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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I bought an '81 240D a few of months ago, and I have a couple of questions...

The previous owner told me that the odometer is broken and has not moved at all as long as he had it. The odometer reads between 470,000 and 570,000. The first digit is between the 4 and the 5. There is a lot of wear on the seats and the steering wheel and shifter are falling apart, so I can believe that the car has quite a few miles on it, but that still seems a little high. I mean, if the odometer stopped working years ago, and the last owner put another 50,000 miles on it, it could be well over 600,000, which is a little hard to believe. On the other hand, is it possible something caused the odometer to speed up or just jump to some random number and stop? I don't know what kind of security/tamper preventative measures these things have on them. Are they easy to fix?


The top of the antenna is broken off, and I am not sure what type of replacement mast I need. I wrote down all of of the information I could find printed on the box in the trunk, but I'm having trouble finding out if I need the toothed mast, smooth mast, or if this is not the stock antenna assembly that came with the car and I need something else. Here's all the information I have:

Hirsdhmann
automatic antenna
type werk-nr
485 583597
12v
(There might be typos, since I was reading this in the dark with a mirror)
 

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Welcome! My 84 300D Turbo has 371,670 mi. Only had 104,000 at the 11 year point when I bought it. If I had not joined a vanpool 5 years ago I'd have at least another 50,000 - I'm saving at least 10,000+ / year. So, the 470,000 number could be real. It's 70 miles round-trip to work/back here in Atlanta, GA, so if your city has long commutes it's possible.

When these odometers reach e.g. 124,990, the 4 could be a little past itself and have part of the 5 starting to show, especially if it's old. Happens with other makes of cars too. Mine started doing funny stuff with the right-most 9's around 300,000, so I took a piece from the trip odometer and "sort-of" fixed the main one. The root cause was an itty bitty tab on a number wheel somehow broke off. No security stuff, and easy to work on, but if a part is broke you can't get individual parts - just have to be inventive. My 220D's quit because something related to the spinning magnet broke. I went to parts yard and could only find a 230 or 280 gas speedometer, and the magnet part was different, so just put the whole thing in. It registered pretty good!

Can it be sped up? Yes - mine started adding extra 10's with the 9's monkey business. Finally got a new whole speedometer around 310,000.

Sometimes, as in your case, say it is 470,000, the 4 could be starting to turn a little prematurely to the 5. Being an '81, 570,000 is a stretch but possible. 470,000 is absolutely possible.

I also agree with Govert70227.
 

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The turbodiesel is more durable than the 240D. 400.000 to 500.000 miles on a 240D is rare. From what I heard from engine overhaul companies and people who used to run taxi companies was that the 240D/200D-engines had to be overhauled from lack of compression at around 400.000-500.000 km. Exceptions to this rule exist of course.

Premature turning of the first digit isn't very likely, lagging behind is possible. As you can see in the picture below, turning is started on the right:



and the 2 lags a bit behind.
 

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From what I've seen, all older odometers' numbers move from right-left. I'm gonna go with the botched odometer repair job theory.

And in reference to the mileage, Mercedes-Benz doesn't offer a high mileage award for nothin'. There's been more than one W123 to exceed 1,000,000 miles- like this one.
'81 Mercedes with 1 million miles still drives well | ajc.com

When I bought my 300CD, I found an old car alarm wired in the glovebox. Didn't work, unfortunately.
 

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And in reference to the mileage, Mercedes-Benz doesn't offer a high mileage award for nothin'. There's been more than one W123 to exceed 1,000,000 miles- like this one.
'81 Mercedes with 1 million miles still drives well | ajc.com
That one had an engine rebuild, which was common. The car could run for a 1,000,000 miles, but not with the original engine.

A Greek W115 taxi did 4,600,000 km (approx. 2,900,000 miles), but it had 11 engine changes, which calculates at a new engine every 420,000 km.

Proverbial Longevity in 4.6 Million Kilometers
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I guess the odometer will remain a mystery, then. Any information you can give me about the antenna would be very helpful, since the lack of radio reception is driving me crazy. Also, any advice on how I might repair the steering wheel, and seat would be great. They are both really worn and have a few torn seams.
 

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For the antenna mast you may want to contact Becker Autosound: Becker Autosound Website

The steering wheel is something that will need to be replaced. Removal and installation is not difficult once you get the part.

The seats will probably need to be reupholstered or find used seats (cheaper and easier). If you want to reupholster them contact GAHH.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the help. I bought a replacement mast, but when I tried to install it, I discovered that the motorized antenna extender was horribly corroded. I ended up replacing the whole setup with a cheapo aftermarket plastic antenna. I don't think it looks nearly as good, but I don't want to spend another $100 for a new extender. Maybe I'll try cleaning out the old one eventually. First I need to find the source of the leak(s) that have caused my trunk to fill up with water... It looks to be running down from the gas line, and somehow dripping into both the left and right (whatever the name is for the part of the car that is behind the rear wheel well, on the inside?)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh boy, this car is full of surprises!

I was on the freeway the other day when I suddenly heard a very loud buzzing whining sound that seemed to be coming from the front of the car, maybe behind the dashboard? It sounded kind of like the windshield sprayer, except about 10000X louder. It was quite deafening, and it lasted until I came to a stop at a light, which was about 2 minutes later. while it was making this noise, I noticed that the fuel and temperature guages were jiggling back and forth in unison. The random jiggling is not unusual, but I've never seen 2 different guages do the same thing. Also, one of the silver caps on the needle pivot fell off during the ordeal and is now rolling around inside the instrument cluster.


Diesel was the lowest I have ever seen it at $4.03/gal, so I decided to fill it all the way up for the first time, rather than just throwing $20 worth to save weight. I started out completely empty. The gas guage reads 1/3 a tank but apparently that means empty, since it starts running really rough, and last time I let it get that low it stalled at a light and I had to push it the rest of the way to the gas station. Anyway, I was surprised to find out that it only holds 11 gallons. I am confused. Isn't it supposed to hold more than that?
 

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That mileage is quite plausible. I have a w115 220D (OM615) engine with 800,000 miles and I've driven a 240D with 370,000 miles on the odometer.
 
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