Detailing your engine bay

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Styria

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I recently attended the MBCNSW concours d'elegance at Parramatta, and one vehicle, among many others, to catch my eye was the underbonnet section of a 380SL - picture previously posted, but will do so again right now.

MercedesClubconcours2011032.jpg

I had a really critical, and sober look at the quality of this engine bay, and for the life of me I could not work out how anyone could have achieved the sort of standard that I was witnessing. I decided basically there and then that there was no way that I could achieve that sort of quality. I do pride myself on, well, sometimes overdoing things, yet I still keep on looking at the results of my efforts and, I think, hmmm....just what is required to improve on my workmanship. If I can find it readily, I'll post a pic. of Gleaming Beauty's engine bay. So, it was yesterday that I attended to Rolls Royce concours d'elegance, and among many absolutely splendid examples, I came across this, I think, about Red over Silver - Silver Dawn. As it turned out, the owner, and I had met him previously, happened to have one side of the bonnet up, and what did I see ?

CARDISPLAYDAYS008.jpg

...an engine bay indistinguisable from new - in fact, much better than new. I was gob-smacked. So I asked Abs. (the owner) sort of discreetly what it had cost him and had he done the work himself. The answer was in the negative on his part, but he did venture to say that the cost was $10K. , but he sort of added that there were ' a few more dollars' he would still have to square up with. Now, there was my answer as to why I'd have no chance of attaining that standard. Very simple. Lack of money. Someone gave me $10K. and I might go close. See what you guys think. BTW, the rest of the car was just as good, and I wonder if it was part of the ribbon recipients. Regards Styria

Okay, that's the car in question - the appearance of the boot, again everything like new

CARDISPLAYDAYS010.jpg

...and this is a pic. of the overall quality of the car - honestly, as good as new. The paintwork - second to none.

CARDISPLAYDAYS007.jpg
 
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260ebenz

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Both the 380SL and Rolls engines look superb.

I myself thought I spent good time and effort cleaning the engine in the 260E which has improved out of sight.

But compared to the two engines in the photos I have more engine bay cleaning work to do.

Cheers.
 

SEL_69L

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I have access to a 3000 p.s.i. water blaster. Much too powerful to use on the delicate and old rubber and plastic parts in a W116 engine bay. It is possible to kill the electrics.

I do use this equipment with great effect and ease on my drive car, however,
I will buy a 300 psi domestic water blaster and will use this with much circumspection, on my 6.9. Just have to be very careful where I aim it.

I was at a Mercedes coucours about 4 years ago, and a W109 6.3 won the engine bay detail award. The owner in this case used a gentle degreaser and a domestic water blaster on a regular basis.

I will use the 3000 psi equipment this weekend on my 6.9, but underneath, to clean up spilled suspension hydraulic oil stains. I also have access to a lance, which sprays degreaser into exactly the right spots where it is required.
 

260ebenz

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Have to do underneath of the 260E for next years Concours would one of the water blasters you mention be okay to use for this job SEL_69L?

Thank you.
 

Oversize

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Well a water blaster certainly cannot compare to $10K of detail work, but it's certainly an improvement! On a budget, I'd start by replacing obviously deteriorated plastic and rubber bits, followed by painting and replating the items that are obvious to the glancing eye.

I must say one of the first things I noticed in the under bonnet pics of the 500SL in the current edition of MB Enthusiast was the cracked coolant expansion tank. I wasn't going to say anything as I thought I'd appear pedantic, but since the subject's been raised.... ;)
 

260ebenz

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Cracked expansion tank in the 500SL I bet that would fetch a pritty penny to repair?

You would think the owner of the SL AMG and perhaps someone from MB Enthusiast would have noticed the cracked expansion tank before putting the article together and photos of the car in the magazine?

Thanks for the advice about the underbody cleaning for my car SEL_69L most appreciated.
 

CraigS

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I spoke to a rather elderly gentleman looking at the same RR engine bay, and he apparently owned one similar for 40+ years. He was VERY critical of the incorrectness of the engine bay, and in particular the gloss black paint used on most that you can see in the photo. He said this would not have been factory correct. I suspect he is correct.
 
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Styria

Styria

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Hi Craig, of course there will always be the so called "purist" that will find fault with the restoration of that engine bay. The same as you'd get many that would throw their arms up in the air looking at the two tone paint job on Gleaming Beauty. Those sort of people, and I do not mean to be derogatory, will always find something to criticize - whether that'd be too glossy a paint job, or new upholstery - well, it doesn't have the 'patina' of old, possibly cracked leather, and you'd never be able to satisfy their quirky demands and over critical appraisal. I stay away from those people.

I know that the engine bay on that car was over-restored, but who is there to say that Bentley or Rolls Royce would not have used similar materials, such as two pack paint, had it been available back in the '20s and '30s ? Or one may query the standards aimed for and required at, for instance, Pebble Beach ? No, I give full credit to the owner who was prepared to spend hard earned cash on his pride and joy. Regards Styria
 

BenzBoy

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It can be tricky. I had one Concours' judge have an almost complete melt down over the state of the engine bay of my Spirit, claiming it was over-restored. He was most upset when I showed him it was factory original right down to the paper tags on the wiring loom. He then argued it was over prepared and quite put out when I produced a bottle of R-R engine polish from the boot to show him that the whole presentation was authentic.
True, 2 pac and powder coating was not available in the 1950s but it would be hard to argue against their use today for a restoration, simply because they are far more durable. The key would be to use newer finishes at the correct gloss levels and that is very easy to determine.
Now if you really want to get into a topic that makes grown men cry, try the discussion about heading up of screws...to "head or not to head" has been known to bring people undone at the seams. :eek:
Regards,
Brian
 
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Styria

Styria

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So BenzBoy, in the end did you win or did he win ? Did you try and influence the judge or threaten him to throw him to the dogs, or incur the displeasure of Olga ? :D When I find some photos, I might be able to take this discussion a little further. Regards Styria
 

BenzBoy

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Of course I won.
It is totally unethical to try to influence a judge and of course I can't enter a Concours at the moment because I take a dim view of Presidents who enter their own Concours.
Now as to what Miss Olga would do; well that would be unprintable. :D
Regards,
Brian
 

Oversize

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This is all precisely why I'll never enter a concours event. :mad: I'd much prefer to personalize my cars than restore them to stock. I'd rather enjoy driving a car and be relaxed if I do enter an event than get all stressed for not getting it quite right. Gimme a hot rod (or custom car) show any day!
 

Tony66_au

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Believe it or not but I've seen such discussions over Valiants lol and the whole New old stock parts argument, over restoration and paint quality thing, hilarious in the extreme and the purists really go to town criticizing what is actually a nice car.

I think that personal expression in a restoration is just that, the making a car ones own and considering the blood, sweat and skin not to mention dollars we spend on cars these purists show a lot of gall bitching, pissing and sniping cars on display.

The great equaliser is when they have their own cars on display, usually trailer queens which is a pet hate of mine.

Drive and enjoy.

As for engine bay finishes?

Its all about time, more time and product.

A good metal polisher will go justice to alloy parts without buffing them to an unnatural state, and the hard work is getting the engine and bay to a clean state before starting on the detailing work.

I knew of a Jag guy who drives his show car weekly come rain or shine, the car was a nut and bolt resto right down to the correct thickness brass and copper washers individually de seamed and checked for colour and thickness, the constant chasing of new old stock parts in the UK and at a guess over 20k worth of genuine Jag parts in his very impressive carriage house (As one does not park ones Jaguar in something as common as a Garage :).

I rebuilt a loom for him years ago when i had my Mk X and the guy even supplied the loom wrap he wanted me to use and the various terminations along with huge photo prints he took using a 2 1/4 inch (120) landscape camera (He took great pains to point this out)

But the finish when done was enough to leave me speechless and he then suggested we go for a drive and headed for the passenger seat, a fussy old fart but a true enthusiast.

His revenge on the Concours was to park his car outside with a small board and the bonnet down, open by request which was how i met him at the Jag day at Albert Park years ago.


Tony
 
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Lukas

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This is all precisely why I'll never enter a concours event.

Ditto, and it seems to be a common theme based on the last few ACT German car events - lots of cars of a quite good standard that only go in display class (which isn't really entering a competition in my book). I guess people clean / restore / maintain their cars to a level they are satisfied with, and others can think what they like.

Agree also with the comments re pressure cleaning - works great, but be careful. Best done while the car is on ramps / stands, from underneath. I also spry on undiluted degreaser with a little squirty bottle first, leave it to soak for a few minutes, and then blast off.
 

WiSeGuYY

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Hey GODFATHER , very interesing cars indeed and i gree that the engine bay of the rolls and the 380 are stunning.
About what BRIAN said about the judge and that discussion is very common ( pitty) and give sour grapes feelings about different point of views .
when someone restore a car out of love or profession i'm not sure judge by another person have the right to put you down for any reason ,that why i agree with MARK and TONY's openion not to enter ,i love the guy who put it out and allow interested people to see it on demand at least after doing all work you can bare , don't let no one to put you down out of ignorance ( like BRIAN's case ) where the judge didn't have enough knowledge to no original from restored item.

REGARDS

TAREK
 
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Styria

Styria

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This is an old thread started by ChrisP. back when......

http://www.autopiaforums.com/forums/detailers-showcase/24566-1975-mercedes-benz-450-sel-w116.html

The thread obviously goes a little further than just the engine bay - in fact, would it not be nice to have just about each and every one of our 116s in that condition ? The guy Dean, BTW, gives a detailed account of how he achieved that standard of finish and it makes good reading. The pictures are great, and informative. Regards Styria
 

260ebenz

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Engine bay of that 450SEL looks immaculate and also the interior.

I don't like the look of the US style bumpers though.
:eek:
 

WiSeGuYY

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Hey GODFATHER , nice looking car thanks for sharing this post .

TIM , i share your view i don't like the US bumpers , in my w116 project BLU i removed the US BUMPER leading to many modifications to return the front to carry the Europian ones .
In the US specs they don't have the luxury to drive otherwise .

REGARDS

TAREK
 
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Styria

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Just for comparison, not that it stands a chance. During the lengthy almost 12 months lay-off, I decided to sort of re-paint the engine bay of Gleaming Beauty. This is the result, as best as can be seen from these photographs.

GleamingBeautyRestoration187.jpg

GleamingBeautyRestoration188.jpg

GleamingBeautyRestoration189.jpg

It shouldn't be forgotten that Gleaming Beauty, as a rule, is an every day driver. However, I do degrease and clean the underneath on a three monthly basis. It makes it nice and easy. Also, don't forget that both heads and inlet manifold, exhausts etc. etc. were removed a bit over two years ago as can be seen from the valve grind and de-coke threads. This of course gave me the opportunity to clean, paint etc. many of the components under the engine bay. Also, Gleaming Beauty, when sold originally, sported the TAXI colour - obviously in the engine bay as well. That's been bugging me for sixteen years - i.e. a different colour under the bonnet. So I basically hand painted as many areas as possible at the time of the valve grind and during the last lay off. It sure isn't concours, but I am more than pleased with her appearance now. Regards Styria
 
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