Mercedes SL320 R129 - Part 2

Mercedes SL320 R129 - Part 2

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Discussion

jonnyconnor

42 posts

91 months

Thursday 30th May
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Great thread, keep the updates coming really looking forward to following your progress with this car!

niva441

1,621 posts

179 months

Thursday 30th May
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Seconded, you're making me remember how much I miss mine.

Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Thursday 30th May
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What next....

April 2019
Time to have a go at the split seam on the rear window.
Ideally they need replaced due to being quite cloudy but I haven't used the car with the soft top up that often so for now it's a patch repair job.

The problem - about 10" of seam holding the side of the rear window into the hood had come apart.




After more time on the internet and youtube I bought an awl which looked suitable for the job.





The thread is black whereas the original is silver grey.
My stitching looks OK on the outside but I have a fair few spare loops on the inside where I did not pull the tension properly.
I only stuck the needle in my hand once. Ouch!

The awl is fairly easy to use but I am not sure how well I could do the full stitching with a new window. The section I did was quite accessible.


Next job was to clean the soft top.
I vacuumed it using the brush attachment. Sprayed it with Autoglym interior shampoo and after it had dried, vacuumed it again.
The cloth is in pretty good condition with only a few minor marks on it.

I then masked it off and treated it liberally with Fabsil Gold.
I was a bit concerned that it would soak through as I was a bit generous with the application but seems to be all good.
The car is generally a toy for nice days but I live in Scotland and my years of biking have taught me that it's going to get wet at some point.




Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Thursday 30th May
quotequote all
I used the car to go to a couple of classic car shows.

First was the the Ayrshire clubs show in Kilmarnock. A cold day for open top motoring but i dressed for it and the heater and heated seats work a treat.
There were two SL320's on show which was nice to see.

I only took one picture which is of a car that a young guy that I used to work with has built. Based, I think, on a late 20's Ford. I think it's fantastic.




The following weekend I went to the Stirling clubs show at Bridge of Allan. It was a beautiful day for it.
Had a chat with a gent who was showing his 99 SL500 in the same colour and with the same wheels as mine. His only had 50k on the clock but it was nice to see what an immaculate one looked like.
He also had his 2.6 190 on show and had a 190 Cosworth at home. Sounds like a nice collection.

I didn't take any pictures at the show but did take some on my detour route home.

Glen Lochy




Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Thursday 30th May
quotequote all
I had previously taken it to Stronachlachar.
It's lovely there, but the road from Kinlochard to Stronachlachar is in a pretty shocking state and gave the old Merc good rattling.

Loch Arklet on the road to Stronachlachar




One of the worst offenders for squeaking was the triangular trim piece on the nearside door. It didn't fit properly and on the way home the squeaking annoyed me that much that I took it off.

So, that was next on the list.
I noticed that the top of the door trim was bowed out a bit just below the triangular trim so decided that was contributing to the problem.
Flushed with the success of removing the OS door trim I decided it was worth a look.

The first surprise on removing the door trim was this .......






Now, I'm no audio expert, but could this be causing the lack of bass form the nearside .............


A quick rummage around my garage revealed an old pioneer speaker which is older than the car.
I blew the dust of it, fitted some suitable wiring connectors and made some retaining brackets. Lined the frame with some sticky back cloth foam stuff and it works (mostly).
Like I said, I'm no audio expert but it is definitely better.



Forgot to mention, only the radio currently works. I can load CD's but get an error message and the discs pop back out.
The radio is ok but loses reception when I head off to the hills. I may change the unit at some point ...... or not.
When the roof is down there is a fair bit of noise and trying to listen to music over that is not very appealing to me.
I don't listen to music when biking and the Discovery has a fantastic sound system if that's what I need.

The car had been fitted with a Parrot system at some point. I don't know if it works. I found part of it jammed down the side of the seat where it had been squashed I assume by the seat being moved. If I change the head unit I will also pull all the extra wiring associated with the parrot.

Back to the door trim repair.
I found that I could not get the top of the door trim, near the front, to stay in it's clips. I think it has been bent out for too long as is now set with a curve that is stronger than the retaining clips.

The little retaining tang at the bottom of the triangular piece was broken and only held in place by the vinyl trim.
I repaired it with a bent strip of aluminium (for weight saving) and some araldite.







The squeak appeared to be from the two pieces of trim rubbing together so I fitted some pieces of the sticky back cloth stuff to see if that would help keep them apart.
It worked.
But, I wish I had been a bit neater with trimming the foam. Time will tell if I leave it like that or if I go back for another go.




Over the months I have had a few goes at cleaning the inside and each time it gets a wee bit better. Being so light coloured, it does not hide marks well.






It has taken me a while but I am now used to the bright interior.


Heading into Inveraray the other day, I got a wave from a gent in a silver SL.
I've not had that for a long time. Happens all the time with bikers but I think I would need to go back to my time with the old beetle or the series 3 Land Rover when that was common place.

What's next?
Clock up some miles with the roof down.

Future jobs?
The front shocks have been changed but I think the rears are original. They feel fine when driving so will stay for now.
I should keep on top of the bits of rust around the car so may remove the rear arch liners and tidy it up.
I did notice when putting the car back together that the underseal under the battery had a wee bit of a crunch when pushed.
I decided to ignore it for now. I suspect that will need further investigation come winter time.
The car would ideally get a respray but that would mean sorting the front wings.
The NS arch was scraped against something before I got it and was bare metal. For now I have ground it down, treated it and covered it in black paint. It'll do for now.
The front bumper is riddled with chips and has been broken and repaired before. I might DIY it to tidy it up.
Two of the tyres go down slowly and all four need replaced before much longer. I may get the wheels refurbed at the same time.

Just remembered - I kept the old rear springs but swapped them over. I also swapped the rubber cups on the front springs when I fitted the second set of LCA's. The car now sits pretty level.


And that's me up to date.

Maintenance spend tracker - £1,519

It is a nice car to drive. Well suited to country roads and plenty fast enough for me. I'm getting 30mpg but I do drive quite sedately.
I would say it is a practical classic. It is very easy to live with and so far has been quite easy to work on (apart from getting teh subframe off).
I like the engineered solid build.
I like wee things like the fact that the brake back shields are still solid after 19 years. It's good to be spending time working on a car that is not winding down it's last few years.

My time wandering around the classic shows left me encouraged that I had made a good choice with the SL.
The quality aspect suits me and the usability of the car is good.
The back seat is a perfect size for my daughters dachshund..... and not much else really.

Johnny Raydome

545 posts

53 months

Thursday 30th May
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Really enjoyable write up, some great pics and thanks for the read smile


bern

413 posts

168 months

Thursday 30th May
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Superb work mate. Great to see someone doing their own work and improvising along the way.

TR4man

3,461 posts

122 months

Friday 31st May
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Really interesting reading.

I still have the idea of using one of these as a daily driver, but not being mechanically minded it could be expensive using specialists to sort out these niggling jobs.

martin mrt

3,147 posts

149 months

Friday 31st May
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Fantastic thread for a tremendous car, keep it going.

I’ve always had a soft spot for an R129 but I feel the boat may have sailed for me getting one.

Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Friday 31st May
quotequote all
There has been a lot of talk for a lot of years about prices increasing but from what I have seen prices seem to be pretty steady which is probably for the best.
There seems to be lots for sale around £4 or £5k and while some of them will be poor, I would imagine there are some good buys out there.
Dealers have the £15 to £20k or more cars but they do seem to have them for a long time.

Mine is effectively a big toy, bought as a more practical version of a motorbike where it’s more suited to the weather and for walking around a destination. My bike boots and all the clobber are not good for walking about.

Hereward

2,358 posts

178 months

Saturday 1st June
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Fabulous stuff. You are the ideal owner for this car. Enjoy the Summer.

jke11y

2,934 posts

185 months

Sunday 2nd June
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I’m glad you have bonded with the car and are enjoying it more now.

I don’t have a spare 90 minutes to spend fettling a car at the moment never mind 90 hours, so it’s definitely gone to a good home.

From memory I did the front shocks when I bought it in 2011, rears and exhaust definitely original. Aerial was also new then. The CD player never worked but the parrot lets you stream Bluetooth. The wing and bumper damage was my wife; in about 2014 she hit a wall and a scaffolding lorry in the space of a week. Never got round to sorting it as life got in the way.

I had a wonderful 40-odd k miles in it and i am glad it’s now in the hands of someone keen to restore it. Watching with interest.

Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Monday 3rd June
quotequote all
Hi J,
Impressive memory! Looking back at the receipts, the front shocks were indeed replaced in 2011.

I can understand how your wife managed to bump the bumper. If you look back at the Jedburgh picture on page one of the thread, I had not intended to park that far forward. The reg plate was actually under the metal barrier.

I hope your cabriolet is going well and that we get some better weather soon.

niva441

1,621 posts

179 months

Monday 3rd June
quotequote all
Yogioes said:
The steering was still wandery, particularly at low speeds, but actually weights up nicely on the move.
Originally, I felt it was feeling a bit vague and almost oversteery but now feel it is actually quite balanced. Perhaps too many front wheel drive cars in my recent past.

Edited by Yogioes on Wednesday 29th May 16:20
I found with mine the initial on centre steering response was a lot higher than other vehicles I drive, but soon acclimatised.

Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Friday 19th July
quotequote all
With the lovely weather we have had recently, the car has had a few runs. Nothing major, mostly just pottering about for the sake of it.

In June, on a day when it was 23 deg, I took a run to Castle Semple at Lochwinnoch for an ice cream. Perfect temperature for a liesurely drive. No need for the wind deflector or the side windows.

Returned via Quarriers Village.
If you like church conversions, there are some lovely houses built into what was Mount Zion Church




Stopped off for a picture in the perfect environment ..... for my other car.
I wanted to drive to the top of the hill but was too scared an angry farmer might come along.




While turning the heating off, the screen went a bit funny. I have since found that if I press the surround it returns to normal so I am in no hurry to mess with it. It doesn't affect the operation, just looks bad.




Having kind of repaired the speaker as previously mentioned, I have been looking at replacement units.
However, I decided to have a look at the non working CD player first.
When I insert a CD, the unit displays an error message and pops the CD back out.
I started with the optimistic approach that if I tried it many times it might just start working.
Optimism and reality - that did not work.

Next, I tried removing the unit. With it out of the dash, I tried inserting a CD again.
This time, when it ejected I noticed something else was in there.
I unplugged it and took it to the bench to remove the top and this is what I found.






PS - Don't tell anybody my radio code, it's a secret!


While we are on the interior, what are the slots in the centre console for?
I thought they would be for CD's but I cannot figure out how they would fit?
Sorry for the poor pictures but hopefully you get the idea.






While I had the CD out, I decided to remove the Parrot system. I was not planning to use it and the small controller had been squashed and broken down the side of the seat.
As an aside to removing the Parrot, the radio now shows the station name rather than the frequency which I am fairly sure is all it displayed before.

One dead parrot.

|https://thumbsnap.com/AIYlUszX[/url]


Last weekend I went to the beach at Seamill.
In the picture you might just be able to see my daughters wee dog in the back seat. The dog and the back "seat" are a good match.
In the background you might also spot a 124 Cab.




And very smart it was too

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Jobs to be done .....
It will need tyres fairly soon, particularly as two of them lose pressure quite quickly.
I may, or may not, get the wheels refurbished at the same time.
The place that powder coated the subframe and other parts were excellent but I wasn't happy with the shade of silver that he was using. Picky? Me?

It does have some some squeaks and rattles but these have been a lot less of a concern since I got the CD working....

I haven't used it much with the roof up, but when I do I am aware of the faded rear plastic windows. Also, a small split has started in one of the small windows. I don't suppose that will get any better.

I managed to replace some missing stitching but I think that a full replacement might be beyond my skill and patience level.

I spotted a lovely 91 SL320 in Largs. Very good condition and with very clear windows. Sorry, no pictures.

Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Friday 19th July
quotequote all
Also, still not sure this is the car for me. Actually, I'm not sure a convertible is for me.

I bought this as a practical alternative to replace my motorbike.
Not sure I am ready for that yet and have been looking at replacing my bike with a newer one.

If I do decide to sell it, no doubt I will wait until winter when nobody is looking to buy.

jke11y

2,934 posts

185 months

Saturday 20th July
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The centre cubby thing used to be a CD holder - I gutted it and turned it into the fabric lined beauty you now have, as it was more useful for general storage than storing CDs.

I actually passed that 124 cab on the A737 that day and we both looked at each other in surprise.

Yogioes

Original Poster:

100 posts

44 months

Thursday 1st August
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I took the car for a run on one of the sunny days. Ended up at Crarae Gardens approx 10 miles past Inverary. Very pleasant it was too.
I had the little dog as a travelling companion but you can see the car in the background.




As mentioned a few times, I bought the convertible as a practical alternative to the motorbike but I don't really think open top motoring is for me.
And, well, you know how it is ..... rather than sell my bike, I kept looking at new ones and ..... not surprisingly, I have ordered a new one.

On that basis, I am going to advertise the SL and see if I get a buyer.

Decisions, decisions. I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure.

TR4man

3,461 posts

122 months

Friday 2nd August
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You seem to be asking a very reasonable price for it.

paulyv

711 posts

71 months

Saturday 3rd August
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Part of me hopes this does not sell, as I have so enjoyed your well-written descriptions of your highly competent work. Thanks.