Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Shark!

Sorry for the lack of Spitfire news recently - I've been working on 'The Shark'! That's the nickname my girlfriend's gives my Mercedes Benz 300CE 24! I bought it last year as a bit of fun. It was cheap, fast, had ruched leather and seemingly only needed a very small amount of work to make it a very usable modern classic.

Unfortunately, that small amount of work has been increasing by the month! I bought it in the knowledge that it needed a new front wing and the wheels refurbing but during the winter the windscreen cracked by the centre mirror and on the lower drivers side. I got Auto Windscreens out to have a look at it and they identified the cause as a rust bubble on the windscreen frame - so that was added to the 'to do' list!

The next problem to crop up was rusty rear subframe mounts. This is a bit of a common problem with these cars and isn't something you can see very easily when buying because the underseal on these W124 Mercs is very thick and solid and does a very good job of hiding rust.I only noticed mine when I was refitting the newly refurbished alloy wheels. After a quick poke with a screwdriver and a go with a wire wheel, I realised I was going to have to bite the bullet and do a proper repair.

It's definitely a '5 spanners' job! So far the order of events has been...remove the rear seats, detach abs sensor wire, jack up the back and support on axle stands, remove exhaust, remove handbrake mechanism, unbolt diff from propshaft (which has a rotoflex style flexdisk!), remove rear suspension arms, remove the four subframe bolts, remove old subframe bushes, repaint subframe with POR15, cut off old subframe mounts and prepare new mounts for fitting. Despite rumours to the contrary on the internet, Mercedes still make the subframe mounts even if they do think they'll only fit the estate version!

These are the 4 subframe bushes. They are a very complex design with liquid inside them and large alloy centres. It took me ages to knock them out and they fell apart when I did!

This is the rusty old subframe with all the various suspension arms. The subframe is now looking a lot better after a few days of gritblasting (at home in the garden) and a good coating of POR15.

So there we go, it might not be a Triumph but at least it's rusty and in pieces!