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1987 300SDL
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I just purchased a 1987 300SDl that was initially a Florida car that moved up to Maine around 15 years ago. It was inspected by a mechanic up there and we were told that it was in good shape. The owner died and left the car to my mother in law who sold it to me via an auction from their rotary club. I paid $2500 for it. It's in perfect shape as far as the body goes, and the interior is amazing. I had some issues with it so i took it into our mechanic who we've known for 10+ years, an amazing, honest group of guys. There were the normal issues: AC blower not working, headlight connections oxidized, dash lights burnt out, transmission vacuum modulator was not working so it was shifting roughly, drivers seat springs broken, and a loud clanking noise when hitting bumps from the front passenger side wheel. Long story short I fixed a lot of those things, put custom head/tail lights on it, a full custom 3" Magnaflow exhaust on it.
Now the bad: The front left control arm was totally rusted away, the right is in bad shape as far as rust goes. I was told by my mechanics that it's not worth dumping money into trying to fix the rust because eventually I'll lose the battle.
I posted some pics I took of the belly of the beast that shows some of the rust issues. The oil pan is cracked, and the tranny leaks as well. I'm no pro when it comes to DIY car stuff so I'd like some advice! Please!!!
 

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Mercedes
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In all honesty, rust is very difficult to treat and can quickly get expensive to fix properly real fast. Looking at the pictures you posted, the underside is quite rusty. As to the extent of the rust, I can't say with certainty that its "terminal" but I would not be surprised if you find the rust to be in crucial areas (main frame and suspension components). It would be cheaper to start with a clean body W126 and swap your parts into it than to address everything on the car's current body. Since you're not a DIY person, I would probably cut your losses (sell or part the car) and find one thats in better shape.
 

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1983 300 SD, 1991 420 SEL, 1979 300SD
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536 Posts
. i'm in the same boat you're in with my SD (even though the rust on mine is not as bad as yours, mine was a southern car but it sat in a field on a dirt hill for over 5 years before i got it so the rust still got to it. i have a big rust hole in the right frame rail and last week it started to crack and my torsion bar looks like yours) i already purchased a 91 420 SEL as a replacement (totally rust free, yay) and i will keep all the parts from my SD that will fit the SEL. i know it's sad and frustrating but at this point i would let it go; as Dr. Grillz pointed out it's very expensive to treat all that rust and you will never get rid of all it. from reading your post i understand that you are somewhat handy; i would try to salvage all the interior/exterior parts that are in good condition and either hold on to them (if you decide to get another w126) or sell them on ebay to recoup some of your money.
 

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2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe
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That is pretty much the worst case scenario there. I'm sorry, but I would not put in another dollar in that car. Just put in enough to keep it running until you feel you got your money's worth out of it.

$2500.00 is a lot to pay for a car that badly rusted.
 

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1979 280SL, 1984 280SL
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5,654 Posts
Rust is the killer of all old cars. It's the one real deal breaker for me.

But you already own this car. In that case, I would be thinking about ways to keep it roadworthy, economically speaking, or selling it on. Diesels are in a pretty fair demand. Honestly present it for what it is and point out the rust. You will likely find a buyer in the $2500 range that doesn't mind tackling that issue in exchange for a good running, good looking diesel Benz.
 
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