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Who Spanners their own cars?

Started by WGB, 30 April 2007, 06:52 AM

How much of your own work do you do on your 116

As much Major Mechanical as possible
Minor Mechanical and Servicing
Interior Trim
I write the Cheques and have clean fingernails
I drive and someone else pays the bills.


There is obviously a great variance in what spannering (wrenching to you North American types) members do to their own cars and I would be interested in who actually works on their own 116 and who is more interested in other parts of the whole 116 experience.



I will do anything to my car except bodywork & paint - I'd rather pay Stevie Wonder to do it for me... he would do a better job... faster too... plus with that swaying motion he's got there would probably be really even paint coverage.


I try to do everything myself if at all possible.

1) I can't afford to pay other people.

2) In the past I have paid and not always been happy, I'd rather make a mess of it myself than be disappointed and pay for it!
I'm called Dave! I currently own: Mercedes W116 450 SEL 6.9, Mercedes W109 300 SEL 6.3, Mercedes W126 420 SEL, Fiat 130 Berlina, Fiat 131 Supermirafiori, Fiat 131 Panorama, Fiat 132 2000, Fiat Argenta and a Citroen Xantia.

s class

I do EVERYTHING myself.  I get better results that way.  The difference between doing it yourself and paying someone else is the magic ingredient "CARE"

Well OK there are some things I don't do - I outsource assembly of brake hoses and similar, I outsource machining of blocks and heads - but that's about it. 

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


"I write the Cheques and have clean fingernails"

That is so me

;D  ;D


Me,from the ground up,no task I'll let anyone do except an alignment and mounting of tires, and even then I just bring the wheels and drop them off and pick up when they call me.


I purchased my car on a whim one Saturday morning as I was passing one of the less Salubrious backstreet Car yards and while I always really liked the 116 from experience as a young man I purchased it as a throw-away practice at doing the mechanicals on a 560SEC.

The car was stickered at$4000 and I sent her in to bargain - a cheque for $3000 and that was the entrance fee.

What I found was a basically sound but neglected car with an unexpected amount of rust - unexpected because I never new that Mercedes could rust like that.

The 560SEC has never eventuated and the last one that I saw that might have been a possibility - "She who must be obeyed" gave her Scottish/English curl of the nose, look of disdain and then stared at me and said "You are joking aren't you".

I continue to enjoy my "Phoenix from the Ashes" experience but will be happy when the paints over - God I hate sanding.

I have noticed on this forum that the same people follow similar threads and obviously derive great pleasure from different parts of the exoerience and I was interested in who actually enjoyed banging their heads against a brick wall by doing their own work - at least it feels good when you stop.

Oh and Patrick - I spent almost twice as long as the average Lawyer at University and I still don't charge as much as either my Lawyer or my Accountant - I just work longer hours and take less holidays.


Brian Crump

Once upon a time I did it all. And then came the dog. And then came the bitch. And then came the puppies. And then came the puppies of the puppy...and so, ad infititum... ;D
And then the cars grew from Lancias to smaller Benzes and then to bigger Benzes and from older Benzes to newer Benzes...and somewhere along the line I lost time and the ability to do anything on cars under warranty. And then I set up my own business and then...well, you get the picture. Time-poor is the problem.
And in the meanwhile I found an Austrian mechanic who does wonderful work at a fair price so long as I wait my turn and so the fingernails stay clean but the mind wants to get them dirty (other than with paint and plaster).
However, I have 2 Lancia Betas in storage and one day soon I will delve into the roof space and drag out my parts and remember that YES, I can still re-build an engine on the dining table...
And nothing goes wrong with the 450SE or the Silver-Spirit and the ML and the CLK are still under warranty.
So does life get better or does it just grow to be different? I still have my tools but my torque wrench (once the pride of my tool-box) has got a thin layer of rust forming... :(


Quote from: Brian Crump on 01 May 2007, 01:36 AM
And then came the bitch.

What or who are you referring to exactly?  :D  ;)

Anyway, I try to do what I can, with the help of my dad sometimes, and whats just to hard and beyond me i have to pay for. But at my age, it doesnt pay to pay. :-\
'79 280SEL- 560,000 Kms
'73 350SE- getting an AMG facelift
'79 450SEL 6.9

Brian Crump

QuoteWhat or who are you referring to exactly?   
Quilpie. Go to to see my lovely gal.  ;D ;D ;D


I bought my first form of transportation, a 1942 BSA M20, when I was in high school. I spent more time taking it apart and putting it back together, than actually riding it. later on, throughout my military service, university, internship and residency, I owned a multitude of vehicles that required my personal mechanical input, including the late 280SE on which I successfully replaced a head gasket, two water pumps, re-engineered the wiper mechanism, and miserably failed to sort out the vacuum central locking.

For the past ten years I have less and less spare time and more and more cars (six to be precise), so I have most of the work done professionally, but as Brian said - the mind still wants to get the nails dirty. The last project I did was restoring a 1969 Beetle. I did about 50% of the job myself over 2 years, and 50% was done at the shop in 2 weeks. C'est la vie.


There was a time when I did the majority of work needed on my cars - except auto transmissions and body metal-work/paint.

Then, when I was overseas and everything was in storage, one of my storage facilities was arsoned.  Fortunately it was the one containing my tools and other replaceables - not the collections of irreplaceables such as old books (often signed first editions).

Although I collected the insurance, I was too disheartened to start again with the tool collection (which included a hoist), so I put the insurance $$ in a little investment account and the interest pays for nearly all the work I now have done by others on my cars.  Besides, I'm getting too old to be bothered with the grunting and cussing, the skinned knuckles, the blood blisters ...
[img width=340 height=138][/img]


I will do as much as I can, with the exception of panel and paint. I have never tried to do it and never will. I will however get my hands dirty with everything else. This is a picture of my 300b that I took from the first picture, albeit with paint, to the second photo in 2 weeks, working literally 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, taking it from the point of the last photo to the completed car with all the detailing took just as long, if not longer.


I do some mechanical, some interior and no bodywork!!



I don't think there's a photo you've posted that I haven't thought "Wow".  Ok, except your datacard. 

How do you know what to do?  I mean, some things are the same for all cars and a point of reference can often be taking notes on how things are put together as you pull them apart, but what about the really technical aspects for an engine rebuild or rewire, what reference do you use for a 300b?  We know there's plenty of W116 material about, have you got workshop manuals as reference for electrical and engine?

FWIW, I'd like to do the whole lot but currently do minor servicing and trim and electrical.  I'm restricted by the lack of correct tools and know-how.  A few more $$ wouldn't go astray either.
1973 350SE, my first & fave