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Old 03-07-2005, 09:49 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2
Question Where to start... :O

I was just given an 81 MB 300D car, in rather good shape, body wise. Engine doesn't run and it's sat for several months over the cold Utah winter. It has 250k miles on it. There is a some good rust spots on the doors where they meet the floorboards, otherwise it's clean.

I was told that that there were problems with the cylinders, and the PO kept talking about valves and needing $1500 worth of work. (But couldn't articulate exactly what was needed/wrong.) Other things that he's mentioned is that one of the vaccume lines was craced and stiff/hard. It has a block heater and it always started easy on that, otherwise it was hard to start.

Things I've looked through on this in the little time that I've had to play so far - battery needs to be replaced. MOST of the rubber seems to be old and hard (If not, getting there fast.) Has leaks on the head, oil pan underneath and possibly on the transmission (Haven't had a chance to get under as I still have Ice on the ground.)

Having looked at the forums for a while... I would guess that I want to check the tank for alge and if I'm pushing fuel though to the engine. Then check to see what the engine does when I crank it.

Or is there another place that I should start from on figuring what's good/bad about this car, to get started. (I'm not great at diagnosing, but I figure I'll get better. Although I have NO problem fixing things when I know what to fix... )

One other question that I have is that I'm considering adding a turbo for preformance to this, Would I just want to rebuild an engine that has one already? And then drop THAT in the car? Or can I add one to this engine after I get it working. (I did notice that there was a turbo and nonturbo crankshafts as I was looking at rebuild parts.)

I've only put in $80 at this point + about 4hrs driving time. So for me to put 1-2k in to it over a couple of months for me to fix it up right, won't bother me... And it WILL keep me out of trouble... For the moment.

Thank you ahead of time,

Last edited by Er_Ras; 03-07-2005 at 10:03 PM. Reason: Added more information.
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Old 03-07-2005, 10:17 PM
1985 300SD Sady's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,038
I say that if you want a turbo (turbo and n/a are completly different) than just find a good used turbo motor, and drop it in, I think that this would be easier than getting this one running, and then converting it to be a turbo, because, you can not easily convert an n/a to a turbo.

My $.02
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:24 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milford, CT
Posts: 19,306
Sady's right a turbo motor is very different, the pistons are oil cooled for example. You could find a good used turbo 617; but you need to figure out how bad the rust is before you commit to, to much work and time. A rusty car will always be a rusty car, and very clean good running rust free cars can be had for $2k. Heck BHD just bought a very nice 300D for about $2,500.

Anyway start by changing all of the fluids and filters to get a baseline. You will also want to adjust the valves. If the engine has not been run in a few months do not just turn the key and crank! Pull the injectors and put a little oil in each cylinder first to lube things up a bit. Also crank with the stop lever down to get oil pressure up and oil moving.
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Old 03-08-2005, 11:19 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Yorktown, VA.
Posts: 94
to get started...

"the PO kept talking about valves "

Adjust the valves. An easy job, but you may want to buy a couple of wrenches to make it easier. Consider doing a compression test on the engine afterward. No sense spending much time or effort on replacing parts if compression is really low due to poorly sealing valves.

"...vaccume lines was craced and stiff/hard..."

Go through the engine compartment and replace any rubber vac line connectors that look like they need replacing. 1/8" ID line fits OK. Do note that this should have little effect on how the engine runs. Vacuum is used to regulate transmission shifting. If my understanding is correct, vacuum on the engine only regulates the EGR and the fuel pump shutoff valve.

"It has a block heater and it always started easy on that, otherwise it was hard to start."

Check resistance of glow plugs from wire connection to block. Should be 0.5-1.0 ohm. Replace any that deviate significantly from that value.

Does the glow plug light illuminate when you turn the ignition key to the first detent?

Lots of troubleshooting info on glow plugs and valve adjustment can be found in the archives.

It's hard to know what is leaking until you clean the engine. I would do that sooner rather than later.
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