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Old 08-10-2009, 04:16 AM
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Talking Never thought I'd do it - "New" 240D



I was never crazy about the idea of a w123 since I love the size of the w126 so much, but I seem to have stumbled into one, and I'm a bit surprised at how fast it's growing on me. I'm definitely not getting rid of the s-class, but I admit it's a nice addition to the fleet.

It's an 82 240D with 4 speed manual transmission, crank windows (no regulators to be destroyed like my 126 does), manual climate control, euro headlights and bumpers, and an all but unknown history. The short version is that we're the third owner, and the car was given to me ($0.00 purchase price) by my uncle, to whom it was given in a non-running condition by a lady he did some tractor repair work for. He couldn't get the engine started, and isn't really interested in these anyway (He's got some Corvettes and Thunderbirds and such that he prefers to tinker with) so he trailered it out Sunday morning (yesterday now; it was today when I wrote this the first time and then closed the tab before submitting) after church for my dad and me to try to start. Ended up just giving it to me, for some reason.

We started it on the trailer; primed the fuel system, opened the air intake, my dad shot WD40 through the thing while I hammered the starter for 30-40 seconds at a stretch. Jumper cables to my SDL provided enough power to get it running after probably 90-120 seconds of cumulative cranking, divided into 4 or 5 attempts. It had been sitting and gathering pine needles for nearly a year.

I've driven it all over the farm just testing it out, and out on the road for a few illegal miles just to see how it feels, but we're a long way away from tagging it and insuring it. Lots of leaks to stop and inspections to make; need to check out the brakes and stuff to be sure it's road-safe before we get ready to put it into service. It couldn't have come at a better time; now if this head crack gets worse and my SDL lays down on me, we're closer to having a crutch to lean on in the meantime.

The good:
The upholstery looks good; there's just one tear in the driver's seat and none in the rest of the car that we've spotted.
Manual windows and seats and stuff, in the cheaper car, sounds great to me since it's just less motors to die and switches to have to replace. I'm almost sick of doing these things on the w126 even though I still *love* having them when they work right.
The paint on the outside looks a lot better for a 82 than it does on my 86. It's weathered a LOT better.
The sunroof works better than my 126's does.
In our first day's worth of test driving, we didn't find anything majorly wrong that can't be fixed.
It's a manual transmission, even if it isn't an elusive 5-speed, and it seems to be a pretty good overall addition to the fleet. Once I get used to cramming my legs into it; my 126 is definitely roomier. I have to literally open the door or else scoot halfway up the seatback to get my left knee up high enough to get a toe on the parking brake.
The engine seems to start and run well enough after our initial difficulties. The glowplugs already seem to be working (and, possibly, have been converted to pencil type?) and it fires right off.
All four gears plus reverse seem to work just fine, and the clutch seems to be okay at least for the moment. Was afraid it was worn out.
After some initial odd looks and curious sniffing, the dog seems to have accepted that this can be her diesel too.

The bad:
The dash is cracked several places. Can replace.
The cruise doesn't work, or hasn't yet. If it doesn't come around, either the computer or the actuator.
There's a rust spot under the front left quarterpanel (actually up closer to the bumper) and there's also a crease on the passenger side doors (front and back) -- not big enough to be worth fixing, just big enough to be annoying -- where the last owner wrapped it around a fence post or something.
The a/c doesn't work, and it's unfortunately been possibly converted to R134a. I can't find any labels or records that indicate this, but there's unmistakably a R134 fitting screwed onto the top of a R12 fitting under there.
The shift lever has had its little boot thing shredded. I can see clear down to the spring and axle the lever moves on. I hope that thing can still be bought in the interior color.
The fuel primer pump leaks like it's been shot with a smith and wesson. (Previous owner? I can understand that...) He knew it was going to be trouble before he died apparently, or else his mechanic did, because there's a brand new one (unscrew-type) in the glove box in a Febi box waiting to be installed. I'll do it tomorrow but first I've got to degrease it, pressure wash it, do something to souse and melt a quarter inch cake of oil, fuel, and grime that coats the entire engine bay so I can at the very least see where it's leaking from. For all I know the head gasket's leaking all over the place, although I don't suspect any such thing. It looks more to me like this is just neglect and stuff blowing around from somewhere. We'll see.
The top row of controls (antenna switch, sunroof switch, etc) doesn't illuminate with the rest of the panel. No idea where that bulb is or how not to destroy the center stack getting to it.
The hood hinges/latches are boogered up somehow. It goes all the way up to the first stop properly, but one of the little tabs that you pull down to let the hood go vertical is bent to heck. The other one is intact. When you try to go vertical, the hood resists more than it ought to about 2/3 of the way up to that top position. I've been afraid to force it because I don't want to bend one of those things. Maybe it'll loosen up or get adjusted as time goes on.
The speedometer and odometer show 302,000 miles, but they aren't moving. I think the cable's probably broken, but that'll have to be tracked down and replaced.
The speedometer *might* not be original to the car so I have no idea how many miles it's been. The speedometer needle is vivid orange (even with 302K on it) and every other gauge in the car (clock hands, OP, Temp, Fuel) are as pale as yellow can possibly fade before it starts to be called "White-ish". Something fishy there but on something this beat up and this "Drive till it drops, fix it, keep driving, sell it, who cares) it doesn't really matter I guess. We'll know when it's too worn out to be worth fixing. And the price was right.

Potentially the WORST:
1. OK, so this isn't THAT catastrophic but it's something that needs addressing partly for peace of mind, partly for appearance, and partly for safety. It's missing two hub caps and appears to have at least 2 if not 3 different wheels/rims on the thing (whichever term you use. I say wheels.) If anybody's selling a set that are or can be made the correct color for this paint, whatever it is, let me know. Depending on price I could be interested.

2. The transmission's got a noise. When you depress the clutch pedal to the floor, just as it should be, it's silent in all gears. When you're moving, there's no noises that seem abnormally loud. When you sit there, with the engine running, stick in neutral, and the clutch off the floor (Feet off all 3 pedals) you hear a low, steady roar/grumble. It sounds a lot like an input shaft bearing or something similar headed south. No idea how fast it'll go and how hard it'll be to get in there to see what's wearing out.

I'll attach a bucket full of pictures in the hopes that the joy of seeing pics of a new ride counteracts the frustration of having to scroll for acres of screen space before the thread continues.

Let me know about those hubcaps and about the prospects of replacing whatever is wearing out in that transmission. Besides general cleanup and catch-up maintenance, those are priorities. Thanks.


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"What could possibly go wrong?"

~Michael S.~ -
1986 M-B 300SDL, retired due to rust and electrical problems. Donated engine to:
1987 M-B 300SDL, odo dead. New project.
1982 M-B 240D, odo stopped at 308,000
1982 M-B 300SD, 175,000
1989 Dodge Ramcharger, 87,000 - 4wd, 318
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2009, 09:19 AM
toomany MBZ's Avatar
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The sound from the clutch may be your thrust bearing failing. Have a helper press and release the clutch pedal with the engine running, attempt to determine where the sound is coming from. If it's the front of the engine, think thrust bearing, an expensive, yet necessary fix.
If the noise is coming from the transmission itself, think throw out bearing. Either way, it needs to be taken care of.
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2009, 10:12 AM
LarryBible
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I have driven over a million miles in various MB's and the manual everything 240D is MOST DEFINITELY my favorite. They are agile, economical, comfortable, reliable and EASY TO WORK ON. I'm personally not really a fan of the big body cars. They are they antithesis of the manual 240D, being bulky, expen$ive, large, reliable and difficult to work on. The area where the big car wins out is added comfort, but the small car is adequate in this area IMHO. I say that being one that has done NUMEROUS VERY long trips in these cars.

Just make a list of what's wrong with this car, prioritize the list and then work through the list. It will most likely CONTINUE to grow on you.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:16 AM
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Minus the Euro headlights and the missing hubcaps, I would have thought you were posting pics of the one I just picked up. Nice.
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'79 240D ("Biscuit") - 197,250 miles (Sold)
'83 240D ("Ding-Ding") - 217,000 miles (Death by deer)
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2009, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryBible View Post
I have driven over a million miles in various MB's and the manual everything 240D is MOST DEFINITELY my favorite. They are agile, economical, comfortable, reliable and EASY TO WORK ON. I'm personally not really a fan of the big body cars. They are they antithesis of the manual 240D, being bulky, expen$ive, large, reliable and difficult to work on. The area where the big car wins out is added comfort, but the small car is adequate in this area IMHO. I say that being one that has done NUMEROUS VERY long trips in these cars.

Just make a list of what's wrong with this car, prioritize the list and then work through the list. It will most likely CONTINUE to grow on you.
Interestingly enough, I've found the larger cars more pleasant to work on....the W126 has a wider tunnel, making driveshaft/transmission work/access easier....the front end is a little different, allowing the starter to be easily removed underneath.....etc....practically everything I've done on the 300D has had a bit of added difficulty compared to the W126....its just more cramped. They're both easy to work on...but the W126 is easier.....

As for a manual 240d....I still am longing to find a nice one. I'd love to have one! I've driven one, and they rock!
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'17 Metris(VITO!) - 18k - wifes (OC-25k)
'01 E320 Wagon - 161k - mine (OC-165,000)
'01 E320 - 180k - dad's (OC-182,500)
'07 E350 Wagon - 134k - dad's (OC-139,500)
'01 SL500 - 56k - dad's (OC-59,000)
'16 E400 4matic Sedan - 81k - Brothers (OC-88,000)
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  #6  
Old 08-10-2009, 10:43 AM
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That is not originally a manual transmission car, I would guess any sounds would be the clutch.

I heart 240D manuals.
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
Interestingly enough, I've found the larger cars more pleasant to work on....the W126 has a wider tunnel, making driveshaft/transmission work/access easier....the front end is a little different, allowing the starter to be easily removed underneath.....etc....practically everything I've done on the 300D has had a bit of added difficulty compared to the W126....its just more cramped. They're both easy to work on...but the W126 is easier.....
I haven't done enough under there to say anything about how easy or hard it is to work on, but I have noticed that the engine compartment seems a lot more cramped. I'm 6'4" and I've already hit my head on the grille twice while leaning under the hood because I'm so used to the w126 -- the shorter hood on the w123 means that the front edge doesn't get as much elevation at the same angle as the longer one does. It's an adjustment period thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winmutt View Post
That is not originally a manual transmission car, I would guess any sounds would be the clutch.

I heart 240D manuals.
I believe you, but how do you know? Besides the half-destroyed shifter boot, I couldn't tell that it wasn't always a manual. I'm curious now.
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http://www.appstate.edu/~salleyms

"What could possibly go wrong?"

~Michael S.~ -
1986 M-B 300SDL, retired due to rust and electrical problems. Donated engine to:
1987 M-B 300SDL, odo dead. New project.
1982 M-B 240D, odo stopped at 308,000
1982 M-B 300SD, 175,000
1989 Dodge Ramcharger, 87,000 - 4wd, 318
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:48 AM
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Congratulations, looks like a sweet 240. The new style GPs are stock on your 82. The L/R rim appears to be the aluminum verity, most desirable, IMO , hopefully you have more. I really didn't believe it when someone, several years ago, said, they could "tell the difference" , but I could when I swapped a set on. Take your time and do all the little "fixs" and you'll be a happy camper.
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1985 Euro 240D 5 spd 140K
1979 240D 5 spd, 40K on engine rebuild
1994 Dodge/Cummins, 5 spd, 121K
1964 Allice Chalmers D15 tractor
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Last edited by Stevo; 08-10-2009 at 12:37 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-10-2009, 01:02 PM
LarryBible
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
Interestingly enough, I've found the larger cars more pleasant to work on....the W126 has a wider tunnel, making driveshaft/transmission work/access easier....the front end is a little different, allowing the starter to be easily removed underneath.....etc....practically everything I've done on the 300D has had a bit of added difficulty compared to the W126....its just more cramped. They're both easy to work on...but the W126 is easier.....

As for a manual 240d....I still am longing to find a nice one. I'd love to have one! I've driven one, and they rock!

I was speaking of a four cylinder car, not a five cylinder. There is a lot of difference in working on these two engines in the 123 chassis. The difference is HUGE!

That makes no difference in the tunnel, of course, but all the underhood work in a four cylinder car is a breeze as compared to a five. You can change a starter on a four cylinder car without going underneath at all.

I found that I could change the clutch on a four cylinder car QUICKER by pulling the engine, than by getting underneath. That should say a lot.

If you want a manual 240D bad enough to build one, I have two Euro 240D manual transmission cars. There's enough parts to build a nice car from the two. You would have to be willing to do some minor body straightening and repaint as well as the mechanicals.
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:14 PM
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Well, here's the "a few days later" update. We got it inspected (even though the tires are marginal, they knew we just needed it road-testable. Yay NC) and now have insurance and a license plate (a legal one) for it. So we're road-worthy any time we decide to chance it. I've pressure washed and degreased the first few inches of oil and fuel off the engine, and it's starting to look pretty good.

That clutch bearing is noisy but doesn't sound like it's reached emergency status yet. I'm going to fix it sometime, but I've got other priorities. It runs nicely, starts nicely, and runs much cooler than my SDL does. Its standard operating temperature seems to be a few needle widths below 80 degrees. Suits me fine. The air conditioning doesn't work, but that's not even in the picture right now. Neither does the cruise; same story. I'll get there eventually.

On my "priority repair" list is the fact that the speedometer/odometer is completely nonfunctional. I'm hoping it's just a broken cable and not something worse (like the possibility that this is a replacement speedometer that can't be hooked up to the transmission or something). I also need to buy at least one, if not a set of, wheels/rims as soon as possible. I've just bought a set of hubcaps from a forum member, but one wheel (in addition to being a mis-match) is bent at the back edge like somebody flew off a curb or something. I want that replaced before I put new tires on it (Which it needs) and I want new tires on it before I get it aligned (which it may not need; it doesn't feel off, but I'd feel better having it done just for peace of mind and tire wear life.)

The brake wear indicator has started to come on when I press the brakes and goes off when I let go. I'm assuming this means the brakes are just becoming marginal enough to trip the sensor, but not "worn out" enough to turn it on constantly yet. So that'll have to be dealt with before I take it to school, whenever that is.

And, sometime or another, I want to investigate the shift linkages and bushings and whatnot. The shifter goes firmly from gear to gear, BUT there's a lot of play in it after you get in a gear. That may just be a characteristic of this shifter but I could also believe there's some wear in those components. It doesn't seem dangerous yet, just a little annoying. The sensation that things are worn out even if they aren't serious things.

But, all in all, it's a fun little car and it seems to generally be all there. It rides smoothly, feels very tight to the road (hugs the road just as tight as my SDL and has less diving corners and cushy suspension) and runs as well as I could ask it to. There's lots of little stuff I haven't enumerated here, but my report after the first couple of days is that the items I've mentioned in this post are the first ones and the most serious ones that I feel need addressing.

I've changed the oil and filter (it took exactly 6 quarts of rotella, after a minor accident with forgetting to tighten the filter canister nuts more than finger tight) and both fuel filters. Lots more fluids and filters to drain and change and investigate and whatnot, but I feel better having done at least those basics for our test driving. I've put a full tank of fuel in it since I can't keep track of miles driven at the moment. The reserve light is on constantly but the needle seems semi-accurate.

I'm happy. I've driven it all over creation this morning just seeing how it feels and trying to detect rattles.

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http://www.appstate.edu/~salleyms

"What could possibly go wrong?"

~Michael S.~ -
1986 M-B 300SDL, retired due to rust and electrical problems. Donated engine to:
1987 M-B 300SDL, odo dead. New project.
1982 M-B 240D, odo stopped at 308,000
1982 M-B 300SD, 175,000
1989 Dodge Ramcharger, 87,000 - 4wd, 318
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