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I'm planning to buy an early to mid-eighties 300SD and I'd like to ask you all a few questions. This will be my first Mercedes, and I know next to nothing about them. Is there a 'best year' model that seems to have the fewest problems? What weak points should I look for, i.e anything that should eliminate the car from consideration due to cost of repairs (esp. parts). I'm mechanically adept and usually do all of maintenance on my cars, from oil changes to water pumps, timing belts/chains, suspension parts, etc., so I'm not too intimidated by most repairs that can be done with hand tools and a good service manual. <br> <br> I can only afford to spend up to about $3000 max on the car. What should I expect for that amount of money in terms of mileage, mechanical condition, overall condition, etc.? <br> <br> What is the typical service life on things like water pumps, timing belts, transmissions, suspension bushings, wheel bearings, etc.? <br> <br> I've never owned a diesel. Is there anything I should be aware of as far as fuel system problems peculiar to diesels? (I live in southern CA with a hot summer coming on, if that matters)<br> <br> Any help, opinions, warnings, or advice are greatly appreciated.<br> <br> Thanks,<br> <br> Gary
 

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I have experience with deisel benzs but not a SD. i had a 300D '79 without a turbo. the SD series had turbos. anyways, make sure the car starts right up, if it kind of turns a few seconds or has a rough start up, the deisel injection pump might be going. thats about a 1000 dollars for a new and about 800 for a rebuilt. i live in Socal as well, its not the summer its the winter, sometimes it might start rough. make sure the glow plug are good, turn the car to the on position, without cranking the starter, and the little glow plug dash indicator should come on and go off pretty quick, if it doesnt the car may need new glow plugs, but thats fairly cheap. All in all, deisel benzs last a lifetime, my mechanic has seen some deisels last 400k miles.
 

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I have a 300 diesel wagon and my company has had about 5 300 SD’s. We used them to drive to Miami every two weeks, about 500 miles each way. The 300sd had a 5-cylinder diesel until 86 I think. In 86 they had to start using a different engine for emission reasons. It seems that people who are interested in reliability and longevity stick with pre 86 cars. These cars are not for everyone. It depends on what your reason for wanting one is. It is true that they are probably one of the most reliable drivetrains on the road today. They still have their problems. If you read this forum you will find that there are about half a dozen problems that most of these cars seem to have at some point in their life. I have not found parts to cost much if any more than parts for any other car I have. Make sure you test drive the car when the engine is cold so you can see how the Trans shifts, They like to slip between second and third gear. This is caused by a vacuum leak or vacuum modulator, but most of them seem to have this problem at some point. Another stroke of genius was to locate the window switches on the flat surface of the center console where people like to spill their coffee. As a result, we have had a lot of trouble with the window switches. These cars ride smooth and feel heavy. They are like a cross between a luxury car and a tractor. They are not bad for long trips. They have a huge non-tilting steering wheel. And the pushbutton climate control is like a video poker machine. You just push one of the buttons and hope for the best. At least you can roll your window down if your window switches are working that day. If you do decide to buy one. Go ahead and change the water pump. All belts, hoses and filters. And just drive the thing. It will probably never leave you on the side of the road.
 

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The tranny goes long before the engine! Be sure to have all the filters changed and ask for service records for the car. I've owned an '84 and loved it. Be sure the sunroof is not stuck. These have a bad habit of freezing up if not used. Good luck and happy hunting!
 

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I have a 300D turbo, a 300SD is just like the 300D except with a longer wheel base and alittle more luxirous. The car will probally last you a very long time. They are smooth riding, quiet for disels, and very durable. I guess the downsides would be is if you tried to drive it during the winter (espically in a place that salts the roads.) This rear wheel drive car does not handle handle well in snow, and the tranny is not the smoothest in the world, but it will last well over 300k miles (mines doing fine at a little over 300k.) I guess you probally wouldnt want the car if you want speed cause they do 0-60 in about 14-16 seconds (with turbo) Great car if you ask me and I would buy another one if I saw it.
 
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