Category Archives: Cars

My current build project is a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SE, but I also publish a few other automotive related posts from time to time.

Out of touch, out of time
Date Created: January 21, 2014  Date Modified: January 21, 2014

Slowly progressing with the rebuild, these pics were from a couple of days ago when I removed the RH rocker cover–and found a broken timing chain guide!


I’ll actually have the engine out by next week I think, then start on the head work.

This rant was posted in Cars, Mercedes-Benz on by .

Re-build Time!
Date Created: January 14, 2014  Date Modified: January 14, 2014

After performing compression tests to trouble-shoot an oily plug on 7, I came to the “complete rebuild” point. Im going to pull the top end off before removing the block, and this morning was the removal of the K-jet…

Its currently a mess under there

Its currently a mess under there

The K-Jet removed and ready to be stored till needed again in the rebuild

The K-Jet removed and ready to be stored till needed again in the rebuild

The left rocker cover was removed yseturday in the trouble-shooting process--it revealed a worn cam-shaft as well as the already known oil leak.

The left rocker cover was removed yseturday in the trouble-shooting process–it revealed a worn cam-shaft as well as the already known oil leak.

During the rebuild I aim to put a M117 in there, as I have located one within my price range, and that will still give me a usable car during the long rebuild process.

This rant was posted in Cars, Mercedes-Benz on by .

Open Source OBD Information
Date Created: May 12, 2013  Date Modified: May 13, 2013

Its not hard to tell that I’m a bit of a car buff, add to that my love of tech and you get this headache related to the on board diagnosis port (“ODB” or “ODB-II”, the second generation of diagnosis ports). Mechanics can invest in the expensive tools required to “communicate” with the ECU as an operational expense, however the general automotive enthusiast can’t really justify that cost–especially if you own vehicles from different car manufacturers.

There are cheap consumer level tools to perform some of the OBD functions, tho they have their limitations, such as working only with certain marques, or having no upgrade-ability–An open source solution would be better. In an ideal world there would be a huge open source community deving tools we can all use to aid us in automotive maintenance, but there are only a handful of dedicated individuals working on these projects.

This post is to put together some of the existing online resources related to OBD, it’s by no means an authoritative source on how to use, make or develop these tools.


From their website: “Freediag is a suite of vehicle diagnostic protocols and an OBD II (mostly) compliant ScanTool, currently for Linux platforms. Multiple graphical user interfaces for scantool are under development – but right now, you have to use a command-line interface to scantool.”. Currently not available on windows.

openOBD: OBD-II Scan Tool

OpenOBD is no longer in active development, but it does have a windows installer for those users not on a linux platform. According to the projects wiki it only supports the ELM327 device.


OBDToolbox is in early development so its features are a bit limited. Windows installer available.

This is by no means an entire directory of OBD resources, just some software I am currently playing with, hopefully I can put together some more detailed information soon.

This rant was posted in Cars, Free Software, Hacks, Mod, Open Source, Software, Tools on by .

Air Filter Upgrade
Date Created: March 25, 2013  Date Modified: March 25, 2013

I sourced an after-market airfilter for the Benz, I needed to put a small indentation into the baseplate to get it to sit flush but it gives a much nicer growl..

I also noticed the number stamped in the k-jet is 351–maybe thats good luck coming from a blue oval background.

This rant was posted in Cars, EOS, Mercedes-Benz, Mod, Personal, Photography on by .

Two-Tone Part 2
Date Created: November 24, 2012  Date Modified: November 24, 2012

Just an update on the painting process, since I ignored the project during the exam period. The roof is getting some good coverage, but its still not going to be finished this week

My picasa account was over full so to make room for these I had to delete some pics of the UCMPOS gig, but they are archived for future reference

This rant was posted in Cars, EOS, Mercedes-Benz, Photography on by .

These are a couple of in progress pics of my two-tone attempt. Im not going to explain the whats and whys of this, just that I currently dont have the time or money to do a bare-meatal respray. I aim to do that in July…

Still need a second coat

Passanger side still masked

I will leave the 380 badge off once its all finished–their glued btw, only the tri-star has pins

Rollin in a… Bath-tub?
Date Created: October 16, 2012  Date Modified: October 16, 2012

The owner of this vehicle lives in the next street, so I see this quite often–The motorized bathtub!. The first time I saw it he ran a stop sign and nearly hit me, I posted about this to FB but I knew the pics or didn’t happen was to follow, so now every time I see this transport I always photo it.

Noticing from the wheels and red spray job–hes put some work into it over time–or is this another motorized bathtub all together? in Freo it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.
This rant was posted in Art, Cars, Phone Pix, Photography, Tech on by .

Fully Sic Subbie Mayte!
Date Created: September 6, 2012  Date Modified: October 4, 2012

My neighbor kindly gave me his Fully Sic Sub-Woffer and amp, from his old r31 which went to Skyline heaven (or more likely hell) a year or so ago. It was covered in spiders; Now I am covered in spiders. Which is making it awkward to type, or do anything…

The amp on its back board as I obtained; I have removed this amp to mount under the drivers seat

close up of the amp

and the Sub and amp (thie amp is the same Alpine as the above)

More pics relating to the audio modding will be added as they happen. I need to clean these up before I can install them and that’s not going to happen now until the weekend. I have asked an old friend around to give me a hand and feeding cables is best done with 4 hands (three and a hook can work too but that is just educing flashbacks of my childhood…)

This rant was posted in Cars, Mercedes-Benz, Mp3, Music, Nissan, Tech on by .

Ein en mein Mercedes… Idle problem solved
Date Created: August 30, 2012  Date Modified: August 30, 2012

I would really love to link to the forum post that ever so helped me solve this issue; The unfortunate thing is the site owner has yet to process my registration so Im not giving him any SEO love just yet. Anyway the thread basically outlined some of the engineering features (software developer voice “features”) in the fuel system, and gave some of the usual suspects to check. It also gave some 380SE K-Jet specific to Australia (only we and Sweden share the same spec, tho right hand drive). Much more helpful than a repear manual I purchased which was for “All US and Canadian Models”. So after some time troubleshooting the vacuum lines, changing the plugs (history of intermittent fire on 7 we found!) and timing-by-ear and not she is running great.

Have ordered the break pads and managed to save $60 by going thru a regular distributor, which is a shame because I was hoping to get it to a certain stare of repair by the end of this week. Tomorrow I aim to take it up to El-Slugo Del Torro’s Street Machine Workshop so he can look over the work so far, and complain that it is not fast enough to be parked within 500m of the joint.

I know I will mention this unlinked to thread sometime in the future–its sole topic is about a guy in the eastern states rebuilding the exact same car as I am; and I will be using it as a benchmark, the poster is an experienced Mercedes enthusiast and this is my first MB after a lifetime of basically Ford, Nissan and some other “quirky” marques (Sweden, again I am looking at you!). An old Pug 505 we had was an eye-opener when I pulled the head off–it was the first time I saw a wet sleeve block; this MB–its not the first time I have seen a K-Jet, but its IS the most beautiful–and everything about the engineering seems to have that same art to it.

This is not a classical art; this its Bauhaus theory at its most practical application. Function over form–its pretty because its useful; its pretty because it works. I hold my Beck’s in salute to the skilled craftspeople who designed and built my car, and I will try and continue that tradition by restoring it with the same eye for detail that conceived it almost 30 years ago.

Since google will no doubt direct unsuspecting users here that just want their dam Mercedes fixed, I will provide this short checklist for you if you are having idle issues with your 1980’s Mercedes V8 (may apply to other cars using a Bosch K-jet):

  • Check/Replace Air filter. The O2 sensor on these systems determines mixture, lets not have that screwing with us while we fix…
  • Vacuum lines. check for cracks/leaks. replacement is inexpensive so do this early on as it might save you some $
  • Inspect spark plugs, replace if in bad condition. I failed to do this first thing as spark wasnt my major concern when I bought the car home, but I should have checked ALL the spark plugs earlier as one was that congested with oil and shit that it was clear this car had an intermittent firing issue on that cylender in the past. Good to know for future trouble shooting.
  • Cables. you do need a specialised tool to test if a cable is working–the current running thru will destroy any multi-meter, but you can sitll inspect the connections for corrosion and the leads themselves for cracks around the insulation–cracked == throw it back. the current can jump small cracks in insulation which can be a lot worse than a car not running properly. (read: fire hazzard)
  • timing… On the 380SE you will need an 8mm hex (allen key for those of the old school) to loosen the distributor bolt to do the timing AND be warned that the fan is so close to where you are working that if you are doing this adjustment that you take care not to touch the moving fan blades. If you know about doing timing by ear: then why are you reading this i can offer you no more than you know, if you know how to use a timing light/gun then again, I can offer you not too much advice. If you do have a timing gun/light and dont know how to use it, then read the instructions. If you think you can do the timing by ear and have never done this before–please seek good advice (which will tell you not to, or at least show you how you shouldn’t do it).
  • timing (supplemental). Rotating the distributor is how you actually adjust (advance/retard) the timing, and to do this you need the above bolt loosened (not removed) to rotate the distributor; AKA “Dizzy”. you will notice a change in the way the car sounds, more revs is usually advance, less is usually retarded (as in “slowed” not as in “this is the internet you retards”).
  • I make no guarantee the above information is factual, will not get you killed/arrested/labeled as a heretic. It worked for me.

This rant was posted in Cars, Mercedes-Benz on by .

Some work so far
Date Created: August 15, 2012  Date Modified: September 26, 2012

The first issue i needed to deal with the Benz I needed to fix was the steering; the inner tie rod end had worn on the drivers side and this was doing no favors to the ride quality. I aimed to have this done last week on Friday, but other commitments and wet weather over the weekend made it that I had to postpone the work till Monday. I had ordered the parts from Repco the previous Thursday, so I knew they were in stock, and it was only an hour or so to put the new ends on and have the car on the road again.

The next issue I wanted to tackle was the slack in the throttle cable” as I thought when test driving the car prior to purchase–these cars I discovered dont have throttle cables, but I managed to take up some of the slack. There would be about half an inch of slack on the peddle, down from a whole inch. Doing this required the removal of the air filter to get to the throttle assembly; I didnt take any pics yesterday with the air-filter removed but your not missing much.

Today I aimed to have a rest day from working on the car, but the urge to die-gring got the better of me and I polished the top of the air-filter, which really does highlight how dirty the rest of the engine bay is.

In case you are searching for parts, you are welcome to try the parts finder below:

This rant was posted in Cars, Mercedes-Benz on by .

So I thought WE were just special…
Date Created: August 13, 2012  Date Modified: August 16, 2012

I once was a Z car driver, I had a z31; Gold, like Brucie Willis in Blind Date. The car was destroyed as Z cars unfortunately tend to be, but one thing stuck with me about that relationship: Z car owners recognized other Z car owners. The year, the badge; Because some we know were decorated with the “Fairlady” and Datsun branding depending on their original market, it did not matter, all Z car owners would acknowledge each other when encountering in traffic. It was like some secret Z car club that the first rule of was…

And this I continued to see was true, even after my z31 was put to pasture. A friend who also owns a Z car, his z32; is one of the most anti-social people in existence, but he too participate–even instigating, the Z car secret handshake.

So after driving around in a Falcon Ute for a few years I never encountered quite so much mutual respect; too many people drive Falcon Utes by obligation rather than choice. After getting the Benz last week and properly getting it on the road, I got my first Mercedes wave today. I thought it was funny; Z waves were from… Z car drivers; this wave was from an old, balding, grey, Mercedes-Benz driver. Am I really that guy?, I guess its better than driving round in an old gold z31?.

Even regardless of the driver demographic, I’m still impressed by the acknowledgement. Would it be the case if I told him I paid more for the tyres on my Ute than I paid for the Merc? I dont care, I’m happy to have a sedan; the only other [4 door] sedan I have owned was my old Cortina. But this Merc is my first V8!.

Dont compare Z cars to Mercs, its different. A Z car will always and only be a Z car. A Merc will only and always be a Merc. If you have the luxury to own both, then do.

This rant was posted in Cars, Mercedes-Benz on by .

My Mercedes
Date Created: August 7, 2012  Date Modified: August 16, 2012

I had bee looking for a project car for a while, ideally a 1976 TC Cotina Ghia (Calypso Green) like my first car, but those beasts are an illusive breed. My more realistic vision was to pick up a cheap Falcon–I have a Falcon ute, so projecting a sedan with with the same donk could have worked out nice for my wallet. I found after a few weeks of searching that cheap Falcons sell quick, no matter what condition. I needed to look beyond the blue oval and even considered a… Commodore. I held my morals and looked beyond the typical project base vehicles of the Ford/GM/Nissan ilk and was tempted by a 1970 Austin 1800, a land-crab as I found out they are affectionately known by. But when I saw the ad for the Merc I knew I had found my next car: a 1984 380SE Mercedes-Benz.

I picked the car up from Armidale and it showed signs of being un-garaged for a few seasons, the paint was faded and the interior had a nice mildew aroma. I drove the car back to Freo, stopping to pick up fuel, coolant (it was low), an oil filter, Penrite 10-40 (I wasnt willing to spend the xtra on thicker oil at this stage), and an ice coffee. Typically the sump plug was rounded so I couldn’t drain the old muck out, but the Merc has a cartridge oil filter so I could still change it without slicking the driveway.

There was also a small spot of chipped paint on the drivers side fender that I regret now brushing out and covering with pirmer. One, because the paint job wasnt as bad as it looked and could cut/polish most of it back. Secondly, I think Im going to have trouble finding Mercedes paint to touch up the primed spot.

I will post more pics as I do more work to her, but for now this is how she looks:

This rant was posted in Cars, Mercedes-Benz, Web on by .

Someone watches too much simpsons
Date Created: July 2, 2009  Date Modified: July 2, 2009

I walk past this car most days, the starfish must have been added sometime earlyer this week:

EDIT JULY 14: the starfish were not on the bug when I walked past today… one was hanging out at the front of the church though.

This rant was posted in Cars, Photography on by .

Go Charger!
Date Created: June 27, 2009  Date Modified: June 27, 2009

I have a habit of taking photos of nice cars with my phone. I took these on the same day, two completely different orange Chargers in two completley different parts of town.

This top one is the Australian version, i took the pic with my phone–hence why the quality is shocking, was outside the chemist in you know where

This second one was parked nar me here in fremantle, this is the yank version, decked out in Duked of Hazzard drag.

This rant was posted in Cars, Phone Pix on by .

My Old Datto
Date Created: April 24, 2009  Date Modified: October 4, 2012

Since this is art and PHOTOGRAPHY, and not ART-PHOTOGRAPHY im going to include a post of pics about my old datto i was restoring. there is a story behind this car–I tried to tell that story on Pulsar Group of Australia’s website, but they banned me.

anyway, here is my ols n10 coupe

the Back end after de-badging and cutting all the rust out
dont need to explain this

after the motor re-build

after i ripped out the interior

headless engine.
now i never had a chance to finish this project. I was arrested shortly after and found myself homeless and the car was destroyed. i wrote about it in a diffrent blog but thats not a story for here

This rant was posted in Cars, Nissan on by .