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  #1  
Old 01-15-2006, 02:22 AM
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'79 240D vs. '92 300D

I need some advice guys. I have a 2001 VW Jetta TDI and I'm thinking of selling it and going with an older MB diesel. My main reasons for doing so are that I still owe 11,000 on the Jetta and I'm about to have to have the 80K service done and a timing belt change for around 1000. It just seems like too much money. I was thinking of going for something that required less maintanance and costs much less.

I found 2 MB diesels in my area. One is a 79 240D with around 135,000 miles asking 3,500, the other is a 92 300D with around 208,000, asking 4,000. I'm leaning towards the 79, because I think it will have less parts to break and cost less in the long run. What do you guys think? Also, are there any specific areas I should look at on these cars? When does the engine need to be overhauled, and about how much should I expect to be putting into these cars each year in maintenance? Thanks so much for any feedback you can give me!
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2006, 03:24 AM
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You should be able to do most of the work on the 240 by your self if you are mechanically inclined. I'm not positive, but I would imagine that the '92 is more complicated. Check for rust on and around the battery tray, the jack points, rear fenders, undersides of doors, and under the floor mats. Probe any suspect areas with a golf tee or something to see if they go all the way through. Check for blow by by loosening the oil cap when the engine is idling. It should sit still or hop around a bit, not fly off (stand back when you do this). Ideally have a mechanic do an inspection. I'm sure others will chime in with some good advice. Good luck.
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1979 240D- 316K miles - VGT Turbo, Intercooler, Stick Shift, Many Other Mods - Daily Driver

1982 300SD - 232K miles - Wife's Daily Driver

1986 560SL - Wife's red speed machine
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2006, 03:31 AM
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It's really difficult to determine which car you should purchase without having detailed information on both. With that said, I would be somewhat leary on the authenticity of that 240D's mileage. Carfax won't work for pre-1981 cars, and if there aren't any records to back up the mileage claim, I'd stay away. For obvious reasons, the 1992 300D is a lot less likely to be victim of odometer rollback.

Compared to the 240D, the 1992 300D is much faster, handles better, is more comfortable, more modern (obviously), safer (ABS, airbag, seatbelt pretensioners, better accident avoidance capability, etc) quieter, more refined, more luxurious, and the list goes on.

You need to look at the history and condition of each car, drive both, and make a decision based on that. Remember, any used MB can be a potential money pit.
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  #4  
Old 01-15-2006, 10:24 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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while i always

suspect low miles on an old benz because of the frequent failure of the odometers, that is not a blanket reason to pass on what might be a very nice car regardless of the miles. a well cared for 240 will go 500k. so look it over very well and perhaps get an inspection by a mb specialist before purchase. the 92 is a very nice driving car but probably three to four times as expensive to keep on the road as a 240. given equal condition.

240 = easy to work on and simple but very slow

92 300d much faster but much much less mechanic friendly.

tom w
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  #5  
Old 01-15-2006, 01:13 PM
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Which one of those cars to get is like asking "where should I go on vacation, Miami or Anchorage?" Both could be fine but a totally different experience. I wouldn't even consider the 240 unless it was a stick. Drive them both and consider which fits your life style. If your a DIYer, like classy old cars, don't need to drive fast (off the line), don't have "disposable income", get the 240. On the other hand if you just want to drive a nice (normal) car, pay to have it fixed now and then, not put up with tail gaters, get the 300.
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1985 Euro 300TD 5 spd 220K
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2006, 01:55 PM
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Or you could get both, kind of like what I did. Seriously, if you're not familiar with either one, check out and preferably test drive both. They're very different animals. I agree with what's been said here so far. The 240D is definitely better with a stick unless you prefer automatics. I also want to stress that mileage is not as important as condition. So don't go for the 240D just based on the lower mileage, even if it's true. Condition is everything.
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2006, 05:21 PM
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I looked at the 240D today. It was a 2 owner car (really 1 owner, 2nd owner bought it in October and then bought a 300D that he liked more). It appears to have no rust anywhere except a little surface rust under the battery. Apparently it was garage kept it's entire life. I'm in southern Louisiana, so the roads don't get salted in the winter. It drives very well, and although it is an automatic it would definately be an acceptable daily driver for me. The original owners kept records of the mileage EVERY time they filled up the tank, along with any work they had done. They burned up the original engine at 67,000 miles and had it replaced.

After seeing your guys advice, I decided to not look at the 92. The reason for this is that I know I would probably like it more due to the drive and nicer interior, but one of the main goals I have is to have minimal maintenance costs, and to be able to do most of the work myself. With the 92 there are more breakable parts, and I'm afraid I would end up spending more money keeping it up than I want to.

Thank you so much for all the advice. I haven't signed anything yet, and I'm going to mull over this until the bank is open on Tuesday, however I think I'm going to be the proud new owner of a 79 240D.
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2006, 05:41 PM
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dare to compare and don't rush

take both on the hwy and drive em like you drive the tdi. you will notice the 240 is a touring car period. the 92 is the hwy cruiser. also around town which car compares best to the tdi? the 240 is a touring car period. the 300 is a hwt cruiser. top hwy speed on the 240 is prolly 70 with something left. the 300 will do 85 with 10-15 mph left in it.


our favorite phrase is....there is no expensive mercedes like a cheap mercedes.
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currently
[1981 300 td tdidi 165500 dark brown/palamino-Brownie-mine-3k miles of ownership
1983 240d 162+++ Anthricite grey w/ henna red interior and hella lights-wifes car-Red

the above two cars are for sale
and can be seen on the cars for sale thread here. pix also available.


240d-144+ Manilla Yellow w/ palmino interior-greasecar kit-Blondie-the college kids car

23" gt 21 speed still on original tires-still got the nubs
21" khs tandem
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2006, 06:08 PM
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67,000 miles is really low to have to replace the engine. did they run it out of oil or something? I would still look at the '92, but it probably will be more costly to maintain. Personally I love my slow 240.
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1979 240D- 316K miles - VGT Turbo, Intercooler, Stick Shift, Many Other Mods - Daily Driver

1982 300SD - 232K miles - Wife's Daily Driver

1986 560SL - Wife's red speed machine
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2006, 06:28 PM
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They did run it out of oil I'm assuming from the records, which is strange considering how much time they put into maintaining it. It says they overheated it.

I don't do much Interstate travel anymore. When I purchased the TDI I was driving alot with work, but my position has changed and travel is no longer an issue. When I do drive places, I prefer to take old highway routes to the Interstate, and my top speed is generally 65. I try to drive slow and enjoy the road.

I think you are right though, and I am going to call the guy with the 92 tommorow and take a drive in it. Hopefully I can restrain myself...

I've always loved the W123 body, so that's something the 79 has going for it, but I'm thinking I'm really going to like the driving and interior of the 92. We shall see.
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  #11  
Old 01-15-2006, 10:04 PM
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Keep in mind that just because the 240D has less miles on it does not mean it will be "lower maintenance". Many parts wear due to age, not just mileage! The climate control system on the 1992 300D has the potential to be more problematic, but the suspension is MUCH easier to work on. Engine wise, maintenance is about the same but the 1992 doesn't need any valve adjustments.
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  #12  
Old 01-15-2006, 10:07 PM
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if i was you id get a w123 300D-T... a little bit faster and the easiest car to work on IMHO
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  #13  
Old 01-15-2006, 10:19 PM
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The chassis dynamics of the W124 is light years ahead of the W123. You really need to drive the 92 300D before you saddle yourself with a 240D.
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2006, 10:25 PM
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I dont think that the 5 cyl turbo engine could be easier to work on than the 4 cyl N.A. engine in the 240.
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1979 240D- 316K miles - VGT Turbo, Intercooler, Stick Shift, Many Other Mods - Daily Driver

1982 300SD - 232K miles - Wife's Daily Driver

1986 560SL - Wife's red speed machine
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  #15  
Old 01-15-2006, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 83-240D
take both on the hwy and drive em like you drive the tdi. you will notice the 240 is a touring car period. the 92 is the hwy cruiser. also around town which car compares best to the tdi? the 240 is a touring car period. the 300 is a hwt cruiser. top hwy speed on the 240 is prolly 70 with something left. the 300 will do 85 with 10-15 mph left in it.


our favorite phrase is....there is no expensive mercedes like a cheap mercedes.
What do you mean by touring car? A town car?

A 240D auto will peg the speedo and keep it there if you desire to run it flat out. It will hold 50-55 mph at the top of 3rd gear up almost any hill on the back roads. I'm not too sure how fast you can go up large hills on the interstates though. Maintaining the speed limit up the largest hills shouldn't be a problem.

The beauty of a 240 is the driving experience. You don't drive it like other cars. As cheesy as this sounds, your mind becomes one with the car. You just drive it how you feel is safe for the conditions.
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