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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, I am new to the 123 part of the forum, but my wife just purchased a White 1985 300TD Wagon, it has 135K on the odometer, and runs great, it needs a few things, but runs and drives great. The outside is in rougher condition, but the interior was preserved well. The man said he had posted it on Craigslist the day before.

We saw it on the way to our nephew's house for his birthday and my wife loved it, the car still has to be delivered to our home in PA, but I took two photos of it while we were there, She is going to have a full on restoration of the car done, which I am highly anticipating, I have always loved the W123 Diesels, and my wife wants to convert it to run on Veggie oil. We are going to try and keep as much original as we possibly can during the restoration.

We are completely new to the 123 world, is there anything we should know?
Thank you!
 

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First off, congrats! '85 is a great year for the w123.

135k is considered by many as just having been broken in on these cars. Properly maintained, the OM617 engine will run well for a long time. If it's in nice shape (i.e. nice even compression across all cylinders, little smoke, no oil or coolant consumption, starts well in the cold) I'd recommend not using veggie oil in it. You'd be better off using properly made biodiesel, or regular petroleum diesel with some cetane additive to keep the lubricity up. Unless you're planning on building up your own custom dual tank system using carefully filtered, well heated* oil I'd stay away from veggie. The number one reason these diesels end up in the scrap yards is because people run them into the ground using unheated, poorly filtered oil that has lots of harmful contaminants in it like water, salt, (and glycerin which is why I recommend biodiesel as the glycerin has been chemically removed from it). Anyhow, that's your call on whatever you want to run it on, I'm just putting my $0.02 out there based on what I've seen and know first hand.

*Heated as in before it goes into the injector pump.

Here's some stuff you should do:

It's a wagon so presumably it has SLS. Check the fluid reservoir and make sure you're not running the pump dry. If dirty, flush and fill with fresh hydraulic fluid. Now's a good time to check for leaks and broken components (accumulators, valves, hoses, etc...). The wagon's are know to have "saggy butt" syndrome and the reason is worn out SLS components and/or lack of fluid in the system.

Go over all the rubber/plastic stuff like fuel lines (particularly if you're running biodiesel as it tends to eat up old hoses rather quick), radiator hoses, motor mounts, bushings, brake hoses, vacuum connectors, weather stripping etc... Replace all the fuses for good measure. Kits with the proper old style fuses are on eBay.

Go over the electrical system and be sure it checks out ok. I spent a good part of the first couple years of owning my 240D chasing down stupid electrical problems that all ended up being related to some hack job from a previous owner who didn't know what they were doing.

As for mechanical stuff, if the car hasn't had a good thorough servicing in a while I high recommend changing the oil & filter (+ the 3 o-rings on the canister cap and rod), flushing the transmission & torque converter + a new filter, flush the cooling system using good phosphate-free coolant (I like Zerex G-05), rear differential oil, SLS fluid as already mentioned, lubricate the throttle linkage, change the belts, inspect the brakes all around for unusual wear, worn down pads, seized up calipers, parking break, etc. Also go over the drivetrain components, like flex discs, the center bearing, and the axles (many fail due to cracks opening up in the boots allowing the grease to fly out and letting the joint dry up and seize).
 

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Congrats also - mine is an '84 300 D (Turbo), with 371K at 27 yrs-old.

I'll add my comments about 3 things:

1) the main oil hoses
2) the oil pressure gauge
3) the piston squirters

1) Some specific hoses I'll mention are the 2 that go to/from the oil filter housing, and the oil cooler (like a smaller radiator, to the left of the main one) which is also on the left, but the rear side of the engine. BTW, the filter is replaced by removing the top of the housing, and pulling out the paper/metal filter - also an o-ring around the top, which may or may not stay afixed to the top.

These 2 lines go under the left motor mount and around the left motor shock (yes, the motor itself has 2 shock absorbers - anything to keep the vibrations down), and are a REAL PAIN to replace, even if you undo both engine mounts and engine shocks and lift the engine up a bit.

If they're damp with oil but not leaking any (no drips) you can leave them alone, but my 220D had a hose go bad after ~180k mi and the engine seized before I could shut the engine off after getting to the side of the road. Put in an MB Factory rebuilt myself for $2400 - used my starter (I think), power steering, A/C compressor, air cleaner, and I used a new clutch/bearing/pressure plate that I bought a few years before...a fairly complete engine. And the hoses weren't leaking - just getting old. Not trying to scare you, but it's just something to closely monitor, or else. My 300D's were very damp for several years, so, given the 220D episode, I changed them..and the cooler unfortunately...and the left motor shock...the tip of it snapped while tightening, but I did tighten it too much...I thought the nut was still turning, when in fact it was the stem that was twisting.

If you decide to change the 2 hoses, the removal at the cooler end can be a pain also. For many people, since it's old, either the top or bottom hose end will want to strip when being removed...my bottom one did --- so, new cooler. There are several posts here about the stripping issue.

So, they're just hoses, but they're like the main arteries.

2) I had my 300's oil pressure gauge go bad around 280k miles I think...as in dripping...as in, on my pants down on the shins, and on the carpet when it wasn't hitting my legs. Since I wear black pants a lot, I didn't notice until I started getting oil on things...what a mess. The good news was I discovered the real cause of the leak while it was at home. It couldn't be driven until I found a way to "plug" the line - I disconnected the hose from the back of the instrument cluster, but couldn't find anything to block it...there was just too much pressure..and it leaked a bunch more, but I had something to catch the oil while testing different plugs. Fortunately, I still had the cluster from my "73" 220D, and the oil connector was the same as the "84" 300! I couldn't use the cluster for anything else - waited for the new gauge in the mail, which on these cars is a combo fuel/water/oil set, unlike the 220D, where you could replace each one.

3) Speaking of oil, the 123 diesels (unlike my 73 220D) have oil squirters that spray the underside of the pistons. I don't think it's for turbo's only. If these get blocked the pistons can't cool properly. I don't know how to check them without tearing it down, but it just occurred to me that maybe some people here who have engine heating problems with their diesels might have this as a root cause. Every once in awhile someone will have an overheating problem and have done absolutely everything possible externally (and internally by flushing well) to make it run cooler.

Sorry for the long post, but the diesels have their own stories to tell. From your car list I don't know how much you know about MB diesels, as all your other MB's are gas, but said "I have always loved the W123 Diesels". I've been driving at least 1 diesel at a time since Nov '77. I also had a Chevy Celebrity 4.3l V6 diesel. Not a bad engine either - great mileage - but it had its problems too.
 

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Congrats on the wagon!!
The price of a wvo conversion is too much to be invested in a beater, if your compression is nice and the car is in good shape, start with properly refined biodiesel, then after 6 months decide if you guys wanna venture into wvo. Matt is right, first timers kill w123s w/wvo conversions. As I said, big investment if the car wouldn't be driven a lot.
I recommend you to be familiar with the car first, and with all the work to do on it already.
I have used B100 only for more than a year and I couldn't justify economically a conversion, biodiesel is cheap enough to save me headaches and backaches (heavy oil containers).
My 2 cents assuming that you are new to wvo conversions.
Bless!
 

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Congrats on the wagon!!
The price of a wvo conversion is too much to be invested in a beater, if your compression is nice and the car is in good shape, start with properly refined biodiesel, then after 6 months decide if you guys wanna venture into wvo. Matt is right, first timers kill w123s w/wvo conversions. As I said, big investment if the car wouldn't be driven a lot.
I recommend you to be familiar with the car first, and with all the work to do on it already.
I have used B100 only for more than a year and I couldn't justify economically a conversion, biodiesel is cheap enough to save me headaches and backaches (heavy oil containers).
My 2 cents assuming that you are new to wvo conversions.
Bless!
That is good advice. I bought my car with the intention of doing WVO and I am very happily running b100 (when my car runs, that is).
 

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Parents own a 1984 Mercedes 300TD with 140,000 miles, and in excellent condition what could they sell it for?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thank you everyone for your suggestions!

It just arrived to our home about 3 hours ago, we have since been driving it around looking at it, and admiring all of the features and beauty. Not once did the engine over heat
Stall, or fail to start. The tranmission, shifts somewhat on the stronger side, but I checked the fluid and it is red and there is no burning smell apparent, most likely just a modulator issue. I am very happy with this car.

What is going to happen with this car is:

1. We are going to bring it to a friend who restores cars (gas and diesels for over 40 years) he and his 2 sons are going to do all of the dirty work, and we are going to manage it. Me and my wife have taken 2 weeks off of work to watch the process and get all of the parts needed.

2. The engine is going to be removed and looked over, Valve adjustments, gaskets, seals, and cleaning. Other Parts replaced as neccesary.

3. The whole interior is going to be removed and cleaned. Door panels, seats, dash, you name it. All seals will be replaced. Other Parts replaced as neccesary.

4. The body is going to be removed from the frame, inspected, repairing all rusted areas (frame and body) the whole under-belly of the car is going to be Re-undercoated, and the body is going to have the dents and dings pulled and then, re-painted, all exterior parts polished, or re-chromed. Other parts replaced as neccesary.

5. The rims are going to be polished and cleaned as much as possible, and the suspension is going to be taken care of.

6. The whole vehicle will be re-assembled.

We have decided not to convert her to Veggie oil. (It would add on another 4 days and about 2000$ to convert) also, we do not know where we would get the Veggie oil from. So it I going to become a Bio-Diesel vehicle.
The total estimated cost to restore this 300, we worked out to be around 45,000-50,000 US dollars.
If anyone has any more suggestions as to what should be replaced I really appreciate it!

Thanks again everyone!,
~ James.
 

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Thank you everyone for your suggestions!

It just arrived to our home about 3 hours ago, we have since been driving it around looking at it, and admiring all of the features and beauty. Not once did the engine over heat
Stall, or fail to start. The tranmission, shifts somewhat on the stronger side, but I checked the fluid and it is red and there is no burning smell apparent, most likely just a modulator issue. I am very happy with this car.

What is going to happen with this car is:

1. We are going to bring it to a friend who restores cars (gas and diesels for over 40 years) he and his 2 sons are going to do all of the dirty work, and we are going to manage it. Me and my wife have taken 2 weeks off of work to watch the process and get all of the parts needed.

2. The engine is going to be removed and looked over, Valve adjustments, gaskets, seals, and cleaning. Other Parts replaced as neccesary.

3. The whole interior is going to be removed and cleaned. Door panels, seats, dash, you name it. All seals will be replaced. Other Parts replaced as neccesary.

4. The body is going to be removed from the frame, inspected, repairing all rusted areas (frame and body) the whole under-belly of the car is going to be Re-undercoated, and the body is going to have the dents and dings pulled and then, re-painted, all exterior parts polished, or re-chromed. Other parts replaced as neccesary.

5. The rims are going to be polished and cleaned as much as possible, and the suspension is going to be taken care of.

6. The whole vehicle will be re-assembled.

We have decided not to convert her to Veggie oil. (It would add on another 4 days and about 2000$ to convert) also, we do not know where we would get the Veggie oil from. So it I going to become a Bio-Diesel vehicle.
The total estimated cost to restore this 300 (if all goes as planned), we worked out to be around 45,000-50,000 US dollars. Which is what we were hoping the price range would be.

If anyone has any more suggestions as to what should be replaced I really appreciate it!

Thanks again everyone!,
~ James.
James- have you or the people doing the work ever owned a w123? If not then there is no reason for 98% of the work you propose. Remove the engine? WHY? If it runs great then there is certainly no need to remove it. Most things that need to be done can be done without removing the engine. Do you know how to remove the entire interior? You'll most likely break something that works now. You can clean nearly everything without having to remove it either. Take the body off the frame? Huh? Did you win the lotto? Why?

Much better to start slow and ease into making your wagon the wagon you really want it to be. As someone who has owned 7 older MB's in the last decade- including three of these wagons- one is my daily driver and the other is my wife's garage queen- what you propose is silly and counter productive. Give it a great cleaning and the drive it until you find the things which do not function as designed and then fix them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
James- have you or the people doing the work ever owned a w123? If not then there is no reason for 98% of the work you propose. Remove the engine? WHY? If it runs great then there is certainly no need to remove it. Most things that need to be done can be done without removing the engine. Do you know how to remove the entire interior? You'll most likely break something that works now. You can clean nearly everything without having to remove it either. Take the body off the frame? Huh? Did you win the lotto? Why?

Much better to start slow and ease into making your wagon the wagon you really want it to be. As someone who has owned 7 older MB's in the last decade- including three of these wagons- one is my daily driver and the other is my wife's garage queen- what you propose is silly and counter productive. Give it a great cleaning and the drive it until you find the things which do not function as designed and then fix them.
No, I have never owned a W123 Before, but my wife's father had one when she was a child and has always wanted one since. No, the people working on the car do not specifically own a W123, but they own an older similar diesel Mercedes.

His two sons own a shop down the street from his fathers, they do body and interior work specifically, they have been doing that for about 15 years now. I have seen some of the work they do and it is exceptionally well, along with their father, who used to be a mechanic for a Mercedes dealership from the 1970's up until the 1990's then, he went and became an indy mechanic. He did engine work on my 16V and their sons did some dent pulling on it.

Like I said, they will be doing all of the dirty work, me and my wife will be looking over it, also as I mentioned, my wife has always wanted another Mercedes diesel wagon, like her father had. We also wanted to do something fun, and have a project to do. No, niether my wife or myself have won the lottery. :thumbsup:

She wants to make this car our childrens first car when they get their license in a few years, that is why she wants this to be perfect. For the time being after everything is finished, she will be driving it almost daily to her work.

I have had a good experience with older Mercedes vehicles now, and in the past as well. I do not believe what we are doing is not silly and counter productive. But I do appreciate your suggestion.
I should have explained the reasoning before hand, I apologize.

Thank you everyone!
~James
 

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$45-50 thousand for this job and you've never owned a w123. This is why benzworld is full of kOOks and no one takes the site seriously. Did you stay at a Holiday inn lately?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
$45-50 thousand for this job and you've never owned a w123. This is why benzworld is full of kOOks and no one takes the site seriously. Did you stay at a Holiday inn lately?
That was the estimated cost, that does not mean it will be the actual cost, could be less, could be more.

I take this site very seriously, I wanted suggestions from people to tell me what too look for in these cars, and what should be replaced or repaired.

I don't underdstand? What is so special about a Holiday Inn? :confused:
 

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I have seen mint w123 on eBay for less than 15k, really nice cars!

I guess people is just trying to help you, but in a forum everybody feels free to joke around and be sarcastic... Which is fun and funny, just take the advice and the extra tone with a grain of salt.

50k would get you a fleet of wagons in awesome shape, no need to fix them.

However, it's fun to restore and you are entitled to do as you wish with your money. Aren't you? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have seen mint w123 on eBay for less than 15k, really nice cars!

I guess people is just trying to help you, but in a forum everybody feels free to joke around and be sarcastic... Which is fun and funny, just take the advice and the extra tone with a grain of salt.

50k would get you a fleet of wagons in awesome shape, no need to fix them.

However, it's fun to restore and you are entitled to do as you wish with your money. Aren't you? ;)
I understand he is joking around, I was making a joke as well, that may or may not have been a rhetorical question but Yes, everyone is entitled to do as they wish with their money.

I know it sounds llike an irrational idea to do this, but like you said restoring is fun and we wanted a project that we could have fun and enjoy, our children want to help with it to, which is good because this will be their car when they get older.

So it will be fun for the whole family! :thumbsup:

Thanks again everyone,
~James
 

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You should be shooting to spend 5-8k at the most, mainly for mechanical maintenance and maybe body prep to clear out any rust areas and dents. Get a nice but not expensive paint job ($2-3k), and then go out and drive.

If you want to spend 45-50k, I suggest you dump the car and shop for one already restored at about 12k.
 

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Sharp as a bowling ball:
In the mid-2000s, Holiday Inn Express began producing humorous television commercials featuring "average Joes" performing extraordinary activities that only experts would know. The concept attributes these exaggerated abilities to the fact that they "stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night". The campaign reflects the brand's slogan "Stay Smart" which is still in use today.

Someone else is doing the work yet it's a family project? Huh?
You can buy a nearly perfect one for less than $15k and you are willing to spend $45-50K? Huh?
I no longer believe this thread to be credible, nor that the OP is speaking with truth.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
We did our math over and it came out different, VERY different. The total cost will be about 13-15K, some where in the process we did the math wrong and made an error, Oh well it happens. Glad now that I do not have to spend 50K to restore her.

I had a gut feeling that the price was not accurate, and should have went over it a second time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Sharp as a bowling ball:
In the mid-2000s, Holiday Inn Express began producing humorous television commercials featuring "average Joes" performing extraordinary activities that only experts would know. The concept attributes these exaggerated abilities to the fact that they "stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night". The campaign reflects the brand's slogan "Stay Smart" which is still in use today.

Someone else is doing the work yet it's a family project? Huh?
You can buy a nearly perfect one for less than $15k and you are willing to spend $45-50K? Huh?
I no longer believe this thread to be credible, nor that the OP is speaking with truth.
Well, not every one knows everything, now do they.

Just because some one else is doing most of the harder work, does not mean nobody in the family will turn a wrench in the process, I do apologize for not being a professional.

Oh yes, I am not speaking the truth?... If you read the previous post I said, I made an error in the math and went over it again, it came out to be quite a large difference from what the price originally was, now do you believe me? What other parts of this post do you not believe?
 

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Well, not every one knows everything, now do they.

Just because some one else is doing most of the harder work, does not mean nobody in the family will turn a wrench in the process, I do apologize for not being a professional.

Oh yes, I am not speaking the truth?... If you read the previous post I said, I made an error in the math and went over it again, it came out to be quite a large difference from what the price originally was, now do you believe me? What other parts of this post do you not believe?
If you were willing to spend $50K on a wagon which will be worth no more than $10K when finished, and someone else is doing most of the work while calling it a "family" project I believe you are full of baloney or are the epitome of a fool and his money. Now you went over the math it suddenly come out 1/3 the price and you want the public here to believe you are credible? I and we may have been born at night, but it was not last night.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If you were willing to spend $50K on a wagon which will be worth no more than $10K when finished, and someone else is doing most of the work while calling it a "family" project I believe you are full of baloney or are the epitome of a fool and his money. Now you went over the math it suddenly come out 1/3 the price and you want the public here to believe you are credible? I and we may have been born at night, but it was not last night.
I believe it is called an error, which most people in the world make, pretty much everyday of their life, but you do not seem to accept the fact that I made an error. Is it not okay that I went back and found what I did wrong? I find what you are saying is very absurd.

Yes, sure you can say I was willing to spend that much money on restoring the car, but that is alright, because I am entitled to do as I please with it, and would like to make my Wife happy.

Of course as I have said several times previously, everyone will be helping with the project including our children, let me explain in detail, if any of our children want to help remove or install a part or an item on the car, they will, and they have all said they wanted to help, and of course we will be as well.

In my math I have re-traced where I made my error and found out that numerous times I hit multiply instead of adding to the price. I was rushing and was not paying attention to what I was doing on the calculator. (I was getting the prices offline to get an idea of what things will cost, from the list of things we went over that were wrong with the car, including quotes for the paint and such.)

Look, I do apologize for any misconceptions, Especially with you.
I do not want to start off on the wrong side with anyone, we are new to the 123 world, and would like to be on the good side with everyone. Please do not reply to this saying "This is such a sob story" or anything like that, I am serious and am being 100% honset with everyone.
 
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