Correctly Unbending a Bent Benz.
A really gorgeous '90 300SEL. Start to finish.
Pics are thumbnailed. Click on 'em for a large view.
01/25/02 Fresh off the hauler. Hard hit, no doubt....but a NICE car, clean title, less than 100K, all books/service records, Florida winters, etc. Even still had the window sticker neatly folded up in the glovebox. 57K in 1990. Gawd.
Amazing what a "come-along" and a car-hauler winch can do... No substitute for a frame rack, but sure helps getting it taken apart without further butchery.
Note the LF tire.....hated to put that on. The original spare had never been outta' the trunk....
01/29/02 It's hard to be humble when you're good with a hammer and dolly. Note the right rear door....
It's nice working on "real" steel, instead of the (typical) domestic throw-away stuff that has the structural rigidity of a Budweiser can.
Mangled half of the core support removed. Ready to go to the frame shop.
Note that some (idiot) wrecker operator hooked the "J" hooks around the tie rods instead of the lower control arms. If he'd paid a little attention the front wheels would not point in opposite directions....
02/03/02 Finished out and painted the abovementioned rear door.
02/10/02 (Re!) Painted the @#%&$ door. No matter what I used from my bag of tricks....tinting, flattening, cussing, obsessing....I could not get the color and "depth" right using (modern!) urethanes....so in desperation I mixed old-fashioned (single-stage) acrylic enamel. Dead nuts match. Go figure. Welcome to the Stone Age.
02/12/02 Pic of the "net" damage outdoors in good light.
Here's the donor "front cut"
And here's all I'm going to use of it. Drilled out all the OEM spot welds so it'll look "right" when it's done. There will be one *unauthorized* seam in the apron behind the ABS pump under the diagnostic plug....but you'll never see it.. This will be positioned/fit/welded on a frame rack with computerized measuring eq. so everything fits. Painted the "apron cut" to match, saving the OEM decals....it'll get scarred up by the time it's welded on, but it'll be a much nicer job touching it up rather than getting overspray all over my nice pristine engine, etc.
Donor hood is not so nice. Dinged and jammed all over.....and at least two layers of paint.. Grrrr.
Update 02/21...."at least two layers of paint" turned into FOUR (mumble/grumble/bitch/whine....) once I started standing/repairing. Sanded all that crap off.
02/20/02 Hood & fender is "cut in" and ready to screw on. Shouldn't have had to spend a day straightening them out....
Here's the Shop Foreman/Central Alarm System/Leftover Food Recycling Unit. The only thing he knows about Mercedes-Benz cars is that they provide his Purina.....so he likes 'em.... Whoever said a dog's life was bad wasn't my dog. Looks like a good gig.
02/21/02 Got brave, stupid, or bored.....and painted the replacement sheetmetal before installing it.....*we'll see....*....
Still grates me to be using old-style acrylic enamel....
Update 03/05.....somehow, I got lucky and managed to "hang" ALL of the sheetmetal with no chips....including installing the hood alone.
02/27/02 In and out of the frame shop in ONE day. Nice to have a friend in the business....
This is Jack....of Jack's Frame Repair in Carson City MI.....He's forgot more than any of us mere mortals are ever gonna' know about this stuff....and his equipment is nothing less than state of the art.
03/01/02 Apron cut is tacked in securely, sheetmetal is fit, and it generally is beginning to re-assume it's former grandeur.
Next step will be finish welding the apron cut in, seam seal & sound deadener of repairs, then touch then engine compartment up. After that, final assembly/fitment.
03/05/02 It's fit, welded and sealed, stoneguard/undercarriage coating is restored....lights and grille are installed, and it's all re-assembled under the hood. Now.....if the bumper ever gets here, I can finish it.
European headlights and clear corner lights.....
Scroll back up to the top and look what this corner started as...
Core support looks official. Still waiting on the (correct) electric cooling fans.
03/10/02 Pretty well done. Needs an alignment, and a windshield......and the a/c evcauated and recharged (given the current weather THIS is not a priority...).
03/11/02 A/C's charged (R-12 still.....glad I stashed a bunch...) 48 degree's outta' the center dash outlet in my 72 degree shop.... Front end's aligned (and my "string job" was frighteningly close)......took it out and drove/flogged it half the afternoon. Nice piece of machinery.
An equally pristine '92 300E.
About 10 days, start-to-finish....
Hit in the rear at a stoplight. Couldn't have been fun watching this event unfold in the mirror... Trunk lid, rt. rear quarter, taillight panel & lights, and rear bumper are all "history".
Couple more pics of the "gross" damage....after installing a "straight" trunk lid and hinges. The trunk lid is setting where it's "supposed" to be.
Here's how it's getting fixed. The whole rear section of an (equally mint) 300D. Here's the same "clip" with the section I used removed. The car was cut/seamed in the same manner allowing proper panel overlaps.
Ready to roll into the spray booth.
Good as new.
Back to the Services page