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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

So I've got a line on an '81 300TD "Turbo-Diesel" Estate Wagon (12/80 build date is '81 model year, right?).
No dents. No rust. No tears. 205K mi.. Owner is asking.....???

Actually, the owner was the friend of a friend and has recently passed away.
The friend is watching over the house while lawyers do their handy work.

From what I've gathered, the car hasn't run in about 3 years.
I did not get a chance to start it or hear it run during my examination of it.

Questions I have that Search Engines could not answer, but I'm hoping you kind people can...

1) The engine is an OM617.952 (according to build tag, inside the driver's door jamb). It looks just fine, but I noticed oil build-up on the block, in the area under the turbocharger.
For now, I'm assuming that the leak is coming from the turbo.
Are they prone to leaking oil?
How simple is the fix?
(FYI: I used to be a mechainc, although I was never "Mercedes Certified")

2) I'm seeing price quotes on the net that run the gamut from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, so whats a good selling/bidding price for this car?
I checked with Kelley and Edmunds but they only go back to 1990.

As I mentioned before, its in very good shape (think "Grandma's Car") and other than the oil leak, there appear to be no problems with it.

Its a 5-cyl. Turbo-diesel w/ auto, sun roof, PS, PB, and power seats (I think).
Interior is dark tan and the ext. colour is a nice shade of blue. Sort of a "denim-ish" slate blue (and if you want to weigh in with the "official" name for that colour, be my guest).


DeanMk
 

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2013 MINI Copper S Clubman, '84 300CD-weekend car
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The turbos are not prone to leak, however, the drain tube back to the oil pan is. There is another return line, this one from the oil separator. If the bottom of the air cleaner housing is not lined up to the return pipe, you'll get oil on the turbo.
The pics show the return pipe and an "O" ring on the air cleaner housing tube that fits into the pipe.

An issue with a wagon is the rear suspension, it's a self leveling hydraulic unit that usually needs work by now, especially since it's been sitting around.

Many folks find the wagon quite handsome and they can command high prices. Condition is going to be a major factor.

That car will have the dreaded servo HVAC unit too. Possibly a vacuum only transmission shifting unit, or perhaps a control rod set up. Both of these are difficult to deal with when malfunctioning.
 

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W-1-2-3 Go!
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The turbos are not prone to leak, however, the drain tube back to the oil pan is. There is another return line, this one from the oil separator. If the bottom of the air cleaner housing is not lined up to the return pipe, you'll get oil on the turbo.
The pics show the return pipe and an "O" ring on the air cleaner housing tube that fits into the pipe.

An issue with a wagon is the rear suspension, it's a self leveling hydraulic unit that usually needs work by now, especially since it's been sitting around.

Many folks find the wagon quite handsome and they can command high prices. Condition is going to be a major factor.

That car will have the dreaded servo HVAC unit too. Possibly a vacuum only transmission shifting unit, or perhaps a control rod set up. Both of these are difficult to deal with when malfunctioning.
Actually the '81 will not have the AC servo. The servo was only up to '80.

Good advice on air cleaner mount and rear suspension info on the estates.

Dean:

The trunk designation "300TD" actually means Touring Diesel, not Turbo Diesel. Touring is to denote it's a wagon. There is no trunk designation on the left side to indicate it's a turbo. That is reserved for the "turbodiesel" badge on the right side.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Hey guys,

Sorry for the late reply, but many thanks for posting the info you did on my prospective purchase.
I've actually been to this thread 3 times, since posting my question, but there never was time to post a thank-you....until now.

Rmac58 - The oil on the block is beneath the turbo, not on it.
Does this still mean the oil drainback pipe may be the culprit? (I assume that's the small metal pipe seen leading from the turbo housing, in one of the pics you posted?).
If so, would I be correct in assuming there may be a gasket, or O-ring, of some kind that has failed, where the pipe attaches to the turbo, allowing the oil to leak out?

MBeige - Thanks for defining "TD". All these years, I had assumed it meant "Turbo-Diesel", since all TD's seemed to have the turbocharged engine installed in them (also, I believe I read that in some publications, at the time the 300TD was introduced in the US).
However, I'm finding out recently that that isn't neccessarily the case.
This would also explain why they took the trouble to actually print the words "Turbo-Diesel" on the opposite side of the hatch. I never did quite understand that practice, but now it makes sense.

A question about the self leveling rear suspension...

While the tires seem a bit low on air, the car is still sitting level.
Does this mean the rear levelers are still doing their job, or does the car have to be running and a load applied to the rear area, in order to find out the condition of the system?




Dean
 

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Discussion Starter #5
...also, I could still use some help with the pricing.

I know condition weighs in heavily with price, and some pics would be of great help.
Unfortunately, I had no camera with me at the time I looked at the car.
Just understand that, besides the oil leak, this car is C-H-E-R-R-Y!
I'm just looking for a general price range.
If it makes any difference, I live in Western Washington state.


Dean
 

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The oil on the block is beneath the turbo, not on it.

Does this still mean the oil drainback pipe may be the culprit?
Possible, but it's hard to say for sure without a photo in this case.


I assume that's the small metal pipe seen leading from the turbo housing, in one of the pics you posted?.
No. The two oil lines visible in his photo show the oil seperator return from the air cleaner (upper, open line), and the oil supply line to the turbo (running above and between the head and turbo, bolted above the turbo bearing). The turbo oil return line will be below the turbo, almost oposite the supply fitting, and has a coupling similar to the oil seperator return line.


If so, would I be correct in assuming there may be a gasket, or O-ring, of some kind that has failed, where the pipe attaches to the turbo, allowing the oil to leak out?
The oil supply and return fittings each have a gasket where bolted to the turbo.
The coupling for the oil return line will need an o-ring, such as in Rmac58's second photo.
 

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The turbo oil return line is composed of two pipes (item #'s 182 & 191) with an "O" ring (#194) a rubber ring (#197) and a gasket (#185).

I don't recall anyone reporting a leak from the top tho, many, including mine, leak at the bottom, "O" ring and/or rubber ring.

As mentioned, pics will help. Yet, if the car is level once the tires are properly inflated, that's a good sign, as far as the SLS is concerned.

You don't have the dreaded HVAC servo unit, good. I was unaware of the year they changed.

How is the rust situation?

You'll need to get it running, clean the fuel system, etc.
 

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I don't think you can evaluate the rear self leveling suspension without starting the car. I would get the car started before buying it. I would expect a nice rust-free car with working SLS to be in the $4000+ range. Add $1000 to fix the A/C. Add $500 to fix the SLS (could be more, could be less), the turbo is probably not an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey guys, thanks a bunch of taking the time to work with me on this.
I think another inspection is in order.

Rmac - Rust is non existant, as far as I can tell.

Scoot - thanks for the pricing info.



Dean
 

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1967 250 SL, 1965 300SE lang
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Scoot - thanks for the pricing info.
You're welcome. It's based on the research I did looking at wagons in California over the last year when I bought my wagon. That number to me means a good driver, decent interior, decent but not beautiful exterior, no rust. I think I paid $4300 for a really nice driver with a really nice interior, non-working AC, SLS valve needed rebuild, dent in front left fender (replaced with a fender from junkyard for $45), wrong radio, 170,000 miles, ran well, service records. The vacuum problems are easy to fix, the SLS is not that difficult to fix, some of the parts are pricey, the AC is more difficult, at least for me.

I was also looking during a rainy season and it was interesting to see just how many cars had wet floors after a storm...

Typically the 3rd row seat is a desired option, I've never used mine.

Regarding year, the later the better. There is an interior upgrade around 1981 or 1982, and 1984 or 1985 has a later and more desirable transmission. California 1985 model will have a little bit of extra crap on it, but it's not a big deal.
 

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I don't think you can evaluate the rear self leveling suspension without starting the car. I would get the car started before buying it. I would expect a nice rust-free car with working SLS to be in the $4000+ range. Add $1000 to fix the A/C. Add $500 to fix the SLS (could be more, could be less), the turbo is probably not an issue.
So you think I can bring my rust free ice cold a/c wagon with 166K to cali and sell it for $4000+? I have no idea of the cali prices but that wouldn't fly here in south florida. There was a very nice wagon FS it didn't move until it got to under $2500.
 

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I paid $2800 for mine...

85 300TD,
rust on bottom of all doors,
leaks (what else is new?),
decent but by no means beautiful interior,
non-working air conditioner
cracked and non-functioning fog lights
vandalised hood star,
204,000 miles
Inspected.

No major repairs aside from new glow plug relay, and 4 dollar vacuum connector in 10 months (11,000 miles) of service.
 

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1985 Euro 300TD Turbo, 1983 Euro 300TD turbo, 1979 Euro 240TD and 1981 300D converted to euro.
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Yeah it really depends what you wanna pay and what you want for it.


I have seen people that will not spend over 500 bux on one of these cars just because they are so old and they want to redo everything anyways. Then i have seen people who will pay full retail for all service and parts just because they know and love these cars.

I would say depending on service records and paint about 1,000-5,000 at current value pricing.
 
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