I had a brilliant idea and bought an ML320, now I need to clean it, many, many times.

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Blobsta

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2013
Messages
373
Location
Maidstone, Kent
Car
S202 C43 Wagon
I expect this should go in the Projects section but I am too lowly to be able to post there so we'll start with the cleaning of it and see what happens.

I already have a CLK350 Sport and it's perfect(ish) for what I need, my wife has a Mini Clubman S which is less than perfect as 'mum' cars go but she loves it. She's taking the kids and my cousin (who weirdly is also called Claire and also drives a Mini) to a festival at the end of the month, so there's no two ways about it we need more boot space. I looked at renting something but it's really pricey so I decided to "simply buy something" instead. For reasons still somewhat unbeknownst to myself I have a soft spot for the old ML and one popped up not far from me the other evening for sale so I decided I should take a look.

It's an ML320 with the 3.2 V6 petrol, There is suspiciously little rust on it too, you can see a little in the bottom of the rear arches and that's about it. 2001 making it the earlier shape, all terrain tyres, 147k MOT until October, zero service history as the book has been lost, but has all other books, manuals CoC etc. and it is utterly disgusting inside!

There are two keys, [listed as that in the advert]. Well, yes, by definition there are two keys, one remote flip key (inoperable) and one cut from a JMA blank without an immobiliser chip. More on that another time but at least the remote key is now working. More importantly for me was the fact that this was being sold by a grandson who's granddad had been told he could no longer drive as his eyesight wasn't up to it. Granddad bought the car new in 2001 and is the only one to have driven it really in all that time. Every tax disc aside from the DVLA issued one when new was bought in the same Sydenham Post Office.

Picked it up Saturday morning and started the cleaning. It's had a fair wash down of the plastics, eight changes of water cleaning the steering wheel alone, a first pass over the carpets with a wet vac and the drug dealer tints removed from the front windows. Currently the glove box is soaking in my garage sink to try and get the rusty chain that has become one with the flocking to let go.

I have cleaned the small rear seat as a test but they all need to come out to be done properly. Anyway, here's some of the pics:

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Blimey, almost makes you gag just looking at it

Clean up is going well

kc
 
Blimey! That one must register on Grime of the Century:eek: Never a good sign when a dead ketchup sachet is in the glove box.....
How could anyone even consider selling the thing in that state?
I hope whenever you find what is underneath, it's worth more than rental of festival transport.....
 
Had a bit of a dig at the driver's seat and tested a steamer on some of the carpet tonight. Of course the seats will have to come out again soon to do the carpet properly

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Great progress there. With the seats out I would be incluned to get a mobile valeter out to go over the carpets. You would be amazed what they can do.
Then a new set of mats and you will be smiling like a cheshire cat!
 
Definitely need to get some leather restoration paint once you've completed the clean. I'm sure it will cover up all those seat cracks and make it look like new 👍
 
This is one way to replace the seat occupancy sensor.

Good job so far


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I rather like how it can check for rear seat occupancy as the kids can give it a good kicking from the back!

The question is, do I really want to get my hog-ring pliers out and fit it properly when the leather is knackered? It seems wrong to put it back on but as MrGreedy suggests I could re-dye them afterwards and make them look nice again. Argh, this was supposed to be a cheap bit of fun!!!
 
Great progress there. With the seats out I would be incluned to get a mobile valeter out to go over the carpets. You would be amazed what they can do.
Then a new set of mats and you will be smiling like a cheshire cat!
I have most of the stuff myself, I did a first pass but time stopped play. Last night I had another dig at some of the accessible stained carpet with the shampoo and a steamer and wet-vac which really lifted a lot of grime straight out and having had a peek inside this morning it is a world away from where it was at the weekend so I'm fairly confident. The car actually had two sets of OEM mats in it and as they were shocking, one set went through the wash, they are looking pretty good now, the ribbed (ooh err) ones I don't think will go through so I may have to tackle those by hand if I want to keep them. Bear in mind that this is going to a camping festival in a couple of weeks so I don't want it too clean or there will be trouble upon it's return. I just can't help myself though!
 
Going by CLK seat covers, the bases weren’t too hard. The backs were the nightmare. You don’t want to hear it but you might as well just fit it now you’ve gone this far :p

Cool project, I wouldn’t mind a V8 one of these.
 
Well with regard the price I suppose around 1200/1500 would be decent,but that is a major cleaning job,you seem to be getting stuck in to it,as you say the body works looks very good for it's age.
 
Going by CLK seat covers, the bases weren’t too hard. The backs were the nightmare. You don’t want to hear it but you might as well just fit it now you’ve gone this far :p

Cool project, I wouldn’t mind a V8 one of these.
*shakes head in agreement and realisation
 
The question is, do I really want to get my hog-ring pliers out and fit it properly when the leather is knackered? It seems wrong to put it back on but as MrGreedy suggests I could re-dye them afterwards and make them look nice again. Argh, this was supposed to be a cheap bit of fun!!!

If you do it yourself, other members have had great success with leather repair from furniture clinic. For £10 or £20, might be worth a go once the seats are clean and much easier if they are out the car. You could test on the side panels on the base to check colour match.

Thread where someone did their chewed knob and steering wheel:

Furniture Clinic ebay store:

Probably this repair paint?

Check your leather code via the VIN and then datacard on www.lastvin.com
 
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The car actually had two sets of OEM mats in it and as they were shocking....
the ribbed (ooh err) ones I don't think will go through so I may have to tackle those by hand if I want to keep them.

If you have some citra and/or snow foam for car washing and a pressure washer, give them various stages of soak with dilute citra, then blast with pressure washer after 10 mins. Same with snow foam after a bit of dwell time. Could also try soaking them in diluted bio detergent in the bath, then again blasting with the pressure washer.

I've started doing this once a year and I am amazed by how much filth and stones this gets out, and by how clean they are afterwards.

Tip: try to dry them with some warmth, but flat. If you fold them over a radiator and let them dry, they want to keep that shape.
(ask me how I know 😄 )
 
Well with regard the price I suppose around 1200/1500 would be decent,but that is a major cleaning job,you seem to be getting stuck in to it,as you say the body works looks very good for it's age.
It is suspiciously rust free, only slight surface rust in the very bottom of the rear arches that you can see has been treated and painted over. All other paint looks to be original (aside from plastic bumpers but I don't care about that), has all it's stickers in the door shuts and no visible paint work in the shuts etc.

Price wise you're in the right area, very rusty examples tend to get advertised at £1500 or more and no idea what they actually sell for. There is a really ropey 270CDi not far from me at £2000 and it is a wreck, I'm not actually going to disclose what I paid but I will say that I liked the fact it was a one owner and had to consider that the owner has had his driving licence revoked therefore forcing the sale as his wife had never driven the car in the 20 years they owned it, I guess she wasn't going to start now.

How much do you try to negotiate on a low value vehicle without insulting a guy who's already hurting? I decided to pretty much just pay the asking price. My Dad had to stop driving this year and he was devastated about it even though he knows it is the right thing; I couldn't bring myself to add to the misery for the seller. His failing eyesight probably accounts for the condition of it to some extent.

Edited to correct the spelling fo shuts. U&I are very close on a keyboard :)
 
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