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1985 300 TD -- given away
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings -- we always hear stories about diesel cars supposedly lasting some outrageous amount of miles. I have no doubt that our cars really do go many miles. Here's the question:

How many miles can one reasonably expect to get from an original diesel engine in a 123? i know that we do get more miles than many could believe, but what are the documented stand-out stories? Everyone calls these cars 500k or even one million mile cars. I know an engine can be rebuilt -- I am talking about original. Everyone quotes huge numbers, but how many miles are people acutally driving before they rebuild?

Brett
 

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Most people experience rather unacceptable blowby by the time the car gets 375k on it. Of course, these cars will run and drive well even with unacceptable blowby. Mileages vary though. If you get a hold of one where the previous owner was obsessive/compulsive, then you may have one that lasts 500k on the original drivetrain without any major mechanical work having been performed. Some people change the oil often and some don't. That's the life of an engine. Timing chain stretch is a good indicator of whether it's been changed at the recommended intervals, and by association is a good way to tell how many miles you're going to get out of it, combining this data with the blowby you can make a guess. I got mine at 150k, 2 deg stretch on orig chain. MB recommends changing the chain at 8 deg. So- if it took 150k to get 2 deg of stretch, then I got a decent car that was maintained somewhat. Also- I got NO cold starting problems whatsoever and I don't use a block heater. I expect 375k out of this engine/tranny. That's a realistic estimate.
 

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83-300D
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116 Posts
bfjones123,

You bring up some good points/questions. A quick overview from my experience I just hit 225,000. The majority of problems that I had were between miles 120,000-170,000 and this was because from 1983-2000 only 108,000 mileser were put on. I had to have the transmission rebuilt and a numerious other problems as well. But I think I finally learned something at around 200,000 miles (last January) I went in for a full tuneup at Mercedes. I know there are plenty of other people who are just as good and a lot cheaper but I just feel better when I go in there and feel like they are doing a good job. After my tuneup I had no problems at all in 2004. I changed the oil ever 5,000. Last month I did have to replace my battery and all my glow plugs. I do plan on going back to Mercedes early next year for another tuneup and will get more things done to it.

Most people will tell you that the car will rust before the engine finally gives up. If you want the car to make it to 300,000 or even higher you need to put some TLC into it. I truly wonder how long mine will last. I have very little rust. Nothing to be concerned about for at least another 5-10 years. At the rate I am driving I will be at 300,000 miles in January of 2008..and How much will it cost to make it to that mileage..only god knows. But I am betting it will cost me about $3,000-$5,000..another rebuilt trans, some type of shocks and struts that will need ot be looked at as well. I imagine a timing chain as well....damn..
 

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1991 300 SE
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Almost 400,000 miles on an original engine and transmission and both work perfectly. I have the service records for my car and she had oil changes every 3000 miles since 1981. The transmission received regular 36,000 mile service. It spent its life in California and Florida, so rust is not an issue. I don’t see why she can’t go another 100,000 miles.
 

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1985 300 TD -- given away
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is great information. Thanks and please keep posting. I am learning much here -- my 1985 300TD only has 83,500 miles. I bought it at 77,000 from the original owner. Your comments are helping plot and plan the future!

Brett
 

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1985 300sd
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445 Posts
That's what I like to hear JDC everything but the oil changes. I never understood how Jiffy Lube got so far with their scam. I have seen an original dealer supplement from Mercedes, given to the technicians which said the oil should be changed every 7500 miles, and this supplement was from 1985!
 

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1984 300CD
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The Blue/Green CD, 105K, I just got has records dating from original purchase, 1984, of being cared for by Mercedes dealers. It has the service stickers inside the driver door jam, the mileage ones, and is not due for a major at MB for another 15K @ 120K. The previous owner had the oil changed every 2K. Plus all the other services recommended by MB at the proper intervals. The MB Maintenance book is signed and stamped by MB and is up to date except, for the last two oil changes and a trans service, he had done at [:eek:)]Jiffy Lube[:eek:)], why he decided to go to them, I don't know. [8D]
My Black CD has 230K orig from NY then FL, has some rust but fixable. Don't know about service. The guy I bought it from said a MB Mechanic's Girl friend drove it and had a long list of repairs, chain, trans, front end rebuild etc. I change the oil @ 5K interval but do all FWY driving. Engine and trans are both strong and the ride solid.[8D]
 

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W-1-2-3 Go!
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I thought I might share some thoughts of mine.

If an owner bought the car new but didn't treat it well (no abuses, just plain non-maintenance), it would last 200,000 miles average, 250,000 miles at most and the engine might start to have blow by. Remember, this is when the engine wasn't maintained well.

However, if the engine was completely cared for, it would last as long as it's being well-taken care of.

So on average you could expect 300,000 miles easily on a mildly-cared for diesel MB engine, 400,000 miles on a moderately-maintained one, and well beyond that for a tediously-maintained engine. But of course that is all theoretical, other factors may get into the picture like ambient temperatures, driving manners, maintenance/fluid changes/valve adjustment/etc...

Just my .02
 

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1982 240D M/T White
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196 Posts
A friend bought a 1979 300D with 405,000 from the original owner, an aerospace engineer.

The original engine, with quite good maintenance in Long Beach, CA, lasted 385,000. Original automatic trans.

"I wore out before the car did". His wife and the original owner were in their 80s and could no longer drive.

I hope for the same with my 1983 240D (manual trans). i am 51 and bought it at 173,000 miles. I am in a walkable neighborhood and use the streetcar often. I drive perhaps 4 times/week.

Alan
 

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1982 300 CDT
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22 Posts
I bought my baby in January of 2004 with 175,000 on her. I've now got 218,000. I'm the second owner. She was maintained, mechanically according to spec. but has a few minor cosmetic issues, mostly related to cracking varnish on the wood and brittle MBTex. I've fixed all of the oil leaks and am working my way through the vacuum leaks, and change fuel filters, oil and oil filters regularly. (Sorry...I change my oil only every 7500...) She starts beautifully and runs like a dream. I drove her round trip from Birmingham, Alabama, to Toledo, OH over Christmas without incident, and averaged 26 mpg.

What's amazing is the self-healing tendancy that these things seem to have. Strange, but I can sometimes fix a minor issue, and another will "fix" itself... almost as if the car is showing me gratitude. Okay... I'm starting to sound like a nut, so I'd better stop here.
 

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1991 300 SE
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82300CDT - 2/7/2005 11:25 AM

(Sorry...I change my oil only every 7500...)
If you’re using synthetic that’s fine. Dino is ok if you let the engine run for more than an hour at least once a week – best on the highway.

What's amazing is the self-healing tendancy that these things seem to have.
I’ve noticed the exact same thing, mostly with weird noises. Usually neglected cars given some TLC will respond by having other problems just go away, it’s part of the unique high build quality of the cars.
 
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