Author Topic: Newly purchased 230 SL  (Read 472 times)

dmb777

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Newly purchased 230 SL
« on: October 05, 2019, 18:13:40 »
Hello to everyone in the forum.

After 5 years of storing a friend’s 230 SL in my garage, I have finally purchased the car. I had it thoroughly inspected, before purchase, by a qualified mechanic. The engine appears to be in good condition and runs well. If the odometer is showing the correct distance covered, the car has only been driven 76,146 km (47,000 miles) but based on the condition of the seats, I doubt the truth of that.

Apart from the motor, the car will need complete restoration Unfortunately I cannot find a Mercedes specialist close to where I live and I am considering taking the car to a specialist in Germany of in the UK. I live in SW France.

What I know so far is that the most significant problem is that the front cross-member (below the gearbox) is badly rusted and the front ends of the sills are also rusted. All three can be penetrated with a screwdriver. The passenger side, front chassis leg is slightly deformed as a result of an accident and the front cross-member behind the bumper has been replaced with a new part.

At some point the body was repainted in a dark red but the colour code on the data plate shows “180 G 180 G”, which I believe is silver. The hardtop is still that colour. The repaint was not a good quality job and although the dash appears to have been repainted to match the red, the motor was not removed and under the hood was brush painted.

The seats are in poor condition. There is a large piece of the surface of the driver’s seat missing and the passenger seat surface is cracked.  The seat backs are in good condition. The rest of the interior is “tired” and will have to be replaced or in the case of the wood trim, refinished. However, apart from the plastic insert of a window winding lever being broken, no parts seem to be missing or damaged.

I have already replaced the front brake calipers, pads and wheel bearings. (One caliper was seized.) There are fluid leaks from almost everything.

I have a well equipped workshop, (two post lift, engine crane, compressor, air tools and bead blaster ) and I intend to do some of the mechanical work myself but I am an amateur with no training and I would appreciate receiving tips and advice.

My questions:

1. With the agreement of the restoration company, my plan is to strip the car as far as I can and within my capability, replace the components and to clean and repaint those items that are in good condition. Is this a viable strategy?

2. Are there any comments about problems I may have missed?

3. Other than the bodywork, which I cannot do, does anyone have any advice about what must to be left to professionals?

4. Are there any special tools that I should buy?

5. Any other comments.

If it will be of interest to the Group, I am willing to provide video, photographic and documentation information about the restoration as it goes along. I plan to start in about April or May 2020. If the forum would like to have this information it would be helpful to know how best to provide the data.
David Basten

Cees Klumper

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 19:27:14 »
Welcome David. It sounds like you are committed to a full restoration. Let me offer an alternative suggestion to your plan. Assuming you are in good health (I mean, no major physical limitations to do car work), I recommend you consider tackling it all yourself, except for the repaint. You would need to learn to weld and do general body work, and other skills. But all the knowledge is here, with several well-documented similar examples (Bob Possell, Andy Burns and others). Plus we are here to help. This way, you will learn both new skills and all about the car, have the satisfaction of having done it yourself, plus have a chance of recouping your investments (you'll save probably around EUR 50.000, or something in that direction). The paintwork you can do most of the preparations for and then it should not cost more than say EUR 2.500. It would be an investment in time, but well worth it. Otherwise, I would recommend you sell this car, and buy another one already fully restored, it will be a lot faster as well as far cheaper, if you shop around a bit.
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic white

kampala

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 13:26:19 »
David

Welcome.  Reads like you have some major work ahead of you.

If you decide to have it restored you may want to consider Les Atleliers Paul Bracq As they specialize in these cars and are located in Bordeaux.

https://www.paulbracq.com/



Oz
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250sl - later - manual
280sl - 1971 - Auto - Limited Slip Diff.

Peter

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 18:29:29 »
Hi David,

You are in for a huge operation if you decide for a complete restauration. You need space also some local help.
To take out or build in the engine, transmission and rear and front axle is a heavy job.

If you want a quality restauration, I don’t think you can do the welding without a lot of experience. Same for the preparation of the body before the painting and the painting itself.

You need specialists for:
•   Welding, body preparation and painting (preferably one company otherwise you get discussions who is to blame…..)
•   Engine overhaul
•   Automatic transmission overhaul
•   Mechanical injection pump overhaul
•   Maybe you can do below yourself:
o   power steering overhaul
o   rear axle overhaul
•   My experience is that SLS and Niemoeller sell a lot of good components, but not always Mercedes Benz originals, some parts need to be original, like metal parts and ….…

For all above items I can help you with very good companies in the Netherlands/Belgium. Issue is that it will make it a “long distance” restauration (except for the (dis) assembly which is also a lot of work.

To consider if you really want this, including the involved cost.






dmb777

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2019, 13:03:17 »
Thank you for your advice and comments. I have considered selling the car and buying something in better condition and I will take the northern winter to explore those possibilities. If I were considerably younger I would certainly like to acquire all the skills you mention but a combination of age, location and pattern of living (I spend half of each year in the other hemisphere) makes that option untenable. I have messed with cars for more than 50 years and I am reasonably confident about replacing mechanical parts. I think that the bodywork and upholstery are beyond me, though I will look at what it takes to restore the seats. Fortunately all the materials for that work seem to be available. I greatly appreciate your input and look forward to hearing from you again.
David Basten

dmb777

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2019, 13:17:38 »
I had no idea that les Ateliers Paul Bracq existed. That is a superbly useful piece of information. Thank you very much. Not only are they in France but only about 3 hours away from where I keep the car. I shall certainly contact them.
David.
David Basten

dmb777

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2019, 14:20:59 »
Thank you for your comments.

At least in the short-term, I do not think that the engine and ancillaries will need to be tackled. The engine runs smoothly and the car can be driven, though not legally owing to the faults.

Fortunately space is not a problem, my workshop area is 20m x 10m in a building that is 50m long and 7,5m high.

I agree that welding is not for me. Local help will be a challenge. My most reliable friend has a long term back injury but I do have some heavy lifting tools.

I have bought parts from SLS and considered Niemoeller. I also bought parts from the SL Shop in the UK and a company called BCS (UK) who made a beautiful job of remanufacturing the brake calipers.

I found that I needed an unusual tool to remove the front hubs - an air tool driven, 10mm Allen key. That prompted my question about special tools.

Thank you also for your offer of help with companies in Netherlands and Belgium. You are right, that is a long distance. I will try to work with locals as far as possible but I will be very pleased to receive your advice.

I did have my E-Type restored in the late 1980s and did a lot of the strip down myself but all of the restoration was done by professionals. One of the reasons I am considering restoring the SL is that having had the E-Type restored the way I wanted it is still perfect 30 years later. When you buy an already restored car you really don't know what standards were applied.

David.
David Basten

teahead

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2019, 15:03:20 »
Sounds like you definitely have the mechanical skills and the space for doing most of the restoration.

If you do a lot of the tear down and assembly yourself, figure this is going to be a 2-3 year endeavor.

I say, if you have the time, patience, and money, go ahead and tear her down (keep track of everything of course).

Get the body blasted (not the doors, hood, or front/rear fenders..aka wings, and trunk lid).  Get all new metal, get the body painted, and re-assemble everything.

Sounds easy?  NOT!

Good luck.  I hope someone saves the poor girl if you don't end up doing so.
1970 280SL auto, AC - aka "Edelweiss"

pj

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2019, 05:25:53 »
I have a radical suggestion. Make an open invitation for someone who has done this before and has the extra skills needed to come stay with you for the summer of 2020. There must be someone who is motivated to spend the time, help you get the job done, gain valuable experience, enjoy the lovely scenery and the wine... and post the story every day like a blog.
--Peter
1965 230SL #09474 named Dagny
2018 B250 4matic named Rigel

Dave H

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2019, 06:44:42 »
Hi David

Check under the front wings on top of the box section chassis member with your fingers, mud and grit gets trapped up there and rots the top out. Any rust here is a major inner and outer wing removal job. Also the rear valence is double skinned and rots out, check under all carpets for further gremlins too. The fresh air box floor is another part that rots out if drain holes are blocked, remove the intake cowl next to the wipers and remove the air flap and filter to check beneath.  I am undergoing a a full restoration also, completed all work myself apart from the respray and upholstery of all interior parts ready for refit , i bought the car in 2011 and bought all spares when they were still reasonably cheap but work commitments keep getting in the way and slowing the rebuild, i wouldn't like to guess what all the parts would cost today, around £80000 - £100000 in parts alone would be conservative dependant on the level you want to take it too. Do you want a full show winning rotisserie restoration or are you happy with a keep it on its wheels, wash its face type cosmetic restoration or somewhere in the middle ? Remember to factor in all rubber items ,seals, bushes, dampers ,chroming, powder coating, zinc passivate and cad coating, upholstery, steering and suspension rebuilds, lighting, electrical items, instruments, pump rebuilds etc. You get the picture, as you have completed an e type previously you know what you are getting into and have the tools, space and drive to do this .Good luck with the restoration, it will be costly, take over your life and last far longer than you can imagine but think that people spend far more fishing and following football with nothing to show for it at the end. Good luck buddy .

Regards
Dave

« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 12:12:19 by Dave H »
Mercedes 250SL    1967
Mercedes 250SLK  2014
Alfa Romeo 166 3.2 Ti
Fiat 500

dmb777

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2019, 10:08:46 »
Thank you for your radical suggestion, it sounds like a very good idea. Whether my wife would put up with my working on the car full time is another matter but a concentrated month might work.

I will use a restoration company for the bodywork and probably for the seats & carpet. The carpet looks to be glued throughout the rear area therefore I will need advice about how to detach it.

David.
David Basten

dmb777

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2019, 10:48:14 »
Your suggestions are really helpful. I will check all of those areas that you mention.

I am aiming for a useable car.

As I mentioned before, the advantage of the car that I have purchased is that everything is present and working. Although the parts are, as you say, expensive the expensive items I have identified, that need to be replaced, are the upholstery, vinyl  trim and the exhaust. The biggest job will be the bodywork. Another advantage is that this car has spent its entire life in southern France and a relatively benign climate.

Thanks
David.
David Basten

Dave H

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2019, 12:24:52 »
Dave

If you haven't already discovered it look on the motoring investments.com site for Brian Peters fantastic library of stripdown and restoration photographs of 280SLs.

Google motoringinvestments.com
Enter the "old site" and click on the tab for "see our restorations" then click on Beige grey 280sl restoration pictures and completed shots.
Same for My Mink 280SL and also the Cave 280SL restoration pictures.

Myself and many others use this regularly for reference photographs of what goes where plus strip down and rebuild sequence. Its fantastic.
Mercedes 250SL    1967
Mercedes 250SLK  2014
Alfa Romeo 166 3.2 Ti
Fiat 500

dmb777

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2019, 14:49:42 »
No I had not found that site. Thank you so much for passing it on. It is now in my ever growing Evernote file.

David.

David Basten

Dave H

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2019, 16:37:41 »
Will be close by you for the next week, not close enough to check out the car though.Fly Thursday stopping Empuria Brava in the bay of Roses, we ride Enduro/ Motocross bikes up in the Pyrenees mountains 3 times a year. Usually around Tapis and Coustouges on the border and beyond. Not many people about, only hunters out for wild boar who dont seem to mind as we keep the tracks open for them, Beautiful place.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 16:57:59 by Dave H »
Mercedes 250SL    1967
Mercedes 250SLK  2014
Alfa Romeo 166 3.2 Ti
Fiat 500

dmb777

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Re: Newly purchased 230 SL
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2019, 08:41:22 »
Update: I am in contact with M. Boris Bracq.
David Basten