Date registered: Feb 2010
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Old cars can be very affordable when parts are easy and cheap. That happens when the car was high-volume over many years, and is still popular. Most 60's Chevy's are easy, but can't beat a VW Bug or AMC Jeep. U.S. pickups are easy too. My older fleet is three 60's Mopar's and an 84 & 85 Mercedes 300D. My smaller A-body Mopars (Dart, Valiant) are much easier than my C-body (Newport), but nothing like a Chevy. The most expensive parts are for new cars. It takes ~15 yrs before after-market and rebuilt parts show up, and the cars hit the junkyards. I sometimes find new parts for my old cars on ebay at amazing prices - say $15 for a full engine gasket set. It takes time to search, but I buy ahead so I have critical parts ready to go. Much better than sometimes waiting >1 wk and paying $$$ for parts for my newer cars. When a new car has a widespread problem, like a factory recall, parts may be on back-order for a year or more.
Why do I have two 300D's? First, don't believe the "million mile engine" fluff. I bought my 85 300D ($2500) because Mercedes-owning co-workers claimed few problems and affordable repairs. The prior owner had a folder w/ regular dealer visits. She took it in for every rattle and radio knob issue, most bills $600 min. 278K miles when I bought it, the engine failed at 330K miles with #1 piston missing chunks, which sounds typical for turbo-diesels. I bought the 84 300D for $400 for its 120K mi engine, but ended up fixing the broken frame (stolen, crashed into curb). Other than fixing a few typical problems, it has served fine for one son, and looks nice after I fixed a few dents. Still haven't rebuilt the 85 engine, due to very expensive pistons, and I found a used 84 engine for $300 (just installed it, no blow-by and cam appears new). One mechanic told me they installed Chevy SB engines in 300D's years ago, since the engine is too expensive to replace and the V-8 is cheap and triples HP.
Re 300D turbo parts. Some are amazingly cheap, like engine mounts, bushings, steering parts, timing chain guides. Look at Uro parts on rockauto or ebay. Other parts hurt like a new car - fuel shut-off valve $50, heater solenoid rebuild $70. Some parts must be gold-plated - pistons were $550 ea, now $135 ea. (compare Chevy SB pistons $90/set of 8), heater core - $400 new. Millions of 300D's were sold around the world, so you would think parts would be like for a VW Bug. As time goes on, they seem to be getting cheaper and more available, so don't give up on a 300D yet. They may become an iconic car.
Last edited by BillGrissom; 06-20-2012 at 08:54 AM.