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EXTERIORS & BODY REPAIRS Bring your beloved back to its former glory - or just polish the chrome some more!

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  #1  
Old 21st June 2008, 05:07 PM
Lukas Lukas is offline
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Default Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Hi all,

Was jacking up the front of the car using the vehicle jack and the jacking point under the drivers door, when cracking noises started coming from the jack point. Lowered the jack, got out a screwdriver to start poking around, and long story short - there is a lot more rust that I thought.

Passenger side, under front door:





Drivers side, under front door:







While I don't think this rust is structural, it is serious and significant. It is also a sign that there could be a lot more that has not yet presented itself. Am sure it could be fixed (new sheet metal), but would be a fair bit of work. This is in addition to the previously known rust in the boot, around sunroof, etc.

Questions:

1) What should I do - opinions please:

a) Parts the car myself?

b) Transplant engine (86,000km on it) into another 350?

c) Try to repair the rust?

d) Sell to someone else for bits and start over?

e) Something else?

2) Is this all typical rust, or more than that? There is evidence of minor accident damage where the rust is.

I've not yet spent significant $$$ on car bits that can't be removed (eg paint respray), and save the engine and the panelwork the car is crap anyway, so no significant financial loss in terms of parts. Car itself cost me $1k, and it seems I could get a similar figure back in parts.

Certainly seem to be some better w116 bodies out there on EBay and the likes, although obviously a closer inspection would be required prior to purchase.



Lukas

Last edited by Lukas; 19th January 2011 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Fixed pics
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  #2  
Old 21st June 2008, 05:10 PM
Lukas Lukas is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

PS - my workshop facilities are effectively 0 - all work is happening in the front yard, under a southern sky. This makes the DIY-partsing the car and engine transplant options somewhat less attractive than they otherwise might be.

PPS - please don't hesitate to tell me I've stuffed up / been ripped off - have to learn somehow.

Lukas
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  #3  
Old 21st June 2008, 06:05 PM
BenzBoy BenzBoy is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Side sills are available/can be made. At a price!! However, if there is so much rust there it will probably be elsewhere. Part it or strip and use the good bits for a better body....
Alternatively, buy a welder and experiment. It's not a totally silly idea.
Regards,
BenzBoy
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  #4  
Old 21st June 2008, 06:19 PM
B13 B13 is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Hey Lukas, bummer hey.. but you're not the 1st and at least it only cost you a G and sounds like it has at least that worth in parts.

Whitey, my TeamW116 race car is in the similar boat. I knew it had rust but fark I couldn't believe how much. None really structural but enough to be a real headache. Admittedly the car only cost $800, ran on 4 cylinders more than yours and has an engine 1 litre bigger...

Anyhoo, I wouldn't use the factory jacking holes to raise a W116 any longer, no matter how good it is. So you've learned a valuable lesson. The sills can suffer extensive rust and still look ok (ask s class about trusty rusty sometime) and Whitey's sills look good but I bet its the black paint hiding all the cancer....

You need to decide whether this hobby is for you my friend. Those of us here all have 116s because we like them (sounds obvious) even though most of us could afford a really good 126 or 140 (and the odd member who could afford a brand new S class) but who are charmed by the styling and personality of the last old-school large MB.

Since you're a Canberrab, maybe a good idea for you would be to go pay a visit and go for a drive with Cam (SELfor50) in his 400SE or Ol'silver or -bb- take you for a drive in his 6.9

I think you'll agree a good one is well worth the price and time put into it. Even if you lift your budget up a couple of grand you can usually get into a good 116 (except for the 6.9), if you utilise us here to help you pre-purchase inspect it.

I.
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  #5  
Old 21st June 2008, 06:57 PM
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116Benz 116Benz is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Nah I dont think you've stuffed up, but I would suggest maybe learning to weld, that will help with the basics. Otherwise how good are the panels? doors, boot, bonnet etc?
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  #6  
Old 22nd June 2008, 12:40 AM
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Michel Michel is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Hey Lukas, I sympathise with you .

My 690SEL had the same problems with the outer and inner sills.

So what did I do?
I had them replaced.

IF the car is straight, complete and in otherwise good confition, then it might be worth repairing it, or have it repaired...

Show us MORE pics of the car in general: interior, engine bay, front and back, etc....

Regards
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  #7  
Old 22nd June 2008, 08:59 AM
Lukas Lukas is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Hi all,

Thanks as always for the advice.

To answer some of your questions:

Why did I get the car: Have occasionally seen them around over the years, and liked the look of them. Didn't know the model names, age, or the place of the range within the Merc vehicle range. Also bit of a Merc fan in general, but have never owned one. Prefer the look of the w116es to the older Mercs (tall headlights - still quite nice, but not as good), and much better than most newer Mercs.

Saw a short ad in the paper for this one, got all excited, and thought "why not". The price was right, and the car seemed right too. This particular car was appealing because the engine was nominally good (low kms), whereas the other bits not so - am more comfortable fixing interiors and exteriors than mechanicals. Have always expected to have to do some mechanical work, fix some rust, fix the interior and get a proper respray - budget about $5k to $6k I guess.

Since having the car and learning more about the range, am probably a little keener on the 450SEL or 6.9, but appreciate there are extra costs for those vehicles (esp. 6.9).

Also a bit of learning exercise I guess - find out more about "car stuff".

Limitations: As mentioned, poor workshop facilities, and poor mechanical knowledge. Pre-w116, was limited to oil changes, a bit of heater removal and playing with some electrics. All on a VC (1980) Commodore mind, so pretty simple. Don't even have a garage / carport for the thing, although could possibly build one if it gets in good nick.

Finances: As mentioned, am expecting to pay about $5k to $6k in total for car bits, and do the work myself. Happy to learning welding (properly - have done a bit before), more mechanics, etc. Realise I can get a fairly good example for that money with change, but then there's no ownership.....

Condition of Rest of Car:

Engine: nominally good due to low kms. Got it running with fairly minimal effort, which is a good sign. No oil leaks anywhere, seems to run well enough, revs OK - could of course be better with tuning, timing, etc. Components all seem to be in good nick.

Engine bay:


Compliance:


Option codes:


Interior: Poor - suffered from moisture build-up for the long time the car sat idle. Drivers seat worn and saggy, other seats OK. Ceiling trim fair after a clean (no tears, just dirty-looking). Mouldings: mostly OK, some have the vinyl pulling off the foamy stuff underneath. Door trims: OK, some vinyl cracking and discolouration. Dash: cracked, discoloured. Carpet: Some bits OK, but generally poor / tearing. Am not to fussed about the interior issues - am happy to have a go at fixing or replacing as required.

Drivers:


Back seats (please excuse tarp covering sunroof hole):


Body:
Generally straight save a few minor dings. Doors are rust free best I can tell. Boot and bonnet OK too, as is the roof.

Rust locations (most severe first):
* Sills below both front doors as pictured above
* Both sides of boot - see pic below
* Back of front guards
* Just behind RHS front wheel arch mudflap (visible at side of car - 10c coin size)
* Engine bay where some screws have gone through bay wall (injection computer and ignition coil)
* Around sunroof hole and sunroof frame drains (treated)

Boot rust:


Door underside:


Few more pics here:
http://topklasse.net.au/forums/showthread.php?t=620

Summary

Am still keen to have a w116, although not necessarily a 350SE.

Essentially, I think the question is this: is this body shell worth fixing and fixable, or do I give up on this body shell and look for a better one?

Was planning to learn to weld anyway for the boot rust, so happy to start angle-grinding away the sills and see what's there (should probably do that regardless I suppose). That will also give me a better idea of similar rust in that area (it's a long tube you can look down, right?).

Pros:
* Keep current car with good (I think) engine
* Possibly keep costs down

Cons:
* Difficult to fix?
* Possibility of finding more problems
* Potential cost blow-outs

Is it feasible to make your own sills from sheet metal (seem to have a uniform cross-section, so 1D forming), or do you just cut them off another car? Costs involved?

Another con is that fact that it's "only" a 350SE - not a 450, not a 6.9, and not even a long chassis - all of those would seem more worthy in my opinion (apologies if that offends anyone's tastes).

Where to now? I'll think about it some more, and please do leave any further suggestions.

Anyone want a low-mileage m116 engine?

Lukas
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  #8  
Old 22nd June 2008, 10:16 AM
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WGB WGB is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

You have the standard 116 rust issues we have all faced.

Either stop now or throw yourself in boots and all and learn to weld.

I was an accomplished gas welder but learned to MIG on 116 sills.

Just be careful you don't over capitalise what will alway be a $1000 car unlessyou rally love it.

Bill
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  #9  
Old 22nd June 2008, 02:49 PM
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s class s class is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

As Bill has said, these are all standard 116 rust issues. You may find another shell with less rust, but its most unlikely you will find one with no rust at all. My red 6.9 has no rust whatsoever, but this car has spent its life garaged inland in a private collection. Such cars may come up, but are usually very expensive.

So, if you want to enjoy 116 ownership, accept that you will need to do some welding.

Be aware that the sills you see on the outside are the outer sills, which are fairly thin sheet. Behind them are the structural inner sills. Its possible that rust has got into them as well, which is a far more serious condition. What I would do is open up some of the holes you already have in the outer sill so that you can shine some strong light in there and get some glimpses of the inner sills. You will probably see surface rust. If you can see holes through the inner sills, you would need to be a fairly competent welder to deal with it.

Three options for new outer sills :

a) buy from Mercedes - I paid about $375 per side (for SEL sills), though I gather they are quite a bit more expensive in Aus.

b) cut from another car - tricky to get them out in one piece, plus you would need to find a car with rust free sills - and if you did find such a car you would probably be better off switching to that car.

c) roll your own - I have no experience with this.
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  #10  
Old 22nd June 2008, 05:13 PM
B13 B13 is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Lukas, talk to Mercules about his green '76 450SEL which has just been put on the market, before spending 1 more cent on your current 350SE.

I.
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  #11  
Old 22nd June 2008, 05:17 PM
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SELfor50 SELfor50 is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by B13 View Post
Lukas, talk to Mercules about his green '76 450SEL which has just been put on the market, before spending 1 more cent on your current 350SE.

I.

2nd that, the work he's done on removing the rust and getting that baby pristine is unreal!! And if you want an example of his workmanship i'll show you the fordedes..... if you can see through the haze of tyresmoke!

BTW: Sorry bout yesterday mate, didn't get the car off the hoist from the basic service stuff till bout 5pm... Was a long day...
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  #12  
Old 22nd June 2008, 05:59 PM
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Michel Michel is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by B13 View Post
Lukas, talk to Mercules about his green '76 450SEL which has just been put on the market, before spending 1 more cent on your current 350SE.

I.
After all that it's on the market?
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  #13  
Old 23rd June 2008, 07:09 AM
Lukas Lukas is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

Morning all,

Ta again for the tips. Still no firm decision - am leaning towards getting another beast, in better condition, and either partsing or slow-time-fixing the 350. Likely next steps:

1) Check out market for similar cars - Mercules, you have mail It does seem that a much better example can be had for slightly higher $.

2) Cut out the sills to check for structural rust - thanks for that tip s class - I suspect I will not like what I find. I'm drawing the line at structural welding, so if that's needed, the car is going to the crusher (after being bitsed).

Appreciate the cost info especially - looks like repairs will be expensive relative to car cost. Again, given the "unremarkableness" of a 350SE, makes me lean towards starting over.

Cam: no worries, know what that's like. Was crawling around under the car until 8pm the other night playing with the fuel system - paid off though. Next weekend looks clear at this stage if you want.

Lukas
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Old 23rd June 2008, 09:55 AM
B13 B13 is offline
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

The main enjoyment in this hobby of W116s is found in buying a basically good car and working on small things within your scope of skill, to improve the car. The majority of us fit into that category - look at Oscar's 350SE or even my 6.9

The major restorations, well all I can say its hats-off to those who have the skill set, time and finances to do that, because its something I would be unable to do. I'm particularly bad at dealing with rust (which kinda makes the interest in 116s seem strange), yet can handle most medium complexity mechanical type jobs: removing/installing and engine or trans, fixing fuel injection system, suspension removal/reinstall, interior stuff.

The 6.9 on eBay in Melb looks good, esp. if it has the same BBS wheels as mine has. It looks the goods in the pictures, but as usual get a pre-purchase inspection in your case esp. for rust.

I.
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Old 23rd June 2008, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Rust, Rust and the Meaning of Life

B13 said what I was going to say, get someone to check it out for you. The last thing you want is a repeat performance of what you have now, or even a worse version. I think this car has come up on ebay before, for some reason (ebay watchers might know) was it the one that the photos had a blue tint on ebay?
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