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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I have an 82' 300TD and it has been running hot. My mechanic tells me to feel the top hose. Cold. Then he tells me to feel the bottom hose. Hot. Ok, so I have a blocked radiator. So I ordered it online and it should be here probably next Monday.

Here's my question: I'm a poor grad student and I've been quoted $150 to put this bastard in. How hard is it to do? I have some basic automotive knowledge and I have done some of my own work before. I understand there will be some spillage and I can be prepared for that. But in regards to removing it and placing a new one it, has any of you done this before?

How hard is it to do?

Secondly:

This car is my bread and butter through grad school. It is my work car and I make a lot of money off what it can do. Until a month ago it has been saving me a bundle due to it's reliability, cheap insurance and registration. But recently I invested $500 to replace a shriveled up gasket in the torque converter and now it has an oil leak from the tube connecting the turbo to the oil pan. My mechanic (who actually drives a 300D) just replaced the rubber o-rings on the tube and...now it leaks 3x as much! It's so oily under there he can't tell where any other possible leaks are coming from until he cleans it all up. I'd say at this point it is about 5 tablespoons worth an hour after the car has been running. Once it cools obviously it thickens and slows the dripping.

Another concern is the rubber blow-by pipe shows a lot of blow by. My mechanic at first said it was pretty normal for a 26-year-old car (198,000 miles on it) but now he's wondering if the blow-by is excessive enough to be leaking out from somewhere?

Makes me wonder about pandora and her box <insert joke here>.

This car has a busy life right now. It went from sitting to running 6 days a week up and down hills and in stop and go conditions from 7:30-6:00 on and off. I would like to think this is a healthy thing for an old diesel. I thought they are healthier when the run often. Only 10% of my driving is on the freeway.

I sometimes can't help but to consider getting rid of it and getting a gasser considering how expensive diesel prices are getting. I also have to confess I'm getting pretty sick of a car that can rarely give me 100%.
 

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1983 240D
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27 Posts
wow

with all that you said, are you sure you want to replace the radiator? I mean, if you start working on this car you should do all or nothing. thats lots of $$ and time. you would definitely need a backup car. if you want to work on old mercedes maybe your car is better as a parts donor for your next one.

sometimes i wonder why i work on my cars.
 

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1979 280CE
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6,118 Posts
Very easy. Just drain it via the plug on the bottom of the rad, disconnect all the hoses, including the tranny cooler hoses(only on auto trannys). Remove the fan shroud by pulling the 2 "S" clips off on the top of the rad and then lift it up and just put it on the other side of the fan. Remove the other 2 "S" clips on the top of the rad and then pull the rad up and out. Good Luck
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thankfully for our mutal friend Curtis AKA "Diametricalbenz" on this forum, I have his 240D in storage in my driveway. It's a win-win situation because he has a safe place for it and I have a second car in case the first fails. However depending on a 74' 240D as a back-up car is probably not reliable either.

I am going to take the car back to the mechanic tomorrow and see if he can easily spot where the leak(s) are coming from. If it seems terminal, then I will probably have to pass it on to the next ethusiast of these cars. If it seems like a relatively minor problem, I'm still tempted to give the car another shot. There is still a lot of stuff that works on the car including the self-leveling suspension (important for my job), vacuum door locks, cruise-control, new axles, and even a/c works well. I just don't know what's happening INSIDE the engine. The leaks are all coming down on the ground in the same place. It is about a foot and a half inwards from the front passenger-side tire.
 

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W-1-2-3 Go!
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16,161 Posts
Pat, looks like your oil drain tube is leaking badly. That's the first I'd suspect when you pointed out where it is.

The radiator thing - think its time for a DIY day :D it will have 6 hoses connected to it. Two for the main upper and lower radiator hoses, another two for the expansion tank, and another two for the transmission cooler lines on a separate but integral radiator down below on each side. While you're at it, if the thermostat has not been replaced now is a good time. I think Curtis had it replaced but that was a long time ago. Did you get a Nissens radiator instead of the Behr? I think your wagon already has the 9 bladed plastic fan so that's good.

If you can find a good car wash with a degreaser (some car wash places don't have one), it's a good time to drop by and hose it down with Simple Green. Just make sure you find a car wash place that's near you, otherwise you'll be spraying cold water onto a hot engine.
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Pat, it's been a long time. Remember my gold 300D? I sold it to a young woman last September. She called two days ago. It got smashed on the street by a DUI. The girl plans to repair it although the damage is well over the $2500 mark. I don't want to see it but she describes it as the back bumper is pushed into the trunk and the rear fender on one side is mangled. Oh man...that car was cherry when I sold it...

Anyway, yeah I'd like to degrease it somehow before my mechanic sees it again tomorrow but the problem is that I have a 30 minute drive to see the guy so I'm sure the oil will seep out all over the place. I'm with Curtis on the possibility that the pipe got misalligned after Curtis's guy worked on it today. I just can't understand how repairing a moderate leak produced a major one in it's place? It just doesn't make sense unless plugging one leak put pressure on another one. But then again...the leak is in the exact same place as the first one. He probably goofed it up a bit. Damn car leaked oil all over the driveway of my highest paying clients! D'oh! Not the first client to get pissed off over one of my diesels!
 

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W-1-2-3 Go!
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Bingo! Maybe plugging it up or fixing it, caused the next weakest link to yield. That, or the fix wasn't done right. It happens, I've been there, done that, myself :D

Sorry to hear about your old gold 300D, yes I remember that (remember our mountain runs too?). That sucks, I hope she gets it fixed properly but I'm sure it won't be the same again.

Maybe your wagon now thinks it's one of your dogs - marking its spot wherever you go :D yank its leash and tell it who's boss!
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
More of an old dog tired of the abuse I put it through everyday so it decided to bite back.

Right in the wallet
 

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W-1-2-3 Go!
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I do remember that wagon had a problem with a rattling sound, and turned out to be the oil return tube if memory serves. Maybe Curtis knows about something along that part of the engine that was leaking when he had it before you?

If it makes you happy, we once did a (pathetic) drag race at near midnight after Curtis and I detailed the wagon. Needless to say it was dead even :D
 

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2003 C320 Coupe\71 220 gas, 4-speed\95 Talon TSi AWD\97 J30\79 GS1000S\80 SR500\'69 Datsun 2000
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I'd check the thermostat before diagnosing a "blocked radiator". Has any kind of maintenance been done on the cooling system? It's very unlikely your radiator has developed a "blockage".
If you do need one, I recommend radiators.com
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm baaaack!

So the radiator was indeed junk so it was good to have it replaced. However now the car has a unhealthy vibration at idle which worsens when I turn the a/c on (which probably drops the rpm further). It wasn't present prior to replacing the radiator.

So here's a possible culprit: My mechanic called and said even with the new radiator which improved cooling a bit, the car was still running a little warm (no idea what temp he determines as too hot). So he put a customized thermostat which he removes the pin on the thermostat so it always allows some coolant to flow.

Now I think I have the opposite problem. The car runs between 40-60 degrees with it hitting 80 degrees maximum when the car is going uphill or on the freeway. So I would point a suspicious finger at the car running too cold which causes the shaking...however!

Before anything was done, the car did not shake when it was ice-cold in the morning and even when it hits 80 degrees now it still shakes at idle.

Another variable and confession: I do mix a blend of diesel and veg oil into the tank about 40% veg maximum to cut down on the ridiculous fuel prices. The car always ran fine on this blend but now I'm wondering how it's coping with running on it with a colder running engine. No hate mail from the diesel purists please regarding usage of veg. I've heard it all before and I fully understand the risks.

So I ran the tank down to the minimum and ran it on pure diesel. Still shakes. When I put my hand against the flow of exhaust I don't feel any missing--the flow is solid

So it seems like I have a mystery on my hands.

Other options I'm considering:

*Clogged fuel injector--maybe time for a diesel purge?

*At idle the fuel system is struggling to keep fuel flowing optimally--however it's been hot
out lately so that thins the fuel further which should make the car run better

* Differential diagnosis: Maybe a shaky motor mount?

It's a pain but I might install a proper thermostat and see what happens. I'm concerned about carbonization due to the lower temps.
 

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What temperature did it run at prior to your mechanic installing the custom thermostat? My car runs around 82-83ish, with hot outside temps (100F) the temp gauge reaches around 90 but holds it there. I have a relatively new radiator as well and a stock thermostat. I forgot what temp it opens, it's been two or three years since I opened the thermostat housing.

Your '82 wagon should have the tachometer. What rpm does it run at idle? Mine also shakes a bit, but I know it's time for new mounts on mine.

See if you can adjust the rack dampener bolt at the back of the IP. You'll need a 12mm and a 14mm open end wrench. 14mm for the lock nut, 12mm for the bolt itself. Adjust it when the engine is idling, until it smoothens out.
 

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'77 6.9, 74 240D, 96 Ram 5.9L Cummins
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The motor mounts were changed about a year ago on that car.

I guess a diesel purge wouldn't hurt. I haven't driven the car in a few months compared to how it is now so it's tough to compare. I lived in that thing for pretty much all of 2007.
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Actually the tach is one of the things which isn't working on the car. The car used to run in the 90-100 degree range and sometimes hotter before I replaced the radiator. When it ran at those temps the temp gauge jumped erratically sometimes jumping up to 120 then down to 100 and so forth. Now that it runs cool it no longer does that.

I can't recall where and what a rack dampner is
 

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The rack dampner is behind the IP, close to the oil filter. It smoothens out the idling especially with the AC on. Just be careful though, adjusting it on a running engine can be tricky with the hot parts nearby.
 

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radiator

OK, so I have an 82' 300TD and it has been running hot. My mechanic tells me to feel the top hose. Cold. Then he tells me to feel the bottom hose. Hot. Ok, so I have a blocked radiator. So I ordered it online and it should be here probably next Monday.

Here's my question: I'm a poor grad student and I've been quoted $150 to put this bastard in. How hard is it to do? I have some basic automotive knowledge and I have done some of my own work before. I understand there will be some spillage and I can be prepared for that. But in regards to removing it and placing a new one it, has any of you done this before?

How hard is it to do?

Secondly:

This car is my bread and butter through grad school. It is my work car and I make a lot of money off what it can do. Until a month ago it has been saving me a bundle due to it's reliability, cheap insurance and registration. But recently I invested $500 to replace a shriveled up gasket in the torque converter and now it has an oil leak from the tube connecting the turbo to the oil pan. My mechanic (who actually drives a 300D) just replaced the rubber o-rings on the tube and...now it leaks 3x as much! It's so oily under there he can't tell where any other possible leaks are coming from until he cleans it all up. I'd say at this point it is about 5 tablespoons worth an hour after the car has been running. Once it cools obviously it thickens and slows the dripping.

Another concern is the rubber blow-by pipe shows a lot of blow by. My mechanic at first said it was pretty normal for a 26-year-old car (198,000 miles on it) but now he's wondering if the blow-by is excessive enough to be leaking out from somewhere?

Makes me wonder about pandora and her box <insert joke here>.

This car has a busy life right now. It went from sitting to running 6 days a week up and down hills and in stop and go conditions from 7:30-6:00 on and off. I would like to think this is a healthy thing for an old diesel. I thought they are healthier when the run often. Only 10% of my driving is on the freeway.

I sometimes can't help but to consider getting rid of it and getting a gasser considering how expensive diesel prices are getting. I also have to confess I'm getting pretty sick of a car that can rarely give me 100%.

I'd have to check my manual(loaned out) to be sure but I think the return from the radiator is the top hose and I would guess it is far more likely that you have a faulty thermostat($15) which should be replaced every 3-4 years anyway as a maintenance item. The radiators come out easily if you can get the fan bolts off which can be terrible and require buying or building a box end wrench with a notch ground out. MB used steel bolts in aluminum housings which causes dissimilar metal corrosion and can mean getting bolts and nuts out very tough. Use lots of PB blaster and a propane torch and success is eventually ensured. The radiators weak link is the upper plastic neck which deteriorates with age and dies fast with anything but MB coolant. Do not use anything but distilled water and overpriced MB coolant after you flush the system. Now that you have the thermostat housing off you should replace the timing chain tensioner and do the timing chain!! You did check the cam timing when you last adjusted your valves didn't you?!!! Are you getting the picture? These are great cars but require a lot a routine maintenance and if you aren't independently wealthy or a good mechanic they aren't the right car for most people. My 1996 Bonneville with a 3.8 with 200K gets 30 mpg easily and has 210 hp and burns no oil between changes. My 4 cyl Camry does almost as well and neither of these two ever have required anything other than routine maintenance. I love my MBdiesels but until the $1 differential between diesel and gas narrows, I'm driving the Pontiac and the Camry.
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh doi! The shaking was from one of the three rubber bushings under the airfilter canister. Why didn't I think of that? I've had those things break all the time! Ended up being a 50 cent fix
 

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'77 6.9, 74 240D, 96 Ram 5.9L Cummins
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I replaced those things only a year ago....in fact that was the 3rd replaced item on the car....other than the return cigar hose which was wet and oily....scary.
 
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