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I have been considering buying a vintage MB. I've found a beautiful candidate, 1984 300CD 2-door coupe, at a decent price. However, the first time I ever drove a diesel was when I test drove this car. They seem awfully slow to accelerate, and since I live in new York city, this could be a problem. Driving in this city is like a dance, you have to drive like a taxi, darting in and out of lanes as cars double-park, make left turns from right lanes, stop in the middle of the road....well you get the picture.<br> <br> This car has 180k miles on it and I',m told that's nothing for a MBD. Runs very nicely.<br> <br> Any advice? I love the car, I know that Diesel requires some babying, but do I have to learn to drive all over again?
 

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Dear Culprit,<br> <br> I just read your message aloud to my wife, and she says I should tell you that this is a terrible car, don't buy it for any reason... and then somehow get you to give us the phone number of the person who is selling it!<br> Of course I'm kidding/lying. I have owned four of those magnificent cars-- all sedans-- and we both drool at the thought of a coupe. You are safe from us trying to steal it... but only because we live 3,000 miles away, on the Pacific coast!<br> I did used to live (and drive) in NYC however, and the solution to your problem is simple. A diesel is capable of incredible speed and high-end performance (that's why all 18-wheeler trucks are diesel-- think about it), but they are somewhat short of low-speed acceleration, so you solve the problem the same way you would for an under-powered rice burner: simply manually shift into low at stop signs, and step on it (if this car is a manual shift, just let it rev up a bit more than you usually would before letting out the clutch, and stay in each gear a little longer than you would with a gasoline car). At higher speeds, you should have no problem. All four of my cars would do over 100 MPH on level pavement, even the non-turbo 1978 300D and the four-cylinder 1976 240D. My 1979 300SD (turbo) does 120MPH without even breathing hard, and I’m too scared to find out what its top end might be. One other consideration is that these cars take longer to warm up than gasoline engines do, so if you test drove this one cold, you might not have experienced anything near full power.<br> Now for the other performance figures. The 240D got about 45 mpg. My current 1979 300SD turbo gets 36-38mpg. Since diesel (where I live) costs about 75% of what gasoline does, this is the equivalent cost of having a gasoline-powered car which gets 60-70mpg! Not to mention the fact that you are wrapped up in close to two tons of REAL STEEL, capable of surviving accidents which would make pretzels out of most modern cars.<br> Parts, I will admit, do cost a little more than average, but there are several ways around this. For example, the first time I just walked in cold for an oil change, it wound up costing me over $90, as opposed to $29… but I now buy my filters in five-packs from Fram, which reduces their cost to less than 50 cents over standard, and I buy the Chevron Delo 400 multigrade 15/40 weight oil in gallon jugs, so all that remains is finding an honest oil-change place (i.e.: one that won’t charge extra for a non-standard filter which you are supplying!).<br> As far as reliability and endurance goes, consider these figures: I bought my 1976 240D in 1978 (I got it dirt cheap because the ditzy shiksa from New York that owned it had run it into a fire hydrant and busted the right front spindle). In 1994, with just short of 600,000 (yes, that’s SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND) miles on it, I returned the car to New York by giving it to my sister-in-law, WHO IS STILL DRIVING IT TODAY! In 1983, I bought my 1980 300TD. In 1988, with 400,000 miles on it, still running like a clock, I sold it for $500 more than I had paid for it. In 1989, I was absolutely desperate for a second car, and paid $400 for a 1978 300D non-turbo. I got it this cheap because it had over 500,000 miles on it, and ran like this at low rpm: thud, thud, thud, thud, CHUFF!, to the accompaniment of a huge cloud of blue-gray smoke as the fifth cylinder mis-fired (the mechanic at the dealership confidently predicted that I would be lucky to make it home). He didn’t know MB diesels. I drove that car for thirty thousand miles before my 16 year-old daughter forgot to put oil in it and seized it up. At that point, I decided that the car was worth the $2,800 cost of an engine rebuild, did so, and got 400,000 more miles out of her before losing her in a nasty divorce in 1999 (but she’s still running fine, says her new owner, the local german car mechanic who stole her from my ex-wife with a mechanic’s lien!). I bought my current 1979 300SD Turbo in 2000 with 350,000 miles already on her for $1,000 US (her body has some bondo where the previous owner repaired rust spots in the fender wells)… but she runs like a scared rabbit. I recently took her on a trip over the Canadian Rockies and back—and still got almost 40mpg for the trip!<br> Just to pass on one warning that I have received from people I trust (one of them moderates this forum), I am informed that you should plan on rebuilding the transmission on these cars every 150 to 200 thousand miles($500-$1,000 if you know an honest mechanic)… but I change the filter and seal every 30,000 miles, with a complete fluid change at every 60 to 100 thousand, and I HAVE NEVER HAD A TRANSMISSION PROBLEM OF ANY KIND, except for one car where the “reverse� light switch failed (big problem, duh! Rather than spend hundreds to open up the transmission, I cobbled up a $1.25 pressure switch from radio shack in the shifter housing, and it worked just fine).<br> You know, come to think of it, my wife wouldn’t mind a trip to New York… why don’t you forget about everything I just said and send me the seller’s phone number? (Just kidding!)<br> Good luck with your new coupe!<br> Rex<br>
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am currently driving a 1982 240-D and am about to sell it. It has 200,246 miles on it so I need an upgrade. Can anyone provide good experience on the next upgrade for Diesels? I'm considering 95-99 MB Diesels and look forward to the next level with a more spirited engine. Please respond.<br> <br> Thanks.
 

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Dear LS,<br> <br> I'm really rushed at the moment, but time for a quick note: you're absolutely right, the 240D's single weakness is it's relative gutlessness. If you are intending to stick with a diesel (as I would), the 300-series models, particularly the turbo-charged ones, do have somewhat more pep, but it mostly translates into a higher top end rather than any really significant increase in 'get-up-and-go' power.<br> Now I drive a LOT (well in excess of 100,000 miles per year, on the average), and I wouldn't trade the reliability and economy of an MB diesel for anything, but their gasoline-powered cars do provide a significant increase in take-off power. Their economy and reliability, however, is a downgrade from their diesel models (although it's still a lot better than almost any other car).<br> On your other question, I personally think that the 1990 and newer models have too many fancy additions-- which they haven't worked the bugs out of yet! This viewpoint is echoed by several friends of mine who have bought 1990 and newer-- and then I have to listen to several years of their complaints and wonderings why they ever traded in their old reliable darlings! However, please bear in mind that I have never owned a 1990 or later myself, so my viewpoint is suspect, due to C.O.F.S. (Conservative Old Fart Syndrome!). Ask Ed (on this forum)... he has forgotten more about MB models than I will ever learn.<br> Come to think of it, I have an email acquaintance who currently drives the newer MB's in Europe a lot. His name is Chuck Voeltzel , and he has (if memory serves me correctly), an ML320 and a C230 Sports Coupe. Send me your email address (mine is [email protected]), and I’ll give him a shout.<br> I’d better go see what honeydew project (as in “Honey, do this, Honey, do that…â€?) my wife is calling me for, if I want to stay married (as I do!).<br> So long for now,<br> <br> Rex A. Brocki,<br> O.I.C. of dirty jobs, Midshipmite, Bo'suntite, and crew of the Captain's gig!<br>
 

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Dear LS,<br> <br> I also just checked the latest posts, and Ed just resonded to essentially your question (he was being asked what the best later-model diesel was), and here was his response:<br> <br> The last year for the Diesel was 1999, the E 300 TurboDiesel sedan. Even used these are commanding a huge premium. The car he has should do him well as long as the transmission holds out. The engine is good with routine maintenance for 500,000. If he wants a 'newer' model, look at the 1995 E 300 Diesel--not turbo-charged and very reliable. Plan to pay 18,000 for a good one. Too pricey? Find a late 80's 300 SDL. Huge car, still economical. Plan to pay $8,500 for a good one. I have owned at least one of each of these and can tell you the one he has is the easiest to maintain.<br> <br> <br> Note from Rex: 'The one he has' refered to is a mid 1980's 300, one cylinder larger motor than your car!<br> <br> Good Luck,<br> Rex
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was really wondering if anyone in the readers club had any pertinent experience with Diesels from 1992-1997 in the Mercedes line? I'm also curious about costs involved with long term ownership for maintenance. In a previous life I drove Volvo's for 13 years and averaged about $1500-$1800 annually for maintenance. I have been led to believe that maintenance on a Mercedes will be about the same. <br> <br> Any comments? I welcome them.<br> <br> Larry
 

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Dear Larry,

Here are my personal maintenance figures:

1976 240D: $318 for a spindl...


Dear Larry,

Here are my personal maintenance figures:

1976 240D: $318 for a spindle repair at purchase in 1978, then nothing but oil changes for 600,000 (yes, that's SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND) miles, then gave the car to my sister-in-law in 1994 (and she's still driving it today!).

1980 300SD: bought in 1983 for $3,000, nothing but oil changes until I sold it (I wish I hadn't-- I was moving from California to Canada)in 1988 for $3,500.

1978 300D bought for $400 in 1989, because it ran thud, thud, thud, CHUFF!, thud as cylinder number four misfired... drove it for 30,000 in that condition before my daugher siezed it up by not adding oil. $2,800 rebuilt engine, then drove it for 400,000 miles with nothing but oil changes and one $200 power window repair before losing it in a nasty divorce in 1999.

1979 300SD: Bought in 2000 for $1,000 US, needed about $500 worth of electrical work at shop rates (I did it all myself for $50 in parts) at purchase. Nothing but oil changes since, and I'm still driving it.

Make sure to check out Ed's comments on the 1990 and later models which I quoted earlier in this message string.

Good Luck!
Rex
 

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82 no smoke, 87 lots of smoke

I have an 82 300TD with 300,000+ on it and it runs great. Not a whisper of smoke. Very few problems. I just obtained an 87 with 90,000 on it and it has a significant smoke problem. No oil is consumed. Any ideas how to stop the smoking?
 

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Smoke

Dear James,

What colour (sorry about the "u"-- I'm Canadian) is the smoke? Light blue-grey? Black?

Also, what is the exact model (I'm assuming that this is a diesel)?

Good Luck,
Rex
 

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The problem with the excessive smoking turned out to be an inoperative switchover valve ...

The problem with the excessive smoking turned out to be an inoperative switchover valve for the fuel enrichment compensator. Fixed it and all is well.
 

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Smoking Diesel

[:)] Very glad to hear that it worked out well. Since no oil was being used, I figured that it would turn out to be sometyhing repairable (although not necessarily easily diagnosable). As a very wise man once said: SOLVING a problem is usually much easier than IDENTIFYING the problem in the first place!

Good Luck!
Rex
 

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jayrydre66 - 10/27/2005 8:01 PM

I have a 79 300 CD : is it a bio-diesel? For the right price.......
Try googling your model.
 

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jayrydre66 - 10/27/2005 7:01 PM

I have a 79 300 CD : is it a bio-diesel? For the right price.......
It is bio-dieselable. Visit the W123 forum. Lots of them there.
 

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After hearing all the great things about the 300d, sd. I am now looking at a 1991 350sd with 175,000 miles. Is this a good benz? price is great for it.
Just worried about the hight miles. And starting in MN sub zero winters..
 

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84 300sd 85 300 sd 85 300sdl 03 745il bmw 65 mustang 67 mustang, 86 mustang cvt, 91 dodge stealth
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Hi I have a 84 and 85 300sd and absolutely love them both! I drive the 84 more, I paid 1500 on ebay for the 83 and later put 1000 in for the a/c fix and changeover. So far it has been great transportation!. I also own a 2001 grand cherokee and a 2003 bmw 745il. The Benz is great for those long cruisers. So far I have changed the oil and trans fluid and filters and all the old fuses(the copper ones on Ebay kick butt!) that took care of the majority of the gremlins. A little dielectric grease on all the electric circits helped too. If you like to work on cars a mb is for you. If you don't know how to turn a wrench get a new car with a warranty. I think you can find a reliable 300sd for 2000 or less. [:D]
 

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84 300sd 85 300 sd 85 300sdl 03 745il bmw 65 mustang 67 mustang, 86 mustang cvt, 91 dodge stealth
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oh, my 84 starts no problem in below freezing with 280000 miles. The 85 with 358000 you have to plug in or no dice. Your car if it has good compression should start no problem.... Just make sure to keep anti gel in your tank for those REALLY cold nights.
 

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minn500sl - 10/27/2005 10:02 PM

After hearing all the great things about the 300d, sd. I am now looking at a 1991 350sd with 175,000 miles. Is this a good benz? price is great for it.
Just worried about the hight miles. And starting in MN sub zero winters..
Do a search on the 350SD. You will run from it.
 
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