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Old 01-03-2005, 01:41 AM
Dan Fernandez
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Monterey CA
Posts: 188
fungus in tank?


I am new to this forum and I am a pretty new owner of a Mercedes 1984 SD 300 diesel. I have not had much experience working on cars, but am considering taking something on once I get more information. Here's my story:

I bought my car in September '04. It showed about 198 K, but I am sure that is not correct, since an old pink slip showed 255 K. Knowing this, I bought it anyway.

About a month later I noticed I was losing power, particularly at one point on the freeway near my house where there is an uphill grade. I hoped it was just a passing thing.... A couple weeks later the car lost complete power (I couldn't even start it) and I had it towed to the shop. They told me that all three fuel filters were clogged with algae (which from this forum I learned was really fungus). They replaced them, told me to keep more fuel in the tank (at that point I went to biodiesel, which they said should be no problem), and I went on my merry way after about $300. A week later they also replaced the steering ball joints, whose casings were cracked and I was told could go any time. Anyway, that was another almost $700. So, I already put over $1000 into the car (plus $200 for the new tires). This is my investment beyond what I paid for the car so far, which I include for perspective....

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I started noticing this loss of power AGAIN.... (I have driven it less than 1000 miles since the last time). This time it is manifested a little bit differently. It seems to be really bad when I first start the car for about 15 minutes or so (the automatic transmission doesn't seem to want to go into a higher gear) and then the car runs OK unless I am going uphill on the freeway, when I notice a power loss.

I called the shop and they said that, given that all 3 filters were replaced, it must be algae (aka fungus) in the tank and that it would have to be removed and sent out to be cleaned to the tune of $550, all told. I am reluctant to spend this kind of money on it now, so they put some Biobor JF into it for me (2 capfuls), I filled up the tank, and hoped for the best. They said I could come by anytime and they would put Biobor in it, if I like. An hour or so later it lost power again on the freeway and I actually had to pull to the side, but was able to make it to my exit after which it made it home no problem.

I haven't driven it since, but I will soon to see how it is, though I am concerned about driving my kids, etc. based on its reliability.

So, is this a problem that can go away with BioBor alone (and a full tank)?

Or, should I try to clean and replace the tank? I was told that it may be possible to take it off on my own and get it cleaned at a radiator shop for a lot less than the $550, but is it more than I should bite off? Now that I have a full tank of diesel I'd have to siphon the fuel out, or drive it down (if I can even drive it....).

Also, might it be something besides fungus in the tank (like maybe an injector pump) and is there a good test for this?

I did order one of Chilton's books that will offer some suggestions, I am sure, but I am open to input...

Thanks and Happy New Year.

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Old 01-03-2005, 03:53 AM
BenzMatic's Avatar
You can do it
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: OC S. California
Posts: 120
First of all welcome to the board.
Try doing a search in the diesel forum, same board but diesel forum rather than "tech help". You will find a lot of threads mentioning about fungus and how to fix the issue. I believe members used anti-algie on a somewhat regulator basis, and yes another thing to keep in mind is to get the diesel from a truck stop or from a gas station who sells big volume of diesel. The point is to get "fresh diesel". You might be getting diesel from a station which has the fungus in their tank, since they do not move the volume quick enough.
Another piece of advice, try to work on these cars yourself if you can otherwise these could be money pit. There are lot of things which can go wronb with the 15 -20 year old cars, especially if not maintained properly.

Good luck
87 420 SEL
Looking for a nice mid 80's MB diesel.
87 BMW 528e (Sold)
99 TOYOTA 4Runner
1989 Honda Accord (Sold)
1988 Honda Accord (Total)
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Old 07-20-2008, 02:41 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: CALIF
Posts: 508

1984 300d turbo 147k
fungus was at the top of fuel tank after biobor and filled tank 7 gal and power loss, make the pefilter black again, had fuel tank remove and three days cleaner inside fuel tank at radiator shop no more black prefilter and power loss
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Old 07-20-2008, 04:20 PM
compress ignite's Avatar
Drone aspiring to Serfdom
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: 32(degrees) North by 81(degrees) West
Posts: 5,554
Run straight to a West Marine

Get an 8 oz. container of Startron Enzyme Diesel Fuel additive...
Put it in your tank regularly...No More Fungus Problems
(AND it will not clog the fuel filters!)
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fungus in tank?-screenhunter_05-jul.-20-16.15.gif   fungus in tank?-screenhunter_06-jul.-20-16.16.gif  

'84 300SD sold
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