w123 help with restoration please

Discussion in 'Bodywork' started by alk, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. alk

    alk New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2018
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    W123 230e
    Hello. I have just registered. I haven't had the time to fully explore the forum yet so apologies if I am posting in the wrong section or if my questions have been answered elsewhere in the past.

    I own a 1985 w123 230,5 speed manual saloon. The car has had some body restoration by the previous owner which is now failing and some more is needed. It is taxed +mot and drives ok but its far from being in perfect condition.I have had some water damage in the interior because of sunroof problems, the doors need welding and the rear wheel arches need redoing. floor is ok and boot and engine bay ok for the age.
    Although this particular car is not "museum quality" and probably will never be, it drives well and its generally solid. I am trying to find a way of doing some restoration so i can keep running.
    I am having trouble finding a body shop/ mechanic willing to take a proper look and give me an accurate quote. I understand that there is work to be done and i am of course willing to invest in the work (up to a certain point ) but i am a bit troubled by the interraction with some local garages so far. The last mechanic i saw this morning spend 5 min "checking" the car while playing on his phone and then quoted me a quite large amount without even taking a look. I get the impression that not everyone is willing to do restoration on a car like this,either because it takes a lot of garage space or because it is likely to take time. Although I understand that it requires hours, materials and skill, I haven't been able to find someone to take a careful look and give me a rough estimate and possibly advice about how to move forward.
    I did examine the possibility of sending the car abroad but,unless i went for a complete restoration( which i am not sure this car needs) i am not sure it would be worth it.
    I wanted to ask if anyone knows an affordable mechanic willing to take a look at my car and hopefully start doing some body work. My budget is not massive but I am hoping to find a way to progress with this.
    I am based near London, Buckinghamshire area but willing to travel.
    thank you in advance
    Alex
     
  2. DoberMan

    DoberMan Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    E Class 220cdi AMG line Sport Convertible. Gone but not forgotten, 2x190E, 2xC180, 1xB180 sport.
    Well,if you are in Bucks I know just the place for you.

    Car Body Shop near Tring | LSJ Car Body Repair Specialists

    They also have a Facebook page.

    Well worth a visit to discuss your needs.

    They have cars there stripped to the shell for restoration and do a 1st class job.
    Highly recommended.
     
  3. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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  4. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Club Veteran

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    Jay does a bit of this type of thing doesn't he, he might have a suggestion or two too....?

    Sometimes you have to nut out how much money you want to invest in it at a time, hand it over together with a prioritised to do list and say call me when it's spent.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    alk

    alk New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2018
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    W123 230e
    Thank you for all your replies.
    I just drove to LSJ and I spent some time talking about the car. I also saw their work and it does look very good. They suggested i look for the required panels and then do a partial restoration and respray which is what i was after in the first place. I can't really go for a full-depth restoration and,to be honest most of the car is ok for the age.I need to sort out the sunroof urgently and i might as well get few new panels before respray.I wish i could entirely strip, sandblast and examine every little detail but that will have to wait for sometime in the future.
    So i am now looking for doors and few other panels. Second hand or after market preferably.If you guys have any suggestions I would really be grateful. many thanks
     
  6. alabbasi

    alabbasi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    MOT station will put the car in the air and inspect the underneath. IF you're after wheel arches, door skins and wings, then just go to a shop and say that you want wheel arches door skins and wings put on. They'll quote you.

    I suspect that the places that you're going to are not interested because they don't want to deal with rust repair. The reason for this being that the rust always worse than what you see and once they get into it, the price might change based on what they find.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    alk

    alk New Member

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    Jul 3, 2018
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    W123 230e
    Could I ask another question please:
    does anyone know where I can get a sunroof frame (casette) for my manual sunroof? I can find all other panels and they are very reasonably priced but not this one. I can't find an aftermarket or 2nd hand and I believe mercedes doesn't make them anymore. Mine is so bad it cannot be repaired.Any thoughts?
    many thanks
     
  8. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Club Veteran

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    1996 E320 Sportline Cabriolet x 2
    MercWorxs NZL.
     
  9. shyam27

    shyam27 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Car:
    1983 MB W123 280CE, 1986 Nissan Leopard Ultima, 1986 Honda Civic 1.3 SB3 x2, 2000 Aprilia ETX
    hi alk,

    I know pretty well about the rust issues that occur on w123's, I am having a w123 280ce restored myself. Unfortunately, W123 suffer badly from rust and the worst part about it is that they hide it so well. The people you ought to look for are usually the old traditional sort, who have units in rural areas/countryside; they are more honest than your city garages. I'm having mine restored by some old skool guys who fix, service, MOT, restore utility vehicles, large vehicles, old tractors that sort of thing and also they also happen to restore sought after classic cars. I would recommend a full restoration, scrub down to bare metal, rust treated, welded up/panels replaced followed by full respray rather than just a simple patch up job because trust me, the w123 hides rust mega well. Have a good poke around underneath, look under carpets, behind pannels, behind chrome, drainage channels, etc. You should expect to pay anywhere between £3-5k for full body restoration. Anything below £3k may not be done to a acceptable standard but make sure you look at the reviews online and cars they are working on in their garages to see the standard they work to.

    Mercedes should stock them, I was able to buy C123 door and window seals all direct from any Mercedes garage; I had to wait a week for them to be shipped from Germany. However, Mercedes prices are pretty steep so I'd suggest looking at ebay.de (german ebay) for a second hand item.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    alk

    alk New Member

    Messages:
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    Jul 3, 2018
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    W123 230e
    Thank you very much.
    I would really love to find someone like the mechanic you are describing but the quotes i have been getting for a full body restoration of a car of this size and age (not my car specifically) are around 10grand plus parts.
    The budget you are suggesting is what i thought it would cost but so far the quotes are much much higher and thats not because this particular car is a disaster but thats what I am told it normally costs to take a car apart.
    I would really be grateful if you feel you could share with me the details of your mechanic.
    many thanks
    Alex
     
  11. shyam27

    shyam27 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    1983 MB W123 280CE, 1986 Nissan Leopard Ultima, 1986 Honda Civic 1.3 SB3 x2, 2000 Aprilia ETX
    My guy is catching up on a massive back log of work atm, he has already turned down two of my friends who requested similar services. Send me a private message and I will help you find someone. In fact someone just came to mind who is closer to London and fits the bill. £10K is extortion, go back and slap them fools for even suggesting that figure. lol
     
  12. shyam27

    shyam27 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    174
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    Dec 6, 2016
    Car:
    1983 MB W123 280CE, 1986 Nissan Leopard Ultima, 1986 Honda Civic 1.3 SB3 x2, 2000 Aprilia ETX
    Just realised you wont be able to DM me as you're a new member.

    Embarrassingly, I've forgot the name of the place but remember the name of the place next door to them. Call BTB Exhausts Ltd in Woodford Halse and ask them politely for the name and number of the classic car restoration place next door to them on the right.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  13. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Club Veteran

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    Car:
    1996 E320 Sportline Cabriolet x 2
    Upgrade to something that needs nothing...?

    Mercedes-Benz 280 W123 280e 1977

    Cheaper in the long run, could make it manual too if you wanted a project that isn't fixing up endless wrongs...??
     
  14. shyam27

    shyam27 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    174
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    Dec 6, 2016
    Car:
    1983 MB W123 280CE, 1986 Nissan Leopard Ultima, 1986 Honda Civic 1.3 SB3 x2, 2000 Aprilia ETX
    Over £20k for a w123 280 sedan .... he could restore his car over 4 times with that money. Yes I can see it's a 280, you have 2 extra cylinders and it goes a bit quicker, sounds a lot sexier but really can't see justification in that price when the man is deciding between a full restoration or just patching up.

    Cheaper on the long run? It's not like buying a new Mercedes where many aspects of the car deteriorate with increased use/mileage, w123's went on forever, the only thing that killed them was rust. Also going from a 230 to a 280 is also going from a 35mpg car to a 20mpg car! In the long run, his car will be fully restored. If he is bright, he will replace all service items whilst car is all apart and it will be just as reliable (if not more) than the connoisseur example you propose. Once he's jumped that hurdle, he will have a super reliable, cheap to run car. Your looking at an addition £1-2K to replace service items which is still much more cost effective than buying a £+20k car.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  15. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Club Veteran

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    Well thank God you have told me that, I have learned.
     
  16. Marku

    Marku Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Viano Ambiente 2.2CDI W639, S-Class 450SE W116
    Tried W123world.com the acknowledged experts in all things 123?
     
  17. HowardP

    HowardP Active Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2018
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Car:
    1989 C126 420 SEC (SOLD); 1985 W123 200 (SOLD); 1993 W124 320 CE CABRIOLET; 2012 W246 B180
    Contact to Leigh Holbrook on 07734 858970 or towiw123@yahoo.com about parts. His website is:

    http://theonlywayisw123.wixsite.com/towiw123

    He is very helpful and knowledgable and has a warehouse full of parts - it might even be worth your while paying a visit to Sheffield, by arrangement.

    As to seeking quotes for bodywork repairs, you could try these:

    A and E Vehicle Services,Model Farm, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles HP8 4AB 01494 76603
    Romance of Rust, The Old Stables, The Railway Yard, Lionel Road South, Brentford TW8 0JA 07774 754239

    These are not recommendations though, just suggestions.

    RUST!
    I don't know how familiar you are with these cars, but I've had a couple which I bought as projects, and these are the areas I found most affected:

    Jacking points - usually the tubes themselves are OK, not that you would use them anyway, but the surrounding metal on the outer sill disappears. They can be repaired with a patch after cutting out the rot, but if you want to retain the dimpled profile around the tube then pattern sills are available and you can just cut out the bit you need, rather than replace the whole sill.

    Underseal - It is very good at keeping water out, but it equally effective at keeping water in if it is damaged in any way, so what looks like a tiny blister might only be the tip of the iceberg. This is common to the W123, W124 and W126 to my knowledge, and probably others.

    Rear wheel arches - double skinned edges, so rust will be pretty much guaranteed. Again I believe repair panels are available for inner and outer arches, if they are really bad.

    Inner rear wheel arches - Just in front of the rear wheels there will be at least one rubber blanking grommet, which will most likely have disappeared, resulting in rampant rust underneath the underseal. All my cars have been afflicted with this. It's not a particularly difficult repair though.

    Lower rear wings - These tend to rust away because if the wheel arch is bad enough then water thrown up by the wheels will find its way in. In addition, the seals around the rear lights leak and also the rear window can leak, which also drains into the lower portions of the boot. Repair sections are available though.

    Rear window - As mentioned, this leaks into the boot, and the permanent cure involves removing the glass. This is one of Mercedes-Benz's common traits from the 1980s and 90s, so affects other models as well.

    Floors - one of my W123s had no sunroof, but still had a rusty rear floor!

    Front inner wings - these can rust, so the best way to assess the damage is remove the outer wings. The area where the bonnet hinges mount can be badly affected.

    Outer front wings - The rust at the bottom behind the trim, and also at the front where they attach to the front valance, which itself might be rusty due to its vulnerable position.

    Windscreen - Rust will appear from under the rubber seal, again requiring removal of the glass for a proper job.

    Battery tray - The tray itself might be rusty, but underneath it could be even rustier. One of mine had a hole big enough to get my hand through!

    This is not necessarily a definitive list, but is what I found on the cars I've owned, although one had far less rust than the other.

    Good luck!
     
    a111r likes this.
  18. OP
    OP
    alk

    alk New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2018
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    W123 230e
    a quick update about the car.I decided to completely strip it and have it dipped.
    Sadly, as it is often the case,that revealed a lot of corrosion but panels were not expensive and i did manage to find a very reasonable mechanic to do it.
    Surprisingly however, the acid bath did not remove all the rast and there were spots where there was still surface rust. The worse bit was the inside part of rear wheel arches.As soon as we cut the wings off ( to fit the replacement panels)we realised that neither acid or primer reached in there..which is a bit annoying as i invested in this process expecting to get a rust free car..i guess its hard to know if you can't see whats going on
    Anyway, the car now has a new floor and few other panels and i think the doors can be salvaged..
    thank you for your help and suggestions
     
    brucemillar likes this.

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