What a fantastic job! I loved it, although it was the love that kept me going and not the pay :-(
One day when on my way into the office to pick up some files for Court, my poor old Rover 400 began to boil over, being mechanically minded I knew that was the end of the head gasket. I managed to barely force it into the office car park with smoke pouring out from under the bonnet.
Upon informing the senior Lawyer that my car had just died, he said "it's ok take mine".
For the next few minutes I was completely deaf whilst he told me about the importnat facts to remember for the cases of that day as my mind was already behind the wheel of his car.
His car.......... A 1989 Mercedes 300SL
I have yet to start on the car itself, but will update this page with a step by step guide to what lies ahead. The idea is to have the car on the road by 1st June 2008 in time for the summer.
I went to see the garage owner who serviced this car for the last 17 years and he said that the only thing he ever changed was a track rod end. The car has had regular 6 month services and never suffered any major problems. Although he did inform me that the alternator needs changing and the front cross member has a small hole in it.
The front cross member is available from Eurocarparts who can supply a new replacement for £105.00.
I took the carpets and rugs into work as they have a drying room and 8 hours later they are all dry and looking good, just have to replenish the pile with a small hand brush and they'll be looking brand new.
9th February 2008
Well between working shifts, I have managed to strip out the inside which has created its own problems and this has also dictated some future restoration decisions.
On stripping the carpets out, I discovered that the carpet which covers the inner sills has rotted away, crumbelling in my fingers as I stripped it out. I have found on 'good old ebay' in Germany, someone selling complete carpet sets in Mercedes colours and manufactured to the original specification. A complete set costs about £160.00 including delivery, which going by the prices for any other spares on this vehicle is by no means expensive.
<---- The begining: stripping out the carpets.
Another problem encountered was the chrome strips on top of the sills, the screws on both sides had rusted solid. I managed to drill out the screws on the pasenger side and save it, but the drivers side bent as I was removing it. Greg Smith says he has many in stock, so I have reserved one for me after a quick phone call.
I asked Greg about replacing the sun visors, as the pasenger side had torn when it was being removed. The replacement cost for second-hand..........£300.00
I'm sending mine to be recovered for £165.00!!!
I stripped it down as far as I could and then called Greg Smith (who must be completely pissed off with my constant calling) and he kindly guided me through the process on the phone and told me how to remove it without loosing my temper and breaking it! He is a star :-) It came out without a hitch.
It took about 3 hours to strip the dashboard out, as I have no service manual and I am trying to remember where everything goes as I remove it. Sort of a bit like the Generation game that used to be on when I was a kid..................
£200.00 later and another sale on ebay......... I have all the service manuals on the way, I just hope cover what the seller claims!
From the above picture stage, I stripped out the heater matrix and heater box, along with all the wires, pipes, cables and cable ties. This took about another three hours, not to mention the wiring loom which I had to dismantle gently, draw a diagram of then push it through the bulkhead and into the engine bay - only to reassemble it again, so I was sure not to mess it up. I then taped it all together and protected it with plastic sheeting and tucked it out of the way.
In order to undo the clips on the heater matrix, I had to drill out the rivets on the scuttle panel and remove the covers either side - the picture says it better than my text!
After I had removed the heater box, which went kinda well, although it did make a loud cracking noise ( I'll find out later what broke ) Greg Smith says I became frustrated when removing it..............he is probably right! What a complete bitch it was! Anyway, with it out, it created the space I needed to properly inspect the bulkhead.
It looked like someone had emptied a large box of cornflakes on the floor.
It was totally rotten!
The heater fan was supposed to be fixed onto the two square holes in the above picture. It just lifted off without any effort.
One thing I will say.......... Greg Smith really knows his stuff when it comes to these cars and the section of bulkhead he cut off for me, is exactly the correct size for what I want...... I can't praise him enough.
From this point, I disconnected the throttle pedal & linkage and removed it from the car. I then removed everything off of the engine side of the bulkhead which only amounted to a half dozen cable ties, couple of brake pipes and a couple of oild pipes.
<---- This picture shows how rotten it really is, the silver bar is the wiper mechanism arms: they are on the inside of the car behind the dashboard and this picture was taken from inside the engine bay!