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  #1  
Old 05-14-2007, 08:32 PM
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The most reliable- w116, w126 or w123?

Hi there gang, newbie here. I'm not very mechanical and am looking for a reliable daily driver that I can convert to veggie, I live in Irvine, CA (SoCal). Aside from the cosmetics of each, I'm interested in everyone's opinion of the most reliable platform and if you have preference of year within that platform.

I'm not a DIY'er so beyond engine reliability, I need a solid transmission, AC, windows and other accessories. I realize these are old cars and things are bound to happen, but to the extent I can pick the most reliable the better.

From a cosmetic perspective, I love the 1980 300SD, but these didn't come with an airbag from what I understand and safety is somewhat important to me as well. Can I expect airbags on the newer models to even work after 20 years? Any other thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated.

Tom
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2007, 08:38 PM
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*flame suit on*

it depends ... it really does ya know..

the 116 is rust prone

the w123 is spartan

the w126 is full of goodies

each has their flaws of course.

IIRC the SD did not have air bags but later SDL's did as well as european 123's as an option.

if your not a DIY'er then veggie really isnt your thing then because if you run a proper system your still going to need to do some work now and then if it clogs on the high way


if you have the money why not a 95 E300D?
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2007, 08:39 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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i have not had a 116 but i have had the 115.

i count the 123 the simplist to work on and the most reliable.

the 115 is prob next and the 126 is a close third.

really all are pretty equal in quality but the 126s tend to have more electric things like seats and such that are a problem when they get old. chassis and engine wise they are all pretty equal. in fact mechanically there is not a lot to differentiate them. they share a huge amount of mechanical bits.

engines trannies and rear ends. brakes too.

drive a bunch of them, decide what model you like best and buy the nicest example you can afford.

the cheapest to drive and work on is no doubt the 240d stick. i would pick the 83 model as the best. i have owned ten or twelve of them.

tom w

tom w
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  #4  
Old 05-14-2007, 08:51 PM
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I have. had a 116 and 2 123. All are great, my favorite? The 116. The most reliable / least maintanance? probably the latest years of the 123. These feature a more reliable cliamate control, more reliable power window switches, better rust proofing, and other small things they learned over the years.
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  #5  
Old 05-14-2007, 08:59 PM
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I love the mentioning of the W126 with a "lot of goodies".

Other than the automatic climate control and power seats...For the diesel models, what else is there?

The early W126's are simply larger more aerodynamic W123s, IMHO, with more luxurious interior appointments.
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2007, 10:09 PM
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1- Why do you want to convert to veggie?

If it's to save money you need to realize that if you are planning on paying a mechanic to repair & maintain your MB, you are better off buying a gasser Honda or Toyota....etc A good MB is not cheap to buy & if you buy a less expensive one the saying goes...."There is nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes."..........

If it's to be environmental then you are picking the right car for it.

2- I've yet to see a pre-'86 MB diesel with airbags & you will want one from '85 and earlier only to run veggie and be reliable.
If you have had alot of front end accidents lately & need to have the airbag, because you keep hitting things, then I would suggest a bicycle.

If you can settle for a non- airbag car, they are all safe to drive. If you're in an SD , unless you hit a locomotive head on you will probably come out OK , or better then whatever you hit....


3 - Aside from the mild sarcasm, get the one that has the coldest A/C & best interior.


Good luck !! and buy some wrenches.


...
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  #7  
Old 05-14-2007, 10:24 PM
Gene
 
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W124 has two airbags and an mechanical IP. (95)

And a 14 mm allen socket!
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  #8  
Old 05-14-2007, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbaldwinusc View Post

I'm not a DIY'er so beyond engine reliability, I need a solid transmission, AC, windows and other accessories.

Tom
If you're not a DIY'er, then None of the Above!! They last a long time, but it is always "something", and if you don't DIY, then it costs more than it is worth to have fixed by an Indy in most cases.
The AC never works, and when it does it is marginal on a good day. Something is always happening with the windows: regulators, switches, regulators, regulators.....
So, if you just want an old MB to run veggie, you are buying it for the wrong reason.......
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  #9  
Old 05-14-2007, 11:08 PM
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You can find a reliable daily driver and it will most likely be a 123 or 126. Just not as many of those 116's around (too bad though, a lovely car). But you WILL become a DIY type if you buy one of these cars. You reallly don't have a choice. Also, buy two, because you'll likely have only one running perfectly at one time. There is truly always some thing that needs to be fixed, tweaked or maintained.

Kevin
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  #10  
Old 05-14-2007, 11:15 PM
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What's an airbag?
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2007, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbaldwinusc View Post
Hi there gang, newbie here. I'm not very mechanical and am looking for a reliable daily driver that I can convert to veggie, I live in Irvine, CA (SoCal). Aside from the cosmetics of each, I'm interested in everyone's opinion of the most reliable platform and if you have preference of year within that platform.

I'm not a DIY'er so beyond engine reliability, I need a solid transmission, AC, windows and other accessories. I realize these are old cars and things are bound to happen, but to the extent I can pick the most reliable the better.

From a cosmetic perspective, I love the 1980 300SD, but these didn't come with an airbag from what I understand and safety is somewhat important to me as well. Can I expect airbags on the newer models to even work after 20 years? Any other thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated.

Tom
Hi Tom (as whole room repeats)
Welcome to the Diesel Anon....er, Diesel Forums

Seems the 86 and up were generally the models with airbags. Bear in mind, these are first generation airbags, and not the 'smart' airbags that are in current models. In other words, they will deploy with full force. Other than airbags, the earlier SDs are structurally just as strong in a wreck. The only difference in the SDL (86 & 87) is the SDL is longer, giving you a larger back seat. The later models, IE 86 up, have more electronics and are not quite as simple mechanically to work on. However, they are still pretty easy. Find one in good shape and you can get plenty of mileage out of them. There are a number of SDLs with 250K + miles and I have a friend with an 84SD with well over 400K miles and it runs great.

As I have found, many of the normal problems have been discovered time and time again, and there are numerous posts about the problems, and if not, people here are glad to help.

IF you convert to veggie, make sure the system is done right. You will want a 2 tank system, heated fuel lines, heated fuel filter, and I recommend heated injector lines. (It's not as bad as it sounds) You will not want to run WVO without it being heated. There are a number of recommendations from those that are running WVO systems.
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  #12  
Old 05-14-2007, 11:44 PM
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Ya, ya, ya, you can run a diesel on WVO. But are you going to monitor and /or care what you use? I have heard of too many engines trashed by WVO. I once thought about using WVO ,but I now much prefer commercial biodiesel because there are standards. I now find the general idea of using WVO disgusting; I rank using WVO in a 617 in the same as being a pedophile. I hate seeing a 617 engine destroyed all for the same of 'cheap fuel'.

As far as the chassis preference. I want a W116, but I know that parts are not going to be available as they are for a W123 or W126. If you want a daily driver I would lean towards the W123 or W126. The W126 is a phenomenal ride, but it is also large. I prefer the W123.
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  #13  
Old 05-15-2007, 11:07 AM
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IMHO, W116, W123 and early W126 are pretty much equivalent. For the simple reason that they have the same or quasi same engine, tranny, AC system, brakes, etc...

Choosing the chassis is actually a question of esthetics and availability. If you get a W116 without rust in front of you... grab it!!! 79 and 80 are best. If climate control works it is pure gravy!!!

on the W123. a lovely 123... I would recommend a 1983 above any other year. If it is in good shape, ac running ... Grab it!!!

I am not asfamiliar with W126 so I won't comment.

Now let me tell u. If you r not a DIY'er run!!!! Old benz ain't cheap if you don't repair and maintain yourself. Plan at least 200 bucks of tools with the purchase of the first one.
Now if you want to do WVO, VVO or worse WMO you not only need to be a DIY but an adept DIY!!!! If you dont feel ready for this i would have only one advice. Walk away!!!
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  #14  
Old 05-15-2007, 11:45 AM
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I would suggest a W126. Look for a 84 or 85 300SD. For a car without airbags they are about as safe as it gets, AC works decent if maintained properly and these cars are fairly abundant.

Learn to work on it yourself. Start by changing the oil, filters, fuel filters...
You have a huge amount of support here on this forum while you're going thru the learning process. Don't even try the 'veggie thing' until you know the car well and understand the fuel system.
Soon you will be adjusting the valves, changing out ball joints... all the other easy stuff that most of us do here. That link at the top is a great place to buy parts btw.
When you get to that level your 'new' old MB diesel can become your daily driver. Until then don't rely on it being ready to go when you need it.

When looking for an old Benz drive several to make sure you know how they should "feel" before making the purchase. Get familair with terms like "Flaring" and I'm sure you will find it in a car or two that you test drive. Don't get in any hurry. There are usually a bunch out there for sale. Be patient, learn as you look.
A pre buy inspection by a mech very familiar with these cars would be a good idea.


So if we haven't scared you off, welcome to the forum and good luck.
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  #15  
Old 05-15-2007, 12:05 PM
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In terms of a majestic car which looks like a car and not a blob, W123 takes the prize, solidly built, excellent ride and built to last, all the attributes I need in a car is in a W123.
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:05 PM
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