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Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Over the course of my roughly 35 years, the most impressive technical feat I've ever performed on a car is adding a quart of oil because it told me to. At least I think I did that, once. And that's sort of why I went off and purchased a 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500 GE, because nothing motivates you to "learning by doing" like a dodgy old five liter V8 stuck in a car hardly anyone's even heard of.



Behold, the M117.965. Most people familiar with this engine know it from the W126 series of benzes, specifically late 80's 500 SE's, 500 SEL's or 500 SEC's. It puts out somewhere between 164 and 195 kW's of power, depending on configuration. This one in particular cost the previous owner in excess of $40.000 in parts and repairs over a seven year period. He eventually pretty much gave up, so the car has been sitting in a garage for the past few years. A recurring theme in the notes from the various garages it's been to is rough idling and difficulties starting the drat thing.

After some quick googling, and some intensive cross-referencing internet lore with the car's maintenance logs, I figured injection valves would be a good place to start. As far as I can tell, not one of the little bastards has been replaced (or even cleaned) since the car was brand new.



So far, this seems easy! Less than $600 got me eight brand new valves, seals and sleeves (not pictured). People are going on about Viton O-rings for the sleeves, but those are pretty much Unobtainium around here, so I just stick with the black rubber ones for now.



Actually replacing these things takes more work than buying them, though. I'm going to have to remove the fuel lines, and afterwards, there are these brackets putting pressure on the injectors themselves. Said brackets are held in place by socket head screws which are an utter nightmare to loosen. I'm interpreting this as further evidence these things have sat untouched for 25 years. There's a lot of aluminum going on down in this engine, by the way. I think someone sprayed something in here which isn't supposed to go on aluminum.



A bit of violence never hurt, right?



Yay! So I got to this point with the first two injection valves, and even managed to fit a new set of stuff in the appropriate holes.

Afterwards, things went less smoothly. Or rather, things became altogether too smooth.



So good news: one cylinder bank now holds two new injector valves. This simple change has made starting the engine a breeze – as if nothing was ever wrong to begin with. Idling is smoother, too.

Bad news: that bank also has two screws with circular holes, where there ought to be hexagonal ones. The other bank still has four more or less intact screws, because they seem to be as stuck as the ones I ruined, and applying more violence turns out to not be the perfect solution to everything after all. Who knew, right? I've tried applying all sorts of lubricants, from WD-40 to a homebrew of 50/50 ATF-U and acetone, with no luck. At this point I'm considering having someone drill the six stuck screws out, unless anyone here has a cleverer idea.

Oh, and one last thing. I was thinking of replacing the cold start valve, but after the vast improvement from just two new injectors, I don't think that one's a problem after all. This is, though:



I accidentally broke off a part of this incredibly brittle plastic connector to the CSV. No idea what it's called, though, so finding a replacement part is hard. There's not even a number on it, unless that was stamped on the bits that flew off down into the water pump belt contraption, it just says "AMP". If anyone has any idea what this is called, I'd be incredibly grateful, since I'm planning for a 2000 mile trip in this thing within the next week or so. Which reminds me...



This can't have been changed recently, right?

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Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Thanks a lot! Looks like this is the closest I'll get to things which are in ample supply:



Even if this isn't the exact right part, at least I'll be able to drive around looking for places stocking EV1 connectors. And hey, it's only for the CSV, and this is June. I'm sure it won't be an actual problem until September, at least, even if I have to crank the engine a bit extra to get it running. As it is, the engine does run, even if I suddenly started struggling getting the car up to 60 mph after the intake air temperature sensor fell out of its designated hole. Simply putting it back in didn't resolve the problem, so I've ordered up a new one which will hopefully fix that issue.

After that, once the little square filter for crankcase vapors (???) arrives, I'm changing both that and the regular air filter. The former is downright filthy, and I'm guessing there's little point in only replacing the latter, so yeah. On the other hand, I'm fully aware of how completely new I am at this stuff; that's just my uneducated guess.



Once all this is resolved, I'm thinking these bits and pieces for the throttle should be my next priority. There is a lot of slack in the pedal, and cruise control is either jittery or non-functional, so this ought to be a good place to start.



Oh, and maybe an oil change is in order as well. The shop which facilitated the sale told me they'd changed the various fluids, but judging from the color on the dipstick, I'm not so sure.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Here's the car itself, by the way – one of the 446 ever built.



It used to have a few "new-style" "upgrades" installed, like white turn signals and so on. That's all gone now; the end goal is getting it as close to when it was new as I can.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Phew! One quick 2198 mile road test later, I've learned a LOT about this car. First off, there's a deep, constant tremor throughout the vehicle whenever the speedometer passes ~52 mph, which I ascribe to tire adjustment. On RPM's beyond 2200-2500 or so, there's also a distinct rustling sound from the engine, which might be from the timing chain, I guess?

I'm also fairly certain the OVP relay is shot, or soon to be. Reasoning: The ABS light lit up several times during this trip for no discernible reason. When this is on constantly, it can mean a multitude of things, like the brake servo being dead or (duh) ABS failing. However, the brakes were fine – but the ABS module gets its power through the OVP. The very same relay, from what I've been able to google, also keeps the fuel injector system flowing just right. If it starts failing, either due to shoddy Mercedes soldering or just plain old age, you'll struggle to get the right fuel/air mix, and the ABS light will come on. Since it lit up only after uncomfortable jolts to the car, well, you get the idea.

Now, for the first half of the trip, I had a hell of a time climbing hills. Even 6% inclines on nice, paved roads were hard, and flooring the accelerator was not an option (the car would stall and threaten to die). Switching from premium 95 RON fuel to super 98 RON fuel worked wonders in this respect, which I interpret as relevant to fuel/air mix and injection system (the manual states 95 is recommended, but that even 93 will do in a pinch). I want to believe swapping the OVP for a brand new unit, and completing the injector swap, should let me use less-than-bankruptcy-inducing gasoline again?

Oh, and I also got a coolant leak at some point during the first 1600 miles.



Full size is pretty big. Since I couldn't smell anything anywhere, the reservoir looked pretty well stocked, and the leak looks minor, I decided to give it another 100 miles and see if it got worse.



Still no major visible changes up there, and temperature was stable at between 170-182 degrees F, so I decided I could make it the paltry 500 miles home.



Arriving at my destination, I guess it got a bit worse? Temperature also climbed to 194 degrees at the very end. Hope I don't need a whole new radiator, that thing is big.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Great advice, thanks! The spark plug wiring is pretty new, but yeah, I guess the rest might as well just go. What's a slushie?

For the record, I'm not just new to German cars. I might in fact be the most clueless person who's ever posted anything on AI. Still dead set on getting this V8 to purr, though!

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Krakkles posted:

Automatic transmission - aka “slushbox”.

Ah, right, thanks! These babies never got manual trannies, so I guess that makes for four hoses and two wires to disconnect and replace. Gonna be fun!

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Easy is boring, right?

DJ Commie posted:

And probably the worst to attempt to be frugal/cheap about repairing. Off-brand parts and shadetree mechanicin' will not do well for this car at all.

Very likely true! I discovered a tiny strip of wood missing from the passenger door interior, which is available directly from Mercedes, but they want a cool $934 for it. From my calculations, this places Mercedes-Benz burled walnut at 6th place on the list of most valuable substances in the world by weight, far ahead of gold, and just a little bit behind methamphetamine. A new radiator, I learned today, would be more than $3k if I want a star on it.

Still, I'm sticking to OEM for pretty much everything, so long as it doesn't become obscenely expensive. Like that walnut, or radiator.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Nebakenezzer posted:

That...may not be possible

Brightside: big thread comedy

No promises, but six pages from now, this car might consist primarily of duct tape.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Not directly, but my parts shop does. Thanks to the magic of eBay I also got the service manual for the engine (as seen in the W126, but it's close enough), and I have a folder listing all parts numbers, with diagrams, for most of the mechanical bits of the engine.

New bits also arrived! The tiny air filter which hasn't been replaced in 25 years (from what I can tell) is finally getting retired, and the maybe-faulty OVP relay is going too. If I can find it.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Thanks a bunch guys, I really appreciate it!

Went out to get some new tools today, and at first light, I'm taking a drill to the engine to prepare the ground for my new screw extractors. Those injectors are getting replaced, one way or another. Still haven't been able to find the old OVP relay, but I'll keep looking. I thought it was supposed to screw onto a wall, owing to those brackets on the side of the thing, but according to YouTube those are just for locking it in place in some sort of plastic mounting thingmabob, next to other relays and stuff. I'm starting to wonder if I have to go in through one of the footwells or something.

madeintaipei posted:

This isn't the truck that a wheel fell off of while driving, is it?

Close, but no! (I very nearly bought an externally very similar G-wagon a while ago, with a far more economical 3.5 liter diesel I6, and even an airbag and stuff – but then the brake servo died and the electrical systems gave up the ghost and a wheel fell off... all during the first test drive. So I returned that one, and kept looking until I found this slightly rough diamond instead. So far, the wheels haven't fallen off.)

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Junkyards are a good tip, I've considered them as a source for that EV1 plug (since they're actually impossible to find new around here, for some reason). It's a last resort though, since what I'm aiming for is restoration.

berth ell pup posted:

Though looking at your car I can't even tell how that battery fits in there.

Barely.

glyph posted:

E: Ah, you’re in Yurp. The $ values and miles threw me off.

E2: while fully realizing this is from a post more than two weeks ago, I think the white[ish] plastic doodad circled is an adjuster for your throttle cable. Turn it whichever way makes it so you see less threads (the threads right at the tip of the arrow I drew) on the other side of the bracket and you’re on the right track. It looks WAY stretched to me, the lend and the washer should be against the spring. It’ll adjust like a barrel adjuster for a bicycle cable.



Dollars and miles are All-American, for your pleasure! Great tip on the plastic doodad by the way, I adjusted the hell out of it today, and the gas pedal feels a whole lot more like in ordinary cars now! I was all ready to toss the whole spring-and-wire contraption, thinking that spring at the end of the cable was broken. You, sir, just saved me $$$dollars.



Otherwise it's been a pretty fun day. The small air filter (C118?) finally got its replacement. As it turns out, the old one was held in place by a pair of screws so grimy I couldn't find them before I noticed the drat thing wasn't coming out. At first I only found this one, the second was hidden sort of "inside" the clasp.



This gave me a much needed opportunity to apply copious amounts of brake cleaner to the inside of my air filter housing...



But that was just warming up! I've still had no luck finding the OVP relay. My best hope was a big black plastic cover on the driver's side fire wall, which turned out to be the windshield wiper motor. The main job, however, remains those last six injectors – and the screws holding them in place.

First things first: You get out your power drill, put a 2,5 mm drill bit on the end, and make a hole.



Then, you stick your 2 mm screw extractor on a 3/8" ratchet, and break the extractor clean off inside said hole.



You then get in your daily driver, race over to the place where you bought the drat things, and get a new set. You then ruin one drill bit trying to make a hole through the old extractor, give up, mount your spare 2,5 mm drill bit, and move on to the next screw. You drill a hole in the next screw over...



...and then promptly break a second extractor clean off inside that screw as well.

By the time I got to this point, everything was closed, so I'm going to have to find a clever solution tomorrow. I think I'm going to need a drill bit which can worm its way through tool steel, and bigger extractors. The screws are only 5 mm though, and I'm trying not to ruin the threads, so even going to 3 mm could be pushing it.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

meltie posted:

To get those bolts out, I suggest getting some replacement bolts and metal injector hold-down clips, and then using a Dremel with a thin slitting disk, i'd cut a slot right across the top of the head of the bolt so that you can use a nice big flat-blade screwdriver to turn them?

Yeah, it's beginning to look a lot like that's my only option. I already have a set of replacement screws (part number A 000 984 79 29, OEM all the way!), but since the clips are $12 a pop, and dremeling usually makes nice little sparks right next to those fuel lines... but yep, definitely considering it. I also need a clever way to get all the metal debris from drilling (and potentially cutting) out of the way.

Phy posted:

Actually laughing out loud in a Mcdonalds. That was perfect comedy timing, are you sure you haven't done this before?

(I remember a thread a few years ago, someone extracted two bolts in a row without snapping the extractor off and the entire thread was like, "what kind of wizard are you", "what was Satan like when you sold him your soul", that kind of thing)

You paid me back with a good laugh as well; it's also oddly reassuring to know you have to sell your soul to actually pull this stuff off...

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Appreciate the input; by now I've tried every kind of penetrating lube known to man on these things, heat/cold treated them, and tried hammering a torx into them before today's spectacular double extraction failure. Sadly, as the screws are aluminum, they aren't really too affected by temperature changes. Bonus: Since they're oxidized to hell and back, they're also so hard on the surface that no amount of hammering could get even a microscopically oversize torx bit in there.

Snipping the bracket off with some pliers seems like a good idea; I could then get to the screw head with a file, and just carefully grind myself a nice flat notch for a screwdriver. I'd love it if I could take it to a shop, but I checked with the four closest ones before I went off to buy these extractors, and none of them felt up to the task. I think I'm starting to understand why...

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

If yours, unlike mine, have been cleaned, inspected, changed or even looked at in the past 25 years, I'm sure it'll be fine!

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

If the head, case, and half the rest of the bits in there weren't aluminum as well, I'd start tossing all sorts of dissolving agents into the contraption. As it stands, the saga of getting screwed keeps continuing!

Latest development is I bought a bunch of super-hardened impact screwdrivers, used them to chisel out some flathead slots, and started twisting using a wrench – but instead of loosening up, the screw heads themselves are beginning to yield.

Starting to consider using my secret weapon, herr Wolframkarbid here, but let's hope it doesn't come to that...



I did learn that my radiator says "BEHR B 3" on it, so I guess you guys were right in it being Hella bad.

I also found the OVP relay! Good news is it's most certainly the old kind, prone to failure, and better off replaced.



Bad news is it was hiding in the passenger side footwell, behind the fuse box, along with Shub-Niggurath, The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, in all her tentacled glory.



Still, swapping it out for the new one wasn't too hard.



More worrying is the terrible spaghetti monstrosity of wires, some of which are... well, I'll just show you.



You'll notice how the insulation on the wires going into that relay has cracked. It looked worse in real life, with copper clearly sticking out, and the chance of those two wires touching being enormous, I decided to go ahead and fix'er upp'er with a bit of electrical tape.



As it turns out, someone else has had this exact idea with this relay's sibling, albeit applying, I must say, slightly less finesse.



So yeah. Prolly nothing important, though. And that one wire that kinda looks like it belongs in the first relay, but is just hanging free... I have no idea where it goes. The second one I found, with the massive blob of tape on it, also has just four of the five connectors connected. Different ones, of course. This is what they both look like, part number and all.



Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Huh, imagine that. A couple of those pictures look a lot like the worst bits of my footwell monster up there. To make matters worse, this particular relay seems to have been used for a lot of different applications in various cars, from fuel pumps to aircon to fog lights.

That one red+yellow wire hanging loose next to it runs all by its own in towards the center of the car, and then disappears in behind the covering in front of the center console; see the far left of this picture, it's very easy to spot.


Could be it ends up in the ignition, the AC, a light switch, or just nowhere at all. It's unlikely that it goes into the engine, though, as there's a big thick loom heading that way at the top right of that picture.

I'm thinking I should just try starting the car and see if it works, and leave the bastard disconnected if nothing seems off. As for the state of the rest of that compartment, I'm sort of lost for words.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Dear diary.

Today I dropped my phone into the shroud between the radiator and the fan.

Thankfully it was easy to spot, what with the flashlight on it set to max and all.

Several hours later...



Gorilla Rod™ saves the day! Remember it, and one day it might save yours! All you need is a combination wrench and about a mile of gorilla tape, and you can fish drat near anything out of anywhere.

Other than that, I tested out the "prolly not important" theory re: those loose wires, and it looks good? Reconnected battery, fired her up, and everything electrical I could think of seemed to still work. Ah, and the car actually started, so I haven't broken anything in the engine yet either. I won't get to check if the OVP swap worked magic until I take it out on the road, but idling seems pretty much the same, stable at around 800 rpm. Throttle response is way better after tightening that white plastic thingy going to the pedal, though!

While doing some cleaning up in the engine compartment, trying to get rid of all the metal shavings from my thus-far-unsuccessful attempts at getting the drat screws out, I discovered they are slightly magnetic. Turns out the screws themselves are not aluminum at all, only the manifold they're stuck to is. I think they might be actually be galvanized steel.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Suppose so. I also suppose learning to realize when you're beaten is part of the process, so I'm throwing in the towel when it comes to these screws. I've tried fluids, torx bits and flathead screwdrivers, and I've attacked the base of the screw heads with both chisel and dremel.



Although it's just super odd that the first two came out... well, if not easily, then at least out, while the remaining six are as if they're welded to the manifold, at least I've accumulated a whole lot of new high quality tools! I'm sure they'll come in handy down the line. Well, not the chisel. drat things ate it right up.

I've also exhausted my July mechanicin' budget on parts and tools, so things will quiet down a bit in here for a while. In a few weeks there'll be fresh funds, and I'll get around to finding a workshop to do three things. First they need to be willing to drill, burn or shoot these things out. Second, at the same time, I'll get the timing chains replaced – I quite honestly consider the risk of me tremendously messing things up to be too great to try it myself. Third, I'll get a full oil change, since I've got no legal means of disposing of that black stuff currently circulating in the engine.

With those three things, plus a trip to a radiator shop who can take a look at my leak, I'm pretty sure my August budget will go as well. Still, six new injectors are prepped and ready to go if someone can just remove those screws, and I've got a full set of spark plugs that'll go in as soon as that's all in order! Spark plug change looks hard though, so feel free to place bets as to whether or not I'll manage to break something important

I also did this, in lieu of one of those connector things:



Will most likely remove it before trying out a test run, as the engine started acting kinda strange when it was plugged on. Oh, and I'm kinda confident it's a massive fire hazard.

So yes! That's the current status, more will follow in probably like a month or so.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

builds character posted:

You can take used oil to the local auto parts store.

Not here, I've got to deliver it at a municipal hazardous waste disposal place – and they're only open while I'm at work :/

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Quite right – to Norway, land of giants! Also hills.

On that note, I took the G out for a spin today, to see if the OVP swap made any difference (or if I broke something). Some things have changed – it's got less issues getting up to speed or climbing hills, power-wise, or at least it seems that way. However, there are some bloody weird issues now as well. First off, idling is a lot rougher with a warm engine than it was before. It's also a tiny bit harder to start the car with a warm engine; like it'll cough a few times and sound like it's about to get going, and then just peter out. My money is on the six old injectors.

Way more worrisome is the temperature gauge. See, today I ran it about 25 miles on highways, taking it real easy in case something wasn't right. That was fine, although the temperature kept at about 185 degrees F. Up until the end of my 2000+ mile test run, it's almost always been stuck at around 176 F no matter speed or RPM, so 185 while calmly cruising is higher than my comfort zone. It'd occasionally butt up against 194 degrees, which is still okay, but I don't like it.

Anyway. After the highway, I pulled it onto a smaller road for about five miles, the last of these miles being a pretty long, steep, winding climb. When I got to the top, the temp gauge, for the first time since I got the car, was at 212 degrees F. Now I know that's not dangerous by itself, and that was the regular operating temperature for my SLK 250, but I still think it's still pretty hot for a car that's been keeping steady at 176 degrees previously. Especially after climbing a little less than a mile, going at 30 mph.

So I cut the engine, popped the hood, and everything looked fine. No leak from the radiator, just the tiniest hint of coolant having escaped a hose; nothing at all like the previous horror pictures. Reservoir way full. Five minutes later, I turned the ignition to check temperature again, by which time it had crawled up to some 221 degrees (hood open, engine (and yes, fan too, off)). So what I did was close the hood, leave it for an hour and a half to cool off, and, uh, load up the back with 500 lbs of rock. (I was originally going to fetch 1200 lbs, but thought better of it)

Starting it up again, temperature had dropped to about 170 F, and going back down the same way was pretty much sweet sailing. I think I was stable between 180-195 F all the way home. The main fan works, the heater inside the car heats, and everything looks pretty normal from the outside. Could it be a regulator somewhere? Something I did while hammering the screws? Some hose I've forgotten to reattach, a vacuum leak, or a side effect of a new OVP?

In short: Does anyone have any ideas about why my car suddenly hates going uphill with a fiery passion?

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

STR posted:

Congrats, you've just discovered heat soak. Once you've shut off the engine, it's normal for it to heat up a little bit, as the coolant is no longer circulating. Most people will never notice unless they check the temp ~5-10 minutes after shutting off the vehicle.

Have you taken this same road (uphill) before in similar weather conditions? If so, then you might want to look at the thermostat and fan clutch. If not, it's normal for an engine to get a little warmer when going uphill - especially a big V8 in a heavy landbarge.

Hmm. The fact that it got hotter while off made me figure that cooling was working more or less as intended, since heat was being dealt with while pump and fan were going. Maybe not, then - time to read up on fan clutches!

I haven't taken that particular road in this particular car before, but on my stupid long trip a couple of weeks back, I had to climb both longer and steeper inclines. I had power issues then, to the point where I'd have to pick up lots of speed before starting each hill or risk slowing down to a crawl, but temperature never rose this high.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

We actually paid to make theirs smaller. Partly as payback for 400 years of Danish subjugation, but mostly for the fact that they make better beer than we do (a great and secret point of shame).

But brother, how I envy the flatness of Denmark right now!

meltie posted:

Some mercedes engines of that era had problems with the plastic thermostat housing. Check yours, and replace it with the updated metal one if you like.

If you have an electric fan clutch like mine, you can test it by pulling the cable to the sensor and bridging the contacts. With the engine off you should hear a nice loud click (and probably see sparks if you used a screwdriver!) when it engages.

Oh cool, I'll absolutely be checking this out.

Internet wisdom tells me my high temps are indeed unusual for an M117 engine, while my "old" normal temps are the proper sweet spot, so I believe it's not just the OVP facilitating more power. Although, the service manual indicates some sort of double action breathing apparatus only kicking in at higher temps, so... There's research and experiments to do!

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

I'll get some shots from the inside, and maybe write up a little more on what makes this car weird?

First I need to figure out what a smog pump is though. As it happens, I have one, but it's visibly very broken (pulley askew, bits sticking out, you know, broken). That's okay, because there's no trace of the belt which was supposed to be turning the thing, so it's not affecting... anything? I only found out because I'm putting together an order for new rubber, so I decided to find out what hoses need replacing, and so I started tracing the ones I could see around.

Remember the little square air filter I replaced? The hose leading up to it originates way down under the alternator, in what I've learned is a smog pump. Or secondary air injection, if you prefer. Now from what I've gathered, roughly 50% of the internet agrees smog pumps are best when circumvented and removed. They steal performance, add weight, and take up space; all you get in return is some lower emissions. However, this one doesn't pump air into the catalyst (well, maybe it does that as well, idk), it pumps it into the air filter housing. There, it first passes through that weird square filter, then through the main air filter, and then into the manifold. So it's clean, but warm, recycled and maybe spent air, which Mercedes seems to have designed a system for reusing?

Could this thing actually be configured to utilize this secondary air setup in order for it to run right, or is there something I'm not getting here?

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Yeah, you're right. I realized I could look in the service manual, and turns out I got the airflow direction all wrong. The pump sucks in air through that square filter, and spits it out at the exhaust valves.

I also need to worry less. According to the service manual, the thermostat doesn't engage at all before I pass 176 degrees F; coolant only flows through the bypass duct until then. Between 176-203 degrees F, the thermostat is more or less open depending on engine load and ambient temperature. Only above 203 F is the main valve completely open to let coolant flow fully through the system. On top of that, the viscofan clutch doesn't engage at all until temperatures reach 221 deg F; so the fan just spins at 400-600 rpm, independent of engine speed. Once coolant temperature reaches that threshold, a bimetallic strip will arch outward, engaging the clutch, and spinning the fan proportionate to engine speed, up to a fan speed of 3000 rpm.

Soooo basically the thermostat wasn't fully opened before I started worrying, and the fan clutch wasn't designed to engage at all until a temperature above my personal "oh poo poo too hot better just stop" limit. Of course, for testing it, the manual recommends running the engine at 4500 rpm until it gets into that temperature range, and while driving I never went above 2500 rpm, so I'm pretty sure something is still up. Doesn't look like I need to worry much out on the road before the needle approaches the red, which is at 250 degrees F and above.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Nebakenezzer posted:

I'm impressed to learn Norway doesn't have the all-consuming rust concerns Atlantic Canada has?

Oh, but we most certainly do! Roughly six months per year we're rolling around on roads that are 90 percent salt, ten percent water. That's why the very first thing I did, immediately after picking up the car, was call a shop who could do this:



That yellow gunk dripping off everything is lanolin; I had the whole darn thing coated extensively both underneath and in every conceivable opening. It's also received regular Tectyl treatments throughout the years, so there's remarkably little rust on this vehicle. Only the exhaust looks like it's really gotten any bad rust, so I'm soooort of considering yanking it all out and installing some new stainless plumbing.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

New tubes and hoses are ordered, appointment is booked with radiator repair dudes, and another appointment is booked with screw destroying dudes (who'll also see to it that my timing chains are replaced). Next time I fire up the old V8, it's for a trip to a bunch of highly professional wrench wielders.

In the meantime, someone requested moar pics of the interior, so let me show you around my ride!



This is my truck. There aren't many like it, and this one is mine. In all, less than 500 of these bad boys were built by Mercedes-Benz between 1993 and 1994. Now this was way back before "SUV" had really cemented itself as a word in the public consciousness; back when a truck was a truck, a man was a man, and a man with a truck was a manly man with a forest or workshop or something. If he wasn't, he was some sort of British Lord who hadn't gone bankrupt maintaining his Vast Tracts of Land yet, and those rare specimens all opted for extremely patriotic Land Rover Defenders. Which I personally think is part of the reason there aren't any such lords left today.



However, as it turned out, someone high up in Stuttgart noticed that there was a segment of their very, very best customers who, for some inexplicable reason, kept buying Geländewagens. A small portion of the global elite, those who'd usually motor about in the back of a very long S-class, seemed partial to the idea of permanent four-wheel-drive. Could it be that these people mayhaps would be interested in all leather cow interior, and big brown baby seal eyes for headlights? Yeah?

A plan was hatched, 500 crates carrying the high-end M117 engine were shipped off to Graz, Austria, and Mercedes-Benz salespeople started making phone calls.



"Excuse me, Sir, but I couldn't help notice you've bought at least one G-wagon from me. Since you've also purchased at least one S-class from me, I was wondering, could I perhaps interest you in a very special blend of the two? Imagine, what if I could offer you a highly exclusive and monstrously powerful all-terrain automobile, but complete with the burled walnut interior you know and love from the luxury line of Mercedes-Benz vehicles?"



"Of course we'll throw in our very best Blaupunkt cassette player and radio, complete with the automatically extending antenna!"

And so the 500 GE was born. No advertising campaigns, no slogans; simply direct contact with a selected clientele which might be interested in a sports car with high utility scores. A... "sports/utility vehicle", if you will. The Germans never referred to it as such, of course, but there you have it. It was the last G-wagon not to be called a "G-class", and the first to carry a V8 engine straight from the Graz factory. When production ended, it would be another four years until we'd see the birth of the G500.



The car had a four-speed automatic transmission, power steering, power seats, power windows, power mirrors, power... pretty much everything. And it all works to this day. It was also, as you can see, lavishly decorated with that insanely costly burled walnut I've mentioned. The stuff is everywhere: Handbrake, shift stick, center console...



And yes, second shift stick. This one lets you choose between G, for "Gelände", or "terrain"; N, which I assume is for "Neutral" or "Normal" or whatever; and S, for "Strasse", meaning "street". I've never had to move it from the "S" position. Something has been mounted next to it, and I can't quite figure out what.



As an side, here's a picture of that $934 strip of wood on the driver side door, and the place where it's missing on the passenger side. $934. Did I mention I considered buying a grove of walnut trees to just make it myself? Seems cheaper.



Judging from the rest of the interior, I could be a millionaire just selling off strips of wood. Anyway, it's a pretty well equipped car, for a '93. As one of the largest moving items on four wheels, silly things like "airbags" wasn't deemed necessary, so that was left out. If there are any G-connoisseurs here, you might have noticed another missing detail, though. Notice the buttons for the differentials. Notice how there are two of them. But all G-wagons are supposed to have three, right?

All G-wagons do have three locking differentials. All, except this one. Odd.

See, I've heard a couple different explanations for this. One story goes that the Mercedes engineers figured the extremely limited customer base for this model would never take them outside city limits, and if they did, they'd certainly not go off the Autobahn. Additionally, even most offroad enthusiasts rarely had any need for the front differential, so these upper-class city folk would never miss it. A simple cost-saving measure. I'm not sure I buy it, though. No expense was spared building these things; one of the customers was the exiled king Constantine II of Greece. Also, switching away from the construction framework that they already used for every single other G-wagon made in order to save money on some gears... I'm not sure it'd end up saving any money at all, in the end.

That's why I'm more inclined to buy into the other explanation: They weren't sure the front differential would be able to handle all the power from the five-liter M117. In this story, I've been told that in order to prevent either catastrophic failures with the engine ripping the differential apart, or to prevent excessive maintenance costs, they engineered the front differential out. If this was the case, it was later proven very wrong by more modern models, kicking 5-6-700 horsepower around without sweating.

Either way, it's missing. I don't miss it much, though. I've got something better.



Embossed door sills! This became a regular thing for G-wagons later on, but as far as I know was a brand new thing back in the early 90's. Which is kind of a pain in the rear end, because the sill at the tail door on my car is slightly bent, and thus one more thing I need to replace for my restoration project. The cheapest one I've found is like $250. For a sill. Yeah.

So. That's my car, and I'm sticking with it. There's a lot left to do, but current condition isn't too bad, and I hope I'll be able to use it as my daily driver come winter. Looking good so far, unless I need to shell out $3000 for a goddamn radiator, anyway.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Thanks, guys! Yeah, it's pretty special, but MB will truly sell you anything if you've got the money. That's good news for me, as some parts are pretty hard to find for just my car. G-wagons aren't really uncommon here per se, but a huge percentage are the old W460 models made up to 1989, or refurbished ex-military vehicles. Diesel reigns supreme, and the most common models are probably the 300, 240 and 350, in that order (all diesel).

By the way, my parts shop botched something in their system, but I've found AutohausAZ to stock at least some of what I need. Shipping costs are a bitch, but their prices for OE parts seem reasonable, so I was wondering if they're worth giving my money to?

Edit: As a bonus, here's some horrific noise from my engine compartment (no fade-in, it cuts straight into being noisy; you've been warned)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTsXYGg-sP0

First 10 seconds is the original sound from right before I started doing stuff to it; last 10 seconds is what it sounded like after replacing the first two injector valves. It idles better, if not yet good, but two weeks from now I'll hopefully have fixed those last six injectors. Also I'm just going to assume that awful hissing noise is a vacuum leak.

Pursesnatcher fucked around with this message at 20:53 on Jul 24, 2018

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Hydraulic lifters, unless the previous owner got robbed twice. Or, at least, they call the lifters "hydro-elements" in Norwegian. I guess it... might be the chain? It does seem to rattle at high revs, as I mentioned, so that's why I'm getting it replaced. The high-pitched background noise in the video does sound a lot more like air escaping, though, at least in person.

E: Ok poo poo I just listened to the video myself with that in mind, and it sounds a godawful lot like a chain. I haven't for the life of me been able to pinpoint where the noise actually originates when down in the engine; it's like it's coming from the air flow sensor, but when I put my head close to it, it seems to be coming from someplace else. drat.

Noise is pretty much the same no matter the temperature, by the way.

Pursesnatcher fucked around with this message at 19:40 on Jul 25, 2018

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

meltie posted:

Some MB engines of the era needed chain guides replacing, and yeah, chains were known for stretching. In bad cases, stretched chains were known to wear grooves in the sides of the chain cover

Well that's more than a little unnerving :s

Even more glad I booked that appointment now. Looking up chain guides, they're made from plastic!? I'll never be able to understand the logic here. There are other parts like that as well, brittle little plastic things where metal would have made a lot more sense. Mine seems to have been swapped about nine years and 50k miles ago, but from the receipts I have, chain doesn't seem to have been replaced ever.

I also realize that what it sounds like in person is a hair dryer. That's why I've made the connection "must be rushing air".

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Well poo poo. I guess I better order up some new guides and stuff too. At least one camshaft has been replaced already (probably twice, I don't think they touched the right side one), they miiiight have changed the gear while they were at it. Oh well, the guy doing the job is apparently some kind of M117 magician who's done this procedure a bajillion times; hopefully he knows what to replace...

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

glyph posted:

Before you go shotgunning parts at this, it looks like your valves, while hydraulically lifted, are also adjustable. Might be best to leave the m117 magician to it- don’t ask any leading questions.

A valve adjustment, even one as fucky as this one looks to be, is going to be a shitload cheaper than changing a timing chain, guides and all of that.

E: 50k miles, even in metric countries with classic German hardware isn’t THAT much. Don’t throw good money at bad.
E2: your video before and after messing with 2/8 injectors also seemed to have quieted the... valve slapping noise I was hearing (like a diesel).
E3: slow down.
E4: you can use a long screwdriver like a stethoscope to isolate where the noise is coming from- hold one end to the valve cover, and the other to your temple or somewhere else bony on your head and probe around.

Wow, thanks, this is really sound advice. I'll try taking it to heart. Valve adjustment is a good idea, I'll simply ask him to have a look at my valves and see if they seem in order. As for the chains, that's still going; I've got 75k miles/120k km of history on paper for this thing, and it's never been changed in that time. It's really weird, with all the other stuff that's been done, but it's the same story with the injectors. All valves were swapped out just six years and 30k miles ago, for instance, and the whole engine has been taken more or less apart at least twice.

Slowing down is likely the best bit of advice, though. It's surprisingly easy to get carried away!

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

glyph posted:



Seriously, my chain was like a full link longer, check out how the pins fall court of phase as you work down from the bolt hanging the chains.


TL;DR: gently caress yeah timing chains stretch:


All right, that does it. I'm going to ask them to let me bring my leftover chains home in a doggy bag. It's gonna be measuring tape time!

JoshGuitar posted:

I've actually never seen somebody undercoat a car with lanolin, but it seems so obvious now. Living in the steel buckle of the rust belt, I'll have to start doing that. Do they use pure lanolin, or something like Fluid Film?

I guess it's Fluid Film, applied by high pressure. You don't want it going on everything though, like the exhaust, since it's going to smell like wet sheep for a week if you do.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

New month!

New money!

New monthly car fixing budget!



So yeah, my M117 guru gave me a call today, and his assessment, after a quick look-over without opening'er up, is that my chains are fine. The noise I had myself convinced was the rattling of a slack chain sounds to him like the furious, unhealthy ticking of the lifters for my rocker arms.

This is just a little absurd.

As mentioned, the P.O. spent on this car; a healthy chunk of which went into replacing a grand total of 32 (!) rocker arms, all 16 lifters, all intake and exhaust valves, and both camshafts, in just a few short years. On four different occasions he went in to get half of the rockers in the engine replaced, and did the same thing twice for the lifters. Unless all of this was just on one half of the engine, if they've gone to poo poo again, I'll start thinking this specific engine is cursed.

For now, I've decided to try a deep cleanse of the engine first; wasting tremendous amounts of oil getting the insides nice and shiny. After I told the guy about the scope of the P.O's repairs, he suggested this as a possible, maybe, perhaps-with-some-luck fix as an alternative to swapping them all out again – so you know, why not. I'm not very hopeful though.

On a happier note, professional people with professional tools are going to go to work on the accursed screws first thing tomorrow – so at least I've got a full set of clean, working injectors to look forward too. I also got a nice box of flexible new sneks and stuff all ready to go!



It's an adventure!

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Update: My lifters are all right!

Diagnosis/cause:
Being parked is bad. Starting spring 2014, this wagon rolled a measly 1200 miles until I took ownership this summer – and a full 1000 of those miles happened before November 2016. That's the kind of mistreatment which will make valves stick and lifters become stuck, and cause all sorts of horrible clickety, ratchety noises from an engine head. Preeeeetty sure that's going to explain a few of the other issues I'm running into as well, but life has taught me that there's very little that can't be fixed by throwing vast sums of money on it.

Cure:
A heavy duty oil flush. Seriously, that was it. Granted, it took several gallons of three different types of oil, plus some other fancy fluids, but in the end it got clean. The valve noise is pretty much gone. I also got the cold start valve connector replaced, and drilled out the screws for the bum injectors, so they're all new and working properly.

The engine, I'm happy to say, purrs like a kitten at 2000+ RPM now. The bad news is that I'm starting to notice all the other issues so much more. Going to stick the new hoses in this weekend just for good measure, but I think there are gremlins in my gearbox. Or my running gear. We shall see.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Dr. Kyle Farnsworth posted:

I appreciate this thread and I’m also laughing. I just asked for general guidance in the stupid questions thread and I would (will) totally buy an obscure car as my “well I needed something to work on to learn about cars” project so this thread is like watching myself screw up and break screws and learn things.

Haha, thanks! Yeah, everyone should do that. My one regret is I didn't start ten years ago, and with a car that's got slightly cheaper parts.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Alright, tube replacement is go. Whoever said everything rubber and plastic was junk: Spot on analysis!



First off: New crankcase breather hose. It's not super clear from this picture, but the old hose is almost a full inch shorter than the new one, while the internal diameter seems to have expanded. I did not know rubber could do this. Oh, and the old hose is just about stiff enough to be used as a blunt weapon.



Next up: Idle air distributor hose. The old one hasn't shrunk as much in length, but you can clearly see how much bigger the holes are. There was exactly zero resistance lifting the big end off of the outlet on the cylinder head cover; with new one it was a pretty snug fit.



Third I did the injector breathing hose on one side. This one wasn't as bad as the previous two, but the rubber had gotten pretty drat hard anyway. The hardest part about the whole job was getting the old end plugs out of this drat hose, since there was no way to pry them out.



I ended up having to use a bolt cutter (regular scissors literally couldn't cut it!) to snip the ends off, and then pushing at the plug from the inside.

There are still some hoses left to replace, but at about this point it dawned on me that maybe replacing a whole ton of bits all in one go is a bad idea, in case something breaks and I have to go back and troubleshoot.



This weirded me out, by the way. That new bit of rubber there is, according to its part number, a radiator hose. Specifically, it is – according to the part number – the same radiator hose as the one it's resting on top of. But that just simply cannot be. It's about half the diameter of the old one, and while the length is right, I just can't see that being right in any way.

Oh right and according to internet lore, I may need to get a new driveshaft to stick between my transmission and transfer case.

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Right, new month, new money, new fixin'. With the injectors all finally replaced, a brand new OVP relay in place, a good old oil flush over and done with, and new bits of rubber slowly making their way into the engine bay, things are certainly starting to look better. So I'm kicking off the September refurbishments with the complicated, challenging, and – to me, anyway, feel free to laugh – terrifying task of changing the spark plugs. The old ones looks to have run pretty much exactly 30.000 miles, and were last changed seven years ago to the day. So I guess it was time.



You can tell this is going to be a breeze. Especially that one on the far left, yeah. (Hint: It was an absolute nightmare and took a friend of mine machining a custom extender for my ratchet in order to get any kind of torque down on that motherf...)



The connectors, new-ish, look good though. Even though I almost broke them, thinking I had to twist them around before pulling them off of the old plugs. I felt all sorts of clever when, after five plugs, I realized that you can in fact just yank them straight off.



And old plug, yay! The box for the new ones indicated I should use a brush around these things, but I didn't have a brush, so I just blasted them with compressed air from a can. I guess it worked.



So you've all seen an old spark plug, and you've all seen a new one. Fine. This is that. However, the bottom one is also exactly how the first two plugs I put in there looked when I put them in there. Couldn't quite figure why the connectors didn't fit, before I took a closer look. When I realized they don't look the same, I figured that metal blob on top of the new plug was missing from the old plug because it must have broken off inside the cable connector. Genius! So after trying to pry said blob out from the connector, I took an even closer look, and realized my error. Anyway, no damage was done, so yeah.



So yeah, I guess the old ones were pretty worn. The spark gaps were enormously varied as well, from less than a half to over one full millimeter. For the new ones, I set all of them to "just wide enough I can force the 0.9 mm feeler gauge inside if I must," so I guess 0.85 mm? Manual says 0.8 is right, but internet lore says 1.12 is better. I have no idea. Moving on!



Since I already had the battery disconnected, I figured I'd have a quick look-see underneath the distributor cap. It, uh, could look better? There's a lot of corrosion and pitting going on on those points around the edge, and the pin in the middle was kinda blackened. I wiped the worst off with a dry paper towel (couldn't find my ubiquitous brake cleaner), but I suspect this cap might fit the "might as well get a new one" category.



The rotor wasn't exactly mint condition either, but it's not... that bad? It got the same dry wipedown treatment, and is still spinning. I think the distributor itself is solid, since the rotor has no lateral wiggle in it, although it does have some rotational slack in it. I don't like that, instinctively, but I don't know if it's actually that bad either. Didn't dare take it off and look underneath that plate there, in case I'd mess up the timing somehow.



So that's my spark plug change, hooray! Bonus image, since I noticed some condensation accumulating inside one of the indicator lights:



The PO evidently skimped on basic repairs. This thing is broken, and he's tried gluing it back together. I'm sort of amazed. Oh well, I duct taped it back together for now, so who am I to judge.

Anyway: The engine both sounds and feels drat good compared to when I first bought this truck, but there's still room for improvement. Idling is still soooort of uneven, and starting a cold engine is always four-five seconds of starter running before the engine actually starts firing. There were also a bursts of really impressive white smoke from the exhaust for the first few minutes after I started it up with new plugs, but that went away soon enough. The morning after, I also got some heavy duty valve clicking for 2-3 seconds after the engine started running, but it was just that once, and nothing since. Could be due to anything, I guess.

I think next steps now are replacing more rubber to get on top of potential vacuum leaks, and getting hold of a new distributor cap and rotor. I also suspect one valve cover gasket is kinda lovely, due to oil residue on and around parts of it, but not sure if I dare actually opening the engine quite yet. Then there's that axle from transmission to transfer case, and of course the bum radiator. Fun times!

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Huh. A new rotor and cap is about $250, while a full set of Bosch cables (which I'll get eventually, can't stand the fact that the ones in place now aren't OEM) would be another $700 or so. Sounds expensive to replace all of it? I get the feeling people do once a year, but maybe that's overkill?

Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Costs are going to run high for everything OEM (and also yes because ); I did mention the $3000 radiator and $900 piece of wood trim, right?

everdave posted:

I'm about to go to the pool but here I am looking up German parts

You have the M117 engine.

Distributor Cap is P/N: A.000.158.52.02
Look up Bosch 03227 (Mercedes OEM exact same thing for $200 is 0001585202)


Rotor is P/N: A.000.158.40.31
Look up Bosch 04177 ((Mercedes OEM exact same thing for about the same price is 0001584031)

Thank YOU! Actually tracking down the right part numbers for this specific car isn't easy, even though I've got a ton of diagrams I often find myself not knowing where to look.

PainterofCrap posted:

That cap is blasted; you have to replace it. You can probably clean up the rotor (carefully cleaning the outer contact with a light file) but that cap is shot.

What blows my mind is that the PO indicated he spent $40K on motor work over the past 7-years, complained of hard start, lovely idle & performance, and no one ever thought to replace the cap, rotor, plugs or wires??

With those symptoms, it should be the first thing done.

First record I have of any of those things being replaced was a single plug wire, back in 2009; along with a damping spring for the hood and a single door handle, that trip to the shop ran the PO some $1200. The money he agreed to spend on this thing... Anyway, after that all the plugs were changed in 2010, and again in 2011 (that time they swapped all spark plug wires too, to the non-OEM harness I've got now). I also noticed one receipt including 8 "plugs" about half a year later, in spring 2012, so I guess he might have changed them again? Or it could be something else, that last receipt was from a major repair order. Car got a new coil in 2013, but no trace of cap or rotor ever being looked at.

So yes, fixing those are an absolute high priority. If that doesn't fix the idling/power issue, I'm beginning to run out of options. In and around the engine heads, as well as in the timing department, it's pretty much just the timing chain I can think of that hasn't been changed in the last ten years – and the chain is supposedly fine. I guess timing adjustment could be a thing to try?

Fo3 posted:

I have no idea if the rotor and cap is super special, but leads shouldn't be over $100 even if custom made super squirrel specials. If you want to stick to OEM only, then the best bet is to look for overseas suppliers and eat the freight and taxes (It's what I do with a BMW in Australia).
I don't agree with changing cap, rotor and wires every time you change spark plugs though. When running those king of regular plugs I'd change them every 20-30 thou (less frequent if using platinum or paladium or something of course but for standard coppers 20-30 thou), then cap and rotor every 40-60 thou, wires every 100 thou; unless they test or look bad.

I've found parts from something called BREMI are way cheaper; a full set of leads are about $100, while a cap is $70. Bosch caps are twice that, though, and their leads are $100 each. While it's very tempting to go off-brand... hang on.

Ok, so I just looked at an overseas supplier, and they've got genuine Bosch caps at $58, and rotors at $19. It's stated to be for the 117.963; mine is an 117.965, but... yeah. That's some sound advice that is.

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Pursesnatcher
Oct 23, 2016



Grimey Drawer

Yeah no, I'm pretty much only buying things everyone else confirms they are unable to get. Like OEM screws for the injector valve clamps. The prices I'm quoting are from various online parts vendors; I'm going to get a quote from one of my regular shops tomorrow, but I'm not overly optimistic. Also checking out overseas vendors; AutohausAZ does have some nice prices on other things, but they still want $102 for that cap and $25 for the rotor, before freight, customs and taxes.

Cheapest I can get the coil-to-distributor cable seems to be $25, the other eight cables seem to be a mashup of Bosch part number 0356912917 and 0356912918. Or... something. Some are selling for £3 on UK Amazon, but don't ship here, while others are $30 a pop. Gah... Guess I need to dive down into those schematics again.

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