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1991 Civic si
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Discussion Starter #1
I did a search to make sure this isn't a repeat thread, I apologize if i missed one.

I'm considering getting a W123 wagon, preferably an 81-84 this summer. My grandpa had an 81 300sd when i was young and I loved the car as a kid. I love my 1991 civic si (in good shape) but things are starting to go and I drive 400 miles to college and back every spring and fall. so I need something with hauling capability, I also need something that's Deadly reliable (I'm very mechanically incline and can rebuild an engine easy, but when I'm 400 miles away from my tools it's kinda hard)

I was looking to find one in good mechanical, electrical, and cosmetic shape for around $5k, dents and dings are alright, even mismatch body panels add character, but I fear rust. first off for $5k is a good shaped turbo diesel wagon even going to be findable? another issue is parts cost, I'm a starving college student here, I can't afford to spend $1000 on a new climate control system. so while the engines are bomb proof and the trans are alright, hows the rest of the car reliability wise? anything particularity expensive to fix i should be careful of when shopping?

other then that any known issues i should watch for and if anyone know anyone either willing to sell one or buy a 1991 civic si with 140,000 on it with a new head gasket, water pump, and machined head let me know
 

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1979 280CE
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6,118 Posts
Well on diesels you have to worry about vacuum as to gassers you don't. On diesels you do get good mpg but you will always be changing the fuel filters. Why don't you try to find a 280te it is a gas version of a 300td? I have had my 280ce for 15 years and I haven't had it to break down on me or give me major trouble. The only major trouble was when I got a small oil leak from the rear main seal(still leaks). ATTN all diesels i'm not try to put down diesels but I think the more realiable one is a gas car so don't hate me.
 

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Ah, here we go again. Another gas vs diesel debate. Lets not let this thread go down hill, and lets help disworld find a benz. Diesel and gassers both have their advantages and disadvantages, and in the end it all just boils down to personal preference.

Heres a couple of notes...

You should be able to find what your looking for in that price range. Depending on your location, it may be easier or harder.

If you go with a diesel, get a turbo version, 81 to 85.

82 and up have a better climate control system.

Don't count out a sedan if you find a good one; the trunk will hold a huge amount of stuff.

Hang around this forum and it won't take too long to get an idea of the common things to give trouble. It isn't many things, and 99.9% are easily fixed cheaply if you can do the work yourself and find the "correct" aftermarket parts and if there is a Pick-n-Pull near you.

When you find a car, have an indy do a pre-purchase inspection, or go over it head-to-toe yourself. GIve us the low down and any concerns you might have. We'll happily give you opinions on whether or not its worth it.

Drive a few to get the feel of these cars.

And one more thing...as much as I hate to admit it, these cars are not as maintenance free as a Honda. Mercedes are hands on, meaning that they require a little more TLC than Jap cars. This is not a bad thing, but if you're looking for just driving from point A to B and never opening the hood, then a newer car may be better for you.

Jamie
 

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1991 Civic si
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Discussion Starter #4
when it comes to gas v. diesel i could go either way. I think there is a cool factor in the diesel. the only thing really for me for gas is that I'm more familiar with gas engines and maintenance. I agree that a jap car is usually more reliable but mine is becoming a bit of a money pit lately, the list of things the car is going to need is growing. it's nothing that isn't too bad, but to me that car is pure, I don't want to do a 1/2 way job on that car because of just what it is. so although I could fix almost everything cheap on the car, i wouldn't want to.
a merc wagon i think i could have some fun with. If the seats started to tear i wouldn't mind throwing sheep wool covers on them, I couldn't do that with the civic though, little things that need fixing under the hood is fine, even enjoyable. but the big things that would leave me on the side of the road is what matters.
 

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1979 280CE
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Gas and diesel are both very realiable. I don't think that either on would leave you on the side of the road. It is all up to you on weather you want a diesel or gas. Good luck!!
 

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1991 Civic si
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Discussion Starter #7
Black, in good shape, little bits of rust in the usual places, very clean interior (that's what drew me to the car the most) only known issue is the 3rd gear syncro is beginning to go, if u shift into 3rd and the revs are dropping their's no grind. problem with the head was that the previous owner replaced the timing belt but not the water pump, so it leaked the car overheated twice. the head was baked and straightened, got a 3 angle valve job and got almost $1500 in machine work alone, car got a new OEM timing belt and water pump as well as all coolant hoses (including thouse behind the engine) were replaced as well. I've run mobile one in it since and doesn't burn any oil. the alternator went a while ago, i put a new one but their's a computer fault that throws up the alternator light, nothing is wrong except the light. It makes me sad to move away from honda, I have my civic si (my 2nd one, my 1st one being my dad's that i got when i turned 16, so i've owned either a 1990 or 1991 civic si since 1990) my mom has a 2007 civic si sedan, and my dad has a 2004 accord EX V6. so I love and know Honda, but a merc makes since right now.
.


 

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1991 Civic si
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Discussion Starter #9
i can't sell it untill i get something new but i'd be lookin for $3k and i'm in the northwest chicago subarbs about an hour from chicago and an hour from wisconsin
 

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1985 300D
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can't fit it all in the bubble wagon? good luck on the td search, they are getting very expensive and are usually not in the best of shape for the asking price. i searched for a long time to find one ( i think they are the coolest), but they were all over price and pretty worn out. i was very dissapointed and frustrated and then i looked at the sedans. easier to find price wise and conditions were usually much better than the wagons. needless to say, i am happy with my car, no regrets and for the condition it was in and the price i paid, it would be like someone younger than 50 winning the 500 million lottery if you find my car's equivalent! as a testiment to the trunk space, i have put ton of stuff in my trunk, including a full set (tires and all) of wheels in there! my $.02. good luck with your search!
 

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The back seat comes out pretty easy as well you can put a ton of stuff in the back with the seat out....

Wagons are very cool but as noted they are hard to find in nice condition for a reasonable price...few diesel were imported when you compare to the sedan...after 1985 the only diesel wagon was the 1987 124, very expensive as well...Mercedes has not imported a diesel wagon since 1987 so this is keeping prices high. I think you could find a gasser in pretty good shape for a decent price, then again i dont think they are as cool and they dont get the MPG that the diesel does..
Best of luck...You can fit alot of stuff in those civic si's I had one...the backseat goes down and you can load it to the hilt...
 

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1991 Civic si
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Discussion Starter #13
i agree, it does fit alot, but it's not comfortable on long drives at all. and I need something that's a good GT car right now more then a pocket rocket. and when i'm home, i can use my mom's pocket rocket (she just got a 2007 civic si sedan)
 
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