W123 vs. W115 300D Advantages and Disadvantages? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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W123 vs. W115 300D Advantages and Disadvantages?

Looking for a daily driver Mercedes for 7/12 months of the year. Just love the looks of the W115's but not if their unreliable. From what I've heard comparing the two are like a classic vs. tank. Do the W115's have the potential to last just as long as the W123's. Would W115's be considered million mile mules. Now I'm talking about the 300D's only. I've heard though that the W115's are dead simple to maintain for the beginner. What do you guys think I should get? What other questions should I be asking myself?

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 12:08 PM
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I would think the build quality to be similar.

Easier components to work on a 123, however, I haven't owned a 115.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 04:36 PM
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Asking the same question

From what I hear and have experienced, the W123 is a far more modern and convenient vehicle to drive on the daily basis. Parts are easier found, the vehicle is more advanced and more reliable overall. Additionally, the later W123's rust a lot less than the poor W115's.

That being said, now that I have my dream W123, I'm now focused on buying a W115 240d/ 300d with air-conditioning and RHD in the UK.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 07:56 PM
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i kind of doubt the W123 is any more reliable, but it may have more parts availability. if anything the older car will have fewer components, which i like.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 08:47 PM
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You can't assume anymore that parts will be available to order new for the W123.

Parts that I figured would always be available (due to the very high production volume of the model) simply are no longer available direct from Mercedes or anywhere else.

Can't speak to the W115.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, looks like somebody was wondering the same thing. Apparently the W115's handle better, last just as long but are harder to work on. Everything is easier to get at on the W123's.

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w123...3-300ds-2.html

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2015, 09:29 AM
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mechanically similar , i think the body on the 115 is stronger , heater controls more simple , no bad climate control . front suspension easier to deal with on the 115 .115 has a wind wing on front doors .
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2015, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by agillot View Post
mechanically similar , i think the body on the 115 is stronger , heater controls more simple , no bad climate control . front suspension easier to deal with on the 115 .115 has a wind wing on front doors .
Would stronger equate to more reliable. Will last 3,4,500,000 before the engine conks out.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2015, 02:56 PM
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Would stronger equate to more reliable. Will last 3,4,500,000 before the engine conks out.
No car will last that long without reasonable and regular care and feeding. A petrol engine will be dead in the 200k range, where a diesel, taken care of, will run almost good as new at that mileage. You do need to adjust valves, deal with injectors, glow plugs, gaskets, seals and other normal wear items to get big miles. Transmission death around 200k is a given, and will be expensive enough to doom a car. Any car.

The w114/115 has a much lighter body, so gets more bang for the HP. The w123 is massive and taxes the lighter engines (240D, 230). The W123 got turbo bump to compensate for loss of giddy-up in the early 1980's. The 1976 300D (w115) is a "faster" car than the 77-81 w123. A manual transmission will increase power at the pedal.

Reliable in relation to a 30/40 year old car is subjective. If the previous occupants took very good care and serviced it properly, then it would be VERY reliable. An abused and misused car will be good for parts mostly. The maintenance cost for the car will normally be in the $1k per annum range. Some times more, some less. Depends on what breaks/ages out.

I like to get fresh filters and fluids for all new to me cars. All fuses get replaced with new (cheap insurance). That way I have a baseline to work with. Belts and hoses are next on the list if they look aged. Pull up all carpets and padding to find rust that is simple to deal with. Bad rust is a no go on purchase.

Known issues for a /8 are rust in the cabin corners and floor. The front fender has a mud shield that holds wet muck against the metal. This rots out the corners at the front. The leaking windscreen seals ooze water into both the rear footwell as well as front wells. Trunk also sucks up water which leads to rusted floor. Poor seals at the headlights can rust the bucket behind them.

Climate control is very simple and almost impossible to mess up. No vacuum to screw with. The W123 has vac pots and electronic that are an issue when they fail. The big fail point for the /8 is the heater fan. The car is built around it. Shop time to fix is 15 hours. Luckily, the system is analog and forward movement will push air over the heat exchanger, so you get some heat at all times. The fan just moves air for the defog.

If you can live without AC and the "modern" features, the w115 is my choice. Yank the AC and the rest so you do not need to repair them.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2015, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by redghost View Post
No car will last that long without reasonable and regular care and feeding. A petrol engine will be dead in the 200k range
Not if it's an M119 V8, this one recently turned over 590,000 miles and is still on the original engine and transmission:
OWNER - DrP **High Mileage E500**

My own 94 E420 with M119 has a mere 237,000 miles on it and also is still on the original transmission. Engine is still eerily silent at idle and doesn't use a drop of oil between changes. Don
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