Best older diesel Benz to buy? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Post Best older diesel Benz to buy?

So, I have been looking at diesel vehicles again, and have settled on an older Mercedes. I figured they have the best build quality, retain their value, and are super reliable.

My current daily driver is an old Saturn SW (wagon) 1998. It gets between 30-40 average. I want something close to that, and have always liked the styling of the W123, and since I have a wagon now, a 300TD.

However, recently I did find a 1987 190D 2.5 turbo (!) on craigslist. I know, it's super rare, and the economy would be closer to what I get now, if not better. I have never (besides a couple moving vans) driven anything larger than a compact, so I don't know if the larger W123 would be more or less comfortable for me.

The asking price for the 190D is $1900, and the only downside I can see is the right front fender, the one with the turbo vents is rusting. I can't tell if it is just surface rust or it has eaten through the metal from the photo, but I hope it's not a hard to find part if I do pop on it.

So, should I get that 190D, or should I hold out for a 1985 300TD?

Oh, I did miss out on someone selling a 1985 300D nearby for $995 on the local craigslist. Looked in excellent condition too. Oh well.

BTW if this is in the wrong forum, feel free to move it. I'm new here.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamdigitalman View Post
So, I have been looking at diesel vehicles again, and have settled on an older Mercedes. I figured they have the best build quality, retain their value, and are super reliable.

My current daily driver is an old Saturn SW (wagon) 1998. It gets between 30-40 average. I want something close to that, and have always liked the styling of the W123, and since I have a wagon now, a 300TD.

However, recently I did find a 1987 190D 2.5 turbo (!) on craigslist. I know, it's super rare, and the economy would be closer to what I get now, if not better. I have never (besides a couple moving vans) driven anything larger than a compact, so I don't know if the larger W123 would be more or less comfortable for me.

The asking price for the 190D is $1900, and the only downside I can see is the right front fender, the one with the turbo vents is rusting. I can't tell if it is just surface rust or it has eaten through the metal from the photo, but I hope it's not a hard to find part if I do pop on it.

So, should I get that 190D, or should I hold out for a 1985 300TD?

Oh, I did miss out on someone selling a 1985 300D nearby for $995 on the local craigslist. Looked in excellent condition too. Oh well.

BTW if this is in the wrong forum, feel free to move it. I'm new here.
I have an '85 300D Turbo Diesel and have heard from more than once source that that is the last year of the W123 and the best of all the years. I am 6' tall and 74 years old, so east of entry and exit is important, as well as long distance comfort. It is a heavy car and supremely comfortable. My mileage for overall city/freeway driving is about 28 mpg, a little better on a highway trip. The turbo makes it very peppy off the line and entry to freeways or passing is no challenge. I love this car.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 10:54 PM
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The W123 are very outdated by all standards.
My 1999 gasoline 4M wagon was having better mpg, than 1985 diesel wagon.
Buying Mercedes for less than $2000 is hard to advise. It will be a beater or very old.
Sure diesel engines will last forever and when I was replacing head gasket on 1987 3-liter at 292k the engine still had honing marks on the cylinders, but rebuilding clima elements alone would cost more than the purchase price.
Look in my profile what I figure out best bang for the buck.
To top it W210 has more leg room than W123, while can't beat safety and convenience improvements.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 06:53 AM
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If I planned to buy a diesel I would go along with Kajtek1 and get a 1998-1999 E300 TURBODIESEL.

Mercedes Benz - Das beste oder nichts!
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 09:14 PM
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I really liked the w115 220D. That was a solid and simple car with no monkey business under the hood. It was easy to work on and got around 28mpg. It also had scads of leg room for people front or back. And the trunk could haul body parts from the PnP with ease.

If I needed a wagon, I would go with the w123, but maybe not the '85, due to all the changes made, which would render finding parts a bit more expensive. Had it been pampered and well cared for, I think a TD would be just fine, but for the SLS.

I do not like the w210. It smacks of poor design and an attempt to make it look like the US w123 in the headlamps, which is a complete reversal of previous history in design aesthetic. It also suffered from very poor build quality and teething pains that I do not feel were ever adequately addressed during its run.

To me, the best Diesel Benz is the 94-95 W124. Though NA, it has superior pick up, exceptional economy and proven build quality. Parts are very easy to source and the car looks like a Mercedes, not some oriental egg car, like all the newer models out of korea, china and japan. The w210 is a bit ovoid.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by redghost View Post

To me, the best Diesel Benz is the 94-95 W124. Though NA, it has superior pick up, exceptional economy and proven build quality. Parts are very easy to source and the car looks like a Mercedes, not some oriental egg car, like all the newer models out of korea, china and japan. The w210 is a bit ovoid.
Comparing 1995 E300D to 1998 E300DT
0-60 acceleration
1995 >>> 13.7 sec
1998 >>> 9.2 sec
Fuel economy on highway
1995 >>> 29 mpg
1998 >>> 31 mpg.
1998 have no common problem and the only thing requiring attention at +- 10 years are fuel system orings
The 1995 diesel do have common surge problems, transmission shifting and I would check the vacuum pumps and head gaskets.
Cosmetics are cosmetic. Some people buy Pontiac Aztecs and Cubes whoever manufacture them.
But see who makes square cars nowadays?
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 10:50 PM
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I have owned the E300 for a decade and have not had the issues you point out, nor has mileage been as poor as you state. I found the car exceedingly comfortable for driving cross country, spending 10-12 hours in the seats. A tank of fuel never got the light to come on, even after 690 miles. I averaged 36mpg @ 85mph in that square car, designed by Bruno Sacco.

Town mileage is a bit less, but still in the high 400 range before I get to put around 16 gallons in. No surges or shifting issues in 185k miles, nor have I had vacuum issue or any trouble with a head gasket. My indy has not seen any issues as you describe either in the later w124. My local dealer though has had a plethora of w210 cars with hosts of issues and stopped the CPO program on them in 2001.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 11:33 PM
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Thanks to guys like you I am buying W210 diesels very cheap and drive in comfort and economy for years
W124 was excellent car for the era, but that was well over 20 years ago.
Sure the crank calculators were way more reliable than digital ones.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 09:52 AM
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Buy only older Benz's that have had their A/C evaporator replaced. The going rate at a dealer is in the $3,000 range. It aparantly was the first component down the assembly line and the car was built around it.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 05:58 PM
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That was one of the reasons I loved my 220D, no AC, no PS, nothing extraneous, just the motor and standard shift. Though I did have to tear the car apart to replace the blower motor. ;-)
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