£3500 rust repair or a bodge job

sillwood

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280sl 1985
Hoping someone can help me with this.

I bought a 1985 280sl earlier in the year and have unfortunately discovered rust in the plenum chamber/bulkhead. Looking through previous posts on this site I see that it's a recurring problem on the cars, and one I should have been on the look out for!

I've had a quote for repairing this from a reputable mercedes specialist, at a cost of £3500. To be honest, the car does not really warrant that kind of expenditure - it's never going to win any awards. However, I do want to sort it out somehow as the car is beginning to smell like an old dog due to water ingress.

Is there an alternative, a "bodge" if you like? I'm not a DIY-er so it would need to go to a bodyshop I guess, but one that had some experience of these cars. Would fibreglass work?

Any advice would be very much appreciated. I'm based in Sussex, so any recommendations in the South East for anyone that could do this work would be useful too.

Many thanks

Andrew
 

lwbnick

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expedition
Is there an alternative, a "bodge" if you like? I'm not a DIY-er so it would need to go to a bodyshop I guess, but one that had some experience of these cars. Would fibreglass work?

Any advice would be very much appreciated. I'm based in Sussex, so any recommendations in the South East for anyone that could do this work would be useful too.

Give Andy a call:

http://www.andysautobarn.com/

He's been working on MBs for 30 years (he repaired my car), so knows his stuff.
 

Xtractorfan

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Any chance you could post some pics of the offending area...
 
OP
S

sillwood

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Will try to get photo up
 

turbopete

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this car is a 26 year old classic! my opinion is that it DESERVES a decent job after 26 years of service to its current and former owners. then it will probably give ANOTHER 26 years of service!
 

Xtractorfan

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It will still have 4 years of the 30 yr anti rust warranty left..
 

grober

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You have hit the nail on the head by proposing a repair commensurate with the cars overall condition and projected life. Fibre glass can be a very flexible material in the repair of complex-shaped non load bearing body pressings provided there's enough good surface left to bond properly to. Its always good to fully restore these cars but economics and other existing body faults may mean the cheaper repair can be considered as a viable alternative.
 

octanejunkie

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I've just finished welding the bulkhead on my W123. Its a fiddly job, and a pain in the arse, quite literally, for the person doing the welding.
To gain access on the W123 the carpets, seats and trim had to come out from the passenger side, and various bits of wiring and other engine bay stuff had to be removed. This is why it costs the money. Its a huge amount of labour to actually get to the rust, cut it out, and let in fresh steel.

If you were feeling adventurous, you could do lots of the prep yourself. Remove the interior, and associated dash parts, and perhaps expose the area that needs repair. That will cut down the bill. Even so its going to be dear.

If you are contemplating fibreglass, yes, its versatile for non load bearing areas, and can be a life saver for those without the kit/skills to weld. Bear in mind though that it is very, very messy stuff to work with, especially in a confined space. Get that resin on anything, and you'll ruin it. The term "sticks like **** to a blanket" was invented for fibreglass. Once the resin goes off, it sets rock hard, and you won't shift it.
Be prepared with lots of rags and thinners etc, at hand if you plan to go down this route.

The most important thing though, at least if you're planning to keep the car for any length of time, is to get rid of all the rust you can from the damaged area. You must get rid of all the flakey bits and chip it back to something resembling solid metal. After that, apply loads of Kurust or similar rust killer before starting fibreglassing.

Quick guide to fibreglassing awkward areas:

Mix up a little resin for the glass with a reasonable amount of hardner. Carefully apply this resin on the bodywork all the way around where your repair is going to go. Cut your piece of fibre matting to roughly the size you want, and lay it on that resin. Press it down as best you can without getting too much resin on your fingers or anywhere else. Now leave that to dry off.
Once it is dry, or thereabouts, mix up some more resin. Not too much hardner as you don't want it to go off too quick. With this resin, saturate the matting and the surrounding area, but not so much so that it drips.
The first lot of resin you stuck the matting down with, is to stop the matting sliding about and coming away with the paint brush as you apply the goo.

Hopefully this method will have kept the area reasonably clean and your repair will be quite neat.
Ideally you'd saturate the matting with resin before applying it to the bodywork, but somewhere like a bulkhead, where you may be lying on your back, you don't want fibreglass dripping/sticking to your face or clothes. Believe me!

Pictures please!!
 

Neilc

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1972 300 SEL 6.3
http://www.finish-first.co.uk/index.php

Give Ben a call. They are about to restore my 6.3 and are based in Sussex just outside of Billingshurst.

Best work I have ever seen, paintwork is stunning, completely flawless. My Healey 100 is being restored by them at the moment and since it's been there they have had a Gullwing, 2 x 275 GTB's, 2 x Daytonas, 1 Porsche, 2 x Mini's, various other Mercs just about everything. It's a small shop and very inexpensive considering the quality of work.

Cheers,
Neil
 

grober

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W204 C200cdi estate
I've just finished welding the bulkhead on my W123. Its a fiddly job, and a pain in the arse, quite literally, for the person doing the welding.
To gain access on the W123 the carpets, seats and trim had to come out from the passenger side, and various bits of wiring and other engine bay stuff had to be removed. This is why it costs the money. Its a huge amount of labour to actually get to the rust, cut it out, and let in fresh steel.

If you were feeling adventurous, you could do lots of the prep yourself. Remove the interior, and associated dash parts, and perhaps expose the area that needs repair. That will cut down the bill. Even so its going to be dear.

If you are contemplating fibreglass, yes, its versatile for non load bearing areas, and can be a life saver for those without the kit/skills to weld. Bear in mind though that it is very, very messy stuff to work with, especially in a confined space. Get that resin on anything, and you'll ruin it. The term "sticks like **** to a blanket" was invented for fibreglass. Once the resin goes off, it sets rock hard, and you won't shift it.
Be prepared with lots of rags and thinners etc, at hand if you plan to go down this route.

The most important thing though, at least if you're planning to keep the car for any length of time, is to get rid of all the rust you can from the damaged area. You must get rid of all the flakey bits and chip it back to something resembling solid metal. After that, apply loads of Kurust or similar rust killer before starting fibreglassing.

Quick guide to fibreglassing awkward areas:

Mix up a little resin for the glass with a reasonable amount of hardner. Carefully apply this resin on the bodywork all the way around where your repair is going to go. Cut your piece of fibre matting to roughly the size you want, and lay it on that resin. Press it down as best you can without getting too much resin on your fingers or anywhere else. Now leave that to dry off.
Once it is dry, or thereabouts, mix up some more resin. Not too much hardner as you don't want it to go off too quick. With this resin, saturate the matting and the surrounding area, but not so much so that it drips.
The first lot of resin you stuck the matting down with, is to stop the matting sliding about and coming away with the paint brush as you apply the goo.

Hopefully this method will have kept the area reasonably clean and your repair will be quite neat.
Ideally you'd saturate the matting with resin before applying it to the bodywork, but somewhere like a bulkhead, where you may be lying on your back, you don't want fibreglass dripping/sticking to your face or clothes. Believe me!

Pictures please!!

A couple of comments to add to the valuable advice above . For small repairs you can buy " ready mix" resin+ chopped fibre glass ---all you have to add is catalyst in the correct proportion. http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/..._productId_195941_langId_-1_categoryId_165625 Its not suitable for bridging large gaps without re-enforcement but a lot less messy than the resin/matt route. The other thing to buy is a large box [ 100] of disposable gloves [ nitrile are good=stronger] to protect your hands[ double them up for extra protection]
 

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