Advice - Driving a 79 240D from LA to DC after Sitting for 13 years - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Advice - Driving a 79 240D from LA to DC after Sitting for 13 years

My Step Mom had a 1979 240D to drive when she was out in CA. She passed away and my Dad said that I could use this car for my son to learn how to drive on. I am pretty mechanically inclined but this car has not driven on the CA roads since 2000. The engine was replaced in the mid '90s and has less than 10k miles on it. The body has about 100k miles and in pretty decent shape. Only some rust in front QTR panel. It has been sitting outside and the last time it was started was a little over a year ago. I thought it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive the car back and see some sights along the way and spend some priceless time with my Dad.

AAA will be in our back pocket. I am thinking that we fly out there early in the AM and get the car running with a new battery. Drive the car to a tire center and get some new tires and an oil change. What else?

What do you guys think? Am I nuts?

Thanks
Ed




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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 10:25 AM
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Nope, not nuts I'd be sure to look over all the rubber hoses - brake lines, gas delivery, etc, and make sure the brakes are good to go. I took my 108 from the Denver area to Monterey CA, and made sure I had spare stuff, in case the car crapped itself on the way over (it didn't). I much later drove it from San Diego back to Denver without a hitch, but I kept a full tool kit with me, with spare stuff.

I'm not at all savvy with the diesel engines, but you might look toward an engine compression test, to make sure there aren't obvious issues with the thing. Does it start and run without issues?
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 10:27 AM
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Ed,

One thing I would be concerned about is rust in the bores of the master cylinder and wheel cylinders. My wife's 190 SL was garaged for quite a while and not driven. I suspected the rusty bore problem and when I opened up the brake system that's exactly what I found. If your car has been sitting outside in a humid area the rust may be worse than what I found. It it's been sitting out on the Mojave desert it may be fine.

I don't know of any way to know without opening it up. Rusty bores could chew up the cups causing leaks and loss of breaking.

Because I'm not anal about "genuine" parts it was inexpensive to refresh everything, including the hoses. The remote booster was a rusty mess internally. Instead of paying thousands of $$$$ for a "genuine" part or sending it to one of the Mercedes only rebuilder dillitantes I had it rebuilt at a power brake service facility in Sacramento for less than the do-it-yourself parts would have cost, $220 + the UPS round trip. It doesn't have the "correct" blue paint on the hydraulic cylinder but we don't care as this will be a "driver".

Ray W
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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I don't know if it runs yet. My Step-Uncle is not very knowledgeable about fixing cars. He said he last started it last year. What that entails, I don't know. The battery is dead so he put the charger on the battery and that is about it. I am giving ourselves 1 day to get the car operational. If I am able to work on the car in the driveway, I might just drop off the tires to get new ones and take a look at the brakes and change out the battery in while the tires are getting swapped.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 11:41 AM
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I would not take this to a tire shop to have the oil changed. I would find a knowledgeable mb shop to take it to....I have found out that most tire shops won't even touch the oil filter in these cars....if the vacuum pump diaphragm is rotted you wont have power brakes...also as was said, there is a good chance of rusted brakes, bad master cylinder and if the emergency brake was left on...the brakes could be froze...I don't see it being an issue to drive to DC but sitting for so long....there may be a lot of unforeseen issues

Last edited by cooljjay; 08-13-2013 at 12:36 PM.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 11:43 AM
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If you can change the fuel filters and tank screen I'd suggest that since that is a likely cause of problems with fuel delivery for a car that has sat that long. Ideally you would have the tank dropped and cleaned too but you don;t have time for that it seems. Don't add any fuel system cleaner, at least not until you're back home, because they have been known to pull all the crud off the tank lining and clog filters whereas if you simply left it alone the stuff would remain intact until you plan to remove it by a proper cleaning. Otherwise good luck and enjoy the ride!

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 06:17 PM
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i would ship it .cheaper , no motel , no plane tickets , no bad stuff on road .
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 06:32 PM
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Could be fun, could be not...

Good advice about on fluids, brakes, rubber, hoses, ect.

Dont plan on haulin at 85 mph across the country, take is easy. your going to have to get to know each other.

I would + the take to an independent MB shop and have them give it a once over. plan on 2+ days to get the ship in order before embarking.

Better yet, why not have all the above done well in advance of you going out? rushing it doesnt sound like a prudent idea.

It could very well go smooth, but you should know in advance of getting on the plane.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 07:10 PM
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"Better yet, why not have all the above done well in advance of you going out? rushing it doesnt sound like a prudent idea."

Ed,

I think Dan (Rumb) is right. It's great to make a "barn find" like you did but expecting to drive it home seems pretty optimistic.

Sitting unused causes various mechnaical components to deteriorate. On second thought I'd have it shipped to me or fly out and haul it back on a U-Haul trailer. That may be pricey but not 1/2 as pricey as having it having it roll to a stop in the middle of nowhere with no cell reception, finally getting a tow to some Podunk garage, waiting for a "mechanic" who's never seen one of those to figure it out, wait for parts, etc, etc, etc.

My own son just moved his family from Alabama to here in California in a 2-phase move. First he moved his kids, most of his household possessions and dogs while his wife stayed behind. Then he moved his wife, the rest of his household possessions and a vehicle. He has a resto-rodded 1966 Chevy pickup that he brought during the second phase of the move. After checking his options, that included borrowing my van as a tow vehicle, he flew back to Alabama and rented a U-Haul rig haul the rest of his stuff and to carry his '66 to California because that was the most cost effective option. Another thing on my son's mind was how his '66 would be treated by a car hauler since it's already painted. He got it here intact.

Whatever you decide, have fun with your new project!

Ray W
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 08:01 PM
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I'd suggest that "after sitting for 13 years" I'd begin with a few stretching exercises, maybe a bit of a walk around the park, some aerobics, you know, loosen those muscles up a bit.
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