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  #1  
Old 11-25-2001, 04:02 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Search over, got a diesel

Well, my search for a diesel is over. I think I got lucky or my patience paid off.

I found a 1987 300TDT. One owner, smoke silver, no rust, excellent paints, flawless leather seats, with lots of records at two MB dealers. The owner did not drive it in thew winter, afraid of rear wheel drive wagon in the snow. The exterior and interior are 8 out of 10, IMHO. The engine is very strong, transmission shifts smoothly, and the differential has no whine.

The Trap was removed in 1997 and a new turbo was also installed.

Never owned a diesel before, I was so surprised by its quickness. I have owned two gas 300Es and frankly, this 300TDT is not slow once it gets moving and the RPM gets to 2500. On the highway, I can hardly tell it is a diesel wagon. It handles very well.

It was a 250 mile trip back home. Before I left, I filled the fuel tank and checked the oil. After I got home, I checked the oil again, and it did not burn any oil. I used less than tank of fuel for the trip!

There are a few issues though.

The AC does not work. I knew that before I went over to look and the price reflects that. Since I am in Michigan, I will wait to see if it is worth to get it fixed or converted to 134. The owner told me that the hydraulic hose has a leak and she got three quotes and they were all over $1k. This was the deciding factor for her to sell the car.

When I first started the car yesterday in the morning, there was some smoke and the idle was a little rough. Once it warms up a little, it disappears. Is this normal?

A few times when I stopped at the light, the idle was a bit rough. I shifted out to neutral and the idle smoothed out. Also if I increase the idle speed a bit to about 800 RPM, it smoothed out as well. I think the first thing to check is the transmission mount. Are there others things related to the engine that I should check? This is the first thing I would like to take care of. Actually, after the 250 mile trip home, I felt the car ran a little smother. Maybe I need to give it an Italian turn up.

The brake pad wear light comes on and off intermittently. I think it just needs some new pads. However, in the 20k mile service this July, the dealer tech wrote down 50% pads left. So it could be the sensor. Will check that this coming week.

It has only had 15W40 oil in its entire life. I am thinking about using a synthetic blend for the first oil change and then see if I can go full synthetic. There is no leak and the engine bay is very dry.

Having not owned a diesel before, I think this one is a bit loud at idle. This is the 6-cylynder 603 engine. Is loud noise normal? Are there ways to quite it down?

Final question is about diesel fuel additive. It has the trap removed and the catalyst installed. On the fuel filler door, it said do not to use any additive. I would like to clean the fuel system. Is it OK to use some additive? If yes, what to use either regularly or as a cleaner?

Thanks and I welcome any tips to maintain diesels.
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Search over, got a diesel-300tdt_1.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2001, 04:03 PM
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Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Search over, got a diesel

Here is a pic of the engine bay.
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Search over, got a diesel-300tdt_2.jpg  
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2001, 04:39 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,373
Congrats!

Where in W. Michigan? I'm over by Rockford (Cannonsburg). A couple of thoughts regarding your questions:
1. I'm trying this 5w40 SYN Rotella. (Walmart) Looks like a good winter alternative to my normal 15w40 dino (rotella).
2. Does your TD have a block heater? If not, I'd recommend putting one in. I have a block heater in two of my three with the last one going in this week.
3. I see a huge difference in fuel during the winter. Above the pack for me is Amoco "Premier". Whatever they do to that fuel in the winter is absolutely dynamite. Watch out because a lot of stations carry "premium".
4. Idle Noise? MB has the best sounding diesel engine I've ever heard so the louder the better for me

Don
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DAILY DRIVERS:
'84 300DT 298k (Aubrey's)
'99.5 Jetta TDI IV 251k (Julie's)
'97 Jetta TDI 127k (Amber's)
'97 Jetta TDI 186k (Matt's)
'96 Passat TDI 237k (Don's
'84 300D 211k Mint (Arne- Undergoing Greasecar Conversion)

SOLD:
'82 240D 229k (Matt's - Converted-300DT w/ 4 speed
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2001, 04:48 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
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<<
Where in W. Michigan? I'm over by Rockford (Cannonsburg).
>>
I am in Big Rapids. not far from where you are. Maybe sometime we can get together to enjoy our diesels.

Actually my daughter's orthodontist is in Rockford (Dr. Brieden) and she has an appoint on Tuesday.

<<
1. I'm trying this 5w40 SYN Rotella. (Walmart) Looks like a good winter alternative to my normal 15w40 dino (rotella).
>>
I saw that in Wal-Mart as well. I am thining a 50/50 5w40 SYN Rotella/15W40 for the first oil change. I think I will stick to the 2,500 mile change interval.

<<
2. Does your TD have a block heater?
>>
Yes but it was never used. The plug cap is still on with a seal. Yesterday morning (45 degrees) when I was looking at the car, I started the car without using the glow plugs. It started really easy.

<<
3. I see a huge difference in fuel during the winter. Above the pack for me is Amoco "Premier". Whatever they do to that fuel in the winter is absolutely dynamite. Watch out because a lot of stations carry "premium".
>>
Thanks for the tip, will look for that as there is a local Amaco station.

<<
4. Idle Noise? MB has the best sounding diesel engine I've ever heard so the louder the better for me
>>
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2001, 05:15 PM
LarryBible
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Looks like a nice car. Congratulations.

Yes, yours is peppy. This was one of the fastest MB diesels until the turbo diesel of the last three or four years.

If it starts well in cold weather and runs a little rough, I wouldn't be too worried. Using some good diesel injector cleaner additive would probably help.

When spring starts coming on, we can help you troubleshoot the air conditioner. It was interesting how you put it that it "didn't work". Does it not blow, does the compressor not come on, or what? Let us know and we'll help you through it.

Enjoy,
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2001, 05:21 PM
Registered Diesel Burner
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
Nice car!

I can comment based on just a week's ownership of my '87 300D sedan.

The glow plug system seems to be having a problem on my car, so I expect that two or more of them (or maybe the relay) are bad. On a cold start the first morning, it smoked like crazy for about five minutes, and idled roughly.

I had to take a long trip and put in a full bottle of Red Line DFC into a full tank of diesel. The glow plugs still have problems, but now on startup it smokes for about 30 seconds, much less quantity. It seems to be unburned diesel. Idles rough for about 30 seconds too.

I'm expecting both the startup smoke and the initial rough idle to go away completely once I get the glow plugs working properly.

If you have had your trap oxidizer replaced, Red Line DFC will not hurt the car. What the DFC will do for you is act as a injector cleaner. This will make the fuel spray into the cylinder work better, burning the fuel better, so less smoke.

My suggestion to you on starting the car is to always pre-heat the glow plugs at least until the light turns off. It will burn the fuel more completely on startup and is better for the car.

Is your Glow Plug Indicator coming on in the instrument panel (far right indicator light) when you turn on the key to "run" position?

Oh, if the brake pad wear indicator light comes on intermittantly, you will most likely find your brake pads are worn. It will progress to being on nearly all the time, then it will go out. When it goes out like that, the pads have worn all the way through the sensor!

Ken300D
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2001, 05:30 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
Bo:

Cool car! Looks just like mine except for being a wagon.

No kidding this car has power! Quite pleasant after my 220D. Almost hard to drive as it always wants to run away from me!

Idle is a little loud on mine, with a drumming noise. It is possible that the engine mounts are bad -- they don't last forever and can give a roughness at idle. Not too bad to replace.

If it has a lot of miles (>150,000) get the chain stretch checked -- late ignition timing can make the idle rough, although it usually also makes it quieter.

I had a severe rough idle problem related to the IP -- loose pressure valve holders. Not likely to be a problem with yours.

You can expect 500 miles or so between fill-ups -- I got 33.7 mpg on the last half tank, mixed highway/city/twisty country road driving. Very nice to fill the tank once a month or so!

I changed to synthetic on the first oil change, no trouble. You will not get leaks if it doesn't leak now. My brother switched his 87 300SDL over with the same results. Lifters are quiter, too.

I assume the high pressure hose is leaking on the AC -- also check the expansion valve (up by the power brake booster) for leaks, too. Not a real big deal to replace. Suction side hose is more of a pain, but not bad (no fuel cooler on the diesel). 134a works fine if you undercharge about 15% and add the minimum amount of oil (2 oz max). Too much oil reduces cooling, but that won't really be a problem unless you visit the sunny south.

You are probably due for brake pads -- 30,000 miles is typical for these cars, hard driving will give you less on MB pads.

A puff of white smoke and a little roughness is normal, but it is best to use the glowplugs, maybe even wait a couple seconds after the light goes out. Mine only needs to crank about 3 sec to start -- basically the first full compression stroke lights it off. If the lifters rattle, too, check the little o-rings on the oil filter housing cap shaft -- they are usually shot (although maybe not if dealer serviced).

The advice about fuel additives was to protect the trap oxidizer -- but there is now a catalyst downstream of the turbo, which can be poisoned by heavy metals in fuel additives. RedLine 85 is OK for occasional use, but I'd find some good winterized fuel rather than use additive every tank.

You will love this car!

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2001, 06:03 PM
Registered Diesel Burner
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
Where is the block heater plug cap located?

I've been too busy with other issues to track it down. The manual seems to indicate there is a block heater but there is no illustration showing where the plug is located.

Ken300D
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  #9  
Old 11-25-2001, 06:19 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,525
Try glowing the engine an extra 15 seconds or so after the dash light goes out, then start the car. If it starts immediately, idles smoothly, and doesn't smoke, you've just got weak glow plugs. Over time they heat as quickly. No need to immediately replace them; just put it on your long term list.

If the a/c leak is at the manifold hose (the metal and rubber hose assembly which bolts to the compressor) these can be rebuilt. The dealer charges some absurd sum for this part - perhaps $750. Any decent auto a/c shop will crimp new rubber hoses on it for you. My local place quoted $65 if carried in. This car has plenty of other possible a/c problems, but if this is it, you're looking at a pretty easy fix.

All my MB diesels sometimes idle smoother, sometimes rougher - phase of the moon or something. This one should be almost as good as a gasoline car. I'd start with some diesel purge to insure the injectors are clean - it can also quiet injectors which rattle at idle. Could also be engine mounts. Mine is smooth/quiet enough at idle that it's not idenfiable as a diesel.

- Jim
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2001, 07:17 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Larry, Ken300D, psfred, and jcyuhn:

Thank you all for your comments and advice. Seriously, this car is fast. All the MBs I bought ran better after I bought them so I want the same to happen to this diesel.

Let me clarify a few things:

1. Smoke. I was told to check a used diesel by trying to start it without using the glow plugs. That was what I did and it smoked at start up. This morning, I did use the glow plugs and it did not smoke as much. I did not know the glow plugs can reduce the smoke so a lesson learned. My car may not have the smoke problem.

2. Idle noise. I am not used to diesel idle noise so mine might be perfectly normal. I think I need to compare with another one. A while ago, I was reading diesel@mbz.org and they said that the 603 diesel engines have this characteristic noise. Some said using synthetic oil reduced their noise and others said the washer or something in the oil filter housing can cause this loud noise.

3. Additives. I am getting mixed information here. I searched the archives and it seems many said do not use any additive for the 1987 603 engines with Trap or the replaced catalyst.

4. AC. From the maintenance records, the lady complained about not getting cold air. The shop put in 2 lb of refrigerant and the system did not hold. All she told me was that there is a leak in the hose. I want to live with the car a little longer then decide to get it done or not.

5. Odometer. I did not mention this in my original post as this was not a big deal to me. The odometer and trip meter on this car are not working now. The speedometer does work. She told me that in 1996 at around 63kmi, she tried to reset the trip meter and bang, the thing stopped working. So now it shows 63kmi on the meter. She estimated the mileage should be around 90kmi but I did not buy this car because of the mileage. I got it based on the overall condition of the car. It sounds like soem gear got messed up here. I am really thinking to get this replaced, not becasue I may sell it later, but I want to see how many miles it can go. Interestingly enough. the lady was going by 100 gal of fule per oil change.

6. Headrest. Now I have spent more time with the car, here is the last thing that I know of, does not work. The driver headrest motor is inoperative. Luckily it is in a position I liked.

Again, thank you all. This car is running better as I drive it. Unbelievable.

My wife said I was crazy to look at that car. She OKed me to get a SLK but I said I wanted to take a look at this old diesel (Actually, the car looks very new and that is all she cared about.)
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  #11  
Old 11-25-2001, 07:20 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Block Heater

Sorry, Ken300D, I forgot to answer your question.

<<
Where is the block heater plug cap located?
>>

Mine was near the bottom of the grill but inside the grill. I had to open the hood to see it. I guess it can be pulled outside the grill. It is just a regular plug with a cap on it.

I heard that the 1987 diesel do not have this installed automatically but owners get a coupon in the delivery package to get a free block heater. So some owners may not have taken that offer in warm climate.
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  #12  
Old 11-25-2001, 07:37 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
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Thanks for the info on the block heater. I just took a careful look behind the grill area with the hood open and I don't see one, so it must not have this option.

My driver's headrest will go up but not down. This was a little inconvenient for awhile because I kept picking at it, bumping it up to see if it would then go down - but it ended up too high.

The solution I came up with is described in the manual - I ran the headrest all the way up, removed it, and when reinstalling it the headrest will push all the way to the bottom. You have to tilt the seat back to get the headrest out.

I attribute the problem to the switch, not the motor - but can't say for sure.

Ken300D
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  #13  
Old 11-25-2001, 08:15 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Fuel filters

I am getting ready to get some filters, etc. for the diesel. Under the hood, I can see two filters, one large one near the power steering pump reservoir and another tiny one below. I ran the motor and can see fuel flowing in the tiny one!

The manual say to replace the fuel filter every 30k miles.

My question is this: Do they get replaced at the same schedule or one goes shorter than the other?

If they get replaced not at the same schedule, than I need to order more for the short-lived one.

Thanks in advance, again.
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2001, 07:16 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,373
Hey Bo:

I'm not sure if you'll get this message or not, but Tuesday I'm available at a couple of different time slots. 8-11 a.m., 12:30-2 p.m.
I'll be hanging around Rockford that whole time if you want me to grab the TD and compare idle and so forth. Would love to see your car, etc.
I'm picky on fuel in the winter and will add one additional note. Half the Amoco stations don't even carry the "Premier" diesel. Their 2nd grade of diesel is better than most independent stations however. Being up North, I think you'll be able to find the good stuff. Paid 1.499 for it the other day which is a lot but its worth it for my old Volvo (no compression left). With synthetic oil and good fuel, it'll spin and start better in the cold.

my cell number is 616.745.1911 if you want to hunt me down. I'll buy you lunch if the time slot fits.

chow

diesel don
__________________
DAILY DRIVERS:
'84 300DT 298k (Aubrey's)
'99.5 Jetta TDI IV 251k (Julie's)
'97 Jetta TDI 127k (Amber's)
'97 Jetta TDI 186k (Matt's)
'96 Passat TDI 237k (Don's
'84 300D 211k Mint (Arne- Undergoing Greasecar Conversion)

SOLD:
'82 240D 229k (Matt's - Converted-300DT w/ 4 speed
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  #15  
Old 11-26-2001, 07:37 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Meet?

Don:

Thanks for the note.

I have a few minutes (enough for us to compare our cars!) tomorrow when my daughter is being serviced by Dr. Brieden. But I need to get back ASAP because she has school and I have a class at 10:30AM.

Can we meet at 9:00 AM for a few minutes? I do not know the area too well but I will be at the Office of Dr. Brieden. His office is at

158 Marcell, Rockford, MI, 49341

My cell is (989)854-0850. I will call you later today just to make sure you received this message.

Thanks again.
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