Some discovery work

I spent a few hours after work today taking a deeper look at the car to determine its general condition.  I started by pulling the spark plugs and having a look… all were consistently carbon’ed up.  I then pulled the valve cover to have a look at the valvetrain.  I was quite impressed!

Everything looked quite nice, still covered with a thin film of oil.  There was still some oil pooled up in the tops of the head bolts making me wonder just how long ago this engine was last run.  I’d have expected sitting for over two decades would have dried things up a bit more.  The cam and rockers all looked good with little or no wear.  When I first saw the car, I thought I saw some fine metal shaving covering the cam.  Now that I’ve had a good look, I can see there are a few shiny shavings on the cam I can’t really explain, but its so little I’m not alarmed at this point.  Although its probably overkill, I poured a bit of a mixture of brake fluid and acetone into each cylinder to help free up any rings that might be sticking.

Next, I moved onto cleaning up the interior a bit.  There were several vintage plastic bags and random bits all over the interior.  The carpet cleaned up very nicely with just a vacuuming for now.  There were lots of small shells and other organic bits that were most likely leftover by mice that once lived in the car.  Surprisingly, there was no damage to the carpet.

Since I knew there had been mice in the car, I decided to pull apart the dashboard to inspect the wiring.  I removed the instrument cluster, radio, speaker, ash tray, and glove box.  As I suspected, there was a collection of paper and plastic bits just behind the instrument cluster.  A careful inspection of the wiring turned up a few chewed up wires running to the headlight switch.  It shouldn’t be a major issue to correct, but needs to be done before a battery is connected to the car again.  In addition, the speaker wires were broken and mostly missing.  It seems these wires are made of something far more delicious than the other wiring in the car!

I’ll have to go over the car again once more very carefully before connecting the battery.  The only other damage the mice caused were chewing through the line running to the oil pressure gauge, the top of one cooling hose.  The oil pressure line is quite a cheap part new from Mercedes, and all the hoses need to be replaced anyway.

The next step will be to get some oil in the cylinders and see if the engine will turn by hand.