Stuck W116 ignition barrel – part 1

I was quite keen to start using the 280SE more now I have sorted out the steering, exhaust and drivers seat. I don’t have a modern car, so I rotate the various historic registered cars I own to keep them inside their 60 day logbook. The 280SE obviously has a lot of entries available. I was also looking forward to driving it more now the main issues were sorted out. I brought the car home on Saturday night after finishing the seat. That meant I would have it available to use over the next couple of days.

Sunday was a […]

W116 Seat repair

Now I had the 280SE at the point where I could drive it more, I wanted to attend to the drivers seat. Like most of these cars, years of driving had caused at least some of the springs to break, causing it to feel collapsed and lopsided. The first Mercedes I ever owned, my 1985 230E already had this issue on purchase. It was only 13 years old at the time. This 280SE is over 40 years old, so it’s not surprising.

This is a common thing on these old Mercedes, so I assumed I had a couple of broken […]

280SE W116 exhaust system

The final things preventing me from turning the 280SE from a garage queen to a rolling restoration was getting the exhaust sorted out. It really was a mess. The rear muffler had been changed about 20 years ago (I have the receipt), but the rest was original. It really showed. Not only that, but the 280SE W116 exhaust for right hand drive cars is a poor design. It was shared with the early W123 M110 cars, and later corrected for the W126. At that point the W126 design was applied to the W123 too.

There are two exhaust manifolds, one […]

W116 280SE drag link and tie rod ends

My next job on the 280SE project was replacing the drag link and tie rod ends. Of the six ball joins in the steering, two were really bad, and the others were all quite old. In addition, I planned to replace the idler arm while I was there. The rubber was old and cracking so it was definitely due for it. I already had the worn steering coupling replaced, so this should renew the steering feel as much as possible.

For this job, I went with Lemforder parts. They are a lot cheaper than genuine and I have had very […]

Preparing my 280SE for the MBCNSW S-Class display

2022 is 50 years since the introduction of the W116 S-Class in 1972. The W116 S-Class was the first one that Mercedes-Benz actually referred to as the S-Class. Previous models had filled the same slot in the line-up and even had S in the model designation, but it was the W116 where the S-Class name started. To commemorate this, the Mercedes Benz Club planned a display day for all S-Class models. Had they kept it to the W116 S-class it probably would have been a small show. Most of them rusted away years ago.

I was quite keen to have […]

K-Jet fuel pressure test part 4

I’ve been trying to narrow down poor running on my 79 280SE when cold. Previously, I had two issues I was trying to narrow down, high control pressure when cold, and after a while both system and control pressure dropping and fluctuating. I had replaced the fuel pump, which made no difference to the fluctuation issue. I had also sent off my warm up regulator to be cleaned.

When my warm up regulator returned, I refitted it to the car. Even without running the engine, the control pressure was much better. Actually it was now too low. I still had […]

K-Jet fuel pressure test part 3

This is part three of a series where I am trying to diagnose poor cold starts on my 1979 280SE. Please click here for part 1 and here for part 2. In the last part, the fuel pressure tests had pointed to high control pressure. This would most likely be cause by the Warm Up Regulator (WUR). However, after a while the pump became very noisy, and since rebuilt WURs are expensive, I wanted to rule out a bad pump.

Luckily I had a 420SEL parts car on hand. The previous owner told me the fuel pumps were almost new. […]

K-Jet fuel pressure test part 2

Earlier in the week I attempted to run a fuel pressure test on my 1979 280SE. On further examination, I was pretty sure I had it connected up wrong. The instructions call for the pressure gauge to be attached to the larger fitting on the warm up regulator. The warm up regulator is hidden down to the side of the engine on the M110. The bigger fitting is actually a banjo bolt on this WUR, so this time I hooked it up (hopefully) correctly. My goal was to test cold control pressure.

The readings made more sense this time. System […]

K-Jet fuel pressure test part 1

I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of the running issues on my 1979 280SE. The last thing I tried was draining all the fuel and replacing the fuel filter and tank strainer. Once the car warmed up, it actually ran reasonably well. I took it for a drive for about 40 kilometers and it was running better and better. After this drive, I assumed that the running issues was due to bad fuel and that I had solved this part of the problem.

However, when I needed to start the car and move it out of the way […]

new W116 fuel hose, strainer and filter

I recently purchased a W116 280SE. On arrival, it wasn’t running too well, and the symptoms pointed to the car not getting enough fuel. A few weeks ago, I drained all the fuel in the tank and checked the main fuel filter and strainer. After doing all this, the fuel filter and strainer were all that bad. They certainly didn’t look bad enough to make the car run the way it did.

I figured I would be doing a fuel volume and pressure test next. Before I got to that though, it seemed to make sense to install a new […]