The other car

March 9, 2008

Some people expressed interest in my other car, a ’71 280S (W108) that has gotten a OM617 and five-speed manual transplanted into. Here’s a few relevant pictures, they are not of the best quality but it’s quite hard to take decent pictures down in the engine compartment.
I bought the car this way, and haven’t done the conversion myself.

First, a overview
W108 overview pic

Close-up of the engine, two pictures. This is a OM617.910 (“240D 3.0”, NA), that was installed in W115 75-76-models. It has a more rounded intake manifold, as seen, and the oil filter housing is located differently than later OM617’s. Note that original air filter housing has been used, and radiator/oil cooler are also original.
W108 front view
w108 engine side view

Passenger side engine mounting arm, this is probably the W115-arm that was included with the engine. The rubber piece is very similar to those in W123, maybe it’s from one.
w108 engine mounting passenger side

Drivers side, appears also be the arm from W115, and rubber from god knows where.
w108 engine mounting drivers side

Two interior shots, one of the shifter (from a W123?) and one of the gorilla knob.
w108 interior shifter
w108 gorilla knob

Some of the pictures hints quite a lot of rust. Yes there are rust on visible spots, but the whole underbody is very clean and newly welded where needed. Also the interior is horrible, it’s missing pieces and seats are torn, I’m going to get a whole interior from a spare parts car and swap that in, whenever time permits.

Silence of the valves

December 4, 2007

Long time no posting, here’s an update.

In late July I got Franz almost cleared by the Swedish vehicle inspection. Almost – meaning they DID object that it did run on diesel as opposed to gasoline, as stated in the title. But this bought me a month of legal driving (regulations says it’s legal to drive one month from a failed inspection) which I of course took advantage of, to the fullest extent. I did a trip to northern Sweden with two friends, all in all this took two weeks and we drove about 4000km (6400 miles).

4000km of test-driving of course provides some very valuable information about Franzes health.
I did learn the following

  • Front brake caliper stuck after about 200km. Manually hacked loose parts from the pads to clear the disc. Of course the caliper stuck again and again and again, and every time I took off the wheel, hacked away some more parts of the pads. This was seriously not fun and sunk my confidence in Franz.
  • Maximum speed is about 90km/h (56mph) and comfortable cruising is at about 70km/h. This is due to too high rear-end differential gearing. While not a problem for me, some other drivers, notably the five big rigs, a stretch of campers and mobile homes did object when they finally got to pass us after tailing for miles and miles on a curvy, single-lane road up north. At least judging from their quite sour faces.
  • Since it obviously is no rocket, it has quite modest fuel consumption. About 8L/100km (30mpg).
  • Worse is, that it seems Franz has a oil drinking habit, it consumes about 1L/1000km.
  • The cardan shaft vibrates a bit at speeds above 50km/h, but after 2000km you really get used to it.
  • Apart from these minor issues the trip went well. Sweden is a very beautiful country, the sun was shining most of the time and we played some serious rockn’n’roll with the Becker.

    Flakaberg hus
    Up north in Sweden

    How to perform brake caliper overhaul with almost no tools, no shop, no nothing. No there wasn’t even electricity at the location. Hand tools are manly.

    After we got home from the trip in late August, I haven’t done much more than fixing the stuck caliper. I was a bit discouraged by the fact that the engine drinks so much oil, that indicates for me it’s quite seriously worn inside and not very suitable for a vegetable oil conversion. But since all the hard work is done now, I am looking (although not that actively) for another engine to throw in. I have no real plan for Franz right now, but some things I’d like to do is (in order of importance)

  • Get him re-titles as a diesel car at the vehicle inspection
  • Take a compression test to determine how bad the engine is
  • Swap rear-axle from my donor 280SE
  • Do the vegetable oil-conversion
  • It’s december now and I have a quite busy schedule, so propably I’ll begin working on Franz sometime in january.

    Doing the purge..

    July 14, 2007

    Had trouble finding the recommended product, Liqui-Moly Diesel Purge, so I went with what’s available. A can of Wynn’s Diesel Clean-Up.
    Ran the can through the engine and got out some nasty stuff.. Yeow!

    Here’s what I bought..
    Wynn’s diesel clean-up

    After some idling and running ’round on that can here’s what came out of the fuel return. Plain nasty.
    Diesel purge result

    What the primary filter contained.. replaced both primary and secondary filter while I was at it..
    Primary fuel filter

    Will run some biocide through the engine too, some says the blackness is algae. You now, plants growing in my engine. Won’t allow that, now will we?

    Premiere trip

    June 7, 2007

    So Franz finally got some fresh air and sun.
    Last thursday the time had come to test drive Franz a bit to see how things are working out.
    Below is the video of Franzes first run, ever!

    Immediately noticed that loud clicking sound coming from underneath (that’s why I look so worried), I checked it out on friday and it turned to be a loose bolt on the cardan shaft mounting at the flex plate. That’s wrenched tight now and everything seems to be running fine.

    Test drove once more again and Franz merrily speeds up to 50km/h and the tranny is shifting smooth as silk (went up to third). Maybe that quick and dirty vacuum job really does work?? 🙂 Didn’t want to run faster due to limited space at the site, the cardan shaft is still only temporarily welded together and the brakes definitively needs some working.

    Also noticed a small dripping oil leak from a line going to the oil pressure gauge, think I fixed it now.

    Current status is that Franz is once again standing on four steel legs, took the cardan shaft off to get it to a professional machine shop for welding and balancing. Been doing some interior work now. Hooked up a radio (although no speakers yet), lubricated all the wires from dash to the heater (levers hardly moved before) and began polishing up the chromework. Some fun-to-do smaller jobs, I really need them now as relaxation from the pulling engines / wrenching cardans-type of jobs.

    Here’s a picture of the interior, if you’ve ever been in a fintail you’ll notice this is not particulary different. Not a show car but nothing is cracked or broken, could be polished a bit to a nice shine. New carpets and more, could make a difference!
    Interior shot

    Done: Battery tray relocation

    May 20, 2007

    This involved some welding. Had two different trays, none which would fit inside the narrow space between chassis and intake manifold, so I made my own. It fits very nicely, all done by scrap iron found on the property. The battery is a brand new 80Ah el cheapo battery.

    Here’s the space before
    Battery tray 1

    Freshly painted
    Battery tray 2

    Please note this is the sport edition of battery trays, as you can see no excess weight exists in this tray with all the holes in it.

    Installed in car
    Battery tray 3

    With battery in place
    Battery tray 4

    Bonus: clearance test video with hood installed

    Done: Vacuum system

    May 20, 2007

    Here’s a real ghetto-tech approach to the vacuum system.

    A day spent at a pull-a-part resulted in a bucketfull of vacuum hoses, connectors and orifices. Nice start for a couple lousy bucks spent!
    Vacuum hoses

    Got a great drawing from this forum post, it’s the first drawing. I haven’t a slightes clue what parts 1 & 2 on the drawing are but nevermind, it’s all connected together and there’s no loose ends. Expect a follow-up on vacuum troubleshooting 🙂
    Here’s a picture of the result. The big black roll of hose with the aluminium block is a shutoff valve, I eventually did install it inside the car.
    Vacuum hoses mess

    Done: Oil cooler

    May 20, 2007

    oil cooler mounted
    Got myself an oil cooler! A friend has a for-parts-W108 sitting in his barn, he said go ahead an pick whatever you want so I did.. His oil cooler now sits in the front of my car (that is, after cleaning it, picking out two spiders and giving it a light coat of black paint). Also got myself some hydraulic hoses (again from AMAB Hydraul as were the earlier ones) to connect the cooler to the oil filter.
    Here’s the result.

    Hot and cool

    April 22, 2007

    This is what’s been up lately..

  • Radiator and all hoses are mounted
  • Exhaust system completed
  • Oil filter mounting completed
  • Shift stick linkage completed
  • Let’s begin with the radiator

    It was a fairly easy job. I used a standard Behr-radiator that came along with the 300D-engine. Has an transmission oil cooler in the bottom. The Behr is a bit narrower than the original ’68 radiator so I created simple mountings that holds it firmly in place, shown here:
    Radiator mountings

    Here’s the completed assembly with all the hoses connected. The transmission cooler lines are connected but not shown in the picture. Note how well the heater water connection connects up:
    Radiator assembly

    Then the exhaust system

    The front part came also along with the engine and fitted surprisingly well. Okay there wasn’t much marginals between the steering linkage but it did go in. Everything after the foremost part was the old pipe from the W110.
    Here’s the front part
    Exhaust front part

    And a shot from underneath, some cutting and welding hade to be done for the W123 and W110-parts to talk to each other:
    Exhaust underneath

    The oil filter relocation is also done

    Here’s the completed oil filter plate adaptor
    Oil plate adaptor complete
    (Thanks to Conny for some fabulous welding!)
    The small pipe in the bottom is for the oil pressure line. This normally comes out of the filter housing but not anymore on this engine..

    A closeup of the installation
    Oil plate adaptor installed

    And an overview (a bit messy picture)
    Oil plate overview

    Finally a word about the shift stick linkage

    A pretty straight forward job, there was a clear path from the shifter levers down to the transmission, so all I did was make up an appropriate lengt rod with connectors at each end. Missed to take a picture of this and it’s useless to shoot one now, but if you ever find yourself doing this same job you’ll find the job a piece of cake.

    Other things

    I have to relocate the battery to somewhere else, this is what I had in mind. Inspired by the later models.
    Battery new location?
    It’s the rusty plate with traces of blue in the picture. Fits in to that space, just have to fabricate something that attaches it to the chassis. This is a job for another day though.

    That’s all for now.

    What’s cooking? Oil of course!

    February 20, 2007

    Lack of updates for more than a month, is this project mothballed? No!

    Work has been going on although at a slower pace than before.
    Temperatures here in Sweden has been below 0oC and the shop had no heating what so ever so temperatures there were also .. sub-zero.
    Last week I managed to get my hands on a diesel fueled heater so now we’re able to maintain about 15oC and that’s quite ok.

    Enough rambling, what’s cooking?

    First I did some shortering of the cardan shaft to accomodate the longer 722-transmission (the original transmission is so laughable small it could be from a small motorcycle..). Here’s a picture of the very scientifically exact method (this is a “not joke”..) used in joining two parts of cut-up cardan shaft.

    Cardan shaft cutup
    The leftmost part is what I cut from the W123’s cardan, and the rightmost part is what I took from Franzes original parts. Another picture showing length comparison of the part that I removed from the W111’s cardan, compared to the finished result.

    Cardan shaft cutup
    All in all I think this new combo is about 12-13cm shorter than it was before. It’s only temporarily welded together as you can see, I’m not going to weld this together myself since the end result propably would vibrate my car to pieces.

    Finally a picture of the entire drivetrain assembly.. or not. Quite impossible to take such a picture so this is for your pure Benzophile enjoyment. I promise though, the cardan assembly is all there! Really. Even test fitted the engine again and it all fits perfectly.
    Drivetrain all there

    Use the grease, Luke… I’ve managed to negotiate a deal with a local falafel restaurant, they’re giving me about 20 liters (5 gallons) used cooking oil a week. Nice deal so far since I even haven’t got the car put together.. Oil seems to be of a good quality, did the frying pan test and it shows no water what so ever. Cool! So time to start filtering, bought some nice oil drums to make a filtering assembly of, it’s going to be very similar to this. Here’s a WVO porn picture of the to-be-refinery-drums.


    Poured over the oil I’ve got so far (2 20 liter buckets) in one of the drums. Man this sh-t stinks horribly! And the stuff I found at bottom of the buckets.. almost threw up on looking at it. The good part is of course that the oil had settled fairly well and left some 2 liters per bucket of this yellowish sludge that I definitively not need in my engine.

    Did some shopping too.

    Found a nice set of injection line heaters on eBay, here’s a pic (fresh outta box). Seller says it will heat up the lines to about 90oC and I have yet to test this but have so far no doubts about it.

    Line heaters

    And finally a real cool deal, got this from UtahBiodiesel Supply. No greaser is complete without one! Matches nicely the original 230S-badge even though it’s made to imitate the W123’s lettering style.

    Biodiesel badge

    That’s about all for now.

    Steel plate-o-rama

    January 16, 2007

    A couple of pictures from the oil filter relocation kit progress.

    First off, the plate that covers old mounting holes for the filter.
    Attentive readers notice that there’s nowhere to attach the oil pressure gauge hose. Yes that’s one more hole to be drilled .. (To less attentive readers: this picture is taken just behind the injection pump).
    Oil filter adapter plate

    Here’s the new filter location. Test mounted the engine to see if the filter would fit in that space and it did with ample room around.
    Oil filter adapter plate

    And here’s a profile view to show more clearly how the plate bends to keep the filter straight.
    Oil filter adapter plate

    Now I need some hydraulic hose and fittings to make these two plates connect.