Putting it all together
Mercedes-Benz Type 219, Spare parts list, Edition C, invaluable when you assemble the car. To much to keep track of yourselves :)!
With everything welded it was time to see to that everything fits as it should. This first photograph is my welders from when he tripled checked his work. Thereafter everything was taken off and stored, awaiting a garage where I could continue this work more in detail. As you for example can see, I have to drill new holes for the ornamental bars in the bottom of the doors. They "disappeared" when new metal sheet replaced the rust in the bottom of the doors.
Part II - The first wash in ages
In July 2002 it was driven 250km north, from Rimforsa to its new, temporary home, in Spånga (Stockholm). A couple of days later I re-loaded it on the trailer and drove to Rostskyddsmetoder. Rostskyddsmetoder is - as the name says - specializing in rust protection. As a compliment to Micke, the welder, they were purely amazed by the chassis. They couldn't find any of the repairs done by him and they knew where to search and have seen a couple of cars from the underside. The manager is also interested in Pontons and owns one himself.
After drilling some new holes on strategic places in the frame, Rostskyddsmetoder blew all the frame clean from dirt, rust and Tectyl with 130C water/steam. The interesting thing is that nothing came out from the holes - at first. After a few seconds the hot water running out from the holes was completely clean. However, they continued just to be sure. Thanks a lot for that! Because after pumping steam for 10-15 minutes into the same hole there suddenly came a small drop of something brown and gooey. And then another drop, and then a bigger drop, and then... After three hours the chassis was clean and I drove it back to the garage for drying up before the next step. I did however found more of it in the side members under the trunk when I later drilled new drainage holes. We'll see if I'll let them blow that out too. I and Rostskyddsmetoder decided that they weren't going to rust protect the car at this stage. The risk that their oily anti-rust fluids would fly around and stick to areas which are going to be painted was to big. And getting that off the before paint was nothing that I wanted to do. Since the car is in an (almost) dry garage I don't think that rust will start to make big holes in the metal before new rust protection is applied when car is done.
Part III - spraying the invisible areas
In order to save some money I decided to spray all the invisible areas like underside, engine bay, trunk, under fender etc myself. In my mind I thought it wouldn't take such a long time.
During the search for a garage I asked around how this should be done. I soon realized that I had as many answers as I had asked people/companies. There was obviously many thoughts floating around. So I decided to follow Mickes suggestions. At his place Hagmans and Teroson are the only valid choices. Regarding top coat I turned to a car painter I've been terrorizing with my newer cars - Tillbergs Billackering in Upplands Väsby. They use Spies Heckers assortment.
If we go back to the beginning you may remember that everything has been grinded, blasted and if necessary welded. After removing residues, grease and dirt everything has been painted by hand to really get the primer into every scratch and corner. I've used Hagmans 2K etching CA-primer (in the beginning their green primer). My experience of the product has been very good. Since it's etching it has been very hard to remove when necessary, for example when some surfaces have had to be re-done. The latter due to the time this restoration has taken. It has had its drawbacks, but also its advantage; with this bright yellow primer it has been very clear where I haven't been careful enough cleaning the surface from rust - new brown spots. Now there can't be any rust left! Sorry, just joking - you can't stop it...
First I built a little house of plastic sheets in the garage I rented, to stop paint dust to spread in the garage and to my landlord above. Then the chassis was turned on its side again. The steps thereafter where almost the same for everything:
- clean it from eventual dirt
- sand the old layer of primer
- new layer of primer (Hagmans CA Gul)
- all seams sealed with Loctite/Teroson 9320. I tried to follow how it was done originally, that is some seams was sprayed with Teroson's "Telescope Pistol Multi-Press air assisted spray pistol". From the length of the name you can imagine what it cost. You can see it on the second picture below. Other seams where smeared out with a brush. The color to use here is of course black. That was however hard to find so for some seams which was to be sprayed I used the grey alternative. If you go to Restoration-How to dismantle a car you can see that originally the sealant had been put on top of the paint. I chose not to do that.
- a couple of layers of top coat
Shiny, freshly painted Ponton parts; doors, fenders, trunk lid and hood
The car will be painted with Mercedes-Benz color code DB040, that is black. This is a special mixture which is rather expensive. In order to save some money I used a base color instead, a pure 2K black paint from Spies Hecker (series 257, AG202, 2 parts mixed with one part hardener 3333 and 5-10% thinner). In the trunk (and its hinges etc) I sprayed with DB7164 Tiefdunkelgrau, seidenmatt (Spies Hecker series 257, recipe 73310, mixed as the black paint). For the interior (as well as on the inside of the rims) I've been trying some alternatives. Some persons use DB124 which I think is too light. I had samples from my car which I could compare with. Tillbergs Billackering found a paint for Opel/Vauxhall (A-0158 L109 89383 brown) which perfectly matches the samples from my car, also the luster is correct.
On the pictures below the interior seems to be much too bright but is due to the camera flash, it's darker in reality. The trunk and the engine compartment do also look better in real life than on these pictures. The DB7164 isn't as grey as it looks in this light either. But one problem I have with my DB7164 is that it actually got a little bit too glossy when applied in this way. On the rear axle, for example, it has the perfect luster (sandblasted, primed and a thin layer of top coat). But here in the trunk (as well as on the lid) it's too glossy. I suppose it has to do with the preparations I've done, it's probably too good (!) compared to the original application. Now the surface has been sanded, primed, sanded, painted, sanded, painted and so on and so on until I got the almost perfect surface, too perfect obviously. Note the black glove compartment (see How to dismantle a Ponton).
After painting the underside and engine bay as well as the trunk I went for the interior. I probably spent a day masking all holes and passage from the interior to the other, newly painted areas. Not enough. The yellow primer was everywhere so I had to sand and repaint both the engine bay and trunk. There I lost ~3 days of my vacation. So be very careful if you do this type of job. For example, don't forget to mask the small defroster nozzle under the windscreen that goes out into the engine bay :-)...
Part IV - Putting it all together again
In December 2002 I invited friends and relatives to Hjulafton (a play with words, hjul=wheel, afton=eve, jul=christmas, julafton=Christmas Eve). It was supposed to be like a topping-out party, the turning point in the project when the chassis got its wheels back. The front axle was of course no problem and everyone was happy, drinking beer, coffee and stuff. The rear axle was a pain in the ... It took us the whole evening/night to get the rear axle support through the whole in the chassis and secure the nut that holds it in place. The rear springs I took later that week by myself.
When the chassis was done I went for the doors, fenders etc, see article Restoration - Sheet metal. And when that was done I wanted to see that everything still fitted, but this time in more detail. I also tested some of the chrome, the aluminium ornamental bars. This exercise was also used by me to see how it should be done, which screws to use where, how to fit sealings and so on. This took me some months (calender time of course, not working hours - but almost) actually, but it was worth every minute. I think I put everything together and then dismantled it again 4-5 times, taking some paint and threads with me each time. It was much better to do it at this stage, before the final paint...
One thing that I was told was that all MBs had a perfect match between doors, fenders, trunk etc It should be a 4.2 mm gap around everything. My memory of the car was that the fit was perfect on my 219 (if not better than 4.2 mm!). However, after the excersice described above my opinion is that this may hold true for the newer MBs like Pagoda and onwards, but on a Ponton I doubt it. After the first couples of weeks in the garage, trying to reach this perfection I gave up. Almost nothing matched. Instead I went to see some other Pontons together with a measuring tape, sliding caliper and feeler gauges. These cars are supposed to be untouched and I think that's correct. The gaps between the doors etc differed not one, but several millimeters and that on for example the same door compared to the same fender. The interesting thing is that the cars had the same "problems" as mine. It would be interesting to see if all Pontons have the same errors... I cannot recall everything as I write this but here are some examples:
- trunk is bulged in the lower corners compared to the center piece below it
- the "shelf" outside/below the rear window is not equally bent on left and right side - problems getting the fenders looking good
- the shape of one of the rear doors (I don't remember which side) has a very bad fit compared to its rear fender
- the left dog leg (rear fender under door) is too far out (picture one). In my case, the dog leg had been welded which probably added a millimeter or two to the bad fit
- fit between front fenders and hood
Well, after all this work, testing different shims (see picture with open door and A-pillar visible) to get correct gaps and fit for doors, trunk and hood compared to the fenders I finally said, "this is OK, I don't care any more". I still didn't need a sliding caliper to measure the different gaps, absolutely not feeler gauges, a measuring tape was more appropriate. But taking a step or two backwards it actually looked damn good. I assume I reached a level that these cars had from the beginning.
Below you also see two pictures in which you'll find some very good tools if you want to do this yourself. And don't save money on these tools, especially not the screw drivers for the doors. It's very easy to damage screws and threads. Original screws are hard to find (the old screws heads have a larger diameter than new ones) and I can assure you that you don't want to damage the threaded plates inside the A- and B-pillars.
- 10 mm combination wrench of course
- 10 mm ratchet ring wrench
- a small ratchet wrench with suitable sockets and stuff
- feeler gauges (naja, rather not forget sliding caliper and measuring tape)
- angle screwdriver Ph4
- screwdriver Ph4
- a "thing" that's used to compare shapes
- an electrical screw driver with suitable bits and sockets, adjustable torque is also preferable
- a ruler
- a rivet plier
The rivet plier is not for pop rivets but for threaded rivets, very usable for example if you need to make new "nuts" in the scoop as well as in the reinforcement frame for the radiator and elsewhere.
Be very careful when you set the doors up. The threaded plates in the A- and B-pillar is not always secured enough. In my case the welder had obviously bent the "holders" a little bit too much. And when I mounted the doors for the x time one of them broke - pling. Can you feel the chilly feeling going from your throat down into the stomach? I still remember the sound when the plate hit the bottom of the pillar. Well three large holes in the A-pillar and a magnetic pen and a couple of hours later that was fixed. The holes will of course be extra rust protected and welded. My threads in these plates were fortunately in good shape, actually new since my welder had repaired them when he fixed both the A-pillars.
Part V - And away for paint we go!
In march 2003 the chassis was taken to the painter. I had hoped that the snow was going to be away but after a perfect summer we had of course to get the perfect winter... Anyway, the roads were dry and it was transported 250km south without problems. On the pictures you can see my father and a former colleague from my work, Peter Lundqvist. He lived 1 km away from the garage. Even though I'm a nice guy he soon got to know that it had some disadvantages to live so close to my garage... The photographer is Günter Lenhardt, also a previous colleague of mine. Thanks a lot for your help guys!
Unfortunately, the paint job was quite delayed. The plan was to have the chassis back in my garage before the summer and start the funny work - assembly - during my vacations. Still after six months nothing had happened. On one hand it really slowed the total project progress down. On the other hand I had a lot of stuff in all the boxes in the garage that needed to be taken care of. But, in August 2003 (incl my birthday) I went to the painter and started with the sanding. Call it the pre-sanding, this was muuuuch harder and dirtier than I thought. And now I do understand why the car painters have problems finding and keeping their workforce. I now do understand why not everyone likes to paint old cars. I now do understand that there cannot be any money in preparing and painting old cars. While I stood there, sanding old - hence immensely hard - original paint for hours, there was a continuous, perfect flow of newer cars and parts. I now do understand why having a car painted is expensive, and even more expensive if you want the 110% perfect finish. To summarize; it was well spent 5 days - it was very informative.
I concentrated on doing the "invisible" areas around the doors and in the engine bay. Engine bay? Again? Yes, I know but I thought it could be a good idea to have that part perfect as well. My garage paint was OK but could of course be much better. And that is what the painter did! On fenders, doors, trunk lid etc I only sanded through the top most layer, the hardest part. I leave to the professionals to level the surfaces etc. We didn't go down to bare metal if not necessary. If the original paint sticks to the metal (which mine does) it's the best foundation you can get.
Another Håkan, made some adjustments, for example to the protruding, left dog leg (see above why this was done) as well as lowering one of the brackets that hold the left entrance sill. And finally you can see me and my father bring the shiny, old, black lady back to its garage in 2014. After 45 years the Ponton had a new layer of shiny black DB040 paint.