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Scrubworks Fleet: 1990 Mercedes 190D


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What’s it like for rot around the rear jacking points?

Flick the little covers off and take a look.  It’s a very easy repair as the sill covers will hide it completely so your repair only needs to be strong, not beautiful.

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5 hours ago, MJK 24 said:

What’s it like for rot around the rear jacking points?

Flick the little covers off and take a look.  It’s a very easy repair as the sill covers will hide it completely so your repair only needs to be strong, not beautiful.

That was the first thing we checked before buying it. They're pretty much perfect, which is good because I'm going to be removing the sill covers at some point to retrofit the earlier look with the small door trims.

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Merc springs are mad. Factory ones have little coloured dots which should be matched and seem to have loads of different ratings for spec differences etc. I put new front springs (lesjofors) on my 200E, and it sat so high I was pulled in at Dover because they thought the boot was full of illegal stuff... it wasn't..😏

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2 hours ago, Scrubworks said:

That was the first thing we checked before buying it. They're pretty much perfect, which is good because I'm going to be removing the sill covers at some point to retrofit the earlier look with the small door trims.

There will be a few holes to fill. I have a pic of mine when I took off the planks to paint it, and all the rot started where the boards slide in to the keyholes..

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2 hours ago, Barry Cade said:

Merc springs are mad. Factory ones have little coloured dots which should be matched and seem to have loads of different ratings for spec differences etc. I put new front springs (lesjofors) on my 200E, and it sat so high I was pulled in at Dover because they thought the boot was full of illegal stuff... it wasn't..😏

The KYB springs I bought were advertised as being specifically for an OM602 car. I ran the part number on the box and in fact they are just meant to fit all 190s, which of course means for anything except a 4 cyl petrol, they're going to sit too low. They do still sit slightly higher than the old shit springs, and do seem to ride better, so a half-decent purchase at least.

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10 hours ago, Peter C said:

I’m visiting my in-laws in Poznan, Poland. The elderly lady who owns the local flower (kwiaty) shop has an early 2.0 190D, which is pretty much mint.

Saw this and thought of you.

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How much for the side trims? :P 

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9 hours ago, MJK 24 said:

I spent most of yesterday working on mine.

New fuel lines.  Full service.  Bilt Hamber applied to the underside - again!  New rear light seals.

All set for winter.

Sweet. Never used any Bilt Hamber protective products, though I do like their clay bar.

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Another Autodoc parcel managed to fight its way through customs to get to me. Changed the grumbly left front wheel bearing with a nice new FAG item, and installed new Brembo front discs, pads, and sliders. I also have a water pump, thermostat, and pair of steering arms to go on soonish. After that, a week late, my new Goodyears finally made it through customs. My steel wheels had long since been painted, so got the tyres fitted straight on.

IMG_20210903_173055.thumb.jpg.12db7d197e5f3644b3464ec705d182b1.jpg

Much nicer than when I first received them. Almost seemed a shame to cover them with the hubcaps. Speaking of which:IMG_20210903_181228.thumb.jpg.942b7fb7e1744af26b68ad81263c37ec.jpg

Looks much more how I pictured the car at first in my mind's eye, although the front suspension height is still spoiling things. I have a pair of new, maximum thickness spring hats to fit, that should hopefully raise the front by a couple of centimetres. Beyond that I fear I'll need to buy new springs directly from Mercedes. That can wait. I've now covered half the things mentioned on the MOT advisories. I'm now tending to some of the more noticeable rusty spots on the body. That's currently a work in progress, but should have an update soon, providing my spray tin of Diamant Blau turns up soon.

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20 hours ago, Madman Of The People said:

 

To me, it doesn't look like the front is too low.  It's the rear that's too high.

 

I had just jacked up the rear to put that wheel on and it hadn't sat back down fully yet. After a drive it settled down by about an inch at the back. The driveway slopes towards the left which doesn't help.

Also, Foamy the Squirrel, that's a throwback.

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So, for the past couple of days, I've been tending to a couple of bits of rot at the back of the car. The first one revealed itself when I removed the rear number plate:
IMG_20210901_150324.thumb.jpg.76fc29ccfc8db82f19f95835ac12f5c6.jpg

This is why you don't drill metal bodywork to fit number plates, people. Fortunately I've caught it while the metal is still solid. I just ground it back, treated it with rust converter, filled in the screw holes with RTV, and after giving it overnight to cure, sprayed the bare metal with primer. Once my spray tin of Diamant Blau paint turns up I can topcoat and lacquer it. It doesn't need to be that neat as the plate will hide it. Someone at some point had also put some aluminium threaded inserts on the number plate area. Not sure why, but they cause the number plate to bow outwards. I just used a flap disc to grind them almost flat.

While I was tackling that and had my paints out, I thought I'd also see to this nasty-looking rust blister on the bootlid:
IMG_20210901_150415.thumb.jpg.67365d1a5100bd3f6bd1961f4d98fc0b.jpg

I was worried that the rust had penetrated right through the metal and that some tedious welding or sealing work would be required. Fortunately, it looked far worse that it was. After whisking it away with a wire brush wheel, there was just a round patch of pitting surrounded by good metal. Nice to deal with cars made of thick steel for a change. I put some rust converter on the patch for a few hours to kill it, and then masked up and applied over 9000 layers of filler primer to the bare patch to try and fill in the pitted area. Ideally I'd have used a small skim of body filler to level the pitting and then primer, but I didn't have any filler, so I was hoping the filler primer would work given enough sanding and layers. I seem to have just about got away with it.
IMG_20210904_170703.thumb.jpg.c1842a8898841af496258ff5be5c5b26.jpg

I even managed to replicate the bend in the sheet metal pretty well. Also primed the corner lip where it had gone a bit rusty.

With the bodywork waiting on paint, I spent the rest of the day pulling out the old water pump and thermostat.
IMG_20210904_191819.thumb.jpg.cf820582ea74edc90793ceb20b5fa357.jpg

Turned out to be less of a pain in the arse to do than it very well could have been. The self-adjusting tensioner for the serpentine belt is a genius bit of engineering. So simple to use and eliminates the faff of having to manhandle the alternator about or try and reach some inaccessible tensioner bolt. Predictably, the previous mechanic had used the wrong coolant; the red stuff that new cars use. I'll be using Bluecol instead. Now tomorrow, (or today now, I suppose), I can throw it all back together. Joy.

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A wee tip. I've never had much luck with aerosol filler primer, it seems to stay soft in the middle or reacts with everything. Try hammerite grey stone chip in aerosol, from Halfords.  Use it like filler primer.. dries really quickly and rubs back like primer. Used it for years this way and it's brilliant. Goes a long way too...

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12 hours ago, Barry Cade said:

A wee tip. I've never had much luck with aerosol filler primer, it seems to stay soft in the middle or reacts with everything. Try hammerite grey stone chip in aerosol, from Halfords.  Use it like filler primer.. dries really quickly and rubs back like primer. Used it for years this way and it's brilliant. Goes a long way too...

154013.thumb.jpeg.fb5d73f5fddd7a8b9c92e753eb1852bf.jpeg

I'm using Halfords filler primer. It seems to sand very well, no softness or adverse reactions so far. I think the trick is to give it overnight to dry before diving in with the sandpaper. We'll see what the long term results are once it's top-coated.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Much work has occurred in the last couple of weeks. I finished the repair to the bootlid. Bodywork is, safe to say, not my strong suit. It looks much better in this picture than it does in person.

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I made the mistake of masking too close and ended up chasing it back trying to blend it in, so I decided just to knock it on the head and lacquer it. I then managed to put some runs in the lacquer that will no doubt be there for years to come. Not the best appearance in the world, but a lot better than the rusty splodge, and it's now protected.

In the ongoing saga of trying to get the front of the car to sit higher, I bought and fitted a pair of the thickest rubber hats available for the front springs. They're 1cm thicker than the ones they're replacing, so I didn't hold out much hope, but they seem to have (mostly) done the trick.

IMG_20210928_153248.thumb.jpg.3d025bde97aa7f203f994b7807260379.jpg

It's still not as level as I'd like, but it's acceptable. I might employ the philosophy in reverse at the back, and put in the thinnest spring hats on the rear springs. Failing that, I'm going to save up for a complete set of four springs from Mercedes.

Back in the engine bay, remember how I said it started well from cold, despite the glow plug warning lamp? No sooner had I committed those words to screen, one of the glow plugs dropped out completely. Not really an issue in itself, the fifth cylinder just takes a couple of extra seconds to kick in, but if one plug's gone the rest probably won't be far behind, so I whipped off the intake manifold and put in some new Bosch plugs.

IMG_20210923_163623.thumb.jpg.adeafd8967ccadd0586bc756dc625529.jpg

The manifold gasket fell to pieces as I removed it so that was probably good to change anyway. Starts beautifully now.

One problem the car came with that I don't think I've mentioned, is that the driver's side rear window doesn't move. I delved into the switches with a multimeter and confirmed they were working fine. Unfortunately it seems to be the motor. Took the door card off, and, being used to Japanese door cards that pop off, I promptly popped it off and broke all the plastic clips off, because, in fact, it slides on. That'll be one for some Araldite. Door card nicely ruined, I shoved and heaved and eventually got the regulator out; you're supposed to put the window halfway down to give you space to unhook the regulator. Not being able to do that makes it about 3 times as difficult, but doable.

IMG_20210924_170802.thumb.jpg.09d609eed02108e9d37187dfb9219d4e.jpg

I unscrewed the motor from the regulator and had a look. The copper commutator was quite badly corroded, which I suspect may just be down to lack of use. Unfortunately no amount of contact-cleaner and wiggling could resurrect it, so I'm going to attempt to find a local firm that can repair it. Failing that, I can buy a new aftermarket regulator for £67, but I'll probably just use the new motor with the original regulator.

Besides all the actual work, I tended a bit more to cosmetics. Despite my impending new trailer entitlements, I decided the tow bar was ugly and next-to useless, so I removed it. Heavy bugger it was too, will make some nice scrap. I also changed the leather-wrapped steering wheel for one of the more basic, foam rubber wheels with the textured surface. Just fits my mind's eye of the car a bit better, and I'll keep the original wheel in reserve. For the first time, I also gave the car a proper wash, degreased it, clay-barred the paint, and liquid-waxed it. It looks rather good, rusty parts notwithstanding. Finally, I've fitted a shorter, personal registration to make it look a bit tidier at both ends. I await your disapproval.

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On 9/5/2021 at 1:19 AM, Scrubworks said:

So, for the past couple of days, I've been tending to a couple of bits of rot at the back of the car. The first one revealed itself when I removed the rear number plate:
IMG_20210901_150324.thumb.jpg.76fc29ccfc8db82f19f95835ac12f5c6.jpg

This is why you don't drill metal bodywork to fit number plates, people. Fortunately I've caught it while the metal is still solid. I just ground it back, treated it with rust converter, filled in the screw holes with RTV, and after giving it overnight to cure, sprayed the bare metal with primer. Once my spray tin of Diamant Blau paint turns up I can topcoat and lacquer it. It doesn't need to be that neat as the plate will hide it. Someone at some point had also put some aluminium threaded inserts on the number plate area. Not sure why, but they cause the number plate to bow outwards. I just used a flap disc to grind them almost flat.

While I was tackling that and had my paints out, I thought I'd also see to this nasty-looking rust blister on the bootlid:
IMG_20210901_150415.thumb.jpg.67365d1a5100bd3f6bd1961f4d98fc0b.jpg

I was worried that the rust had penetrated right through the metal and that some tedious welding or sealing work would be required. Fortunately, it looked far worse that it was. After whisking it away with a wire brush wheel, there was just a round patch of pitting surrounded by good metal. Nice to deal with cars made of thick steel for a change. I put some rust converter on the patch for a few hours to kill it, and then masked up and applied over 9000 layers of filler primer to the bare patch to try and fill in the pitted area. Ideally I'd have used a small skim of body filler to level the pitting and then primer, but I didn't have any filler, so I was hoping the filler primer would work given enough sanding and layers. I seem to have just about got away with it.
IMG_20210904_170703.thumb.jpg.c1842a8898841af496258ff5be5c5b26.jpg

I even managed to replicate the bend in the sheet metal pretty well. Also primed the corner lip where it had gone a bit rusty.

With the bodywork waiting on paint, I spent the rest of the day pulling out the old water pump and thermostat.
IMG_20210904_191819.thumb.jpg.cf820582ea74edc90793ceb20b5fa357.jpg

Turned out to be less of a pain in the arse to do than it very well could have been. The self-adjusting tensioner for the serpentine belt is a genius bit of engineering. So simple to use and eliminates the faff of having to manhandle the alternator about or try and reach some inaccessible tensioner bolt. Predictably, the previous mechanic had used the wrong coolant; the red stuff that new cars use. I'll be using Bluecol instead. Now tomorrow, (or today now, I suppose), I can throw it all back together. Joy.

Another bit of user friendly engineering is  the black plastic block at the top of the aux belt shock absorber/ spring tensioner which has a hole in it that the wheel brace handle fits into perfectly. This allows you to move the tensioner easily when changing aux belts and is also handy for keeping hoses out of harms way when you have the fan shroud off. Great engineering by Mercedes.

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On 10/5/2021 at 11:56 PM, Nullzwei said:

Another bit of user friendly engineering is  the black plastic block at the top of the aux belt shock absorber/ spring tensioner which has a hole in it that the wheel brace handle fits into perfectly. This allows you to move the tensioner easily when changing aux belts and is also handy for keeping hoses out of harms way when you have the fan shroud off. Great engineering by Mercedes.

Oh right, that does make sense actually. I was  using a 10 inch long 3/8 extension bar which worked well.

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  • 1 month later...

Been away for a little while, a friend's Celica has been occupying my drive while I do some headwork with it. On the 190D front, things have been relatively quiet and harmonious. The electric rear window repair took an interesting turn. I took the motor to a local firm that repairs and rewinds "all manner of electric motors". Walked in the door, and gave the motor to the guy at reception.

"Nah, sorry mate, we don't do car stuff." 
".......ok. How come?"
"We just haven't ever got into it. Not something we do."
"Do you know anyone who does?"
"No."

It's that can-do spirit that really makes you proud of British industry. Back at home, I figured that the motor was already broken. Opening it up and having a go myself would either render it still broken, or maybe working again. It was actually pretty easy to disassemble, and upon doing so I noticed two things. Firstly, the copper commutator bars were fairly badly corroded, due to years of inactivity. A good rub with some scotch-brite and a subsequent dousing with contact cleaner brought them back nicely. Secondly, the earth wire that joins to the end of the windings had been pushed slightly too far into its connector when the motor was originally assembled, and the thin sliver of solder holding it on had broken, breaking the circuit and rendering the motor dead. I clipped it back, gave it a good dab of fresh solder, reassembled the motor, connected a battery charger, and, success!
Professional motor repair workshop - 0
Girl in her kitchen - 1

I took the time to soak the moving parts of the regulator in brake cleaner to remove the old, mostly dried out grease, and replace it with plenty of red rubber stuff. I then put the motor back on the regulator, put the regulator back in the door, and all is now well, the window works. I could show you a picture of the the window down but I think your imaginations will fill in the gaps :P

While I had the door card off, I also took the opportunity to install some of this on the back of the door skin:

IMG_20210926_193831.thumb.jpg.55edb48f36dbc1d013ea55ebd2c8fa7e.jpg

I used to work for a company, who shall remain nameless (exploitative bunch of pricks), that specialised in the customisation of Land Rover Defenders, back when the original model was still in production. Every Defender would receive acres of Dynamat Xtreme sound deadening. The stuff makes a huge difference; you could almost convince yourself you weren't driving a glorified tractor. It's not cheap at £150 per box, but as a product I believe it is second to none. I plan to install it throughout the Mercedes, mainly in the doors. and under the seats and carpets. I may also put some under the headlining, depending on how easy it is to remove. Not that the Mercedes is noisy, but the quieter and more relaxed I can make it, the better.

One of my original goals with this car was to run vegetable oil as its main fuel. Since the car spent most of last year being sat undriven, I wanted to run a couple of tanks of diesel through it to clear its throat. However, due to all the cretins in my town buying up all the diesel a few weeks ago, I decided to bring the veg oil timetable forward. The car had covered almost 200 trouble-free miles and spent half a tank of diesel. I popped to Costco, and bought 20 litres of soy bean oil.

IMG_20211125_133327.thumb.jpg.f52cbe4822e1eaab06b1b48f442d6ccd.jpg

With that in the tank, I was then running a 50/50 mix. The car loved it. No change in performance or cold-starting, only a slight odour of chips from the exhaust. I ran that down to about a quarter of a tank, and then refilled with more soy bean, so I'm now running almost a full veg oil tank now. Half of that tank has now been used. The only adverse effect is that cold-starting when the temperature drops low during the night is a bit lumpy, but this is remedied by giving the glow plugs two cycles. I'll have to monitor this as winter draws in. Thinning it out with some kerosene is always an option. Once running though, the car is absolutely normal, though the chip smell is more intense, and is actually great for keeping tailgaters away. Also, because I'm very cool, I've set up a spreadsheet that automatically calculates how much I've saved on buying veg oil instead of diesel. Even just on 60 litres, I've saved over £20, and that's at the ridiculous price that veg oil is currently going for. It's usually available for well under a quid a litre.

A less pressing issue with the Merc I can now deal with is the windscreen. It is the original one, but unfortunately has become very scratched all through the wiper arc, due to the now-cured electrical issue that caused the wiper to turn on whenever you indicated left. This issue must have persisted for years, and all the dry-wiping has scratched the screen. I've tried my best to clean and polish the screen, and add a layer of liquid wax, which has helped, but I fear without niche specialist attention, the screen is ultimately ruined. There's also a nice chip in it which is just begging to turn into a crack at some point.

During the day it's not a problem, but at night the glare from oncoming headlights is pretty bad, so I dropped into my Merc dealer to see if they could get me a new screen. I have a friend with a W126 S-Class, and he gets all his bits direct from Mercedes, so I know they're good about legacy parts support, but the issue is often cost. I was afraid I'd flummoxed the poor guy at the parts desk, but after about 20 minutes he came back and said,
"Sorry that took a while, the data card was all in German."
"Really? Don't they translate it for you?"
"Well the trouble is, for most models more than 25 years old or so we just have scanned-in documents that we got faxed over from Stuttgart years ago."
"That sounds fun."
Turned out that there were no W201 windscreens anywhere in the European supply chain, not even in Germany, but if I handed over £320, Gunther and Klaus over in Stuttgart would drag the mould out of storage, and cast a brand new screen, just for me, and send it over. Honestly I was gobsmacked; £320 for Merc to make one screen to order is ridiculously cheap in my book. That was about a month and a half ago, and the screen got here last week. I borrowed SKCat's Volvo 940 and collected it from the dealership yesterday.

IMG_20211123_115916.thumb.jpg.e650c73f44ce8aa5dbaf98c38ef26374.jpg

The windscreen chap is going to pop round tomorrow. Hopefully he won't have to struggle too hard with it.

 

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Blimey, that's amazing re: screen !!

Looks like you're making good progress with this, neat repair on the bootlid and well done for having a go on that little motor.

I'd be a tad reluctant to go 100% veg, as I'd imagine it to be pretty thick in the colder weather, thus straining the pump. But I hope I'm wrong, and it works well 😎

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19 minutes ago, Minimad5 said:

I'd be a tad reluctant to go 100% veg, as I'd imagine it to be pretty thick in the colder weather, thus straining the pump. But I hope I'm wrong, and it works well 😎

I've been doing a little bit of research on that subject, and found a website written by a guy who's been rebuilding diesel pumps for 40 years or so. He actually lists the available pump types on most cars, and grades their suitability for use with veg oil. Most older diesels seem to have a rotary style pump, which apparently is very dependable (eg, Volkswagen TDI engine), but can eventually give up if pushed too hard. However, he reckons that the inline style of injection pump is nigh-on indestructible and will cope with veg whatever the weather. Guess which type of pump old Mercs use? 😁

 

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