2022 Shannons Eastern Creek Car Show

Today was the 2022 Shannons Eastern Creek Car Show.   This is the biggest car show that I know of in Sydney, and is held at Eastern Creek Raceway.   I’ve been going for years, but have never entered a car.   All those previous times I have been a spectator, most recently in 2018.    The 2021 and 2020 events were cancelled due to coronavirus and I was away for the 2019 event.

One of the advantages of entering a car is you get to take it on a parade lap around the race track.   Each club gets a specific slot to do a lap.  I went with the Mercedes-Benz club, but I may have been better to join the Citroen club as they were given two laps for some reason!   While the lap is at slow speed, it is well worth it to take your own car around the track in a parade of cars.     Possibly our club needs to run a course on track etiquette as there was quite a lot of very erratic driving for a slow speed lap.

2022 Shannons Eastern Creek Car Show

Apparently there were supposed to be at least 1,900 cars on display.   Given how many sections there were at the show, this doesn’t seem unreasonable.   Having said that, some clubs did have empty areas.   This was probably due to the poor weather the day before and the threat of rain in the morning.   Nevertheless the weather held up even if it was a little windy.

I arrived early with my 250SE, primarily because I was originally to be parked on the pit lane as part of the 50 year anniversary of the club.   That didn’t end up happening as one of the tickets was lost.   Wasn’t a big deal though, I’m glad I took the car in the end as it was fun driving around the track with the top down.   I had previously planned to take my 560SEL.   Given the parade lap is at slow speed, the extra power wouldn’t have helped that much.  The open roof was probably better.

Even with the early start, and the parade lap, I don’t think I saw everything and I left at about 1:30PM.   By 1PM many cars are starting to leave, the core hours of the show seem to be about 9AM to 12PM.   One thing that really stood out since last time I was there was the emergence of the Volvo 2 series as a classic car.   There were a number of really nice examples on display.   I remember during my university years they were everywhere as cheap and safe university student transport.

2022 Shannons Eastern Creek Car Show

Due to construction the event was quite spread out.   I almost missed a few sections and had to consult my map quite a bit.   If I hadn’t been specifically trying to find the Citroen display, I think I may have missed it.   A few more signs may have been useful.

The other thing that struck me was how much better the food was.   Last time I ate there, the food was pretty much inedible.   And expensive.   This time there were a few good food trucks with reasonable prices.   Makes a huge difference.    Even better the event still has a good relaxed atmosphere without overzealous marshals and security guards.   After a hiatus, the 2022 Shannons Eastern Creek Car Show was a great event.  I hope to keep attending in future years.

Connecting the Becker Line out module to a modern amplifier

I’m currently planning to install period correct Becker radios into my 450SLC and 560SEC.   I previously outlined the radios I plan to use, and tested them.   I was able to confirm that the Becker 1402 destined for my 560SEC was working correctly.     Rather than using the internal 2x25W amplifier in the Becker, I planned to connect it to an external amp.   While I could have used speaker level inputs, I was hoping to leverage the Becker Line out module to connect to the amp using normal RCA inputs.

Becker Line out module

The Becker Line out module was part of the Premium sound option in the series 2 W126 cars.   For some inexplicable reason, it was not offered in Australia.   While there was a version of it for the 86-88 cars, it really came into its own after the interior facelift.  These cars had additional door speakers as well as the factory amplifiers.   In any case, the internal amp powered the front speakers and the Becker line out module connected to the twin amplifiers behind the rear seat.   One for the left speakers (rear deck and door) and one for the right.  In many ways the Premium sound option was the main thing that made the facelift worth doing.

While I wasn’t 100% sure the Becker line out module would work with the 1402, I felt pretty confident.  I could see the plug for it on the back of the radio, I and I had seen it offered on some of its sister radios such as the 780, 1480 and 1432.   I sourced mine from the USA, where the premium sound package was quite common.   The part number is 001 820 63 89.

Becker Line out module

The Becker line out module has its own proprietary plug, but the three pins were pretty obviously a positive wire for the left and right channel and a shared negative wire.   That should be sufficient to connect to RCA connectors.   I ordered a pack of female connectors that ended in bare wires to make it even easier.

Not sure of the significance of the wire colours in the Becker harness, but I found that the red Becker wire connected to the white RCA wire,  blue to red and both white and yellow to black.   The centre pin needed to have two wires in the Becker setup as there were two separate amplifiers.    For this project I thought I would try those connectors that use a heat gun to melt the solder.   Seemed to work quite well.   I stupidly forgot to put the shrink wrap on the wire before I joined them up, so once done couldn’t get it over the plugs.   Just used electrical tape in the end.

Installing the Becker line out module was a simple matter of just plugging it in, and a small Philips head screw.    To test it, I grabbed my powered computer speakers that accept RCA inputs.  I had left my test setup intact from a few weeks ago.  That meant it was a simple matter of unplugging the regular speakers and substituting the RCA connection to the computer speakers.

Becker Line out module

The test worked great.   As you would expect the volume was quite low, even though the PC speakers are powered.  That is fine as the amplifier accepts low level inputs.

To complete the installation, I have gone with an Alpine KTP-445U.  This is a very small class D amplifier that should meet my needs.    There is a good write up of its capabilities here.   I’m not looking for doof doof sound.   I just want a decent four channel amplifier so I don’t have to run four speakers off 2x25W.    The Alpine unit is really small to fit into the Mercedes dash (it’s as long as my hand).  It also has a number of useful features that I will use.   It can convert two channel input to four channel output and has built-in high pass crossovers.   This is useful given the comparatively small size of the speakers that fit into a W126.  I was also only $175+GST.  I will probably use the antenna signal to trigger the amplifier on/off.

Alpine

As I write this, I have been listening to music from my phone (via the bluetooth FM injector) going through the Becker 1402 and line out module and it sounds great.

Becker Line out module

Guest Article: My W116 Journey

It was back in April 2018 when I got a call from Greg at Gullwing Motors, telling me to come in as he had a car that I might be interested in. Oooh, this sounded exciting, what was it?! I couldn’t get up there fast enough to see the red W116 450SE which Greg had just towed out of a customer’s garage, together with a W123 300D, as part trade ins for a sale of a W211 E500. Growing up in the 70s, the W116 was the S-Class of my youth and in the 80s a friend’s father had a 6.9, but they seemed too far out of reach to be on my radar.

Fast forward to 2011 and I still hadn’t ever owned a Mercedes, but had owned two BMWs, a E34 88 535i and a E39 530i M-Sport. This all changed when my father passed away and I inherited his W126 88 300SE (Oskar), which led to two additional W126 purchases, a 91 420SE (The Gangster) and a 85 280SE (Max). You could say I had the W126 bug! But as for a W116, it was still under my radar. Maybe, this was due to how good the W126 was and how much I respected Bruno Sacco’s design.

The 450SE had been garaged for many years and the service history indicated it was last serviced in 2012. I had read a few articles in Around the Benz to avoid laid up cars, but in these moments, you don’t act rationally. All I could think about was the rare colour combination of brilliant red metallic and anthracite velour interior, highly optioned with a sunroof, Bundt wheels and headlight wipers. Rust was my biggest concern, so got my neighbour (who runs a body shop) to come up and have a look. A brief inspection confirmed rust was confined to workable areas, this led to Naomi’s approval to purchase.

In hindsight the mechanics were the least of my concerns. Stripping back the body deadener, the more I removed, the more rust that was exposed. Rust was identified in the wheel arches, driver’s floor, and boot floor, but surprisingly there was no rust in the firewall, bottom of doors or bonnet. In all we spent far more time (and money!) repairing rust than I ever envisaged, totalling 160 hours.

My W116 Journey

In July 2019 I finally got the car on Club plates after so much more work than I had envisaged and turned my attention to naming the car, an important step in welcoming a new car to the family. As she is a pinky red colour, she was obviously a girl, and what better German name than Claudia.  At the same time, some further history on the car came to light. Claudia was privately imported from the UK in 1986 by a chap who lived in Canterbury and at a minimum has had an additional two owners, one of them being an MBCV member who won Concours with a 300SL Gullwing. As she was UK delivered, she’s endowed with the 220HP M117 4.5 K-Jet engine (without the emissions constraints of Australian delivered examples).

My W116 Journey

Driving Claudia reveals plenty of character, from the rich V8 burble through her original exhaust, while the weight plants her firmly on the highway, refusing to be moved by gusts of wind. The rich torque provides ample acceleration perfectly matched to the three-speed automatic, enabling her to keep up with modern day traffic. The velour interior is supremely comfortable, providing warmth in winter, while in summer you don’t have the problem of sticking to the seats.

Was it all worthwhile? Rationally you’d have to say no!! It would have been far cheaper to buy a better example which would have also been Australian delivered, but once you start a project like this, there is no turning back. After getting Claudia on the road, the maintenance kept on coming with jobs like the timing chain, engine mounts, injectors, radiator refurb and even the gearbox needed to come out as the large o-ring broke in half. More money! Fortunately, over the last two years, the maintenance has been contained to fluids.

What do I think now? Well, I’ve ended up with a much-loved new member of the family who gets regular use, is very comfortable and enjoyable to drive and gets driven rain, hail, or shine. The pinnacle of my ownership was displaying Claudia at Mercedes-Benz Ringwood with the latest W223 S450. The feedback I received from the Dealership and MBCV members made the whole project worthwhile.

W116 Journey Completed

Author:  Nick Gruzevskis is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Club (Victoria) and the owner of this 1979 450SE, a 2005 CLK320 and a SLK230

Auto Brunch St Ives August 2022

Today I attended the monthly Auto Brunch event at St Ives Showground.   This is easily the best cars and coffee event in Sydney.   There is always a huge variety on display at this event.   This wasn’t the biggest event I can remember, but it probably has the biggest variety.

A great example was a timewarp Chrysler Lancer.   I don’t recall the last time I saw one of these, especially a car from before Chrysler sold out to Mitsubishi.

Auto Brunch St Ives August 2022Both the Mercedes and Citroen Clubs had this event on their club calendar.   Like last time,  I took my DS to the event and there were at least four other D’s on the day.   On top of the D’s, there was also a nice CX, a GS, a couple of 2CVs and some modern Citroens.

While the Mercedes Club had a number of club members on display, there were a few really nice cars on display from non Members.   There was an immaculate 380SL with the 15″ fuchs alloys in red.   I lovely car that does not get a lot of use.

There was also a matching pair of W108 280SE 3.5 models in silver grey.    The first one was ex Papua New Guinea, and had been sold there as a consular car.    It has an interesting specification with a manual transmission, but power windows.

The other car was delivered December 1971 in Australia and is still in the same family since new.   It was in great shape, with a respray about 20 years ago.

Auto Brunch St Ives August 2022

I was also impressed by the number of nice E-Types on display.   There were some really nice cars there and it’s great to see them out being used.

After the event, I even had time to give the DS a quick oil change before I met my family for lunch.

Troubleshooting the Classic Auto Sound Becker tribute radio

I installed the Classic Auto Sound Becker tribute radio in my 250SE a couple of years ago.   The W111 series are supposed to have a slimline radio instead of a DIN size.   Unfortunately, a previous owner cut my dashboard to DIN size.   This meant putting the correct radio for the year was now practically impossible.   Instead of putting a 70s Becker instead, I went with this tribute radio which is based on a Retrosound radio with an actual Becker faceplate.

I’ve been happy with the radio in the car, and would recommend it to anyone who had their dashboard modified like this.    Recently, I’ve been seeing some strange behavior on the radio and it was getting less and less usable.   Classic Auto Sound, the company who sold it to me have been very helpful trying to trace what is going on.

The problems first started when on a long drive, the radio would stop responding to the buttons or knobs.   It would just keep doing what it was already doing.   In that case, it was playing off the USB key.    It would also sometimes not turn off properly when I turned off the ignition switch and removed the key.    At first this happened only on long drives, but in the last couple of months I couldn’t even power the radio on at all.   It would always be just stuck in the clock mode.   It would be like that even with the key off.

Classic Auto Sound suggested it might be the left knob shaft failing.   The suggested removing the radio, and connecting the plug from the right knob into the left side of the radio.    I did that, and all of a sudden I could turn the radio on and off again.    Based on that Classic Auto Sound sent me a knew shaft at no cost to me.   That’s great service considering the radio is a couple of years old now.

radio stopped respondingIt’s pretty easy to swap out one of the shafts – I had it done in about 15 minutes.   I took the car on a short drive, and everything was well.       A couple of days later, I took the car on the MBCNSW July Night Drive.    The meeting point is about an hour and ten minutes away from where I live.   About 45-50 minutes into the drive, I noticed the radio stopped responding to inputs from the knobs.   I was using the bluetooth function, so I could still change tracks from my phone.   Normally you can use the radio knobs to do this.   I was also unable to change the volume.

While we were waiting for the final cars to arrive, I disconnected the battery and reconnected it.    The radio was fine again.   However, on the actual drive, it was a much shorter time before it stopped working again.   The drive was about an hour and 20 minutes and during that time, I had radio through my phone, but I could not just the knobs.    I didn’t bother disconnecting the battery while we got a snack at McDonalds at the end of the drive, I just paused the music with my phone.   The radio stayed on pause the whole time I was in McDonalds (about 20 mins).  It then played the entire way back, again through my phone with the buttons doing nothing.   Once I got back, it took disconnecting the battery to turn it off.

I emailed Classic Auto Sound again and asked if they had any more ideas.   It was suggested that I check if I have the yellow (constant power) and red (switched power) lines correct.   I checked those, and they were.  Voltage was 0nly present on the red wire with the key on, and was always present for the yellow wire, with the battery connected.

Once confirmed, It was suggested that I check the behavior of the switched power, as the radio isn’t supposed to work without it.   In order to be able to do that on a long drive, I’ve rigged up a voltage indicator to the switched power source.    It was less than $10 at Jaycar.    I’ll now be able to watch what happens on a drive when the radio is working fine, and if there is any difference when it is not.

The little voltage meter comes out from behind the dash, so I can see it on top of the transmission tunnel.   Next step is another longer drive in the car to see what is happening.
radio stopped responding

Eastern Suburbs cars and coffee July 2022

I was able to attend the Eastern Suburbs cars and coffee event this morning.   I’ve managed to attend the last couple of these events and there are always a good mix of cars attending.   As it is an eastern suburbs event, the most popular car is always the Porsche 911.

It was interesting to see a 930 Turbo parked next to a regular 911 of the same era.   The flared wheel arches are really obvious on the 930.    While I always enjoy seeing the cars, the 911 is one classic I’ve never really gotten into.    I’ve always preferred the 928.

cars and coffee July 2022
For some reason attendance this month was quite a bit down.    The normal crowed of five or six cars from the Mercedes-Benz club were not there as the club was running a high tea event today.    That number of cars doesn’t explain the vastly reduced numbers as the event was about half as big as normal.   There must have been some other event on today as the weather was quite good.

Despite the reduced numbers, there were a few nice BMWs on display including two different 2002 models in the same colour.   There was also an Alpina 3 series, a 1 series with M3 v8 transplanted, and one of my favorite BMWs, a 635csi.

There were also two nice Austin Healy convertibles, a really original looking Mercedes W111 230S, and a couple of other interesting cars like a Rover SD1, Lancia Fulvia etc.    In addition, there was also a nice Mazda 323 wagon with a rotary.   It’s easy to forget that during that time, Mazda put rotary engines in all sorts of cars.

I took my 450SLC to the event, but forgot to take any photos of my own car.    I was parked next to a nice R129 SL.   With the National Rally and Canberra show, I’ve now done more than 5,000km in the 450SLC this year.

MBCNSW July 2022 Night Drive – Royal National Park

Earlier this morning I returned from the MBCNSW July 2022 Night Drive.    We try to rotate the travel direction around Sydney, so this time we were going South.    The drive was actually a repeat of one we did back in February 2021.    That drive was quite popular, so we figured we would run it again.

The drives in the dead of winter are less popular, so we had a smaller crowd than last time.   One advantage of that is that it’s easier to keep the group together.    We had my W111 250SE Cabriolet, two W124’s (A 230E and a 300E) and a Porsche 911.   The owner of the Porsche is a club member who also has a W123, W140 and W113 amongst other cars.
MBCNSW July 2022 Night Drive

As with last time, the starting point was Loftus oval parking.   I don’t think I would use this as the starting point again.   There are some Petrol stations further along that are far better lit and easier to find.   We’re also less likely to interrupt a drug deal, as we likely did last night.

The route we took was the same as last time, in that we entered the Royal National Park at waterfall, and continued down until we past Bald Hill lookout.   From there we took the winding road up towards the Princes highway, which we continued along until Bulli Pass.   Our plan was to take Bulli pass down to the finish, but it was closed for roadworks, so we had to take the main highway.   Neither Google maps nor Waze had the closure, which is unusual.

For most of the drive, we hardly saw a car on the road which was nice, so we could just cruise along.    I drove with the roof down on the 250SE, which was pleasant on the way down (with gloves, a hat and the heater on full), but got a little bit chilly on the motorway drive home.     I’ve been having some running issues of late with the 250SE, and while I had a little of that on the way to the meeting point, it ran beautifully on the actual drive, and the way back home.

Given the location of the drive, it was a late night getting home, but worth it.   Cruising around at night with the roof down and little traffic on the road is always a good opportunity.

Guest Article: In search of another Benz – Part 1

It’s only been a bit over a year since I sold Oskar, my 1988 300SE at the 2021 Shannons Autumn Auction. It was my father Oskar’s pride and joy, and I was keen to join the MBCV when I inherited the car in 2011. For many years I used the car as a daily driver, then later it was swapped to club plates, with the family enjoying many Club runs. Our kids now have grown up and although they appreciate the Mercedes marque, they’re less likely to participate in Club events, which led to the reluctant decision to part with it.

Oskar the 300SE ready for auction

Oskar the 300SE ready for auction

Moving forward a year, I had an itch to buy another classic. I attempted to justify the purchase, but in all honesty, I couldn’t really, apart from knowing that our cars had contributed to my mental wellbeing during COVID. I also knew Naomi wouldn’t say no, as she has two lovely classics, a Jensen Interceptor and Triumph Stag and can’t resist another exciting addition to the family.

We have always subscribed to the philosophy of owning cars that suit different purposes. Looking at the garage we have enough four door vehicles and no longer need to worry about carting kids around on Club events, so the focus turned to a two door Mercedes. In the last five years I’d seen values escalate for the Mercedes models I grew up with, so I started to think about the more recent Mercedes models, CLK (A/C208, A/C209), SLK (R170/R171). Initially I did look at the CLK, but as I own half a C209 CLK320 with our daughter, I didn’t want another 209 even if it was a convertible. I also thought about the R129 (for less than a minute), but values were way outside my budget.

Eventually I started to look at the SLK R170 as I’ve always been a huge fan of Bruno Sacco and loved the design queues of its elder brother, the SL, with its power domes on the bonnet and optional two-tone interior options. The two-part vario-roof was also a large plus for me (even though it does consume a large amount of boot capacity when down). Within 25 seconds you can enjoy the fresh air of top-down motoring or close it and enjoy the warmness of what could be described as a coupe. Our Stag is much more usable when we have the hard top on too, but we have to use a winch, so just flicking a button is a huge leap forward. The other bonuses are that the SLK will be club plate eligible in 2023 and it’s an approved vehicle for P probationary drivers (excluding the SLK32 AMG).

The SLK range initially consisted of the SLK230 Kompressor released Feb 1997, then followed by the SLK200 in Oct 1997. The series II was released in Jul 2000 with revised safety equipment (electronic stability control) and suspension. The SLK200 Kompressor replaced the SLK200 and the SLK320 was released, while Sep 2001 marked the introduction of the SLK32 AMG. The R170 sold until 2004, with Mercedes releasing Special Editions to mark the end of the line for the R170. It came with exclusive features including pleated seats in fine Nappa leather, special aluminium trim on the dash and console, stepped 5 twin-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels and a special grille finished in the body colour.

The good news I found was there were plenty to choose from in terms of colour and engine combinations, but on the downside, there are plenty of bad ones which appear to be dragging down the values of good ones. Initially I wanted to buy locally, but it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t find one in the condition and colour combination I wanted. The search turned to interstate where I identified a listing for a 1998 SLK230 in silver with the two tone, red & black interior. It’s always fantastic to connect with a lovely seller and in this case, he was more than happy to supply 11 years of receipts, listing all the work done and dollar amount spent. We are delighted to welcome Sally the SLK as the latest member of our family and a lovely way to keep my Mum’s memory alive.

Sally on her way to a new home

Sally on her way to a new home

Author:  Nick Gruzevskis is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Club (Victoria) and the owner of 1979 450SE, 2005 CLK320 and now an SLK230

Stuck W116 ignition barrel – part 1

I was quite keen to start using the 280SE more now I have sorted out the steering, exhaust and drivers seat.    I don’t have a modern car, so I rotate the various historic registered cars I own to keep them inside their 60 day logbook.   The 280SE obviously has a lot of entries available.  I was also looking forward to driving it more now the main issues were sorted out.   I brought the car home on Saturday night after finishing the seat.  That meant I would have it available to use over the next couple of days.

Sunday was a very nice day,  so after a week of rain,  it seemed like a nice idea to take my kids to a playground in the 280SE.  After getting their booster seats in the car, we planned to set off, only to find that I could not turn the key.    After trying for 15 to 20 minutes, we gave up and went in my wife’s modern car.   We couldn’t take the 560SEL which was also at home, because it was blocked in by the 280SE.

I had encountered a sticky ignition key once or twice before when using the car.   It didn’t seem too bad that I had to change it right away.  I had it on my list of things to do at some point.   In retrospect, that was a bit silly as the previous owner may have been experiencing problems for ages.    Once the key gets sticky, you really want to change out the barrel – I did this to both my 300SE and 280CE and avoided all the problems I was about to have with a stuck w116 ignition barrel on the 280SE.

Stuck W116 ignition barrel

On the way back from the playground I stopped and bought some graphite powder, and picked up a few tools.   In the afternoon, I tried for about two hours using all the tips in the various Kent Bergsma videos – like this one.   I used both keys I have for the car, I used pliers, I used the graphite powder, I used the base of my electric toothbrush, all to no avail.   I should note, that I only used the base and not my actual toothbrush. The video suggests the vibration from something like a back massager can help free the lock.   Turning the key is vital, as the barrel or even steering lock can’t be removed without the ability to turn the key.

As I needed to duck out and do an errand Monday lunchtime, I needed access to a working car.   Thus, later that evening, I went to my workshop and grabbed my vehicle positioning jacks, plus the floor jack so I could move the car.   I would need to first push the car sideways, drive the 560SEL out of the way and then push the car back into the corner.

Before I put a jack on each wheel, I thought I would try one more thing.  I used my floor jack to raise the front of the car, so both wheels were off the ground.  I figured that would ease some of the pressure on the steering lock.  Once I did that, I was able to feel like it almost releasing.  After about 30 minutes of trying, it eventually moved, and I heard the radio spring to life.   What a great sound!

Stuck W116 ignition barrel

With the key in position 1, I was able to insert a tiny allen key into the hole.    This should unlock the collar, that then screws off.   As my 280SE is a 79 model, it has the 3rd design of ignition lock.  It appears very similar to the W123.   Due to the design of the W116 dashboard, I was unable to grip the collar properly.   I tried for a while, but I was just scratching it.   As I was able to get the key in, I could start the car and move it out of the way under its own power.   Instead of turning it off properly though, I left the key in position 1 and disconnected the battery.

The car is no longer blocking anything, so I have more time to sort this out.   I was able to cheap version of a special took to unscrew the barrel from AliExpress.   For $16 including shipping, it was worth a try.   It should be here by the 7th of August.

2022-07-24 22.21.34

I have a spare ignition barrel on hand.  It has a W123 part number and is very similar to the picture in the workshop manual.   It came in my 1986 300SE.  At the time, the ignition barrels coded to the original key for your car were still available.   I wanted to have a single key for both the doors and ignition on the 300SE, so I swapped it out.   There was nothing wrong the barrel.    Even if on inspection its the wrong one, once I get the old barrel out I can safely move it around without fear of getting the key stuck again.

So far, despite the wasted time, I feel I have been quite lucky.   A stuck W116 ignition barrel can cause people to have to start drilling things out.    So far, I have not had to do anything that drastic.

W116 Seat repair

Now I had the 280SE at the point where I could drive it more, I wanted to attend to the drivers seat.   Like most of these cars, years of driving had caused at least some of the springs to break, causing it to feel collapsed and lopsided.    The first Mercedes I ever owned, my 1985 230E already had this issue on purchase.  It was only 13 years old at the time.    This 280SE is over 40 years old, so it’s not surprising.

This is a common thing on these old Mercedes, so I assumed I had a couple of broken springs in the seat.   So I could complete the job in one go, I went and bought some supplies.   To reinforce the springs, I bought a 3/16″ threaded rod.    It’s thin enough I thought my brake pipe bender would allow me to bend to shape.    I also bought a couple of pieces of hardware to attach at each end, and then some thin wire to wind around the piece so it stayed on the spring.   I also bought a square of high density foam to pack into the seat springs.

W116 seat removed

Getting the W116 seat out is quite easy.   Five 10mm bolts.   You need to use the both the height adjusting and for/aft tracks to expose the bolts.   I did the front first, then back.     It helps to lower the headrest and raise the recline angle to get the seat out of the car.   The 5th bolt attaches a track to the transmission tunnel.

Once the seat was out, I laid it out on a clean piece of cardboard.    Looking underneath, it was quickly apparent I had two broken springs.   It was also great to see what great condition the rest of the seat was in.   The mechanism and horsehair paid were in great shape.  There is a small rip and some minor discolouring on the drivers seat, but its in otherwise nice condition too.

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I also found $3.47 worth of change underneath the car, including a 2c coin.   Those coins have been out of circulation since 1994!   Looking at the years of the coins, they ranged from 1976-1997.   That corresponds to my suspicion that the car was not used a great deal for the last 20 years.   I have no history for this period, but there are a number of clues.

Fixing the springs does not require the W116 seat to be disassembled.   I was able to do it all from the bottom.   First I gently put the broken springs back int the right spot.   I then cut and bent my piece of threaded rod.  The threaded rod is probably way overkill for this job, but it will certainly have the strength I need.  The grooves will also help the wire grip.

W116 seat spring

With the rod in the right shape, I used the fasteners to gently attach it to the spring.     I didn’t want to use too much pressure yet, in case it popped out of shape.    I then wound the wire around the old spring and rod, until it was nice and snug.   After that, I tightened up the fasteners and added a couple of cable ties for good measure.    The repair seemed quite strong.

W116 seat repair

I then cut some of my foam into strips.   Some longer thin sections for the sides and front, and then some smaller sections to re-enforce the main springs.

While the seat was out, I also replaced the broken fire extinguisher bracket with a better one I had one hand, and clean the seat as best I could.   Overall it came up pretty well.    I also lubricated the tracks as I could without taking them apart.

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Getting the W116 seat back in was surprisingly the hardest part of the whole enterprise.   I had originally planned to have it back in quickly then do an oil change on the car.   In the end it two two hours and I had to postpone the oil change.

W116 seat

I had a couple of challenges.   I first tried to put the seat in using the front bolts first, but I couldn’t make all the bolts line up.    The height adjustable lever was already almost broken, and during the course of putting the seat in/out it finally broke.   I’ll have to try the Kent Bergsma bolt on solution.

After a few tries, I found it was easiest to get the back bolts in first, and then try and manhandle the seat around until I could get the fronts in.     I’m glad I did a strong seat repair, as pushing the seat up and down on the height track puts a fair amount of pressure on the springs.

With the seat back in, I’m pretty happy with this repair.   The seat is no longer sagging to one side and the car is much nicer to drive.   One more item ticked off the list.