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  #1  
Old 10-24-2004, 02:36 PM
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Location: Hollywood, CA
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Red face Pre-purchase questions! Help!

I've been eyeing a beautiful 79 300sd model in near mint condition (for $3000)
(I live in Southern California)

I would be the third owner (originally owned by a woman for twenty years - with all records, original manuals, etc.,... - and owned for four years by a german guy who just bought a new mercedes and doesn't have room for two cars.)

it's been garaged and the paint is near pristine. interior is excellent. it was one out of only 25,000 or so built with an extra steel tank in the trunk (70's oil shortage and all)

here are the specifics:

new transmission (only 16,000 miles on the new transmission), new alternator, shocks, brakes, transmission (see above). no AC however.

i'm going to take it to my mechanic tomorrow morn for inspection but what should i ask him to look for, specifically for this model? is the "no AC" a warning signal for something?

as well, when i drove it, it ran smooth but when i put it in reverse, there was a slight vibration (nothing when in drive - it's an automatic). what could this be? again, warning signal?

is $3000 too much?

I'm a COMPLETE NEWBIE to Mercedes (i've always owned Volvos) but since I saw this car, i've literally been dreaming about it. want to get some helpful advice before i make a decision.

HELP out there?

thanking someone(s) in advance
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2004, 02:54 PM
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I have no experience with this specific model, but I am pretty sure that the A/C is the weakest point of this car, much like my '76 240. How many miles are on the car?
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2004, 02:56 PM
Waitn For The Bus All Day
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: south east pa.
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I am fairly new myself but...fairly educated at this point.

My opinon is it doesn't sound like a bad deal. Just for the heck of it, did you do a carfax?

The A/C-I would think you need that where you live. Count on about $1,000 to fix. Unless you do it yourself. Do you know what is wrong with it? Compressor=high repair cost charge= not much $ to fix.

don't know about the shudder or whatever in reverse. Maybe a more senior member will.

All in all, it sounds like a fairly decent deal but you make no mention of the mileage on the clock.

Taking it to someone who knows MBs before you buy is the best thing you can do.

Cheers,

Bill
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2004, 03:33 PM
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Cannot make an opinion on the value because the mileage on the odometer is not indicated.

However, with a new transmission and paint that is pristine, you certainly have something valuable to continue to investigate.

A shudder when going into gear could be as simple as old compressed motor mounts. Ask the mechanic for his opinion.

As previously stated, figure about $1K for the a/c.
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2004, 05:51 PM
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My opinon is it doesn't sound like a bad deal. Just for the heck of it, did you do a carfax?

YES. I DID. AND NO BODY WORK OR ACCIDENTS AT ALL. (ACCORDING TO CARFAX)

THE SHUDDER HAPPENS WHILE THE CAR IDLES IN REVERSE. IT DISAPPEARS WHEN THE CAR DRIVES (REVERSE AND OTHERWISE). OLD COMPRESSED MOTOR MOUNTS? WILL CHECK.

The A/C-I would think you need that where you live. Count on about $1,000 to fix. Unless you do it yourself. Do you know what is wrong with it? Compressor=high repair cost charge= not much $ to fix.

IT'S JUST ABOUT GOING INTO THE "COOLER" SEASON HERE AND I WOULDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS FROM NOW. BUT IS THE ac THING JUST A (SPECIFIC) COMFORT THING OR IS IT AN ISSUE THAT POINTS TO OTHER PROBLEMS? CURIOUS.

don't know about the shudder or whatever in reverse. Maybe a more senior member will.

All in all, it sounds like a fairly decent deal but you make no mention of the mileage on the clock.

THE MILEAGE IS 221,000.

DOES THAT CHANGE ANYONE'S OPINION DRASTICALLY? COULD USE ALL OF THE (WELL-MEANING) ADVICE I CAN GET.

p.s.- i just found this forum recently and have been devouring all of the info on here. you guys are greatly helpful!
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2004, 06:16 PM
Waitn For The Bus All Day
 
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Location: south east pa.
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The A/C is the A/C so far as I know and does not mean you're gonna throw a rod or your tranny will fall out.

Although the price doesn't seem too out of line, you could maybe use the broken A/C as leverage to get a better price. Did the previous owner give any indication as to what is wrong with the A/C? I think you did mention he's a mechanic or something along those lines.

Carfax will only show what was reproted to an insurance co. or the police following an accident. Here in the East we are accoustomed to rust and the body work that follows. Take a magnet with you and go over the car with it to see if it falls off in one or more spots. If it falls, that indicates mud [body filler] and then you KNOW its had rust thats been fixed or been in an accident. A good eye peering lengthwise down each side of the car will clue you into body work as well.

Since you carfaxed it, did the car come from the "rust belt"? The jackpoints are a place to look for rust. The j.p are the holes , two on each side, that you use to jack the car up. They are located on the rocker panels by each door.

The other thing thats a PIA is leaks inside the car. Take a garden hose and go all over the glass and the sunroof [if so equipped] and then look under the carpet, passenger side in the rear. That is the lowest point in the cabin and water will collect there.

Can the you guys think of anything else? I think we covered it. Oh, check and make sure the climate control works properly. A search here will tell you how to operate it as does the owners manual. Thats right pricey to fix when paying a mechanic to fix it.

Cheers,

Bill
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2004, 06:36 PM
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If it is shuddering continually while the transmission is in reverse, it could be motor mounts, but it also could be something transmission related. Follow up on this with the mechanic.

Also, while there, ask the mechanic if he can look at the a/c system to determine if the compressor is shot or not. Probably cannot tell for sure, but, might give you some idea.

If the suddering is not the transmission, the climate control works properly otherwise, no issues with the engine, and the a/c does not require a complete rebuild of the system, then you have a decent deal for $3,000.

If you have to dump a grand into the a/c, then you would be advised to have patience and wait for a better one to come along. $4,000 for a vehicle with that mileage is too much, IMHO.
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2004, 06:48 PM
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Location: Hollywood, CA
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Since you carfaxed it, did the car come from the "rust belt"?

it's from southern cali.

The jackpoints are a place to look for rust. The j.p are the holes , two on each side, that you use to jack the car up. They are located on the rocker panels by each door.

The other thing thats a PIA is leaks inside the car. Take a garden hose and go all over the glass and the sunroof [if so equipped] and then look under the carpet, passenger side in the rear. That is the lowest point in the cabin and water will collect there.

will do so. thanks for the heads up!

Can the you guys think of anything else? I think we covered it. Oh, check and make sure the climate control works properly. A search here will tell you how to operate it as does the owners manual. Thats right pricey to fix when paying a mechanic to fix it.

will do that as well. thanks bill.
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2004, 07:02 PM
Waitn For The Bus All Day
 
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Location: south east pa.
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You're quite welcome.

Without the help of this forum I would've been in the dark as I was when I got "stuck" on my first Benz.

Just glad to actually help someone with the little knowledge I have learned from this forum.Some of these guys will tear a motor down and put it back together using advice from here. Amazing, but I 'm not gettin' in that deep!

I'll rip apart a motorcycle though! Built a really neat custom bike over the winter last year, but thats another story...

Best of luck to ya and let us know what you get.

Cheers,

bill
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  #10  
Old 10-24-2004, 07:24 PM
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Chet,

Christ, you expect a perfect car for $3000? Pay $3000 for and expect to pay another $3000 for repairs in a few years and it will still be the best lowest cost car you can get.

P E H

Last edited by P.E.Haiges; 10-25-2004 at 01:12 AM.
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  #11  
Old 10-24-2004, 10:33 PM
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Chet,

Christ, you expect a new perfect car for $3000? Pay $3000 for and expect to pay another $3000 for repairs in a few years and it will still be the best and loewst car you can get.


uh...i will assume this was meant tongue-in-cheek.

no. i don't expeect a perfect car. i was just asking questions about what i should look for. i'm extremely excited about buying a "classic" mercedes but am not naive about "getting what i pay for".

question:

i'm a little confused about the mileage comments. i read about the cars being "tanks" but read also about being wary about a car with "these" many miles. if the engine has been maintained well, what should one "reasonably" expect in terms of mileage before a person needs to think about re-building, replacing, etc.,... an engine.

this car seems to have had a lot of TLC but will get a better idea when i take it to the mechanic. should i genuinely be worried about the mileage?

let me know.
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  #12  
Old 10-24-2004, 10:42 PM
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You got a carfax on a 1979 300SD??????????????????????????????

I tried and tried and couldn't get one on mine last year.
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Proud owner of ....
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  #13  
Old 10-24-2004, 10:44 PM
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First of all, PEH says nothing tongue in cheek.

With regard to the mileage, you don't necessarily need to be worried about the mileage, but, as a general rule, engines, transmissions, and rear axles wear based upon mileage and a vehicle with 221,000 miles has more wear than one with 150,000 miles. Clearly this is obvious to you. Can one of these engines go 400,000 miles. Of course, but, they will definitely be down on compression by that time and you will definitely notice the need for some attention. Can the transmission go 400,000 miles? I suppose so, but, this is very unlikely. 200K is considered typical for these units.

You just need to be mindful of the mileage, not be worried about it.
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  #14  
Old 10-24-2004, 11:54 PM
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I just looked at the "same" car, only here in N.Y. The car I saw wasn't near as clean as you describe. Over 150,000 orig.mi. A/C worked, but driver door handel, pass. seat handel, back seat shot (cover OK) Cracked discolored leather (no rips) Quarky tach needing a really good detailing and assortied interior replacements, leaks on drivers door, in trunk, rust around steel aux. tank. Asking price is $5,000

The way I see it, bottom line, how much is the drive train worth? Take that price and add or subtract it to the interior/electrical/suspension/brakes/tires condition of the car.

If it were me looking at your car, I would have offered $2,000 and see what happens. Then if the car checks out with a good vintage MB mechanic, I'll decide if I purchase it for their or my price.

IWANNANUTHERDIESEL
04 VW TDI PASSAT
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  #15  
Old 10-25-2004, 01:30 AM
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Chet,

First: Brian is right.

I have a similiar car with 260,000 miles and if you think I am going to sell it to you or anyone for $3000, you can KMA.

I'm tired of you cheapskates not willing to pay a decent price for a wonderfull car, one that the likes of will never again be made.

Why don't you buy a new car for $20,000 and lose what the MB cost in the first day and what the repairs will cost in the next year. That's what I would worry about. Its called depreciation.

If the body is rust and damage free and the interior is as good as you say it is, its worth $3000 even if it doesn't run. Remember, mechanical parts can be brought back to new, but bodies never can.

BTW, a 300SD is not a classic MB and never will be. Its a work horse and will give you many miles of lowcost and reliable service. That's why I have mine, in fact I have 3 of them I like them so much.

P E H
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