Let me know, currently just hanging around in the garage.
Sorry I missed this post last time. As you say that one needs a bit of love, but it can't hurt to have a spare, even though I have deployed the safety cable ties to try to eliminate the risk of losing any.
-- -- --
I briefly had the Merc out after dark yesterday and it was very obvious that something was far amiss with the headlight aim.
Didn't take long to find out why today.
As with many things on the Mercedes W123/S123 the headlamp beam height adjustment control is operated by vacuum...and that hose you see there should be attached to the nearside headlight height adjuster. I'm guessing I knocked it off when I pulled the cover off a couple of weeks ago. With it reattached the beam adjusters did their thing and the beam height looks more or less right now.
I did make another discovery of something on this car today which again made me go "hey, that's a really smart idea..." which seems to be something of a running theme.
Normally the bonnet opens this far. Which is better than on a lot of cars. Plus sprung hinges mean there's no faffing about with bonnet props.
I also appreciate that the latch is buried up behind the grill as well so it's near impossible to catch your head on it. The bonnet sits high enough that even the grill hanging down doesn't get in the way.
However if you press this one little catch down on the offside hinge...
The bonnet then swings all the way back to vertical (and equally importantly, latches there).
This takes it completely out of the way and I'm pretty sure would even give you ample room to get in with an engine hoist if you needed to.
It's a feature that on 98% of the cars probably never got used even once after they left the showroom, yet the design and engineering team saw it as helpful enough for maintenance that they included it. On behalf of mechanics and hobbiests the world over, if you were one of the folks on that team, we thank you.
While doing a lighting check I did notice for the first time something that this car *doesn't* have which surprised me though.
Indicator side repeaters. If memory serves it was 1986 that they became mandatory on new cars, so being a 1986 car this must be one of the last not to have them fitted - though it's worth mentioning there that this was the last year this model was made (with the saloon having been discontinued a year earlier in 1985) so they likely never got them.
The more I read your thread the more I want to get one of these but, I think I am a little off as I do enjoy a good station wagon/estate car/shooting brake - I think I shall start trawling through Craigslist, eBay and the usual suspects, although I am not sure how I will manage to hide another unauthorized purchase from 'er indoors.
This one has somehow remained "hidden" from the authorities despite warranting its own zip code
I was aware of the service position of the bonnet - another example of well thought out German engineering
IIRC side repeaters weren't actually mandatory from 1986, as long as the front indicators could be seen from the side as well.
Yup, case in point, VW T25 and T4. Also a lot of import JDM cars had a nub on the front turn signal lamp. But most MOT testers don't actually know the rules which is why my brothers Demio had a set of gash LED side repeaters stuck to the wings over holes drilled in the repeater-less wings. Suffice to say now it's blue not white it no longer has side repeaters.
Only one small job done today. Due to a missing trim clip the trim panel in front of the centre cubby hole sat a good 1/4" proud of the surrounding trim and looked obviously wrong.
The way this whole panel is secured is that it slots into place under the ashtray then slides forward to locate. So replacing the missing clip wasn't something requiring *too* much precision. Cue careful use of a woodscrew...being careful to not break the surface. There was already a void here from where the original clip was secured so I've just used that space really rather than screwing further into quite a thin bit of wood.
Sophisticated it isn't, but it works.
The whole panel used to wobble around and rattle before, none of that now. If I find what type of clip was originally used there I will see about replacing it properly.one day, but it's pretty low on the priority list.
I really do like how with this interior that they seemed to have figured out exactly how much and where to use the polished wood trim to make it feel properly special, but not be too over the top and brash. Especially with a contrasting interior colour like blue or green.
Yet another headache trying to turn into a migraine yesterday meant I only had about half an hour before it became apparent that I wasn't just going to be powering through it and getting on with things.
Did get one tiny job done though. While I had managed to get the trim on the tailgate to sit flat again there was still a gap at the ends and a sharp edge there as the rubber capping had long since been ripped off. As this was moulded as part of the rubber strip itself it's not something you can just replace as a spare.
Not being willing to part with a few hundred quid for a replacement trim strip, I instead made a replacement "end cap" from some epoxy putty. Not perfect but it'll be less conspicuous once I slap a bit of black paint on it. Had remembered this being a darker grey than this, but those are just the breaks sometimes.
It means there's not a sharp edge there (on either side actually as they both had the same problem) so I'm not worried about me or some random member of the public snagging on it.
-- -- --
When checking it today I noted that the oil on the dipstick was looking distinctly dark again so it was time for it to be dropped and changed again.
Not black, but definitely dirty. This has been in the engine for about 700 miles.
You can see how much grime the filter has been collecting between the pleats in the element. So this would have lost quite a chunk of flow capacity already.
Somewhat worryingly there are a few ~1mm sized bits of metal flake in there. Optimistically they're from the camshaft as we know that's been subjected to abnormal wear due to oil starvation. It's entirely likely though they're from bearing surfaces deeper in the engine. Short of dropping the sump and pulling a couple of the bearing caps off the crankshaft for examination it's impossible to say. It's worth keeping in mind that the previous oil filter that I removed the first time I changed the oil on getting the car had failed so most of the oil was probably bypassing it.
I am going to have a look at how hard it is to drop the sump anyway as given the state of the top end I'm expecting the sump to be just as bad - and I'd really rather not have all that slime ending up blocking the oil pickup screen (as has killed innumerable 90s and early 00s Saab engines).
We've got acceptable oil pressure at idle, not great but acceptable, so I'm not immediately worried it's about to explode, but definitely something I need to keep an eye on. I'll be keeping on the "change the oil once it starts to get dark" routine for the foreseeable future. A bit of a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but there's only so much I can really do at this stage - if damage has happened it's already happened.
It's worth noting that thanks to sensible design by Mercedes that I was able to complete this oil change without spilling a single drop.
Also on investigation of the jammed passenger side heater temperature control found I need to order up a new bracket for the heater controls.
Which I think is why this whole console is wobbly. That plastic frame is meant to be riveted to the front of the heater box, and the temperature controls are then bolted it it, and that locks everything together. With that broken (it's worse than it looks, I counted eight pieces) nothing is really secured properly. I'll aim to replace the cable for the passenger side temperature control while I'm at it...the valve moves freely but the cable is completely seized up.
Given the number of posts on various forums I found when searching for the part I'm guessing that bracket failing is a common issue. Get a horrible feeling that replacing it is going to be a pig of a job though as I reckon the whole console will need to come out to gain access.
Had a box arrive today I've been waiting a couple of weeks for - the replacement tail lights for the Merc. Took forever to arrive as there were issues with the shipping - with the goods having been returned to the sender twice - I assume due to issues with export paperwork.
Before and after for the offside.
Fit is...average at best. But given they were about 10% of the cost of most of the used genuine ones I've found I'd say it's reasonable. I doubt you'd notice unless you were looking for it.
The original here has pretty well had it.
Sadly the replacement nearside one fared less well during transit.
Seller immediately agreed to send a replacement, so hopefully that will be here soon. Be nice to get these sorted out. Small detail really, but a very visibly obvious one.
I too enjoy your updates and admire this lovely old motor. I was thinking it’s diametrically opposed to the XJS in terms of how it was designed and constructed … I suppose, how it was production-engineered. All sensible and rational. The XJS? Not so much. Thanks for keeping us all in the loop.