Thank you all for your enlightening information and precious tips.
BTW, to tell the truth: I've just bought a 1984 300SD for $1900.
It has 175 Kmiles and it does not smoke! I must say that I've gotten hooked to MB diesel legend owing to this MB forum because of all rumours about their reliability. My mom has reprimanded me for acquiring 2 diesels within a time frame of 3 months. The first one was a 240D that simply does not want to start even after valve lash adjustments, glow plug/battery replacements, engine/transmission/diff oils and brake fluid changes. It only starts with a push start. Its engine compartment is very clean (hey I cleaned it :-) and the interior is almost perfect (and clean too). I'm still thinking about fixing it in the near future or getting rid of it completely to satisfy my mom :-)
Anyway, the 300SD's exterior paint is not very good (peeled off clearcoat and scratches) but it's OK for me since I do not care how and what people think about my cars. The engine always starts immediately within 1 second of cranking and I don't need any pre-glowing, perhaps because it's pretty hot here in San Jose. I will adjust valves and change all the fluids/oils in this car just like I did for the doomed 240D. Are sanding and repainting an entire car a possible DYI task? (I don't need to have a perfect or polished paint job, just an *uniform* paint color is enough for me.)
I am not planning any trip soon because of urgent projects at work, and baby at home.
Haasman: Have you been gettting tired of diesel? :-)
Thank you all again.