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Discussion Starter #1
I don't own a W123 and I've never owned a Mercedes. My car history involves Hondas, and all servicing for them is done at a dealership.

So I admit that I have little to no mechanical ability, and no real knowledge of W123s.

That being said, for the past year, I've had a desire to own one (a diesel, to be precise), if only to have a bit of a hobby and something to tinker with. I've done some reading, and watched lots of the MercedesSource youtube videos, and I can't help but think "well, that doesn't look _too_ difficult to do."

Now, I don't want a complete project car that I could probably find for $500 or whatever, but I don't want to sink $8500 (or more) into a car that, admittedly, isn't going to see a great deal of use.

That all being said, I don't expect to be able to find a pristine car in my price range (say, something in the $2000 to $4000 range). Nor, quite honestly, is a pristine car the kind of car that I want. I want it to need (but not necessarily require) some work (hence the tinkering aspect of the purchase). But I readily acknowledge my complete lack (to date) of any mechanical knowledge or abilities. Truth be told, I don't even own any wrenches, funnels, voltmeters, or automotive tools of any sort.

So....

When looking at potential cars to purchase, what sort of items or issues should cause a person like me say to myself "yeah, I can fix that," or "woah....that's going to take a lot more work than I can reasonably handle myself" or "that is way beyond my abilities"?

I figure anything cosmetic such as interior trim parts or exterior parts (save, I guess, rust and outright body panel replacements) I could handle on my own. Same with mechanical stuff like doing valve adjustments, glow plug replacements, replacing injectors, and that sort of thing.

But beyond that, I'm a bit loss.

I guess I'm at the point where I don't know what I don't know, but I'd at least like to think that I know what I could handle before I get too deep into thinking about buying a W123.

At the moment, I like the idea of a 240D or 300D, but not a turbo diesel. The simpler, the better, so a manual transmission (which I've never driven since I got my license years ago, but I figure that I can re-learn how to use a clutch and stick shift), manual windows, manual sunroof, etc would win out over automatic and power options.

Any pointers or advice?
 

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2013 MINI Copper S Clubman, '84 300CD-weekend car
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A 240 would be a good candidate.

Manual trans, and HVAC, windows and sunroof maybe.

The others have power everything and an automatic transmission.

Sounds like you'd like to start a new hobby, one that can bring much satisfaction.

Be prepared, however, to sink money into tools. Yet, these will be used for a lifetime.
 

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1977 W123.123 1995 W124.034
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'83 240D Auto 67k; '83 240D Manual 97k; '83 240D Manual 198k; '83 240D Manual 340k; '81 300D; S420
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Where do you live? Maybe if you live close to someone on the forum you could talk them into taking one for a spin before you commit to buying and get a better idea of what you may or may not want.
 

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1979 & 1985 300D's
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Where do you live? Maybe if you live close to someone on the forum you could talk them into taking one for a spin before you commit to buying and get a better idea of what you may or may not want.
Good idea...

As for the Newbie thing, I'm a newbie to diesels and have found most of the projects I've tackled so far to be fairly painless compared to other cars I've worked on. And with the great DIY guides and DIY-esque communities it's easy to find info and help.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Where do you live? Maybe if you live close to someone on the forum you could talk them into taking one for a spin before you commit to buying and get a better idea of what you may or may not want.
Calgary, currently. But I'm on an expat assignment and may or may not end up back in the States when my visa expires, which, admitedly, somewhat complicates any buying decision.

I figured I could just test drive a few models at various used car lots to see what feels comfortable.
 
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