Recommend a Mercedes with odd criteria - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Recommend a Mercedes with odd criteria

I might be looking for a down market Mercedes. I'm a classic car guy with a lot of variety under my belt. My classic pickup was recently pancake-ified with a drizzling of me-sauce and dog-sprinkles (we both made it, but only just). Not surprisingly, the guy's insurance essentially stole my truck. Apparently in insurance land, the only thing that matters is shiny paint... Never mind the brand new built drivetrain and electrical system...

Anyway... I have $6K to play with including TTL and near term repairs between now and the ultimate settlement (which takes a long ass time). I was looking generally out on the market and found myself staring under the hood of a fairly nice '83 300TD. I like wagons, and dig diesels as well. What really grabbed me though was the engineering and build quality. I'm sure this comes a surprise no one here.

What I mean is that there are proper fasteners everywhere there should be fasteners. None of this modern car plastic rivet garbage. Additionally, a little research shows that nearly everything is designed to be rebuildable, with fusible parts, ease of access, etc. Very nice!

Unfortunately, the particular 300TD I was looking at has enough issues that I can't even test drive it... I might still do a deal there, but I have some time to figure that out, and in the meantime I'd like to explore other options.

So here's the question: With things like steel, brass, and whatever other alloy construction, rebuildability, PARTS AVAILABILITY and cost, and reliability in mind, what models are worth looking at?

I really like wagons, I've had a jones for an R107 off and on for a while, and I'm really pretty open. I just want to make sure I don't get something cool only to find that some common wear part is unobtanium. Mechanical injection setups are generally fickle and extremely pricey (this has kept me from really digging too deep in the R107 pool), but not being able to get a windshield is also a deal killer. I'm also not opposed to more modern cars. I haven't had a chance to really dig around in one yet, but googling images of engine compartments shows an awful lot of plastic... What's the deal with the newer stuff in this realm? I'm pretty open to suggestions.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 09:19 PM
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I did own all worth owning diesel MB available in US for last 30+ years.
They do go in different direction.
When the 112 HP, 25 mpg diesels of 1980's were really long lasting, my newest 210 HP, 35 mpg diesel is a beast.
Sure with new technology and use of plastic you will spend on parts more, but you will get the money back on fuel saving.
Fun to drive 6 seconds diesel >>>> PRICELESS.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Fuel economy is fine, but I can tune for that better than the OEMs can because I don't have to worry about end users not maintaining their shit.

Speed is fine too. I live in Colorado, and Audi (and I recently saw a pair of Chevrolets) uses the canyon roads I used to live on to test camouflaged prototypes. I've had plenty of fast cars and plenty of brilliantly handling cars, and I know I will again, but that's not really what I'm interested in right now.

Right now, I want a tank. I sort of collect cars like Pokemon (since it's in the news right now). I've had every manner of engine, make, model, class, country of origin, etc. One thing I've not experienced is the tank-like build quality that Mercedes was known for at one point. I want to know what the pinnacle of that is combined with current parts availability. Preferably with some utility (like a wagon) or fun factor (like a roadster). I don't particularly care for sedans... Kind of a worst of all worlds scenario.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 03:15 PM
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Sounds like we have same hobby.
I did own about 50 vehicles in my life not because I needed them, but because I like to have fun with them and occasionally I made some money in the process.
Coming back to tank-feeling, I sold my 1985 300tdt about 13 years ago.
It gave you the tank feeling, but also with tank lack of comfort.
No ABS, no airbags, no door remote , the vacuum on central locking was deteriorating and when after fixing 10 small oil leaks I still had couple in hard to reach spots - I gave up.
We still have lot of pristine W123 and W126 driven daily in Bay Area, but those really nice cost more than 2010 models.
and they all drip.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Comfort is relative... After all the cars we've gone through, my wife wanted a brand new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. We got her one with all the bells and whistles. Special ordered, and even has her name on the Monroney. For all the crap Jeeps get about how rough and tumble they ride and handle, it's like a luxury car from our perspective!

There's a dearth of wagons in my area (Denver) diesel or otherwise. There are, in fact, precisely three. One with a bad tranny (W124), the one I've already looked at (W123), and another W123 with some pretty high miles. Not a lot to choose from. I'll probably give the high mileage one a look simply because with proper care and feeding it should be OK, but I don't have especially high hopes.

Meanwhile, I'm digging deeper and deeper into the R107s. The thing that scares me there is the mechanical fuel injection. I never really dug too deep into it, but it's looking like it might not be too bad. Parts availability is the thing I'm most leery of with cars like this. Doing the work is easy as long as I don't need any ultra special jigs or crazy tools.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 03:44 PM
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For the record "High mileage" on W123 diesel = 6-800,000 miles.
I had VW with C-Jetronic or whatever they call it. It sure was great hit 40 years ago.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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I just did some homework on the K-jetronic fuel injection system. A lot simpler than I thought it was. Disappointingly so, actually... Looks fairly robust though.

I'll check out the other wagon on my excursion this weekend. There's a single photo to work from, and it shows 232K. It's my wife's favorite color though, and the seller seems enthusiastic. Mayhap it's been cared for. That seems to be the difference between death at 130K and death at 300K.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 05:25 PM
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Honestly? The most tanky MB I've ever experienced was in W126 and W140. Both of these models come in coupe version, and both have their pro's and con's. Both have reliability up the wazoo once you fix the common issues.

Both have relatively common parts except for a few things. I can't recall which one was it, but i believe 560SEC had the rear panel trim that were extremely difficult to find. W124 wagon, the rear tail lights were next to impossible to find. W140....eh, I'm not sure there is any difficult to find part. They're flooding the junkyards around here, so you shouldn't be lacking.

Next step up is W124 (of course) and W210. Newer use progressively more plastic, but it's not all that bad. Simple to work on, reliable.

--1997 MB E320 161k
--1998 MB E300TD 280k
--2004 Dodge Ram 5.7L 212k and holding (damn gas guzzler)
--2011 Suzuki DL650 42k
--2007 Honda Rebel CMX250 8k. Crashed, now totalled. Gone...
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 06:44 PM
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The W126 coupe was on my hot list for long time (thanks to "Road house"), but good luck finding one.
W124 somehow did not catch even I think they are good vehicles.
Maybe cast 14 heads gave it bad wrap, maybe missed 4Matic, but fact is that on father's W124 zooming on 30 years all plastics are still usable, when only driver seat at 300k shows noticeable wear. Still I got rid of it because could not stretch my legs in it.
I still think W210 is best bang for the buck even diesel models can reach high prices.



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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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My general rule of thumb is that if it's newer than me, it's probably not worth messing with. There are very few cars my junior that aren't loaded with crappy failure piles of plastic.

It looks like the W126 uses the same engine (M117) as the R107. Am I reading that correctly?
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