560SEC battery tray

On my trip to Victoria last last year, the alternator on my 560SEC packed in.   I was able to limp the car home by swapping batteries with a friend in another W126.   I also purchased another battery on the road.   When I arrived back in Sydney, it was this new battery that was still in the car.   I was just going to leave that one there, until I noticed a slight creaking from the bonnet hinge.   The bonnet was also a few mm too high.

Turns out the new battery I bought along the way was slightly too big.   It was fouling on the bonnet and putting pressure on the hinge.   Since there was nothing wrong with the old battery, I decided to just put that one back in.    In the photo, the one on the right is the new one.    It’s a shame, because the new battery is brand new and a better spec.

battery comparisonThe other thing I wanted to fix was the battery tray had some surface rust, and the battery hold downs were missing.   The battery hold downs may seem unimportant, but they prevent the battery shorting out on the bonnet or moving around over bumps or heavy cornering.   They were also missing on my 560SEL.

I’ve previously repaired the battery trays on both my 450SLC and 560SEL.   In both cases I used a rattle can primer and then top coat.    I wasn’t especially happy with the result on either car.   On the 450SLC, the top coat was too thick and ended up being soft.    On the 560SEL I did two thin coats, and it was better, but the trays are not uniform and it was hard to get even coverage.   I thought I would try something different this time.

As before, I started with a wire wheel attachment for my drill to remove surface rust.  I also used some brake clean to get some grease and residue off the tray.    Surprisingly, the tray in the 560SEC was better than the one in the 560SEL.    After a go with the wire brush, it actually came up reasonably well.

560SEC battery trayThe bottom was even better, the only real rust around where the ‘tongue’ attaches to the main body of the tray.   I still thought there was value in doing this side regardless.

560SEC battery trayInstead of the rattle can, I decided this time to apply specific rust epoxy paint with a brush.   This would result in a worse finish, but a much better application of the paint.    Since the battery tray is really not visible with the battery installed, I thought this was a decent trade off.

I did two coats on the top and one on the bottom.   My nine year old daughter enjoyed painting the 560SEC battery tray.

560SEC battery trayI probably could have even used a product like miracle paint and had a better finish, but I didn’t have any, nor the time to drive to the supplier and get some.   After two coats, the 560SEC battery tray looked quite a lot better, but it was of course obvious the paint had been applied with a brush.

I’ll see how it looks when I remove the battery next time.    There is certainly a lot better all around coverage of the paint.

560SEC battery trayWhile the battery tray was out, I vacuumed all the leaves out from underneath it.   It is worth removing the battery tray every few years to remove any dirt and leaves from this part of the car.    Getting the 560SEC battery tray back in the car was a bit fiddly, it was hard to get all three holes to line up.

In the end I had the tray in and it was a huge improvement to before.  It’s still obvious it was painted with a brush, but there is no longer any rust or detritus.

560SEC battery tray

Final step was to re-install the battery.   While I was there, I installed a battery hold down.   I had a couple on hand, a very rusty one from the 420SEL parts car, and a reasonable one that I found in the boot of the 560SEL after I ordered new ones.

battery hold down

I’m not sure what I am going to do with that big Delkor battery. Off the top of my head, I don’t think it fits any car I have. I may try and sell it. It wasn’t cheap, but it did get me home.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>