E-Type brake overhaul

The brakes on the E-Type have been somewhat problematic since I got it.    When the brakes got hot, they would not always release fully.     Over the last 4 years I have tried a number of things to fix the problem but it has always come back to some extent.

When I still had the car in the USA, it was worse, the brakes would decide to lock on, and they would get to the point where the car was immobile for 5-6 minutes until they finally decided to release.   At that time, the master, servo, fluid, brake light switch etc was all changed.   This made it much better – for a while I thought it had gone away, but a few months later it started happening again just a little and the brake light switch was also staying on again.     The brake light switch was replaced again and an adjustment was made but other than the brake lights were working again.

This time, the problem looks to be solved.   The front brake calipers were rebuilt – they were quite rusty.   In addition, the master cylinder that was put on in 2011 was not working correctly, and flexible lines were also replaced.

New Calipers

While the car was in the shop it also had the top wishbones replaced as they were worn, the cam oiling tube cleaned, a few other minor adjustments, and a pertronix electric ignition installed.

The result of all this is the car is better in every way.   The brakes have never worked this well, and the electronic ignition makes the car much easier to start and run better too.   The Jag was always a slow starter when cold – not anymore.

280CE coolant flush and thermostat change

The 280CE had been performing well on the road after being put back into service, but the most obvious issue was that it never got up to operating temperature.   Running too cool is not good for the engine and also results in higher fuel consumption.   As they say, overheating an engine might kill it instantly, but underheating it will kill it slowly.     The theory was that the thermostat had jammed open, which is the most common failure point.   Despite what you hear, the car should never be operated without a thermostat.   Some people in hot climates drill a few holes, but the thermostat is an important part of the cooling system and should always be present.

The thermostat is quite easy to remove on the M110 – three 10mm bolts hold the housing – one is harder to get to and easier with a 1/4″ ratchet and extension.    Care should then be taken to align the new thermostat correctly – i.e the little valve at the highest point.


The themostat change did the trick – the car is now running around 80c instead of around 60-65 and after a flush has fresh coolant.   We also did an oil change too.

DS Oil Service

It was time again for another service for the DS.   Last time, the gear oil in the transmission was quite dirty so even though it didn’t need to be done again, I thought it would make sense to change the oil in there too.   I also had a tip from the forum that using Castrol VMX with the Nulon gearbox additive makes for very good shift in the D.   There is some truth to it as the shifts were better than the previous gear oil I used (also with the Nulon).

Last time, I also ended up with more gear oil on the floor than in the transmission, so I used a different pump, which worked much better.   No spillage other than the overflow to know the transmission was full.   (2 liters).


The normal oil change is a bit messy on the D.   The oil filter is hiding under a plate in the sump and must be aligned in the correct way to avoid oil starvation.

DS door contact switch and shift gate

The little switch that controls the interior lights based on the doors being open or shut had disintegrated, which meant that the interior lights were always on.   Not the most helpful feature if you want to be able to restart the car after leaving it parked.  The actual switches are easy to remove and install, but the problem is that since the switch had disintegrated, the wiring was hard to get to.   after a few questions on the aussiefrogs forum and a few different tries, the best option turned out to be a right angle dentist pick and a set of small tweezers from the cosmetic area of the supermarket.


The new switch was not a tight fit so I used a lot of electrical tape so hopefully it will not come loose.   In addition, the plastic shift gate that surround the gear lever and shows you what gear the car is in had cracked.  The cars sold in Australia (and presumably UK, NZ etc) had a different surround to cars sold in the USA, and obviously different from France.   I wasn’t able to find a new English language one, so I purchased the French one and installed it.

Shift Gate

I after trying a few different ways, I found the easiest way of installing this was to remove the whole panel the shift gate comes out of and install on the bench.  First by ‘rolling’ on the rubber dust cover to the plastic surround and then using the largest screwdriver I had to carefully pull the dust cover over the panel.


SLC Steering wheel options

Mercedes SLC models (280, 350, 380, 450, 450 5.0, 500) had three different steering wheels in their lifetime.   All three steering wheels were large (around 19″) and made from plastic – a departure from the elegant wheels of the 60′s and the nicer leather covered wheels from the mid 80s and 90s.

These wheels also do not fare well in the sun, so many owners wish to replace them.     The first type was from 1971-1972.  These wheels are easy to identity as the horn press is in separate buttons on the sides of the pad, and the wheel rim is thinner.   These wheels would have only been fitted to early 350SLC models (up to #5139).

The second and more common type uses the full pad as the horn push and has ribbing on the left and right hand side of it (photo below).   This type continued until partway through 1979 (at car #28363), when the later wheel without ribbing was introduced.

Steering Wheel

As well as three types of wheel, the steering column changed in around 1978 (Specifically at car #20032).   The original one has a nut holding the wheel on a smaller shaft.   The larger one has an allen bolt holding on a larger shaft.   This means that later wheels are incompatible with earlier cars – i.e. mine from 1977 which is in the #17000 range.      The picture below shows the earlier shaft and the data stamp can be seen 11/2/77.

Steering Wheel SplineThis post came about as I had seen a nice W124 wheel at a good price and was investigating if I should change over.   However, this wheel is incompatible with my car.   My wheel is in good condition, so I will not make the change, but my other option would be a wood Nardi wheel.  These are very nice, but also very expensive.


250SE W111 Production Figures – Update

In a previous post, I was looking at the changeover of production of the 220SEb Coupe/Cabriolet to the 250SE Coupe/Cabriolet.   Mercedes used the same number series for the 220SE Sedan, 220SE Coupe, Cabriolet and the 250SE Coupe and Cabriolet.

According to a Mercedes Factory Manual I have, the last 220SEb was #82991 (and the first 250SE #82992).     At the start of 250SE production in 8/65, the Coupes and Cabriolets received a slightly different engine to the Sedans (M129.981, M129 II),  whereas as of #85398 in 4/66, the M129.980 (M129 I) engine from the sedan was standardized on both models and the 981 engine was discontinued.    The 250SL continued to receive M129.982 (M129 III).   Looking at the parts book, M129.982 is has a number of differences from 980/981, whereas the difference between 980 and 981 appears to be very small.

We know that Mercedes produced the following number of cars (coupe and cabriolet combined):

  • 1965 – 1205
  • 1966 – 3601
  • 1967 – 1407
  • Total – 6123 (954 Cabriolet, 5259 Coupe)

Pre-Production was 8/65, standard production 9/65 and end of production was 12/67.   It is interesting how production tapered off in 1967 given it was almost a full production year.  Looking at dates to serial numbers (obtained from data cards for ac curacy), we can see:

  • 8/65 – 82992 (1st car)
  • 10/65 – 83113
  • 2/66 – 84462
  • 4/66 – 85398 (Engine type change)
  • 6/67 – 88627
  • 10/67 - 88864

Final DS door card installed

The fourth and final door card for the DS is now installed.   The reason for the long delay was that the rear drivers side door would not lock.  If the door was unlocked, the mechanism would not hold the door closed, if locked, it would behave as if it were unlocked.

Therefore, before I fitted the door card, I wanted to fix the door.   The mechanism is actually quite simple, just hard to see and get to.

Door Handle and lock MechanismEssentially what happens is that the rod (12) gets somehow misaligned, which stops the little star in mechanism (2) to hold the door, and the little cam to lock it.    After various attempts to try and adjust it, something worked, as it started to work properly.  Access is not easy, as can be seen through a mirror.

AccessOnce the lock was sorted out, the door cards are easy to install – in the same way as has been outlined already.  As usual, a little autosol on the winder mechanism completes the job.


Flashback: Sunday, April 20, 1972. Mercedes M110 Engine Launch

EMBARGO: Please do not publish before Sunday April 30, 1972


Confounding the criticism that today’s automobile engineers are too heavily engaged in meeting safety and pollution requirements to produce better vehicles, Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled a superb new twin overhead camshaft engine.

As well as meeting the conflicting requirements of performance with economy, the new engine also makes a positive contribution towards active safety by producing plenty of “overtaking power.” A s befits an engine produced to meet the needs of the 1970′s, it is also as “clean” as possible.

Technically sophisticated, the engine also demonstrates that the development potential of the conventional reciprocating piston engine is still a long way from reaching the end of the road. Always provided, of course, that the people doing the developing have the requisite “know-how:”

Equipped with electronically controlled fuel injection and transistorised ignition, the engine develops 185 DIN hp, which is 210 SAE bhp or 136 kW – the new international rating now called for by a recent EEC ruling.

The cylinder head has hemispherical combustion chambers to ensure optimal combustion of the fuel mixture. The valves are arranged in V-formation, and are operated by rocker arms directly from the two overhead camshafts. This is an expensive method, usually found only on engines built for sports cars, but it produces a free-revving engine
capable of up to 6,500 rpm. Such liveliness is made possible only because the weight reciprocating back and forth in the valve gear has been kept to a minimum.

The two camshafts are driven by a duplex roller chain. An intermediate gear drives the distributor and oil pump. Both inlet and exhaust valves are armoured and the exhaust valves are sodium-filled for cooling purposes.

The engine has a distinctive appearance with its two smart looking overhead camshaft covers contributing to under bonnet “eye appeal.”

m110Both camshafts may be removed for repairs without having to dismantle the cylinder head, so that the engine’s cooling system need not be disturbed and repair times are kept to a minimum.

At the “bottom end” the crankshaft rests in seven main bearings and there are no fewer than twelve counter weights on the crank webs. Anew type of double weight vibration damper has been introduced to further damp down oscillations. This results in an unusually smooth flow of power.

A special oil injector is incorporated in the connecting rod to assist with the cooling of the piston crown. A great deal of research went into the development of the shape of the combustion chamber. This ensured that the engine would burn its fuel fully and cleanly, thus releasing the maximum amount of power for the minimum toxic exhaust emission. An oil cooler, visco-drive fan and three-phase generator complete the picture of this, the most modern Mercedes-Benz engine.

Electronically controlled fuel injection was pioneered in Britain by Mercedes-Benz with their 250 CE Coupe model, first introduced here in May 1969. This was truly the dawn of motoring’s “electronic age” and the adoption of electronic fuel injection by other marques since has been rapid and widespread.

With this system an electronic calculating device virtually a miniature “computer” works out precisely how much fuel the engine needs. It does this at speeds of up to nine thousandths of a second (a micro¬second in which most full-size computers work is one ten-thousandth of a second). Before deciding how much fuel the engine needs, the “computer” gathers information from sensors about the number of revolutions per minute the engine is doing, the position of the accelerator, prevailing air pressure and the temperature of the engine as well as a number of other factors.

Fuel is held under pressure in lines leading to electro-magnetic valves in the cylinder head’s inlet ports. Electronic impulses from the calculating device allow these valves to open for fractions of a second to enable the fuel to spray into the combustion chamber. At idling speed the valve opens for two-thousandths of a second, and at full power nine-thousandths of a second.

Transistorised ignition is also fitted. The main benefit of this system is that it places only a relatively low loading on the contact breakers, reducing burning of the points. This ensures that once correctly set, the timing stays adjusted for long periods – a most important point in achieving good power output, fuel consumption and “clean” exhaust values. Timing adjustment is made extremely easy and precise by a new setting device on the engine designed to be used in conjunction with an electronic workshop instrument.

This new engine, installed in the robust and technically advanced “New Generation” body/chassis unit, with its diagonal swing axle and powerful disc brakes all round, will extend the Mercedes-Benz range in a new and positive direction.


Sunday, April 30, 1972

280CE, Runing, registered and sold!

The 280CE is finished.   New muffler, passed blue slip and sold.   My brother has purchased the car as he wrote off the BMW that we ‘dismantled’ earlier.    That means that it will still be featured on this website from time to time even though I no longer own it.

CEThere are still a few things needed to do on the car, but otherwise it is good to see it on the road again.  Those with eagle eyes will notice that the muffler has one pipe, rather than two as is correct for the 280CE.   Even an aftermarket muffler for the 280CE was $500-$600, so in the end we purchased a standard muffler of a wider pipe diameter and had the pipes joined together.

280CE no longer a colander

Skin grafts?

Not a perfect match, but a good repair for $300 cash.