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Mercedes 300D Suggestions



  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,692
    It sounds to me like the typical 300D or 300SD -- neglected most of its life and while still "running", you could take it to a mechanic and "total" it in a one-half hour inspection.

    Given the repairs it needs, the car is literally "totalled" isn't worth anything. You might as well just take $1,200, then add the $2,000+ in repairs you were planning, and skip the whole deal and go buy a much better running one for $3,500 -- $5,000.

    Your mechanic is correct---280K miles for a 300D would be very respectable. All this talk of 300K miles and 500K miles always seems to neglect the fact that the car has probably had engine work in the past and god knows what else to keep it running that long...if in fact the claims are even true....I think the most I ever saw on a 300D was about 325K and that's only what the speedo says...I had no idea if it had engine work---I suspect so in the last 25 years.

    In short, keep looking. Miles too high, price too high, and sounds like the turbo might be on the way out if it's sucking oil.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,941
    I'd just do it the right way as shifty mentions, and spend 4-5K and get a really well kept one with no needs. In the long run, you'll be better off...because with neglected MB, something always needs attention.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,692
    The only exception I might make is if the used car is so stunningly beautiful inside and out and of really low mileage, that it would be a shame to junk it....a one in a million "find", I mean.

    Then you might sink some $$ into it because you'll have something on the other end.
  • I appreciate the wise counsel. I guess I'll hold off on this one, and keep looking, even though car searching is a royal PITA.

    Speaking of cars worth $3.5-5K, does a "well-maintained" 1984 300CD with 152 K miles fit the bill? Here's the ad:

    Looks more promising?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,692
    Might be a lot better, but it's a coupe, which limits its utility quite a bit. Did you want a 2-door?
  • > Do you want a 2-door?

    I mainly just want a reasonably cheap/reliable car! Ideally it would run biodiesel, and/or the car would look and handle in a way that makes me happy. I recently bought a dud of a 1991 Toyota Camry V6 (I didn't take it to a mechanic first, which was very stupid of me), and it made me realize that I find those cars just plain boring. Bland-looking, and with a terrible turning radius, too (why do they design cars that can't make tight corners?). I started looking into biodiesels, and saw that mid-80s Mercedes were one of the few options for that.

    After test driving a couple, I also realized that I just like the look of old mercedes a lot better than more recent cars. In fact, the older the better: the car my heart *really* wants to buy is this one:

    But, as I mentioned, I've got no experience fixing cars, and have no idea how much it would cost to maintain that old of a car. A 1980s mercedes seemed like the sweet spot between "old enough to be affordable" and "recent enough to not require lots of specialty mechanical work".

    I don't have a good sense of what's realistic for me to learn how to fix on a car, and how to best go about learning this stuff, short of quitting my job and going to mechanic school. I don't have a garage, or even a driveway, or any tools (I could buy some, of course, but I don't even know what to get). On the plus side, I do learn quickly, and I'm willing to put some effort in.

    In summary, I don't really know what I'm doing, and I'm really wide open as to what car to get. Perhaps I should just be super-thrifty and suck it up and buy some very reliable mid-90s Corolla/Sentra/Civic. But I'm hoping there are more interesting options out there for not much more money and/or effort. I'm not in a huge hurry, at least, so I can troll through craigslist for a while--if only I know what I'm looking for!

    Any advice?


    P.S. Just to make sure everyone knows that I'm insane, my main project these days is to save up and buy a sailboat in a couple of years and sail it around the world for a while. I'm busy learning to sail, and how to fix fiberglass boats, etc. Most sailboat engines are diesels, so I figured I'd start learning about diesel engines now by buying a diesel car. But most of all, I need to save up money for the boat, which is why I've been trying to buy a car on the cheap.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,692
    Taking a mechanic's course or two at night isn't a bad idea. You'd better know all about fixing things if you're going to sail, that's for sure.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,941 a cosmetically perfect W112 300SE LWB with a bad engine or something like that...

    That coupe does look nice, odd color.
  • rleitchrleitch Posts: 3
    My '77 300D's AC has been kaput for a couple of years due to leaking compressor. Recently I also noticed I cannot
    even get outside cool air thru the vents as only hot air comes out. Mech. said Climate control is faulty and replacement is over $1,000. Not an option given that AC is
    also not working. Question is since car is never driven in winter I thought of installing a tap or shut off on incoming coolant hose under the hood which feeds the heater. At least I could get fresh air thru vents. Can I
    simply install the shut off valve or would I have to complete the circuit by bypassing the heater and rerouting
    coolant 'around' the heater? Thanks for advice.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I would just bypass the heater core. Find where the coolant supply hoses for the core enters the firewall, trace them back to their point of origin, then remove them and connect a suitable diameter and length of hose to the origin points.
    This is done typically when the core is leaking, but it will serve your purpose also.
  • nrkmannnrkmann Posts: 7
    Pull the light switch out to turn on the fog lights... on Euro models this will also turn on a rear fog light (looks like one brake light is on). The two setting to the left are for very low wattage parking lights on the left and right sides. In Europe the streets are often narrow and poorly lit. You turn these lights on (the street side) so other drivers can see your car... NRK
  • rleitchrleitch Posts: 3
    Ah yes, that makes sense. Thanks for the tip.
  • Dear Mr. Shiftright

    Is it worthy to buy Merc 300d 1995 w/ 200k miles for $5000 US? I kno you have said earlier that its all about maintenance and if you keep it well maintained it might last you even 500k. Every single maintenance done is by the dealer at the exact mileage intervals according to the manual. Also how much would a rebuilt transmission and engine cost for this vehicle? I read some previous post and you mentioned 1400 for transmission some year back, is it still the same? Thanks in advance.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,692
    Ah, you must be confusing me with someone else about mileages and repair costs.

    I think the odds of a 300d making it to 500K miles are pretty miniscule. Most are good and dead at 275K--300K and that is a realistic goal, unless you want to sink a fortune into rebuilding everything.

    A rebuilt engine would not be worth doing on a '95 300D with 200K miles on it. It would cost more than the car, so that's kind of crazy. A rebuilt transmission would probably be about $2,000--$3,000, depending on who did it and what their idea of "rebuilt" is. $1,400 sounds more like the price of installing a scrapyard transmission.

    The price of $5,000 is exactly normal "retail" for a '95 300D with 200K on it. Not a bargain, not a price. Fair enough

    The best thing to do with a car like this is to have it thoroughly checked out, and if it passes the test just drive it until something big goes out and then dispose of it. If you got another 100K out of it with only normal maintenance costs (maybe $800 to $1000 a year) that would have been a good deal for you.

    Sounds like it's worth checking out and spending a little money on for an inspection.
  • brakeengrbrakeengr Posts: 98
    It was the vacuum pump- needed rebuild. went from 15 inches of vacumm to 22".
    Unfortunately, door locks still have leaks in the doors- so bypassed the door locks vacuum. And didn't fix heat either- maybe the climate control unit or something else.
    But at least my brakes are good now!
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,692
    Well that's progress. You can buy little rebuild kits for the vacuum motors in the doors.
  • goldcargoldcar Posts: 23
    When I visit the local auto parts store, they have racks of engine oil additives. Are any of them helpful for blow by?

    My 1982 300D starts immediately in all weather, but oil is sprayed up onto the air filter and there is a white gas evident when one takes off the oil filler cap right after the engine has been running.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,692
    Nah, nothing in a can rebuilds worn piston rings, various claims notwithstanding. Oh sure, you could gum it up with molasses or something, but soon enough it will smoke again once whatever it is you put in either warms up or burns off.

    Diesels run on very high compression, perhaps 22:1 or so. You aren't going to stop that kind of pressure with GOO!
  • Karen@EdmundsKaren@Edmunds Posts: 5,023
    A large local newspaper is looking to interview consumers who recently purchased a diesel vehicle and would like to talk about their car. Please send an e-mail to no later than Thursday June 22, 2006 by 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST containing your daytime contact information and the make and model of your car.

    Chintan Talati
    Corporate Communications

    Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

  • 92tdiesel92tdiesel Posts: 9
    and 300D oil questionHey everyone, I'm new here. Have had a 1984 300SD for about three years and that finally went out. I picked it up off my father for free with about 420,000 miles on it. Ran it to about 470,000 with no major issues. I finally had to let it go because a front brake caliper went, and my mechanic yelled at me informing me that it just wasn't worth it anymore. I've known this car since it was about 50K old... NO MAJOR ENGINE WORK EVER DONE. We had the heads rebuilt about every 100k. You treat these things well, and they will run forever. Make sure they are warm before you drive and you'll be as fortunate as me... driving a car that was only an engine. It barely had a body, almost no electrical, no climate control whatsoever, the trunk was rotted from leaking gaskets, etc. Unless the car has major issues (checked out by a very reputable mech) it just might be worth it. But like everyone else has pointed out, if it needs ANYTHING when you first look at it, run.

    I do have another question for you experts though...

    My '92 300D (replaced the SD) has been babied by the same mechanic who took care of the SD passed away a few months ago. I don't really trust anyone in my area to deal with this car, so I changed the oil yesterday on it. Delvac 15w40 and a purolator. Everything went according to plan and seems fine; I have 3 bars of pressure when driving, and about 2.25 when idling. My question is: when I open the Oil fill cap, I see no oil flying around. In all other cars I have done an oil change on, I've been hit in the eye when opening this up. Shouldn't I see oil moving??? Like I said, it has full pressure and has oil just between marks on the stick. Is this normal?

    Looking back on the original post about the SD: 470,000 miles on my 300SD transmission and NO WORK AT ALL. Fluid and filter on a regular basis and shifts normally. Also, don't even worry about the oil leaks; park it over cardboard and you'll be fine. I once met a guy who dubbed his car "Mercedes Valdez" (they all leak like rusty oil tankers). The 300D transmission was replaced at 220,000 miles, however. I doubt it actually needed to be replaced, as I soon realized I have a MAJOR leak up on the coolant lines and this is what probably caused the slipping and the slipping was what provoked the previous owner to go for a rebuild.
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