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  #1  
Old 10-31-2007, 02:13 AM
86560SEL's Avatar
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Maybe buying a 1985 300D

Hi again all. I may be buying another MB.... finally. I have sold my truck and now need another daily driver.

I have found a local 1985 300D turbo diesel 4dr. It has high miles (260K), but it was well maintained and stated to be in perfect running order. The undercarriage (floors, frame and trunk) is like new (NO RUST). Paint still gleams, but it is starting to get some slight rust around the LR wheel well. Excellent interior. A/C not working, nor is the cruise (imagine that right? ). Everything else is in perfect working order. It is dark blue, with dark blue leather interior. I can get the car for about $1900. From what I have seen on other 300D's of that era, this seems like a good price. I am waiting to hear back from the owner to see when the timing chain/tensioner/guides/rails were last changed. I had to deal with that worry on my last MB (380SE) and do not want that worry again.

I know these cars have been discussed here time and time again, but can someone give me some quick pointers of things to check on this particular model?

I have also found VERY NICE 1982 300SD (same color) for $2900, but I think it was sold. Also found a local 1987 300SDL for $4800. IN VGC. I think it has 162K. I am waiting for more info on that one as well. Then, there is a 93' Lexus LS400 (low miles) I am looking at as well, but for the MPGs, I would rather have the 300D.

Thanks for any details advice.

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  #2  
Old 10-31-2007, 03:32 AM
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Bargain!

The '85 for $1900 would be a steal here in Northern California, where such things are coveted for their ability to use biodiesel. As an example, I paid $5900 for mine with 207,000 miles and that was considered a fair price. The only concern I would have at 260,000 miles would be the transmission. Perhaps yours has already been rebuilt. Are you sure that the seats are leather? Most were MB-Tex ("that's vinyl, honey, made to look like much more money") with leather as an (unusual) option. The 1985 model was the last W123 car and had all of the updates of the series. Some consider that car to be the pinnacle of the "old" Mercedes.

The air conditioning may be expensive to repair if it needs a compressor, the cruise control not too bad. The a/c controller at least is the more reliable Type III version. I would imagine that 'your' 85 is a Federal model (air filter over the turbo) instead of a California model (air cleaner up front, just behind the right headlight). The Federal model is preferable -- no "trap catalyst." The timing chain is not too bad a job that you can do yourself with a few tools and some care.

The 87 SDL is a larger car by about a foot, has a six cylinder engine (603) that is much advanced over the 617 engine in the older cars. The 603 has an aluminum head that is sensitive to overheating, especially the oldest version with '14' in the part number. Mercedes updated the head design, the latest versions have a '22' in the part number and are less sensitive to overheating.

Any engine can be overheated, of course, and even an iron head can be warped if you work at it. OTOH, even a 603 engine with a #14 head (I own one) can be run satisfactorily for many miles with no problems, just don't run out of coolant and keep driving.

Jeremy
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"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2007, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86560SEL View Post
I had to deal with that worry on my last MB (380SE) and do not want that worry again.


Inline motors have VERY low wear and the Diesels all have dual row chains. I'd be more concerned about the upper rail and the tensioner than anything. If the chain is around 4 stretched, then I'd probably go ahead and swap it.

Also, LS400 gets a thumbs down from me to work on. I'd skip that at all costs. My old lady has one and I hate it. Even the simple oil change drives me to drinking (not anymore since the funnel was invented! )
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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.
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2007, 09:33 AM
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Thanks. He said it was leather, but I was wondering the same thing. My 85' 380SE had the MB-Tex and I like it better. I am thinking he may just be mistaken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy5848 View Post
. Are you sure that the seats are leather? Most were MB-Tex ("that's vinyl, honey, made to look like much more money") with leather as an (unusual) option.
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2007, 09:34 AM
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Thanks Hit Man... I will find out about that.
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  #6  
Old 10-31-2007, 09:50 AM
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I have both, and I prefer the SD. my 82 has served me quite well. I like the seats and the roominess of the SD more. also, it gets slightly better fuel mileage. simple way to tell if it's leather or not is to look for damage on the seat. if it's torn up, it's leather... also, the 82 has the simple climate control, the 85 has the kilma system, so a/c issues are more challenging. my 85D is in amazing condition, and I prefer the worn out interior of my SD... I have never had an SDL, so I can't help there, but from what I hear, it's more powerfull, faster, better fuel economy still, and more roomy in the back seat than the SD. sounds better all around. that head issue is a concern, but if it's in good shape now, some preventive maintenance will have it outlasting the 617.
YMMV
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2007, 10:46 AM
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85 300D 4spd+tow+h4
 
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I love my 85. @ 80mph I turn right over 3200rpm.
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1987 300D Sturmmachine
1991 300D Nearly Perfect
1994 E320 Cabriolet
1995 E320 Touring
2001 Eurovan FOR SALE
1985 300D car, sold and missed.
OBK #42
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  #8  
Old 10-31-2007, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86560SEL View Post
Thanks. He said it was leather, but I was wondering the same thing. My 85' 380SE had the MB-Tex and I like it better. I am thinking he may just be mistaken.
You can tell by the tailoring of the seat covers. If the pleats in the bottom of the seat run all the way to the front edge of the seat bottom, it's MB-Tex; if there's a panel across the front edge it's leather. Wish I had pics, maYbe someone else can help?

Jeremy
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"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #9  
Old 10-31-2007, 12:20 PM
vstech's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy5848 View Post
You can tell by the tailoring of the seat covers. If the pleats in the bottom of the seat run all the way to the front edge of the seat bottom, it's MB-Tex; if there's a panel across the front edge it's leather. Wish I had pics, maYbe someone else can help?

Jeremy
I have both leather and MB tex, and on the 123, it's very hard to tell the diff. on the 126, there is a horizontal panel that intersects, but not on the 123. the only way to really tell on the 123 is to look at the stiching. if there is stiching it's leather, if it's molded seams that look like stiching it's MB-Tex. also, if it's cracked and torn, it's leather. I'll take some pics when I get home...
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #10  
Old 10-31-2007, 06:27 PM
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PM sent to you

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86560SEL View Post
Thanks Hit Man... I will find out about that.
check your private messages.
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daw_two
Germantown, TN

Links:
Current Car --- 05/2012 1984 300D Light Ivory, Red interior
Cluster Needles Paint
New Old Stock (NOS) parts

Past:
3/2008 1986 300SDL "Coda"
04/2010 1965 190D(c) "Ben"
& many more
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  #11  
Old 10-31-2007, 06:47 PM
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When I bought my 85 300d about a month ago these guys told me to get a compression test to show how good the engine is. I'm sure that would put me at ease when buying a higher mileage diesel.

As for the leather, mb-tex, you will most certainly notice the difference. My blue leather SL (wearing excellent by the way) looks different, feels different, and smells different than my mb-tex 300d.

Why does Mercedes leather smell sooooo good?
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1985 500SL Euro w/ AMG bits 130k
1984 300SD Turbodiesel 192k
1980 240D Stick China 188k
2001 CLK55 AMG 101k
2007 S600 Biturbo 149k Overheated Project, IT'S ALIVE!!!
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  #12  
Old 10-31-2007, 07:00 PM
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85 300D 4spd+tow+h4
 
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Id rather have tex for durability and ease of replacement. Just my 2cents.
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http://superturbodiesel.com/images/sig.04.10.jpg
1987 300D Sturmmachine
1991 300D Nearly Perfect
1994 E320 Cabriolet
1995 E320 Touring
2001 Eurovan FOR SALE
1985 300D car, sold and missed.
OBK #42
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2007, 08:24 PM
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Cheap compression test

Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerH860 View Post
When I bought my 85 300d about a month ago these guys told me to get a compression test to show how good the engine is. I'm sure that would put me at ease when buying a higher mileage diesel.
A crude test that can be done with no tools or expense is to start a cold engine without giving the glow plugs time to heat up. Turn the key switch and immediately start cranking. In mild temps (~60F), an engine with good compression should start in 5 seconds or so (no more than 10). You will get some initial smoking from the extra fuel and the engine will run rough for a few minutes until it warms up. My '85 starts in 5 seconds at 60F even though it has 229,000 miles on an un-rebuilt engine.

Colder weather and poorer condition will stretch out the time. "Cold engine" means several hours; overnight would be better. If the results are at all questionable, do the "real" compression test. Otherwise, you may wish to spend your inspection budget looking at some other part of the car before you commit to buy it.

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2007, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daw_two View Post
check your private messages.
Got it... thanks!
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2007, 02:04 AM
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Thanks for all of the replies guys! I am going to try to look @ it this weekend. Its not to far away. I asked him and he said the chain was replaced 45K ago (he phoned the PO), but he did not say about the tensioner/rails/guides. That was before I asked him about those specifically. Hopefully ALL of that was changed. Surely @ 260K, it has been?

Yeah, as you know, I had a 90 LS400 a few years ago... I loved it, but it as getting age, mileage and quirks and it was costly to repair. I loved how smooth and solid it was though.

I was thinking of the local 87' 300SDL, but I seen the photos and while it is nice, $4800 is more than I want to pay for one... especially with the stories I have heard when they blow a HG or something. I would be ruined if that happened. Also, I can not justify paying $3000 more for it, over the 85' 300D.

As far as the interior on the 85', when I see it, I will be able to tell. I have had MBs with MB-Tex and leather. I too prefer the Tex. Thanks for the tips though!


Thanks again!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit Man X View Post
Inline motors have VERY low wear and the Diesels all have dual row chains. I'd be more concerned about the upper rail and the tensioner than anything. If the chain is around 4 stretched, then I'd probably go ahead and swap it.

Also, LS400 gets a thumbs down from me to work on. I'd skip that at all costs. My old lady has one and I hate it. Even the simple oil change drives me to drinking (not anymore since the funnel was invented! )

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