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  #1  
Old 04-18-2009, 11:02 AM
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Thinking of buying my 1st MB?

Howdy!

I'm new on here . . . found this cool site a few days back and have been doing alot of reading, and I have a few questions, but 1st let me tell you what I "think" I want!

I was trained in a highschool vo-tech program came out top honors both years, worked in a large truck repair shop for 2.5 years after that, been working on my own vehicles all along . . .been around diesels most my life (truck driver) but only owned a new Dodge sprinter for about 7 mo in 05 . . . current nightmare has been my gmc p/u computer issues . . . finally took it to a shop . . . he is on the 2nd computer . . . I've been driving my wifes 02 Volvo S60 since before Thanksgiving . . . she wants it back, and she wants to park her bicycle! (Happy wife = HAPPY LIFE!)

I want a vehicle that will:
A. Be reliable
B. Easy to work on (no computer!)
C. Still get parts for
D. Get good MPG
E. Be able to pull a small utility trailer
F. Manual transmission

I'm thinking a 240D with manual trans . . . what do you think?

I believe that 2/79 they increased the hp a tad in the 240D (like maybe 5-6 hp) so a late 79 to 83 is what I think I want, unless I found a Euro up to 85 . . .

Yes I know the 300 has a bigger engine, and it also could come with a turbo, but I "think" those will cost me in the MPG area . . . am I right? Do I really need that power? Also I believe it would be much harder to find a 300 with a manual tranny . . . am I right? (I believe a Euro 300 might have a manual)

I'm not usually in a hurry to go anywhere, mostly would be driving to work 3.5 mi oneway, and to church 3 mi oneway, and shopping once a week 25 mi one way, once in awhile go to Tucson 80 mi oneway, we like to go to eat Tombstone for dinner every month also about 35 mi oneway . . . if we drive the dirt roads . . . 60 if we stay on tar!

I want a vehicle I can work on when it needs it, I don't mind tinkering . . . or more maintenance, as long as I can do it myself.

I've re-built my own gas engines . . .I'm no stranger to a wrench, and believe in carrying a tool box in my vehicle . . .

What are the "problem" areas to stay away from . . . compared to something that I should expect to be wrong, but no big deal to fix?
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  #2  
Old 04-18-2009, 11:25 AM
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From the sounds of it... You should be shopping for a 300TD. Good for hauling small loads around and can handle a trailer pretty well. The auto's. are ok. Just keep up with the maint.

If you good with a wrench... Find one cheap that needs a few things and fix'er up.

Nothing wrong with a 240 either. Especially if you are not in a hurry. Just that the wagon may be better suited for you.
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  #3  
Old 04-18-2009, 11:39 AM
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I believe that a manual will provide better mpg, and more reliability than a auto . . . am I right?

I don't recall, but I do believe they made a 240 td . . . am I right, be a lot hard to find though . . .
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  #4  
Old 04-18-2009, 11:47 AM
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It will provide better MPG. But "not that much more". IMO any stick is more durable and better in the long run. These auto's are pretty good. Especially considering the age and the fact that these tranny's were built in an era where automatic transmission reubuilds were considered regular maintenance on most cars.

The cool thing about some of the 240's is you can find them with sticks, Manual A/C controls, manually operated sunroofs and manual window controls. Unlike most of the 300D's.

Not sure about the 240TD? I'm sure someone around here knows. You may be looking for a long time to find one (if they made one). I have never seen one over here.
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  #5  
Old 04-18-2009, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn T. W. View Post
Howdy!


Yes I know the 300 has a bigger engine, and it also could come with a turbo, but I "think" those will cost me in the MPG area . . . am I right? Do I really need that power? Also I believe it would be much harder to find a 300 with a manual tranny . . . am I right? (I believe a Euro 300 might have a manual)
What did you learn in class that makes you think a turbo would get worse MPG? Increasing air volume into the cylinder should favor more complete combustion (higher MPG).

Bet I just opened a can of worms!!!

I think you'd be very happy with a 300TD-T (I know, Jimmy will say no such thing - but MB does) with a manual transmission.
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1983 300D, bought new, 215k+ miles, donated to Purple Hearts veterans charity but I have parts for sale: http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/mercedes-benz-cars-sale/296386-fs-1-owner-83-mb-300d-turbo-rebuild-parts.html
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  #6  
Old 04-18-2009, 11:53 AM
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If you are really that concerned about fuel economy... Go find an old 1996/1997 VW Passat TDI.

I have had 2 of them in the past. They return 42 to 48 MPG all day long, have 5 speed sticks and can pull a little trailer around. I used to pull a little 13 foot Boston Whaler around with mine.

They are not built as solid as the Benz but are good cars none the less.
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  #7  
Old 04-18-2009, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cr from Texas View Post
What did you learn in class that makes you think a turbo would get worse MPG? Increasing air volume into the cylinder should favor more complete combustion (higher MPG).

Bet I just opened a can of worms!!!

I think you'd be very happy with a 300TD-T (I know, Jimmy will say no such thing - but MB does) with a manual transmission.
It's not the fact that a turbo would get worse mileage, it would be the fact of the larger displacement engine . . .also more air means more FUEL, (= more POWER!) it is not just leaning out the mixture by running a turbo . . .

Is there such an animal as the turbo 300td with a manual tranny?

I believe the MB would be a safer car to be in an accident with, than a VW, also don't know, but . . . the VW has more electronics to go wrong with . . . for safety reason is why we went from a Subaru to Volvo for my wife! (however the electronics on our Volvo would be a nightmare to work on! want to buy it? just don't tell my wife!)

I know there probably doesn't exist the perfect car that is built like a tank and gets 50+ mpg, that is easy to work on and will last forever, and not cost a fortune to own . . .

Last edited by Shawn T. W.; 04-18-2009 at 12:38 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-18-2009, 12:31 PM
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If you don't mind the work, a station wagon with a slightly modified engine(VNT/ manifold with the larger runners, possibly intercooled) bolted up to a 4-speed should do the trick.

After finding the parts though, you'd be out ~month piecing it together.

As for an existing car, a 300TD would fit the bill, you can add a transmission cooler if you're worried about killing it towing.
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  #9  
Old 04-18-2009, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn T. W. View Post
It's not the fact that a turbo would get worse mileage, it would be the fact of the larger displacement engine . . .

Is there such an animal as the turbo 300td with a manual tranny?

I believe the MB would be a safer car to be in an accident with, than a VW, also don't know, but . . . the VW has more electronics to go wrong with . . . for safety reason is why we went from a Subaru to Volvo for my wife! (however the electronics on our Volvo would be a nightmare to work on! want to buy it? just don't tell my wife!)

I know there probably doesn't exist the perfect car that is built like a tank and gets 50+ mpg, that is easy to work on and will last forever, and not cost a fortune to own . . .
I agree with almost all of your statements. However all diesel 123's will weigh in close to the same mass (granted the 240 engine is a bit lighter than the 300) and it takes the same amount of energy to move the same mass, right?

300TD automatics are not easily found, manual even more scarce. However, do a search and you will find several that have swapped out the automatic for a manual. If you find a clean 300TD buy it and work on it. One of your jobs eventually will be a transmission repair or swap.

Safety is why I bought my 123. In 1982 when my children were 4 and 6, we were behind a 123 that got T boned on the highway, rolled sideways into a ditch, and came out flipping end over end. Came to rest and a family of 4 walked away. I bought one within the next 8 months.
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1983 300D, bought new, 215k+ miles, donated to Purple Hearts veterans charity but I have parts for sale: http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/showthread.php?t=296386
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2009, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cr from Texas View Post
I think you'd be very happy with a 300TD-T (I know, Jimmy will say no such thing - but MB does) with a manual transmission.


Again, just because some mis-guided clerical person within Mercedes started adding a rogue-T doesn't make it correct. Always refer to the "Trunk Badge of Truth" for your answer. {or Rear Hatch of Truth for wagons}

Now that we have that outta the way, several points to consider:
You aren't going to tow very much with a 240D. The fury of 67hp only gets you so much. Very small trailer with very little on it.
The auto-tranny of the 300D or 300TD is very robust and long lived. With a modicum of skills you can also swap one in later if you have a failure.
MPG isn't that much of a difference between the 240D and the 300D.
They are all built to be worked on. Good thing, they require it often.....
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Gone:
'95 E300 188K "Batmobile" Texas Unfriendly Black
'85 300TD 235K "The Wagon" Texas Friendly White
'80 240D 154K "China" Scar engine installed
'81 300TD 240K "Smash"
'80 240D 230K "The Squash"
'81 240D 293K"Scar" Rear ended harder than Elton John
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2009, 01:25 PM
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A manual 240D will do everything you want, but will be very slow, especially pulling a trailer. They made a 240D, but it was never officially imported to the U.S. A few may have made it over. There are factory manual 300D's, but they are all Euro non-turbos. They have around 80 horsepower vice the 240D's 62-67. As stated above, it's not all that difficult to convert an automatic car to manual, but the automatics really aren't bad.

As for mileage, my 300D gets better mileage than my 240D. I think it's because of the better brake specific fuel consumption of the turbo engine along with the taller rear end (3.07 instead of 3.69). Also, I'm not sure what your idea of "good mileage" is. My cars have gotten everything from 17 (short trips on cold starts in very cold weather and city traffic) to almost 30 (highway, moderate speeds and temperatures). These cars only get 40+ mpg in used car ads.
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  #12  
Old 04-18-2009, 01:35 PM
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Shawn TW,

imVho, my "euro-spec" 300D (non turbo) sedan is what you should look for with EITHER a manual or auto trans. - those are NOT hard to find
(it took me about 2 weeks to find mine!)

my little "gold bomb", with 205K miles & auto trans, gets the SAME mileage as my brother's 240D with 4-speed manual. AND it WILL pull a 1000 pound trailer (at a decent speed), which Richard's 240D will NOT - 50MPH being about his limit, pulling a light trailer with light 16ft canoe!

GOOD LUCK.

yours, texasnative46
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  #13  
Old 04-18-2009, 03:39 PM
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Ok, I guess I was pretty vauge about the trailer thing . . . I have a 10' X 5' tilt bed trailer with a "mesh" floor, it weighs about 6-700 pounds empty I guess, I sometimes put my garden tractor (5-600 pounds?) on it to bring it over to my house to mow the empty lot in back of us, oh, maybe 2-3 times a year, it is stored about 1 mi away, all flat, once in awhile, If I had something too big to fit in the trunk, that needed to go to the dump 1-2 times a year . . . about 4 mi oneway . . .I'm not planning on hauling a trailer around all the time, not that far . . .

. . . Still sounds like everybody is saying a 300 non turbo would fit the bill?

Are you saying that if I was to get an auto, and swap in a manual, I could use the manual from a 240? As one person stated above different rearend ratio between the 2 models . . . are trans same ratio?

My idea of "good mpg" is high 20's low 30's . . . my gmc gets 26 around town, up to 30 hwy . . . Volvo gets 27 around town, 32 hwy I don't expect good "safety features" in a lightweight vehicle, so like said above, being a heavy old tank is good, as I get older, I seem to tend to be more gentle on my skin and what lies beneith it!

CR TX I see now that I "edited" about the same time you replied to that one post . . .
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  #14  
Old 04-18-2009, 03:41 PM
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Don't let the engine computer keep you from a slightly later model MB Diesel. Through 95, except maybe for the 95 E300, disconnecting the computer will not leave you stranded. At worst you might have to bump up base idle to keep the engine idling, and on most 90s models you have to convert the wastegate from vacuum control to pressure control as nature intended. That reduces demand on the engine computer to controlling idle speed, which rarely goes bad, and emissions functions. Climate control is a bigger puzzle on these later models.

Newer models are relevant if you're after mpg. Based purely on what I've read, you have to work harder to get 35 mpg out of a 240D MT (no, MT isn't part of the trunk lid badge ) than a 90s 300D 2.5 AT.

A 190D might not be a bad choice if you're Napoleonic in stature. Those are commonly available with MT.

MBUSA didn't offer 240TDs but I've seen a couple on the road.

Given your specs and level of enthusiasm, I say find a 78-85 300TD, turbo or not, and do a MT swap. Riding your wife's bicycle will either put you in a better habit or accelerate the swap

Sixto
87 300D

Last edited by sixto; 04-18-2009 at 04:00 PM.
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  #15  
Old 04-18-2009, 03:54 PM
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Simple

I'm 6'1" tall . . . I have my own bike . . . but I am the only who has a job, my wife is a stay at home wife, but once in awhile she gets bored and want go to town a do that horrible 4 letter word (s--p) she always seem to come home with something she really "NEEDED" she says . . .

Less electronics the better, yeah I don't mind an elec starter! lock, windows, seats (heated too!), mirrors, sunroofs, security systems, engine control, body control . . . all seem like things I can do well without . . . yep the volvo has all that and probably I missed something . . . I'm just a simple kinda guy!
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