Monday, October 22, 2012

Yet more cleaning...

I got to "work" on the car a bit this past weekend. I started by bleeding the air out of the brake lines I fixed last week. I used my vacuum bleeder bottle and got the air out of the lines in no time. I tell you, one of the things I love about working on these old Mercedes is that bolts are rarely seized (unlike when I work on my Subaru). The rear brake bleeder screws you ask? - they came loose instantly, allowing for quick, trouble-free bleeding. :)

When I bought the car, this label was on the door:


Going... gone:

Once that was done, I started cleaning the underside of the floors. It was cold, wet, filthy work, but has been yielding good results.



I'm doing this mostly so I can uncover rust I need to take care of, and that so when I'm done, I can throw some fresh undercoating over the whole (clean) floor.

I got the passenger side of the floor clean, and will tackle the driver's side next weekend. Once that's done, I clean the trunk and the interior. The car already smells MUCH better without all this rancid old crud on it. I greatly look forward to the day I have the new interior in and can drive it.

Keep in mind that all this cleaning is being done with scrub brushes, bottles of degreaser, and a garden hose.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Brake line repair and other surprises

I spent a lot of time this weekend not accomplishing much on the Mercedes. I knew I wanted to clean out the interior and the bottom of the floors before starting body work, but I knew I had a brake fluid leak to deal with. As I've been driving the Mercedes in and out of the garage only to work on it, I just kept topping off the fluid as necessary. The car never moved more than one car length at a time anyway.

So, I backed the car onto ramps Saturday. I'd localized the leak last month, and finally got a better look at it:

The line was snaked around a corner and not easy to access, so I disconnected it at the rearmost junction and cut the end off with my tubing cutter so I could take it to the store for matching.

What I hadn't counted on was the metal diesel lines being rotted in the exact same place. As soon as I disturbed the lines, diesel started leaking everywhere... fast. So, I put a couple of empty coffee cans underneath it:

...and disconnected the fuel supply line from the tank, draining it into an empty 5-gallon bucket.

I was able to get some correct bubble-flare brake line at the store, but they only had a double flare loaner tool. Thankfully, I found a clever Youtube video on how to create a bubble flare with a double flare tool. I practiced on some scrap line I had before cutting the line under the car and making a new bubble flare.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. It got late on Saturday and it was cold, so I got back to work on Sunday. First, I cut out the rotted section of the metal fuel lines and bridged the gaps with new sections of fuel injection hose:

The zip ties are just to keep everything in place. I didn't have time yesterday to reinstall the line-to-body clamps. After all, I also had a lasagna in the oven and the season 3 premiere of The Walking Dead to contend with last night (a man has to set priorities sometimes). Also, one section of line is temporarily bridged between hoses with the hollow tube of a ball point pen. I'll replace that with a proper junction piece in the future (before driving the car).

Quick tip - if you ever need to temporarily bridge a section of 5/16" fuel line, a ball point pen tube matches up exactly.

Anyway, I'm not bothering to solidify any of this yet. The car is just moving in and out of the garage, and I want to replace the fuel tank first (I have a better one, but didn't have time to swap it yesterday). Once the new tank is in, I'll do a more permanent install of these lines. I'm not worried about the fuel injection hose, as there were rubber hoses underneath the car anyway. These are just longer than the old pieces they're replacing to bridge the gap between the tank and where I cut the metal lines.

Once the fuel lines were patched up, I cut off the rotted section of brake line, flared the end of the cut piece, and installed the new section of line.

So far, so good, though I still need to properly bleed the brake lines and double check for brake fluid and diesel leaks. Next week, I'll resume cleaning the car. It's been a hell of a job, but I REALLY want to wrench on a clean machine for once.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I wasn't able to touch the Mercedes for around two weeks. I've been busy, but I'm back to it, and got some more this past weekend. First, I finally finished cleaning out the wheel wells. This isn't so much for OCD cleanliness, but to inspect for rust spots I'll need to touch up or fix.

Wheel well #4 before:


That's about all I could get to on Saturday and didn't have any time on Sunday. I had Monday off work, so I continued by pulling all the accumulated parts out of the car:

Then, I started stripping the interior to make body work easier:

I still need to clean the interior and remove the insulatio/sound-deadening material from the floor. That layer tends to hide rust.

I also spent a good amount of time vacuuming the rest of the debris of the car. There was a lot hidden in the console, dating back to when mice and other creatures roamed freely in the car:

The eventual goal is to get the interior, and the underside of the floors as clean as the wheel wells before I reassemble the car. This weekend, I'll finish cleaning the interior and see if I can fix the bad brake line.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello, old friend

There's nothing to report on the Mercedes at the moment. I've been unable to touch it for a few weeks, but hope to get a bit done today (Columbus Day). But, I made a quick stop at the junk yard on Saturday and ran into a familiar face...

It was my wife's old 1993 Subrau Impreza. You may be asking how I know this was the same exact car. After all, they made about a million of these in the same color. Well, I only sold the car to the junkyard (this junkyard, in fact) around a month ago, so it makes sense that it would still be there. I know every bump, scratch, and rust spot on the car, as well as identifying marks like stickers. Trust me, this was the self-same car I'd been working on for the past three years.

In the past few weeks, the car has taken a turn for the worse. The month-old alternator that was in the car when I sold it is long-gone, likely now under the hood of another Subaru. Other various engine parts were gone, but the block and intake were still there. Someone really should buy the engine. High miles or not, it's a really good runner with a fresh timing belt.

For whatever reason, the rear and rear right windows were smashed. My guess is some punk just wanted to break windows. The rear wheels were missing (the fronts were still there). Part of the dashboard and center console were gone. The rear seat had been disassembled for some reason. I'm not sure why.

I didn't find the part I originally wanted (a rear cargo cover shade for one of our Legacy wagons), but I actually did end up buying the rearview mirror out of the old Impreza to replace the more worn one in my wife's "new" Legacy. So, after a month in the junkyard, a part of this car followed me home again. The mirror is a direct fit, but the older mirror in this Impreza was, in my opinion, a better design, and less susceptible to wearing out. The later Legacy mirrors tend to get loose and flop around with age.

I imagine the Impreza will sit in the yard a while longer, but who knows for exactly how long. It may be there for another month or two, and then it'll likely be crushed and melted down. But, in the mean time, its parts are going to save other old Subarus.