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Projects and Restorations Building a car from scratch, restoring your pride and joy, building a track car, or starting a long term project? This is your place to document it.

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Old 31-05-2012, 05:52 PM   #1
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Mercedes 250 se re- commision

Hi every one, I dont normally post any of my work on here but do get a lot of pleasure from reading all the other posts and if im honest after 38 years of repairing, restoring, and detailing (as its now called) it helps to keep my enthusiasm and quality of work up to a reasonable standard.
Anyway a little background that led to this car being put back on the road.
I was recommended to the owner by one of my friends and was asked if I would go and inspect a vehicle that had stood in a garden for twenty years to see what it would need to get it back on the road, so arrangements were made and at the beginning of September 2011 I arrived at the chaps home to view the car, well i wished I had taken my camera because I was led to the rear of the house and up to the back of the garden where I could see a green mound in the shape of a car,i cant print what i then said but it it was on the lines of I am not a gardener so call me when you have dug it out, I am not joking when I say you could not see any part of the car.
Well I left the premises thinking what a waste of time and quit honestly was angry at the stupidity of some people.
By the time I got home I had calmed down and was now finding it quit funny but thought I wont hear anything from the chap again, wrong, in December the phone goes "when can you come back and look at the car again as its now on the drive and we have cleaned it for you" this iv got to see I thought so I arranged to go the next day this is what I found.

Well it looked like a car now, and not as bad as I expected it to be, the owner had put some part worn tires on it so it could be towed out of the garden and he said he had washed it five times, what with Iv no idea.
Do you think it will start ? he said, no f..... chance I replied, 20 year old petrol for a start, electric fuel pump for another, well Iv got the pump working, I hit it with an hammer was the reply, well you already know its not going to start dont you I replied.
Just tinker with it and see if it will go.
This is how it went on for a good 15 minutes before I could convince him that we needed to check certain things before trying to start the car and that it would need the petrol tank checking and new fuel in it.
Next episode, the mechanical checks and the outcome.

Last edited by ted11; 08-06-2012 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 31-05-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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I'll be keeping an eye on this thread
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Old 31-05-2012, 06:33 PM   #3
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Me to. Remember a neighbour had one of these when I was young. Tanks!
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Old 31-05-2012, 08:13 PM   #4
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After giving the car a good inspection and finding that overall the car wasnt in bad condition considering where it had lived for so long but the engine wouldnt turn over, the sump was full of fuel and oil, and I mean full (up the dipstick tube) some of the electrics had been disconnected so was never going to start it was decided that before any cosmetics were looked at we should see if I could revive the engine as is or whether to strip and rebuild or source a replacement.
At this point I had to explain that it would be February 2012 before I could look at the vehicle as I already had some commitments to fulfill, then came the bombshell, the reason he wanted the car back on the road was his daughter was getting married in May 2012 and would like the car to take her to the church.
Now normally I would have at least 3 weeks off over xmas and the new year as I do work 7 days a week and havnt been away on holiday for 8 years, plus I hate working in the cold but I cant resist a challenge so I decided I would recover the car to my home and see what I could do with the engine over the xmas holiday.
Once it was on my drive the oil was drained all twelve ltrs of it (most of it over my drive) it stunk of petrol, filter removed. plugs had already been removed. new oil and filter. Sprayed wd40 and oil down the plug holes,big socket and snap on bar on crank pulley nut and give it a tug but still no movement so decided to call it a day and let the penetrating oil do its stuff.
Next morning a couple of tugs on the bar and hey presto engine turned over ( ho the excitement) replaced the bar for a ratchet and kept turning the engine for a good half an hour hoping to clear any residue or surface rust from the bores.
Next was to install a new battery and see if the starter motor will work and carry out a compression test.
No compression on 5 of the six cylinders and very little on the other, now the car had only done 26000 miles with paperwork to substantiate this so im not thinking that the valves are burnt out and in my opinion the rings had seized in the pistons so ideally the engine could do with stripping and rebuilding.
So phone call to the owner was made to explain where we were at and an estimate of the engine work was given and left him to decide what he wanted to do.
One week later I get a phone call basically saying that his budget for the whole car was about the same as the engine rebuild would cost and with the cost of his daughters wedding he could not commit any more money and would arrange for the car to be collected from my home.
Well this made me quit sad as he had set his heart on using the car on the big day and although I didnt know him from Adam he seemed a really nice bloke, so after a couple of days pondering I rang him back and asked him to let me tinker (lol) with it and see if I could breath some life into it at no charge and if I had any success we would take it from there and after all it was my holiday lol.
Now you decide whether you want the soap opera version or the short version of what I did next.

Last edited by ted11; 08-06-2012 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 31-05-2012, 08:48 PM   #5
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Let's have the full version......warts and all
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Old 31-05-2012, 10:19 PM   #6
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Full version please
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:39 AM   #7
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Love these sorts of things, full detailed story behind things.

More please :-)
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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Ohhhs thats amazing!! I work for MB so will be showing the guys at work this thread this morning and watching with interest.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:09 AM   #9
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If you remember back in December it was really cold so nothing was going to free up in that weather so my thinking was that what I needed to do was to some how get the engine warm so that the aluminum pistons would expand to allow the rings some movement and hopefully start to free up so more wd40 and oil were poured into the bores and an electric fan heater was left with the element side against the block and left on for approx 6 hours during this time I drained the cooling system of water, now because I felt there was no point in doing anything with the fuel or ignition systems as regards finding out why the sump was full of fuel if there wasnt going to be any compression to get the car started also never thought about taking any photos at this stage either as in my opinion I was clutching at straws (plenty of pics later) anyway as said after about 6 hours of having the heater on even the oil in the sump was warm now, I refilled the rad with red hot water and spun the engine over for a few minutes then let it rest for a couple of minutes the span it again kept repeating this until the battery went flat, changed the battery and attached the compression tester and what do you know I had enough compression on four cylinders to actually make the needle try and move but not enough to get the car to fire up.
By this time it was dark and very cold so left the car for the night and decided to repeat the same process the day after so after putting both batterys on charge I called it a night.
After repeating the process the next day the compressions actually came up to giving about 40 lb not enough to run the car but certainly gave me some hope that the rings were starting to move, so more wd and left again over night. next day attached the tester and the readings had come up some more so I made the decision to go over the fuel system and ignition system and try and get the car to fire thinking if i can get it to run even roughly the pistons would get a lot hotter than the heater was getting them so inspected the fuel pump to find it had no oil showing on its mini dip stick so I removed the top plate to find the slider inside was stuck, this was freed up and oil added, new point condenser and plugs fitted I removed the petrol tank sender unit and stuck the endoscope in to have a look how much rubbish was in there, surprise to say not bad at all so re fitted sender unit and went to petrol station with a big can, now i can hear you saying what about the fuel filter and residue in the pipes and bla bla bla, well not going to do loads more work to find that its not going to run, now these old Mercs have to have a minimum of 4 gallons of fuel in them before you can start them so it was 2 trips to the petrol station and fifty quids worth was put in.
The moment of truth had arrived, switched the ignition on and could hear the fuel pump working and priming loosened the fuel pipe to injection pump and fuel was there so here we go, holding the throttle wide open I spun the engine and yes youv guest it, nothing, spinning over but not firing I (I know im writing like its a fairy tale but no happy endings at the moment) I then removed the spark plugs again they were soaked in fuel ran another compression test and the readings had got a little higher on a couple of cylinders so fresh plugs were installed and this time with no throttle just kept spinning the car over, still nothing, despondent and freezing i called it a day but now it was getting personal so bright and early the next morning ( in the frost ) removed plugs again and another new set put in, points gap checked, timing checked, spark at the plug checked, back in the car turned the key IT FIRED but would not run but I was quit exited wich dont happen much these days after 30 odd years of working on cars.
Plugs again removed cleaned and refitted (ran out of new ones) span the car over and giving it a little throttle it fired and run all be it on 2 cylinders for about 20 seconds but It did run, so again removed the plugs got one of the first set and decided to warm them up with a blowtorch before refitting, turned the key and it ran again, not for long maybe 45 second but hey it was longer than the last time, this was repeated over the next 4 days each time it ran for longer but just not long enough to get the engine hot so at this point I had now worked for 7 days, put £50 worth of fuel in it, oil, filter, 18 plugs, points, condenser, blood sweat and nearly tears and had already told him I wouldnt be charging him and the only way i was ever going to be happy was if I got it running properly.
what would you do ?

Last edited by ted11; 08-06-2012 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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It's now personal This Merc will run and the young lady will go to the church in it.

My money is on you not giving up because you sound like an around nice bloke and a big softy
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