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1994 Mercedes C280 Elegance Tinkering and Rusty bits

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I did a buy on Monday, borrowed the trade plates from work and drove it home, 

So this is now my new project for the foreseeable future,  


I have been looking for an early W202 so quite happy with this popping up near me on Facebook marketplace,  I only have this one picture so far as I have been kept busy at work trying to get customers cars out the door, 

What I know so far about this fine steed, 

Elegance spec automatic 

106,000 miles 

2.8 M104 straight Six

What I know is needing doing for the next MOT so far,

near side mirror glass broken,

Rust hole in right hand sill, 

Oil leak from the front of the timing cover TADTS,

central locking not working,  I suspect a perished rubber vacuum hoses,

I'm pretty sure there's going to be more but as I'm going to be home for the next I don't know how long (like many) I'm sure it will keep me busy



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These C280s must be rare now. They weren’t cheap and you’d have to have really wanted one to pick that over a 328i back in the day. I suppose they’re a different proposition, especially in elegance spec

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Tetleysmooth  possibly  it's the earlier type as mine is the pre facelift model,  far less electrical bits on this than the 1995 - models, 

Schaefft yes I will in time change them back to original Orange indicators

J-T I would have thought that this was bought by the Old money brigade way back in the day, 

BMW 328 for the young sales manager with file o fax in hand 

Mercedes C280  possibly the Managing director 

Does anyone have either 

Orange front indicators 

bonnet Star badge for one of these ?

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Years ago I briefly had a W202 C180 Sport fitted with a manual ‘box. It was genuinely horrible. Your C280 by comparison looks a very smooth ride.

Looking forward to more updates.

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3 hours ago, Peter C said:

Years ago I briefly had a W202 C180 Sport fitted with a manual ‘box. It was genuinely horrible. Your C280 by comparison looks a very smooth ride.

Looking forward to more 

I can indeed confirm that the ride is very nice, smooth, quite with adequate power when required, the front lower bushes were replaced a couple of years ago due to clonking, hitting all the curb side drain covers and pot holes showed up no worrying noises which is nice as there a complete pain in the proverbial to replace so I'm told

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Can't help you with any parts (unless you want a lovely set of wheels and NEW tyres?) but I can confirm that MB sell the sars for he bonnet a quie reasonable prices. Plus, you can ge he right one which will fit properly instead of bodging on somehing from the truck range :) 

Nice car.

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10 hours ago, ProgRocker said:

I remember when these first came out, you could have then in "Esprit" spec, which was my favourite styling wise: kind of sporty styling. One up from "Classic" spec. 

Did they also do a Avantgarde or was that on later Panzer wagons?

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7 hours ago, S2000 said:

Did they also do a Avantgarde or was that on later Panzer wagons?

I think it was Classic, Esprit, Elegance & Sport on the C class. 

The Avantgarde appeared on the googly eyed E class from 1995 inbetween Classic and Eegance iirc. 

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I had a C250TD as a company car in the late 90s. Had that reassuring solid and relaxing feel of older Mercs, as well as the old fashioned dash without blanking plates, and was great over long distances.  I actually preferred it to the W203 C220CDI which replaced it, which at times felt like a pound shop E46 rip off, oh and introduced Merc owners to the concept of plasticky dashboards and blanking plates.

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With the W203 came the electronics,  part of the reason i got an earlier Merc, its almost analogue in comparison to the crazy electrical modern Mercedes,  the interior has a smell that reminds me of a W124 my Friend had and the doors all shut with solid precision, I really quite like it so far, body let's it down but it's not a rot box just some silly bits that need doing, most pressing will be sorting out the rust hole on the right hand sill, its not big ( famous last words ) but needs doing, I will make sure to take many pictures when I do 

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Today I actually did something to C280,  the last week and days have all just blended in to one another, I've found myself just sitting and relaxing, listening to the Bird song which is unusual for us having Heathrow airport, the M3, M25 in earshot, the sun was out for more than a couple of days  and  i have sat in the garden pondering life, it's been nice and all but the car has been waiting patiently since it arrived here, so this morning i got out and took a look at the first job needing doing,  the central locking was not working from the keys i have when I tried them in the door, I'm not convinced that the two front locks are from this car as they don't slide in as well as the other locks on the car, further investigation is required for the door locks but at another time, it looks like the car had been fitted with a Laserline alarm when new,  but no fobs came with the car so hunting the control box out was my next move, the lower cover driver's side came of easily exposing the alarms hiding place,  the alarm had been fitted almost perfectly with out the use of scotchlocks,  removed the fuse box cover in the engine bay and started taking out the fuse board's and relay holder thing, this gave me loads of access to the wiring harness,  lots of chopping off wire's and a little time later I had a pile of scrap 


alarms come with many wire's mostly they are in one area but some go to do other stuff, this old Laserline alarm had a master key hidden in the back off the glove box,  so that lot came out too, the glove box lid and lock have been broken in a car break in before my ownership,  so I can see if I can at least repair it so it closes,  the previous owner just applied another piece of Gaffer/Tank/Race/whatever you call it tape when the old bit gave up, will be nice to have a fully operational glove box lid



With that lot removed it was on to fitting a remote central locking kit that has been sitting around since 2017 and I don't even remember what I bought it for originally? 

No picture of the Kit as I have not taken any, but you do get a picture of the new key fob with the C280's key, I haz working remote central locking 


There will be more pictures tomorrow

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Yesterday's C280's fixing of various bits, the glove box lid that  was broken prior to me owning the car was my focus, 



The tiny plastic catch in my hand above was truly knackered but luckily all the parts were still present,  I made myself comfortable at the table with a large Latte and began working out how to put it all back together, the metal hook/catch was rather bent but with some careful manipulation I had it back to its old shape, the casing around the hook was in 3 bits and the small brass pin that holds the whole lot together was badly bent, I removed the pin and managed to get it back to an acceptable standard by sliding a small pop rivet trough the centre and popping it in the vice, the small tappy stick was then introduced, 

The pin itself was swaged both ends when made so I had to re swage one end once I had got the catch back together,  Heath Robinson was called on so a large nail with the tip filed to a better finish was used for this,


I ended up with this 




Some two part gorilla glue was next to put some strength back into the repaired catch


This was then put aside while the glue hardened and hopefully to be fitted tomorrow, next on the list was the boot lock due to its reluctance to lock and unlock from the central locking,  the central locking works on a vacuum system,  each lock has a small bellow with a rod to operate the locks but on the boot it just wasn't working so out came the boot lock to have a closer look,  


Hmm a bit of corrosion on the rear, stop it at the back !


The brown stuff was everywhere and was not allowing free movement of lock parts so a thorough clean was called for, a stainless steel brush, craft knife, WD40 and carburetor cleaner were used to clean up the rear of the lock, the merde that came of and out of the lock was thick and crunchy, 


Everything was gummed up including this ring that should turn easily to operate the two micro switches on the lock,

Unfortunately I could not get the barrel out of the lock as even with the spring clip removed it didn't want to fully come apart,  so I washed it through best I could with carb cleaner and then filled it with oil, the lock is now fully functioning and works perfectly with the rest of the system, 



I reffitted the lock last night because Security, 

Later today I will be putting the glove box mechanism back in the lid and then putting the whole lot back in the car, I will of course follow up later with pictures 

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So the glove box lid and mechanism have been repaired and it all work's!


The dash had two screwdriver marks that I gently warmed up with the hot air gun, took some time to get the dents out but I'm happy with the results even if it's not perfect,



After 20200404_144358.thumb.jpg.5f03a80e1937b1f4c3d8377142f67d19.jpg

My attention was then to JUST fit my spare battery as I had run the original one down by leaving the interior light on over night, taking the battery out soon showed up some other stuff to be making good due to battery acid corrosion stuff !


The battery tray and clamp looked pretty grim 


But old Mercedes metal is far thicker and rust resistant than I first thought 


I think I've been lucky with this !

Vactan was brought out of the shed and applied to all of the rusty bits, I took out the spare wheel as some surface rust was underneath it,  I think it might have had water getting in the boot from the dodgy antenna rubber


This doesn't seem to be leaking anymore as it did rain last night and the boot was dry this morning , but it has evidently caused the boot floor to rust through the metal but the underseal is very thick and has no visible issues from underneath, this will get welded up in time but for now I'm just treating it with Vactan, 



The battery clamp was also crusty, so wire wheel in the drill, place drill in vice, then masking tape the trigger on (health and safety look away now) lol, 

Thorough rust removal and paint with my favourite paint Rustolium Hard Hat, came out ok I think,



The rust is not the end of the world and I'm sure will be reasonably easy to fix with my sparkly stick machine, in other Rust related news I need to have a look at both sills, the drivers side sill has a patch that i was aware of when i made the offer to buy the car, it's gone past the scrape and apply Vactan stage,  it's rather ripe and crunchy/crusty further investigation is required, some of the other rubber grommets have bubbling around them but no way near as bad as this one


That's it for now, updates will follow 

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I'm slightly jealous of your 2.8

Mine is only a c180 but in elegance trim and also a later one on a 2000 W reg

I think they are brilliant cars. Solid and dependable and definitely have a nicer finish than the newer models.

Good luck with the improvements. Mine is going to need attention to the body work pretty soon so I'll be fixing the rust that has started and then repainting down both sides.



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With a new job looming I thought I would do a couple of bits now as the weather is really rather nice which means I can do some painting in the boot area,  In my last post I had cleaned up the rust in the boot and given it 2 coats of Vactan,  it was totally dry today so much so that my little brass wire brush did not remove it, the boot was stripped with everything moved out of the way, hovered the boot for the last time then panel wiped the area, bubble wrap was used in the absence of poly sheet, I only had enough for one side,


20200409_152851.thumb.jpg.3cc87f4715217a4fe51f1edcaf2d1938.jpgSome time later 


I'm going to let it harden up for a day or so before I put it back together,  In other news I found that the electric sunroof also has a tilt facility on the switch that I hadn't come across before, 



The sunroof work's but is a little bit slow when closing fully from the slide function, I think a strip down of the sunroof is needed to assess the issue,  the grease can become thicker sometimes hard slowing down the worms in the tubes, looking at the edge  sunroof panel shows the filth and dirt, this can have a negative effect on the smooth operation of the sunroof,  


A job for another day,  the non functioning right rear door glass was next, if you pushed the button either way the motor would spin but no up or down motion, inner door panel off, the thin plastic door membrane carefully removed and all was revealed,


So that's not getting repaired,  I did have a look fora repair kit but elected for a used part as they are silly cheap,  how long it will be until I see it is anyone's guess.


I will have to use the original motor as the new second hand part doesn't come with one, let's hope that when it finally arrives it's the correct one.

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Woke up around 5:30 This morning, I had my two pints of coffee and went out and shifted the cars around on the driveway, the sun rises behind my house and the driveway goes down the side of the house,  this ment that if the Merc was in front of the Lupo I could have the boot open all day with the sun on it, this plan worked well, but to be honest the paint was I sprayed yesterday was dry, I pressed my finger nail in to the paint and it left no dint, I left it in direct sunlight for a couple of hours, a rummage around my paint box found me some top quality Halfords lacquer 


The Rustolium Hard Hat drys sort of Satin finish which is fine for the boot but I had the lacquer and it was dry and sunny in a lockdown so this happened 


another couple of baking had the lacquer dry enough to start cleaning everything up that had to go back into the boot


You might note that the left hand side has not been sprayed yet, that part will get done when I remove the inner panel to access the Hirschmann electric antenna that needs removing due to the weathered rubber grommet,  I think that is why the boot has rust, 

Quite a contrast to the grim mess the battery area was before, this has tidied it up just lovely 


More to follow 

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My old pride and joy. 97 C200 classic auto.

Owned it for just over a year before selling due to being a tit and crashing it twice in a row.


There it is sat at my dad's place, slammed on 16" algenibs from a W210 and rather hefty rear wheel spacers with extended bolts and US front turn signals fitted.


Here it is in Lyme Regis after going all the way there to collect the forged 7 spoke Slk wheels that are on it from Derbyshire. All the way there and back on 1 tank!IMG-20171115-WA0000.thumb.jpeg.7b72cb6a05038e02ad8e5bae17fd5fc6.jpeg

You need to watch here for rot ... Very specific place. Just behind the rear passenger inner arch in the boot .... It gets hidden by the heat shield for the rear silencer. I presume it's some kind of dirt trap that isn't accessible to clean? You also can't usually see it with the side carpet panel in place in the boot area.

Good luck with yours. It has made me rather annoyed I just threw out the rest of my spares I had. I do have a Haynes book if you would be interested but it's a little care worn.

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Armed with your possible rusty Information I could not wait to pop the inner trim away this morning, 


I think I may have gotten away with that ! 

The same can't be said for the area to the left of the picture,  this was probably caused by a mix of heat cycles and the water leak from the antenna rubber grommet,  it has gone through so it's going to get the same treatment as the boot floor,  remove loose rust with some 80 grit and Vactan,  once this has dried I will be using some windscreen sealer to keep any nasty gases out of the car until I have enough time to tackle the rust, it's a common area for rust because of the heat cycling and close proximity of the heat shield under the car, it's a tricky area to repair due to the tight location, I think I will wait until I have a chance to get it up on one of my mates 2 post lift, 

I won't paint this area until it has been fully welded, 



The wheels from the W210 look really good on your old W202,  I think I will use the original wheels on mine for comfort more than anything else unless a cheap set of Monoblocks pop's up in the future, cheap Monoblocks lol

Thank for offer of the Haynes manual but I think I will decline as I normally call my mate ( 30 year's + Mercedes specialist ) for advice or just browse the internet, 



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Back in Aug 1996 my boss bought a new C230K manual when I wanted him to buy a C280 Auto!

He liked me to use it for business as he felt it looked better than the old olive green W123 280TE the company also ran. It was listed as a pool car so for tax reasons so he wanted me to also drive it, the worst bit about the 230K was if you did not get wheel spin when moving away company policy dictated you stop and try again! 

Looks like it will be great when you have sorted it.

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