1988 560 SL
A friend and coworker of mine was moving to London with his new wife
to work for a few years, and as the time for the move approached he
realized he really didn't have time to sell this car, and as it needed
a few relatively minor things it wasn't going to be easy to make a
quick sale for a good price. An effort or two to sell the car fell
through, and he didn't want to spend any more time on it. He made a
command decision and offered it to me at a very attractive
I bit. Now I have to sell it, else risk death-by-wife.
- Replaced hood release cable
- New thermostat
- Repaired tachometer
- Recharged AC
Saturday, February 28, 2015
The day he was going to bring it over the hood release cable broke,
and that was a bit of a delay. Anyway, the exchange, when it came,
was uneventful. The PO showed how he was able to pop open the hood
with some difficulty, using a stout jeweler's screwdriver. We left
the hood up.
The car came with a car cover, and a storage trolley for the hardtop.
(And two Tektronix oscilloscopes
in the trunk, bonus!)
Sunday, March 1, 2015
In the morning I rigged a piece of coathanger wire so that the hood
can be popped from the front. That'll make it a lot easier 'til the
cable can be replaced.
I then took it for a test drive. The car ran well, but never got up
to temperature. Thermostat! The tachometer is out. The cruise
control seemed to work fine, so that's good, as did the heat. (Modulo
the thermostat problem.) The car's been converted to R134a, but it
has leaked down. PO reports there was a leak on one of the fittings
where a tech didn't tighten it down well. So perhaps it will hold a
recharge? There is a split in the center of the passenger seat
bottom. The cable for the hardtop defroster is a mess. There are
some paint flaws in the trunk lid.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
I ordered a new hood release cable and a Wahler thermostat from
AutohausAZ. Around $52.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
I finally got a chance to work on the car, and replaced the thermostat
(P/N 116 200 03 15). That was harder than I'd have
thought, losing tools down the front of the engine was the biggest
problem. (I had to jack it up and fish them out from below.) Also,
the old thermostat had to be hammered apart to get it to come out of
there, it was really stuck. There was some waxy residue
around the operating plunger, so it certainly seems like it was in
need of replacement. I lost a bunch of (green) coolant, which I'll
need to replace before starting the car.
There was a small mouse nest on top of the engine, that was a joy to
remove. I trust it was from the PO's place, we have several fairly
effective cats around here.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
I remembered that I actually had a jug of green coolant on
hand that I had bought for the old pickup, so I
used about half (plus water) to replenish what had been lost
yesterday. As is my usual practice, I poured coolant into the
overflow tank, then back-filled water from the upper radiator hose
until the system was full. (I hold the hose against the radiator
neck, cocked so that I can pour into the 'crack' at the top while
anything that comes out of the neck goes back into the hose. It's
harder to describe than to do, but basically I never have any air to
'burp' out when I do it this way, nor do I lose any significant amount
of the new coolant.)
I pulled the old hood release cable out of the car, and threaded in
the new one (P/N 107 880 03 59). I had to remove the
under-dash cover and knee bolster first. That part wasn't too hard,
the evil part was trying to get the firewall grommet seated. As
always, reaching the problem site is the big problem. I
never managed to get it seated properly, so at the moment it is merely
close. Perhaps if somebody pushed it in from the engine side with a
wrench or something while I pried with a small screwdriver from the
cabin side? Maybe later, the several hours I spent trying was more
than enough time on it for today. The plastic shell where the release
handle nests was broken in a few places, I used cyanoacrylate glue to
While doing this job I noticed that the driver's-side door switch didn't
seem to work, so I removed it and shot it full of Deoxit. After much
actuation it started to work again. It seemed a bit 'oily', perhaps
the PO had shot it full of WD40 or something?
Saturday, March 28, 2015
I had time to take off the steering wheel today, so that I could
liberate the dash cluster in order to address the non-functioning
tachometer. The center Allen bolt was very hard to get out,
as per usual. I used the new POS Harbor Freight impact driver to
loosen it. I think. After much hammering with that I was finally
able to break it loose with the big socket wrench, which had not
worked by itself. With the dash pod out I was able to test the signal
feed to the tachometer, and it seemed fine. (While I was there I used
some larger heat-shrink tubing to repair the insulation on the clock
power feed. For whatever reason its shell falls apart easily, and as
it's always 'hot' it can be a problem, resulting in a blown fuse.) I
checked the (vulnerable) ground in the cluster, and it was intact. So
I took apart the tachometer. Removing the needle with two spoons used
as levers agains the face seemed to mess up the d'Arsonval meter
movement, it no longer moved smoothly and wouldn't return to zero on
its own. I took it apart, even removing the damping-fluid filled
plastic needle bearing sockets, and put it back together again,
hopefully without destroying it. It seemed to move properly again, at
any rate. I was mostly out of time at this point, but when I tried
hooking it up on the bench I was able to get a small intermittent
wiggle/buzz out of the meter, so I know the movement is intact.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
With more time I tried to hook up the tachometer on the bench. I
wasn't really getting anywhere, so I retrieved a spare tachometer from
the parts pile and tried it. Nothing. So I took it to the car and it
worked fine there, though it did read high. (It might have been from
a 6-cylinder.) I then brought it back in and figured out that there
are three connections: power, ground, and tach signal. It's
not powered through the tach signal, unlike some systems. Once I
figured that out I could get the spare tach to react to the signal
generator as I'd expect. I moved back to the DUT, this time knowing I
had it hooked up correctly. Probing around the fairly simple circuit
board showed that the circuit was all apparently floating up at
VCC. When I poked the resistor to ground with my finger I
burned myself, which told me what was wrong. I pulled the wretched
Frako 47µF 16V electrolytic filter capacitor and found it
shorted. (Those things have a horrible track record in my
experience.) I replaced it with a new one, and after that the tach
worked on the bench, and in the car. I put the cluster back together
and set back it in the car.
While I've got the dash cluster out I want to check all the lighting,
but I really need to wait for dark to do that.
Monday, March 30, 2015
In the morning it was dim enough to make working on the lights
possible, and I found that what it needed mostly was some Deoxit on
the bulb connections in the cluster. All the other dash lights worked
except the one in the (somewhat gritty) right-side window switch.
Disassembling it (P/N 126 820 80 10) showed that there
is no lamp in it! Doesn't look like there ever was one, either. I
cleaned it out anyway and used a bit of Deoxit inside. The left-side
switch (P/N 126 820 81 10) has an incandescent lamp
inside. They look identical otherwise. Weird. While I was there I
glued the build sheet back to the shifter surround wood panel, using
3M Spray 77, and glued the oh-so-commonly broken-off plastic retaining
pin back to the surround using Shoe Goo. I don't know if this will
hold, that is a very stressful point. Naturally it would last forever
if ham-handed mechanics realized how that panel comes out, but I think
people just pull up on it and break off the pin. (You remove the
screws at the front and then slide the wood panel rearwards until that
pin clears the console body.)
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
My parts order from Autohaus AZ came yesterday. In it was a shiny new
000 010 14 85 oil filler cap to replace the broken one
that's on this car. $6.72, whee! It took only seconds to put on the
car, and the old finger-ripping one went right into the trash.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I put the console panel back, the glue on the pin is holding so far.
I also glued the parking brake pedal cover back on using weatherstrip
Thursday, April 2, 2015
The fuel gauge doesn't always register at first, I tried to test it
using a jumper to ground pins 1 & 4 on the big round connector.
(Trying to decide whether I have gauge or sender problems.) Results
were inconclusive, I'll have to try again another time. I noticed
that the tachometer was very sluggish to move downscale. It
was very cold out, there was ice on everything, perhaps it won't do
this when warm.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
The tachometer has proven to be a bit sticky, even when it's warm.
So I removed it and disassembled it again, and loosened the packing
nut on its shaft. It seems better now.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
I put the interior of the car back together. I vacuumed it out, too.
I raided the junkbox for a 9612 2-pin cable shell, and repaired the
hardtop defroster plug.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
I emptied out the trunk and found the rear carpets, which I installed
into the car. (I found part of the missing battery hatch latch, and
noted that the battery box was in excellent condition and the
aftermarket alarm system was unplugged.) I was then able to move the
hardtop storage frame into the trunk, along with its cover(s), and
apparently a cover for the entire car. I then got out the camera and
took some pictures.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
I bought two cans of R134a today. They're about $12/each now.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Recharging the AC went fairly smoothly. I tightened the loose fitting
that had been suspected of leaking away the last charge. It
definitely needed it. The only real problem was that the POS Harbor
Freight gauge set's center charging hose seems to leak badly. I put
it on backwards, which means that it doesn't have a valve at the can
end, but I used the vacuum pump to exhaust the whole gauge set first
instead. (That is another problem, my vacuum pump doesn't have a
fitting that fits the R134a gauge set. I was able to use an adapter
so that I could pump a vacuum from the high-side hose. Awkward, but
it all worked out.
Anyway, two 12-oz cans of R143a and it was working good. I got it
down to 36°F vent temperatures, in a 55°F ambient.
Friday, June 19, 2015
There has been no interest on the car, so it's time to put it into
driveable condition, and start parking it on the busy corner at work.
That seems to do well, given time. Anyway, I got the car
licensed today. $493, Ugh. At home I put on the plates, and removed
the hardtop. The storage cart is very weird, the heavy end of the top
goes up! I tugged one of the storage covers over it, it
doesn't seem to fit well. I probably have put it together all wrong.
The State wanted to charge me sales tax on more than $14,000—it's
a good thing I had the PO fill out the Declaration
of Buyer and Seller Regarding Value of Used Vehicle Sold form!
Thursday, July 23, 2015
I started to tackle the broken sunvisor clips yesterday, and this
morning I 'finished'. I used a butane torch to heat a small metal
paddle, the notched spine of a wiper blade insert stiffener, to red
heat and used it to melt back together the various broken bits of
plastic. This is fiddly work, and doesn't end up looking very good.
Nor does it work well. Still, by mixing and matching I was able to
get the driver's-side pieces to seem to hold together. The one that
ended up on the passenger's side is a mess, and I ended up using a
piece of small wire to hold it together. We'll see how it all goes.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I put the car on Craigslist again. [I got a
couple of nibbles from this, but nothing serious.]
Friday, June 24, 2016
I found a check in the mail, from my father. Seems he
wants the car. (I'd mentioned on his last visit that if he wanted it
I'd only charge him what I'd paid for it. I wasn't particularly
serious, but I guess it piqued his interest.) He wants me to put new
seat covers on it, which he's going to pay for. Logistics are yet to
be worked out.
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Dad showed up today to buy the car, with my brother in tow to drive
his other car back. We're planning to get in a day or two of visiting
Monday, July 11, 2016
Dad got the thing formally transferred into his name, and I cashed
the check. It's his, now!
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Waved goodbye to the car today. It had acted a bit weird on shifting
yesterday, and we found the fluid a bit low. I drained the pan, which
got about 2 quarts of slightly browninsh oil in it, and put in 4
quarts of fresh fluid which brought it up a touch high on the
dipstick. The AC had stopped cooling too, so I put another can of
R134a in it. All better!
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Waved goodbye to the car again. My dad brought it back over, with a
set of leather seat covers in the trunk. (Eckler, about $950.) I've
spent pretty much every spare moment since Saturday morning installing
them. My back, and hands, are sore and tired. Looks great, though.
The replacement covers were much thinner leather than the original,
and not a perfect fit. Good enough though. I did manage to tear the
new leather in two places while stretching it, but nothing that really
shows. I cut pieces of the old leather off and glued it to the back
over the tears using good weatherstrip cement.
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