The 560SEC has stopped smoking

My 560SEC had a problem where it would emit a puff of smoke after idling.   This was rather embarrassing taking off from the lights.   It did give me the advantage of keeping people back who got too close.  My assumption was that it was cause by old valve stem seals.   As the seals get old, they get hard and allow a small amount of oil to seep through into the combustion chamber when the car is at idle.

When the car is idling, the throttle is mostly closed resulting in high vacuum.   The high vacuum causes oil in the heads to pool around the valve stems.   When the car accelerates, the oil gets sucked down past the old, hard valve stem seal, creating a cloud of smoke behind the car.

I had the valve stem seals replaced at the same time as the timing chain and guides.    Driving the car a couple of times since has shown there is no longer any smoke at takeoff (or at any time).  I took the car for a night drive to really be sure – it is very easy to see the smoke in the headlights of the car behind.

Valve Stem Seals

At the same time, the distributor cap and rotor was replaced.   The cap was extremely pitted – I’m surprised it ran as well as it did.    With the new chain, replaced seals and distributor cap and rotor the car runs really well.

The next thing was to look at the paint.   The paint was flat and felt rough to the touch.   This hasn’t changed after a couple of washes.    A couple of hours with a clay bar has made a huge difference.   I’ve used clay bars on a few cars, some that looked a lot worse.   But none of them had the level of containments that I got off the paint from this 560SEC.   After a couple of hours with bar, it was a brown colour and the paint was quite smooth.

Clay Bar

It is very hard to see from the photo, but the paint is much shinier than before.   I will probably get a fresh clay bar to finish the job and then use it on one of the other cars that is not so bad.

The 560SEC is responding well to some maintenance and general care.   I’ve still got a fair few things to do to the car, but none that will prevent me from using it.

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