Newsletter April 2014

Hello, readers! Sorry for any delays in this newsletter. This may be the last one for a while as well, having a newborn and a toddler is a little time constraining!

Tom – I’m wondering if you might be able to help me – I’m helping a friend.
My friend Tod is looking to purchase a Mercedes rear-end for a 108 body style 4.5…
Would you have any idea within the continental US where one might be secured?

Chris, I don’t know offhand of anyone private who can sell. There are tons of scrappers in the US though. Sun Valley is a big one. MBZ.ORG also has a list they maintain, and you can try the Used Parts forum here as well.

We provide vehicles for the film industry and are currently seeking a s class w108 or w109, dark in color for rental on a tv set. We are fully insured and in business over twenty years. I came across your site and would like to know if you can assist in any way or point us in the right direction.

Stephanie, you may want to ask this on the Vintage MB forum. Include your location.

looking for resources to purchase a w108. ebay has little inventory and craigslist can be a gamble. thanks.

John, I honestly wish I had a good answer for you on this one. I’ve thought about adding a for sale section here where people could list 108/109 vehicles and interested buyers could come along. eBay is a huge gamble, and you’d want a PPI of any car – finding a long distance mechanic can be tricky. Same with Craigslist. Not to mention the fraudsters, and people who misrepresent their beater cars as creampuffs. All I can tell you is that if you want a really nice 108 that needs little to no work, you’re going to be looking for a long time. Otherwise, you’ll need to “Jump” on a cheap one on eBay or CL that looks good, knowing you’ll need to put in $1-2k more in work than can be seen in pictures or the description.

I found a mostly rust free w108 in San Diego, CA and it’s kinda of a basket case, but was $1000, plus some back registration, about $1750 total. I’m a bit in over my head, but it starts and runs and drives, albeit with a bit of coercing.
I’m somewhere in between selling or keeping. I’d love to work on it, but can’t find good documentation anywhere on the vacuum system, or anything really for that matter.
Got any good resources? Should I purchase some of these old paper manuals off Ebay? Should I sell this sucker and run for the hills?!?

Pj, congrats on your purchase! I am going to recommend the same thing I tell everyone else who asks me this type of question: Go to the Vintage MB forum, register, post, ask. When I started out, I had a non-running 4.5 that sat for quite some time, and didn’t know anything. Now, I help the forums like I was helped back then. The vac system is pretty straightforward on these, and only 1 vac line actually affects anything with the engine’s management systems (although leaks in any of them can be detrimental to running). If you decide to purchase a manual, get the 108 chassis specific one from MB. The general manual is not too useful on the 108 4.5s (I have it). If you want to get rid of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would take it off you for what you paid or even more. If you have the books that came with the car, the blown up parts diagram can help with some of the routing questions you may have.

We currently have a 1981 MB SEL Trans Am Series car with a 4.5L SOHC race engine here in our shop. I didn’t do the tear down, and I’m ready to install the distributor, but don’t know where to set it?
What cylinder is #1? Do I set it to TDC #1 and aim the rotor at #1? The distributor on this car is on the driver front of the engine. On a drysump oil pump adapter. Is that the stock location?

Robert, the cylinders on all MBs AFAIK are the same (and if not, all 100, 116, and 117 – and even 119 engines follow this rule): Right side of the engine (as viewed from the driving position) are 1-4, with 1 being at the rad. 5-8 are the left side, with 5 at the rad. This means for under the hood view, you’d be looking at cyl 1 on the left front and 5 on the right front, timing is 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2. There should be a notch on the dizzy for #1, but if not, it’s slightly past 12:00, perhaps 1:00; the rotor turns clockwise. The stock distributor on the 4.5 is driven by the timing chain sprocket.

Thanks for your help. I have a ’65 220 SE. All is fine, but the rear axle leaked more and more over the years and the owners let it run drive and still drove the car. Nothing else to say, it’s gone. Got a 108 from a ’66 250 S, completely rebuilt the axle and it went in beautifully. All done, but I have heard at least a dozen answers about whet to do with the braking, now that it has discs. The car has a single circuit brake system. Do I need to use the S proportioning valve, use the one that’s in there. I live on a very big hill and don’t want any surprises on the break in run.

Zack, I can’t honestly say from experience with the MBs, but I can offer my advice from my experience with the Jeep and converting an XJ rear drum to ZJ rear disc: You don’t need to swap the proportioning valve. That having been said, IF you have the braking system from the 66 in full, you may want to swap all of it in (Booster, MC, valve). I don’t think it’d be an issue, but there’s nothing wrong with updating the system 🙂 That way, you can have a dual circuit setup that’s much better.

I have a 1970 250C with the one piece euro headlights is a similar light system available for the W108 280 SE. 4.5 or can the euros I have fit my 1972w108

Keith, sorry to tell you, but 114/115 lamps won’t work on a 108/109. But don’t despair! The 108/109s have Euro lights and they look stunning on them. Hard to find and costly, but worth the investment, especially on a show car. Otherwise, Sylvania SilverStars work really awesome and can blind traffic on high beams, since you’ll have 4 brights instead of just 2 with how the US DOT lamps are wired.

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