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Paint

This component is part of Chassis and Body.

Definition

Define the component. Include, if known, the german language word for the component, as well as the English or American equivalent. Show a picture, a diagram.

  • Its technical name & common name(s)
  • part # - start year & end year
  • which area it belongs to - engine, transmission, body, injection etc, link back to the relevant section
  • Flat Black paint

Function

Describe, in general terms the function of this component. Meaning what is it there for and what role it plays. Describe how it works, the inside mechanism. Use diagrams to explain.

New Vehicle Painting Process

From an article in Mercedes-Benz in aller Welt #64, 7/1963, "New Vehicle Paintin Plant in Sindelfingen"

Day in, day out, thousands of cars, gleaming with new paintwork and chrome-plated trim, are released from the assembly lines of automotive engineering plants.

Quite understandable, proud owners of a new Mercedes expect the brand-new appearance of their cars to last for years. Paintwork of vehicles is constantly exposed to the risk of corrosive attack, particularly by thawing salts, soot, sulfur dioxide-bearing fumes and the like. Corrosion can also be caused by mechanical damages, e.g., by impact of stones against the underbody of cars. Already for years, automotive and chemical industries have closely co-operated with a view to combating corrosion. Improvement of protection from corrosion was one of the chief requirements, on which planning of the new vehicle painting plant in Sindelfingen was based.

Since recently, the plant operates at full capacity; design and layout include all the advances made through the years and fully satisfy all demands of increased protection against corrosion. A visit to the new plant is rewarding indeed. The vast shed, flooded with daylight, is criss-crossed by conveyors on floor level, in mid-height and overhead arrangement, running, so it seems, aimlessly in all directions, carrying car bodies in a wide variety of color tones slowly dipping down and disappearing into a long, dark duct. Under the expert guidance of Mr. Hafemann, the engineer in charge, we very soon realize that the plant operates on a carefully planned working schedule.

The metal-finished bodies are transported by overhead conveyor to the painting plant through a tunnel of 2,300 ft. length. First, the steel sheet, which shows a bluish sheen, is pre-cleaned by hand. Thereafter, the bodies progress to the washing and phosphatizing station, which is about 300 ft. long. After thorough removal of any remaining dirt and grease, the metal surfaces are provided with zincphosphate coating, which safely prevents rust formation at places, where the paintwork is damaged, and at the same time forms an adhesive base for the initial paint coat. Next, the prime coat is applied by dipping at two stations in parallel arrangement. The body dips slowly into a bath of 10 x 23 ft., which contains no fewer than 52 tons of paint. At the bottom of the bath, the body is tilted; the air trapped in the hollows escapes and forms vast bubbles on the bath surface. Then the body is lifted out of the bath and the surplus paint allowed to drip off. For each body, more than 26 lbs. of paint are used. The dip coating method ensures easy access of the paint to remote corners, hollow spaces, etc.

Following dip coating, the body is transported along the conveyorized line to the drying oven, where it is dried by dark infra-radiation and a subsequent steam-drying section for 20 minutes at a temperature of 284 deg. F. Cooling is followed by treatment of the underbody in the PVC booth. By subsequent baking, the solvent-free agent provides a tough yet elastic coating, which protects the underbody from corrosion.

After each station, workpieces are rigorously tested. No car body is released for the next phase unless its paintwork is perfectly finished and fully free from blemishes or other faults and defects. All Mercedes-Benz cars receive four paint coats. After drying of the prime coat, the finish coats are applied by spraying. Bodies receive their second coating by the electrostatic method: a rotating disk with a voltage of 100,000 V charges the finely dispersed paint particles, which are attracted by the nearest negative pole, i.e., the body, on which they settle.

After passing through the continuous baking oven and the subsequent cooling station comes a sanding step. Then the bodies progress down the return line to the pre-finishing booth where the paint is applied by hand spraying guns in the final color tone of the vehicle. Again, the body is passed through the drying oven and thence to the sanding station. By thorough cleaning, all metal surfaces are prepared for the final coat.

Next, the body is heat treated at a temperature of 266 deg. F so as to allow the synthetic resin constituents of the paint to solidify. Finally, the body is discharged from the baking oven with a gleaming, corrosion-resistant finish. Once again, all bodies are tested before they are released for final assembly. Prior to leaving the painting plant through the tunnel mentioned above, the luggage compartment and the beads are given a sprayed-on protective wax coating.

Vehicle painting requires a maze of complicated auxiliary equipment. Air consumption for suction removal of the paint mist is in the region of 53 million cft. per hour. Plant design ensures that clean, conditioned air is supplied to the spraying booths; after removal of the paint particles, the air is discharged to the outside. For air scrubbing, an hourly circulation rate of 176,000 cft. water (307 Imp. gals. per second) is required. Work of the washing, phosphatizing and sanding stations largely depends on the availability of water of a high degree of purity. In the ion exchanger, more than 3,000 cft. water per hour are softened and conditioned. By a centrally arranged feeding device, paint is circulated to the various points of consumption through an extensive piping system.

All operations are controlled from a central control station, which is arranged at the front wall and juts out into the shed. The large panels are a maze of mysterious, constantly changing luminous signals, the soft hum of the relays fills the control station. In the control station, heart of the plant, experienced engineers help to maintain and improve the workmanship in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and thus ensure that cars will retain their well-groomed appearance for years in all climatic zones of the world.

Maintenance

Describe common maintenance procedures, and common faults that may occur. Describe how these may be diagnosed and resolved. Again, include diagrams, photographs and explanations. Where possible, include measures, tolerances, weights etc.

  • Symptoms when it faults
  • How to test if it is faulty - what tools to use
  • How to fix / change
  • Repainting

Link to related components where appropriate.

Old Yahoo content

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Flat Black paint

I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a good match for the satin black color that is used for the trunk of a 280 SL. Is this the same color as the brake booster black or should I use something else for that? I was told that Rustoleum is a pretty good match. Is that true? Also is the hood prop spring originally supposed to be painted black as well?

Rustoleum black is excellent. And yes, I believe the brake booster and trunk interior should be satin black, as the rod should be for the hood as well.

The trunk of M-Bīs in the 60's (like W113) is actually not black, but a very dark gray. It can be ordered via Mercedes dealerships. Ordering code is 000 986 67 33 - 7164. The "000 986 67 33" is the part number of a one component (not catalized) paint sold by MBAG, and the "7164" is the color code for this deep dark gray. It is semi-gloss. The torsion type spring for the engine hood is (pure) black, yes.

Thanks for the part number and the other information. I have ordered the dark grey (black) trunk paint today. It lists for $43 for 1 liter. Otherwise it continues to amaze me how I am finding virtually all replacement parts for my restoration project straight at the dealer (Caliber Motors) usually by the next day. It's amazing (grommets, seals, clips, even the guide jaws for the roll down windows). And the prices are lower than for any current car I know.

Will Samples says: Where are you in the world that you can buy the official paint for the trunk? In the US, Mercedes is not allowed to sell that paint.

I'm in the car crazy world of Los Angeles. Simply ordered it from Caliber Motors, but the paint needs to be ordered from Germany. Hans Strom in Stockholm told me that the Classic Center should be able to deliver to any dealer. Also Rustoleum satin black is said to be a good match. Chuck Taylor adds on 6/27/2018: The US Classic Center does not sell paint.

The thing about the underside of the bonnet is how many runs in the paint you usually see in original examples (they were surprisingly sloppy in the paint shop in some of the areas of the cars that aren't in full view.) Another area that's supposed to be black that many neglect in restoration is that "splash guard" in front of the battery. If you look through the grills at the front of the car, it's on the driver-side. you should see nothing but black. Again, I've been surprised at how sloppily M-B painted that detail. It can look as if a paint brush was hastily slopped over the area. Who says every part of an authentic restoration has to be hard?

Will Samples says: Underside of boot lid (trunk) is painted black, not body color. Can you imagine someone reading the book, painting the trunk black and the underside of the trunk body color?

I also noticed the runs on the underside of the hood and that the front splash guard seems to be painted with a brush (or at least touched up). In fact on some cars the black (dark Grey) paint goes around the corner on to the side where the radiator mounts and on some it doesn't. Also it seems as though the whole car was first painted completely in the color of the exterior and only then painted over with the black.

I found traces of the original paint under the black on the splash guard, in the channel that holds the soft top lid's seal and on the edge of the trunk seal. Just thought this may be of interest to someone. It was to me, especially as I'm still trying to figure out the mystery of the painting and assembly sequence of the door and hood hinges. If someone knows anything about this particular question I would love to know and then post my detailed question concerning this possibly most obscure of restoration questions. This list is turning out to be the most fun and interesting list to us SL owners.

My '66 230 SL Euro also has the black around the air filter housing. I just took the whole thing out a couple of weeks ago and cleaned in there. Did you know there is a drain hole under there along the seam of the "frame". I have not looked around the battery yet. I do have paint runs under the hood.

I think there may have been variations as far as the blackout in the air filter area is concerned. I've seen many 113ís painted the same as the rest of the car.

The part number for the black paint is 000986 67 33, paint code 7164, courtesy of Hans Strom. I haven't received the paint yet and no word of whether I will. My experience has been that I have received most parts next day or a few days later and some parts that are supposedly available in Germany have been on order for several weeks and no notice back from the distribution channels. Especially hardware, screws etc. seem to be NLA.

The trunk shuld be painted in 164 color or rather today called 7164 - it is tiefdunkelgrau, semi-gloss deep gray, the same was used in W114/115 series. I ordered this paint in a paint shop with no problem. In my opinion springs should also be painted in 164.

That splash plate on the left front of the engine comparment. Is it painted black at the front all the way around the edges where the radiator bolts on? How about the air filter side. Only the surface where the radiator bolts to and the color of the car for the remainder?

Pete Lesler: the cars had the underbody schutz sprayed on first (it was a sound deadener, not an rust inhibitor), then they were actually dipped in a primer, then sprayed with body color all over. The only body parts not body color, are the insides of trunk compartment and the insides of the soft top compartment. these were semi gloss black.

The bottom of these cars, not including the rocker panel covers were painted in the color of the rest of the body as well as the wheel wells, the engine compartment, under the dash, inside the fresh air intake box. The trunk and soft top compartment were also painted in the body color from the factory, but were painted over in semi gloss black (Tiefdunkelgrau) after that. The whole underside of the body was sprayed fairly heavily with a very tough body Schutz type material before painting.

Most of you will be able to see their original paint if they clean and scrape through possible layers of black underbody coating. These additional coats were not added by the factory. During my recent restoration I was lucky enough to find the original body Schutz material completely intact on my car after 31 year! I still took me a day to remove that many years of road grime, but it was fun to see the result, almost like unearthing a rare pre-historical find. Hope this provides a little insight.

I heard that the flat black on the sills was a more resistant finish than body paint and was supposed to give more protection from road pebbles and chipping.

That would be correct, if a chip-resistant paint is used, like "body-schutz". I used a special-purpose 3M chip-resistant coating for my door sills (and innner fenders wells etc). I still wonder whether black is original, or whether the lower door sills should be body color - any other comments?

For the record, my 1969 280SL has said chip-resistant paint on what I would call the "rocker panels", just below the door sills (running below the door sills and the trim strip between the wheel cut-outs. And, thus it was when I got the car in 1970. So also has every other one that I have looked at - and I will confess that I have not paid very close attention to other cars in this regard. Worth noting is that it is relatively "invisible" in that it blends in well with the lines of the car and is unobtrusive. The material (paint) is clearly a chip-resistant paint and a type of surface that you would not want on the rest of the car. It does its job quite well, however, in that it resists chips and nicks that would otherwise come from stones fired at it from the front wheels.

Sorry - forgot to say that the door sills/rocker panels are painted BLACK on my car, while the body is SILVER - and each has always been so. On the silver car with black interior, hardtop & soft top, the black contrast would look good in any event.

I am quite certain about all of the following, that rocker panels are painted satin Black over the textured rocker "Schutz", Wheel Wells are also painted body color over rocker "Schutz", the hood torsion bar is satin Black, the trunk interior, the lid and inside the soft top compartment are the same satin Black. Any portion of the body structure around the front grill area that is visible from the front, through the Satin Black grill louvers is also Satin Black. The inside of the hood is, of course painted the same body color as is the whole engine bay. Early cars often had contrasting colors for the hard top and wheels. Later cars had matching hard tops. As the wheels were completely covered by the hub caps on those cars, I don't believe they were painted in body color, but rather satin Black (or maybe also some other neutral color, I'm not sure on that).

I just received a message from Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Center, stating that:

  • Torsion Bar: Galvanized
  • Wheel Wells: Black over Body Shutz
  • Rockers: Black over Body Shutz

It's been generally accepted in this forum that the wheel wells should be body color over shutz. Does this email from the Classic Center change that?

It's been suggested earlier that body colored wheel wells for light or bright-colored cars would not be attractive, especially in a dirty or muddy environment, and that perhaps Mercedes painted wheel wells black selectively. There is a photo from a vintage advertisment in the "vintage pix of pagodas" folder of our own files section, named rome.jpg, that seems (to me) to clearly show a white 113 with black wheel wells. I believe that someone else pointed to an original brown example that seemed to have brown wheel wells. If it were me, I'd paint a light-colored car's wheel wells black.

Dan Caron: all of the white cars that Iíve ever seen were white in the wheel wells. They donít look bad painted black, but then they donít look any better either. Conventional wisdom says that ALL wheel wells are painted body colour and if theyíre a different colour, well then someone painted them that colour. Dirt and mud looks the same anywhere you go (some of it is a bright red in some places Iíve been) so I doubt that the factory would pre guess something like that.

No, the letter doesn't change anything. MB will tell you anything is original if that is the way they happen to do things now. It is probably easier (and makes more sense to paint black inside the wheel wells, but that's all. The hood torsion bars are probably galvanized now because it lasts longer, cost, etc. Also, I completely buy into Dan's answer that they were originally Black chromate (whatever it was, I can't quite remember). That would explain why it wore off so quickly on most original owners cars. Black paint might have been a bad choice because the torsion bar twists and maybe it would have eventually separated from the bar. Anyway, In my opinion, it stands. The torsion bar should be Satin Black if you can't get Black Chromate.

Hans Strom: I support Dan in what he states below. The car bodies _were_ painted in the wheel wells and on the underside of the floor plates with the same as the rest of the (lower) body. However there was a wax protective layer applied last, an outer layer. Also the paint in those areas was much more coarse and semi-matte, so it did not at all give that "bright" impression as one can sometimes see on (non-MB) show cars and hot rod car undersides at exhibitions. BTW, the CD-ROM (with the 1965 W113) that I mentioned in a posting the other day clearly shows what I mention above. I have also seen it many times when working at restoring M-B autos

One more thing: On a W113 there is a metal cover plate ( No 113 884 01 35 and 02 35) on the rear part of the front wheel wells. These plates are black just like the lower sills (under the doors). On a picture, this may be interpreted as the whole wheel well being black. So, in brief: The facts are there, and the e-mail from M-B Classic does not change them. Note, though, that many M-B owners made all sorts of underbody protection spray-ons (very soon after purchasing their cars) that indeed were black, and thus can be seen on photos and still be present on original cars. What we discuss here is how vehicles were at exit from the M-B factory doorway!

Pete Lesler: I'll bet none of these guys at the classic center are old enough to remember these cars when they were new. I purchased mine when it was three years old and had 23,000 miles on the odometer. It still had the break-in decal on the windshield. The hood torsion bar was black satin and the wheel wells were body color over the ruberized schutz, just like the entire underbody. The car had never been touched. Every car I have restored and every one that I have seen that has been detailed for show has these same characteristics. My car is an early 250SL serial 579. I have a close friend who bought a very original 1970 280SL, and his were the same. It is entirely possible that the last 280SL's had a zince plated torsion bar, I doubt it was galvanized, as this was not a finish used by Daimler Benz at the time.

Dan Caron again: well, those dirt panels are black and covered with a gravel guard material - at least sometimes. So are the rocker covers - covered sometimes. So we have to do them on the ones that are just black painted metal. I'm not sure why some of the leave the factory that way. The dirt shields are supposed to be painted along with the rest of the wheel wells. If they are black then they were probably replaced at some point. I wasn't sure about this at first until I had a 40K mile car come in for some work. It was totally untouched and these panels were white like the rest of the car. I admit to painting the front panel white and not blacking it out because I found out about that later on. The body shop painted it and I didn't notice.

Joe Alexander: Yes I agree that a lot of 113's came from the factory with body color over body schutz in the wheel wells and underbody. I think the classic car center is at least partially wrong in their responce. Bob Fellow's (list member) original dark blue 113 from the tech session is an example of this also. I also maintained a light ivory 1971 280-SL from new, which also had body paint color in the wheel wells and underneath. I am not certain on the early version 113's (230-SL's). Maybe this is where the confusion lies. Don't bet the whole farm on factory photos or sales brochures, sometimes these are pre-production models and are incorrect.

I have an original factory sales brochure showing a 190-SL with a different bodycolor from the dash color. They were never ever produced this way. Some dealers may have preped cars differently. Maybe some dealers in the rustbelt re-undercoated their cars before customer delivery?? In 1970 the Mercedes dealer here in Columbus, Ohio used stricktly Becker radios, while the Mercedes dealer in Cincinnati, Ohio (100 miles away) used only Baupunkt radios!? I know AC was a dealer installed item when new, in the USA. Most componants in the system were made here in America for these USA cars. Many of the York compressors, Frigiking components were domestic.

The Ranco controls were made a few miles from here in Ohio. These parts were very expensive from Mercedes, I wonder if they were shipped to Germany from the USA then shipped back to the dealers in the USA when an order came in? The notorious climate control servo in the mid seventies Mercedes sedans is actually a Chrysler unit which was manufactured at Ranco here in Ohio. It would be nice to find some original dealer documentation and installation bulletins on these types of dealer add on items. How about the Becker stereo in 1971? was this a USA dealer option. Many swear these radios were not available in 113's in Europe? I used to use the Sikkens body schutz. It is a waterbase (as is the original, I believe), and when applied with the special inexpensive schutz gun it gives the exact finish and texture as original.

Repainting

I'm planning on painting my 1970 280 SL a different color and would like to do the wheel wells too. They are all original paint over "Body Schutz" coating, but some spots have underbody coating/ road grime that is a little difficult to remove with a wire brush. Does anyone know of any nasty, strong chemicals that will dissolve the tar-like substance quickly?

No chemical, but I use a propane torch with one of those wide flame spreaders on it. you wave it back and forth across the coating, you will see when it gets warm enough to peel off, the little peaks smoke/turn black, and the coating just begins to discolor. Do a place about 6 X 6 inches or so at a time. It goes back to being hard to remove when cool again.

Will says: I used a heat gun I bought at the hardware store. Did the underside of my 280 SL and wheel wells. Be careful, as you can imagine, whatever is on the other side of the area you are heating can be damaged by the heat. Wear safety glasses, gloves, long sleeves. You don't have to until the first glob of hot tar lands on bare skin. Then you might change your mind. I was lucky and did not aggressively scrape the tar off and found the original primer was still in good condition. I touched up the few rust spots, cleaned all with Kerosene, then wax/grease/silicon cleaner from the auto paint store, then painted color coat.

Is the rubber plug inside the windshield wiper motor cup (this would all be one word in German if you can believe it) supposed to be painted? I have the car at the painters, but forgot when I removed the old plug to note whether it had paint on it. I think it did.

Will says: I recall flecks of paint on mine when I pulled it out. But I remember seeing factory literature of these cars being dipped in paint as a bare shell, then assembled.

Frank says:

  1. Mine has no paint on it, and it has never been replaced,
  2. The 230 SL was originally all spray-painted, but during production they started applying primer by dipping in a tank with cathodic (?) paint,
  3. The final color was never applied by tank; if it had been, your trunk would be body color instead of black, and
  4. The black inside the grill opening was apparently applied by hand using a brush; consequently, it wasn't done the same from car to car. It is thought that the reason they painted black over body color, was to give the grill openings a uniform appearance.

I have some feedback as well about the paint dipping issue. After 5 months of frame-up restoring a relatively unmolested 1970 280 SL the exact picture of what went on during the painting of these cars is still not completely clear to me. Believe me I have collected much data and though about the results a lot. We know the following:

  1. There is paint in virtually every nook and cranny under the dash in the heater air box, but not inside the front fenders as visible from inside the a-pillars behind the kick panel covers.
  2. The parts catalog specifies some of the rubber plugs in the firewall and under the carpeting as paint run off plugs which could have been for primer run-off though.
  3. The door hinges, when removed, show no traces of paint or primer, only bare (seemingly galvanized steel) on those surfaces that bolt to the a-pillar as well as the doors. Seeing as the bolts are painted as well, that means that the doors would have been attached when all these parts received their paint coat. However, it would have been completely impossible other than by electrostatic painting to spray paint into the jambs with any acceptable coverage. This in turn points to dipping which would also explain the extremely complete coverage of paint (top color) inside the doors.

Again however, that would mean that the outswide of the vehicles would have to be sanded again after the dipping to produce good results for that finish. The dipping could also explain why the hoods have so many runs on their interior.

  1. The cars were (at least later model 280sls) completely painted in color at first. Only then were the trunk and the soft top case and lids painted over in black. You can verify this, as I have done more than I care to remember, by removing the black paint at the edge of the trunk seal channel carfully and persistantly with aceton. The black paint seems to be catalyzed, but will eventually relent.

Floor panels are all painted color. I'm not sure what is under the bitumen sound deadening plates that are on the floor panels and to which the color has been applied, but I have a good hunch it's our trusty dark grey primer. Most rubber plugs in that area were painted as well as evidenced by the grey primer ring that appears when you remove the plugs.

  1. Under the hood lock plate and hinges you find the same situation. No paint, but primer.

I would love to hear definitive news and well thought out, plausible explanations to the inconsistencies of my theory. This is all I've been able guess up so far. Also, I have decided that with conventional painting techniques used in shops today, this level of originality is unobtainable. Please let us know of anyone who was a painter in Sindelfingen 30 years ago. I'd love to ask them many questions.

And, same poster: after further reviewing my bare 113 chassis today, I realized that the whole chassis definitely wasn't dipped in paint. The coverage under the dash and like I said before, the inside of the fenders is incomplete or only a thin dust coat of paint. All the other questions still remain.

Frank says: primer dipping commenced sometime during production of the 230 SL. If you have an early 230 SL, it was sprayed rather than dipped. In general, it would be helpful if people would use a specific year/model when referring to particular features of a car, rather than "113". There were substantial changes to these cars during the course of production.

I have had the interior of my 1970 280SL painted with Glasurit 55-line paint which is the newest technology they have. The Code is DB 906, Light Blue-Grey Metallic, but the color came out much too dark, almost a medium blue. Glasurit corporate assures me that their paint formulas are matched to original Mercedes paint chips and that they take into consideration all the clear coats etc. that are being used so that the paint should match very closely.

The paint distributor used the correct Glasurit formula and all ingredients and says they mixed the paint according to that formula. I should add that Glasurit actually doesn't even have a formula for the 55-line for 1963-1971 DB906, only for 1972-1979 DB906. I and they assume this is the same color. Is that true? The only possible deviation I have been able to come up with is that Glasurit also has listed a variation of the DB 906 paint code that has a little more green in it.

I haven't seen that variation in the applied state yet, but it seems to me that the original 906 reference hubcap that I have definitely seems to have a greener tint to it than the "906" that was just applied to my car. It also is quite a bit lighter. Does anyone know what exactly these variations are, where they stem from and what the difference might be in terms of originality. Can both 906 colors (which are really two different colors) be original.

Frank says: You can compare the color on the inside of your glove box lid with the new paint to see how close it matches the original color. Also, Glasso color chip books come up from time to time on eBay (I have one around here somewhere) and could be compared. But to answer your question, the 906 applied by the Factory may indeed be different than the Glasurit 906. I know this is true in the case of the DB180 silver-gray on my 250 SL, which is much more gray than any aftermarket DB180 paint I have ever seen. This is very evident when compairing the repaint on the rear deck with the original paint on the softtop cover.

It is mentioned on the paint code panel whether you car was originally painted with Glasurit (it would be 906 G) or with Herberts (906 H) paint. A specific color was either delivered by Glasurit (050 G white for instance) or by Herberts (158 H) but not interchanged at a certain time (let's say 1970). But I am not absolutely sure. Definitely the compositions for different colors changed with the years, sometimes dramatically. Under http://wachsmuth.mbz.org/glasso/ you can find a nice survey about different Glasurit colors and their changing recipes.

Unfortunately, DB 906 is not among them (as is the case for DB 903 blue and DB 904 night blue). I therefore guess these colors were delivered by Herberts as was the case for DB 903. Furthermore the (original) paints fade with increasing age (more or less) that's why partial pepaintings often do not fit at all. Frank is right, try to compare with hidden areas like glove box or some spray under the dash etc.

If you still have the choice, you might want to stick to the earlier recipe(s) rather than the younger ones. But it depends how long this paint code was offered by Mercedes. In my case (DB 573 G) I should rather choose the late recipe as this color was only offered until 1965 and then replaced by DB 542 G).

My car was originally painted with Glasurit. I agree that there shouldn't be any paint variations. I have a feeling that Glasurit screwed up on the formulation for the new 55-line of paint. Both variations have now been mixed for me and sprayed out, but both still are quite different from original paint chips, inside glove box lid, etc. I have basically given up and am going to stay with what Glasurit here and in Germany says is the correct formula. The color is prettier than the original anyway.

Can anyone confirm the correct inside paint color of the air intake cowl that is directly in front of the windshield. The outside is body color but question is what color is the inside-body color or black. Any help would be appreciated.

The cowl air intake should be the same color as the car is, not perfect but has the appearance of overspray or just a 'once over'. Not shiny or not dull, just a semi-gloss look.

Is it correct to assume that the 280 SL factory paint job had a little bit of orange peel? I'm hearing mixed things (it was smooth, it had some orange peel...) and I'd like to know for sure as I'd prefer to go with a "factory" texture when I repaint.

The factory paint often had a level of finish that many of us would consider unacceptable in a restoration today. For example, most of the cars had long, long drips on the underside of the hood.

Yes, these cars had perceptible orange peel when new. Remember they were painted with an oven dried enamel. Recreating the look of the original orange peel may be touchy, but an experienced shop should be able to wet sand just enough to give you the desired look.

I can't tell you what the texture of the paint was when new, but I do know that the original paint finishes that I've seen all had very smooth paint. Let me know if you need information on other paint details seeing as I did a lot of research before painting my 1970 280 SL.

I used to paint cars for a living. Do you really want to reproduce a factory defect? If your car came from the factory with orange peel I'm sure MB did not intend it to be so. I am getting ready to repaint my own car and I can assure you it will not have any orange peel, I don't care if it had some when it was new or not. If these cars were sprayed by human beings (not robots) then no two cars will have exactly the same quality of finish.

I would ask my paint guy to give my car the best paint job he can. He will automatically give your car a hand sprayed look to your paint finish. Maybe it will have a little orange peel or maybe it won't, but I'm sure the guy that sprayed it at the factory was also striving for the best paint job he could give your car. Many variables enter into a paint job such as humidity, temp, viscosity of the paint, and of course human error, just to name a few.

It is impossible to reproduce the exact same finish the car once had from the factory, so I guess the point I'm trying to make here is,"Why bother"? Why not have the perfect paint job for the perfect car? Any way thatís just my opinion!

Then Will Samples says: I thought I would wade into the orange peel debate with some factory info. I have a MB Refinishing Manual that gives a list of the 20 things that they consider Paint Damage. Number 19 is "Insufficient flow (orange peel)". To quote: Definition: The inability of the paint material to adequately flow. Cause: An inadequate flow structure (orange peel effect) is the result of varying spray viscosity, spraying techniques and thickness of coating. Results: Reduction of favorable optical appearance.

A certain roughness (orange peel) cannot be completely avoided. [I believe they are applying this to production line paint jobs]. Here, too, tolerances apply: Light orange peel effect = permitted. Heavy orange peel effect = not permitted (in boundary cases permitted in lower ranges of zone III). [the cars are split into 3 zones for paint evaluation, zone III is the beltline that is under the door handles and all the way to the bottom of the car]. The [] brackets are my comments.

A book from 1985 says a little orange peel is OK. Also, it depends on your perspective. If I painted the car at home and it has orange peel I tell everyone I duplicated the factory. If I take the car to a professional for painting and I get it back with orange peel, I refuse the car until the orange peel is sanded off and the car buffed out. Just my opinion, too.

I agree with most of the recent comments made on the paint question. Which means that you may eventually resign to the fact that there are a lot of variables in a paint job that lead to varying degrees of perfection. My experience with a $15,000 paint job last year taught me a valuable lesson. When the first portions (interior of doors and trunk) were painted, the color (DB906 Grey-blue metallic) seemed much darker than any other 280 SL I had seen painted this color.

I was very upset at first because I wanted an absolutely authentic finish. I spoke to the MB Classic Center and Glasurit (BASF) who was the original supplier of all 280 SL paints (that's what the G stands for after your paint code on the chassis placard. The H on other MB models stands for Herberts, which I believe may now be owned by Standox brand).

They said that there have always been variations in color and that the newer paint formulations are based on original paint chips that MB had supplied to the company. They proved it to me by sending samples of sheet metal cut from cars that were originally painted that color at the factories. These samples varied right around what Glasurit is now selling as its version of DB906. I have also noticed that newer model cars like a 1979 500 SE painted in DB906 looked much closer to my car's DB906 than any original DB906 I have ever seen on a 280 SL.

My final conclusion is that the color went through a sort of evolution during the time (1968-1979) it was used. Glasurit claims that their current version of the color is much closer to what MB intended the original color to be than what they were able to achieve on the production lines in the 1960ís. Bottom line is, I am happy. I like the current hue and quality of paint on my SL much better than the original, but still feel that I have used an original color.

If I were trying to pass the paint off as being exactly original I might have proceeded differently. Especially with the top-of-the-line Glasurit two-stage paints that I have used, there seem to be very little variations in the paint due to the ambient conditions and how it is applied as long as the painter is experienced using this particular product!

The paint is very forgiving and I am very happy with its extreme toughness and beautiful deep luster (probably much better than original, especially on a metallic paint). Now, if you are painting only the exterior of the car, you may not want to go by the paint code alone. It may make more sense to match what you already find on your car. Keep in mind that even paint that hasn't been exposed to UV waves still has been exposed to the elements for over thirty years, so there is no guaranty that anything is correct.

Once you're passed the point that you have accepted that MB could have possibly had and allowed considerable variations in one paint code, finish, etc. you'll feel a little more free in your choices and possibly even go with a different brand of paint (although all those that I've spoken to that have used different types and brands of paint seem to agree that Glasurit does merit the substantially increased cost for reasons of quality of finish, durability and reparability. Hope this helps.

As far as the correct, original colour is concerned, the best place to check it is the glove box lid as it's unlikely that it's been repainted. If the colour is pastel, it's better to look at the INNER side of the lid because it stayed away from the sunlight so it'll be as new. If the colour is metallic, it's safer to look at the OUTER side of the lid because the inner side could have been not finished with the transparent paint. Be careful with sanding because it grinds away lots of metal: better use a chemical paint remover.

As far as the "orange peel" effect is concerned, it's just a matter of paint finishing. The level of orange peel depends on the skill (and quality) of the painter but, anyway, even the most skilled painter achieves some degree of orange peel after the painting. To obtain a smooth surface he (you) must smooth it with ultrafine sandpaper.

In the '60s cars (and expecially the exclusive ones) were still almost-artisanly painted and refinished, so we should say that probably no two ones are identical in the degree of finish. I think you should have it well painted and smoothed (without overdoing it like a glasscake...). Repainting only half of the pieces will result in a patchy look! Important: before repainting, check that all the existing holes are correct: e.g. the radio antenna must be on the front right fender; the side mirrors must be in the upper corner of the door.

The headlights surround must have a circa 1" dimple on the inner side (towards the hood) corresponding to the dimple in the chrome headlight frame (most restored Pagodas lost this dimple because of ignorant or approximate restorers).

(On how to find out the correct original color when you are located in the US:) Contact Mercede Benz USA, Telephone (201) 476 6200 or FAX 201) 476-6213. Request a copy of the Production Card and Factory Invoice. They get this from Germany so even if you have a European model, they should be able to help. This is good info to have with your car.

The paint code will be on that information. On the production card, it will be in Box 6. On the invoice it will be under the car information and before the options. This should give you the original paint code as applied at the factory--absolutely and positively. My car was originally 050 White but was changed into Signal Red recently and I can assure you there are no traces of this original white anywhere to be found. Even in the glovebox.

You probably have the plate, under the hood, with the proper paint code staked out already. If not it's on the drivers side just under the hood. work out the paint code from that plate and look it up on the glasurit paint codes web site. (http://wachsmuth.mbz.org/glasso/ ) Also have a look at Laurence Meredith's book "Original Mercedes SL" which speaks to paint codes along with a lot of other useful stuff.

How can we get the special masking tool for the hubcaps? I just bought four new ones and will be painting at the end of this week and it sounds like this would save significant time masking by hand as is the current plan.

I have always been under the impression that with a two tone car the hard top and center caps matched,as did the body and dash, ie; silver body and dash,with a black top and black mb center caps. The wheels, I thought, were always black, regardless of top color. Is this correct?

I just looked at the original brochure / advertising material I own on 230 SL's and, interestingly enough, on some pictures the wheels are black while the center caps match the body color, while on others the wheels are body color. I don't have material on two-tone cars.

The underside of the soft top compartment cover is to be tiefdunkelgrau (7164) or body color or what?

The inside of the soft top cover is black (or tiefdunkelgrau 7164), just as is the inside of the trunk, underside of the trunk lid, and some small areas behind the front grille. This last part is to make it look all black (or tiefdunkelgrau) behind the grille when viewing from the front. Most of the engine bay, and the underside of the hood, is body color.

The color, per my research, should be a deep gray semi gloss called tiefdunkelgrau (164) the new number is 7164.

I just bought a 1965 230sl. I think the paint might be original - it's either original or the car has had a back to the metal respray. The thing is, the work looks kind of poor, with mild orange peel. Is this normal for a factory paint job?

There was quite a discussion on orange peel last year. The consensus (I believe) was that it was not uncommon. Some owners suggested that a restoration might include recreating the original orange peel paint job, much the same as early Corvette owners try to retain the original 'wavy' fiberglass. You can search the archives for a more detailed discussion.

Mild orane peel was quite common. These cars were sprayed with Glassurit or Hartz oven dried enamel. The orange peel you see, if uniform all over the car, is probably factory. Do you still have vertical runs on the underside of the hood? If so these are also a result of the factory paint job.

I am trying to get an idea of what to expect when I get my 230sl repainted as for price. I do understand that each car is different but I was wondering if I could get an idea of what any of you have paid for a nice paint job on such a car assuming little body work is necessary. Any info would sure help while I am getting bids.

Cees: my white (i.e. non-metallic) paint job, including some body work on right front and rear fenders, around windshield, and removing some minor dents, cost me just around $1,000. I did some preperation and build-up work myself. This is at a somewhat fly-by-night shop but the result is at 95% of the quality level of a top-quality, most respected shop that quoted me $9,100 for the same work ...

I had my 67 230SL repainted five years ago in southern California and got two estimates around $3500. I chose the shop that recommended removing the doors to paint the door jambs. My car had the original paint (DB180 silver grey metallic) and needed only minor body work. It was stripped to bare metal using a sanding disk.

I removed every bit of trim myself, including windshield trim and dash pad since I was also replacing the rubber and rechroming the trim. They removed the hood and trunk and repainted the undersides as well. I let them have it for two months and I put it all back together when it came home (that was fun).

The quality is easily as good as the original, which was my goal, and I can't tell it apart from a 280 SL at the Fashion Island show 2 or 3 years ago which the owner told me cost $8000 to repaint and was matched "exactly" to the original DB180 color. If you are willing to spend the time it can be very enjoyable and it is a great way to stay out of trouble.

Took my 230 SL to a very good German shop and was quoted $35K, decided to look elsewhere.

Tom Sargeant: unless a Pebble Beach quality concours restoration is the goal, $35k is truly outrageous. That shop must be so busy that they would only take the work if it offered extraordinary profit. Now having said that, to determine if one is getting a fair value from a paint job, one must understand the scope of the "paint job". Is it a paint job or an exterior restoration?

Most volume-production oriented "collision repair centers" do not want to deal with these cars, as they can't get them in and out quickly enough. A restoration shop does take the time, but has to charge more as the car is occupying the facility for a longer period of time-it's not just labor time-but facility capacity utilization. Here are some questions to determine value received:

  1. Is the chrome trim being removed?
  2. Is the car to be stripped to the metal?
  3. How much filler are you willing to tolerate? The more you tolerate, the less the cost.
  4. How many phases of sanding and priming are you getting? To get most of the ripples out, several prime, shadow paint, wet sand cycles will be required.
  5. Do you want to get rid of the "orange peel" in the clear coat through a final wet sanding and buffing of the clear coat? This is what gives the deep, mirror finish seen in show cars.
  6. Are the insides of the trunk and soft top storage areas going to be done? Are you sending the hood, trunk, doors and soft top lid out for special handling (aluminum)? Is the soft top storage area going to be stripped and painted? Door jams? If you go to the limit, much of the body has to be dis-assembled and then re-assembled. That is where the added cost is. I had my exterior restoration (translate-more than just body paint) priced by several shops. The range was $10k to $25k, *excluding the hard top*. I was able to pretty much reconcile the difference by going through all of the items listed at 1-6 above.

Two years ago,I had a paint restoration, similar to the detail described by tom. It took over two months, and was done by the best paint man the local benz shop had. The deal was, they would only work on the car when things were slow, no time limit. They removed all chrome, finished the hard top and any other part of the car that was ever painted, after removing all old paint. Total cost $7000. this was a steal, and I knew it. By the time they were finished, they were calling the car the monster. The detail work is unreal-dash, hubs, door jambs, engine compartment, trunk etc. This job has no price. As Tom stated, what type of paint job do you want?

Painting a car is a time and materials sort of job. Once you get a price below the reasonable profit margin required to stay in business something has to give. I have bought automotive paint before and I have seen how many unseen hours go into a nice paint job. Three coats of primer, one gallon of color and one gallon of clear is about $300 to $400.

Your car will go into the paint booth three times before final colors. Block sanding between coats as well as all prep work before any primer started. After final coat it will be color sanded. A good shop will repeat this at a later date when the paint has fully cured (about 9 months) if you request. This paint job should cost between $5,000 and $8,000 if the interior is included.

I am sure it can be had for less but after the paint is applied (it is hard to approve a primed car) you can't go back and do more prep. If a factory paint job is desired and the car is straight a fair price is $3,000, possibly $1,500 for the interior. The idea of a paint job for $1,000 is a win fall and you can't presume the outcome will be as satisfactory as some have had. I strongly recommend removing all the parts yourself. This will save you money and teach you a lot about your car. Removing the dash parts requires some info to get most of the parts out. But it is not too hard and a lot of fun to assemble it on a freshly painted car.

While I agree with you on material required to paint a car, I disagree about time (it all depend on how bad car is, to start with). I have to caution people from overdoing things. I have seen people striping cars that had good paint to start with and did not need sanding down to bare metal.

It is easy to justify spending another 2 thousands on a paint job, but in my opinion it is waisted away. Like any paint job, it is important to prep the car before painting. Good paint shops will paint faster than what you suggested, without need to sand as much if the painter is very good. Do you think that painters at factory go through all these steps?

Good body shops and good skilled metal workers will fix a car without so much need for sanding and intermidiate steps. Unfortunately, they are getting rarer by the minute.

The more paint you put on a car the easier it is for that paint to chip off. You can paint on top of one or maybe two previous paint jobs and then you really are wasting your money. If you really think that you can put a quality job on top of older problems you will be disappointed. These jobs usually last a few years at best especially in the rust belt.

Has anyone every found a front bra for our 113's to protect them from the bugs and stones that get thrown at the car? I would love to protect my new paint job.

IMHO, that would really be throwing aesthetics down the toilet. Kinda' like sticking cup holders, a CD player, and those low profile modern tires on it. Of course, it's your car, but I'd clean the bugs and go slow on rocky roads before I'd put a modern dress on a classic.

Dan Caron, on painting the hubcaps: I think that you would want to use an etching primer on the bare metal. I've usually just painted right on top of the hub cap. The trick is to use as little paint as possible while maintaining good coverage and shine. Too much and it just chips off. Primer is quite porous and will allow moisture to get in over time. Since you will be painting your top soon after, this won't be a real problem. There are several paint manufacturers who can get a match for your colour.

Modern urethane finishes although not quite as durable as the urethane finishes of a few years ago(due to the elimination or reduction of Isocyanates which are very hazardous to the painter) are still head and shoulders above the air dried enamel your car was originally finished with. Having used most of the recent finishes they are pretty comperable with regards to gloss and durability.

All that being said there are some pretty big differences in application between the different systems and it take time for a painter to adjust between systems. I would recommend finding a shop and using what they prefer. It is really not a huge deal to switch systems but when you knock over a can of paint or suddenly have a paint problem in the middle of a job it is much easier to mix new paint on site or use a corrective product(ie Fish Eye eliminator) that you have on site rather than run across town or worse yet have to shut everything down in the middle of a job because you have to order more product.

I used to paint large boats for a living and more than once had customers want to use the latest mail order wiz-bang finish on their boat, after a couple of nightmares I simply began telling them I would order their product then after they left drive 6 blocks to the Dupont dealer for some good old Imron. Remember that a modern finish is designed to last for years in the sun. The pampered lives of collector cars is an easy life for the paint.

The original Glasurit paint on these cars was 20-line synthetic car enamel. Glasurit stopped making that line many years ago in favor of the newer lines that are much easier to apply and much longer lasting. Many years ago -1979 to be exact- I was able to get the 20-line and had my 230Sl repainted with it. It produced a really nice finish but was somehwat difficult to apply becasue it sprayed like marshmellow and took a long time to dry. I'm in the process of redoing with a bare metal paint job using PPG's DCC Concept single stage and associated lines. Almost to the final finish stage now. Many of the modern finishes are very similar in their application, durability and appearance. You can't go wrong with any of the name brands.

Joe Alexander: most of today's name brand automotive paint systems are probably superior to the original paint systems used on these 113 cars thirty plus years ago. Preparation and foundation will be the most important factors in obtaining a lasting finish. Some paint systems are much easier to apply and may be slightly less durable. However these 113's normally live a pampered life these days and good lasting results can be achieved from many product brands. Those hard core may be drawn to the excellent quality and extreme expense of Glasurit (BASF) or Sikkens (Akzo Nobel) paint systems. In the long run the skill and preparation given by the restorer will be the most important factor.

I dropped off my W113 today for repainting at John Young's Classic Auto Restoration (Lake Barrington, Illinois), and I guess I'm getting Sikkens paint just like the spectacular eggplant '35 500K* he's painting now and the stunning blue-violet '53 Talbot Lago that took third-in-class at Pebble Beach two years ago. But I want John doing my car because of the quality of his bodywork and his overall preparation of the vehicle.

When I asked him if he thought Sikkens was much better than other paints, he said, no - what attracted him to Sikkens some years ago was the breadth and precision of their matching system to get the exact shade he needs. And now he's just really comfortable working with it. I think talking to prospective restorers about paint helps put their work in perspective, but the deepest, most lustrous paint in the world won't straighten out a ripple in the door or put that perfect dimple in the fender next to the headlamps. You have to look at the structure first.

I took the stripped hard top plus the hubcaps to the paint shop today. They declined to do the hubcaps, as they are concerned that the paint will not stick and do not want the liability. I now plan to paint them my self. Does any know where I can purchase a spray can that matches the Mercedes Color?

Joe: regular spray equipment is best. However I am sure you can achieve good results with less. If you cannot find a paint can. You can use a Preval sprayer. This can be filled with any paint and sprayed like a spray can. It has a air charge in a cartridge that attaches to a glass jar for the paint. I believe most hardware stores or Home Depot should have them.

Some reputable automotive paint supply stores will make up spray cans of paint to your color.

http://www.towerpaint.com/

I just removed old paint (chemical paint remover), ordered the DB paint number from http://www.paintscratch.com. You can look up your code number on their web page. Got one can of color coat which was enough for four hubcaps. They recommend clearcoat but I found theirs too "hot", maybe just a bad batch. I ended up using a NAPA clearcoat spray can at a third of the price which worked fine (Paintscratch would have made the clearcoat problem good, but I didn't want to wait.)


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