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  #1  
Old 04-24-2008, 08:14 PM
total MB n00b
 
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87 300TD - Insane Buy?

Ok,

this is my first time at the forum after being directed here by a couple MB/WVO people I know. I'm looking at picking up a diesel wagon for WVO conversion and have zeroed in on the '87 300TD.

I've been poking around and have come across a couple in my area (Los Angeles), both with around 300K miles and in the $6500 range. I'm leaning towards one of them because of a recent engine/transmission/AC rebuild, plus extensive service records and receipts.

Given the market in SoCal, this seems fairly reasonable. But, the logical side of me says 6500 for a car with 300000 miles on it? Is this insanity?

I'd love to hear some other users' anecdotes on 300TD mileages for a well-cared-for vehicle. In my web trolling, i haven't seen anyone mention having these things much more than 300,000-400,000 miles.

anyone out there care to reinforce my decision?
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2008, 08:44 PM
vstech's Avatar
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300K is quite high.
well maintained the motor is capable of 500K plus... yours seems to have records, you should verify the records match the vin on the car, then look them over and see if the coolant was maintained regularly and see if the head has been replaced with a more recent model like the 18 or 22...
the motors are readily available to replace if you do run into problems. I would test drive it, and have it inspected for compression, and blowby.
the price is not bad. so cal cars are highly sought after...
good luck, and welcome to the forum!
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2008, 11:32 PM
300SDog's Avatar
gimme a low-tech 240D
 
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Yep, that engine was known as the head cracker if memory serves me well. Meanwhile god only knows how startup sensors and electricktronic fuel flow sensors & regulators react when you veggie oil the darned thing building carbon deposits in combustion chambers and lowering its operating temp. Umm, the '87 has regular rats nest of tricked out fuel flow governing devices dont it?
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2008, 12:25 AM
Hatterasguy's Avatar
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300k is a lot, I wouldn't buy a car with over 200k on it unless it was cheap.

A proper rebuild on a 603 costs $8k and their are very few places in this country that can do it right. I would be leary of a rebuild.

You need to find something with half as many miles.
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  #5  
Old 04-25-2008, 12:26 AM
Hatterasguy's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 300SDog View Post
Yep, that engine was known as the head cracker if memory serves me well. Meanwhile god only knows how startup sensors and electricktronic fuel flow sensors & regulators react when you veggie oil the darned thing building carbon deposits in combustion chambers and lowering its operating temp. Umm, the '87 has regular rats nest of tricked out fuel flow governing devices dont it?
No its about as complicated as a garden tracter.
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  #6  
Old 04-25-2008, 01:36 AM
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Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatterasguy View Post
No its about as complicated as a garden tracter.
I have a diesel garden tractor; the OM603 engine is definitely more complicated but still mostly mechanical.
............................................................
The 300TD (wagon) tends to sell for a higher price -- unless you need/want a wagon for some reason, consider a sedan. Buy the one with the best set of service records. An engine with a #14 (earliest version) head can still be OK, it is more at risk of cracking if the engine is overheated than the later versions of the head. If the engine is not overheated, no problem regardless of the head number.

At 300,000 miles the transmission will be in need of an overhaul if it has not already been done. Budget about $3000 for that. The engine will still be OK at 300,000 if it has been well cared for. The timing chain would be my only concern and that's not a big job. Consider investing in a compression/leakdown test before you buy. About $500 to have a mechanic do it (California prices), much cheaper if you can do it yourself.

Jeremy
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2008, 07:55 AM
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I would not be afraid of owning a 300,000mile '87, but I'd hesitate to start my relationship out with a car of that mileage unless it were a screaming deal.

150,000-200,000 seems like it is a younger vehicle with more low-hassle miles left.

That being said, I'd rather have the 300,000mile high-mile commuter over a 150K grocery-getter. History/use/condition is higher on my list of details in buying a used car. Look at the wear on the controls, pedals, carpets, seats, steering-wheel, ... condition of everthing to indicate how it ws cared for, whether it came from Detroit and was moved to CA, ... best of luck.
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  #8  
Old 04-25-2008, 12:15 PM
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Depends on what tractor you have!
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  #9  
Old 04-25-2008, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatterasguy View Post
Depends on what tractor you have!
Yeah, I bet the "Starship Enterplow" on Top Gear is more complex than a 603!
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  #10  
Old 04-25-2008, 12:25 PM
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huh?
 
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Seller's will try and hype up the 87 as rare and therefore ask for more money. I looked at an 87 and a small handful of w123's. The 87 was quicker but also had 300,000 miles. It needed paint and probably some deferred maintenance. I may have considered buying if the seller cut his price in half.
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  #11  
Old 04-25-2008, 12:32 PM
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If you have to have a W124 wagon and don't want to get raped just find a 300TE. The M103 is a fine engine. Unless you drive a lot fuel mileage is a wash.

You can probably find an 89-91 with 100k miles on it for the same money they are asking for the older diesel version.
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  #12  
Old 04-25-2008, 11:43 PM
biodiesel, baby.
 
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Get it.

I bought a 1987 300TD for $12k. A lot? Yes. But, I bought it from the family of the original owner, and it was (still is) in excellent condition. It drives like a champ -- best road trip car I've ever driven. If your engine is clean & passes inspection (yours or somebody else's), then the mileage is no problem. I also own a 1982 300D with somewhere north of 350k miles on the engine, and it's completely solid. These engines will go the distance, if given the chance.

The coolant may not be spec -- it should not be green. If it is green, look for any signs of any kind of liquid on the ground under the engine after it is parked. If it's green, you will probably have to replace the water pump & then install the proper coolant (Zerex). That job is a PITA, but you van do it yourself (took me three months but cost a bit under $225 in parts, including tools & antifreeze, as well as water pump, water pump housing, thermostat, gaskets, etc.).

I run synthetic Mobil 1 15w50 in mine. If you're going to run WVO in yours, or even biodiesel, you should use the same oil in yours. Synthetic works better with veggie oil/biodiesel than does dino oil.

I passed on a couple of 300TDs in the $6k to $7k range to buy mine for a lot more -- because they either had body damage or didn't drive right. If yours has a perfect body, perfect interior and drivers perfectly, buy it and don't look back. You won't regret it.

cheers,
~Garlynn
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  #13  
Old 04-26-2008, 08:44 PM
sixto's Avatar
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Ask your insurance carrier how much you'll get if your $6,500 with 300K miles is totalled. I'll bet they offer you something closer to half that amount.

Sixto
87 300D
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  #14  
Old 04-26-2008, 09:25 PM
Lexxani's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babymog View Post
I would not be afraid of owning a 300,000mile '87, but I'd hesitate to start my relationship out with a car of that mileage unless it were a screaming deal.

150,000-200,000 seems like it is a younger vehicle with more low-hassle miles left.

That being said, I'd rather have the 300,000mile high-mile commuter over a 150K grocery-getter. History/use/condition is higher on my list of details in buying a used car. Look at the wear on the controls, pedals, carpets, seats, steering-wheel, ... condition of everthing to indicate how it ws cared for, whether it came from Detroit and was moved to CA, ... best of luck.
Im with you, if a car has a ton of miles on it and always been maintained and rust free, thats a must, id prefer it over a lower mileage example, mailly due to the face these cars NEED to be run, if they sit, they rot, think of the old W115 owned by some elderly couple what we all know of, its gonna take a ton to replace all the things that have rotted on that vehicle, the sheet metal may look great and have 100k on the clock, but little things, like seals and rubber pieces are expensive and time consuming to replace. If the 300k 124 has all that maintenance completed and (important- look at the under carriage and rocker panels) no rust, then offer him $3500-$4000 cash and see what he'll take. . .come on now, no one is going to spend more than that on any 20+ year old diesel, well unless of course it is chassis #1 in untitled show room condition, in essence a museum piece. Good luck, I dont care for 123 & 124's, too small for my tastes, but MB diesels are about as fine as it gets. . .
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