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  #1  
Old 09-10-2010, 08:33 PM
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HELP!! Mercedes 300CD Questions

Hey guys, im new to this forum but i came across a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300CD and i thought it would be cool to own one. I am 17 years old, a senior in high school and i have to pay for my first car... I dont have a lot of money at all and i dont want to get some honda or toyota that everyone else has. I went to see it today and i got to test drive it. It drove really nice started up perfectly, drove around perfectly with no problems ran strong, sunroof and windows worked. the car had some noticable rust and the paint was not too nice. The interior was really worn but those are things that i dont really care about. I just need the car to work...

The seller is asking $2,500 but im sure i can talk it down some more. It has 177K miles.

Are there any common problems or malfunctions with this car that i need to worry about? i just dont want to buy it, have it break down, and have to pay an expensive repair bill.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Thanks,
Sebastian

Theres a pic

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HELP!! Mercedes 300CD Questions-benz-front.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 09-10-2010, 08:54 PM
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Welcome to the forum,

There are plenty of people on here who will be happy to help you. We hope you find out all you need to know.
There are many threads on here about what to look for when looking at a car, do a search or 2.
Has it been used with WVO? If so turn away & RUN

Does it change smooth without slipping, if it revs up during the change from 3 to 4, there could be a problem.

Any noises or shakes in the suspension? Clunks & shakes can be a sign of future expense.

After it has been test driven, leave the motor running, open the hood & unscrew the oil cap, if it does a dance & wants to jump of it has a blow by problem.

Does the seller have any receipts for work done on it?

What is the history of the car?

Are you going to be doing your own maintenance/repairs?

Hope those few questions provide you with a little focus.

Good Luck with your decision !!!
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I no longer question authority, I annoy authority. More effect, less effort....

1967 230-6 auto parts car. rust bucket.
1980 300D now parts car 800k miles
1984 300D 500k miles
1987 250td 160k miles English import
2001 jeep turbo diesel 130k miles
1998 jeep tdi ~ followed me home. Needs a turbo.
1968 Ford F750 truck. 6-354 diesel conversion.
Other toys ~J.D.,Cat & GM ~ mainly earth moving
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  #3  
Old 09-10-2010, 08:57 PM
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another thing to add to the suggestion of vehicle history is, it's service history
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  #4  
Old 09-10-2010, 09:01 PM
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Yeah, come up with answers to that and get back. 300cd is a neat car but there are some coupe-specific parts that get pricey.

I'd want to get it looked over by a competent mb tech first.

A good thing to ask the owner is when the valves were adjusted last... If they don't know or have no idea what you're asking, be concerned.
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Current Diesels:
1981 240D (73K)
1982 300CD (162k)
1991 350SD (113k)
1996 Dodge Ram CTD (438k)

Past Diesels:
1983 300D (228K)
1985 300D (233K)
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  #5  
Old 09-10-2010, 09:16 PM
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Check the Rubber parts.

To start off with it will need a Valve Adjustment.

Rear CV Axle Boots for cracks or leaks, Rubber Flex Discs on the Drive Shaft, Oil Cooler Hooses (if they look like they need changing read up on that as sometimes the Oil cooler gets damaged just turning the Line Nuts off) and Transmission Cooler Hoses.

The Upper and Lower Control Arms of the Front Suspension pivot on the elasticity of Rubber Bushings. When mine went bad within 3 days my front Wheels tilited inwars and my Tires started wearing badly. To replace the Lower Control Arm bushings takes a special or even more special homemade Coil Spring Compressor.

Look through the Repair links below and you can see some of the things the other members have had to repair.
Unless you get lucky and happen to get a car that is problem free for a while you are going to need to be a better than average Home Mechanic to keep the Car going.
I know with mine when I had a problem beyond normal Maint. the Car had to be grounded until parts and tools were rounded up. This means I had to have a other Car to drive.
Buying parts local often means paying more for them. Internet shopping is the way to go.

Look up the cost of Rebuilt Injectors. At 175,000 on the originals they most likely need work.

DIY Repair Links
http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/diy-links-parts-category/

http://www.peachparts.com/Wikka/DoItYourSelf
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2010, 07:53 AM
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Any car that old will have issues. A "flaring" transmission will last for a long time and there may be some adjustments to help calm that down.

If the oil cap dances some, that's normal, you do not it to blow off tho.

Depending on where and how significant the rust, that may be your biggest expense.

That's low mileage, if accurate, so there are many, many miles to go before the crusher calls.
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84 CD
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  #7  
Old 09-11-2010, 08:13 AM
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GO FOR IT!

If, after looking at the previous posts you're still reading it's a good sign

Yes, ANY older car will have service needs...if the basic "bones" aren't too bad and you get a decent price I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Follow the advice above.

Aside from the unbelievable support this forum offers, if you have a mechanical inclination these cars are pretty easy to work on. There is very few instances where you need to defer to a dealership for repairs or parts. There's plenty of them available if you do a little digging on the internet.

If you have a shop at school, instructors love using these cars as examples and you may get access to some supervised free work (or a shop in which YOU can work)

Be sure to post the outcome!
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2010, 09:05 AM
Yak Yak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducaud View Post
Hey guys, im new to this forum but i came across a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300CD and i thought it would be cool to own one. I am 17 years old, a senior in high school and i have to pay for my first car... I dont have a lot of money at all and i dont want to get some honda or toyota that everyone else has. I went to see it today and i got to test drive it. It drove really nice started up perfectly, drove around perfectly with no problems ran strong, sunroof and windows worked. the car had some noticable rust and the paint was not too nice. The interior was really worn but those are things that i dont really care about. I just need the car to work...

The seller is asking $2,500 but im sure i can talk it down some more. It has 177K miles.

Are there any common problems or malfunctions with this car that i need to worry about? i just dont want to buy it, have it break down, and have to pay an expensive repair bill.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Thanks,
Sebastian

Theres a pic
I've got an '83 300CD and it is a cool car to own, but I'm not 17 and have another car and have money to fix the CD when things go wrong.

The front suspension and tires will be a big question mark.

The slowness of the car and the current price of diesel may be other unwelcome issues. You'll basically be paying a premium to drive an old slow car. It's cool, but old slow and a bit pricey. It's also basic, mostly reliable and pretty easy to work on. So it can be a good car to start with if you don't ALWAYS need it to run TODAY.

Unless the front suspension has a repair history (lower control arm bearings, upper control arms, shocks, tie rods) and the tires are pretty good and do not show uneven wear (look for excess wear on the inboard side of the tread) I'd try to drive a significant price drop (like $700-800 off) or walk away.

Take a really good look at the rear glass. Is it delaminating near the base? Coupe glass is expensive and hard to find. Look for signs of rust or water inside the trunk. Take a good look at the rear rubber seal. You'll see that is has a flattish "shelf" on the outside. Water can sit on that shelf and seep/trickle down inside the car. It hides rust from the inside out. If there's rust inside the rear quarter panel near the glass that's a tough fix.

Look for rust around the battery tray and inside the hinge pockets.
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  #9  
Old 09-11-2010, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yak View Post
I've got an '83 300CD and it is a cool car to own, but I'm not 17 and have another car and have money to fix the CD when things go wrong.

The front suspension and tires will be a big question mark.

The slowness of the car and the current price of diesel may be other unwelcome issues. You'll basically be paying a premium to drive an old slow car. It's cool, but old slow and a bit pricey. It's also basic, mostly reliable and pretty easy to work on. So it can be a good car to start with if you don't ALWAYS need it to run TODAY.
+1
This may LOOK like a car, but it's actually a hobby. It can be a productive hobby for a person handy with a wrench. If you're not that kind of person, you'd probably be better off in a car that service centers see more often.
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  #10  
Old 09-11-2010, 12:44 PM
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The "noticeable rust" concerns me more than anything else. That devalues these cars rather rapidly, and is (in my opinion) beyond the do-it-yourself repair skills of the average home mechanic, though some could pull it off. I've got a rust blister forming under the paint of my rear quarter panel right at the wheel well, probably 3/4 the side of a playing card. Body shop wants $350.00 or so to cut that little piece out and form something new back into it. There are people who could cut and weld at home but if I tried it, the results would look worse than if I just put duct tape over the rust spot.

It's fine to say you aren't worried about the cosmetic appearance of the car -- I used to say the same kind of things as part of my "Old M-B" defense to anybody I had to defend it to. As time has gone on, the things I used to ignore have started to wear on me. I really wish now that the one I had bought had been less rust-prone and had started with a better interior -- seat leather, etc. Every time I get in the thing now, I notice that the roof paint looks like a turtle shell, the quarter panel rust is now joined by some smaller rust blisters on at least two of the four doors, the seat shoulder bolster is rubbed clear through to the horsehair underneath, the passenger seat was torn across its flat surface so badly that I finally had to put one of those cheap slip-on cloth covers over it just to keep it from coming to pieces... All of these things start to wear on a person after a few years of ownership even if, in the beginning, you "didn't care as long as it was a cool old diesel" or "As long as it runs well, I don't care what it looks like". You do care later once the "it actually runs every time I turn the key" elation passes into blandness. Besides that, rust can eventually become a structural issue that is too bad to ignore.

My point: I spent relatively high dollars (most of them were my dad's) for what at the time I thought was the perfect car for me, and now I own one that is medium-quality at best, I paid medium-high price for it, and I've put *considerable* money onto it along and along in the form of new parts for everything that broke that I "Fixed right". Now I almost feel like I've got a money trap -- I still love the old thing, and I want to keep running her and taking care of her... but it's become a rather expensive hobby, and worst of all -- the to-fix list now includes things that 1) I won't be able to afford for years, 2) make the car really look shabby everywhere it goes until I do fix them, and 3) will turn the car into at least $5000-10000 more dollars than it is actually worth. So starting with a machine that's got rust and a ragged interior (door panel clips destroyed, trim pieces falling off and not fitting back right, seats shot, carpets uncleanably nasty)... seemed like a good economy to me five years ago and now it has become as much of a burden as a pleasure... it's a rock and a hard place. Either put twice as many dollars into the car as it is honestly worth, or else resign yourself to driving one that doesn't look like you want it to and doesn't really uphold its image anymore. And it just *irritates* you when you take a door skin off to fix a window that won't go up for the thousandth time and realize that about one more take-apart and the door panel simply will break in half rather than attach to the door again. Then what?

I'm 21 in college now, and I was... I think somewhere between 16 and 17 when my parents and I bought my first M-B diesel. I know this was an EXTREMELY long post, but I wanted to share my experience with doing something similar. My folks helped me pay $5500 for the 300SDL, and at the time, I couldn't imagine anything I'd rather drive, and who cared what shape it was in, it was MINE.

Since then... 85,000 miles later, the thing's probably only worth about $4000 now even AFTER all the work and parts we've put into it, it needs body rust repair that I'm not knowledgeable enough to do, and we're getting ready to put a replacement (used) engine head on the thing at great labor expense and great gaskets/parts expense (on a college budget, that's a great expense) -- all into something that's still not going to be worth its face dollar amount when all is said and done.

I'm not trying to discourage you from buying one. But the "my first car, I've got money in my pocket, I could actually bring this one home" impulse is one that I was then and still am unfortunately very susceptible to. So I simply encourage you to think long and hard about whether you think you're going to be telling the same story I am. A great advantage for you in your case is that you're going in at a MUCH cheaper starting point. But nonetheless, decide how long you think the rust can go before it becomes a problem you can't ignore, and decide for yourself how much of this kind of thing you really do have the patience for. If you still feel like buying it -- go for it, as everybody else said. You've picked a much lower starting price than mine was, so that leaves you a lot more playing room. But it's all something that has to be considered.
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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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  #11  
Old 09-11-2010, 10:53 PM
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Wanting this model for a 1st car and 'not running with the crowd' exhibits class.

Study this forum and then ask yourself: what do I want and what do I need. Do you have the place, time and experience to do this. None of us here would want you to have a bad 1st car experience with such a work of art and engineering

Your young and have plenty of time.

Speaking through my experience colored beard.

All the best,
Bernie

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