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Thread: My slow project: 1975 W115 220 D

  1. #1
    Merc Maniac luokyio's Avatar
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    My slow project: 1975 W115 220 D

    Time for a new PYC once again. As someone may have read, I was looking for some summer car to congratulate myself for a succesfull weight loss project. The criteria were wide open, I was looking at pretty much all directions. I have always wanted a W123 or a W114/5, but as they have become older and rarer in decent condition, their prices have risen a lot. I was not too hopeful I could find one. However one advert caught my eye. The ad had three really bad pictures and no description at all, except that no trade offers accepted and questions only by phone. The car located just 150 km away from me, so I gave it a shot and called the seller with not too high hopes.

    The seller told he had bought the car in 1988, and did a complete restoration for body, engine and interior in the early 90's. He said bodywork was still in decent condition, apart from left rear arch that had rust in it. Interior was done with bus fabrics, so that would need a complete replacement to get it original. MOT was passed yearly, but the car was driven only in summer in very small annual kilometers. Sounded so good that I had to check it out. I also had another car (a -77 Taunus automatic) on the same town I had planned to see after the W115, so even if this would have turned out as a total piece of s*it, the journey would not have been totally waste of time.

    On -28°C freezing weather I traveled to see the car. I had a strong feeling that I have seen a very similar car in my childhood town, so first thing I asked the seller was if the car had spent some time in my old home town before turn of the millennium. He said the car had been in his brother-in-law's use there for a few years 20 years ago. So this is actually the very same car I had looked up to in the late 90's.

    The car itself was pretty stunning. Of course, lot of dust on it but the rust seemed to be nonexistent. Which is really rare in these nowadays at least in this price range. Only the rear arch had some bubbling, but the metal is still solid. Due to the extreme cold and the fact the car had not been started since August, not surprisingly we could not get it started as the battery had drained. The condition of the body however convinced me that if the car will start normally once it gets some electric juice and drives without big issues, this would go home with me. Mechanics are so simple in these, that repairs are not too extensive or expensive when it comes to engine or powertrain. The body is the big money-spender, and it seems to be excellent.

    Couple days later as weather had warmed close to 0°C I went to see it again thinking I'd drive it home. Engine started really fast without pretty much any cranking, so the engine cannot be in too bad shape. It sounded also really nice with no extra noises. Transmission was really smooth too - regular oil changes throughout the powertrain must have treated it well. Auxiliary belt did scream quite badly, but got silent after engine had warmed up. Biggest issue was the heater, that decided not to work. On August it had worked normally, but now nothing. Anyway we did the deal, but I left the car there for now. Driving without heater in moist 0°C would be dangerous, as the windows would not stay clear. I promised I'll come to pick it up with a trailer asap, and went home with only S211 instead of two Mercs I had hoped to. Even the 211 got cranky on the way home and put the ESP on fault mode...

    Only one pic so far, but more to come as I get the car home.


    There is a lot of work to do in this even if the bodywork don't need immediate attention.

    Needed repairs that I know of so far:

    - heater problem
    - complete interior must be swapped to get it look original again
    - instrument cluster has noon-functioning fuel and temp gauges. Also the trip does not work.
    - dashboard is cracked and also has two aftermarket gauges for fuel and temperature
    - summer tires have DOT date from year 2000, so probably best to replace even the tread is still good
    - winter tires are from 2003, so their grip is lost even though they look as new. I don't plan to drive this in winter too much, but some winter cruisings could be fun to attend
    - rust on left rear arch, the other side has some minor rust too so both sides need some repair and paint. However there is no real hurry with this, since it wont develop too quickly when it cannot see road salt.
    - block heater cord has been drilled through metal and insulated with some glueish shit

    Long-term plan is to get this museum registered. That would free this from taxes (currently around 750 €/year) and insurance would drop to about 30 €/year from ~500 € it normally is. Using time would be limited to 30 days a year too, but that is still plenty. To achieve this it must pass an originality inspection, which means car must look really close to how it looked when it left the factory 41 years ago. But this is quite probably not going to happen on this decade.
    Last edited by luokyio; January 9th, 2017 at 8:42 AM.
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    2003 Mercedes-Benz E 220 CDI T Classic
    2003 Honda Odyssey 3.5 V6 EX-L
    1997 Ford Scorpio 2.3i + 1996 2.0i
    1975 Mercedes-Benz 220 D

    ex. Grand Voyager 3.3 V6 AWD, C 200 CDI Business, Grand Espace 2.0T, SRX 4.6 V8 AWD, 960 3.0i, Mondeo 1.8i Ghia Wagon, LeSabre, Laguna II 2.0 Break, Marea Weekend 1.6 ELX, 9-3 Aero, V70 2.5D, Escort 1.8i CLX, E 300 D, Prelude, C 220, 200 D, 626 2.2i SVX, Sierra 1.6 CL

  2. #2
    BMW Perfectionist nicjasno's Avatar
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    Approved! Excellent buy.
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  3. #3
    MXM
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    Congrats, this looks much nicer than some other options you considered

    And with 750+500 € yearly expense to keep it on the road, the museum-plates worthy restoration would actually pay itself back eventually.
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    I'll reply more extensively when I'm home next week, congratulations so far! The heater thing might be a blocked valve, you can access them from under the bonnet, they are well accessible at least on mine. Had one stuck and a small wiggle with some pliers did wonders.

    Sent from my SM-J320F using Tapatalk
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  5. #5
    Merc Maniac luokyio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicjasno View Post
    Approved! Excellent buy.
    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by MXM View Post
    Congrats, this looks much nicer than some other options you considered

    And with 750+500 € yearly expense to keep it on the road, the museum-plates worthy restoration would actually pay itself back eventually.
    I only had excellent options. Naturally that 750 + 500 isn't the actual cost, as I only keep it declared on the road when I use it, so daily cost ~3,5€/day tells a bit more accurately the fixed costs instead of the annual estimation. But yeah, on old diesel museum plates are really worth something.
    Quote Originally Posted by Beni View Post
    I'll reply more extensively when I'm home next week, congratulations so far! The heater thing might be a blocked valve, you can access them from under the bonnet, they are well accessible at least on mine. Had one stuck and a small wiggle with some pliers did wonders.

    Sent from my SM-J320F using Tapatalk
    Thanks. However the heater fan is the problem here, not the circulation, so I assume it is an electrical problem.
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    2003 Mercedes-Benz E 220 CDI T Classic
    2003 Honda Odyssey 3.5 V6 EX-L
    1997 Ford Scorpio 2.3i + 1996 2.0i
    1975 Mercedes-Benz 220 D

    ex. Grand Voyager 3.3 V6 AWD, C 200 CDI Business, Grand Espace 2.0T, SRX 4.6 V8 AWD, 960 3.0i, Mondeo 1.8i Ghia Wagon, LeSabre, Laguna II 2.0 Break, Marea Weekend 1.6 ELX, 9-3 Aero, V70 2.5D, Escort 1.8i CLX, E 300 D, Prelude, C 220, 200 D, 626 2.2i SVX, Sierra 1.6 CL

  6. #6
    Conan's Avatar
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    Whoa. The car looks excellent. Congrats! Is the colour code 904 dunkelblau? If so it's very close to being my car 20 years earlier.

  7. #7
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    Nice purchase again! But why would anyone use bus fabrics when redoing the interior?

  8. #8
    Merc Maniac luokyio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conan View Post
    Whoa. The car looks excellent. Congrats! Is the colour code 904 dunkelblau? If so it's very close to being my car 20 years earlier.
    Thanks. Not sure, but I'm pretty sure it is. 904 was at least available to these. 920 is another alternative but I vote for 904.
    Quote Originally Posted by villej View Post
    Nice purchase again! But why would anyone use bus fabrics when redoing the interior?
    Danke. Cheap and forever lasting material I guess.
    ____________________________
    2003 Mercedes-Benz E 220 CDI T Classic
    2003 Honda Odyssey 3.5 V6 EX-L
    1997 Ford Scorpio 2.3i + 1996 2.0i
    1975 Mercedes-Benz 220 D

    ex. Grand Voyager 3.3 V6 AWD, C 200 CDI Business, Grand Espace 2.0T, SRX 4.6 V8 AWD, 960 3.0i, Mondeo 1.8i Ghia Wagon, LeSabre, Laguna II 2.0 Break, Marea Weekend 1.6 ELX, 9-3 Aero, V70 2.5D, Escort 1.8i CLX, E 300 D, Prelude, C 220, 200 D, 626 2.2i SVX, Sierra 1.6 CL

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    Mitchi's Avatar
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    Congratulations. One of my favorite Benz!
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    Not shou emousshiöns public's Avatar
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    Also, bus velour means keeping in touch with My Summer Car level of automotive enthusiasm, if it was restored in the '90s.
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    It is beautiful, nothing more to add.
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    l3v4rt's Avatar
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    Great buy, awesome looking car! And congrats on you sucessfull weight loss project.

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    is teahte tbungafloed Andeh's Avatar
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    I quite like the sound of that bus interior, but then I am perverse.

    This is an awesome buy really well done. €750 tax and €500 is absolutely insane though, I'd be bankrupt if my cars were in Finland...
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    Not shou emousshiöns public's Avatar
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    The €750 portion refers to the yearly diesel tax, petrol cars are saddled with less than a third. It is an important tax since these kind of Mercs still see so much use..
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    BMW Perfectionist nicjasno's Avatar
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    70s and 80s diesel mercs are still the backbone of the finish economy
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    Merc Maniac luokyio's Avatar
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    The old lady is home! Sorry for terrible picture, but the conditions were terrible. I hope weather allows me to wash it properly soon so I can actually see it clean in daylight.

    Btw, air suspension is pretty awesome in situations like these, no sagging rear whatsoever. The tow rating was pretty much all used (trailer 730 kg, W115 1400 kg including driver and full tank, and S211 towing rating is 2100 kg). The W115 probably accelerated from 0 to 80 faster than ever.



    Quote Originally Posted by Andeh View Post
    This is an awesome buy really well done. €750 tax and €500 is absolutely insane though, I'd be bankrupt if my cars were in Finland...
    It is not actually that bad, since taxes and insurances can be stopped by declaring it out of road use (costs 6 € to declare out, 0 € back on road). Then the cost of owning is 0€/day then. Both are invoiced based on the days the car is declared on road use. So no payments during shitty weather at all.
    Last edited by luokyio; January 11th, 2017 at 7:14 AM.
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    ex. Grand Voyager 3.3 V6 AWD, C 200 CDI Business, Grand Espace 2.0T, SRX 4.6 V8 AWD, 960 3.0i, Mondeo 1.8i Ghia Wagon, LeSabre, Laguna II 2.0 Break, Marea Weekend 1.6 ELX, 9-3 Aero, V70 2.5D, Escort 1.8i CLX, E 300 D, Prelude, C 220, 200 D, 626 2.2i SVX, Sierra 1.6 CL

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    is teahte tbungafloed Andeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luokyio View Post
    It is not actually that bad, since taxes and insurances can be stopped by declaring it out of road use (costs 6 € to declare out, 0 € back on road). Then the cost of owning is 0€/day then. Both are invoiced based on the days the car is declared on road use. So no payments during shitty weather at all.
    That's not bad for a summer car then, we have the same here. Over winter all of my classics (except the Austin) are declared as off the road using an online system which is free. I can then cancel insurance/move to storage insurance and pay no tax until I put the car back on again.
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    Merc Maniac luokyio's Avatar
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    Performed a quick wash at mild minus degrees to see better the condition. A picdump in order:

    First the good stuff:









    Then the worse stuff:






    And then the worst stuff:





    And then the starting procedure which is a bit different than in modern cars.
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    2003 Honda Odyssey 3.5 V6 EX-L
    1997 Ford Scorpio 2.3i + 1996 2.0i
    1975 Mercedes-Benz 220 D

    ex. Grand Voyager 3.3 V6 AWD, C 200 CDI Business, Grand Espace 2.0T, SRX 4.6 V8 AWD, 960 3.0i, Mondeo 1.8i Ghia Wagon, LeSabre, Laguna II 2.0 Break, Marea Weekend 1.6 ELX, 9-3 Aero, V70 2.5D, Escort 1.8i CLX, E 300 D, Prelude, C 220, 200 D, 626 2.2i SVX, Sierra 1.6 CL

  19. #19
    Conan's Avatar
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    That bus velour interior.

    It's a great car nonetheless.

  20. #20
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    Now I understand what is meant with "bus interior" ... still, an awesome buy for the money!
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    Viva la Targa!

    "Anybody who accuses this of being a girl car, needs to get into a Miata or Fiata on a back road. This is the most fun you can have in a car - without a girl in it." - Jason Cammisa about the ND platform
    "Changing gear is a vital form of self-expression that I'm being denied." - Richard Hammond on the Gen 4 Clio RS
    "These cars remind us, what driving - and in a wider sense, what motoring is all about. It's about the sensation of controlling a machine - not the speed with which you cover ground." - Chris Harris on the Caterham Seven and the purity of driving

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