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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter #1
It's funny that I've owned my wagon for a good 5 years now and I've only really used it like a normal car. To work.
Since I've been here I've put 4k into the car. It was repainted, new headgasket and refurbished the head. The head had cracks in it from overheating and all the exhaust valves were bad. Now most of the time I can run the a/c or sit in a traffic jam without nervously watching the temp gauge creep up. It's time.

So I'm considering taking a road trip from Los Angeles into the Sierras. Maybe just me, the dog and the car. Take some beautiful roads, stop and take pictures whenever I feel like it. Find a campsite near a lake and sleep in the back. Probably drive 500 miles a day and explore. Kinda weird because I never travel that way by my self.

Naturally I'm compiling a list of stuff to bring. Spare tire, jack, oil, coolant, lug wrench, fuses, spare fuel filters and tools. Maybe some extra fuel line. The car is in the best shape it's probably been in years. I've even got new brakes, brake lines, master cylinder & tires. Still I worry it will strand me somehow. I also don't have functioning cruise control. That hurts on long trips! I want to do what the "T" in "TD" is for (and it's *not* turbo)

Curious if any of you toured in your diesel this way? Stories and pictures would be fun!
 

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Yeah, I've taken the wagon on numerous camping trips and other journeys. Big sur, Mojave, Mt laguna, Vegas, and a bunch of other places near San Diego.

I installed an OEM full length roof rack which greatly increases cargo space. Can now haul enough gear for four.

Gonna take the wife and kid up to cuyamaca for three days of camping over labor day weekend.

Good times.
 

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1981 W123 300D non turbo, 1992 190E 1.8 <=> 2.0
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Well have fun - the only thing you really need to take is decent breakdown cover. Leave all of the spares and the bits and bobs at home - be at one with your Benz!
 

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1984 300D
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If you are not already a member of one of the Auto Clubs, becom one for the Free towing and other Help.

They will also supply Maps and I think they also have Campsite Guides.
 

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Carcross/Whitehorse car camping

Visited some bike trails in the Yukon last week.
I camped out of the car.

If your tail gate struts are in working order -
it's easy to drape bug netting over the open gate -
makes for pleasant low hassle sleeping.
 

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1982 300 D
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Though I've never been on any extensive trips, in the 7yrs. and 138,000 miles that I've owned my '82 300D, my baby has never failed me. We've been up to NorCal several times, Vegas and Arizona without incident. Go, enjoy, do what you want to do.

Happy trails, 300dster
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter #9
Well I'm almost set. I reserved a site at the Twin Lakes Campground in Mammoth, CA. I'm going to bring Lulu, a friend's dog along. Last time I went up there we were harassed by bears. I've heard that bears are less likely to bother us if they know a dog is in the camp. Lulu is a big girl too. Perfect! My current obstacle is that my starter seems to be sticking when conditions are hot. So I'll get that replaced before I leave on the 24th of this month. I'll have lots of pictures to share!
 

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1985 300D, 1991 190E 2.3, 2002 Winnebago Rialta, 2010 Volvo V70
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I drove my diesel from LA to Seattle the summer after my freshman year of undergrad (1996) with a couple of friends. We did not camp, but stayed with/visited friends in SF, Eugene, Portland, and Seattle.

Just after refueling in Eugene, I noticed the fan was hardly blowing. It soon quit, along with everything else electric. We limped on to Portland and took the car to the Mercedes dealer. The glow plug relay died, leaving the glow plugs on constantly. The strain made short work of the alternator and battery. $700 later we were back on the road to Seattle. Half way to Seattle, the trap disintegrated (must have been that Oregon diesel) and began spitting bits of ceramic into the turbo. So we headed back to Portland. The dealer installed a new trap, exhaust manifold, and turbo. Luckily Mercedes picked up that tab. The car ran like a champ for the rest of the trip. Ironically, the cruise control worked the entire time.
 

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1982 300DT 306,XXX and counting...
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I love driving up in the sierras and going camping... Cant wait to get myself a TD and one of these! SUV Tent

Maybe it would work for you? Either way, HAVE FUN! AND SHARE SOME PHOTOS!
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter #12
I'm beginning to think "Iron Annie" is trying to tell me something. Monday the starter was replaced because it's been getting tricky to engage. Tuesday the injection pump is leaking fuel out of where the #2 hard metal line comes out of the pump. New washer and that's fixed. Wednesday my drivers side window refuses to go back up! I pull in to the Mercedes shop and my mechanic is laughing. Something inside the door broke and needs replacing. In the meantime, window stays up. Fine. I've got a/c!

Well obviously now I'm getting nervous!
I climbed in the back of the car last night and couldn't believe how roomy it is for my 5'10" self. I'm sharing that space with two little wiener dogs!
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter #13
Here are pictures of the leaky fitting, broken door, my car's new paint job and my travel buddies. Oh and I'm pretty well stocked up on supplies if anything were to break. Oil & fluids are located elsewhere inside the car.
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter #15
It was purchased about 6 years ago for the sum of $100. It didn't look it does now, that's for sure! Between my friend Curtis (diametricalbenz) and myself owning it, thousands of dollars have been invested in it. It's far from perfect and still needs work
 

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1982 Mercedes 300TD wagon
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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry for the delay. I came home under the weather and got busy with life.

So here's how my trip went:

I left early and drove north from Los Angeles toward Merced, CA. First thing is somewhere around Gorman, CA I noticed my radio stopped working as well as my clock. Right. Pulled over and replaced fuse. The car ran absolutely brilliantly with the freshly rebuilt head and charged up the infamously steep "Grapevine" hill on Interstate 5. Even better the car ran nice and cool.

By the time I grabbed lunch with the little wiener dogs in Merced, CA, it was getting pretty toasty outside but the a/c held its ground. So this is when the fun stuff starts! Highway 108 AKA The Sonora Highway starts off in Merced (not too pretty) and cuts east across the Sierras ending on highway 395 near the town of Bridgeport, CA. It's about 120 miles of gorgeous scenic highway that goes from desert to country to forest and eventually tops out at the Sonora Pass which is 9,624 ft high.

I started getting in trouble around the town of Strawberry, CA. It was hotter than the blazes of hell, the car had the a/c on and was slowly starting to climb up the Sierras. The engine started getting hot. I shut down the a/c much to the dismay of the dogs, and worriedly watch the temp gauge remain pretty high. There simply wasn't enough speed to cool off the engine. Towards the top, the coolant temp was pegged. I pulled over and coolant was all over the place. I opened the hood, let the car cool down for about 20 minutes. I nursed it to Bridgeport, CA and it was 4 quarts of water low. Running cool again, I drove an hour and a half to Twin Lakes Campground in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

The wagon is awesome for camping especially since my 5'10" body can stretch out fully in the back. The dogs kept the bears away as bears don't like dogs. In fact a park ranger told me a huge black bear recently got chased into the lake by a poodle! At this point my little head cold came back with a vengeance and I was burning with a fever. Opened the sunroof and felt better with the cool air under the stars. I recall thinking how much I've managed to do with this car and how it's one of the few things I own 100%. That was a nice feeling.

Day 2: Coming home

The morning was pretty chilly at the campsite which was over 8,000 feet in elevation. The car wasn't happy starting in the cold and ran a bit rough for the first 5 minutes. We bombed south on highway 395 towards Los Angeles. Five minutes into the return trip I heard a series of clicks under the dash. Then the climate control completely failed only blowing hot air out. I checked the fuses and they were fine. Good-timing for the climate control module to crap out on me. So we drove 330 miles through the Mojave desert and Antelope Valley in 90-100F heat with the windows down. Poor dogs were panting like mad. Oh did I mention my driver's front window refused to go down?

This is the story of taking a 30 year old car on a long trip in harsh conditions. All in all I have to say I'm proud of it. I lost some creature comforts here and there but it got me where I needed to. In total, I drove 840 miles in 36 hours through deserts, over steep mountains and in terrible heat. The best mpg was about 28mpg and I cooked 15 gallons of blended waste vegetable oil with diesel along the trip and saved about $67.50 off my fuel bill. I calculated I did the whole trip on $50 in fuel.

The next morning my 4 year old battery had 45 cold cranking amps remaining. It wouldn't charge and was Dead Dead Dead as a doornail. I dodged a bullet! Bought a new battery and everything was fine again.

I'd happily do it all over again but with a few mechanical improvements!
 

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