Project Retro Rally: Behind the Build (E3) | Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Restoration with Car Throttle

Project Retro Rally: Behind the Build (E3) | Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Restoration with Car Throttle

Previously on Project Retro Rally: I will be driving this car in the AvD Histo Monte. We are going to be turning this into a classic rally car. And you can see how much work there is left to do! And now it’s time to start Heinrich up. Those one thousand layers of non-standard rust proofing have also been removed. We’re going to be taking out the rear axle, because there’s a bit of a leak. Hello! Welcome back to Behind The Build, featuring Heinrich, the heroic Mercedes-Benz 280 S. Over on the Car Throttle channel, you’ll have seen us swap out the front suspension and take out the rear axle. And now, we’re going to be pulling the rear axle apart and fixing it. But first, we need to get it clean, because it’s disgusting! Now before Karl-Heinz and I talk through the axle and why we’re pulling it apart, I’m actually going to ask the gentleman to my right a question. Now the fortunate thing is that he doesn’t really speak a lot of English – has no idea what I’m saying – which is perfect and I’m going to be driving Heinrich in a rally soon, so I need someone to navigate. So, Karl-Heinz, before we start, it would make me really happy, if you’d be my co-pilot. We’ll see how you behave for the rest of this… You up for it? Yes. Co-pilot right here! Awesome. We’ve got this rubber sleeve here and there’s a big old hole in here. I can stick my finger right in there… The axle needs to be pulled apart, we’re going to be swapping this out. The bushes here also need to be swapped out, because they are knackered. Let’s crack on unbolting. Now the funny thing is, that Karl-Heinz just told me, is that he hasn’t done this – taken an axle out and pulled it apart – since 1975! Now my maths isn’t that good, but how old am I, 33… ‘85… 43 years he hasn’t done one of these! So, it’s been a while… So Karl-Heinz is just telling me, when you put the axle back together, make sure that you do it very delicately. And notice how he pointed at me and he looked me in the eyes when he said that, because I think he knows I’m not the most delicate human being. So as you can see, there was a hole somewhere and here it is. This is what’s been causing us problems. With the rear assembly refreshed, the next step is to put it all back together again. Right, so I’ve just been really busy, you know, working on the axle, I’ve got everything together. Had my glorious assistant Marcel, next to me, he’s been helping, he’s been getting in the way a little bit though, but we’ll move on from that, yeah? You understand all that? Yeah, a bit. Oh, okay. He’s doing really well. I didn’t know you spoke such good English… The next thing we need to do is to replace these rubber bushings on both sides. So Karl-Heinz is currently getting a socket for that and the socket is the wrong size, that he’s getting… Brilliant… So yeah, we’re going to tell him the good news and then he’ll have to go off again… I think he’s going for naps… With Karl-Heinz back, not from a nap, but rather getting a massive socket, we start taking off the suspension arms in preparation for new bushes. Which went well… This massive spanner is just slipping on these big old nuts here. So, we’re just rounding it off. Job well done! There we go! Karl-Heinz has just put this on a press and as you can see, this bushing here isn’t even making contact here with this metal part. So the axle literally just moves freely and that’s when you get bad ride quality. So, new bush in and then everything should be nice and tight and then Heinrich will be a happy camper. So, when you can’t do it with your hands, then use air tools. But this side we can’t get an air tool in there, so that’s the next challenge! I think the word “challenge” is a bit of an understatement here as we struggled to get the bolt out. And when I say struggle, I mean this sucker wasn’t coming out anytime soon! Right then, now is the last resort. Time to get serious. Quick update for you guys: We’ve taken this out now, we had to actually bend the metal housing here. As you can see, the bolt is still stuck inside. There’s a metal washer that’s in my hand now that was completely rusted on. It’s still hot, that’s crazy, from all that movement. So yeah, we’ve got to get this out and then bend the bracket back and we should be good? Another half an hour maybe? For a job that should have taken about half an hour, we’ve been at it for about three hours. Anyway, project car life! Meanwhile, Karl-Heinz cleans the first suspension arm, after which the guys reshape the bent housing back to spec. Then, the old bushes are taken out and new ones pressed in, before the suspension arms are bolted up. Next on the to-do list is to replace the old shock-absorbers with a new set of H&Rs. With the shocks in place, the axle is wheeled over in preparation to go back into its rightful home. Easy does it now! Nice! We’ve hit the mark! Right so now we’re going to put these H&R springs in. These are the rears and they are going to raise the ride height at the rear by 30mm. The front springs have actually lowered the car by 50mm, so the car will be sitting kind of like that instead of like that, which is kind of classic Mercedes. Right, so now the rear axle is in, springs and dampers are in, the brake lines have been put back together. Brake fluids and then we’re going to put the wheels on, as well as replacing the seal on the propshaft. And then, we can drive Heinrich… But we won’t do that yet, but Heinrich is driveable. We’re just going to check out and see how cool he looks. So now is the moment of truth, let us bring Heinrich back down to Earth and see how cool he looks with his new suspension. Ah, that is so much stiffer than before! We then roll Heinrich backwards and forwards to settle the suspension and to see the full effect. I’m definitely happy with the result. Heinrich is definitely lower. We’ve got the front bumpers off, we’ve got the rear bumpers off, we’ve got the new suspension in, the new anti-roll bar, the brakes have been bled, we’ve got new gearbox oil, we’ve got new diff oil… Here we are: We are a big step closer to Heinrich dominating the rally. So enjoy the view, because it’s awesome! I hope you guys enjoyed this episode of Behind The Build. We’ve achieved a lot today and Heinrich is looking rather glorious. We’ve still got a few bits left to do. In the meantime, rust is going to be repaired and next week we’re going to be doing interior, roll cage, seats… It’s going to be really, really cool so make sure you join us for that. And also make sure that you subscribe to the Mercedes-Benz YouTube channel so you do not miss out. All that’s left to say now is: See you next week! That was awesome! See you next week. To subscribe, click here. And to watch another video, click here!

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Imagine, if you will, a dwarf German coming to the UK to turn a classic British car into a rally special…… in your garage, watching you do all the work, whilst speaking to a camera in German and referring to you always by your full name. Poor Karl Heinreich!

  2. Alex. We do know you lowered the front suspension, and raised the back. otherwise you can't look out of the windshield. 🤣🤣
    Just joking.
    Great projekt, but i have to say, there are wear parts i would have changed not to break down during the rally. It will be so outrageous to delete because you have saved a wrong place. especially the standard brakes are quickly killed in a race.

  3. Thank you Mercedes Benz, for sponsoring that great project, and for recognizing Alex's work . I admire the aethics both parties are showing in marketing actions. Keep up the good work!

  4. I have a question regarding the rear suspension. doesn't the suspension geometry (single-joint swing axle) force positive camber when raised, which will enhance the tendency to lose grip at the rear earlier? jacking (upward motion of the body as a reaction to side force) may be lower, as the joint sits lower than in other models, still, personally, I'd rather see the rear lowered (only a tiny bit) rather than raised.

  5. Geez, is it their first time fighting a seized nut/bolt? Get out the oxy/acet or propane torch, better yet I would expect them to have an induction heater, and put some HEAT on it!

  6. Disliked because they didn't do the shoe test on the new suspension…

    Okay but really though, awesome video. Would never dislike a video with this much crazy in it.

  7. Heat! Heat is the best to get stubborn bolts off. Hitting it with an oxy helps enormously especially if a thread locker has been applied

  8. Karl-Heinz as Co-Pilot/Navigator? Yes please! That will be awesome!
    Loving the new front ride height, seems the rear should have been left at standard height though for better geometry, maybe there is a reason?

  9. Eine geniale Serie/Sendung 👍🏽

    Darf ich fragen wie die Hintergrundmusik bzw der Beat bei 3:52 heißt? Vielen dank!

  10. This is why i cannot own a 70s euro car on my salary in AUS. Way over engineered for what is really needed. If this was a kingswood,, valiant or falcon it would cost nothing to get the car back to factory tolerances.

  11. Are you sure its a good idea to have a German Co-driver or navigator or map reader or what ever you call it?
    Not speaking English might be a issue.

    And with a German reading the map you will probably only end up in northern Sweden trying to go past the ski lift line and pissing every one off in the process. Or you might end up doing other things Germans do on their Vacation, like being as rude as an American while being as understanding and as hard to deal with Freshman.

  12. Why didn't you heat up and cool down the bolts that you were struggling with? Yes I know it weakens the material but you needed new bolts anyway.

  13. I´m wrenching a lot on old cars and I have to say, this Merc is in really good shape for its age.
    I can´t believe how well this screws and nuts are going apart….

    Wrote the comment an than: 5:34 XD

  14. It’s so strange to see the Euro-Spec headlamps. So used to seeing the sealed beams in these.

  15. Swing axles, yikes! And the increased ride height at the back has caused negative camber before you even get seriously out of shape in a corner. A recipe for vicious oversteer methinks.

  16. Its good to know that i am not the only one who has had to put up with literally bending my tools trying to get a bolt off. When it moves tho … its like big smile and whos the daddy!

  17. These videos about Heinrich are very fun to watch, and also very calm. Keep up the good work, it's awesome!

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