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1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/26/19 12:31 p.m.

I have contacted an online bank, and am still waiting to hear back.  I tried repeatedly to contact my bank rep yesterday, but all I got was a recording saying that no one was available.  I sent an e-mail, and so far no response.  I'll try calling again tomorrow.  To make matters worse, I logged in to the government site yesterday just to verify the exact amount that I have to pay, and when I brought up my "items in process", it was empty.  So I sent them an e-mail and they are supposed to reply within 48 hours which will be tomorrow afternoon.  I sure hope they can find my file.  If not, I'll have to start all over.  Not fun.

But I did get to drive the R63 today, with a few short stints on the French interstate (just going from one side of town to the other), and it gave me the opportunity to floor it for a couple of seconds to get up to speed.  Those moments make the hassles seem not so important.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/29/19 7:56 a.m.

My registration request has reappeared on the government's website and I should receive a new debit card with a much higher limit from my bank next week, so things are back on track.

The article on our trip is now up on the AMG Private Lounge site.  Unfortunately, only those who are members of the private lounge will be able to access it.  I'll see if I can get permission to post some of the photos the AMG photographer took.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
12/6/19 5:59 a.m.

I got my new debit card, paid the registration fees and taxes, and have received the registration certificate.  I still need to get the license plates made, but I finally feel like the R63 is really mine.  Getting to this point has been quite an adventure.  But now the real adventure of owning and driving the R63 AMG begins.  I'm hoping that in contrast to mazdeuce - Seth's experience that aside from the joy of driving, this adventure will be dull and boring.  But we will see.  Only time will tell.

I do have a couple of projects that need to be sorted as soon as possible: the rust along the bottom edge of the tailgate, and replacing the rear diffuser, adding the frame and cover for the trailer hitch hole.

I was unable to obtain permission to post photos from the AMG Private Lounge article, so I'll have to see what I can come up with on my own.  I've never done a Youtube video, but if I can figure out how to make and edit a video using my smartphone and/or iPad, I'll do my best Doug Demuro / Alex Palmeri impression and post it here.  If not, I'll take photos and add text.

In the meantime, here's one more photo from our trip across the south of Sweden.  In the U.S. having a deer jump out in front of your car can ruin your day.  Here in the south of France, we have wild pigs.  But in Sweden, it's something else.  Imagine having one of these standing in the road when you come around a bend:

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
12/25/19 6:01 a.m.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
1/5/20 10:48 a.m.

I finally got around to taking some photos of the interior.  Here you go.

 

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
1/5/20 11:02 a.m.

I love my R63, but with the aluminum and black plastic accents I find it rather monochrome.  I personally prefer the wood accents like in this R63 (not mine):

After I have taken care of other things, I may remove the aluminum and black plastic and replace it with the wood (if I can find a set in good condition.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
1/5/20 11:03 a.m.

Nice pics 

NoahWeb
NoahWeb New Reader
1/5/20 1:56 p.m.

Agreed on the wood adding a bit of warmth to the interior!  I've seen several sets on eBay for decent prices.  Yours sure looks to be in great condition!  

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
1/5/20 4:16 p.m.
NoahWeb said:

Agreed on the wood adding a bit of warmth to the interior!  I've seen several sets on eBay for decent prices.  Yours sure looks to be in great condition!  

Mine has the aluminum and black plastic.  The photos with the wood trim are of an R63 that I tried to buy, but failed to come to an agreement on price before it was sold to someone in Germany.  I've seen a lot of individual pieces on ebay, but only a few complete sets and all of them had cracks in the finish of several pieces.

I need to check with the local MB dealer and see if they are still available new and if so at what cost.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
1/10/20 4:27 a.m.

I finally got by the MB dealer to check on the availability of AMG wheels and the wood trim for the R63.  The AMG wheels are no longer available new.  The parts person couldn't give me an immediate response on the wood trim, so I'm waiting to hear back from him.

Here are a few more photos of the exterior (it needs to be washed):

 

In the photo below, you see the two small pieces added to the back of the rear wheel arches.  I don't know if these are unique to the R63 or are also on other R Class models.  I've also heard that this may only be on the R63s made for Europe.  If anyone has info on this, please let us know.

The AMG front bumper doesn't have the shark gills (or whatever they are called) that are found on many other AMGs, but I do think it looks better and more agressive than the standard R Class front bumper.  I think that my front bumper may be hanging a little low.  It seems to me that the gap you can see between the hood and the bumper is too wide (you see this in the gap that runs from the inside of the headlights to the grill).  What do others think?  And is it easy to adjust the hight of the bumper?

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/10/20 6:00 a.m.

I'm trying to remember from taking it all apart if it's really even possible for the bumper cover to sag.  There is a lot of structure that everything is tied into. The bottom of the bumper is bolted to solid structure with 10mm bolts. The way all of the coolers are sandwiched in there makes it one semi monolithic unit. One thing to check is to see if you have a build up of bugs and stuff between the radiator and the AC condenser. The ducting between the two can shift just a bit and allow things in that space. I pulled several handfuls of Florida bugs out of mine when I got it, but that may just be a Florida issue. I think it's worth while to put the car in monster truck mode and stick your head under the front to make sure the ducting and fasteners appear to all be in place. 

They really do look beautiful in silver. 

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
1/14/20 5:06 p.m.

Back on page 3, I showed a photo of the rust on the bottom of the tailgate.  There is also a little rust on the inside of one of the doors.  In addition, there are quite a few stone chips on the hood and front bumper.  Today I went by a body shop that specializes in paintless dent repair and in blended painting (I'm not sure exactly what this is called in the States, but it is where they don't paint a whole panel, just the section that need repainting and they blend it in so you can't see a difference between the old paint and the new paint) to get an estimate.  They said that they can do the blended painting on the tailgate and the inside of the door, but that they would need to repaint the entire hood and front bumper.

Does anyone have any experience with "blended painting"?  Someone on another forum said that it never should have rusted, but since it has, there is a good chance that it will come back even if cleaned and treated before being repainted.  Does anyone have experience with that?  Would it be better to look for a used tailgate in good condition and the right color?  Would it be a hassle to redo the electrics (transferring the electrics from my tailgate or using the electrics built-in to the used tailgate)?  Mine doesn't have a backup camera.  If I got a used tailgate with a backup camera, would I be able to connect it and get it to work?

With regard to the rock chips, is there another way to correct them other than repainting the whole hood and front bumper?  With regard to future collector value, is it better to get rid of the rock chips and repaint, or to have the original paint with the rock chips?

I'm going to another shop in the morning to get a second estimate.  I look forward to reading your suggestions before I make a decision on the work.  I'm learning as I go, and want to do my best to make the right decisions as I move forward.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
1/15/20 5:05 p.m.

I went by the other shop this morning and the owner took a look at everything.  According to him, the rust on the bottom of the tailgate is the result of the tailgate rubbing on the top of the rear bumper when it closes (there is a mark on the top of the bumper).  The rubbing eventually took off some of the paint, leading to the rust.  He said that he had seen this once on an ML and he said that it should be possible to adjust the bumper very slightly, remove the rust, treat the metal, and repaint the tailgate.  Then if it is no longer rubbing, the rust should not return.

I won't get the estimate until early next week, but if it is better than, or close to, the estimate that I got yesterday, I will probably go with him since he is only a 5 minute drive from my house and has done good work for me in the past on our E320 station wagon.  Concerning the hood and front bumper, he will be giving me estimates on both a total repaint and just doing touch-up with a brush.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/15/20 6:16 p.m.

That's the "good" kind of rust. The kind you don't want is the kind that starts in a seam where the metal is folded over itself. Once it gets started in there you may never stop chasing it. 

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/3/20 11:41 a.m.

It's past time for an update.  I've been busy, and I'm still trying to figure out how to make decent videos, so I haven't posted in a while.  Well here is a partial photo update.

Here are a few photos of the rust problems mentioned above:

In the above photo, you can see the rust along the bottom of the tailgate.

In the above photo, you can see the line of surface rust between the rubber tailgate seal and the chrome bumper plate.

In the above photo, you cans see the rust on the inside of the rear passenger door.

Before the lockdown, the car went to the paint shop.  They found that the rust on the tailgate and bumper was the result of the bumper being a couple of millimeters too high.  Every time the tailgate opened and closed, it was rubbing on the top of the bumper, eventually rubbing off the paint, resulting in surface rust.  When they sanded the tailgate they found that the bottom had been repainted a few times (because no one thought of adjusting the bumper hight!)

There were also a lot of rock chips in the hood, as well as some paint missing around a couple of the parking sensors, so I had the hood and front bumper resprayed.  Here are three photos of the work in progress:

They did a great job (after photos coming soon).  I also took this occasion to replace the cut-up rear diffuser with a new one made for cars with a trailer hitch (photos of that coming as well).

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
5/3/20 11:55 a.m.

How expensive is paint over there ? 

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/3/20 3:55 p.m.

All of the above paint work came to about $1000.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
5/10/20 4:14 p.m.

Here are some photos from after the paint job:

They did a very good job.  I'd like to do a color correction and ceramic coat.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
6/21/20 12:45 p.m.

When I bought my R63, it didn't have the "standard" 20" AMG wheels.  Instead it came with the optional 21" wheels with winter tires.  It also had a set of summer tires on non-AMG wheels.  I recently bought a set of the standard 20" AMG wheels used.  They weren't expensive, but they need some renovation, and 2 of them are in particularly bad shape (one with extensive curb rash [photos 1 & 2] and the other with a deep gouge and some metal missing on the edge [photo 5]).  The body shop that did the paint work on my R63 has said that they can polish and repaint the wheels (spray them and put them in an oven - but not power coat, which apparently is illegal in France for some reason).  A local tire shop told me that they work with a company that can restore wheels, so I will get an estimate from them, before I make a decision.  If anyone here has experience with restoring wheels, I would appreciate you sharing your wisdom.

 

There is a little history that explains the damage.  I bought the wheels from an auto scrap yard.  I was told that they came off of a French registered R63 that was seized by the police for drug charges after a high speed chase.  French law required that the car be crushed and the wheels were the only thing that was saved from the car.  Interesting story because that means there is one less surviving R63 in the wild.

And the wheels came with the tires (I've never heard of Roadstone).  Two need to be replaced, and the other two are at 80%.

 

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) New Reader
6/21/20 1:44 p.m.

Depending on the alloy composition powder coat may weaken the structure due to elevated temps. I know other wheel vendors that will also not warranty wheels that have been powder coated.  

madpenguin
madpenguin New Reader
6/21/20 4:15 p.m.
1955W196S said:

A local tire shop told me that they work with a company that can restore wheels, so I will get an estimate from them, before I make a decision.  If anyone here has experience with restoring wheels, I would appreciate you sharing your wisdom.

And the wheels came with the tires (I've never heard of Roadstone).  Two need to be replaced, and the other two are at 80%.

 

I have a couple addresses of shops specialized in wheels restoration and similar metalwork. One I used a couple times for motorcycle parts (fork clamps, wheels and frame check, but it wasn't cost-effective to fix due to the wide availability), the second one I got a very good feedback by someone restoring a Testarossa (who also tried the first one which wasn't able to restore his wheels). But both are near Paris, not Toulouse or Bordeaux, so let me know if you're interested.

About Roadstone tires : seems it belongs to Nexen (a Korean group) who used to work with Michelin back in the 80s. It also seems they're (or have been) distributed in the US under the Lexani brand. From what I found, cheap, not too bad on the dry, but horribles and frightening on the wet.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
6/21/20 4:55 p.m.
madpenguin said:
1955W196S said:

A local tire shop told me that they work with a company that can restore wheels, so I will get an estimate from them, before I make a decision.  If anyone here has experience with restoring wheels, I would appreciate you sharing your wisdom.

And the wheels came with the tires (I've never heard of Roadstone).  Two need to be replaced, and the other two are at 80%.

 

I have a couple addresses of shops specialized in wheels restoration and similar metalwork. One I used a couple times for motorcycle parts (fork clamps, wheels and frame check, but it wasn't cost-effective to fix due to the wide availability), the second one I got a very good feedback by someone restoring a Testarossa (who also tried the first one which wasn't able to restore his wheels). But both are near Paris, not Toulouse or Bordeaux, so let me know if you're interested.

About Roadstone tires : seems it belongs to Nexen (a Korean group) who used to work with Michelin back in the 80s. It also seems they're (or have been) distributed in the US under the Lexani brand. From what I found, cheap, not too bad on the dry, but horribles and frightening on the wet.

From what you wrote, I would probably be interested in the second place.  A name and phone number would be good, a website would be better.  Thanks.

madpenguin
madpenguin New Reader
6/22/20 1:42 a.m.

Here you go : Fixalu https://fixalu.com/

11, rue des longues raies
78440 Gargenville

Phone : 01 30 93 80 00

contact@fixalu.com - it seems they can send you a quote if you send them pictures and details about your wheels.

Looks like they have a partnership with a bodyshop in Albi for logistics, if it's closer/easier to you.

Here's the feedback on the Testarossa wheel, with before/after pics : http://forum-auto.caradisiac.com/marques/ferrari/sujet676-9940.htm#t198091 The first shop wasn't able to do the job because those wheels are Magnesium, which is yet another can of worms...

If you go with them, could you post some feedback ? I'm quite interested about the price they'll ask you, as the damage on the Testarossa wheel seems a lot more extensive than yours.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
6/22/20 3:17 p.m.

Thanks for the info.  I looked at the website and will try to get in touch with them for an estimate.  I'll post whatever I find out.

Norma66-Brent
Norma66-Brent Reader
6/22/20 6:34 p.m.

Make sure you give the paint time to cure. Even waxing to soon after paint can pull all the moisture out of the paint and cause cracking. Give it a good 2 months before going down that rabbit hole.

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