6 November 2011

Week 1 Purchase, Registration, Clean & Inspect

In this blog I want to document the restoration of a 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL.
I purchased the vehicle 1/11/11 for a fair price for a fair condition car. On the surface the price was affected by:

  • Almost all panels have paint blisters
  • The engine is very dirty with oil spills
  • The engine is misfiring
  • The auto gear changes are very rough
  • The car drives like a boat...
  • The previous owner declared that the car does not like a steam clean
  • The interior is very average (wear and tear)
  • The roof is average condition
  • Although all books and receipts were present, the last 3 years, the car only had done 2000 miles and only had its oil refreshed
  • The car was originally delivered in the UK, then came with the owner to Australia when several years old
The purpose of getting this car was not to just drive and enjoy, but to get my hands dirty and get to understand the mechanics of a car. I think I will really enjoy doing up the car bit by bit.

So after the purchase, joining a car club, registering the car on historic registration and getting insurance, it was time to get my hands dirty.

The goals for this week
  1. Clean the engine, find out where the leaks are and fixing them where possible
  2. Order the parts for the ignition tune-up, the distributor, rotor, spark leads and plugs
  3. Checkout the suspension to address the 'drives like a boat'
The cleaning of the engine was a lot of work. There was so much oil and sand buildup on the engine... Even the strongest de-greaser with 15 min soaking and blasting with a power blaster, took 3 full goes to make it a bit acceptable.

Found as suspects for the oil leaks, the drainplug seal, the powersteering hose next to the brake booster, and the upper oil cooler connector. These areas seem to have the most oil and gunk. 

The plan after the clean was to go for a drive and see where the leaks appear. Instead I noticed how worn the drive belts are. I simply decided to not take the risk and have a belt snap during my test drive...

So I got onto the net and purchased a whole lot of parts. Basically all for a tune and obvious engine repairs.

Plan for week 2:
  • Get ignition timing light and check current timing
  • If the new rotor and spark plugs arrive: install with new leads & distributor cap
  • When the belts arrive, install and go for a good drive, to trace the oil leaks
  • Check all suspension parts and order these in
  • Find out where a snapped vacuum hose should be connected to
  • Continue to clean the engine as possible
Hope you enjoy my blog,
Cheers, Marco