Stop and tail light (82)

The covers were in perfect condition and only needed a clean-up with soap and water. For the other parts of the tail light, see below!

A pair of complete, unrestored stop and tail lights for a Mercedes-Benz Ponton type 219 W105 1957

A pair of complete, unrestored stop and tail lights belonging to my Ponton

Base plate, or reflector

The items where in a decent condition but I wanted to clean up the contacts and redo the reflectors.

I decided not to make a full clean up of the contacts since their condition didn’t defend the work involved. You can for sure can drill out the rivets that are pressed into the zink “chassis”, clean the parts and then re-install them with new rivets. But then you need better equipment than I have in order to be sure you get a good end-result.

I was not able to find someone in Sweden who would redo a reflector surface, especially not on zink, and on top of that with contacts and Bakelite parts etc still assembled on it. Since we’re not talking about head lights or likewise the reflectors doesn’t have to be 100% in my opinion. In such a case there are other solutions, like e.g. using tin foil as reflector material or use a “chrome paint”. I’ve been googling a lot around experiences of “chrome paint” and was not impressed. There was however one solution from the plastic modelling sector that I could see good results from, done by “normal” users. It was a lot of work involved but the result looked promising. The products come from a company named Alclad II.

This solution requires you to buy a good Airbrush kit and since I’ve looked for a good reason to renew my old one (almost never used, but…) this was one of the reasons I gave this a try ????. The company recommended the following products for painting on metal:

  • ALC-305 Gloss black base
  • ALC-107 Chrome
  • ALC-310 Klear kote gloss

I followed the instructions, as well as a looong forum thread I found, meticulously. It didn’t help, the result is better than many others I’ve seen but it is far from chrome. Since I’ve seen a couple of very good end-results, and after reading the forum thread, I don’t think that it only has to do with that paint is not chrome and will never be; you need to experiment and “learn the trade” in order to succeed. Spending only two-three evenings isn’t enough. Anyway, I think my reflectors are good enough, though not worth the money or time invested, and I won’t redo them. The picture below doesn’t give the finish justice (as you’ve probably seen before I’m not a good photographer either), it shows it more matte than it is.

  • The unrestored front of a Mercedes 219 base plate
  • The unrestored rear of a Mercedes W105 base plate
  • Base plate sandblasted before chrome paint
  • Base plate with primer/base color
  • Mercedes Ponton tail light base plate with Alclad chrome paint but before final clear coat
  • MB219 tail light base plate reflector plate
  • Assembled Ponton tail light base plate with polished contacts and plated screws
  • Assembled Ponton tail light base plate with polished contacts and plated screws

Before the painting I removed the aluminum (?) plate between the flash direction and reversing light by drilling out the rivets that hold it. The rivets that hold the plastic (!) base for the tail light I could however not remove – and re-install – without problems so I just masked it. Before this I carefully sandblasted the old reflector material.

Housing

The housing itself just needed some cleanup and a drill-out of a screw. The screws themselves posed a problem. Normally if you buy them, e.g. from MB or other well-known sources, you will get a normal M4x16 DIN-screw, DIN7988 with a Phillips head or DIN964 with a slotted head depending on what the seller belief is the correct one. That may be correct in some cases but definitely not in all cases. My car e.g., never had those, something that my father was 100% sure of since he never replaced them. It has a special screw with a wide, slotted head that fills up the screw hole in the cover and a round tip in order not to damage the rubber. Also, the slot is somewhat wider than a normal slot and the screw is made of brass (or similar) with a chromed surface.

A suggested reason for the wider slot in the head was that you should be able to remove the rear light cover while “on the road” and replace bulbs without having a screwdriver at hand, but only a coin. The problem is however that this 2mm wide slot won’t fit a normal, suitable screw driver. So, since you have hard, brittle chrome on top of the soft brass you will have to be very careful not to damage the screw if you use a small screw driver. For a 2mm wide slot you’ll have to use a screw driver for +M10 screws and the blade of those screw drivers are a bit big for being used here….

  • Ponton tail light housing
  • Mercedes W105 tail light housing
  • Mercedes 219 tail light housing
  • Electrical insulation for Mercedes Ponton tail light housing

During my search for replacements for my screws three “Ponton professors” has verified the existence of this type of screw as well a company, with which I discussed to have reproductions made. During their research they managed to find a couple of NOS covers with those screws. The company had never heard of these screws before. Unfortunately, they decided not to reproduce them due to an expected too low demand – based on market wide lack of knowledge – of this screw.

This search also revealed that there actually are several versions of none-DIN screw for the tail light cover. They differ in length as well as “design” of the shaft as well as at the tip. Some of the screw types I have found can be seen in the pictures below. The different versions were found on NOS parts, incl in original boxes, as well as one example delivered by MB during the 80ies. What types of screws go to which model during which model years are however not clear to me. One source believes that my screw could also be found on the 190SL. My screw has according to ETL Dec 1959, version C, spare parts number 000 990 17 31 and the drawing in the spare parts list looks like mine. I believe the early 220S has the same spare parts number. The later 220S have however another number, 10 180 826 00 71, but the same tail light. One other source says that the four longer screws in the picture below only goes to the early tail light found on the first series of 180/180D. They have spare parts number 10 120 826 01 71 and the drawing in its spare parts lists looks like these. Let me know if you know more!

I am however still searching for two screws looking like my original. Let me know if you any for sale, NOS or in a condition that allow re-chroming!

  • My original Mercedes Ponton tail light screws
  • Drawing of my original Mercedes Ponton tail light screws
  • Tail light screw in Ponton 219 W105 spare parts list
  • Tail light screw on original MB190 -58 with 34kkm on odometer
  • Tail light screw on original MB220S -57 with 7kkm on odometer
  • Original screws on early type of Ponton tail light, first series of 180/180D if I remember correctly
  • Early type of Ponton tail light screw according to spare parts list
  • Mercedes Ponton tail light screws bought from Mercedes during the 80ies
  • Re-chromed original Mercedes Ponton tail light screws. The two on the left are mine, the other four from early type of light

Final restoration and assembly not yet done so stay tuned!!