engine reliability - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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engine reliability

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum and in the maket to purchase a vintage MB. My preference is for the 200 series, circa 1960s to early 70s. My interest is in using and tinkering with the car I eventually settle on. I have personal experience and fond memories of a 200 series from the 1960s.

My question is regarding the choice of engines. I am not interested in great performance, but rather reliability and economy. It appears that some models came with either a 4 cylinder (220) or a 6 cylinder (280) w/ carburator or FI. Historically, is one known to be more reliable and durable than the other? Is there a difference in the availability of parts? Your advice is appreciated.

Thank you and best regards, Jim
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 01:37 PM
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Vehicle: 73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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I had a '65 220SEb, and the engine was bulletproof (6 cylinder, fuel injected). The cold start valve was a little shaky, so I had to let it warm up on cold days. As for parts ... never had to buy engine parts, so I'm not sure.

Previous to that, I had a '73 280C, with the dual overhead cam inline 6 - also bulletproof, but the solex carb was finnicky as heck. I replaced it with a weber. Parts for this engine are relatively easy to come buy. Lots of places on the net specialize in Mercedes parts.

I now own a '73 280SE 4.5, and the engine is a tank - almost indestructable! And I'm not sure about parts for this one either - no need for engine work with this car.

Good luck with your Benz!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2006, 10:19 PM
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Both engines you mention are very sturdy. Do a compression check with an eye toward consistency between cylinder readings. However I'd definitely vote for the fuel injection. Less hassle, less often IMHO.

There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey. --John Ruskin
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-21-2006, 09:05 AM
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 11:22 AM
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Vehicle: 1972 220D 4 spd man
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I have a '72 220D and it was running poorly when I got it. I have no history on the car but after a lot of minor stuff, it's running very nicely now. It's a diesel and gets 30mpg. I drive it 55 to 65mph and it's a great in-town car. It will flip a u-turn on any street in town. That thing turns on a dime! And it's geared very low for nice town driving but does ok on the interstate every day at 60 or so. I replaced the glow plugs and injectors, front main seal, all the fuel lines, etc etc. and I handled all that stuff by myself, so I'd recommend this car to someone like you who likes to be in control of your own maintenance work.

They don't make anything like they used to. In fact, they never did.
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