Donor Engine Coming Together!

After ripping apart the 1998 Civic HX Donor car, I’ve managed to pull the following parts out of it for the 4 Door car.

  • D15Y5 Engine
  • Transmission
  • Axles
  • Shift Linkage
  • ECU
  • Engine Wiring Harness (likely not going to getting used)
  • Headlights
  • Hood
  • Brake Caliper
  • Center Console
  • Interior Pieces

With the engine out of the car, I’ve decided to replace just about any component that could leak, or fail, or would be easier to do with the engine out.

Once I got the engine out, I noticed an oil leak from the rear main seal.

From there I decided to do the following:

  • Timing Belt Kit
  • Water pump
  • Thermostat
  • Rear Main Seal
  • Oil Pan Gasket
  • Valve cover gasket
  • Valve adjustment
  • Clutch Kit
  • Flywheel
  • Spark Plugs
  • Radiator hoses
  • Heater Hoses
  • Bypass hose
  • Fuel Filter
  • Battery
  • Starter
  • Poly Shifter Bushings
  • Radiator

Building a New Daily

Although I adore the Mercedes, sometimes it can be a bit frustrating on longer commutes. Seeing that I don’t enjoy taking the car over 60mph on the highway, getting anywhere quickly isn’t a thing. Plus it is time for the ol girl to get some love.

Long story short, my coworker has a little collection of Honda’s. He used to daily drive a B18b swapped EK Sedan, after getting a new TSX he no longer drove it. He gave the car to his brother, who daily drove it as well, until he suffered from Kidney failure. Now thate he is on dialysis, and the car is too harsh on him.

My coworker asked me one day if I wanted to buy the car, for a good deal too. At the time I didn’t have the funds for it, and instead he offered his close friend the parts off of it for a nice low price of $1,000. The car was now a shell.

One day he offered me the shell for free, and of course I accepted it with the image of a cheap daily driver project.

Here she is, a 1997 Honda Civic; no engine, transmission, missing a headlight, and with a broken crappy hood.

After hunting Craigslist for a couple of weeks, finally this 1998 Honda Civic HX (boring VTEC) popped up for sale. The car was hit by a truck while it was parked and totaled the thing. Supposedly the drivetrain was completely intact and drove.

We met up with the guy the following morning, drove it around the block, and $300 later we had an Engine, Transmission, Axles, Wiring, ECU, and various body components.

We drove it back to my shop, and immediately started pulling it apart. With the help of my coworker (the Honda whisperer) he walked me through the way of the Honda D-Series lol.

After putting together a list of everything I should preventative replace on the donor engine, I hoped on RockAuto and spent another $300 for just about everything you would need to replace on one of these simple little D16Y5’s.


W123 300TD SLS Delete DIY & Review

In the past I used to own a W123 240D, so when I went to look at this 300TD and it appeared that the rear shock absorbers were gone. At the time I thought to myself, “that’ll only be $100-$160 to replace them with some nice Bilsteins.”

Oh but was I wrong… It turns out the W123 Wagons used Mercedes’ self leveling suspension (AKA “SLS”) I originally wanted to retain the useful suspension. But through diagnosing the suspension it looked like the nitrogen filled accumulators, shocks, lines, and reservoir had failed. My sub-$200 fix could very quickly approached the thousands. 

After scouring the internet, it looked like no one would answer how to do it. The response to be found was:

“sell it and buy a sedan” – The Purists. 

But I didn’t want to sell my wagon, instead after weeks of research, and taking a gamble I decided to pull attempt to delete the expensive SLS.

First off, I’d like to make some comments about this conversion.

  1. It is surprisingly time consuming.
  2. This can be very dangerous, even lethal if you are not careful.
  3. You can buy cheap shocks (such as the Sensen), but from experience I would highly recommend going with the Bilstein Heavy Duty Shocks. The Sensen feel very under-damped for this car.
  4. The Klann (Replica) Spring Compressors are necessary, I tried two other styles of Spring Compressors, and they didn’t work. At all. I used the eBay Replica ones, and they worked well. You might be able to rent/borrow a set.
  5. You absolutely need to install smaller Spring Pads / Insulators. Others have installed the smallest OEM Spring Shims with good results. It appears that they were discontinued. Fortunately NAPA has a Spring Insulator that fit well, and came out to about $8. If you leave the Original ones in place, the car sits VERY high, and causes a lot of positive camber.

Here’s a list of parts I accumulated during my conversion, I also threw some part numbers of what I used in there to make it easier to find!

W123 300TD SLS Delete Parts

  • W140 Non-SLS Heavy Duty Springs | Lesjofors 4256869
  • 300D Rear Shock Absorbers | Bilstein HD 24-007146
  • SLS Pump Block Off Plate |
  • SLS Pump Gasket (Optional) | MB# 114 236 00 80
  • Klann Style Spring Compressors
  • Spring Pads
  • Shorter Bolts for the SLS Block Off Plate (included w/ slsconversion’s block off plate.

First, you need to start by disabling the SLS system. Without disabling the SLS pump, you run the risk of pumping all the fluid out of the system, and the possibility of the pump seizing and causing damage to the engine! 

Remove the Fluid Reservoir

The first step is to drain the hydraulic fluid from as much of the reservoir and pump as possible. Try to spill as little as possible. As the fluid can eat through the car’s paint. If you spill any, clean it up immediately. 

Start by pulling the lid off of the reservoir and removing as much fluid with a turkey baster. Then removing the line off of the bottom of the reservoir (which feeds into the SLS pump). Use a container to catch the remaining fluid. From here you can remove the return line, dismount the reservoir, and remove it from the car.

Remove the SLS Pump & Install the Block Off Plate

Mercedes 300TD SLS Block Off Plate

The SLS pump is located on the front of the engine. Start by removing the two lines that run to the pump. One of the lines feeds fluid to the pump, the other is the line the runs to the rear of the car.

Once the lines are removed, continue to unbolt the Pump from the engine. There are four 5mm allen head bolts holding it on. Be sure these are clean to avoid stripping them out. Once these four bolts are removed, the pump can be removed from the engine. There will be a “key” that joins the pump to the drive on the car, remove this. The four bolts you removed will be replaced with shorter ones.

At this point you can install the Block Off Plate. Clean off the mounting point on the block, removing all oil, grease, and old gasket. Do the same with the plate. I ended up using the new OEM gasket to draw an outline on the block off plate for the gasket maker. The OEM gasket is made of paper, hence why I used the gasket maker. Once you’ve put the gasket maker on, carefully install using the new short bolts.

Remove the old Hydraulic Shocks and Nitrogen Accumulators.

Now to the rear of the car!

Carefully disassemble the trunk of your 300TD to expose the tops of the struts, and the access holes for the pressure lines to the hydro shocks. I found that flipping the seats forward, and removing the three small screws that hold the cover down works well.

Jack the car up and get it on jack stands! Chock the front wheels so it doesn’t kill you! You’re going to want to get the car high enough to lower the differential. Remove the wheels

Go ahead and undo the fittings for hydraulic lines going into the shocks, mine were accessible from the interior of the car once you removed the stiff access hole covers.

Once that is undone, remove the bolt (might be nuts on some years) that hold the top into place, then get under the car are remove the two bolts holding the bottom of the shock in. The shock should be removable from the car. Go ahead and throw those oily turds in a bin to drain.

From there you can remove the nitrogen filled accumulators. Remove the lines going to and from them. Then remove the little nuts holding them to the body. Also toss these in a bin to drain.

Now for the scariest part.

You need to be very careful during this step. This is where things get sketchy.

On my car, in order for me to be able to get the massive springs in and out of the car, I needed to lower the differential. Which gives you more room by lowering the rear spring perch.

If you cannot get enough room with the diff in place. Start by removing your rear calipers and suspending them safety so they’re not being held up by their brake hoses.

With this completed, there are four bolts holding the rear suspension assembly in place. Support your rear differential with a jack and a block of wood. Undo the four bolts, and slowly lower the assembly a little bit.

From there you can then take your KLANN (clone) spring compressors and compress the springs. Carefully remove the springs from the car, and slowly untension them on the floor. Then remove the original rubber spring perches from the car. I found that with the original spring perches in place the car sat way too high, and actually had quite a bit of positive camber.

Now you can take your new W140 Springs, and compress them, install them in the car, using your new spring insulators to correct the ride height.

Now you can carefully raise the differential back towards the body of the car, and reinstall the bolts. From here the jack can be removed from the underside of the car.

Now you can install your new shock absorbers. I’d highly recommend opting for the Bilstein HD’s, as I originally installed some cheapo Sensen shocks, that were very under dampened for the weight of the car, and blew out immediately. I originally used the bushings they provided in the kit, but I will attempt to reinstall the 300TD style mounts in the future as I believe they are a better design.

Torque everything down, and reinstall your brake calipers.

From here, the leveling unit can be disconnected from the sway bar and unbolted from the chassis.

Your car is now ready to drive!

I’ll update this post, with better details and pictures over time! Feel free to leave any comments with questions or feedback!

Scraping, Welding, and swearing 

Once we went to change the oil on Katie’s GS650, we realized someone had stripped the drain plug pretty good, and attempted to cure this issue by covering the drain plug with RTV and Teflon tape!

Rather than trying to just bandaid a bandaid, we opted to install a new Oil Pan and OEM gasket. 

In order to get to the oil pan on this bike, the exhaust must be removed in order to gain access. 

As Katie and I were removing the bolts from the manifold to cylinder head, one of the bolt heads snapped clean off 😥, a new experience for Katie.

With the exhaust out of the way, we removed all of the bolts for the oil pan. We tried to remove the pan, but the 30+ year old gasket said no! After some tapping with a rubber mallet the thing popped off. Leaving behind a very stuck gasket. 

Katie was a trooper, and spent few days slowly chipping off the old gasket. But while she was out of town I decided to surprise her to a reassembled motorbike. 

After using a nifty precision scrapper, some oil soaked​ sandpaper, a microfiber with some brake clean, I got the block looking like new! So then I threw the oil pan back on!

That damn broken bolt, turned out to be not too bad. Rather than using channellocks and vice grips, I found a little bolt that threaded over the stuck portion. Originally I tried using two nuts to try and back the stud out, but with no success. 

So I sanded down the nut and the top of the broken bolt and thread a weld on it. Threw a socket and long ratchet on it. Then smacked it with my trusty rubber mallet. Success!

Now the GS is back together again! 

Various projects, DIY's, updates, etc.