Date registered: Sep 2011
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Engine-less '78 300D
Our daughter owns a very attractive, nearly rust-free '78 300D with an excellent interior out in Washington (we live in Michigan). The car has been sitting in her garage for about three years as her not-so-thoughtful ex-husband ran it out of oil. On a recent visit, I was able to turn the engine, and by putting in five quarts of oil and removing the glow plugs, I was able to spin it on the starter enough to get about 25# oil pressure. ' Had to leave it at that as our trip came to an end. Old battery was not able to charge enough to turn the engine much with the plugs back in, even with the aid of jumpers. And I advised daughter not to invest in a new battery until more can be known.
Daughter has little money but loves the car. She is prepared to sell it as is but would prefer to keep it if possible. Since we left, she got it to her trusted independent Toyota mechanic who told her it would cost $1500 just to diagnose it. An engine rebuild is beyond her means. I've looked around used part sources and see that there are used five-cylinder diesels to be had for anything from $600 and up. While I'm inexperienced with MB, I certainly could swap out the engine, had I the car in my own shop (I consider myself a fairly accomplished amateur Brit car mechanic). But owing to the distance, this is not an option.
It seems to me that for the $1500 diagnostic charge, she could come close to a complete used engine - in and running - or is that unrealistic? I advised her to detail the living daylights out of the car - inside and out - and put it on Craig's List for $1600; prepared to take quite a bit less for it. She just informed me that she put it on CL at $2100 and so far, has an offer of $500.
I know that w123 MBs have their strong followers, but I don't know if this four-door has any particular value. Any advice as to repair or disposition would be gratefully welcomed!