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  #1  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:10 AM
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Lets brainstorm and make a List Newbies should consider when buying a 300D

Lets brainstorm and make a List Newbies should consider when buying a 300D..I see a lot of Posts from people asking us whether they should buy this or that Mercedes Diesel. I was thinking, why don't we all post a list of items that a newbie with average mechanical ability should look for when purchasing a W123 Diesel. This is just my opinion --every 300D by now has shot ball joints or leaking CV boots or some fault unless someone has attended to these items--but when a 300D is brought to fully renewed condition it often has at least another 300,000 miles left in it. So maybe we should quote repair procedures/prices as well wrt to certain items, such as nonfunctional AC or a nonworking odometer.

Here's my first several contributions:
1. Pull up all the carpets and look for rust on the floorboards.
2. Drive behind the car when someone else is driving it and look for smoke at acceleration or deacceleration or for smoke in general.
3. See if the odometer works. In many states now, your car will not pass inspection unless it works.
4. YOUR TURN Don't worry Brian Carlton or myself will editorialize and pretty everything up.

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  #2  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:18 AM
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Be critical when inspecting the vehicle. Assign a dollar amount to everything that is broken, missing, or not working. This amount should be added to the cost of the vehicle. Evaluate your financial situation.

What is your current mechanical ability? Will you be able to make many of the above repairs yourself? Will you be able to do routine maintenance? While these are very dependable vehicles they are not indestructible. Anything mechanical can (and will) break.
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:24 AM
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Look under dash for signs of a fire.....
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  #4  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyL View Post
Look under dash for signs of a fire.....

Had to think about that for a moment
LMAO
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  #5  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:39 AM
Coming back from burnout
 
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That was a Low Blow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyL View Post
Look under dash for signs of a fire.....
On a more serious note:

4. Front End Inspection: Jack the car up and place it on Jack Stands. Inspect the rubber covers on the Ball Joints, tire rods, upper control arm and stabilize bars. Look for signs of cracks on the rubber covers. Cracks on these rubber covers will more or less necessitate replacement of these components.
Of these items, ball joint replacement is the most labor intensive.
While the car is on Jackstands, and with the engine off, turn the Steering wheel fully from left to right and right to left and note any unusual noises.
Finally give the Right and Left side a nice firm bounce and not the condition of the front Shock Absorbers.
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  #6  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:40 AM
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carefully inspect the headliner on the drivers side of the sunvisor. if there are signs of water, prepare for a rusted out sunroof drain... how do I know?...
look over VERY CAREFULLY the front and rear window seals. look at the condition of the sunroof seals, simple to change... sorta, but bad ones can damage the paint all around the sunroof.
check for rust or bubbles under the undercoating on the frame, the jackpoints, etc.
on a COLD engine, let the glowplugs heat up, then see how long it takes to start. should be almost immediate.
I have found common places of rust on all my 123's is fore and aft of the wheels on the fenders. hard to spot unless you are looking there.
also the drip area of the doors themselves. you may have to pull back the lower door seal to see it, but if there is a lot of rust there it's kinda hard to fix.
Next!
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  #7  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:42 AM
Coming back from burnout
 
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I'm angry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TX76513 View Post
Had to think about that for a moment
LMAO
I got the Last Laugh...I have the best 300D bar none now..
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  #8  
Old 11-16-2006, 11:49 AM
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More...

4. Check for cracked or broken CV boots.
5. Check operation of climate control including vacuum pods, a/c, heat.
6. Check operation of cruise control.
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2006, 12:00 PM
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Brakes

While you're checking the front end, take off the driver-side wheel and look at the pads. Check for a stuck caliper - really thin pad or missing sensor wires. Somehow the driver's side seems to stick most often - except one, every stuck caliper I have replaced has been the driver's side.
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2006, 12:04 PM
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check all fluid levels and condition.

check for proper coolant type. Green means run away.

do the tea kettle oil cap dance test.

look at the condition of the motor mounts

look at the prefilter

check operation of all windows and sun roof

get a pre buy inspection done to uncover things you may have missed.

don't buy a car from the salted road rust belt areas of the country...
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Last edited by rrgrassi; 11-16-2006 at 12:14 PM.
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  #11  
Old 11-16-2006, 12:09 PM
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Rust

1.Remove the Plastic Panel covers in the trunk on the right and left side. Check for rust in the Rocker Panel regions there.
2. Remove all the floormats and check for rust underneath on the floorboards.
3. Check the right and left front fenders at the points above the jacking points for rust. The sunroof drains exit there underneath the fenders and over the years leaves etc can collect and cause rust on the fenders.
4. Check the jacking points on the rocker panel for Rust
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  #12  
Old 11-16-2006, 01:58 PM
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For the rust check i would add to the common inspection points:
-The roof of the trunk compartment
-The bottom of the doors(particularly front doors), if necessary remove partially the rubber door seal in the bottom part and check behind it.

I would also pay close attention to the climate controls and AC functions.

Now i think this list should also include the items that should not bother you at least not while shopping for a good driver:
Cruise control is almost a given that it won't work.
Rubber hoses coming in/out of the engine head and block should not be bothersome because you should assume that you will be replacing them all anyways.
Oil wetness is a subject where the localization of that said wetness is the difference between a negligible problem and a grave issue. Oil splattering coming from the front or rear of the engine is problematic, as well as the cooling lines (and that includes the transmission cooling lines).
Oil wetness only around the oil pan seal or under that is a minor issue. Just under the valve cover or on the valve cover should also not be a great problem.
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  #13  
Old 11-16-2006, 03:17 PM
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Semi-Newbie

I've got about 6 months under my belt as a MB owner, and most of what i've read so far rings true.
A couple of things I would mention to look for are: Play in the steering linkage and or steering box. Mine had a lot of play in the box, most of which I was able to remove with the lash adjustment screw, but they never feel quite right again after making that adjustment...
Also, check condition of the air cleaner assembly and turbo u-tube. If they are loose/gapped, you may be looking at an expensive turbo repair/replacement in the near future.
Another area that was totally worn out on mine were the rear control arm bushings. The rear end of the car dances around a bit when accelerating/decelerating and vice-versa. Sometimes the tranny shifts will actually cause a clunk in the rear end from the suspension slop.
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  #14  
Old 11-16-2006, 03:55 PM
mrhills0146
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1. Oil leaks in and around the turbo are like most oil leaks. They are tolerable indefinitely as long as you are willing to continue to add oil to the motor. If you want to fix this leak (recommended!) it is a b!tch. This is also a very common area for oil leaks.

2. Transmission shifting is difficult to diagnose. My transmission gave up altogether at 200K, but most last MUCH longer. It is difficult to tell if the transmission is seriously sick or if it's just a vacuum/adjustment issue. Of course if it's like mine was and won't go into reverse or drive no matter how many times you swore at it, that is pretty obvious.

3. You can almost guarantee that some portion of the HVAC system - whether the CCU needs to be re-soldered, vacuum pods are leaking, or the A/C system is shot and needs to be re-done - is going to require attention. MB unfortunately has always made relatively poor HVAC systems.

4. Check everywhere and anywhere for rust. Especially around the rear window seal. Get in the trunk with a flashlight and have an assistant shut the boot and spray down the back side of the car with water. Check for leaks. If it's coming from a tail-light, the antenna, or the fuel filler door it's an easy fix. Coming from the rear window seal means .

5. Engine mounts and shocks are typically bad. Not very expensive to replace.

The one killer thing on these cars is RUST. D#mn near everything else can be repaired and brought back up to spec. Some things can be jury-rigged so as to operate, though maybe not as the factory intended (vac pods in the CCU are a good example.)

Run far, far away from a rusty W123 but if you have a bit of cash on hand, a non-rusty car that looks like it has one foot in the grave can be brought back to an acceptable state of tune easier than any car this side of a VW Bug.
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  #15  
Old 11-16-2006, 06:04 PM
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Inform the seller in advance that you want the engine to be cold so you can start it. Feel the engine when you get there, make sure it has not been running awhile. A hard to start engine will start OK after being warmed up.
Be careful with the list, may be impossible to get a car to meet the list without a complete rebuild. Rust is the biggie, engine and transmission are important, everything else can be fixed.

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