The Reassembly of the Pick-Up
This section will detail the reassembly of the Pick-Up after the body works / paint job efforts, i. e. completing the car with all restored parts to a roadworthy street-legal car.
Pick-Up arrived / Axles ...
7 July 2021
After waiting two years for the car from Argentina, I had to wait another - more than - two years ... but the Pick-Up is back! It looks fantastic imho and Timo and Ano have done a superb job. Looking forward to conserving the car this week!
Offloading at arrival (originally more than 4 minutes ;-)
Conservation started ...
8 July 2021
I could start the conservation by building a little "shower cabin"; as "usual" with me Fluid film everywhere and - second step - a transparent wax (Teroson). Works for me; I know that the different methods of conservation are like a religion ;-)
So today a very rare photo of me ... at work!
Doors at home started ...
10 July 2021
Based on an idea of Timo's, I brought home one door already. I built a stand (out of the wooden bars for the chassis transport), added some cardboard and foam and together with my wife I could fix the door on the stand. Much easier to work at a table than with the door mounted to the car. So the idea is to complete both doors at home and then there's just four screws left to fix in the workshop!
Just a good idea of Timo's, I think ... so I thought I share it for the readers here ...
Noise damping in progress ...
12 July 2021
I started with the noise damping inside the cabin ... what a workload. The photo shows two full days including lame fingers and hands ;-) ... 80% done now.
First time on wheels ...
14 July 2021
Hard working day for Juergen and me today: We finished the rear axle and put both axles into the car. All looks nice and tidy and it's a great feeling to see it on wheels for the first time.
The great work of Stefan pays off now ... to me it's just perfect!
Steering components will follow tomorrow and - maybe - motor and gearbox ... let's see!
Motor / Gearbox is in!
15 July 2021
Today another big step: Wedding ("Hochzeit" as we say in German) ... the motor/gearbox is in! With a lot of preparation we managed to get it in without damage. First put the mainfolds (impossible to install when the motor is in), motor holder and starter on the motor. Then we got a 1962 motor crane (still working!) and slowly put it in. It was a permanent lowering / pushing / tilting for a while, but it is in! Not bad progress after 8 days of arrival ;-)
Harness / Aircon started ...
19 July 2021
I started with the harness with the false hope to do it in a day. The aircon unit had to go in first and all the stuff together needed three hours (!). Then I put the front harness in, quite narrow everywhere. One ingnition plug didn't fit through the hole, so I have to open that cable again and resolder it. The wooden board behind the glove compartment is a tad too big, so that has to be changed too ... it doesn't get boring ;-)
More bits and pieces ...
23 July 2021
So, five days of working at Mercedes in a week (!) ... pretty knackered ;-) ... progress got a bit better, but there's no "so much to see", when you do cables nicely or finish other bits and pieces. Harness is in, front and back, the radiator and some cooling hoses as well ... so it slowly works out. Important things like the horns are installed ;-) ... I do hope, that next week we complete the steering and can put in the drive shaft!
More bits and pieces (II) ...
31 July 2021
Another full 5-day week at Mercedes. Lots and lots of work with little bits and pieces. For example, the interiour light ... takes an hour to fiddle the cable through the A-pillar, get it crimped and put in nicely. Regarding "bigger" pieces ... the tank is in as well as the drive shaft!
Condenser, fan, fuel pump, ABS unit and lots of other little things, e. g. proper ground connection. Steering column is started, but had to be taken out twice now ... and it was my fault ;-) ... but now I should have solved the gear shifting problem, so it can go back in on Monday.
Serious progress today ...
3 August 2021
What a difference having Juergen for a full day! Handbrake is in completely as is the exhaust system. Steering column finally fit (5th try!) and we could - also finally - get the column shift working. Rear diff oil is in as well as the power steering oil ... slowly slowly we're coming towards a first start.
Imho not bad, as today is exactly 4 weeks since the Pick-Up arrived!
V8-Ute is alive!!!
4 August 2021
On 4 August 2014 my friend Carlos from Argentina visited us, I showed him a picture of the W115 ute and asked him, if he knew these cars. That's when this whole thing started.
Today, exactly 7 years later, the V8-Ute came alive. I'm absolutely over the top, especially as the motor problems of 2018 (not running on one cylindre, right manifold spluttering) are solved now. Huge step!
V8-Ute First Start-Up
Centre Console Test - Cables...
4 August 2021
Today I did a lot of bits and pieces, but concentrated on the wiring inside. Finally put all the cables in place and tightened them with cable binders. To make sure everything fits, I put in the centre console and the - old - dashboard ... looks like a car inside ;-) ... especially - imho - you can see how the orange stitching will superbly match the car.
One sleepless night ...
12 August 2021
Last night I didn't get a lot of sleep ... what happened? After the motor ran that well, the last "Unknown" was the aircon, which was never tested before (the modern restomod system adapted to Mercedes and its compressor). So we tested the vacuum (fine) and started filling. Compressor didn't switch on, so we bridged it. Compressor very loud and rattling, no cold air, nothing. Could have been the "modern aircon", which would have meant, that the whole sh... inside had to be dismantled or - worst case - "my" whole special concept wouldn't work.
So today we checked again and - stupid mistake - we mismatched the hoses at the compressor ... FUCK! Changed all this, vacuum, refilled and it worked with a rattling, loud compressor. But cold air came out, the modern aircon operated well.
However, the compressor is crap and I ordered a new one for a lot of money. Luckily - 2 hours work - we could get it out without removing the front axle or taking the motor out (1 special screw took 1 hour). So I'm pretty happy now, as the last "unknown" will be the ABS system, but that's more or less independent from finalisation of the rest of the car!
Fender test ...
16 August 2021
Well we're installing the fenders, motor hood and door today and tomorrow ... this photo in-between makes it look a little bit like a car already!
Doors in place ...
17 August 2021
A full day of work for the motor hood, the fenders and the doors ... lot's of fiddling around, but the doors are in. There's still a small problem with the motor hood vs fenders, but we have an idea what to do ... not critical at the moment.
As the doors are in, it is a hugh change in my opinion, how the colour looks. Just some bars, chrome etc. and it changes. Cannot wait for the rest to be installed!
Completion continues ...
24 August 2021
As Juergen is on holidays I'm working on my own now. Completion continues, lots of little bits and pieces. Finished the wiring into the doors, windscreen washer hoses, air vents, loudspeakers, fuel pump cover and so on. Glued the sillbar covers etc etc.
My board for all the electric components behind the gloves compartment is nearly finished; my "letterbox locking system" works, i. e. two keys release the board, it falls down and is held by a little chain. I guess it's called easy maintenance ;-)
For the first time I put the - final - dashboard in today ... to check the ventilation hoses. Although it got bigger due to the leather, I got it in without cutting anything. Imho it looks really good and as soon as I finished with the electrics I will put it in.
Update: Rear lights are in as well as the clips for the softtop ...
Cargo door installed ...
27 August 2021
Today - if I may say that - I'm a bit proud of myself. Having never learned that, I got the cargo door installed myself ... and it even fits ;-) ... took a while, put the clips for the softtop on it and installed and wired the license plate lights. Monday I will tackle the chain that is holding the door and the rear bumper.
Completion progress ...
2 September 2021
Although there's not so much to see in the pictures, there's many A4 sheets of open points solved.
After rectifying something little in the front together with the panel beater, I could start completing the front now. Lights are in, ornamental bars installed etc. Both bumpers are installed now and I started with some heat insulation (actually from Mercedes) inside on top of the noise dampening. First electrical checks were successful, so I plan a full test tomorrow including the cluster and the aircon, so I can finally install the dashboard.
P. S.: The Aussie stone guards are installed now too ...
Completion progress cont'd ...
11 September 2021
Again, lots and lots of little bits and pieces. Last week I could solve some of the last electrical problems, the ABS is working too now. Covers at the rear shocks and the cargo door inside are mounted as well as an additional water protection for the subwoofer. Hubcaps are tested, heat insulation inside is finished.
Just an example why it is just fantastic to have a whole workshop with experience "at hand". The tolerances within the car are quite "tolerant", so one of the two chains for the cargo door was longer than the other, i. e. they didn't hold the door together. I asked an old, temporary panel beater, if he could make a "small" link for the longer chain to equalise the tolerances. He looked at it and said: "you're doing it with love and you have time. Why don't you put every link into the vise and squeeze it a bit, this way the chain lengthens". Well 22 links, each 1/2 mm ... makes a cm too. Did that, then the shorter chain was too long ;-) ... so the same procedure with the other chain, every second link. Worked! Also the transparent shrinking hose solution works and looks good imho.
Also I drove the first few metres in the workshop: Holy moly, that Pick-Up has a pickup ... power enough and great sound (video's not good, as I was too careful taking care of the other cars there; old steering wheel has a contact problem with the horns)
First drive in the workshop
Completion progress III ...
15 September 2021
So, after testing testing testing, I finally decided to start completing the car inside. Dashboard wasn't easy with the leather adding to the measurements. Dito the centre console. But it is in now and imho it looks good!
I also installed the chrome airfilter cover ... thanks to Stefan again for giving me this idea ... I got a lot of "wows" since then.
Music was tested too, all working and I started to install the seat belts ... slowly slowly it all falls into place!
Windscreen / Alignment ...
17 September 2021
Again I have to emphasise the support of Autohaus Ebert here. Two people (in peak time 6!) worked to get the windscreen in ... what a work! So tricky with the sealing and the chrom frame. Now it looks fantastic.
Also the whole front axle is aligned now, all values good. They also helped me with the seat bench, it is installed now. Together with the dashboard and the centre console it is exactly how I envisaged it for a long time ... now it is reality. Pretty satisfying.
First drive outside ...
22 September 2021
After the final modifications (windscreen wipers etc.), we did a test drive outside on the road. Wow, what a pick-up this Pick-Up has! Definitely a powerful motor, great sound!
Still some optimisation in the drive train, but all in all it really looks good. We got up to 130km/h and the car is absolutely silent, no rattles etc.
Nice story: we drove by a school, where a lot of 16...19 year old kids were outside. When passing I heard a "boah is der geil" (boah, how cool is that) ;-) ;-)
First drive outside
Another driving video ...
25 September 2021
Here's just another video of us driving, normal acceleration um to 120km/h (speedo is not correct, shows roughly 15km/h less; corrected now). Quiet and smooth!
Remark: During this test drive, the rear screen wasn't in, so "half a cabriolet" ;-)
Visual Inspection TUEV / Cooling Optimisation ...
8 October 2021
Well, first of all the good news: The TUEV was here for a visual inspection (2 hrs): ZERO complaints, he was pretty impressed. Of course a lot of questions were asked, but as he knew the prototype already (he visited in 2018), it was like a "known" car, but in a much better state.
We also optimised the cooling system. I sourced an original W115 shroud to direct the air towards the motor block. This had to be modified quite a bit, e. g. depth too much, aircon compressor in the way, etc.). Furthermore we found out, that due to the fact that the fan is "outside", a lot of air gets lost between the radiator and the cross bracket. After ordering a sample, I found a rubber lip, that fits in perfectly ... another example of - I hope - "looks like it's original Mercedes".
After a lot of good support by Derale (the US manufacturer of the fan), I relocated the temperature sensor and we did an initial test. At around 89°C on top of the radiator, the fan started and it kept the temperature at that spot at around 84/85°C. Final test (drive) still outstanding, but we hope to keep the motor cool!
Motor area as of now ...
17 October 2021
Cargo area finished ...
19 October 2021
As I am coming to an end, I finally installed all the cargo panels. There's definitely "some" screws in them ;-) ... it looks good imho. Originally it was painted metal as in the photos, however the "luxury" of having just two panels for the whole area is an "upgrade". The smaller corners were permanently welded, so the area underneath not accessible. Furthermore, they used sheet metal screws, whereas in this car M6 rivets are installed.
Interiour finished ...
18 November 2021
Well, the saddler - once again - did an amazing job: the interiour is finished. The following was done:
- Carpet incl. floor mats
- Door panels incl. handles and map pockets
- Softtop on the cargo area (original softtop material)
- Rubber mat for the cargo area
- B-pillar in leather
Imho it all fits into the concept and looks great!
TUEV final acceptance achieved!
24 November 2021
Nothing is left out in this project:
Today's story is so unbelievable, I would not have been able to make it up:
Hired a tow truck yesterday, drove to the saddler and picked up the car. Started without problems. Arrived at the TUEV, offloading no problem. Started testing, exhaust, brakes, underneath, noise ... no problems at all, motor runs. So off we go for the test drive (remember, visual inspection took place already in October).
Believe it or not, we never had any problems with the motor since August, when it first started. The car just stalled during the test drive! Dead! Starter motor worked, sparks where there, +12V at the fuel pump ... so I assume it's the (new!) fuel pump. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? In that moment? It was a combination of heart attack and the ultimate rage to kick the fender!!!!
Luckily, I obviously built up such a trust relationship with this TUEV guy (he accompanies this project since 2015), that he gave me the papers anyway, i. e. roadworthiness and historical acceptance. Really fair; well he could drive it, although not to the extension it was planned. So tomorrow - hopefully - I a) find out what's wrong and b) will register the car and it will get its license plates!
Motor defect (unknown yet) ...
26 November 2021
This project just doesn't finish at all. After the breakdown at TUEV, we started to check ... fuel pump, ignition, etc. etc. .... motor didn't start.
Then we started to take the cylindre heads off ... right side ok, fits with the ignition. Left side off ... well the motor guy hasn't fastened the camshaft properly, it's nearly 1cm loose and if you turn the motor by hand, this camshaft does not turn. FUCK!
Motor taken out ...
30 November 2021
It somehow makes your heart bleed ... after so much effort in putting it all together nicely, you have to rip it apart again. Motor is out again and it will be shipped to a REAL specialist for inspection. Unfortunately, the valves on the left side don't look good. All that rubbish because of one moron who is too stupid to put a motor together properly!
Motor defect ...
8 December 2021
Well, I got the first photos ... can you believe it, the right camshaft was loose too!!! So it was sort of a lottery, which one gave up the ghost first. At the moment it looks as if the block and the pistons are alright ...
Maybe tomorrow I drive there and have a look myself. I guess I can be happy, that this didn't happen on the Autobahn, but at a speed of roughly 20-30 km/h ...
I've ordered parts for 2,500 EUR today ... bugger ... and that's not the end of it. The good news is, that the pistons and the block are alright, as is the right side. However, all the rockers are a wild mix of nonames (remember it was sold as a "new" motor), so I have to replace them all ... 16 pcs, 60 EUR each.
Motor kaputt details ...
14 December 2021
Today I made an 800km round trip to the "new" motor guy. First of all, he makes a really good impression and I'm pretty sure, that Stefan's assessment ("he won't cheat you") is correct. Result:
Pistons and block are ok, just some dents on top of it. The cylindre heads were NOT new, and the sealing was "glued" additionally ... not good. Those heads will be evened out the next days. Also the oil pan sealing had some "glue stuff" on it ... more strange things.
I handed over all ordered parts and with a little bit of luck the motor will be done next week. However due to the damage, little particles were in the oil, so he recommended to change the oil again after we let it run for a while. I reminded him with a smile to "maybe" fasten all screws this time ;-)
Reassembly of the Motor started ...
19 December 2021
Frank started the reassembly of the motor; the cylindre heads are on again. With a little bit of luck, I get the motor back before xmas ... I cross my fingers. At least the cylindre heads are installed properly now, without any "glueing stuff" ;-)
Reassembly of the Motor finished ...
21 December 2021
Frank really did an amazing job and worked throughout the weekend. The motor is put back together again and will be on its way soon. Hats off to this work of his and I'm looking forward to putting it back into the car.
P. S.: It also turned out, that a wrong chain guide was put in the "new motor" ... is replaced now. Just adds to the list of "competencies" of the original motor supplier.
Putting the motor back in scheduled ...
27 December 2021
Although Mercedes is really busy at the moment, I could schedule the re-installation of the motor for 3 January 2022 ... great support again from them! So officially this project goes into 2022, i. e. year 8 now ;-) ... after buying the pick-up in 2015.
I also got a xmas present ... a nice cotton cover matching the W115 size ... had to put it on today. Ute is standing next to a 6.3 W109 ... similar concept ;-)))
Why I seem to be a shit magnet ...
7 January 2022
Well, I am. We started on time to put the motor back in. Took two full days to do it carefully and have all connections done again (linkage, power steering, aircon, shaft, exhaust, etc etc).
Then we took the ignition off and turned the motor to see if there's oil pressure. Nope, not a drop of oil. Fiddled, done, left it.
Frank, the motor guy, agreed to come (380kms) today, tried this and that, no oil on the cylindre heads. Took the front axle out to have access to the oil pump. Pump pumps properly when taken out, but not if it is installed. So somewhere there must be a blockage.
So motor/gearbox out again, transport and the same way back. Frank agreed to take the motor completely apart again; on his cost, if it his fault (and I cannot see a fault on my side).
I'm just exhausted. Where were the right people in 2015 to stop me from doing such a FUCKPROJECT??????
Motor out II ...
12 January 2022
So, Monday I did all preparations, today we took the motor out again. It's ready for tomorrow's transport again ... and again ... and again ... ;-)
Dennis from Mercedes and I will actually put blindfolds on when we put the motor back in ... we need a little bit of a challenge ;-) ... still wonder what the reason for the blockage is ...
Motor problem found and solved ...
14 January 2022
After driving 800kms with the Sprinter (thanks again to Mercedes!), I got the motor to Frank. On my account I asked to take off the flange of the oil filter. After some studies in the WIS we found out the following (and I can hear already the "experts" saying, that of course THEY knew):
With the M117 there were vehicles with and without oil cooler. The ones with the oil cooler had a valve in this flange who would redirect the oil to the oil cooler. This car doesn't have one, but the valve is in it. So far it worked, but now it blocked. We took the valve out (as said in the WIS) and we have an oil flow.
However, there's a positive side in this story again: If the oil pressure, e. g. in summer, would have dropped below 1.5bar, the valve would have tried to redirect the oil to a non-existing oil cooler (here just two blind plugs) and the whole oil circulation could have stopped ... I guess, not a good event ;-)
P. S.: I take my hats off to at least three real experts (incl. Jürgen) who admitted that they did not know of this valve.
Edith: There were also some "rubber-like" parts in the channel ... not good. Maybe some old gasket glue-stuff?
Motor back in III ...
20 January 2022
Yesterday we put back the motor back in ... did it in an hour only (!) ... that's the advantage of those faults all the time; I guess I can do it in my sleep now. Today final touches, all hoses, cables, etc etc ...
Then test start without ignition ... hurray, there's oil ;-))) ... so ignition cable connected ... started in less than a second. So we checked everything ... should be ok. Tonight the aircon machine is attached to see, if the aircon keeps the vacuum over night ... and tomorrow's the first test drive with license plates planned!!!
9 February 2022
So, after our holiday, I did the final (?) works at Mercedes today. There's still a to-do-list, but - hopefully - nothing major. Did a test drive, still have to adjust the gear shifting and a few other nooks and crannies ...
Last big problem (?) ...
18 February 2022
Well, I guess I was pretty honest with this project and also reported mistakes, wrong assumptions and false directions I took. This one is pretty odd:
In 2018 we tested the prototype, especially regarding vibrations of the drive shaft. Very critical in such a project. Car was absolutely fine.
However, after assembly we heard a rumbling noise when accelerating hard from 0. Over 25/30 km/h it was gone. Thought we tackle that later. Well it wasn't the traction of the rear axle, but the drive shaft is oscillating quite heavily there. One middle bearing was ripped apart already. It turns out, that the angle between the front and rear part of the drive shaft is too big.
I developped an idea and got a used drive shaft from a W126 500SE for "redesigning" purposes. Hopefully next week I can give it to the drive shaft specialist here and have it rebuilt ... I'll report then.
Last big problem solved ...
22 February 2022
Well, I could solve the problem. I found another type of middle bearing, that changed the angle of the drive shaft. A test drive was positive ... i. e. for a 220D it accelerates pretty fast ;-)
As one of my daughters visited that night, we had a little test drive ... she took a short video of the happy driver ;-)
Solving details ...
25 February 2022
Finally I can get to all the little to-do's to finish the cars. One "problem" was that the distance of the hand brake wire was very close to the rear axle. So I designed a little protection, 3D-printed from the same material as the fuel and brake line holders (flexifil). Installed it today, so the wire is protected!
Decided on a new (!) gearbox ...
21 December 2022
The gearbox of the donor car was alright, but still had a few problems. Some strange leaks, sometimes (when cold) a bit slipping on low speeds and the downshift on higher speeds had to be forced by kick-down. It "should" have 127,000kms on it, but who knows (see motor).
So after having nearly the whole car "new" and after finding out, the there are actually completely refurbished gearboxes available at Mercedes for that model, I decided after some months of thinking to get one. Advantages: I have a two year warranty and you should get the stuff while it is still available ;-) ... Price was pretty reasonable; a complete refurbishment incl. parts would probably have been more expensive.
So it is in now, but not tested ... hopefully it works!
Update: we finished today and - due to the weather - I only did a short drive: FANTASTIC, shifts like it should ... extensive test will be done, when the weather permits.
And a new water pump for fun ...
7 January 2023
So I got a new one and you have to - nearly - dismantle half the motor to be able to access all screws. It took us a while to change it, but now it works; extensive tests still outstanding. It's about time to call this a "new" car now ;-)