Wednesday, December 23, 2015

W123: Center Support Bearing Replacement

While I was doing the entire trans swap/trans reseal I noticed the center support was a bit weak upon my good ole fashion wiggle test. So, yanked it out and found it had a huge tear in half of the rubber. The support is most likely the original, the shaft didn't look like it was ever separated to do the replacement work. Though, unlike most others, I noticed mine didn't have any sort of provision for a cir-clip. Seems in 85 Mercedes moved towards a better, press fit style bearing over the somewhat loose clipped one.

If you're going to do this job, you're going to have to figure out a way to compress the drive shaft enough to remove it. It's locked in place by a large (41 / 46mm) lock nut, if the splines are a bit rusty, hit them with some penetrating oil and let it sit for a bit. Smack the area with a hammer a few times and it should free it up enough that you'll be able to compress it with some elbow grease. You'll notice my shaft has a bit of grease on the splines - I did this to allow me to slide the shaft easily. Wipe off excess as it will cause balancing problems.



My new support / Old

The dirt shields are still in place, which is a good sign. If a car like this is anywhere near salt, these shields get rust welded in place, or totally disintegrate. I'm happy to say this one is solid. 



Now, the bad bearing wasn't my only problem. When I removed the old bearing, I noticed it was burnt and slightly scrored - seemingly from a frozen bearing. I hit it with a bit of steel wool to polish it up a bit. Then smeared a bit of grease for the upcoming bearing install.

No install pics - I wish I had 6 arms to do it all. But here's the newly installed bearing/center support ready to go back into the car.

I'm pulling the trans I just put in as I found it has a front torque converter seal leak. Go figure - I had a new seal and forgot to put it on.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

722.3: That's not how clutches are supposed to look like


While I had the Kombi project's junk trans out and was stripping it of it's good parts.

Below is a picture of a series of clutch packs removed from just behind the front pump assembly on the transmission. This could have been VERY easily prevented had a previous owner noticed his car was running dry of trans fluid.

These disks should be loaded up with friction material (black/graphite colored). You can see every time the pump build enough pressure to get the car moving, it wore the clutches through. Not a good time for the clutches, or the (flywheels) they grab on to when pressure is applied. All have been ruined in this process.




A service life of around 200k miles is plenty for these clutches. If your reverse doesn't fail beforehand and you manage to squeeze 200k out of a 722.3 transmission - consider that a solid achievement.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

W123: Kombi Project, Slacker Updates


Not sure if it should be called a slacker update, as I'm seemingly (literally) running around the country sourcing parts for this particular car. I have done considerable work to the car inside AND out, though not quite ready for the painting stage. I need it mechanically good and will determine if the car is worthwhile to paint/finish interior once she's being driven around. I wish I had someone on standby as I do the work on these cars taking pictures as my hands often end up so greasy that I'm not bothered to wipe them down enough to take pictures myself. Do they make camera condoms? 


Either way, I recently traveled to middle of nowhere Connecticut, about an hour northwest of the ocean to pick up a very good 722.315 for the car. I have a few 722.303's hanging around, but I don't want to monkey around with swapping tailshaft housings, etc for speedo drives. That, and I don't want the incorrect transmission in the car. Needless to say, the drive was a bit chilly. Enough so, that the star was encased in ice.

This makes it 4 transmissions that I have hanging around right now. The bad one in that was in the car had a brand new front pump installed at some point, I'm going to go back through the service records and see how long ago that was done. I did find that the front pump seal was crooked and pressure eventually knocked it out - found my leak.


While I wasn't under the car swapping the trans I took some time to do some of the easier tasks. Test fit the french euro headlights (I'm not sure weather or not I want to keep the clear corners) and put on the new front bumper. I kind of want to do an old hot rod trick of mine with the bumper and drain out a bit of the bumper shocks to bring the bumper in closer to the body. I'm not sure how that'll look with the outside rubber trims just yet. I think I can bring it in about an inch though.


This annoyed the hell out of me - the transmission "nut retainer" brackets for the trans mount. These things sit in the most ungodly spot in the frame. I ordered new from MB ($10 a piece!!!) with new bolts. Moisture just sits and rots things out - while the whole chassis is rust free, these nook and cranny things are all getting detailed by me. A brand new set of nut retainer brackets and some preventative rust maintenance while I'm there.



My trick to trans removal - the 4 1/2 foot long 3/8" Snap on extension. I reach up above the trans to break the bolts free with a 17mm open end, then go in with this bad boy to make short work of all the bolts. I get these trans swaps done in about 3 1/2 hours on a good day, or 5 hours if I'm dicking around.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

OM617 Turbo Swapped Chevy 1/2 Ton

Every now and again I'll get a call to work on something cool out in the field. On today's episode of "Cool shit I get to play with" is Pat's turbo OM617 swapped Chevy 1/2 ton pickup. Black on black, lowered, with a coal rolling OM617. As daily driver of a truck as could possibly be - it's not a show truck, it's a drive hard and put away wet type of truck.

Utilizing a OM617 from an 85 300SD, 700R4 transmission with a 3.73 rear end, this truck is a slouch....until the turbo kicks in, then she scoots.

Just getting her checked out for a trip to Oklahoma. Checked injection timing, it was as little as makes no difference, perfect. I gave the ALDA a little turn to help out off idle acceleration as I'm not sure the 700R4 is a perfect pairing to the very torquey, low revving OM617. Could use a bit more adjustment, but she's doing alright.

I let Pat know she's going to need a fuel filter set and if he's going to be starting anywhere cold - a fresh set of glow plugs. Everything else was peachy!

Enjoy the pics.








Sunday, November 15, 2015

W210: Factory Roof Rack System


I've been looking for an OEM basic carrier bar set for a while - none available in the United States and no one was willing to send some over from overseas. A friend was over in Poland to visit extended family and was willing to bring over a set that I found on the Polish version of eBay (allegro). 

Needless to say, after a few week wait they showed up! Hand delivered!








Looking for some more manage-ably sent attachments and the wind noise slider that goes into the racks when not in use to prevent the wind whistling - they whistle quite a bit, much more that the square W124 bars I used to have on my coupe.

I'm happy!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

W123: Kombi Project, Fuses

I have a habit of being anal retentive with the cleanliness of my fuse block contacts and it's organization. It irks the hell out of me knowing that some of these fuses have been in here for well over a decade. 

As you can see, this fuse box hasn't seen the light of day in ages - a few blown fuses, and nearly ALL of them the incorrect aluminum ones that cause so many electrical problems in these old Mercedes.


A little attention to detail goes a long way. I removed every one of those fuses and threw them out. I didn't care if they looked good, I NEVER put in a an aluminum fuse. All of the fuse contact points I cleaned using a Dremel with a small wire brush attachment. You can see a small reflection in each mounting point, that's how polished out I get them.

Replaced all the fuses, with a couple extra copper.  



Monday, November 9, 2015

W123: Kombi Project P.2

Had to make some progress on the kombi tonight - spent a few hours reshaping the driver side headlight area as it was bent up and in slightly from the fender damage. It hadn't tweaked the radiator support at all, nor did it shift the headlight bucket area. The area just behind the headlight was slightly pushed in and back. I brought it out as best I could and started smoothing it all out. I'm avoiding the use of any bondo or filler in the area, so there was a lot of hammering happening. I do need to seam seal one edge as it split, but it's been spot welded correctly and I just need the sealer to do what the Mercedes stuff did - keep water and debris out.



First proper test fit and alignment of the fender. Everything was brought back into shape - there isn't a single factory bolt out of place when installing the fender. Corner marker mounts correctly.

Fender gaps are all looking fantastic and even.

Corner marker lined up and tightened down.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the fender alignment against the hood, but it was dead spot even with the unmolested passenger side and uniform throughout. Not bad for a few hours of panel beating to get this old girl back into shape.


The hunt for a transmission continues. I've sourced one in Indianapolis and think the seller and I have come to an agreement. I'm ready to go and pick it up, just waiting on the seller's word. Hopefully soon, as I'd like to at least drive this around a bit and make sure everything is working properly....give it a proper cleaning too as it's filthy.

For now, the list of stuff I need to find/buy/install/work on are as follows (in no particular order):
  • grill assembly
  • driver side fender trim
  • outside window trims/seals
  • new headlights (preferably one piece euro)
  • front / rear bumpers
  • passenger taillight 
  • check rear SLS function, adjust/fix as necessary
  • exhaust leak fix
  • dash mat / dash cover / new dash
  • new front seats (preferably leather, would take mint MB tex though)
  • new front windshield / windshield seal 
  • radio / new antenna mast
  • remove any spotty underchassis rust and apply new undercoat 
  • new metal in rear driver side corner 
  • replace transmission (722.315) 
  • instrument cluster housing / LED instrument cluster bulbs
  • driver side dash wood trim
  • glove box latch assembly / glove box adjustment
  • ashtray assembly
  • get all windows working correctly
  • clean fuse block / all new copper ceramic fuses throughout
  • clean manual sunroof rails, fix upholstery around sunroof latch 
Plenty more to do, this is all the major stuff that's going to be annoying me for a couple weeks. Hoping to get the transmission very soon, in the mean time, everything else will be getting sorted and all the cars vital fluids will be tended to. 


Sunday, November 8, 2015

W123: Kombi Project P.1

So here we go, the apocalyptic pile of shit that I dragged out of a dumpster. Bad trans, bad fender, bad paint, bad interior, bad just about everything else.

But, it's not as bad as it looks. It's been sitting around for a few years and it's been withering away. Luckily a nice coat of trans, engine and hydraulic oils cover the bottom preventing this car from rotting out.

1985 Mercedes 300TD Turbodiesel
OM617 w/ 207k on the clock with an absolute cherry of a motor, rust free chassis and suspension components, meticulous service history back to 4900 miles in 1986 to now, and the major interior pieces are all actually in decent shape.

It doesn't look like it now, but we'll see how this car can be transformed in the coming weeks. I'll be spraying it back to original color soon as I need to get the paint guns flowing so I don't royally F up the Pagoda paint job.

Anyway, here she is. Pretty, eh?



Wonderful bondo work done by previous owners.



Urban assault for sure, wish this had a bullbar or something.

Rest of chassis is fairly straight

Nothing wrong with this side of the car, save for some cracking lenses. The goal is to find some cheap euro lights and french them for this car. Should look sharp.

Add windshield to the list.

Rear bondo work....I wonder what that's hiding.



 I need to find front and rear bumpers for the ole girl.

Hammer and chisel. This was far easier than I was expecting. Someone just put aluminum tape over the dent and bondo'd over it.....seriously.



I couldn't stand looking at this any longer, so I had to just get it off and check everything out underneath.

Pulled a good fender out of the stash.

Hey hey hey, everything's looking pretty good under there!

No rust!

Cleaning process for chassis coating.


All's well when it looks like new. Technically this is just left an unpainted beige from factory as that's the color of whatever their metal preservation stuff was. I took the extra step and undercoated the entirety of metal to preserve everything underneath.



Checking fender fitment

Lines up nicely!

Turned my attention to the rear. Need to get this dent out as much as I can.

All bondo removed and dent punched out as much as I could without welding studs and using a slide hammer. More progress as it happens. Stuff will be moving as rapidly as possible with this car as I don't want this precious space taken up for long.