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Old 11-03-2004, 07:52 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: northern VT
Posts: 537
Help Me focus (looking at a 300TD)

I stopped to look at a 300 Turbo Diesel wagon this evening. It is a South Carolina car, with 213,000 indicated miles. The body appears to be rust free, although there might be some rust under the floormats in the back seat.

Body wise, the car appears to be Ok, not quite rating as a good. faded paint, two big dents, missing trim. Both the rear tailgate and hood need to be proped up to stay open. Passinger side front door does not open from the outside. Also the rear seat bottom is trashed...

Mechanically, the owner tells me the transmission slips, Needs a battery... and brakes. The heater/vent only seems to blow hot air, although winter is comming so may be that is not a problem until June. The front windsheld is cracked, and the owner says it will be replaced If I choose to purchase the car. As far as how the motor runs, I dont know what to think. it vibrates a Lot at an idle, but bringing the RPM's up to say 800, or 850 as indicated by the tachometer seemed to smooth it out a bit. The dude is asking $900 or best offer. (I saw it for sale before he bought it, for $700 I think about a year ago)

My goal is to have a rig I can drive 3-400 miles and fix up as I go along. Also I have about a month of free time starting tomorow... or is this just a parts car for someone else's project?

I am gonna go back and look at it again tomorow. What should I be looking for specifically? as a deal maker/or red light? could I get it on the road for another 1000? (used transmission from a salvage yard?) and the brakes, then drive it, and fix as necessary? Or should I run away??
Thanks for your imput.
46 WDX Power Wagon

84 300TDT daily driver
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Old 11-03-2004, 09:00 PM
phidauex's Avatar
BioDiesel Hopeful
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 806
A few notes, from someone whos done a lot of looking recently...

Transmission can be expensive, but you are already thinking about that. Big dents = accident = hidden damage and weakening. Vibration at idle may just be motor mounts, not too big of a deal.

A big warning sign is the fact that this guy bought the car for 700, futzed around with it for a year and is now trying to get 900 for it. Why is he dumping it? Bigger problems than he had expected? He probably bought it originally with the same idea as you, and then found it was more broken than he thought, and is now thinking he can unload it and make a few bucks on the way. Or maybe he just wants to spend more time with the family and is trying to recoup a small part of the 600 he's already spent on refurbishing it. Either scenario is possible, but you decide which is more likely.

If you are planning on paying 900+1000, you'll probably get a better car if you look for a 2000$ car. Its almost never worth paying big money to fix up one of these cars unless the body is in good condition.

Personally.. I'd pass. It could be an interesting project, but with a bad body it will never be more than a beater. If a project is what you want, better to wait for a car with a good body so at least when you are done dumping time and money into it, you'll have a decent car with a decent resale value.

"That f***in' biodiesel is makin' me hungry."

1982 300TD Astral Silver w/ 250k (BIO BNZ)
2001 Aprilia SR50 Corsa Red w/ 5.5k (>100 MPG)

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Old 11-03-2004, 09:23 PM
BrierS's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Charlestown, NH
Posts: 1,008
Sounds a little rougher than the parts cars I'm keeping my eyes open for and certainly more than I would pay for them . . .

Have you visited the cars for sale here on the forum? Possibly post a WTB (Want to Buy) within? Watch eBay to get an idea of what various models are going for?

Just some thoughts. . .
'87 300TD - 132K - Soon 4-Sale
'84 300D Turbo - 122K - Driving
'77 VW Type II - 77K - Restored
'08 250EX Ninja
English Bulldog (Brier) - My best friend. Passed away 12/02/04 while in my arms.
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Old 11-03-2004, 09:27 PM
Posts: n/a
I would also agree that this one might be one to pass on and keep looking! Sounds like a bucket of worms to me, but use your good judgement, and keep saving your money towards something better. It will happen, you just gotta be patient and follow the used car ad magazines. Dont know if you get the Want Advertiser up in VT, but I see a lot of MB's in their "vehicles for parts" section and many just need a little TLC and are priced in your range! Good luck......
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Old 11-03-2004, 10:23 PM
Waitn For The Bus All Day
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: south east pa.
Posts: 1,786
Someone here recently said "There's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes".

Many times over I've learned to spend the money for a good one because you'll have more money in fixing up a junker.

Just my opinion


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Old 11-04-2004, 01:37 AM
JimmyL's Avatar
Rogue T Intolerant!!!
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, Texas (DFW)
Posts: 9,673
That sounds a little rougher than mine, and I've still put $1300 in it already, and it still smokes and won't run. Many other little things that will add up. Don't make the mistake I did. Wait for a clean sedan or wagon, pay $2000 or so, and enjoy it. Something I'm going to have to spend MORE $ to do.
Trust me. Really!

By the way, other cars came along. It's not your last chance. Had I waited, I'd be enjoying actually driving one.
Jimmy L.
'05 Acura TL 6MT
2001 ML430 My Spare

'95 E300 188K "Batmobile" Texas Unfriendly Black
'85 300TD 235K "The Wagon" Texas Friendly White
'80 240D 154K "China" Scar engine installed
'81 300TD 240K "Smash"
'80 240D 230K "The Squash"
'81 240D 293K"Scar" Rear ended harder than Elton John
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:24 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: northern VT
Posts: 537
thanks for your imput. I am not off the hook for that car yet, but I will offer no more than 500 for it. It doesnt have any rust. but then there are plenty of cars out there that are in the same catagory. Will keep you posted on the search.
46 WDX Power Wagon

84 300TDT daily driver
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Old 11-06-2004, 10:40 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: northern VT
Posts: 537
may be I am getting better at walking away..

I just looked at a 87 300D. They wanted $1800, for it with 223,000miles, original head 603 motor. green Antifreeze, and a bunch of cobbled repairs. that one was easy to walk away from.

But the Gold TD wagon(are all TD's wagons?) is still lurking. such a reputation for solid construction, simply built. I am gonna offer him 500 for it and see what he says.
BTW, do the 5 cyl diesels start well in the winter? At say -20 or so? (we only get that once in a while in january, but it does happen)
I started it the other day with out waiting for the glow plugs to warm up. wanted to see if it would catch, and if the compression was the same in all cylinders. It did run, really slowly, while I had the accelerator wide open, then after may be 1 minute it would run at an idle with out my foot in the accelerator. that was at about 45 degrees outside temp.

may be that is a silly idea, although I had a old dodge w/ a flat head six that you could hear had less compression in one cylinder, when the starter turned it over..
46 WDX Power Wagon

84 300TDT daily driver
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