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Chassis and Body


Define the section. Include, if known, the german language word for the section, as well as the English or American equivalent. For instance: soft-top, Stoffverdeck.


Describe, in general terms the function of this section. Introduce the major components. Include a diagram.


List all components here that comprise the section. These would typically be links branching off to new component pages.



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.

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Odd question.. what is the fluid reservoir that's between the firewall and the master brake cylinder? I noticed it was low but couldn't find any reference to anything that it may be in the manual. As you can guess, I'm somewhat mechanically inept.

It's the windshield washer fluid tank. Follow the tube and see where it goes. Mine's between the master brake cylinder and the edge of the fender, but someone may have moved yours.

...just to make things confusing, it could be that the secondary reservoir is (as has been suggested) actually for the hydraulic clutch - that would mean that it uses standard brake fluid as the hydraulic fluid (hence the marking on my reservoir)...

Achim says: Your suggestion is right. This reservoir is for the (brake) fluid for the clutch. It's a pitty that you don't have the correct owner's manual for your car (you might have a late one I guess, edition C), in the earlier editions A+B this is mentioned. The brake fluid for the clutch should be changed as regularly as the main brake fluid itself: every few years!

If your fluid level is already low, there is either a loss of fluid anywhere or it hasn't been maintained for a long long time. You should then change the fluid. There is a drain valve at the lower clutch cylinder where you can release the old fluid. Furthermore, you should also change the clutch hose. This part isn't too expensive (part no. 000 295 03 35; approx. $30) but it can gum up in the same way as the front and rear brake hoses can which then results in an inefficient releasing clutch (+ pedal).

Does anyone know whether the porous (open pore) cast aluminum parts on the cars were factory clear coated? I'm thinking about the cast aluminum support for the brake booster in the engine compartment. I just sandblasted mine and would like to know if these parts had some kind of coating or if there is some other way of protecting them from oxidation in the longer run, (like wax)?

Will Samples says: I am waiting for chemicals used to clean and treat aluminum to its original state. One is called alumiprep and is a phosphoric acid, the other is called alodine and is used to put a clear finish on the aluminum to keep it from oxidizing. I will report my experiences.

Does anyone know the correct part number for the j-shaped rubber protective covering that goes over the two tubes that run along the right-hand forward part of the engine?(one metal tube comes from the valve cover venting elbow and goes to the throttle body). I have received my new one from the dealer (part number 007 997 77 82) and it is 1.5-2inches too long. My original part’s number says 008 997 66 82. Are there two different versions to this part or did I get the wrong part off another car?

Is part number 110 997 03 81 still available? This is the rubber grommet that is used for the hood release cable. It has two equally sized and shaped holes for cables to pass through (as opposed to part number 110 997 07 81 which is the second grommet and is asymmetrical). The dealer substituted my original part number (110 997 03 81) which is cast on the part with number 110 997 12 81 which turns out to be a wrong part entirely. Any help is much appreciated.

Which one of you members with an original W113 knows whether the rubber plugs in the engine compartment (4 or five on each side, just inside where the inner fender or wheel housing is spot welded to the outer fender) were painted or not?

Mine are unpainted (and the engine compartment & fenders are original.)

Crankcase ventilation tube: there is a rubber elbow at the valve cover, one at the Venturi, and between is a long metal pipe with two bends at the Venturi end. This is in one of the photos in our Files section. You can still get the rubber elbows, but these pipes are NLA (no longer available). I have tried a few used mercedes parts sources, but have decided that I'll get one manufactured. It will be costly, but I may even use stainless steel as it will last forever.

On my '65 it is actually all metal coming out of the valve-cover, like a large "banjo" fitting. Achim is looking for a pic of the venturi area for me, so I can see how it all hooks up there.

Achim says: I cannot find the original 1963 dealers Sales Brochure engine bay picture which clearly shows the small rubber elbow hose at the throttle housing attachment (you call it Venturi here). The rubber elbow hoses are still available: 127 094 04 91 for all manual engines up to 010000 and automatics up to 002999 or so. This is the longer elbow hose for Will's and my car. The later type, a bit shorter and cheaper, is 127 094 07 91 They're both reasonably cheap.

If you have a metal sound coming from the back of the dashboard, take a look to the metal tube (In german: Zusatz-Luftleitung Kaltstart) wich goes from the intake pipe to the injection pump, passing between the back of the engine and the "front-metal-body-panel in the engine compartment".

If this tube is very close to, or touching the body panel, this maybe the source of the noise (due to small movement of the engine on bumps, or when it's strongly accelerated). It may be necessary to change the tube position, avoiding having it touch the body panel, or cover it with rubber on the contact area.

I had this metallic noise, and after dismounting some parts of the heating system, I finally discovered that the noise came from this metal tube.

I have been told that Will Samples at S&S Imports (800-487-5917) in Texas, USA either makes or supplies decals/stickers. I don't know if he does all those models or only the older SL's.

My mechanic saw some oil in and around the air cleaner housing of my car(early 67 250sl). Maybe due to a dry filter. Owners Manual says that the air cleaner should be dry. A parts supplier in Australia said that all Australian 230,250,280SLs were imported with an OIL bath system. I am going to convert the air cleaner (using the existing housing etc) to a dry system so that a more readily available air filter can be used. This would also eliminate the mess of oil spillage near the filter housing. I live in the city and don't drive on dusty outback roads. What are the pitfalls of doing this?

I have never heard of an oil bath filter being used on a W113. Maybe AU had some strange import rules? Anyway, 99% of the world uses a dry filter system, so you can too. There's no reason you can't fix this yourself with the right parts, which you might already have. The oil could be coming back from your intake manifold. There is a valve cover breather tube that returns air (and oil fumes) to the intake manifold throttle body (or venturi unit).

If you have a lot of oil in this tube, it will collect in the venturi unit and could run back through the big air hose and into the air filter housing. If you take the large air hose off and wipe your finger in the unit, or in the hose, you can see how oily it is. This can tell you a lot.

To confirm you have the right parts, compare against other W113's. Also, you should take your air filter housing out and make sure the drain hole below it is open. There are two small drain holes along the frame rails near the firewall (by brake booster and by coolant tank) and there are two more, under the air filter canister and under the battery.

I have not removed my battery yet to clean that one out. These allow water to flow and are important. The first time you wash your car, open up the hood aftwards and look for pools of water in the corners of the engine bay.

It apparently was the standard for Australia at the time. Our roads were notoriously bad, even then. I had a look in the Haynes manual and figure 3.2 page 52 is exactly like my unit. I think they can be either oil bath or dry filter in the same housing. He is going to clean it and install a dry filter from the local auto parts store. The original filter is not available as a spare part SLs in Australia.

Mecahnic said that he would need a rubber washer that usually comes with the filter and no need to make any other modifications. When I washed the car I noticed that the water has areas it can pool. I will check those holes you mentioned. One of my regular habits is to lift the hood, open the doors and boot lid and wipe dry anything and everything. The engine in my other car is like new.

Achim: there was indeed a different air intake filter housing available for special export areas - i.e. Australia in this case. These housings are completely different from the ones the rest of the world uses for the dry air filter. Maybe the upper lid is the same but that's it. The oil bath air filter housing is much flatter than the one for the dry filter.

The best would be to exchange the whole system and get a used one for dry air filters. Maybe you can get one from the US. ”He is going to clean it and install a dry filter from the local auto parts store” .... which would be a custom part and certainly not as good as factory specifications. “The reason he is not using an original filter is that they are not available as spare parts for the SLs in Australia.” Well, hm, yes. What would s.o. do with an Euro or US spec SL in Australia? It depends on your MB (or other) dealership. If you give them the correct spare part number, this should be no problem but can take a while in your case.

For instance, there were no SLs delivered in the States with Euro headlights, only US. Nevertheless, you can get spare parts here for these very beloved units. ”He said that he would probably only need a rubber washer that usually comes with the filter and not need to make any other modifications.” ... just a homemade (custom) solution.

You might also want to consider a high performance aftermarket airfilter, such as the "K&N". I haven't used it, but check the website, look under pictures/performance upgrades. It appears to bypass most of the air cleaner housing, so it should fit your present set-up. Then, at your leisure, you can always scout for an original.

The oil bath filter housing lid is embossed with information on how to clean it and how to fill it with oil. Also, if you take the oil out, the oil bath filter housing will have an orange line and an embossing inside it to where you must fill it with oil.

Furthermore, the oilbath type filter housing has a second housing inside it with holes around the side. There is also a small drain hole on the underside of the housing which connects to the space between the outer and inner housings. I do not think the two filters are interchageable without changing the complete housing.

If your car came with an oil bath filter, it is probably easiest to keep it. You never need to replace it anyway. The procedure is that you have to wash the element in some petrol to clean it out. Then you drain the oil and refill it to the orange ring with new oil. That is all.

No dry filter can ever be as readily available or as cheap as that. Only advantage of the dry filter is that it filters a bit better and that is only so if it is actually a modern replacement filter, not original. In the heyday of these filters, the oil bath filter was the best there was, better than any dry filter then. They were especially used out here and out your way where there were lots of dirt roads.

Yes, a modern dry filter will be better but I don't think anyone's SL has given the ghost noticeably faster because it has an oil bath filter. All my cars have the oil bath filter. They lasted just about as long as any other car and some of them were extensively used on dirt roads in their prime. There should be no oil leaking from the filter housing unless it is overfilled or has a leak or oil got into the holes around the inner housing.

I do have a problem on my 200 fintail in that oil comes out the intake pipe of the filter sometimes. I have never found out why that is nor can anyone explain it to me. it is not overfilled not leaking nor anything. The motor has no blowby either since I overhauled it some time ago. I suggest you find the leak and the reason why it leaks, clean it properly and keep using it.

Cees says: I fitted the K&N filter recommended by Mike Heaney. I did have to do some modifications to the filter (KNN-RE-0810, I paid $67 in the Netherlands, in stock at the importer's) as described in post Mike's post #4152, and had to adjust the idle speed (idle revs went up ca. 200 RPM, probably as a result of freer air flow). Car runs very well with the filter, I can't tell a performance difference though.

Richard Madison: I saw some cars with black plastic covers over the shock tops in the trunk. Do you know if these correct for a late 280SL? Are they the same as the front covers? Are they still available? Should a 280SL have plastic front shock covers?

Cees: I am sure I read somewhere authoritative that, at least from a certain point onwards, the 280 SL's don't have the plastic covers. Mine doesn't and the cavities do collect some dust, dirt etc but there's never any moisture in there, so I guess it's o.k. without them.

Joe Orman: you are correct, the 71sl does not come with shock tower covers, however, they finish off what appears to be an area that is missing something. I purchased a set,and put them on my 71, and while they may not have come from the factory, they look fine, and can always be removed for judging, while providing protection.

I should probably call "Car Talk" with this question (if only for its humor value), but I thought our troupe of esteemed experts might be able to help me identify / isolate the following two annoying noises.

Noise #1: Upon acceleration (usually when cold, but sometimes when warm), there is a very brief metallic clatter from the engine at about 3500-4000 rpm. If feels almost as if part of the valvetrain came briefly loose, then was OK. My skilled meister here is puzzled and says don't worry about it. But 113 engines are expensive, 230SL engines are weaker than the rest of the family, and I am wondering if I have a "typical" weakness here, or something more specific that will only make itself known when a more expensive fault occurs.

Noise #2: Irritating vibration-type noise comes from the general area of the heater box over choppy road surfaces (i.e., Belgian block or cobblestones, of which there is a fair amount in the Frankfurt area). I can best describe it as similar to the noise that a plastic grade school rulers make when you pull up one end and snap it against a desk. I can hear something loose inside the heater box by rapping on the lower end of the plastic box housing (just above the transmission tunnel), but my limited efforts to open the heater box have only resulted in 1) dislodging ozone-depleted foam and 2) developing tremendous respect for anyone who ever has to work on the heater.

I've tried opening and closing all the various air direction flaps, but it seems to make no difference, nor does turning on or off the fan. (It is definitely nothing to do with the tunnel itself as I have pulled back the carpet and checked everything.) I notice that there appear to be balancing weights on the fan. Do these things ever come off? Are there any typical age/wear-related noise areas inside the lower heater box? Can this part be taken off without having to hire a small child to get inside the dash?

I had a similar noise at about 3000 RPM which turned out to be the cold start return pipe rattling against the engine block at the firewall. Also could be a loose connection where the exhaust bolts to the manifold, in my case it was more vibration than clatter but those bolts do loosen up. Have someone rev the engine while you look under the hood.

Albert: as Steve, I had a similar noise coming from the heater box area in both cases 1 and 2: when accelerating and when driving over bumps. After dismounting some parts of the heating system, it turned out to be this cold start return pipe rattling against the firewall. This pipe goes very close between the firewall and the back of the engine. If it's very close to, or touching the firewall, you may have here the origin of your noise/s due to slight movements of the engine on bumps or acceleration. Then it’s necessary to change the pipe position, avoiding touches with the firewall, or to cover it with rubber on the contact area. Noise 1: Could it be a wrong adjustment of the ignition (too advanced) ?

Just one problem that my garage is not able to solve. At a revolution of 2800 - 3000, there is a very anoying resonance or vibration in my dashboard. It sounds like it is just behind the revolution counter. Even if you take out all the clocks and cables the sound is still there. My garage that has done wonders to my car is just not able to find the rason for this vibration. Obviously I really would like to solve this problem because it is really annoying.

Check the cold start return pipe. That's the silver pipe that runs from the intake manifold to the fuel injection pump. It's path takes it between the engine and the firewall, and the noise appears to come from the dash area while sitting in the car. Have someone rev the engine while you look under the hood.

Cees: today I found the problem causing my engine to rev high upon deceleration, for example when coming to a stop. It is the good old constant speed solenoid again acting up. For a long time, it could not manage to push the linkage hard enough to get the RPM's up when I put the car in drive. So I cleaned up the linkage, replacing ball joints, levers and lever bushings.

Now the gas pedal is very light, nice. BUT - although the solenoid now manages to do its job in terms of maintaining RPM's when the car is put in drive without fail, the reverse problem is occurring - when I start to drive and take the gas linkage beyond the point where the solenoid pushed it, thereby releeving the resistance off the solenoid, it move a little bit further out. Them when I am done accelerating and take my foot off the gas, the solenoid stays "stuck" in the too-far-out position, raising the RPM's more than desired.

The quick jab on the gas causes some extra pressure on the solenoid, which then drops back to its normal actuated position. So I tried some things, like cleaning the solenoid rod and bending the lever it pushes against to a slightly different angle, to create a different point of contact. Also applied some lubricant, but that is not likely to stay there for very long I think. It is a little bit better now (meaning it does not always stay stuck) but it's not fully solved yet.

I figure I have at least two options: (1) replace the solenoid, it should not get stuck in the extended position, it may just be worn or (2) put in a heavier spring on the throttle housing that makes the whole linkage push back when releasing the gas pedal.

This would probably do the trick, depending on how strong a spring I put in, but my problem with this is, I like the light gas pedal plus I don't like to use non-standard parts. Not that I am really sure this spring is in fact original, nor whether it may have worn to some extent. I suppose I could get a new standard spring to start with. Any more thoughts on this, any other experiences / solutions out there? Sorry for the long post, but I thought some of you might be battling the same issue and could be interested in the outcome.

Joe Alexander: check to make sure that the solenoid is not still partially energized. Remove a wire and see if the problem disappears. Also you can slightly increase the return pressure on the linkage, without changing or adding any parts by moving the end of the linkage return spring (on the driver's side fire wall to another mounting hole) further out. You'll see the spring near where the linkage enters the car to connect to the accelerator pedal.

If you examine the bracket it has several holes for the spring. Try one further out. This may be a fix however the root of the problem lies somewhere else, most likely in the linkage or as you mentioned , in the solenoid itself. I assume that the other return spring on the intake venturi, is still intact? Does your car have the vacuume throttle control on the intake venturi? (US models only 69 and latter).

Cees: thanks Joe, I will try these possibilities. I do have a spring at the intake venturi, looks to be around 3.5 inches long. I don't think I have a vacuum throttle control there but must admit I am not sure what it would look like. I can find only one vaccum connection at the venturi unit, and it's for the ignition.
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