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A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sat 10 Nov, 2012 11:54 am
by SW4
Hi everyone, firstly I'd like to take the opportunity to say what a fantastic site this is. I've spent many, many hours researching and reading various posts particularly the '560SEC buying guide' which I found very useful in the pre-purchase phase.

I have recently bought a 1986 560SEC. I bought it off a close family member who has owned the car for about 10 years. Prior to that the vehicle was imported from Hong Kong. The reason for the sale was regretful but 'space' needs to be made for a 2011 Shelby Mustang that's on its way. The car has 80000 miles on the odometer and has driven 7000 miles in 10 years. The car has a good service history but there are a few mechanical issues I will need to address when the car is relocated interstate.

I have searched high and low, read post of where to find it but I am still trying to find the engine number! The reason obviously is to figure out if it has the high compression engine. I'm sure the car has tri-y headers and twin snorkels but this will have to be confirmed by a specialist. I am not getting too excited by all this as the car has plenty of power (in my opinion) and has an engine note I will never get tired of hearing. There is some quite large pieces of the bonnet sound proofing that has fallen into the engine so this could be the issue. Everything on the vehicle is stock, except 16inch 15 hole Mercedes rims and it is my intention to not alter a thing. My goal is to return it to near new original condition.

The exterior of the vehicle is very good in my opinion. There is a very small dent in the rear quarter panel that will have to be removed, but the paint work is in good shape.

The interior of the vehicle is starting to show its age. A lot of this however can be improved with simple cleaning. The leather and interior is a light beige colour and is quite dirty. I have ordered some Gliptone leather products which should make a big improvement. The carpets will need shampooing and I intend on taking out all of the wood trim and send it off the US for restoration. I have had quotes to do it here (Australia) and to honest the prices are absurd! I fly to LA usually twice a month so I will take it in my luggage.
Other issues with the interior are:
Both seat belt presenters don't work. I assume no power is going to the units as there is no sound at all when you put the keys in the ignition.
Sunroof works intermittently
Air-conditioning is not working. This could be as simple as a re-gas? My uncle told me it never has worked since he bought it. I know imports are de-gassed when they are shipped over. Maybe it was never refilled once it arrived! Probably just wishful thinking.
Rear hat shelf is showing evidence of sun damage.

Mechanical issues are the ABS light is constantly on. The light doesn't flicker or have intermittent indication like other faults I have read on here it just stays on.
The reverse gear works but there is slight shudder sometimes when it is backing up. Forward gears are good and it shifts down well but I am planning on an expensive fix ($2500-$3000).

Apart from the above she is a good example of a 560SEC. It will only be a weekend driver and a bit of a hobby on the side. I've adored these cars since I was a kid so to finally own one is a great feeling.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sat 10 Nov, 2012 3:22 pm
Amen! Exactly how I feel...

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sat 10 Nov, 2012 4:35 pm
by kimrh
Give me a list of what wood you are chasing (all pieces you need) as i have a good stash of SEC spares. I just sent a dash set off to USA out of my LHD SEC parts car for a guy who wanted real nice burlwood in perfect condition. Madera Concepts CA USA are the considered experts in this field but to do a full set you are talking over $3k from memory.
New under bonnet insulator replacement is easy (old one has rotted from age) Seat belt presentors could just be a simple fuse gone (under bonnet in the big black box- check and replace all the fuses with copper ones or clean them all up with sandpaper)
Carpets should clean up or you can get a them replaced if really bad. Leather can be restored with "Leatherique" products which are considered the best restoration process.
Aircon is most likely low or no gas, but least/last on you list of fixes - read the recent threads on this re new types of gas available now -Hi-Chill (not R134a)

Great cars to work on and once bitten you will be hooked for life.
I just caught up with a wealthy Italian farmer recently and realised he was driving a nice W126 SEL. He could afford to buy any new car he wanted but instead drives the SEL which he loves and will never part with in his words. His daughter laughed in later conversation with me and said his dad would never ever think of changing out of his prised SEL. She said he had another one before and got hit badly in an accident caused by another reckless driver writing the car off and her dad & mum walked away from it. They went straight back and bought another SEL from the insurance claim as he swears the strength of the W126 saved them from impact injury.
Cheers Kim

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 2:14 pm
by SW4
Thanks for the informative reply Kim. I will make sure I order some Leatherique. The results seen on their webpage look incredible. Not sure if I'll end up re-colouring the leather but I would like to know how you find out what colour trim the car has. There are a couple on the colour chart that are quite similar. Do you think this product would work well on the door panelling as well? There is dirt engrained there too particularly the door handle and window sill and seat adjusting buttons.

With regards to the wood trim I will let you know if I will require any parts. I did want to get the entire wood trim including dash and door trim restored so it looks completely uniform. I was wondering what your opinion on getting a cabinet maker to restore the trim. The reason I ask is we are about to get a dining table custom made by a skilled Tasmanian Cabinet maker. Maybe he could strip back and restore the timber?

There is one issue I spotted the other day with the centre console when inspecting the wood trim around the gear shift lever. There appears to be a wider than normal gap between the wood trim and edge of the console. Either the panel has shrunk or the console widened over its life. Is there a problem with the centre console 'widening' over time? Can they be reshaped with heat or other methods or will a new centre console be put on the shopping list?

What adhesive product do you recommend on the bonnet sound proofing? I have read on overseas forums about a 3M product but not sure if it is available in Australia.

Can the rear hat shelf be restored or do you have to replace the two pop up doors if it's too badly sun damaged?

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 8:46 pm
by kimrh
Post up some good closeup pics of the interior so we can get a good look at what you are talking about.
You may have the wrong gear panel?? Very late one after late 98 had a larger hole around the shifter.
Rear panel can be recovered in same material which you can source from USA or it may be available over here (one of the guys can post up some info on that)
The 3m product for sticking the new bonnet felt on is available over here (just not the very strongest one as not allowed to be imported but the next below that one is fine)
Doors sound like they need a very good clean.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sat 17 Nov, 2012 6:32 pm
by kanga59
I replaced my bonnet insulation by obtaining the product from Daleys auto and marine. Just ask them what you want it for and they will know.
total cost $ 58.00, works perfect and damn cheap, just cut to suit and stick on.
Its been on for over 1 year now. They are located in the Kewdale area ( i think ) in Perth
Had abs issue the same as you, found one of the sensors not pushed back into location properly.
Pushed it in and a big sigh of relief.
Hope this reply is not too late, just spotted it.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sun 18 Nov, 2012 9:49 am
by CraigB
Thats great Kim, i didn't know that material was available for the shelf, is that GAHH or world upholstery?

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sun 18 Nov, 2012 10:06 am
by kimrh
All interior trim material

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sat 15 Dec, 2012 8:04 pm
by SW4
After a little over a month of 560 ownership I had both a pleasant and heart breaking discovery today. First the good news. It was confirmed that the engine in the vehichle is a genuine 300hp motor. This is something I suspected but was good to have clarification.

The bad news is I removed the rear window to find out the source of a wet boot. I was shocked to discover quite a substancial amount of rust on ths rear 'hat shelf' and boot sill. There was also small amount of rust in the rear left bumper bar vent which is now the least of my problems. I have read that overseas particularly in Europe this is a common problem and can be fixed if the owner so wants it.

The other problem is that the car has been resprayed which has now made me very concerned. The original paint (code 199) can be seen in a few places in the engine bay where the respray has chipped away. I should have picked this up pre purchase but i didn't. The only saving grace is that I paid very little for the car.

Have any Australian 560 owners discovered the same issue with rust in the rear window sill area and had it cut out and repaired? It looks like a complete rust check now and eventually a bare metal paint job in the original colour.

Can anyone recommend a business fit for the job in Victoria/Melbourne?

One last thing, I seem to be missing the tool required to manually wind the sunroof open and closed. Anyone have a spare or one for sale?

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sun 16 Dec, 2012 1:51 pm
by V8Finny
There is a 560 SEL and a W126 Coupe in the Imlachs wrecking yard in Centre Rd, Westall.

You might be able to grab some repair sections, and I know a rust repairer that can do exactly this type of work!

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sun 16 Dec, 2012 5:53 pm
by kimrh
Common problem and same issue with my 500SEC as the +20yr old caulking compound used in the rubber seal grove that encases the metal lip should have been replaced many yrs ago.
Not a big issue if you are handy yourself- or even if you can do all the hard work of removing the rusted metal.
Mercedes must have planned for this later as you can buy a whole new window sill/boot channel (as i did) direct from them to complete the job properly if it is too far gone to repair.
I did all my work myself at home, so the only cost was the new chanel and materials + new rubber seal. ( i could have re-used the old one but elected to go new for piece of mind)

My rear window was starting to delaminate in the botton corners (again from the window sealant used in the rubber grove holding the glass breaking down and allowing water to pool in the lower channel corners so moisture against the edges of the glass works its way in between the glass laminate. I had to source a good rear replacement window.
My parcel shelf was ok. it was just the rear corners and channel that was attacked with rust. Yours might need more fabricating work done or replacement shelf welded in.
Here are some pics of mine as i was repairing it ( i was able to cut some pieces out of my SEC parts car to fit perfectly in to replace where the rust was cut out)

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Mon 17 Dec, 2012 8:51 am
by CraigB
great set of photos Kim. Having done the same job I can agree that it is not the end of the world. That other car may be handy if the rear shelf is more that surface rust or small patches to cut and shut panel - but otherwise nice fresh metal like kim has done is good and i am guessing the panel was not killer money. The other place to look on the 2 door that i had is in front of the rear wheels in the sill area. Water can get in the rear side windows and sit, but pretty strong there and mine only had very minor spots that i did and then cleared drains and pumped in lots of body wax.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Wed 19 Dec, 2012 12:53 pm
by SW4
They're great photo's Kim and that has encouraged me somewhat to continue with the car. The majority of my rust problem seems to be in the 'circle' cross bracing under the rear window sill which you can see in your second photo. Is there a point where the strength of the chassis is compromised with all the cutting and repairing?

I am about to order part number 126 630 01 60 from our sponsor but wanted to make sure I have the right part first. From my research this part number is for the left side boot panel incorporating the vent which the bumper fits over. Can someone with Mercedes part library confirm this. I also need the two 'drain' plugs for the bottom of the boot for both the left and right side. Any idea where to get them?

A full prep and respray is on the cards for this car once all panel work is completed which return the car to pearl black (code 199). One thing I can't visualise is how this dark colour will look with the mushroom (code 275) interior. This colour combination was the original from the factory.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sun 24 Feb, 2013 2:46 pm
by SEC568
Well, call me crazy too! Just brought my first Mercedes an 87 560SEC and yes I LOVE IT!
So kym, yes it has the same rust issues to fix, I guess I will be talking with a few of you on this problem to fix. She is in relativly good
condition all original with 150k miles imported from the UK.
I do however need to track down a couple of plastics for the lhs gaurd and door, they are silver/light grey in colour the ones I have are marked,
I would also like to chase down some hammer style wheels, but I wish to put wide ones under her, do you think 17x8 would be too wide, Im thinking 245/45/17 Rear and 235/45/17 front, does this seem ok to you?
Anyway, Im new to here and to the Mercedes brand, so I look forward to chatting with you all.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Mon 25 Feb, 2013 12:26 am
by CraigB
Being a UK import that could be a high output, high compression motor. If you search on here you will see notes on how to tell but usually a 10 or H i think it is stamped with the engine number. I am pretty sure 17X8 is an easy fit on these. Kym in WA has a number of very nice sets of wheels if you are looking for good period stuff. Once again do a search and see if he still has some for sale. I may have some trims but see if you get any responses from others - no location for you in your signature - helps in giving advice and who can help you, where to go etc.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Mon 25 Feb, 2013 9:25 am
by kimrh
sent you a pm to your email to discuss

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Mon 25 Feb, 2013 5:26 pm
by SW4
G'day Kim, there is a white 560 SEC for sale on EBay at the moment. The rims on the car are the ones I would like to put on my car. Being a Mercedes novice would you mind having a look and letting me know what they are, their availability and cost.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Tue 26 Feb, 2013 3:59 pm
Here's a wreck... might provide a few parts. ... 35c4c48d8f

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Sat 02 Mar, 2013 3:37 pm
by SEC568
Thanks Graig, I will look up the engine codes to see what I can come up with.. Already had a chat with Kim Re: Wheels. Look forward to learning so more. Cheers Trev
CraigB wrote:Being a UK import that could be a high output, high compression motor. If you search on here you will see notes on how to tell but usually a 10 or H i think it is stamped with the engine number. I am pretty sure 17X8 is an easy fit on these. Kym in WA has a number of very nice sets of wheels if you are looking for good period stuff. Once again do a search and see if he still has some for sale. I may have some trims but see if you get any responses from others - no location for you in your signature - helps in giving advice and who can help you, where to go etc.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Tue 12 Sep, 2017 10:13 pm
by SW4
Hi Guys,

I thought I'd reserect this old thread I started many years ago. I still have the car but it has been sitting under a cover for the last 4 years.

I have been cleared by the Minister of Finance to spend some money on it or get rid of it. I chose the first option.

The first step is getting the transmission rebuilt. I seem to have someone reasonably qualified for that.
The bigger problem is the rust in the rear hat shelf, rear window sill and boot. I am having a guy look at it next week but would anyone know someone (preferably in Victoria) who would comes recommend to do this kind of work.

I have bought a set of Penta's for the car but I ended up with 15x7 ET16 ATS rims. I wanted something bigger but I got them for a good price in the US and they are in very good condition.
I am about to grab 2 ATS Penta 8J x 16 again for a steal. I'm not sure if I will even need them but when Penta's come up for a good price I think it's silly not to buy.

Anyway I'd love some advise and recommendations during this stage of my SEC life.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Tue 17 Oct, 2017 10:31 am
by SW4
Well the car is back from the transmission specialist and what an immediate difference it has made. The car had no reverse but I thought it was still quite drivable in forward gears but I've now felt what smooth gear changes now feel like. It used to 'clunk' into the next gear which is now no longer does.
The car will be soon on a interstate car carrier to get some serious body work done (rust removal) as well as a good mechanical checkup.

The inside trim of the car is in reasonably condition but I'm not happy with the two front seats. I am looking at ordering a set of front seat leather covers from German Auto Tops in the US. I am looking at a new car carpet kit from them also. The back seats are in good condition and can be touched up with Leatherique.

Kim you mentioned when I stated this post that you had some good wood burl pieces available. The two I would be interested in are the gear shift area and the small peice to the left of the glove box. My car is a series 1 SEC.

I have some 15inch Pentas which will go on it but I'm trying to source some more 16inch wheels
from overseas as we speak.

Please feel free to leave any suggestions/advice for this next phase. The car has been in Victoria for 5 years in my shed but we are moving interstate so it will reside in QLD.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Tue 24 Oct, 2017 10:42 am
by kimrh
Just Read this post.
I have 2 x good Gen1 shifter wood panel trims, but they are Zebrano grain so no good if you have burlwood grain trim.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Thu 26 Oct, 2017 3:44 pm
by ngruzevs
May be easier just to refurbish all the wood. I just got my zebrano wood trim refurbished (not re-veneered), cost $1300 for 10 pieces. This way all the wood trim will be same colour.

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Thu 26 Oct, 2017 9:06 pm
by kimrh
Here is a pic of my spare Gen1 wood pieces out on the lawn in natural light

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Tue 07 Nov, 2017 6:12 pm
by SW4
They look like they are in great shape. Unfortunately I have Burlwood not Zebrano. I have found a guy in San Diego who restores wood trim. I have a centre console getting done there now.
My car is currently getting some pretty significant rust repaired. I will hold off on too much interior stuff until the exterior starts looking the part.
Possibility of a genuine AMG body kit to be fitted. I just have to get it back from the US!

Re: A new 560SEC owner

Posted: Fri 16 Feb, 2018 6:51 pm
by SW4
Hi Guys,

Progress on the car is coming along well. The rear window will be removed and hat shelf and sills looked at thoroughly. Fingers crossed the rear glass window doesn't get broken in the removal process. Sunroof will be done after that job is completed then the body will be rust free and I can look at a respray. Kim you seem to bought a new metal piece for that area when you did yours. Can you remember the part number?

I'm tidying up the interior. Can someone recommend a good way to remove the wood burl trim from the car (particularly the dash) without breaking it. I need to send it off to the US for restoration.

I'd post some photos but i'm having problems uploading pictures taken on my phone or ipad.