Thursday, September 4, 2014

Progress continues on the Mercedes. Yes, seriously.

If any of you are/were regular readers, you will have noticed a dropoff in new content here in late Spring. The long and the short of it is that I continued work on the car for a few weeks after the last post, and then had to take off the end of June and all of July. I resumed work on the car in early August.

After my last post, I did not in fact do any filler work on the passenger side fender (it's still on the to-do list). Shortly after that last post, I turned the car around and started work on the driver's side. While it took two sporadic years of progress to complete the passenger side of the car, it took closer to two months to repair the driver's side.

Thankfully, this was largely due to the fact that the driver side was far more intact than the passenger side had been. The floor/rocker were mostly intact, with some rusty areas I had to weld up (there is only one riveted repair on this side, due to proximity to fuel and brake lines - the rest are all welds). I also had to do nearly identical repairs to the rear wheel well on this side of the car. As for the front fender, it had similar damage to its passenger side counterpart. However, rather than repair it, I'll be replacing it with the solid fender from the long-departed '79 parts car. Reminder - I would have done the same on the passenger side, but I sold the good passenger side fender from the parts car some time ago.

Aside from a lot of details I skipped over, that pretty much catches us up. I'm on the verge of painting door jambs on this side and hope to have the whole car in fresh paint by the end of the month, once I get through a laundry list of detail items.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Momentum on the Mercedes project...

It's only been a couple of weeks and change since my last update, so I must be doing something right. I got the metalwork on the front passenger fender done:

I haven't done the filler work on the fender yet (I'll get to it soon), but I thought it was time to clean the car up, turn it around, and start on the driver's side:

When I got the floor coating up, the driver's side did look a little crusty at first:

But, some cleanup showed that the floor was mostly solid and the rocker was almost 100% intact. This should be easy to repair:

Tonight, I started in on cutting and patching in the rear:

That's where I left off tonight. I'll try to finish this patch (and the rest of the rear driver's side floor board) tomorrow.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Still working on the Mercedes...

It's been close to a month since my last update, but I've been busy. Sadly, I'm still working on the passenger side. I thought I'd be done by now. But, it's not due to lack of effort on my part. I've been working on the car in the evenings after work in addition to on the weekends. I just keep finding little details that need attention.

To recap and get you up to speed:

  • the floor and rocker repairs are done and coated
  • the rear wheel well (inner and outer) are now repaired
  • a hole in the trunk lid, previously covered by a rubber plug (presumably from an old antenna installation) is now welded shut
  • the trunk floor is repaired
  • the hood spring perch is now rebuilt and the new hood spring is installed
  • the wheels I'm going to use on this car are now painted
  • since I was in a convenient place to do so, the passenger side door jambs are now painted
At this point, I'm working on repairing the front passenger fender. It has some pretty serious rust issues and I sold my good fender from the parts car. Right now, I'm patching up the rust holes and will soon re-mount the fender to the car. Once that's done, I can finally turn my attention to the driver's side of the car.

Some photos from the past month:

...and that's where I am. I'm trying to do at least a little work every day, which has been helping a lot to speed things along.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rust work continues on the Mercedes

Hello, everyone who’s reading. I’m going to try and be better about updating this more regularly. As of now, I’m nearly done with the passenger side of the car.

All the patch panels are welded and seam sealed, which includes some new patches in the trunk/rear quarter area. Despite the flux core welder, I was able to do some pretty clean (by my standards, not global standards – I’m well aware that a professional body man would laugh at my work) repair work on the exterior panels. The interior stuff , with overlap and less room to use my grinder, has yielded sloppier-looking work. But, since the interior repairs will be hidden by carpets and trim panels, it makes little to no difference to me.

I’ve also started applying bedliner to the repaired areas. That stuff is sticky and nasty. Can’t wait to see what it’s like when dry and fully cured.

Over the weekend, I also received an interesting email. Around a year and a half ago, I bought some parts from a guy who lives across town from me. Well, he emailed me this weekend saying that he’s moving out of the area soon, and that since I was the only person to ever actually show up and give him money for parts, that he’d like to give me the remainder of his 240D parts stash so that he wouldn’t have to dumpster it.

Well, on Monday evening after work, I woke the Vanagon up from its winter hibernation and headed over there. I got a decent passenger seat (red), a usable rear seat (also red), door panels (you guessed it – red), headlights, side trim, side glass, a radio, a muffler, and probably more than I’m forgetting.

The guy in question is a really nice guy and a student, so I told him that I’d feel bad taking this stuff, as it was likely I’d resell a good portion of it. It was a nice offer, but I didn’t want to pick anyone’s pocket. As such, I gave him some money for the parts. I still got a very good deal.

The next time I’m out there, I’ll probably start on repairing the passenger side hood spring perch.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Not foolin' around with this car anymore...

No, I'm not getting rid of the Mercedes. On the contrary, I'm finally getting some serious momentum on this project. It was January, 2013 when I started tearing into the passenger side floor. I'd say I did the bulk of the passenger side floor and rocker repairs just in this past month. I now have all the patches in, welded, and seam sealed.

On top of that, I was able to cut out the bad portions of the rear passenger wheel housing lip and weld in patches I cut from the larger Klokkerholm patch panel. It still needs a little bit of filler to even it out, but it's solid and actually looks pretty decent for what it is. I still need to weld it closed inside the trunk.

But, the passenger side of the car is nearly done. I still need to make a patch inside the wheel well and rebuild the passenger side hood spring perch. But, the floor and rocker are solid again (though they still need finishing - paint and truck bedliner).

Now that spring is here, I'm hoping to be able to work on the car most evenings when I get home from the office, which should help speed the project along. My goal is to be driving it this summer.

rusted wheel well lip and formed repair panel

rusted area cut from rear of wheel well lip

checking fit of the repair patch

weld-through primer

patch piece, clamped in place for butt welding

patch tack welded in place

welds ground down

front of wheel well lip - spray paint is from previous owner

crud and dirt caught inside the panel - needed to clean it out

patch welded in place

repaired wheel well lip - still needs a small bit of filler to smooth it out

patches inside the car, seam sealed - still needs final coating