Blinker (82)

The chromed ”spears” on my car were in perfect condition so they only needed a careful polish. But the cup, and accompanying parts, that hold the lamps were in worse shape. 

 Ponton-Mercedes Typ 220a, 1954-1956, © Daimler AG

Ponton-Mercedes Typ 220a, 1954-1956, © Daimler AG

The cups that holds the lamp holder are also not difficult; just drill-out the rivets, clean up, polish and plate it. The reflectors are easy as well. Remove them from the lamp holder and polish them carefully before having them chromed. Remember that any scratch/imperfection left after the polish will be visible also after the chrome procedure. Then is of course the question; how perfect does the blinker reflector have to be? In my opinion not 100%, the blinking will be seen anyway.

The actual lamp holder, however, involves some challenges if you want to make a complete restoration, the contacts need to be removed in order to:

  • get free access for cleaning and polishing of the surface
  • secure that the following plating process doesn’t destroy the plastic and/or bakelite items that insulates the contacts from the base plate
  • avoid having the brass contacts being plated
  • Complete cup for blinker before restoration
  • Lamp holders for Ponton blinker before restoration
  • Lamp holders for blinker on Mercedes 219 from above before restoration
  • Lamp holders for blinker on Mercedes Ponton from beneath before restoration

Since this type of riveted contact exists in several items in the car (in several different measurements though), I really wanted to find a viable solution on how to remake them. If you have your own lathe you can probably make them yourself. Then it’s just a matter of finding the correct type of brass (there are several varieties with their pro’s and con’s). I suppose you need to be rather experienced and you will probably need to do a lot of experimenting to get the riveting to work out well.

Since I don’t have space for a lathe that alternative fell. Instead I tried to find them on the open market. Since this type of contact is not uncommon, it shouldn’t be a problem, right?! I don’t know how many companies I contacted, globally. Several dozen at least. I asked companies that make this type of contact as well as retailer/wholesaler. Either they didn’t respond at all, weren’t close to my specifications, said no due to the small quantities I was asking for or were faaaar to expensive for my restoration (including buying some extra in order to be able to sell to other restorers). From a motorcycle restorer in the US and a boat supply company in Stockholm I managed to buy some that looked similar. Upon closer inspection they however turned out to be unusable for this application. I now know more about rivets, their application and installation than I would like to. If you have a solution for these riveted contacts, let me know!

Most certainly you will damage the plastic items if you remove the contacts. I never came to look for a solution on how to remake these. My focus started with how I should remake the contacts. Since I didn’t find a solution for that I didn’t need to find a solution for the plastic items. If you have a solution for these plastic items, let me know!

Since the plating company couldn’t assure that the plastic details would withstand the plating process, I bought another set of cups/lamp holders. The lamp holders I got had bakelite instead of plastic to insulate the contacts from the base plate and that didn’t like the plating. Previously I’ve plated parts with bakelite on them without any problems, so it differs from time to time due to, to me as well as to the plating company, unknown reasons.

  • Mercedes plated lamp holder from above. Note that the front contact is plated, not the others!
  • Mercedes plated lamp holder from beneath. Note that the front contact is plated, not the others!
  • Plated, complete cup and lampholder for Ponton, including chromed reflector. Note that some brass parts are plated, some not!
  • A drawing of one of the riveted contacts in a Ponton  blinker spear
  • A sketch of two types of rivets used on contacts on a Mercedes Ponton, tubular and compression rivets

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

Head- and foglight (82)

Head light

 Partly restored Bosch headlights for a Mercedes-Benz Ponton model 219 -57

Partly restored Bosch headlights

The head lights were, as many other parts on my car since my father cared for it, in good shape. I still decided to re-chrome all chrome parts and repaint and/or re-plate the other parts. Retaining springs, sealing rings for the glass as well as parts necessary for the light adjustments were bought new. The reflector I diagnose as being enough bright as they are, not needing restoration.

  • Complete, unrestored Mercedes Bosch headlight unit
  • Bosch headlight sealing ring
  • Bosch headlight sealing ring
  • Reflector of Bosch headlight
  • Bosch ornamental ring for Mercedes Ponton before re-chroming
  • Bosch ornamental ring for Mercedes Ponton before re-chroming, rear

The supporting ring, the black and silver painted ring that the headlight is sitting in, was a candidate for repaint. I didn’t want to destroy the original markings on top of it, and don’t have the means to re-create them yet, so I covered them up instead. After that it was just a matter of sandblasting the ring and then paint it in silver and semi-gloss black. The adjustment ring, as I call it, had to be sandblasted, plated and repainted. The adjustment screws, with their locking mechanism were removed in order to be replaced.

  • Unrestored Mercedes Bosch headlight supporting and adjustment ring and glass
  • Unrestored Mercedes Bosch headlight adjustment ring and glass
  • Unrestored Bosch supporting ring and glass
  • Bosch Ponton head light supporting ring
  • Bosch Ponton head light adjustment ring, front
  • Bosch Ponton head light adjustment ring, rear
  • Detail of Ponton addjustment screw on Bosch headlight

Below you can see the sandblasted, and then plated, adjustment rings as well as a box with ornamental rings and light pots, cleaned by the chrome shop and awaiting polish. I did what I could here but I let the chrome shop do the final polishing.

  • Bosch headlight adjustment ring sandblasted
  • Bosch adjustment ring plated
  • Head and fog light of to chroming

In the next gallery you can first see some of the new items for the light adjustment as well as the painted supporting ring. I also deliver some pictures of rechromed ornamental ring for the Bosch headlights as well as the fastening screws.

  • New adjustment screw for Mercedes Bosch headlight
  • Painted Bosch supporting rings
  • Bosch Ponton headlight ornamental ring chromed
  • Bosch Mercedes headlight ornamental ring chromed
  • Bosch headlight MB219 ornamental ring chromed
  • Screws for Bosch  Mercedes ornamental ring chromed

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

Foglight

I went for the same procedure with the fog lights as with the head lights. The car was actually equipped with Marshall fog lights from the beginning. Or rather, my father bought them on the aftermarket after the car was delivered to him. They look something like the ones in the gallery below. To me they didn’t look that good on the car, too large diameter. Hence, I decided to go for the “standard”, smaller Hella/Bosch fog light. I got this pair as part of a repayment of a debt.

  • Marchal fog lights
  • Rear of Hella reflector
  • Front of Hella reflector
  • Hella fog light sealing ring around and under glass

They were in a decent shape as well but as usual I took them apart and had everything re-chromed, re-plated and fixed up. As you can see below they were converted to H4 lamp socket which I will keep.

  • Disassembled Ponton Hella fog light socket
  • Front side of Hella Mercedes Ponton cover ring snapp fitting before re-chroming and re-plating
  • Rear side of Hella Mercedes Ponton cover ring snapp fitting before re-chroming and re-plating
  • Lampholder, H4, not original for Ponton Hella fog ligth

Before re-chroming I drilled out all riveted parts. The base of the fog light is not chromed. Since I don’t have good enough cleaning equipment, I decided to polish the base and then have it “white cadmium”, hoping that it’s luster will go down rather quickly. Grinding them would not be an option since that would be visible after the plating.

  • Base rivets of Hella MB219 fog light being drilled out
  • Plated, restored parts of a Mercedes Ponton Hella fog light

Step-by-step they will reach their restored, final look. Below the re-chromed pot and ornamental rings.

  • Ponton Hella fog light pots chromed
  • Benz Ponton Hella fog light cover ring chromed
  • Benz Ponton Hella fog light cover ring chromed

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

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!!

License plate light (82)

Rear view of the Mercedes-Benz 219 from the 80ies, license plate lights clearly visible

Rear view of the MB 219 from the early 80ies, license plate lights clearly visible. KAK reflexes on the lid in order not to have to drill holes for extra reflexes in the bumpers in order to fulfill the "reflex law" in Sweden at that time.

Also in this case were the lights in good condition. The old glass pieces were however broken. When I disassembled the license plate lights, I thought that the screws were supposed to hold the glass together with nuts. That is obviously not the case, the screws’ threads hold the plastic glass itself! Three new pieces of glass were bought, two NOS and one used but in very good condition. I also had to buy a couple of NOS glass screws. You can of course buy new screws but their heads won’t fill up the hole in the light housing as the should. All six were re-chromed.

  • Complete set of Mercedes Ponton unrestored license plate lights
  • Ponton license plate light disassembled
  • Lampholder for Ponton license plate

I bought new gaskets a couple of times, never getting gaskets that would fit or were very hard NOS. I decided to go for soft EPDM rubber thread, 2mm thick, and glue my own. Worked perfectly.

Also the sealing between the rear plate and the housing was difficult to get. There are a number of versions of the license plate light and obviously it’s hard for the parts supplier to get it right… As you can see in the third picture below, the drawing, the sealing is supposed to have the rear plate seal both towards the trunk lid and the light housing.

  • Wrong or too old Ponton license plate light glass
  • Creating my own license plate light gasket out of 2mm EDPM foam rubber
  • The "complicated" sealing between Mercedes Ponton license plate light lamp holder and its housing

The rear plate and its glass towards the trunk area posed problems for me. The glass didn’t look good and it’s not easily replaceable. Unfortunately, I had it laying in white spirit for some time in order to see if the dirt would dissolve. It didn’t and instead the plastic glass got slightly soft. I tried to polish the glass with “Polywatch”, a product for restoring plastic glass to its former brightness but did only partly succeed. It’s ok but the rear plate is a candidate for future improvements efforts.

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

Electric system (82)

BOSCH Service-Liste für Mercedes-Benz Personenkraftwagen 219, Baujahr 1956 - 1959, © Robert Bosch GmbH

Click the picture to download in PDF-format, "BOSCH Service-Liste für Mercedes-Benz Personenkraftwagen 219, Baujahr 1956 - 1959, © Robert Bosch GmbH (file is 1MB)

These pages will show you the work on the Ponton's electrical systems for windscreen wiper and lights. As usual I won't cover the whole process and all the parts here, mainly those that shows what I did on a general level as well where I had problems or where I think my ideas and pictures can be of any help to others.

My parents' last car, a Mercedes-Benz 200K

My parents' last car, a Mercedes-Benz W204, model 200K. Recognizing the background? Eskilstunaån of course!

The restoration of the different parts of the electrical system can be found in the sub menus under Electric system. Enjoy everything!

Other articles around electricity can be found under Electrical equipment and Electrical equipment, engine.