Author Topic: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual  (Read 49626 times)

zook

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1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« on: 14 August 2012, 02:15 AM »
Righto, so a couple of months ago, whilst trawling through old cars online in a state of deep longing, I spied something rather unusual.



It was a big old Mercedes, but unlike all the other big old Mercedeses on the interweb, it was a manual. Woah, thought I, this calls for a bit more inspection. There were only three pics on the listing, but they turned up something even more interesting.



A little badge on the back: AMG. Now, being ridiculously obsessed with cars of all shapes and sizes in high school, I immediately knew that this was no ordinary Mercedes!

However, after a few hours of research, it seemed pretty unlikely that the badge would be more than stuck on. If I was lucky, it might have a reproduction bodykit. Nevertheless, I organised to see it, and around 6pm I found myself in a darkened street in Ferntree Gully, being deafened by the sounds of the PO warming her up.

I should have really left it there, but instead I gave the bloke a hundred bucks so he wouldn't sell it to anyone else. I didn't want anyone but me to own this thing, with its slipping clutch and laggy accelerator pedal. A month later, after selling my 93 Subaru Impreza, I picked up the car, and barely went 500m before I stalled the bastard, and was stranded in the middle of a busy dual carriageway. After the PO gave me a jumpstart, and schooled me on just how far I'd need to stomp on the accelerator until it responded, I was off!

All was fine, including the ~500km drive to Bairnsdale, until next morning I decided to drive my gf to work, and show her my new car in all its glory. Of course, I dropped her off at work, went to start the car...and nothing. Not even a jumpstart could rouse her. Now feeling pretty stupid about my purchase, I had the Benz towed back home, where she stayed for quite some time, under the watchful eye of the drug dealers from across the street.




and my fave pic \/ \/ \/


So for the next week or two I fiddled around with it, found out what all the buttons did, or didn't do, and unearthed the cars treasures, including about $15 of hairy, greasy coins from under the front seats.

I also found why the accelerator was so dodgy

kudos to the original owner, who was some crazy eastern european ex-pat mechanic. The above throttle linkage broke at some point, so he thought it'd be a good idea to repair it with a nice bendy piece of metal, taking careful care to overlap the sections so it isn't even the correct length ::)

I quickly rectified that with a sturdy iron nail and some cable ties  ;D


Another lovely 'quirk' was found when I figured out how to remove the radio (an ancient Clarion unit) and discovered this disgusting display of a home wiring job..not a speck of solder in sight  :o

I quickly put the radio back in, and pushed it from my mind hahah

All was fine until I had the bright idea of putting the battery from le gf's 92 Camry in my car. Miraculously it started, puny though the battery was. We proceeded to go for a spin around good ol' Bdale, until I it stalled yet again, and with the help of a housemate or two, pushed it the wrong way around a roundabout and back to the house.

Eventually I bit the bullet and bought a big new battery, filled up the tank so it wouldn't suck in crap, and took in for a roadworthy inspection. $200 later I was presented with a list of 23 things wrong with the car, and strongly advised by the mechanic to cut my losses and get rid of the beast. Fat chance! said I :D and ordered about $1300 worth of parts, including clutch, driveshaft couplings, brake hoses, door seals, a ball joint or two and innumerable suspension bushings.

While I waited for the parts I attempted to remove the exhaust from the car. No amount of blowtorches, swearing, hammering or WD40 could get those sections apart! So I went the long way, removing the downpipes from the headers, and taking out the starter motor for a bit of wiggle space.

Success! However to repair the little hole in the centre muffler, it still all had to come apart, so with the help of a hacksaw, a large mallet, and this obliging tree...

...it eventually yielded. 1 down, 22 to go!

A trip up to the big smoke (Melbourne) and the numerous wreckers turned up this tasty little collection

taking care of the tear in the drivers seat, and my lack of a tacho.


two tone upholstery? Yeah? I toyed with the idea of going all cream seats, which is closer to what it woulda been if the exterior was originally dark blue..I'm glad it was resprayed though. Love the blue!

Next up was the control arms and sway bar bushings, which I received to great excitement

and the following day I had them installed. Luckily, the car came with an ancient Haynes workshop manual, and despite it being for a W123 I torqued up the bolts and stood back to admire my handiwork.

..unfortunately that's as far as I've got. Useless parts supplier in Queensland has had several delays, the clutch and couplings are apparently still in America, the rest is with a courier somewhere. That will be fun, as my parents place, where the Benz currently is, is in the middle of the bloody bush, ie completely courier proof!

On the plus side I've found a panelbeater that'll sign off the papers when I've dealt with the rust, despite the mechanic saying in no uncertain terms that I needed to pay (an arm and a leg) for someone qualified to do it. Balls to that!!!

So currently I'm stuck at uni, dreaming over what I should do to the car when she's fixed, (lowering springs, chrome wire rims, you get the idea) and hoarding parts from wreckers. OEM CAI and body coloured hubcaps are definitely on the cards!

Btw, some specs for those interested....
-2.8L M110 engine, Holley carb
-4speed manual 'box
-*original* AMG front and rear skirts (took the front one off coz it was peppered with bloody
-wood screws)
-*original* AMG rubber wing
-Dark Blue MB Tex upholstery, damn near immaculate, if you ignore the crazy sags and tear in the driver's seat
-Metallic Blue duco..was originally a pale blue colour I'm pretty sure, but I love this colour!
..No power windows or central locking :( but the radio works! :D

..and if anyone from my neck of the woods is looking for some parts (mainly front body panels) for a 93-00 Impreza,  I might be able to help you out, I've got a few that I'd like to be rid of to fund the Benz!

Cheers, Chris

adamb

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #1 on: 14 August 2012, 02:46 AM »
That's what I call devotion. This must be your first W116 Benz project. It reminds me of similar activities around trying to make a banger of a W123 250 into a mint. Should be a fun drive once it's back in one piece.

TJ 450

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #2 on: 14 August 2012, 03:27 AM »
It looks like quite a project, but as long as the car is fairly sound bodywise, you're off to a good start.  8)

What sort of rust do you have to deal with, as it can't be too serious if economical to repair/DIY?

The AMG kit is a good thing to have too, as is the modded exhaust! Good luck with the RWC. :)

Tim
1976 450SEL 6.9 1432
1969 300SEL 6.3 1394
2003 ML500

Tony66_au

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #3 on: 14 August 2012, 04:03 AM »
YOU BASTARD!

Ahhh Better now!

I was going to buy that car and then it disappeared off ebay lol !

Nice Job Chris and its nice to see she has gone to a good home mate, By the looks of the nail and zip tie fix its gone to East Bairnsdale though which is a worry but you cant be too far in coz you have money to buy parts lol

Stick with it though because a Manual 280 is a fun thing to drive and she will eat the highway miles easy,  Half the hassle with guys new to Benz's is sorting out parts suppliers and to us poor Country blokes a trip to Melbourne isnt always an option so if you get stuck PM me and I can probably help with some tips.

Cheers,

Tony

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #4 on: 14 August 2012, 04:14 AM »
Oh BTW Chris?

Flat battery....  You need a big one mate and with recessed terminals that sit below the top of the battery.

Reason why is that where the battery sits if the terminals are not recessed they sit VERY close to the inside of the bonnet and with a bit of moisture they arc out to ground.

At which point  flat battery is a narrow escape because the other possibility is fire.

this battery is bad.




zook

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #5 on: 14 August 2012, 07:37 AM »
TJ - it has rusted through two small holes in the side boot wells. thats all the mechanic could find so thats all im worrying about!

Tony - HAHAHA. (Sorry) You're the second bloke who said they'd been watching it..

It was at West Bdale, at my girlfriend's house. Since found a replacement throttle linkage, bought an enormous battery and moved it to south of Sale (Giffard West). I spied a W123 between Bdale and Stratty on one of many train trips, chatted to the owner and he put me onto MB Spares in Canberra :) since then i found Parts Agent in Qld who do good prices..

Bit concerning what you say about the battery! All the insulation on the underside of the bonnet is still there- that might help?? Or worsen it, depends :/
Thanks for the advice though!

oversize

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #6 on: 14 August 2012, 06:13 PM »
Nice car Zook!!!  The AMG badge on the boot is worth around $300 alone (if it's genuine)!!!  It's great to have another Victorian active on this site.  Why did you buy the car?  Just COS (135)!!!  LOL!  Looking forward to hearing about all your adventures with the car.  BTW what did they knock on the RWC?  Can you post the list???

Doesn't that suck Tony??!!  Obviously it wasn't meant to be....
« Last Edit: 14 August 2012, 06:15 PM by oversize »
1979 6.9 #5541 (Red Bull)
1978 6.9 #4248 (Skye)
1979 6.9 #3686 (Moby Dick)
1978 6.9 #1776 (Dora)
1977 450SEL #7010 white -P
1975 450SEL #8414 gold -P

13B

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #7 on: 15 August 2012, 02:19 AM »
Here's the seats you need in that beast:





Photos are frome the old TeamW116 450SE Race car project.

I.
450SEL 6.9 #5440 = V MB 690 , 450SE # 43094 = 02010 H , 190E/turbo # 31548 = AOH 68K

zook

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #8 on: 15 August 2012, 03:04 AM »
Nice car Zook!!!  The AMG badge on the boot is worth around $300 alone (if it's genuine)!!!  It's great to have another Victorian active on this site.  Why did you buy the car?  Just COS (135)!!!  LOL!  Looking forward to hearing about all your adventures with the car.  BTW what did they knock on the RWC?  Can you post the list???

yeah it was well worth buying! new tyres and radiator, pretty sure the badge is genuine, looks bloody old. The front and rear skirts are genuine AMG, they'd probably be worth a bit too!

I guess I knew a rare beast when I saw it..too good to pass up

I'll post the full list when I go home to work on her this w/end..
Cheers man!

oversize

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #9 on: 15 August 2012, 05:00 AM »
BTW you'd be well advised to convert those exhaust slip joints to flanges; they're just too hard to take apart.  Even if you have access to a hoist!

A manual is a big WOW in Australia!

How do you know the spoilers are genuine???

Going by the look of those wires in the console, I hope you'll have a fire extinguisher handy when you (attempt) to drive her!  LOL!
1979 6.9 #5541 (Red Bull)
1978 6.9 #4248 (Skye)
1979 6.9 #3686 (Moby Dick)
1978 6.9 #1776 (Dora)
1977 450SEL #7010 white -P
1975 450SEL #8414 gold -P

oversize

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #10 on: 15 August 2012, 05:14 AM »
Are you familar with superchargers and extractors????  LOL!  Is she an Aussie or private import?

Not sure if they came with Holleys.  Personally I perfer the Edelbrock carbs, which are based on the old Carter AFB.  Apparently the standard carbs can have issues, but if she's running ok and she has good records, then you might be well advised to keep her standard.  You may find she'll be worth a lot more in the future.  Or at least don't do anything that can't be undone and keep all the old parts....

I have hubcaps that I don't need and was going to sell to a worthy recipient.  But they're the wrong colour (they could be stripped bare and polished or painted) and you'd need steel wheels and matching lugs.
1979 6.9 #5541 (Red Bull)
1978 6.9 #4248 (Skye)
1979 6.9 #3686 (Moby Dick)
1978 6.9 #1776 (Dora)
1977 450SEL #7010 white -P
1975 450SEL #8414 gold -P

oversize

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #11 on: 15 August 2012, 05:16 AM »
BTW if you've never worked on Benzes before, you've done extremely well with your work so far!   :D
1979 6.9 #5541 (Red Bull)
1978 6.9 #4248 (Skye)
1979 6.9 #3686 (Moby Dick)
1978 6.9 #1776 (Dora)
1977 450SEL #7010 white -P
1975 450SEL #8414 gold -P

zook

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #12 on: 15 August 2012, 05:25 AM »
exhaust flanges shall be added to the list of things to do once roadworthy..along with the radio wiring :S though shes got loads of forest km on her now ;D and no fires, so i dont think the wires are that bad.

on the front spoiler there is an AMG logo molded into the plastic, dont think the reproductions had this. seems ancient anyway

superchargers? lordy. im only on my Ps, and this is my second car EVER. first with a carb..let alone getting into forced induction. i love learning about this stuff though

ironically, one of the things I did at the wreckers today was gather up all the short lugs I could find and hide them ;D for when the time comes..

TJ 450

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #13 on: 15 August 2012, 06:16 AM »
The standard carb was the Solex 4A1... The Holley would be a conversion, but probably a good thing to have I daresay.

Tim
1976 450SEL 6.9 1432
1969 300SEL 6.3 1394
2003 ML500

zook

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Re: 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S 'AMG' 4spd manual
« Reply #14 on: 15 August 2012, 06:20 AM »
i swear i saw early on in my research of W116s that they could have either solex or holley..coz i have a feeling mine is an import