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  #1  
Old 03-27-2006, 06:14 PM
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Don't want to pay too much for this...Should I leave it as-is?

so a few days ago, on a cold morning (25F or so), my 1980 300CD wouldn't fire up. The starter was chugging along (slowly albeit) but it was working. I drained the battery a bit doing that so overnight i plugged in the block heater, and the next day i hooked my battery up to a friend's and tried to crank it agfain...still no luck. tried priming the lines for about 15 mins w/ someone cranking it...still nothing.

I replaced the glowplugs 4 months ago, connections are all solid, replaced the prefilter in janurary, no grease has been in the lines for about 400 miles so its not gelling from that.

I got it towed to a shop today (the only one it town that has any diesel knowledge, but certainly not specialists!) and here's the synopsis:
charged my battery more because apparently it was kind of low. said he used the primer pump a bunch until he got it hissing. he then put the hot battery in line and the car fired up with a little pushing and it fires up fine now. the guy did say two things though. first, that the starter was about to go, its turning pretty sluggishly, he said - and that could have been part of the problem and he said mine would give out soon (brushing problem? should i see how much longer it will last?). second, he said the relay might need replacing, but couldn't really give me a good reason why other than he thought the glowplugs weren't heated enough. but i really do think that they get hot enough for long enough and i have felt them after preglowing and they are hot as hell.

so this guy has already put 1.5 hrs of work in at $70/hr and wants to put in either a new starter at $150 or a relay at $390 or both! (i know i can get them for cheaper, but thats beside the point).

should i just thank him and be on my way? $100 for a battery charge?

get a starter put in?

is that an easy enough repair to do myself?

gah! i'm a broke ass college student and any cheap solutions/ideas would be great!
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Last edited by billster84; 03-27-2006 at 06:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2006, 06:40 PM
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Walk away. If the starter fails later you can replace it your self.
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2006, 06:47 PM
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Well, when I was in college, I know what I would have done.

I probably would have been walking. Anyway, I'd go to Auto Zone or a place like that who will "supposedly" check with their equipment your charging system and the starting system for free in hopes of selling you something, a battery or starter or cable or anything. Your problem is narrowed down to a bad battery, a bad alternator, loose belt on the alternator, a bad starter or excessively low compression or possibly glow plugs, "IF" your fuel filters have been changed recently or if you know that the filters are not plugged or restricted. I could be wrong, but I don't think a bad starter would start a bad engine even if it had been charged for 24 hours at full force. And just remember that you can't drive a Mercedes "UNLESS" you have lots of cash or you are willing to get your hands dirty and risk maybe getting a knuckle busted every now and then, when the wrench slips because you had too much oil or grease on your hands as you were wrenching to replace that starter. Also remember that as soon as you say "it's a Mercedes"; the price automatically goes up. The same battery charge and process you just went through and you were driving an old Chevrolet, the mechanic would have charged you about $17.50 and if you said you were a college kid, it would have been even less. Also, remember SAFETY FIRST!

BenzDiesel
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  #4  
Old 03-27-2006, 07:02 PM
Craig
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Regarding the relay, if you are getting 11 volts to the glow plugs then it is working. I would put a milti-meter on one of the glow plugs and turn the key to the glow position. You should be getting about 11 volts for about 30-40 seconds and then you should hear the relay click off, and the voltage will drop to 0. Also, do not assume your glow plugs are good because you changed them 4 months ago. Unplug the connector from the relay to the plugs and measure the resistance to each one. They should be in the .5 to 1.0 ohm range. If one (or more) reads infinity it should be replaced. Glow plugs tend to fail randomly (like light bulbs).
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2006, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billster84
........... he then put the hot battery in line and the car fired up with a little pushing and it fires up fine now.
There is nothing wrong with the relay. I would not have started for him if the relay was bad.

Now, the starter is a different story. The battery might not be up to snuff.......even if fully charged.......and the result is a slow turning starter.

Furthermore, any starter that they install will probably be a rebuilt POS that won't last more than two years. A Bosch remanufactured starter is over $140. just for the part and they will get a good two hours for the labor.

So, my advice to you is to go and buy a brand new, group 49 battery from Autozone if your existing battery is older than three years. The investment of $65. will be well worth the expense.
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  #6  
Old 03-27-2006, 07:18 PM
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battery is about a year to year and a half old...borderline?i'm also told a valve adjustment may help with this. how much can i expect to pay for one? by the way, thanks for all the prompt responses!
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2006, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billster84
battery is about a year to year and a half old...borderline?i'm also told a valve adjustment may help with this. how much can i expect to pay for one? by the way, thanks for all the prompt responses!
Well, a 1 1/2 year old battery is not immediately suspect. But, get it fully charged and have a proper "load test" done on the battery. Make sure that it puts out the rated amperage. Or, borrow a new battery and try it. If the starter spins noticeably faster, then it's the battery. If not, then the starter is suspect.

But, check all the cables to the starter and the cable from the engine block to the body. These get corroded with time and if resistance builds up, the symptoms of a bad battery or a bad starter present themselves when a 10 minute fix with a wire brush is all that you need.

A valve adjustment is required every 15K miles with these engines. Many folks go 25K but that's pushing it. A good mechanic can easily do the job in 2 hours..........some can do it much faster if they are familiar with the 617.
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2006, 04:29 AM
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How much work is required to change a 617 starter? I have the ability to jack the car from the subframe (and support) as well as air tools... is that the big issue with them is needing space? Extensions? Torque?

Mine is quite tired and what appears to be OE from Oct of 1984.
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  #9  
Old 03-28-2006, 04:33 AM
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If the engine is not spining fast enough then the engine wont start. This could be the battery and or the starter. Try the cheaper thing first, the battery. Also clean your ground connections. Cold weather kills the batteries in a heart beat.
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  #10  
Old 03-28-2006, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit Man X
How much work is required to change a 617 starter? I have the ability to jack the car from the subframe (and support) as well as air tools... is that the big issue with them is needing space? Extensions? Torque?

Mine is quite tired and what appears to be OE from Oct of 1984.
A royal PITA with the manifolds in place. The issue is getting to the cables at the front of the starter, disconnecting and reconnecting same. There is also a bracket that supports the front end of the starter.........will also be miserable from underneath. A proper vehicle lift would make the job much easier.

Remember, you are working up through the steering linkage and it must be set in the perfect position to get the starter out from below.

Thankfully, I did it with the manifolds removed..........from the top........a pleasure.........but, you still have to get underneath and fight the two 12mm cap screws that hold the starter to the bell housing. They can strip if you're unlucky.
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:10 AM
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Any idea what the book rate for labor is on this?

Seems it could easily be $140-160 well spent at the local shop... may as well do a block heater at the same time.
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'85 300SD 245k
'87 300SDL 251k
'90 300SEL 326k

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  #12  
Old 03-28-2006, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billster84
battery is about a year to year and a half old...borderline?i'm also told a valve adjustment may help with this. how much can i expect to pay for one? by the way, thanks for all the prompt responses!
a valve adjustment should cost you about $2-4, depending on where you buy the feeler gages. As for the starter, you're lucky that spring is here and nice and warm outside. I still remember changing the starter on my $50 Chrysler 300 at college in Maine in January. That was really cold.
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Burton
a valve adjustment should cost you about $2-4, depending on where you buy the feeler gages. As for the starter, you're lucky that spring is here and nice and warm outside. I still remember changing the starter on my $50 Chrysler 300 at college in Maine in January. That was really cold.


And you'll suffer from 125F heat index here in the summer in Texas with 95% humidity.
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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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  #14  
Old 03-28-2006, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton
A royal PITA with the manifolds in place. The issue is getting to the cables at the front of the starter, disconnecting and reconnecting same. There is also a bracket that supports the front end of the starter.........will also be miserable from underneath. A proper vehicle lift would make the job much easier.

Remember, you are working up through the steering linkage and it must be set in the perfect position to get the starter out from below.

Thankfully, I did it with the manifolds removed..........from the top........a pleasure.........but, you still have to get underneath and fight the two 12mm cap screws that hold the starter to the bell housing. They can strip if you're unlucky.
Brian, you're right about those cables, but that's not the only way. you can leave the cables on the starter and disconnect them at the terminal block. Also, loosening and moving the exhaust pipe is actually pretty easy, and gives you some of the room there you really need.
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  #15  
Old 03-28-2006, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Burton
Brian, you're right about those cables, but that's not the only way. you can leave the cables on the starter and disconnect them at the terminal block. Also, loosening and moving the exhaust pipe is actually pretty easy, and gives you some of the room there you really need.
Yep.....sounds like a better approach.....leave it to the man who's done it....
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