The W126 restoration thread

octanejunkie

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Some of you may have read my story about buying my W126 off a bunch of Bulgarian gangsters.
Well, as expected, she needs quite a lot of work to bring her up to scratch.
Mostly bodywork.
I spent my first day giving it a damn good clean, inside and out. I replaced all the interior and dashboard bulbs, and fitted a new stereo.
After standing back and having a good look, i could see bubbling around all the lower plastic cladding.
After some considerable fiddling, this was all removed (along with the ugly chrome arches). The worst places were, naturally, on the front wings. Very little was left of the lower leading edge on both sides under the plastic. The front passenger side was the worst. Before i started, this is what it looked like.
mediaCA56D5R9.jpg



Someone has already had a go at it with filler in the past. Doesn't look too bad. Bit of grinding, maybe a few zaps from the mig to fill in some pin holes...
Hmmmm....
 

turbopete

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Someone has already had a go at it with filler in the past. Doesn't look too bad. Bit of grinding, maybe a few zaps from the mig to fill in some pin holes...
Hmmmm....

1 new bodyshell later.........................:rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

Tashman

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Good for you I say! :)
Its great to see people making the effort to repair and restore a great car rather than paying someone to do it , or being frightened to buy something just because its done a few miles or has a rust bubble or two.
W126's are great cars and rewarding to improve.
Best of luck with it.
 

Xtractorfan

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That is probably one merc that chrome wheel arch covers wouldn't look out of place on given that the grille and bumper tops are chrome...
 
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octanejunkie

octanejunkie

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Been a busy boy today.
Since the passenger side front seemed the worst, this is where i've started work. I'd removed the wing and taken into the workshop (my grubby little garage) to strip it back to find out how bad the corrosion was. Today i removed the front bumper too. Its chromes all need replacing, and its impossible to work on the wing with it still attached.
P1020106.jpg
 
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octanejunkie

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Had a good look around the rest of the inner wing, and apart from the bumper hanger, there was no signs of any other damage. The front of the sill looks good as new! I broke out the Waxoyl, just to make sure it stays that way ;)
P1020119.jpg
 
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octanejunkie

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The front wing was in quite a sorry state. It had been filled before, and what metal was left around the indicator aperture was wafer thin. I cut it all out, back to decent steel, and carefully welded in some fresh tin. Slowly does it, or the panel can warp. The lower edge, down by the sill was also quite badly corroded. More metal was welded in, though it doesn't have to be particularly neat, as the cladding sits over it. Did need something for the bolt to go into though!
P1020113.jpg


P1020110.jpg
 
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octanejunkie

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The wing was given liberal coats of Kurust and zinc primer on the inside.
I then fitted it back onto the car. It doesn't look very pretty here, but after all the high points were ground back, i had a good solid wing again. It needed a small amount of fettling to line up, but wnet back on fine.
P1020120.jpg
 
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octanejunkie

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The outside was etch primed and then i was able to put some thin coats of filler on to smooth the surface, and get it ready for paint.
It is good practice to only put on minimal filler, and do several coats. This way there is less to sand away and you are more likely to get an even surface.
Speaking of even surfaces. The best way to get an even spread of filler is to use a piece of card cut from a cereal box. It really makes life easier.
This picture shows the second application of fine grade filler.
P1020123.jpg
 
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octanejunkie

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My new front bumper chromes turned up today! :p
I had the bumper in the garage this evening to remove the old chromes.
This is NOT a fun job. Lots of corroded fastners, scraped knuckles, and general high octane swearing :rolleyes:
I could not believe the state of the chrome when it was removed. There was quite literally nothing left of it! The steel beneath the chrome had rotted away completely, leaving just the chrome coating.
This picture shows the front passenger side corner... whats left of it.
P1020125.jpg
 

Tashman

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How difficult is it to remove a front wing?
Do they simply unbolt from the car or is there a lot more to it than that?
I'd like to unbolt my W123 wings to get to the rust behind them...

Nice work by the way!
 

47p2

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Nice bit of work there octanejunkie, your not hanging around either
 
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octanejunkie

octanejunkie

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How difficult is it to remove a front wing?
Do they simply unbolt from the car or is there a lot more to it than that?
I'd like to unbolt my W123 wings to get to the rust behind them...


Its just a case of unbolting them. On the W126 there is an annoying plastic fastner up by the windscreen, but i don't think theres one on the W123. It takes some car to avoid damaging other panels, but that is the joy of old Mercs. They are built to be repaired, rather than just chucked away ;)
On the W123 there is more to the bottom of the wing, and it has to be unbolted under the bumper, where it bolts to the front panel too. Beware though, they are often very rusty here.
My W123 needed several repairs down near the bumper, though i did not actually need to remove the wing.

pass2.jpg


I think wings are still available for these, if it turns out to be really bad.
 
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octanejunkie

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Very cold this morning!
My fingers were going numb getting the panel ready for painting. 2 degrees C is not ideal for doing spray painting but it can be done. I don't have another window for painting, as the weather will be closing in again, so it had to be today!
The paint tins were placed on a radiator for half an hour beforehand.
After final flatting, i used a heat gun to warm up the panel to roughly room temperature.
P1020127.jpg
 
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octanejunkie

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This is the first guide coat of colour going on. I used the heat gun to gently waft over the panel as i'm spraying, to keep things warm and dry. It helps the paint tack to the panel nicely, and helps to avoid runs. Got to be careful not to let things get too hot though as the paint can bubble.

P1020128.jpg
 
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octanejunkie

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With the undercoat done, i left it a while before applying several coats of clear lacquer. Lacquer is thicker than the base coat and more care is required to prevent it running or sagging. I shall now leave it until the rest of the car is reassembled. Then a good going over with some P1200 grit paper, and finally some cutting compound to give it its nice shiny finish.
Its not as good as a bodyshop, but not bad for being done on a driveway at close to freezing temperatures
Right, onto the other side....

P1020130.jpg
 

Xtractorfan

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Economic masking as well...why not use some newspaper to mask those areas furthr back..paint overspray travels a long way.. also push some into the sidelamp opening to stop paint going onto the headlamp.. save a lot of cleaning up afterwards
 
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octanejunkie

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Economic masking as well...why not use some newspaper to mask those areas furthr back..paint overspray travels a long way.. also push some into the sidelamp opening to stop paint going onto the headlamp.. save a lot of cleaning up afterwards

:)
Well, the car is going to have a full mop with G3 once the bodywork's finished, so i'm not too worried.
I'll do the newspaper in the opening trick when i do the drivers side ;)
 

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