560SEC Improvements

I spent the afternoon going over the 560SEC, making small improvements and evaluating the car.   The first order of business was to look at the original factory wheels that came with it.    As was the norm back in 1987, there are five factory alloy wheels.   They were in a really sorry state when I removed them from the boot of the car.   They cleaned up much better than I thought.

560SEC Wheels

The tyres are quite cold, but in terms of the wheels, two of them are in reasonably good condition, two are in below average condition and one is in poor condition.   Unfortunately they did not come with the lug bolts, so I will need to purchase a set.  I have a spare set of center caps that are in average condition, but probably better than two of the caps.  Ideally I would go with 16″ wheels, as I think they work better on the W126.   However, most of the options that look good are expensive.   If I was going to spend money, I would rather buy a set of 15″ Fuchs alloys for the 450SLC and put those wheels on the SEC.

Next was to look at the Odometer.  I know it was working about two years ago from a roadworthy report, and I have done the job before on my 300SE.   A working odometer is important because it helps ensure that the car is serviced properly.   There were also some gaudy chrome plastic instrument surrounds that I was keen to remove.

Like my 300SE, the outside temperature display is not working.   Being a UK car, this has the 170MPH speedometer.   I was lucky that I had some spare odometer gears on hand.   This was because I had purchased the wrong ones for the 300SE.   I was even luckier that the two broken gears were the ones I had spares for.   Ideally I would have replaced the other soft one, but I didn’t have a spare and it wasn’t missing any teeth.   We’ll see how long it works.    As can be seen in the picture, the one that breaks most frequently is the small one on the right, and the black one it engages with.

560SEC Odometer gears

A quick test showed the odometer was working correctly and the instrument cluster is looking much better back to factory.   There is some evidence where those faux chrome rings scratched the faces, but it’s very small.   The rest of the instruments seem to be working correctly.   I also noticed upgraded speakers in the front when I was pushing the cluster out during the install.

560SEC instrument cluster fixed

Next was to clean the interior of the car and try and start conditioning the leather.   There are still some areas where the interior can be further cleaned, but overall it is looking much better.   It was clear that the leather has not been fed for years, if at all as it was very dry and is cracking in places.   It does feel softer after a clean and condition.  I also mounted the rear number plate properly instead of with cable ties.

On the way back from Bathurst, I had seen the car give off a puff of white smoke occasionally.   My working theory is vacuum modulator.   However, today it wasn’t doing it at all and the vacuum modulator is of the new type.   I need to do more research as I understand this car should have a black modulator, not a red one.

I do have a spare black one in my part stash, but until I can confirm that the car is still making this smoke, the modulator is to blame, and the black one is the right one, I will not be changing it over.

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