Author Topic: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car  (Read 788 times)

Squiggle Dog

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I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« on: 26 May 2018, 10:38 PM »
I bought a 1980 280SE from Euro_Sled today. He's a really nice guy and worked with me so I could acquire it for some needed parts. I had originally wanted to pull some parts, swap out others, and then pass it on to someone who would restore it, but after inspecting the car and seeing the extensive rust and body damage, I feel it's more suited as a parts car. At least I don't have to feel as bad about parting it out, because I hate seeing these cars get dismantled.



My roommate loaned me some money so I could buy the car, and he was going to let me tow it home with his 1991 W126 350SDL, as it has already successfully pulled another W126 behind it from Arizona to Minnesota--and the cost of towing or renting a truck being so expensive. I went on UHaul's website to rent a tow dolly, but it showed that the 280SE was too heavy for their tow dolly. So, I put in "1971 Ford Pinto". It showed okay, but said that I would need to set up a pre-tow inspection on both the towing and the towed vehicles. I called them and they didn't care, and said the 350SDL towing a Pinto on a tow dolly was fine, so they set up the rental for this morning at 8:30 AM.

I got to UHaul, and they checked me in and wanted to know the license plate number of the towed vehicle. I told them it doesn't have plates because it's a parts car, and finally they dropped the question. The yard person hooked up the tow dolly to the 350SDL as the manager was walking by. He asked the employee what he was doing hooking that tow dolly up to the car and chewed him out. He said that the tow dolly can't be hooked up to a vehicle with only a 2,000 lb hitch. I told him it's a 3,500 lb hitch. He said, "It doesn't matter--any car you put on there is going to be too heavy for this car to pull it." and then he told the employee to reverse the rental. So, that was a no-go. They attempted to refund my card, but said that all the computers were busy, so they would do it later.

When I got home, I went online and reserved a rental for a truck and flatbed trailer for 10:00 AM. When I got back to UHaul, they said there was a mistake and they didn't have any pickup trucks available, but said another location had them. Then that location said it was a mistake and they didn't have any, either, but another location had them. So, I got to that location, and they had a truck, but no flatbed. They did have a tow dolly, so I got a truck and tow dolly combination. And then when I returned them, I got charged $100 more than it was supposed to be because I was charged twice on several items. It wasn't a good day to rent from UHaul.

I got to see Euro_Sled's nice 450SEL and 230CE. We pushed the 280SE up to the tow dolly pretty easily and I pulled it up with a come-along. I was going to disconnect the driveshaft, but since I didn't have far to drive, traffic was slow, and I was stopped at traffic lights a lot, I didn't think it was necessary. Pushing the car into my RV gate was very difficult. The car didn't roll well in the deep gravel and it was a real struggle. We actually had to hook a tow strap to it and pull it back with the Ford station wagon that's back there for most of the distance.

Being a Euro-spec car, it spent part of its life in Europe, but for how long is unknown. It appears it was there long enough to acquire extensive undercarriage rust--some of which was patched up as is evident by the missing rear tow hook. After this, it spent its life in Texas and then Arizona, where it was exposed to the sun and has cooked some of the interior, however; some of it has survived. At one point it was repainted and the paint still looks really good, except that a previous owner must have crashed it in a ditch and caused quite a bit of body damage.



I'm finding lots of body filler on the car, especially at the rear.
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1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #1 on: 26 May 2018, 10:44 PM »
The twin cam six cylinder engine may run with a little work. There were some strange alterations to the air conditioning system, including a condenser that doesn't fit.


The VIN plate, securely attached to the speaker grille (the ones on the radiator core support are missing).


Instrument panel. Mileage is unverified.
« Last Edit: 26 May 2018, 10:51 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #2 on: 26 May 2018, 10:49 PM »
This car had a towing package at one time! It has the light on the center console which indicates if the trailer lights are working.


Here's the mounting bracket for the tow bar, but the bar was ripped off of it.


Another mounting point at the side of the spare tire well and the trailer wires hanging down through the floor.


Nifty sticker and the trailer light wire adapters are still in place. Sadly, the plastic coverings for the wire harness are missing.

« Last Edit: 26 May 2018, 10:56 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #3 on: 26 May 2018, 10:55 PM »
It looks like the interior is parchment velour. The seat material is dried out and crunchy, with some holes and tears.


No seat nets, and the passenger side seat has no height adjustment.


Someone creatively patched the rear seat.


The seat pans are in good condition.
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #4 on: 26 May 2018, 10:58 PM »
The door panels are pretty good overall. The worst one is the front driver's side. It has some cracks around the lock plunger and the top of the map pocket.




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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #5 on: 26 May 2018, 11:01 PM »




The rear driver's side door panel has a small crack.

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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #6 on: 26 May 2018, 11:06 PM »
The center console is in excellent condition. You have to look extremely closely at the top to see the slightest hint of cracks. The carpets seem like they will clean up nicely.



The header panel is stained, but otherwise seems decent. The side header panels seem uncracked.


The left side A-pillar covering has a couple small cracks.


The right side A-pillar covering seems crack-free.
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #7 on: 26 May 2018, 11:10 PM »
The C-pillar coverings look great, however, they have no reading lights.



The rear header panel is cracked around the lens and has a small crack at the headliner.



The parcel tray trim seems like it will look nice with new adhesive.


As a bonus, it appears someone installed new seals on all four doors, which I have been needing badly.
Stop paying for animal cruelty and slaughter. Go vegan! https://tryveg.com/

1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Harv

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #8 on: 27 May 2018, 07:21 AM »


Squiggle Dog happy with his purchase.
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #9 on: 27 May 2018, 12:35 PM »
I keep finding more rust and patches where rust used to be.



I also discovered that this car was not made with air conditioning. I had my suspicions when I saw the poor-fitting condenser and the horrible receiver drier mounting and hose routing. The air conditioning dial switch is aftermarket (made in Mexico) and a cotter pin was inserted into a Mercedes knob to make it work with the switch.


It has a brand new blower motor, but it's one for automatic climate control, so they modified the resistor wire harness to fit the plug. Someone also added a second heater valve with a cable, probably because either the heater valve pod or the vacuum switches failed.


I noticed that the blower motor resistor and plug weren't mounted on the firewall as they normally are, and that there is a delete plate at the firewall. I thought to myself "What did they do with the blower motor resistor?" Well, they apparently mounted it inside the blower motor case. Is mounting that hot piece of electrical equipment inside a plastic enclosure in the cabin safe?

« Last Edit: 27 May 2018, 12:39 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #10 on: 27 May 2018, 12:42 PM »
Someone also added a recirculating air flap and vacuum pod, as non-air conditioned cars didn't have them.


A custom evaporator was added inside the heater box, and sadly part of the box was cut away to fit it. It's got a more modern-looking cube style expansion valve than stock.


The climate control box is the updated version with four drains (yes!) but the body of the car only has two drain holes, so after the evaporator was added, they teed the rear drains into the front drains.


I have the climate control box completely out. Now to asses the condition of the wire harness since the air conditioning portion was added later.
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles

rumb

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #11 on: 27 May 2018, 02:39 PM »
wow, your sure not wasting any time taking that car apart!
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floyd111

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #12 on: 27 May 2018, 02:46 PM »
I guess there isn't some fancy polymer/filler available to fill those tiny cracks in the panels, is there?

Euro_Sled

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #13 on: 27 May 2018, 09:28 PM »
You have done more in a day than I did in a year! Interesting findings, keep up posts on the car!
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: I Picked Up A 1980 280SE Parts Car
« Reply #14 on: 28 May 2018, 07:29 AM »
wow, your sure not wasting any time taking that car apart!

Nope! I'm not messing around here.

I guess there isn't some fancy polymer/filler available to fill those tiny cracks in the panels, is there?

Not that I'm aware of, but it seems that if it actually worked, it would sell well.

You have done more in a day than I did in a year! Interesting findings, keep up posts on the car!

Thanks! It's interesting the things you find out about cars once you start digging into them. I have a feeling the car was imported to the USA in 1986, as that is the year the speedometer was swapped out from miles to kilometers (by a shop in Florida), as that is the date written on it. Also, the air conditioning hoses have a date of 1985 on them, so the air conditioning was likely added in 1986 when it was imported. So, it probably spent 6 years in a country other than the USA

Even though the lower part of the body is really rusty, it appears that the part of the firewall that I need doesn't have any rust, or light surface rust, if any. There's a dam piece spot-welded to the firewall that diverts the water into the right side cowl drain instead of letting it leak into the blower motor. Mine is rusted away to nothing and has allowed water and debris to get sucked into the blower motor. Part of the lip around where the blower motor mounts is rusted away on my car as well, but on the 280SE, it's intact. So, my plan is to get a drill bit made for drilling out spot welds, remove the dam, and then use a cutoff disc and cut away the parts of the firewall that I need so I can attempt to weld them onto mine.

I think that at this point much of the interior is spoken for as I have a member who plans to drive over and purchase it in a couple of days (and he had expressed interest in the interior before I even acquired the car).
Stop paying for animal cruelty and slaughter. Go vegan! https://tryveg.com/

1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 346,000+ Miles