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Mercedes 300D Suggestions

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  • montaigmontaig Posts: 1
    I'm a newcomer to this forum & to Mercedes Benz. Any advice would be most welcomed. Presently I am in the market for an older sedan. Aside from the price of a new MB, I truly much prefer the classic look & style. Today I drove a 1979 ~ 300SD with 119,000 miles. The dealer was asking $8,900, and when I did some research, this appeared to be way out of line. What do you suggest?

    Another thing ~ after reading all of the discussion about start-up difficulty in the winter, I am now feeling somewhat hesitant, because I live in PA!!
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    Oh, the dealer is only about triple the retail price, but think positively---all that ROOM for bargaining.--LOL!

    Diesel cold starts are definitely a problem and you have to take the steps necessary to address it. That includes additives and a block heater. If you can't hook the car up to a heater on frigid mornings, you may have to resort to starting ether (like the big rigs do sometimes--they have injection systems for it). My 300D is hard starting at around 25 degrees or lower.
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    ...my neighbor can't sell his early 80s 300D for $4K. (Some repairs on one door, but the interior is real nice.) And we're talking about a California car here. The body is otherwise perfect.

    As Shifty said, the dealer price may be a little on the high side.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    It would have to be in very good condition, with fully functioning climate control and other vacuum powered systems, plus have excellent rubber (door, windshield seals), not to mention paint/rust condition and then I would only go to $2500 or so.
    If you can't do your own general repairs and troubleshooting then it will be a money pit.
  • rocquerocque Posts: 37
    Lately I ve found some nice 240d for sale. One is a 1977 that is in mint condition and there asking about 3800$. I've also found some others in there early 80's going for about 2500$. I would like to know how reliable these car's are.(p.s I know they are REALLY slow.)
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    They are pretty reliable if you start with a good one. The trick is to buy one that is very well cared for. A 240D is a real chore to drive, though, so be sure you can tolerate that level of performance, or lack thereof.
  • mbdrivermbdriver Posts: 426
    Mr. Shiftright - Are you certain about your statement that 300Ds that crank a few times before starting means excessive wear or other trouble? My wife has a 1977 300D with 97,000 miles. It's almost perfect inside and out, has been garaged even during daytime (usually), and runs and drives much like my 2000 E320 (except for the acceleration).

    A year or two ago, our master MB mechanic and independent shop owner said something in the fuel system might be responsible for the delayed starting and occasional excessive cranking. I forgot what he did, but it helped. Most of the time the engine starts almost immediately or after a crank or two. But once in a while it cranks for two or three seconds and then starts.

    Should I be concerned? My wife would cry for days if her "baby" had to be replaced.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    Well, a diesel should fire off pretty quickly. If it cranks and cranks and cranks when warm, that isn't a good sign. When cold I wouldn't worry so much.

    You know, with 21:1 compression ratio, a warm engine and good fuel, there shouldn't be any problem firing right up unless the compression were down.
  • rocquerocque Posts: 37
    Mr Shiftright, I have another question for you. Does it matter what the year is of the car. Well a 70's model be better than a 80's model(for diesel's) because some of the older models still look very appealing.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    I think any of the W123 chassis are about the same, but some of the earlier 70s diesels are really slow, rough cars. I think a 300D is the minimum acceptable older Mercedes diesel, and of course a turbo diesel (if well cared for) would be even better.
  • rocquerocque Posts: 37
    Mr. Shiftright, How durable are the transmission's and motors and the old MB diesels.
    Could I expect to get 500 000km and more, or am I dreaming in colors...............ps I really want to buy one of these car, but I'm afraid to end up with a nightmare like my old 300zx(A REAL MONEY PIT) thanx
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    I think 500,000 KM is feasible but not without investment in the car. Mine has about 400,000 KM and seems reasonably solid on its original engine and transmission (I inherited all service records) but I and the previous owner certainly have invested money in all the "expendables". Right now I spend about $75 a month in maintenance and repair on average, not including fuel and insurance.
  • I've just purchased a 1999 E300 Turbo Diesel (58K miles) and would like your opinion on oil weight and change frequency. My driving style is 80% highway, about 30K per year. Would a synthetic blend increase engine life and performance? I live in New England. My aim is to keep the vehicle in top condition for many years.
  • wrighttwrightt Posts: 4
    For anyone who is looking for buying a Mercedes diesel. I bought my wife a used 1987 300 TD in 1991 for $17,000 kept it until last month sold it for $7000 and thought I had a good deal and found out that My mechanic would have paid more for the car if he had known it was for sale. I did not advertize the car for sale but a person approached me and ask me if I was willing to sell the Benz. It was very close to needing a paint job and wheels redone, but every thing else perfect for that old a car.
    I found that the Benz was no more expensive to repair than my suburban. Yes some parts are more expensive and you need to find a competent mechanic who will only do what is necessary to keep the car safe and running. But you do need to do basic service on the car religiously. The car at 150000 miles was as sound as a rock. By the way I found my wife a 1991 190e 2.6 with 50,000 miles on it I hope the gas version is as good to me as the diesel.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    Is anybody aware of the '68 Mercedes 220D sedan, now owned by the company, that had 1.2 million miles on it when it was retired? I recall reading somewhere that the owner used to make a 150-mile round-trip commute in it daily. Weird, since it's slower than a VW Beetle.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    I just re-did my maintenance and repair calculations for the last two years and it's actually more than $75 a month, it's $109. I kinda splurged on the tires I think and this jumped it up quite a bit.

    I'm also switching to a better brake rotor and metallic linings. The brakes on a 300D are really really excellent but as you know Mercedes does not allow turning rotors. You have to junk your rotors when they go past accepted thickness. So buying the better-stopping metallic pads works for me, even though they are harder on rotors, because the rotors are not salvageable anyway, even with regular pads.
  • Hello again, I have done it...I think...Found a used 3.0 L5 for my '81. Fairly low miles and for only 400 dollars. I also found a rebuilt trans for 1400 or would it be less expensive to have mine rebuilt. Danke.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    Sometimes you cannot estimate transmission rebuild costs until you break down the unit. I would guess that your automatic would cost more than $1,400 to rebuild professionally.

    If you are buying an already "rebuilt" transmission, I would be sure that there is written evidence of what was done and by whom. This is not something I would just take someone's word for, since many times automatics are just opened up and given a "small parts" rebuild, a kind of "quickie" to get them going again.
  • anibalbanibalb Posts: 193
    Mr. Shiftright,

    I just bought an 82 300D TurboDiesel. It has 123K miles on it. And everything on it works. The engine compartment was clean and the interior does not have a single crack, hence I believe that indeed it only has the 123K miles on the odometer. After it was off, I turned it on and it cranked right up. And while stopped I stepped on the gas and the car actually moved more than I thought. They aren't that slow, so it seems. What problems should I look for in the car? What do you think this car is really worth? I am in CA. I am just curious. The body is good not great! Do you think this is a good catch? Any ideas on how much it costs to have all the windows and doors resealed? And I see service bulletins and recalls with recent dates as late as 1999. Does that mean if I take this 20 year old car to a mercedes dealer they will still provide those services free? I would really appreciate the comments.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    Now why on earth do the doors and windows need to be resealed? That seems a peculiar thing for you to mention.

    I'd say that if you have some cosmetic issues with this car, it can't be worth much more than a couple thousand dollars. Much of the car's value is in the cosmetics when it comes to a Benz.

    As for service bulletins, no, you are on your own paycheck for those. And for a car that old, I don't think going to the dealer is the best idea. But the dealer is a good source for most parts. Mercedes has a great inventory on old diesels, it's pretty amazing. I just walked in and bought right off the shelf an oil filler cap, some dashboard bulbs, a hood release handle and a directional switch rubber boot. Not bad inventory on a 22 year old car, huh?
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