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Old 07-06-2007, 06:31 PM
diametricalbenz's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 3,510
240D to 300D Conversion - Is the Shop Stonewalling Me?

Nearly 2 years ago, I set out to convert my ailing manual trans W115 240D to 300D power from my rusty W115 300D. I acquired the rusty 300D in 4/06 and tracked down the only experienced installer in 10/06 and agreed to do the work provided I obtain the critical 27 pound 300D flywheel. I found it in 1/07 after much resistance only to discover they moved shops and had to rebuild everything. I tracked them down in January of this year and said they would be running by February or March at a new undisclosed location. I tracked them down via a network of people and stopped by the shop in April and was told "we'll call you" in a month or two. Now it's July, I called them yet again and they said "we'll have to call you back". I have been waiting for yet another week and change to get a return call.

I believe I have been very kind, polite on the phone, and yet I am being stonewalled and not sure why? I have the money earmarked, with ALL of the necessary parts, so what's the holdup?

Has a shop ever done this to you all before? Am I being too impatient?

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Old 07-06-2007, 07:20 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Blue Point, NY
Posts: 25,396
Changing engines is a a rather large job. They might feel that a bunch of smaller jobs.........where they satisfy a bunch of better for their long term business than tying up one bay for weeks in the typical engine change process.

The stonewalling tells the tale. You probably need to go there and confront them in person and demand an honest answer.
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Old 07-06-2007, 07:52 PM
diametricalbenz's Avatar
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I did stop by in person in April. I can't get past the wife of the owner. The husband is the only mechanic. He is more of a custom shop as that is what they are known for but he does the regular work and so forth. He even had a car featured in in Road and Track some time ago and was rather excited to do the job when I directly spoke to him in I don't know if it's him....or perhaps her...

I am thinking of sending by one of my friends to pose the same project to see if he could gain some traction.
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:02 PM
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Man of the fire
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Shingletown,Ca
Posts: 941
You know, if it was me, I would have absolutely no further interest in that shop. The fact they can not be honest with you already, and that they are obviously uninterested in your business, makes for a bad scene by trying to shove it down their throats, half arsed just hurry up and get it out of our hair kind of efforts when they do the work. I would simply publish who they are and inform people of their ways, and earmark them to the BBB. What they get for not having the common decency to do the right thing and just say "sorry, we can't do it".

Just another one of many reasons I deal with shops as little as possible.
64 190D R.I.P.
80 240D W/617 engine -for sale
82 240D -for sale
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:29 PM
diametricalbenz's Avatar
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I totally agree with you. I put my best foot forward to be a respectable customer to them. I am a huge believer in reciprocity. My regular mechanic is always 110% and so I have referred about 20 customers within the last 2 years. I didn't want to burden him with a project since the shop in discussion has done the work several times before taking the guesswork out of the equation.

The reason I am thrown off is becuase they were very receptive at first and were excited that someone wanted such a car and then the momentum just stopped.

The MB and or diesel crowd in LA is smaller than I previously thought and I know the players here in LA and with the internet and these forums it doesn't take much to get the word out. It's sad becuase this guy has been in the business for 30 years and he's a member of the Biodiesel co-op and had a show car displayed at the classic car show in Glendale last year. I don't get it!

I just want to know what happened. My dreams of owning a manual trans 300D W115 have been dashed but at least I can take the losses and sell things off.

Can BBB even be notified for such things? I got shafted out of a claim with them for Standard Parking damaging my GP relay last year too.
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:51 PM
Registered Diesel Burner
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
Perhaps as the guy is getting older he just wants to do small repair jobs.

I can understand that. But I don't know why he doesn't just tell you that now. There may also be some personal stability issues behind having to change business locations so many times.

I hope he doesn't have any of your cars or parts. If not, I think you just have to forget about it. Whatever it is, his wife is running interference for him.


P.S. Want to sell the flywheel?
1982 300D at 351K miles
1984 300SD at 217K miles
1987 300D at 370K miles
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:11 PM
diametricalbenz's Avatar
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The guy is old and that is why I am pushing to get the work done so I can later document all of the modifications for posterity. If he is old and or too arthritic to do the work that's perfectly understandable. I just wish I had an honest answer rather than being left in the dark.

The previous location was their shop location for 25 years....go figure I find the flywheel when their lease is up!

Grrr....sell the flywheel. I hate to do it but....i'll think about it.

The 300D will be up for sale then since it won't be useful. The 240D will need a new engine although spending the money on a 62hp car won't necessarily be useful at this time.

I think will give them one more drive by Monday and ask them yes or no and then I may have to get my internet red pen out!
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Old 07-08-2007, 01:42 AM
Diesel Fan
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Greater Seattle Metro
Posts: 6
Here there be Dragons

I have performed this modification of a M/T W115 240D to 3.0l (617) from a 1976 W115 300D parts car. I will try to highlight the high points of the modification and the overall relative difficulty involved in this changeover.

OMG this is a hell of a lot of work. I would have to say if you were to get this old dude to do this job and you got a bill for ~$3,000-$5,000 I would say you got a good deal.

First if you do not still have the 300D parts car at the disposal of the mechanic the flywheel is the least of your worries. Just about everything looks identical but they are slightly longer, shorter or entirely different. Nearly nothing from an interface stand-point can be directly used from the 240D without some sort of kludge resulting.

The starting and shut-off system will have to be dealt with. The starting system I had already modded to the fast-glow system with modern glow relay so all that was necessary was to add an extra "ice-cube" relay and an additional fuse. The 300's vacuum shut-off system requires either the use of the 300's ignition switch or to mod the "gorilla knob" to accept a vacuum valve to control vacuum shut-off to the IP.

The driveshaft will have to be ordered. I went through NW Driveline service out of Portland OR. I can provide you with the measurement and they will build one up for you. neither the 240D's or the 300D's driveshaft will work. The cost in 2006 was $375 + $75 core. No local driveshaft service shop would accept the job as the driveshaft is "friction welded" together.

The engine shock mounts will have to be sawed off of the 300D's frame and welded into the 240D's frame. Replace the engine and transmission mounts while you are at it. Without the heavy fluid filled torque converter this configuration has more vibrations, fresh rubber helps out significantly.

The exhaust manifold is a different geometry. and must be retained. I was able to attach the existing front and rear mufflers to the exhaust downpipe.

Misc. items in no particular order:
The idle control cable from the 240D is too short and has to be transplanted from the 300D. The speedo cable is now too short and has to be transplanted. The York air conditioner bracket looks the same, but is different. The high pressure a/c line from the pump to expansion valve is about 1" too short and must be transplanted. The air filter housing from the 300D will have to used. The radiator and fan shroud fromt he 300d must be used as the clearance and hose fittings are different. The shift linkage must shortened and re-threaded about 1.5" with a M10x1.5 die. The linkages must be tweaked a bit to get clearance around the transmission. Most of the throttle linkage from the 300D must be used as the clearance is much tighter with the extra cylinder. The heater hard lines must be transplanted.

Plus all of the stuff I have repressed, plus all of the opportunistic maintenance (omitted for brevity), and then, and then, and then.

I have over 12k miles on the beast and I love the car, but I would not do it again and I do not recommend it. Please feel free to comment on this. This took over 300 hours of labor between two very competent mechanics and still is not completely finished over 1 year later.
1975 240D 4-Spd
Converted to 3.0l (617)
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Old 07-08-2007, 01:52 AM
JWJ JWJ is offline
Mechanically challenged
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Posts: 395
It's normal

I have never had a shop out right refuse a job.

They always just say they'll call me back and never do.
1983 MB 300D - > 430,000 miles - Deep Blue - Bilstein Comforts - 0-60 in 24 seconds - 27MPG
1985 MB 300TD (wagon) - > 275,000 miles - Manila Beige - Thule rack - 0-60 in 18 seconds - 22 - 25MPG
Biodiesel, Mobil Delvac 1, and Viton fuel lines!
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Old 07-08-2007, 02:47 AM
diametricalbenz's Avatar
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Location: Marietta, GA
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Jenseng. Wow! That is a lot of work. I figured much of the legwork has been experienced before by the installer since he has done this and other cars before. Honestly he quoted me 20 hours of labor having provided all of the parts....and I have two whole running cars plus flywheel.

Is the car significantly faster than the 240D or the 300D in auto form?

Can it get up those Seattle hills?
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Old 07-08-2007, 06:42 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 38,014
I have had my indie here in Lafayette do two such conversions for me. One was a 115 the other a 123. The labor was around 1500 each time. If you have all the parts (best to have a complete parts car) it really should be around a weeks work for one guy.

It usually takes longer because you get stalled for the odd muffler bearing or such.

If you have two cars to start with it really is not that hard.

Numerous folks here have done it as a do it yourself.

Tom W
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 07-08-2007, 02:17 PM
Diesel Fan
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Greater Seattle Metro
Posts: 6
Here there be Dragons (part 2)

Diametrical, Yes the car is definetely more sprightly. It has more hill climbing ability. I have made a trip with the Benz to Utah and through the California Sierra Nevadas and the car was extremely drivable. Seattle hills are not a problem for this configuration. This does not change the top end of the car, so 88mph is about as fast as it goes unless you are to change the rear end (pumpkin, 3rd Member) and this will only get you to ~95mph. The speedo is matched to the rear end BTW.

What I wanted to impart is that with the subtle differences with the interface of the 240D and the 300D is that to overcome some of the problems (ie Gorilla knob, vacuum shut-off, length) you will either have to have some sort of kluge or be very creative in how you overcome the difficulty. The easy part is stuffing the engine and tranny into the car, the hard part is getting it all to operate safely from the driver's seat.

I proposed this job to two local and highly respected european mechanics. Both flatly declined to accept the job.

1975 240D 4-Spd
Converted to 3.0l (617)
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