I'm getting fed up with this now and it's spoiling my enjoyment of an otherwise lovely car.

Deciding to try someone different I went to an independent Mercedes specialist to see what they had to say. I am suspecting valve stem oil seals here - there is no oil in the water, no water in the oil and no leaks around the head big enough to be expelling the amount of oil that she seems to be going through.

These guys tested the valve stem oil seals, poured some additive into the oil to try to rejuvenate the seals - and replaced the oil level sender!

This obviously doesn't stop her using oil, but it does stop lots of false alarms. Things are on the up. At the time of writing (October 2018) she still uses oil faster than I should like but it is manageable.

Bonnet Before pad

Another job to do: replace what is left of the bonnet mat / hood pad! This is an horrible job and really requires an assistant to make it slightly less difficult.

We first did this on our W123 Coupé, so we learned a few tips along the way. Oddly, whilst MB still sell mats for W123s and W124s (and probably quite a few others besides - maybe I'll get to find out if they still sell them for the R129 one day?) they do not sell the adhesive with which to stick them on.

After puzzling over what to do about this for a while I hit upon the idea of calling a specialist Mercedes restorer who had helped us out with something else in the past to ask him if he could sell me some adhesive. After all, he must do this all the time, right? Actually, yes, and he buys his adhesive in bulk so couldn't sell me a small can or two.

However, he did tell me the name of his supplier - who turned out not to be a million miles away from where we live! I called and explained the problem to them and they not only told me exactly what I needed, they let me have three cartridges on sale or return (as they didn't know exactly how much I would need) - and they generally only deal with trade business, so this was extra good of them!

As I said - this is an horrible job! Did I mention that?

  1. This is important. Locate sufficient beer to celebrate completing this job (or to drown your sorrows if it goes wrong) and place it in a cold place. Fridges are absolutely ideal for this.
  2. Locate an old sheet and cover the engine
  3. Locate a stiff plastic spatula (that will never be used for cooking again!)
  4. Standing next to the car, remove all the loose remains and as much of the still-firmly-stuck-on remains as you can - it's ok to leave some of the old remains as it gives something for the new adhesive to key to
  5. Climb onto the rocker cover and repeat step four - more about the best engines on which to stand in a minute
  6. When the bonnet is as clean as you can get it - and it won't be completely clean, I can assure you: the original Mercedes adhesive must have been very sticky stuff indeed - hold the new pad up to the bonnet - the side which attaches to the bonnet is the side without the silver heat-reflecting panel (obviously!) and practice putting it on without the adhesive. I cannot stress this point too strongly: you must do at least one dry run!. Make sure that you are happy with the exact location that the mat should be in and be prepared to tuck the edges of the mat into the grooves at the top of the bonnet (ie at the front of the car) and at the sides. I seem to recall that it is best to start at the top and work down
  7. Lay the mat out on the ground (ensuring that side with the heat-reflecting panel is the side on the ground) and start to spread the adhesive on the mat using the spatula with which you cleaned the bonnet. Garage floors are ideal for this - tiled hallways are not! Please note: the adhesive will probably have the consistency of tarmac on a hot day! The adhesive we used was workable for about ten - fifteen minutes
  8. Once the mat is fairly evenly covered in adhesive - make sure you work it out to the edges as well - climb back onto the rocker cover and get your faithful (and now sticky and cursing you) assistant to pass you the mat.
  9. Using the skills you acquired in the practice run in step five - you did do a practice run, didn't you? - place the mat against the bonnet and start working it into place. You have a few minutes and it may well be possible completely to remove the mat and start again if you have to. I got away with doing this.
  10. Once the mat is where you want it, press it into place all over to ensure that as much of it as possible is in contact with the metal
  11. Job done! It is now time to consume the beer I mentioned in step one - I hope you carried step one out! - whilst admiring your handiwork
  12. Oh, and by the way, good luck with getting the adhesive off your hands and forearms - it sticks to skin pretty much as well as it sticks to metal! Probably best you don't do this job in the few days before job interviews, business meetings, formal social occasions etc...
Bonnet After pad

As mentioned earlier: engines to stand on. I prefer the M110 engine in the W123 280CE to the M103 in the W124 300CE - the double over head cam engine provides a wider platform on which to stand. And it is a lot more sturdy than the plasticky covers on the M103!

On to nice things: we have a long trip coming up and I need to make sure that certain things are in place...

7 Tyres and Windows

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