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Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - Shock Surprise! A rusty Opel!


Schaefft

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As mentioned before we are away this weekend and the XM is doing great so far. The suspension is beginning to shine much more once out of town at higher speeds. It even took the twisty bends of Hartside Pass surprisingly competently, I'm quite impressed by it really considering the mishmash of various aging budget tires on it.

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With changing water levels on the ford to our stay it's also quite convenient to be able to just raise the suspension.

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Our host was quite surprised seeing us rock up in an XM. Being in the countryside he's a bit of a Jimny and Defender botherer himself.

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Some more leg stretching for the XM today. The ABS light can't decide whether it should stay on or off. The exhaust developed a blow again so it sounds extra raspy, at least on the outside.

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Turns out it can have the same ground clearance as a Jimny, and it's not even the highest setting. Is there anything it can't do!?

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Could be straight out of the original Citroen brochure, depicting elegant living in rural France, with the XM doing duty for the early baguettes, lait and croissants run, while later conveying its owner and his oh-so-statuesque femme to a little soirée...

Ahem. Sorry. Didn't mean to wax quite so lyrical, but the sight of an XM in what appears to be its natural habitat etc etc.

Calendar pic, Shirley?

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I remember doing just that several times in my xm! A road near me flooded a few times when I owned it and it felt good to wait for everyone else to turn around and get out of the way then stick it in high and bounce on through, big plumes of smoke from the exhaust! luckily there wasn't much steering involved or braking needed 

 

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  • Schaefft changed the title to Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - Weekend of Awesomness (and potential Misery)

The Citroen made it back home trouble free, and might be up for sale soon! Not because I don't like the car (quite the contrary), I just need to get rid of something with the new arrival previously teased here in and another potential purchase of an absolute unicorn happening tomorrow. Usually it ends up being the car thats in best nick that's going so if anyone is interested...

Until then, what have we got this time? Browsing FB marketplace on Thursday I came across an ad for a 1989 Buick Riviera for £200... Surprisingly this was not an ad about breaking a Riviera or renting one for a day, it was indeed the entire car that was offered for that amount. Naturally I contacted the seller immediately (about 17 hours after the ad was posted). He apparently already agreed a sale and someone would pick the car up this weekend. I offered 350 quid, should the sale fall through. This was the only photo in the ad.

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An hour later the seller came back to me saying that he'd be happy with 350 quid (who knows if the other guy even existed, probably just buying it for scrap anyway) and I got transport for it sorted as quick as I could. It was delivered this morning:

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Ain't she a beaut... The front tire was flat so I thought I'd put the space saver on so it can roll easily. Naturally that went flat within the hour as well...

It was clear from the beginning that this would never be a showcar again, the vinyl top and interior are too far gone for that. However, the car did have a few positive surprises, with little corrosion underneath and a few parts that clearly had barely any miles on them.

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Most missing bits are inside the car which does make a difference if I had to buy them. No hubcaps included though so it might stay on these steelies for a while.

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A first glimps inside. Someone took the door card off trying to get the door to open. The key lock is jammed, fortunately there's enough access to manipulate the rods, I managed to open it with a bit of fiddling eventually.

The real highlight of the car. Not only does it have a fully digital cluster, GM was also the first manufacturer to use a freaking CRT touchscreen to control radio, air conditioning and onboard computer. These are usually dead and I'm not getting my hopes up that this one will just work. I will certainly try anything I can to get it working though!

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If you are wondering about all the features this thing has integrated into one screen, here's Motorweeks review of the previous gen Riv with the same system. Does it get much more Cyberpunk than this?

Meanwhile the rest of the interior is significantly less 1980s high-tech, however you cannot say that there isn't a certain aesthetic present wherever you look that would be easy to find anywhere else.

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Not sure why but I'm somewhat surprised by the amount of space in the backseat, despite a overall length of 5.03m.

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The '89 model year was the first year of the significanly facelifted 7th gen Riviera, gaining 11 inches in length which were purely put into the new front and rear fascia. People were quite put off by the previous year's downsized design as they hardly looked different from the much cheaper Regal coupe, despite the Riv being the brand's flagship and double the price! 

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Curbsideclassic did a great comparison, prefacelift Riv at the bottom:

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Back to the interior. Fake woodgrain everywhere, the detailing is impaccable! The headliner was clearly replaced by the previous owner before, it'll need redoing again. Why you'd pick black over the factory grey is anybody's guess. Aftermarket sunroof as well.

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In case you forgot what car you own:

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The trunk came full of stuff, including a Mk5 Golf headlight which makes a great hood prop. The doorcard is surprisingly intact.

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Free tools, badges and other random crap:

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The car also came with the owner's manual (always useful) and an indicator of the last trip of the car before it was laid up.

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A glimpse under the rather heavy hood. Naturally the hoodstruts are shot. The 3800 is legendary so I doubt there will be any issues with it. The coolant overflow tank must have rubbed against the accessory belt at some point. Also note the Riviera lettering on the insulator mat, loving it.

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Where it'll wait to get the non-starting issue sorted. I need to apply for a V5, naturally it never came with one.

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With the Buick taking up the spot of the Celsior the latter is now back in Newcastle. I will probably get it over to the bodyshop on Monday to get the areas it needs welding in inspected. Those were the only thing keeping it off the road so hopefully there will be some progress finally.

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The Z3 is now hibernating as well.

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Lets see how tomorrow goes, crossing my fingers that shitbox #2 is glorious as I imagine it to be!

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5 hours ago, Captain Mainwaring said:

That seems a right barg at £350 that, even if it doesn't run. They're such an odd looking motor these, especially with that comedy wheel on the front. Absolutely love it. 

GM coupes from the mid-80s upwards really were a little oddly proportioned, I think the "formal" roofline with the steep backscreen is partially to blame there, but even the w-body coupes (Regal etc.) had something funky going on with their wheelbase. Stretching the Riviera really helped it overall though. Its these downsized fwd GM luxury cars that I somehow developed an interest for (what do you have to do to make a somewhat pedestrian platform feel luxurious, even more so over at Cadillac?).

Anyway, as announced, the madness continues with another car arriving today, this time a proper collection thread and all. And nothing less than a freaking E39 540i Touring with the M5s 6-speed manual and LSD diff, an utterly obscure variant of the E39 only existing in extremely low numbers and generally highly sought after. Naturally me being me I bought the cheapest (if you ignore Taylor's repeated automotive thefts) and highest mileage example I have ever seen for sale.

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So what have we got? A 1999 built example in Orient Blue Metallic with Sand Beige interior, the same color combo my E38 happens to have. The facelift angel eyes might leave again, I'd like this to be the understated, old money sleeper its been from new and the original pre-facelift amber indicator lights suited it well once:

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At 182k miles its definitely seen some action, however knowing how these cars drive at a bit over half the mileage of this one its clear that someone has spent a lot of money keeping it on the road. The clutch, steering and suspension all feel rock solid and the tires are recent Bridgestones on all 4 corners, what more could you ask for? MOT? Just done last month!

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The seller was a brilliant bloke and was as honest as they come. I think this was partially the case because he was glad to not see the 5th dickhead showing up trying to screw him over. The car has its flaws but none of them can really taint the experience you have in a proper fast wagon with a muscle car soundtrack while rowing your own gears.

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I didn't get much history with the car (other than this sticker and a random photo on flickr). Its had 5 previous owners, with the seller having bought it at auction earlier this year. As for many people at the moment money is tight and family a priority so it had to go and I'm probably one of the very few people willing to give it a good home. It was on FB marketplace for a little while before making its way onto ebay, where not surprisingly the sale fell through only hours after the auction ended.

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The drivetrain combo that makes this really special, probably as close to an M5 Touring as you can get (I don't think many more powerful Alpina B10 V8 Tourings actually got a manual). The engine will most likely need timing chain guides and tensioners, something I'll let a professional have a go at. With the timing cover off theres a row of other jobs that can be dealt with at the same time. Lose oilpump bolts is another threat that might require urgent checking (tadts), however having made it up to this mileage you can usually expect quite a few new parts to have found their way into the car by now.

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Naturally being a Touring you still have the same practical family hauler as are all the more pedestrian variants. Oddly enough my German 523i has a better spec than this top of the line 540i, no electric or heated seats. They are sports seat though. I'm always wondering who specs these cars the way they are, performance and practicality seemed to be the top priority with this one.

We'll see how I get on with this one. I'd love to be able to take it to Germany for the upcoming holidays, a job I was getting the XM for originally. If anyone is interested in a clean XM with the 3rd of the mileage of this one, let me know! It will be fairly priced on here.

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  • Schaefft changed the title to Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - Buick Riviera and BMW 540i
On 12/11/2023 at 20:54, RoadworkUK said:

The E39 is just fabulous, but the Riviera is a truly heroic purchase.

Im looking forward to getting stuff done on both. The Riv definitely is the car requiring more work to be driveable, the BMW however just sprung a coolant leak (how typical) on my way back from Tesco so I'll throw two new top radiator hoses on it next week. I'm inclined to call BMW tomorrow to see how much they want, the only BMW specialist website in the UK that has them wants 95 quid incl. shipping...

I've also called the BMW specialist mentioned above to see how much it is to get the timing chains done. Not surprisingly its anything but cheap but he would be able to sort it before Christmas. He happens to be just outside of Peterborough, where I bought the car on Sunday...

 

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Update time. The V62 to aquire a V5 for the Buick has been sent off, fingers crossed whoever is currently the registered owner isn't causing any trouble. The seller I bought the car from never received the V5 from the previous owner, who after looking at his FB profile isn't likely gonna be of much help anyway. Just that type of character. I did receive the workshop manuals for the car though, which on their own are worth about a third of the purchase price.

No news on the 540i, I collected the upper radiator hoses from the dealer yesterday, I haven't had the time yet to replace them. Considering it will be my daily driver and I usually don't have any daylight to work with during the week that might be a problem...

Which brings us to the XM! With @Rocket88arriving tomorrow today was the last day to clean the car and get the grille mounted. Fortunately the whole front nose cone is only held on by 5 easy to access bolts:

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The non-original wire mesh was held in by what looks like wood glue, fortunately it came off easily. The grille insert is held in by 4 bolts, I had to replace two of them (one was missing, the other the wrong size, standard).

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All done. The XM finally has an identity again, it's not the quirkier Series 1 grille but a huge improvement in my eyes.

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The original radio is now installed as well and all working with the code found in the manual. I think it still needs a DIN sized bezel but I couldn't find one in the car.

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Unfortunately these will be the last improvements the car will see under my ownership, I'm hoping that it will continue to return to its former glory though, it certainly has everything needed to make it happen.

Meanwhile the Celsior is finally off to the bodyshop to have the corrosion damage evaluated, not before a quick family photo with its smaller sibling. I've asked the garage to make a list of everything the car will need to pass an MOT. I've done a lot of mechanical work since I got the car (alternator, PAS pump, starter, intake and valve cover gaskets, almost the entire ignition system) but aside from the cheapest ebay coilovers (which actually ride ok) nothing underneath the car has been touched in about a decade. After doing 40 miles in it it doesnt feel like it would need much.

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Also, quick bimmer photo. Both cars are Orient Blue. Don't ask me whats going on with that window trim on the Touring, looks like someone started to convert it to shadowline and just gave up on the 2nd door.

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Never driven one of that generation, but the previous generation of Riviera was one of the cars belonging to a friend up north (who had quite an obsession with Yank motors) for which I *really* didn't want to hand the keys back for.  Just an incredibly comfortable and utterly stress-free way to cover distance.  The touch screen was obviously an interesting novelty as well, though I was quite surprised at how well it worked - a hell of a lot better than a lot of current systems I'd say.  Though admittedly that's not maybe saying much...

I always wondered what they actually had running the show with that as the processing power needed to run something like that and keep it reasonably responsible, especially keeping in mind how many vehicle functions it was involved in, wouldn't have been trivial in the mid 80s.  I remember being really quite surprised by how in depth the diagnostic information you could get into for things was for the time.  Think you could even view the refrigerant pressures in the HVAC system, though I'm running on a memory that's the best part of 20 years old here so could be making that up.

Are all of the vehicle function controls actually built into the unit itself, or are there separate electronic controls with their own smarts which that just talks to?

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On 20/11/2023 at 16:15, Zelandeth said:

Never driven one of that generation, but the previous generation of Riviera was one of the cars belonging to a friend up north (who had quite an obsession with Yank motors) for which I *really* didn't want to hand the keys back for.  Just an incredibly comfortable and utterly stress-free way to cover distance.  The touch screen was obviously an interesting novelty as well, though I was quite surprised at how well it worked - a hell of a lot better than a lot of current systems I'd say.  Though admittedly that's not maybe saying much...

I always wondered what they actually had running the show with that as the processing power needed to run something like that and keep it reasonably responsible, especially keeping in mind how many vehicle functions it was involved in, wouldn't have been trivial in the mid 80s.  I remember being really quite surprised by how in depth the diagnostic information you could get into for things was for the time.  Think you could even view the refrigerant pressures in the HVAC system, though I'm running on a memory that's the best part of 20 years old here so could be making that up.

Are all of the vehicle function controls actually built into the unit itself, or are there separate electronic controls with their own smarts which that just talks to?

Seeing one in the pre-86 Riviera is even rarer, it's just one of those things that feel incredibly out of place in what is a very baroque, conservatively styled car. Its one of the last vehicles you would expect Chrysler to install one of the most advanced infotainment systems there was in. They cannot have built many at all. I think they've just taken the monitor as is and transplanted it into the new car that would come out a year later, which btw. had a very different target market.

And yes, now that you have mentioned it, unlike the Olds Toronado the Riv does not have redundant analog controls for radio, HVAC etc. Which means I won't be able to control any of it if this screen doesn't work😂 Maybe I should start reading up on how to fix them as I cannot imagine this one is still working considering the state of the rest of the car. I guess we'll find out in a few weeks when I hopefully got the V5 and we can start spending time on it.

Until then, the weather looks good for this weekend which will be needed as I will have to frantically fix anything left on the E65 to finally get it through an MOT. That involves replacing the water-cooled alternator that shit the bed on my way back from the garage and the whatever the issue is on the rear parking brake.

Why you might wonder? Because there is yet another automobile making its way up here on Sunday if everything goes to plan. No collection thread as the car has been off the road for 10 years so transport will be needed.

But here's a clue: It came from Japan, yet is not Japanese!

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  • Schaefft changed the title to Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - New Mystery Car Incoming
On 20/11/2023 at 16:15, Zelandeth said:

Never driven one of that generation, but the previous generation of Riviera was one of the cars belonging to a friend up north (who had quite an obsession with Yank motors) for which I *really* didn't want to hand the keys back for.  Just an incredibly comfortable and utterly stress-free way to cover distance.  The touch screen was obviously an interesting novelty as well, though I was quite surprised at how well it worked - a hell of a lot better than a lot of current systems I'd say.  Though admittedly that's not maybe saying much...

I always wondered what they actually had running the show with that as the processing power needed to run something like that and keep it reasonably responsible, especially keeping in mind how many vehicle functions it was involved in, wouldn't have been trivial in the mid 80s.  I remember being really quite surprised by how in depth the diagnostic information you could get into for things was for the time.  Think you could even view the refrigerant pressures in the HVAC system, though I'm running on a memory that's the best part of 20 years old here so could be making that up.

Are all of the vehicle function controls actually built into the unit itself, or are there separate electronic controls with their own smarts which that just talks to?

funnily enough I am vaguely familiar with the system,  I had a friend in the states who had one, well the sister car, the Reatta  from what I can recall, it was based off of a MC68000 CPU, which as both of us where/are Macintosh enthusiasts, tickled us no end :) 

On 06/11/2023 at 12:41, LightBulbFun said:
On 02/11/2023 at 14:46, Captain Mainwaring said:

Buick Reatta, introduced 1988. 3.8 V6, front drive. Great looking thing I think, sort of like a bloated X1/9.  Featuring a (by all accounts, very responsive) touch screen integrated into the dashboard, got to be among the first cars to have one?

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I have a good friend who had one of these, 

 

indeed touch screen CRT, I mean he was like I a massive computer nerd, so that was pretty much the reason he bought the car :) 

and it was full of sensors and other gizmos, *everything* was electronically monitored and controlled, and I remember it made it a PITA to convert from R12 to R134a, and another thing is they have some sort of Citroen type accumulator sphere thats part of the breaking system, and this particular one is shared with some Jag's so its £LOL

 

I am touch hazy on the fine details tho, as he had his, from before I was on the forum, so some years back, and I was only just getting into cars so to speak!

 

I think some electrical maladies  finally got the better of it in the end from what I can recall, (although I do thankfully think it survives with a friend of his, been a while since I checked in on it however) but he replaced it with a mint 1997 Lincoln Town Car, (he specifically wanted one of the last square body ones) which he is still using daily :) 

 @Schaefft I seem to recall there is someone in the US who specialises in fixing these systems/units, (as in you can ship the entire CRT assembly and he would re-cap it and get it working again) if my friend ever pops back online, ill be sure to poke him about it, see if I can get some further details for you :) 

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1 hour ago, LightBulbFun said:

funnily enough I am vaguely familiar with the system,  I had a friend in the states who had one, well the sister car, the Reatta  from what I can recall, it was based off of a MC68000 CPU, which as both of us where/are Macintosh enthusiasts, tickled us no end :) 

 @Schaefft I seem to recall there is someone in the US who specialises in fixing these systems/units, (as in you can ship the entire CRT assembly and he would re-cap it and get it working again) if my friend ever pops back online, ill be sure to poke him about it, see if I can get some further details for you :) 

That would be great! Lets see what happens on start-up first, maybe I'm luck and "it just works".

40 minutes ago, hairnet said:

hmc 0 schaefft 1?

124? or 201

Nein!

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On 23/11/2023 at 23:22, hairnet said:

bay em vay

Nope, the ones I do have keep me plenty busy already (not that this stopped me from buying the car arriving tomorrow).

And so the nice but cold weather today was used to get a few jobs out of the way and make space on the drive. The 540i now has new OEM radiator hoses, hopefully these will last for the rest of the life of the car considering BMW does really charge you for the priviledge now. Removal was easy, plenty of room even with the fan cowl in place:

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Quick progress was made, the quick-disconnect made it all fairly easy. Here's what 98 quid worth of coolant hoses look like nowadays:

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The temp sensor was transferred over from the old hose and silicon spray applied to the seals before slipping them back on. Then shit hit the fan... The radiator had to come out because I couldn't for the life of me get the lower end of one of the hoses back on. With the radiator out (fortunately without having to remove the viscous clutch on this one) and the force of a thousand suns it did slip on eventually. At least I was able to check whether the radiator and reservoir had been replaced already as those would be ready to blow at any moment at this age. They were fortunately, radiator in 2016, reservoir in 07. Might almost be time to consider it again for the latter, its the achilles heel of these cars.

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All back in:

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The stuff that came out of the system wasn't blue nor green despite the previous owner telling me to have filled it "with the proper stuff". Well, it does have G48 again. Properly bled I took the car for a longer drive this evening, so far so good. Lets hope it behaves for a while.

Driving to Tesco an anomaly of shite manifested itself in the middle of the car park. Two Germany executives of the 90s (I know its 52 plate). But wait, whats behind the E39!

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Just a freaking Ami Break in absolutely shite-worthy condition!

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The plate might indicate its made its way over from France? Reg is XUX 3325, black French historical plates I assume? Two blue scruffy estates that couldn't be more different.

Before the trip to Tesco it was time to get the E65 back into shape though. Replacing the alternator ended up taking the entire afternoon. Update on that tomorrow as I'm still in the process of wrapping things up. There better not be any issues with that one, it was another one of those jobs that you wanna do once and never ever again...

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18 hours ago, mk2_craig said:

XUX332S pulls as 

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Which would all seem to match up. Great spot!! 

UK registered then, thanks for checking!

Well, the day has come, the new car arrived today and boy will it be a project... Anybody who has guessed Mercedes, you were absolutely right. But why W201s or 124s when you can have this!

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Yes, it's another 90s big body Benz, and once again one with the best engine you could get in them, the 5.0L V8. This time it's an S500 Coupe from 1993 that at some point made its way from Japan! And despite having only little miles on its odo (indicated 37k but the cluster must have gotten changed, its an MPH one) its time here in the UK certainly hasnt been kind to it...

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I found the car on FB marketplace where it's seller advertised it as a non-runner. He plans to move back to Portugal so some of his fleet has to go, this was one of them. Having confirmed before that this was indeed a Japanese market car I gave him a call to learn a bit more about it, its not like you see that many JDM Mercs around here. Unfortuntely it came over with next to no history, the original used car dealer believed that this was an ambassador's car however. Despite the exact mileage not known and the car being in quite a state I can still tell that this car hasn't seen that much action. W140 interiors are hard wearing but things look pretty promising with this one.

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The seller was in the middle of fixing various issues with it so parts are just all over the place. It doesn't even have brakes right now as there aren't any caliper present in the back at all. They are behind the back seats lol. Sure was interesting manouvering this into my drive, downhill, around a tight 90 degree bend...

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More stuff:

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At least the car came with a decent amount of new parts which should help get it back on the road for somewhat reasonable money. Its the cosmetics that worry me a little more, you buy a low mileage car for it to look like one after all. And paint is expensive.

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Its great to see all the little indicators of its life in Japan though. I just love stuff like this. The Shaken sticker doesn't make sense to me though, wouldn't this indicate the next one is required in August 2016? The car was imported long before that:

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Being an S-Class coupe it naturally comes with all the gizmos, like the seat belt butler. Most of them still seem to work, too.

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The engine bay. Nothing really new or different from my 500SEL which is a bit over a year older. Once again very clean underneath the dust.

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As mentioned, the car currently doesn't start. There doesn't seem to be any fuel pressure despite 12l of fresh fuel now in it, and naturally fuel pumps are usually whats giving up first after sitting for years. The W140 has two stacked on top of each other next to the gigantic filter:

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I can hear at least one of them running, I wouldn't be surprised if the other one is dead. I measured the voltage across the power supply and earth connections on both pumps while cranking. One only seems to receive 0.05V, the other zero. I'm not sure if that makes any sense at all, it certainly wouldnt be enough to run either of them. Let me know if you have any theories.

Until then I'll start looking through the few bits of paperwork that came with the car. I'm hoping this one will turn out to be a good one.

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  • Schaefft changed the title to Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - JDM S-Class Coupe
2 hours ago, cort16 said:

That looks like a great project I hope it doesn't fight you too much. 

Thanks, lets see how things go. I've had a look at the paperwork that came with the car. I'm not sure why the seller said there was no history with the car, I can pretty much reconstruct it's entire time in the UK now.

The car received a brand new cluster right before it was registered here. It came over with around 40k km in 2005. The car then did another 37k miles, most of them by its first UK owner (guy who owned the appropriately named "Awesome Imports" company) who sold it to the next guy in 2010. I even got service stamps documenting the increase. That means the car has around 61k miles in total, which sounds about right for the condition of the seats etc.

Here's where things get a little worrying though. The 2nd owner never really drove the car after the mot expired a few months after he bought it. The first owner struggled to get it through an mot before the sale (emissions) after it was laid up for 2 years until it finally worked out the 3rd time around months later. The sale happens and the next mot only happened 2.5 years later. A few months before that test a vehicle health inspection revealed that one of the cats was glowing hot (probably unburned fuel?), no mention of that on the mot. There's no info on whether the cat had been replaced before the sale or whether it's been damaged. The last mot in 2012 was a pretty clean pass and that's when the owner I bought the car from got it from a used car dealer (GL Cars in Bury St. Edmunds) shortly after, apparently running fine.

Cats on these cars are very big money and the car being a 1993 requires one to pass emissions. Let's hope the previous sellers did their due diligence and fixed the issue properly. Not sure why the 2nd and 3rd owners never really drove the car but I guess it's up to me to find out now.

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