Owning a Rust Free '72 W115 220 Manual/ '73 230.4 Automatic: Advice Needed! - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Vehicle: 1996 W124 E220, 1984 300D
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Owning a Rust Free '72 W115 220 Manual/ '73 230.4 Automatic: Advice Needed!

I currently own a W23 Diesel detailed in this thread:


I've never owned a W115 and am not familiar with the platform or this motor. I've been warned that they rust badly. Ideally, I'd like to purchase a Diesel W115 w/ AC but the odds of finding one that is rust free are lower than winning a lottery.

The car I'm planning to purchase is rust free, single owner and quite pristine. I had the opportunity to inspect it and couldn't find rust anywhere. The engine bay wasn't as pristine but no rust in there. All original interiors bar the radio. It has a Manual transmission.

An alternate, slightly cheaper purchase option would be a single owner, rust free 1973 230.4 with Automatic transmission.

Before I purchased either car , I wanted to know what I can expect in terms of ownership woes? The W123 300d I own has been largely trouble free. Can I expect the same from the W115? I'm assuming your answer will be no - I'm hoping you'll be kind enough to share a detailed, factual explanation for both motors and the car. Thanks!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 09:40 AM
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comparison, the 123 in the replacement for the 115 platform at least here in the states. The 115 was a good strong car but it was a much simpler car with reference to chassis design and front suspension. The 123 just drove better, time is on the side of technology and technology is on the side of better driving cars. Rust happened to all of them as rust proofing wasn't as big of issue in older cars. As neither of these cars are a real new design the only real issue is what strikes your eye the best. It will cost more to maintain the 115 as the later design was less expensive to maintain with suspension/ sub frame design. I worked on both models when they were young and both were good strong cars and both had weaknesses. Drive them both, you might have to hunt a kittle and have them both inspected for obvious mechanical issues...... not by your neighbor but by a mechanic that has been around long enough to know both cars. I know they may be harder to find now days.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-22-2015, 10:02 PM
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Vehicle: 1972 220 D, 1974 450SL, 1995 E300D 2002 S430, 1976 300D, 1986 SDL, 1982 SD
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I loved my manual trans W115. The suspension is the same as used in the R107 (SL) from 1972-1989. The SL is a much heavier car than the W115, so the suspension is very robust for the car. The /8 is also much lighter than the w123, so power delivery is better. For the diesel, no need for a turbo to make the car drive fast enough.

If I were in Bombay I would want the simplest classic car than the most complex. If you can find a rust free manual transmission car with wind up windows and none of the bells or whistles, you will have all the power you need. The E220 is a really complicated car, and the w123 is its predecessor. As Bill said, the /8 is what turned into the w123. It was the first "E" series car. I had a drop dead simple sedan with wind up window, no AC, no Power anything. I could get it to 85mph for extended highway drives. I could also run it on most any compressible fuel, from SVO to kerosene and #2 diesel fuel. If you really had to, you could run motor oil and ATF mix without doing great damage to the injection pump or injectors.

A petrol version of the w114 is not as stout a car, since the carburetors are problematic. The engines are also a bit less robust, as they are not engineered as forgivingly as the diesels. They do run a bit faster than a diesel and have easy access to petrol, but are not very good at mileage. I was able to get from 25-28mpg in my 220d. A petrol engine will get maybe 15-18mpg.

The /8 (114/115) do have rust issues. Any 40 year old car will show some. The /8 is prone to rust at the front and rear footwells at the corners. This is due to failed windscreen shields. The front can also be due to accumulated organic matter behind the fender splash panels. I would remove the panels to see if there is some gunk and rust building there. The trunk floor can also rust from condensation and seal leakage. The spare wheel well gets a plugged weep hole and that can rust. The front air scoop drain holes can get plugged with organic matter and hold water in the firewall. The rubber flaps harden with age and can hold water before they perish and fall off. The USA cars have bad headlamps that allow water intrusion. A full glass headlamp is less prone to rusting behind the headlight bucket.

If the weep holes are all kept clear, the onset of rust and corrosion is limited. A well cared for car that parked indoors and was not driven on salted roads will be far less prone to rusting.

I liked the 220D so much I just picked up a '76 300D to play with last month. It has a whole basket case of issues, but it will be very easy to work on since it is such a simple car. I will be doing lots of rust repair, and I will be spraying the hidden areas with light motor oil to seal moisture away from the metal. Places like door rails, under the body and anywhere paint and light do not show up.


74 450SL - Froggy
'02 s320 - Victor
'86 300SDL - Polei
'82 300SD - Allen

Retired cars
'76 300D - Voldemort
'95 E300D - Cleo
'72 220D - Gump
'87 300SDL - POS SDL

92 300SE - #1 boys ride
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