280SL Maintenance

280SL Maintenance

March 2017

27,320 miles on the odometer

Front Shock Absorbers

The front end on my car seemed to “rebound” a little more than it should so I decided to replace the front shocks. The rear shocks seemed fine. Most folks on the Pagoda Forum favor sticking with Bilstein shocks which were original equipment on the 280SL. I ordered a pair from Bud’s Benz. The front shocks are part number 113-320-003o and they were $250 for the pair. The kit includes the rubber bush, the rubber cushion, cupped washer and new nylock nut for the top mount and new nylock nuts for the bottom mount.

Bilstein front shock kit

Bilstein’s as they arrived

Removing the old shocks and installing the new ones was approximately a one hour job. First I opened the bonnet and removed the nylock nuts, cup washer and rubber cushion from the upper mounting point in the engine bay. I just used a small adjustable wrench to hold the top of the shock shaft and then loosened the nut with a 17mm wrench. The photo shows using vice grips, but an adjustable wrench worked much better.

Shock shaft with rubber cushion, washer and nylock nut

Holding Shock Shaft while removing unlock nut

I then made sure the car was in park, the handbrake fully on, and I had a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires. I then jacked up the front of the car with a floor jack with the front suspension cradle crossmember as my jacking point. After getting the car high enough, I put two jack stands under the front of the car on each side at the frame rail. The jacking points I used are shown in this image which I located on the Pagoda Forum. 

Lifting points allowed on W113 Pagoda

I then removed the hubcaps on each front wheel and then removed both tires to give improved access to the shocks.

Front Wheel/Tire with Lug Bolts

I then loosened and removed the two nylock nuts on each lower shock mount with a 13 mm socket/ratchet. 

Lower Shock Mount Nylock Nuts

The shocks can then be removed by compressing the shock (pulling the shaft downward) and tilting them at an angle. This does require some force. I discovered that my shocks did not have the upper rubber bush that is supposed to be placed on the shock shaft above the shock rubber boot!

It was then time to install the new shocks. There was a very handy tip on the Pagoda Forum that helped immensely with the installation. That is to compress the shocks on one’s workbench and then use a long (in my case two) zip tie to keep the shock compressed as you slide it into place. So, after securing the zip ties, I placed the rubber bush on the shock center shaft, and slid the shock into place with the lower mounting studs through the holes in the lower “A” arm. Once in place, the zip tie can be cut. I then installed the new nylock nuts provided in the kit on the lower mount. It is helpful to angle the lower mount to approximate the “A” arm angle before placing the shock in the car.

Front Shock Compressed and Zip-Tied

Angled Lower Mount

New Nylock Nuts in Place

With the lower mounts in place and loosely tightened, the upper rubber bushes in place, and with the shock shafts protruding through the upper mount into the engine bay, I replaced the wheels/tires and lowered the car to the ground.

I then installed the new upper rubber cushions, cup washes and nylock nuts on the shock shafts and tightened them firmly. Again, using the adjustable wrench to hold the shock shaft while tightening the 17mm nylock hex nut.

New Rubber Cushion, Cupped Washer, and Nylock Nut Tightened in Place

I then reached under the car and firmly tightened the lower mount nylock nuts since the weight of the car was now on the full assembly.

Then it was just a matter of reinstalling the hub caps and the front shock replacement job was complete.

December

26,762 miles on the odometer

Coolant, Brake Fluid and Brake Hoses

I was tied up with projects on the Jaguar MK2 so I had Mid-Atlantic AutoWerkes in Harrisonburg, VA flush and replace both the coolant and the brake fluid in the car. While at it, it was the perfect time to go ahead and replace the four rubber brake hoses to each wheel. I purchased the brake hoses from Bud’s Benz.

November 2013

26,750 miles on odometer

Transmission Linkage

I backed out of the garage and put the car into forward only to find that the car still traveled in reverse. After checking with the Pagoda Forum it was suggested that the problem was one with a simple fix. The plastic bushings on either end of the linkage between the shifter and the transmission fail and require replacement. Al of $4.00 each! I replaced the lower bushing and was once again able to shift gears as one would expect.

Broken Linkage Bushing

Broken Linkage Bushing

Transmission Lower Linkage

Transmission Lower Linkage

New Linkage Bushing

New Linkage Bushing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lubrication

Changed the oil with  six and one-half quarts of Brad Penn 10W-40 oil. Greased all grease fittings under the car.

Lubrication Points for 280SL

Lubrication Points for 280SL

Grease Points for 280SL

Grease Points for 280SL

October 2013

Windscreen Washer and Nozzle

The washer nozzle was loose and missing the retaining clip used to hold it in place. Someone had placed a “glob” of dum-dum on the nozzle stem to try to hold it. Why they didn’t fix it properly is beyond me. I purchased the clip from K&K manufacturing. To fix the problem I raised the bonnet to reveal three chrome phillips head self-tapping screws that secured the chrome ventilator grille to the body. Once removed access to the nozzle was much improved. I then noticed that the 2″ black tubing linking the nozzle and the clear reinforced tubing to the pump had deteriorated. I picked up a little vacuum hose of the proper size and replaced the worn out piece, and pushed on the nozzle and the clip. Easy fix! Then with a little adjustment of the jets with an awl I was back in business. I also added windscreen washer fluid to the reservoir.

Chrome Ventilator Grille

Chrome Ventilator Grille

Loose Washer Nozzle

Loose Washer Nozzle

Nozzle Retainer Clip

Nozzle Retainer Clip

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rear Fender Reflector

The soft aluminum frame of the right rear reflector was dented so I purchased a new plastic lens and aluminum frame from Bud’s Benz and replaced the dented piece. The lens and frame are held in place with one screw at the rear of the lens.

Right Rear Reflector

Right Rear Reflector

September/August 2013

Dash Lights

The dash lights were not working at all in the 280SL. I read about the issue in the Pagoda Group Forum and discovered that the rheostat is typically the problem. While the rheostat can be refurbished I decided to go with a workaround suggested in the Technical Manual. By connecting the proper wiring to the lights and the rheostat with a jumper wire the rheostat can essentially be bypassed with the result that the lights are on with full brightness when turned on. At full brightness; however, the lights are not particularly bright. The result is that I now have all lights working! The entire process is described here:

http://www.sl113.org/wiki/Electrical/Rheostat

Rheostat Terminals to be Jumped

Rheostat Terminals to be Jumped

Rheostat Jumper Wire

Rheostat Jumper Wire

Rear Bumpers

The rear bumpers were not in good shape with the left when having several dents and blemishes. After some research, I purchased new aftermarket bumpers from K&K Manufacturing http://www.kkmfg.com/. These do not have the holes for the overriders with which I was pleased. I much prefer the European look. I was very pleased with the quality of the bumpers. I painted the underside of the bumpers with rustoleum galvanized silver paint and then with two coats of an off-white latex paint. I also took the opportunity to media blast and paint the bumper brackets with POR-15 Black paint. Again, I was pleased with the bumpers after mounting on the car.

Rear Bumper Underside

Rear Bumper Underside

Driver’s Seat Rails

After examining the seat rails on the driver’s seat, it was clear they were shot.

I found someone who had some used rails that were still in good shape and available at a reasonable price so I bought them.  I cleaned and greased them and installed them on my seat. I then reinstalled the seat in the car ( four 6mm hex head capscrews with split washers) and it was as if I had a new seat! Everything is good now.

Automatic Shiftgate Insert Guard

The original plastic guard was broken. I ordered a replacement from K&K Manufacturing. Fortunately, there was a post in the Technical Manual on the Pagoda Group Forum that explained the process to install the new guard. After pulling up the carpet on the passenger side and removing the shifter ball by holding a box wrench under the ball and tapping it upward with a hammer, I was able to locate the four 6mm hex head screws and flat washers that secured the chrome shift gate to the transmission cover. I removed the shift gate and disconnected the VDO light from the backside of the plastic insert. After removing the insert and installing the new one following the directions on the Forum http://www.sl113.org/wiki/TransmissionClutch/Shifter . I polished the chrome and reinstalled the assembly to the transmission cover. The insert now looks as it should and the lighted shift points are more visible than before.

Shiftgate Insert

Shiftgate Insert

Shiftgate Insert

Shiftgate Insert

Shiftgate Insert

Shiftgate Insert

 

Wiper Blades

I purchased new aluminum wiper blades from Bud’s Benz and installed them, replacing some very old and worn black arms.

Bosch Wiper Blades

Bosch Wiper Blades

August, 2013

I began my ownership of the Pagoda with a good cleaning. This included claying the paint, polishing it with Griot’s garage polishes and then waxing the car. Then I began to make a list of those items needing attention.

 

 

 

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