1988 560 SL

'88 560 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 price.

I bit. Now I have to sell it, else risk death-by-wife.




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 repair it.

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 cement.

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 too.

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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