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  #31  
Old 05-21-2009, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Putty View Post
I keep hearing about a #14 head...I have a 603 in a 86 SDL...how would I check to see if I have this "faulty" head?
I wish people would stop creating all the fear over #14 heads!!!!!!!!
Its true there are cracked heads on the OM603 and they are primarily #14 but other versions have been known to crack also.
You have to account for statistics. The reason that there are cracked #14 is because that was the predominant head produced in the thousands (anyone have the exact sales figures for the '86 and '87 300D turbos?).
The real cause however is overheating and the fact that soooo many owners were completely at fault for not performing regular maintenance. And the radiators got plugged, people continued driving with AC on in stop in go traffic while their cooling fans had bad thermo clutches and the electric fans were dead and the stupid thermo sensor switch carries all the fan current and therefore fails prematurely (a separate relay would have prevented that so I consider that a poor design).
Generally most people were simply not in tune with their cars, never knowing if the thermo gauge should read 110 or 80 or whatever and neglecting PM.

I am running on two #14 heads (different cars ) and never a problem. Of course I will admit that one of the cars, the one shown on my profile - the so called Blue Bomb, was a mechanics lien because it failed on a steep grade and the owner, a CPA, knew nothing about why the engine was running hot, it was out of coolant! so the mechanic who did the analysis removed the head, sent it to be tested and the owner decided to not pay him rather go for a charitable deduction. That never happened because they wanted a running vehicle, so I learned about it, then I got a used head off a wrecked engine that failed because the vacuum pump disintegrated, rebuilt the engine (new rings) and now its a daily driver. Total mileage is over 500K on the two OM603's I own, #14s notwithstanding.
Just find a good car, replace your radiators, change coolant regularly and you should be able to get similar life.

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  #32  
Old 05-21-2009, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimFreeh View Post
Jeez, wish I'd known that.

My wife drove our 87 300TD for 13 years, and I never had to remove the fan or fan shroud when I swapped out the serpentine belt.....

Jim
Wow, you too..........gee, I thought I had some kind of secret when I change the belt in 10 minutes by simply releasing the tensioner.
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  #33  
Old 05-21-2009, 01:29 PM
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just don't buy a 606 car that "looks" ok with out a thorough underbody inspection like I did, now after fighting the stuck glow plug issue, I'm having to rebuild the inner fender and shock tower....
I should have bought a southern 123!
I should have bought a southern 123!
I should have bought a southern 123!
I should have bought a southern 123!
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  #34  
Old 05-22-2009, 06:31 PM
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i have nearly 250k miles on a #14 head, about 10k now my own miles. i have changed out the old green coolant, put mercedes orange coolant in. my temp gauge gets a bit over 100C on uphills w/ the AC on, but never really beyond that. i plan to service the thermostat and possibly change out the coolant reservoir itself, maybe upgrade the fan clutch and fan, but for now like others have said, take care of your coolant at the minimum
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  #35  
Old 05-22-2009, 06:46 PM
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nothing wrong with my 603 powered car. 280k miles and still going. Plus its running the proper Mercedes Benz coolant thanks to the previous owners efforts
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  #36  
Old 05-22-2009, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Smith View Post
Huh? What is wrong with a Unimog's stock OM352? It is probably the only engine MORE reliable than a 617.
I am not familiar with the ins and outs of the OM 352, but I can say the OM616 is one heck of a reliable engine.
Granted the power is not as great as with the turbos, but there are plenty around.

If you really want reliability , at less power, admittedly, look at the old diesel MOG OM636 and the OM 621. Those engines worked under true combat conditions and MANY still survive today long after the cars are gone.
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  #37  
Old 05-24-2010, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
However, the point of this thread was to determine which engine is better, and obviously ....
Actually the thread questions if the OM603 can be considered reliable.


Quote:
Are 603-powered cars reliable?
I am just exploring and learning the virtues of the 603. We absolutely love our 617 and so far have to agree it to be one of the best diesels made. A few years with our newly acquired 603 will help form our opinion on the subject.
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  #38  
Old 05-24-2010, 06:34 PM
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Lets see, are 603-powered cars reliable? HELL YES!!

If it's properly maintained, yes. If not, like any 61x powered car, (or pretty much anything else on the planet including a Model T and a JD Model B: No.
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  #39  
Old 05-24-2010, 11:14 PM
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I'm sorry, but an owner of any Citroen (maybe the 2CV excepted), Alfas and especially Renaults asking about MB reliability?

Again, no offense intended, but how many of these marques are even seen on American roadways these days?

In the 1970s, the highways were chock full of MGs, Triumphs, Sunbeams, Healeys, R4s, 5s (remember "Le Car"?), 10s, 16s, and sometimes even Citroens. All a distant memory now.

Not that they weren't loved, they just didn't last. Lloyd, Vespa? The list goes on forever. All lovely cars in their own way. Bring back the SAAB shrike I say....
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  #40  
Old 05-25-2010, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncwarw View Post
I'm sorry, but an owner of any Citroen (maybe the 2CV excepted), Alfas and especially Renaults asking about MB reliability?

Again, no offense intended, but how many of these marques are even seen on American roadways these days?

In the 1970s, the highways were chock full of MGs, Triumphs, Sunbeams, Healeys, R4s, 5s (remember "Le Car"?), 10s, 16s, and sometimes even Citroens. All a distant memory now.

Not that they weren't loved, they just didn't last. Lloyd, Vespa? The list goes on forever. All lovely cars in their own way. Bring back the SAAB shrike I say....
Actually, many were present at the Carlisle, PA Import/KitCar show last weekend! And there's always a great Citroen turnout at that event.

Having considered and test-driven an '87 300D, I found that car to be a pleasure, especially compared to my first, tired '82 automatic 240D.
But as for 603 vs 617, my vote goes for the 617. and not just because of the potential cracked-head/timing cover issues, but because of the generally more complex electrical/electronic systems on the W124 cars.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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  #41  
Old 05-25-2010, 08:49 AM
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Well mine has 343000 miles on the original #14 head.
The timing chain has been replaced and is probably due to be replaced again, but the engine has NEVER let me down (like my 617 in the 300SD did twice!)

I would never go back to a 5 banger after having the smoothness and power of the 603
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  #42  
Old 05-25-2010, 10:41 AM
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No question that there are additional systems in the 124 that can fail, the security system is a good example.

However, if you compare a 617-powered 126 to a 603-powered 126, about the only difference is how much overheating it can take before causing head damage, ... isn't there a fairly recent warped/damaged 616 head thread lurking here somewhere BTW? From overheating?

Is the 124 heating system more reliable than the automatic CCU in the 123? Probably so.

If you want more refinement, power, and efficiency, you need to go newer with the newer technology, and Mercedes didn't give us a cross-flow or multi-valve head in a diesel car, ... in cast iron.

It is reliable, as long as it is properly maintained. Some things in the 124 are easier to maintain (ex: front suspension, valve lash), some are not, pretty hard to say either is a better car objectively IMO as they each have their advantages. Being that the newest 603 car other than the W140 is now almost 20-years old, and you're not going to be the original owner (usually the 3rd or 4th), it's not what I'd suggest buying the wife to take the kiddies 40-miles a day or through a bad neighborhood daily, I'd sooner choose a new boring SUV.
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  #43  
Old 05-25-2010, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babymog View Post

Is the 124 heating system more reliable than the automatic CCU in the 123? Probably so..
I would think so, simply because the W124 system has 1/3 as many modules as the W123 system. Plus you can get blink codes from it.

-Jason
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  #44  
Old 05-25-2010, 04:43 PM
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CCU systems compared

Quote:
Originally Posted by compu_85 View Post
I would think so, simply because the W124 system has 1/3 as many modules as the W123 system. Plus you can get blink codes from it.

-Jason
[Jason's reply was to babymog's comment "Is the 124 heating system more reliable than the automatic CCU in the 123? Probably so."]

My '85 300D (W123) and '87 300D (W124) had almost identical CCUs. The differences were:
1. W123 uses a resistor pack and relays to give the blower five (?) speeds while the W124 uses a big transistor on a heatsink to give (they say) "stepless" control. I noticed no significant difference between the two cars in the ability of the CCU to heat or cool and the resulting comfort in the car.
2. The W123 CCU can be fried if something (such as the unfused aux coolant pump) overloads (pulls too much current) whereas the W124 CCU has built-in electronic protection. This alone makes the 124 CCU more reliable.
3. The W124 air conditioner compressor has an RPM sensor that can sense a bearing failure causing the compressor to mechanically freeze. In such a case, the Klima relay disables the electric clutch, thus saving the OM602/3 engine's serpentine belt and all of the accessories it runs. The OM617 engine in the W123 lacks such a feature but has separate belts so compressor failure is less critical.
4. The CCU in the later W124s seem to respond more quickly than either early W124s or the W123. Later versions also had the temperature dial marked in Fahrenheit, while the early W124s, like the W123s, had Celsius markings.
5. The dial lamps in the W124 CCU are built-in while the W123 bulbs are "external" and the lamp holders are slightly fragile.
6. The interior temperature sensor in the W123 is in the dash while the W124 sensor is in the overhead, next to the sunroof switch. The W124 has a separate fan to pull cabin air past the sensor for improved response time while the W123 uses the main blower for this function. The W123 uses a foam air tube that disintegrates while the W124's little fan has no bearings and will die if not oiled every 10 years or so. I didn't notice a significant difference in performance.

Late W124 CCUs may have "blink codes" (1995 E300D?). I do not think earlier CCUs have "blink codes" but I would be delighted to be proved wrong.

Jeremy
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  #45  
Old 05-25-2010, 06:55 PM
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I like the 60x much more than the 61x.

And I don't have the remove the fan or shroud to change out the serpentine belt.
Nor do I have to use a special tool to remove the fan, just a wrench and a hex bit.

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