SD below has the lights and bumpers! It belongs to PeachParts member "SirNik84" and was his grandmother's before his - a family car from new, in the Sacramento area - but now with far over 400,000 miles on it...and 6the Lorinser style chrome wheels formerly on my 560SEC I gave to PeachParts member "iwrock" who passed them on to Nik who restored them and put them on his 300SD.. (photo courtesy of iwrock.)

Good luck with the resto, if done wisely the job won't be tragic in terms of cost, time, and locating parts.

1991 560 SEC AMG, 199k <---- 300 hp 10:1 ECE euro HV ...

1995 E 420, 170k "The Red Plum" (sold)

2015 BMW 535i xdrive awd Stage 1 DINAN, 6k, <----364 hp

1967 Mercury Cougar, 49k

2013 Jaguar XF, 20k <----340 hp Supercharged, All Wheel Drive (sold)

Last edited by Jim B.; 06-01-2013 at 05:59 AM.
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