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  #1  
Old 08-06-2005, 10:11 AM
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Need Honest Opinion on an 86 300SDL...

Hello,

I posted this previously in the classifieds but did not receive any feedback. It might not have been the right place to post.

Anyway, I inherited a 1986 300SDL with 107k miles that has some issues. I was wondering what this vehicle is worth?

Pros:
• Always garaged.
• A/C works awesome after a couple small parts replaced.
• All power options work.
• Interior is flawless. No cracks in dash. Slight hairline crack in center console by shifter, but not noticeable.
• Paint is in very good condition, but does have minor scratches. It is an old car.
• New Bilstein shocks front and rear.
Cons:
• I believe it may have a cracked head. I haven’t had it diagnosed, so I am unable to be very specific. It might only need a head casket and the head “stretch bolts” replaced or torque checked.
• The left lower ball joint needs to be replaced. It creaks and moans at low speeds when turning the steering wheel.
• The driver window regulator needs to be replaced. Still works, just needs assistance near the top.
• Crack in the right fog light lens.
• Cracked windshield. Thinking of replacing it, only a $100 deductible.

I’ve read on this forum and have been told that a new head would cost around 3k +.

I have seen cars in running condition on eBay with more miles go anywhere from 5-7k. Does this mean it’s worth 2-3k with the head issue?

Can anyone give me their honest opinion on what this car is worth? Keep it or get rid of it???

In advance, thanks for any feedback / opinions!

Scott

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  #2  
Old 08-06-2005, 10:39 AM
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Location: Blue Point, NY
Posts: 25,396
Welcome to the forum.

That vehicle has exceptionally low mileage.

A 300 SDL in excellent condition, with all accessories working, and with good paint and a decent interior would bring about $8-9K on e-bay, with the mileage as indicated. The quality of the photos and the condition of the body and the interior will determine the price.

Now, with all of the issues that you have with that one, most people will run for the hills because the cost of doing just the head at a mechanic will be over $4K.
Say the remaining items can be fixed for another $1K. A person purchasing the vehicle will need to spend $5K.

So, at best, the vehicle would sell for $4K with a cracked head.

My personal opinion is that it will sell for the amount that you indicated: $2-3K. It would require a person who can replace the head, themselves, to recognize the value of the vehicle.

If you can do the work required to bring it up to proper operating condition, then, it's worth it to do so. If not, then you must sell it as is.

Some of us here might be interested in it.

What color is the body and the interior and where are you located?

Last edited by Brian Carlton; 08-06-2005 at 10:46 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-06-2005, 10:43 AM
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If the works not done to bring it up to par, then you need to also consider the $ discount the buyer will want over and above actual costs of repairs. This is for the trouble of dealing with it.

Don
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1980 300TD-T (82 Turbo and Trans) 159,000 Miles "Jackie-O"
1983 300SD 272,000 Miles "Aristotle"
1987 Jeep Wagoneer Limited - keeps the MB's off the ice and out of the snow
1994 BMW 530it
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  #4  
Old 08-06-2005, 02:01 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,793
How serious is the cylinder head problem? If it runs long enough to test the ACC and transmission then you'll get more for it than if it doesn't start. You'll need a very motivated buyer to pay $2-3K for a non-runner.

Sixto
95 S420
87 300SDL
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2005, 09:25 PM
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Thumbs up

I threw the dice on mine without being able to drive it and letting it sit to inspect the head, silly move but it was an insane deal.

Most of the cons you listed are wear items or objects easy to fix on your own time. The head issue... best way I learned on here was to run it around to operating temprature then let it cool. Then feel the upper rad hose to see if it's got pressure. Hard is bad, soft is a-okay.
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I'm not a doctor, but I'll have a look.

'85 300SD 245k
'87 300SDL 251k
'90 300SEL 326k

Six others from BMW, GM, and Ford.

Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty.
[/IMG]
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2005, 01:27 AM
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Dieseldiehard
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Bay Area No Calif.
Posts: 4,284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit Man X
I threw the dice on mine without being able to drive it and letting it sit to inspect the head, silly move but it was an insane deal.

Most of the cons you listed are wear items or objects easy to fix on your own time. The head issue... best way I learned on here was to run it around to operating temprature then let it cool. Then feel the upper rad hose to see if it's got pressure. Hard is bad, soft is a-okay.
How insane is this:

I prefer the 300D over the SDL. found a really insane price for one without the head. By it so I dont 87 300d $400

I figured I could use a parts car but now that I am into the project I have told my brother he might get it cheap. Until I stripped the threads on the oil cooler
There is an SDL on craigslist for $1900 with probably a cracked head. Looks like the armrest is dirty probably the rest of the car like that: http://www.craigslist.org/eby/car/89045550.html
A wrecking yard owner told me today that he has been seeing more demand for engines and heads for the 6 cyl diesels but 9 out of 10 cars coming in were not wrecked, they have engine problems!
__________________
'00 E320 (wifes car), '95 E320 Wagon my favorite road car. '99 E300D wolf in sheeps body, '87 300D Sportline suspension, '79 300TD w/ 617.952 engine at 367,750 and counting!
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  #7  
Old 08-07-2005, 01:45 AM
home of 4,5,6,8 cylinders
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 504
What is the symptoms? We can all make wrong diagnosis very often.
Even for a professional too.
Tell us first.

No different than a guy with a headache, he worked himself up so much that he thinks he had an incurable Brain tumour!

Just like one guy who bought a 560sel with a expensive interior, TV and all the jazz for a song. The PO had ran it overnight in the garage, ofcourse the engine died, PO thought the engine is totally toasted. SO he sold it for peanuts. The new owner towed it home and got it fired up. Just very simple things, valve cover gaskets etc.
So never assume things until u see it with your own eyes.

My AMC Eagle, once had a stuck thermostat, i thought the headgasket was toasted too. It was boiling like Old Faithful. My mech fnd open the rad cap and observe. He says the water didn't move and looks like is a stuck T. So we pop the T housing, lo and behold it ran like a Swiss clock after we put it back!
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2005, 01:56 AM
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Posts: 38
Thanks for everyone's input. I'll have to take some pictures of the car. It is the charcoal gray color with tan interior. I am located in St. Louis, MO.

Here is a little info of what is going on with the car.

The car starts just fine. I had the starter replaced 2 months ago. That was something that I forgot to mention. Anyway, the glow plugs do need to be replaced. Knowing that the glow plugs need to be replaced, when I start it, I let the glow plugs go for a while after the indicator goes out. It starts right away, but will hickup a couple of times. It doesn't want to stall, but just a shutter or two than it's fine. I believe that may go away when the glow plugs are replaced. At idle, it makes a tapping sound. Not the usual diesel music. It does not make the tapping sound when you are driving it. It will smoke, but that goes away when it is driven. It will not smoke right away after starting, but within 10-15 seconds it will start. I guess that really is right away? Anyway, it sounds great when it is driven. It does seem like their is less power, but I mean slightly. It still wants to cruise 75-80 though. The temp will stay around a few clicks above the 80 mark, but on really hot days under repeated full throtle with the a/c blasting, it will hit the 100-105 area. Fan does kick on. Sometimes after cruising on the highway and slowing down to a stop at the end of the ramp, it will start shuttering like it wants to stall and really start smoking. Sometimes it will do this without being on the hwy. The car will be very sluggish and hesitent when taking off from the stop, but then it's like it just coughed and cleared it's throat and then accelerates with power. I have been keeping an eye on the radiator reservoir level. It does lose coolant overtime, low level indicator will light up almost all the time when I drive. It just comes and goes at will, but mainly will stay on, even if I just filled it to the proper level. There is never any coolant on the ground. The engine does not burn any engine oil either.

What I have been told is that the tapping noise is coolant getting into the cylinder and sence it is a foreign substance to the combustion process, the mechanic said that that is the tapping noise that I hear. I also explained the coolant situation. He immediately said cracked head. I friend of mine is pretty knowledgeable about engines. He said that I should loosen the reservoir cap 1 click and let it get up to operating temperature and see if the nosie and smoke goes away. He said that having the cap loose results in the coolant psi dropping and if there is a crack or weak spot, the coolant would not be under as much preasure and would not be as likely to force it's way through. Anyway, I tried it. I let it warm up. I drove it around the block. Parked it and let it run at idle. No smoke. No tapping noise. Very nice to hear the diesel. The coolant low level indicator never came on.

So that is where it stands or actually sits right now.

What do you guys think???

Thanks, Scott
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2005, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldiehard
How insane is this:

I prefer the 300D over the SDL. found a really insane price for one without the head. By it so I dont 87 300d $400

I figured I could use a parts car but now that I am into the project I have told my brother he might get it cheap. Until I stripped the threads on the oil cooler
There is an SDL on craigslist for $1900 with probably a cracked head. Looks like the armrest is dirty probably the rest of the car like that: http://www.craigslist.org/eby/car/89045550.html
A wrecking yard owner told me today that he has been seeing more demand for engines and heads for the 6 cyl diesels but 9 out of 10 cars coming in were not wrecked, they have engine problems!


Yes, I recall seeing that post on here a while back about that '87 300D. Seems like a pretty good deal if you get a newer head on there not to worry about anything.

I didn't even pay near $1900 for my SDL. I think I'm around $250-300 in parts into it. Most things are PM/general attention items, but the biggie I need is a new clutch for my fan and those tierods. I need to have my speedo rebuilt too, but that's inexpensive. The main parts are excellent, paint is presentable, interior is pretty clean, few door dings, just stuff you'd come to expect from a car that's nearly 20 years old.
__________________
I'm not a doctor, but I'll have a look.

'85 300SD 245k
'87 300SDL 251k
'90 300SEL 326k

Six others from BMW, GM, and Ford.

Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty.
[/IMG]
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2005, 02:36 AM
home of 4,5,6,8 cylinders
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 504
This old car salesman trick, put black pepper powder inside the coolant, which will work its way to the crack and seal it cake it up solidly. But I don't know if it will do for your Diesel, plus yours is Alloy head.

I wish I had knew that when i had my 78 BMW 320i, she had cracked head OK, the water always boil when i drive.I bought a 2nd head from a wrecking guy. Put it in myself. But never ran as well. Must had a crack vacuum, turning left the engine always dies too if not touch the gas pedal.

Yours seem to be not as bad, since u can drive.

Many yrs i blew the head gasket in my Dodge colt. Water keeps coming out from rad too. Change the head gasket seems OK.

So I assume no responsibility, do it at your own risk please. It may or may not help , any body can point out the down side? Powder won't plug up rad anyways.



I had put BP in my old 82 Volvo before, because few yrs ago, my car had no anti-freeze. I left it outside all day, not much colder than -5 C. Part of water was frozen!
That night I had to use the car, drove about 3-4 miles i see my temp needle went off the hot end!
I pulled into a gas stn. The water just gushed out. I let her cool down add more water. I figure is not going to get anyworse. Keep praying too.

I was able to gimp home. next day I added the BP. And it seems to keep it down. Drove it for 2 more yrs before i sold her.
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  #11  
Old 08-07-2005, 10:09 AM
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Location: Blue Point, NY
Posts: 25,396
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselpwr
What do you guys think???
You definitely have some symptoms that don't sound all that great. The fact that coolant is disappering rather quickly, and is not leaking, pretty much confirms that you have an issue with the head gasket or the head itself. It's really impossible to know the culprit until the head comes off and is examined carefully. However, the odds favor the cracked head, based upon the results of members here.

You can't continue to drive it forever in this condition. The constant input of coolant into the combustion chamber is only going to get worse.

If you can spend the time to learn the engine and do the labor yourself, then consider keeping the vehicle. Otherwise, sell it.
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  #12  
Old 08-07-2005, 10:33 AM
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If you decide to sell it, please post some pics. I for one am looking for a project SDL, if the price is right.
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  #13  
Old 08-07-2005, 03:39 PM
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Dieseldiehard
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Bay Area No Calif.
Posts: 4,284
Symptoms are pretty good that it is a cracked head. If you have a conscience you won't put it on eBay so you can think of it as either a project or something to sell if you don't have time and money to put into it. Either way its eventually going to need some work as driving it like this will eventually lead to hydrolock and may even damage the crankshaft, break the cam, etc.
I happen to like dealing with a car project once in a while so I bought my crapshoot at a small investment and will be happy to give the car to my brother or to charity as a donation for a small tax write off if it doesn't keep my interest. I like the way the 603 engines run when they are running well they are a joy, plenty of power to run thru traffic and get to where you are going without using a lot of fuel.
You have a car that has a potential value of something between $4K and $6K if the body and interior are in good condition and it had a good engine. Some SDL's in excellent condition are bringing $8K (or more to the right buyer!) with low miles and excellent condition. There is a wide range in values depending on whether the AC is working or not, if the seats are in really fine condition, etc.
So putting $3K to $4K into it wouldn't be a waste if you wind up getting some use out of the car, and it will be easy to sell in good running shape.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselpwr
Thanks for everyone's input. I'll have to take some pictures of the car. It is the charcoal gray color with tan interior. I am located in St. Louis, MO.

Here is a little info of what is going on with the car.

The car starts just fine. I had the starter replaced 2 months ago. That was something that I forgot to mention. Anyway, the glow plugs do need to be replaced. Knowing that the glow plugs need to be replaced, when I start it, I let the glow plugs go for a while after the indicator goes out. It starts right away, but will hickup a couple of times. It doesn't want to stall, but just a shutter or two than it's fine. I believe that may go away when the glow plugs are replaced. At idle, it makes a tapping sound. Not the usual diesel music. It does not make the tapping sound when you are driving it. It will smoke, but that goes away when it is driven. It will not smoke right away after starting, but within 10-15 seconds it will start. I guess that really is right away? Anyway, it sounds great when it is driven. It does seem like their is less power, but I mean slightly. It still wants to cruise 75-80 though. The temp will stay around a few clicks above the 80 mark, but on really hot days under repeated full throtle with the a/c blasting, it will hit the 100-105 area. Fan does kick on. Sometimes after cruising on the highway and slowing down to a stop at the end of the ramp, it will start shuttering like it wants to stall and really start smoking. Sometimes it will do this without being on the hwy. The car will be very sluggish and hesitent when taking off from the stop, but then it's like it just coughed and cleared it's throat and then accelerates with power. I have been keeping an eye on the radiator reservoir level. It does lose coolant overtime, low level indicator will light up almost all the time when I drive. It just comes and goes at will, but mainly will stay on, even if I just filled it to the proper level. There is never any coolant on the ground. The engine does not burn any engine oil either.

What I have been told is that the tapping noise is coolant getting into the cylinder and sence it is a foreign substance to the combustion process, the mechanic said that that is the tapping noise that I hear. I also explained the coolant situation. He immediately said cracked head. I friend of mine is pretty knowledgeable about engines. He said that I should loosen the reservoir cap 1 click and let it get up to operating temperature and see if the nosie and smoke goes away. He said that having the cap loose results in the coolant psi dropping and if there is a crack or weak spot, the coolant would not be under as much preasure and would not be as likely to force it's way through. Anyway, I tried it. I let it warm up. I drove it around the block. Parked it and let it run at idle. No smoke. No tapping noise. Very nice to hear the diesel. The coolant low level indicator never came on.

So that is where it stands or actually sits right now.

What do you guys think???

Thanks, Scott
__________________
'00 E320 (wifes car), '95 E320 Wagon my favorite road car. '99 E300D wolf in sheeps body, '87 300D Sportline suspension, '79 300TD w/ 617.952 engine at 367,750 and counting!
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  #14  
Old 08-07-2005, 09:37 PM
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Location: PA
Posts: 5,440
Dieselpwr,

What makes you think your SDL needs new GP if "the car starts just fine"? The GP are only for starting so if it starts fine, the GP are OK. Did you do the resistance test on the GP? Maybe just one GP is not working.

P E H
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  #15  
Old 08-07-2005, 09:55 PM
Hit Man X's Avatar
I LOVE BRUNETTES
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: FUNKYTOWN
Posts: 9,085
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.E.Haiges
Dieselpwr,

What makes you think your SDL needs new GP if "the car starts just fine"? The GP are only for starting so if it starts fine, the GP are OK. Did you do the resistance test on the GP? Maybe just one GP is not working.

P E H


What's the resistance to be on the 603s plugs?

__________________
I'm not a doctor, but I'll have a look.

'85 300SD 245k
'87 300SDL 251k
'90 300SEL 326k

Six others from BMW, GM, and Ford.

Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty.
[/IMG]
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