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'80 300SD (W116), '81 300D, '89 560SL, '01 E320
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was searching for an old w123 but found a w116 instead. I got it up north in Flagstaff for $800, but it has its issues. The body is pretty decent, the interior is good, but it's been sitting a long time and has at least 166k miles. It leaks quite a bit of oil and the a/c doesn't work. After a trip to the mechanic, it seems that it needs:

- Valve cover gasket with adjustment
- Oil filter housing for block
- Sub pan
- and gasket

Not as critical, he says, are:

- Oil cooler hoses (he says maybe this can wait)
- front crank seal
- rear axle boots and axles may need looking at
- A/C compressor and dryer and freon
- belts
- Exhaust hangers

And routine stuff:

- Rear brake pads
- 4 tires
- oil pressure gauge (it leaks inside)
- antenna mast
- and some body and wheel finishing

Whew!

He loves w123's for their simplicity and parts availability, but I have an old one of those and think the w116 is so much classier. He suggests that this car might be a money pit, and he said the engine is so covered with oil that it's impossible to find out where the leaks are coming from until it's cleaned up and some of the parts fixed.

Should I put money into it?

Thanks! here are some pictures:

 

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1999 E320, 1975 450SEL, 1979 280SE
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377 Posts
I know that you are looking for opinions and sometimes, it takes awhile for others to chime in. So, I'll tell you what I think. The car looks nice. You got it for low bucks. If it runs well and drives nice, you are in good shape. You could easily go as much as an additional $1000. and still be ok, value-wise. The diesels are good sellers. People like to convert them to run on cooking oil, etc. I would recommend that you do as much of the work that you can, on your own. These cars are real "nuts and bolts". No computer or complicated electronics, etc. Brakes are easy. Start by cleaning the engine. The valve cover gasket is easy. Once that is done, you'll be able to see where other leaks are. For some reason, diesel engines get real dirty. It could be because the oil is so black all the time. Even right after it's changed, the dipstick comes out with really black oil. Must be the soot. The oil cooler hoses are easy to replace. Exhaust hangers are just rubber rings (I back them up with a "safety wire" tied with them.). Most of your jobs are pretty easy to do. But, if it seems like too much, I'm sure you could get your $800. back by selling it. I would clean up the engine, first. Let us know what you decide to do, and, good luck to you! Peter
 

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1995 C220
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34 Posts
I have one of the same color and I love mine. I hope you keep it and get it into shape. They go a million miles. 160,000 is just the break in period.
 

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'80 300SD (W116), '81 300D, '89 560SL, '01 E320
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, guys. I love driving it around town as it is -- even with the problems it still feels like a solid, majestic car, and rides so smoothly and quietly. So, I ordered some parts for it -- most importantly the valve cover gasket and a new sub pan with gasket and plug/gasket. Got some new strips of chrome for the grille, clips to put a piece of hanging trim back on, and some bulbs for the cluster. I'll clean the engine tomorrow morning and then bring it in for the engine parts. I would like to do it myself, but I don't have a good place to lift it up or drain the oil, so I figure I'll let someone with tools and a lift to do it. I'll take some pictures and keep you up to date.
 

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77 280E, 78 450SEL, 86 300E, 87 300E, 90 300E, 92 400E & 4 scooters
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233 Posts
W123 or W116, they're both fine auto's. I do prefer the W116 for long highway trips and the W123 for runnin around town, but they both to either well.

They're so easy to work on and fix and brings great satisfaction and pride knowing you've got'n it running right. And there's so much help out there for the fixes that are a chalenge. Besides, it's proly woth $2K in parts!
 

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S430 103K; E320 Wagon 143K
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626 Posts
I would put money into it, but no more than $1,000 to $1,500 and that should yield a good daily driver if you do most of the work yourself.

I put many miles on a 76 280S commuting between Olympia & Seattle. Mine was Caledonian Green with Ivory leather and a very comfortable freeway cruiser. Lost when the wife & I survived a low speed, near head on collision with a City Transit Bus in it. We were unscathed except for seat belt bruising across the chest. Don
 
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