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Hi forum members, I just helped my friend buy a '78 300D and I want to be sure I'm not giving him bum advice. The car is a normally aspirated model, and as such the company went to great lengths to make the most of limited power. The gearing, specifically. But when set in "D" car starts off in 2nd, and I can't get it to start off in 1st without manually setting it there. Setting it in "S" doesn't put it in 1 at a stop. Also, the kickdown isn't working.

Manually shifting from 1st to "S", then drive gives OK acceleration for freeway entry, but is this too hard on the trans.? We're not talking about big revs, just what you'd normally want to get a good start with this engine's powerband.

The trans. shifts fine, just the right firmness and the shift points (in 'D") are right where I'd like them. Fluid is red and smells right, level is right. The kickdown is probably an easy fix. But even with fixes I like the manual option, and so does he. I've cautioned him to shift easy, and only engage 1st when stopped. Still, is this hard on a Merc. trans, even if done with care? I don't have experience with these cars, and he hasn't gotten the shop manual yet.

The car has 250K on the clock.

Thanks in advance for any tips or dos/don'ts. It is a very nice original driver, very well maintained. A few glitches like the kickdown but otherwise unbelievable. I think he did well buying it, but I want him to see it that way 6 months from now. He's not a gear head and asks me for advice. I would use some slushboxes this way and not think twice about it, but the MB is a mystery, best treated with care until it's a quirks are known.
 

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1983 300D Turbo Diesel
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