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Old 10-18-2011, 02:42 AM
BodhiBenz1987's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: East Coast
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How do you decide if your car is fit for a 1,000-mile trip?

Been having a bit of an inner debate (and outer debate, with my dad) over whether or not to take my 300D on somewhat significant road trips, and just wondering how others approach the decision of whether or not your old diesel is fit for a 500-mile drive (which I'd like to do at the end of the month). I can take my Jeep, and always do, because my MB is not perfect and I'm so afraid of everything and anything that could go wrong. At the same time for all the work I've put into it, I'd love to give it a chance to shine on the road. I always feel a bit of envy when I read about others' journeys and wish I would have the confidence to do the same. I haven't driven my car more than 80 miles at once in probably about five years, even though I take it regionally on the highway a lot.
Sorry if this is a bit more of a philosophical question than a mechanical one; obviously no one can assess the state of my car over the Internet. But what makes you decide if your car is worthy of a long drive? If the vital signs are good do you just pack a few fluids and tools and hope for the best? Or am I an idiot to drive my slightly leaky 277,000-mile baby nine hours up to Canada? My dad thinks the latter, but I'm starting to think rather that I ought to enjoy this car as much as I can while I can, because it isn't going to last forever either way (though I'll do my best).

1987 300D, arctic white/palomino--314,000 miles
1978 240D 4-speed, Euro Delivery, light ivory/bamboo--370,000 miles
2005 Jeep Liberty CRD Limited, light khaki/slate--140,000 miles
2018 Chevy Cruze diesel, 6-speed manual, satin steel metallic/kalahari--19,000 miles
1982 Peugeot 505 diesel, 4-speed manual, blue/blue, 130,000 miles
1995 S320, black/parchment--34,000 miles (Dad's car)
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:02 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Out in the Boonies of Hot, Dry, Dusty, Windy Nevada
Posts: 9,585
For all the work you have done to this car, it should be in top shape. last thing I remember is you doing the rear suspention.

well to give you some confidence, we take our 80 240D on some long trips. we have been to Portland, Or. 3 times this year, and it is about 730mi one way. one trip to los Angeles, about 400 one way. been to Carson City, Nv. twice, about 280 one way, and we have to climb over the Sierra Nevada mt. range, and going over Hwy 50 gets up to 7400ft, then down through Lake Tahoe. we have that trip coming up the end of the month.

we now have 327K on it, and the car was given to us by the original owner year ago last Feb, with 306K.

Maybe take one of your 240`s. as they say, they are bullet proof.

there were three HP ratings on the OM616...

1) Not much power
2) Even less power
3) Not nearly enough power!! 240D w/auto

Anyone that thinks a 240D is slow drives too fast.

80 240D Naturally Exasperated, 4-Spd 388k DD 150mph spedo 3:58 Diff

We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:29 AM
Stretch's Avatar a shield of steel
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere in the Netherlands
Posts: 14,461
Cars are meant to be used. A really good run will help keep the car in good shape.

I have driven real pieces of junk for massive distances across Europe and the only thing you really need is decent break down cover some tools and some self amalgamating tape!

Don't stress it drive the 300D.
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:13 AM
TylerH860's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Wichita, Ks
Posts: 5,188
Logged over 15,000 road trip miles in the 85 300D (Old' Turbo) Had our mishaps but it always worked out
Logged 10,000 road trip miles on the 94 Roadmaster and it was nearly flawless.
Then there's the half dozen other cars that I've taken on serious 1000+ mile road trips without incident.

Fuel filters, fluids, basic tools, duct tape, zip ties, and a AAA card. If you have the financial means to ship your car home should it become disabled that badly and rent/fly home then you know you're adequately prepared for the worst case scenario... which I'd think would be very unlikely with your car. I'd say your Jeep would fare about the same chances of having an issue since they're not the most stellar in reliability chassis wise either.
1985 500SL Euro w/ AMG bits 130k
1984 300SD Turbodiesel 192k
1980 240D Stick China 188k
2001 CLK55 AMG 101k
2007 S600 Biturbo 149k Overheated Project, IT'S ALIVE!!!
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:37 AM
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Location: Southern NJ
Posts: 357
I agree with the posted statements, as these cars, when maintained, are as close to bullet-proof as you can get. I would take either of my MB's to LA & back, you chose the ride. (Let me get both rear calipers & hoses installed 1st on the '83)
Go for it, if a problem arises you will be able to deal with it, alot of friends on this board to assist.
Experience is something you get, Just after you needed it....
'99 E300 295K, '83 300D 220K, '75 240D 185K sold
'80 MCI Bus Conv DD 6V92TA, w/4 cyl. Kubota diesel GenSet 12.5KW
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Holland, MI
Posts: 1,316
Not much difference between a 1,000 mile trip, and 20 local trips of 50 miles. Actually, the 1,000 mile trip probably requires fewer starts.

Unless you know of any chronic issues, such as a slow leak in a tire, or a battery that needs to be jump-started every few days, you should be good to go.

Take enough money to cover fuel, food and beverage.
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:43 AM
Admiral-Third World Fleet
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Central FL
Posts: 3,069
I always feel more comfortable if I bring along OBRP (On Board Repair parts). Gather up starters, alternators, water pumps and stow 'em.

Realistically, once you get the car up to speed, there's not a lot likely to stop it ( since you have been keeping it up to date).
80 300SD (129k mi) 82 240D stick (193k mi)77 240D auto - stick to be (153k mi) 85 380SL (145k mi) 89 BMW 535i 82 Diesel Rabbit Pickup (374k mi) 91 Jetta IDI Diesel (155k mi) 81 VW Rabbit Convertible Diesel 70 Triumph Spitfire Mk III (63kmi)66 Triumph TR4a IRS (90k mi)67 Ford F-100 (??)
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
Not much difference between a 1,000 mile trip, and 20 local trips of 50 miles. Actually, the 1,000 mile trip probably requires fewer starts.

Unless you know of any chronic issues, such as a slow leak in a tire, or a battery that needs to be jump-started every few days, you should be good to go.

Take enough money to cover fuel, food and beverage.
How much work do you do on your car from one tank of fuel to the next?

500 mile trip is just like a bit more than a tank of fuel.
Grumpy Old Diesel Owners Club group

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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Old 10-18-2011, 07:45 AM
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Location: Barrington, RI
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The sheer joy of driving these cars on the open road makes any reasonable risk worth it. Just be prepared for whatever eventualities may come your way.
06 E320 CDI "Benson", Platinum Blue, 178k mi, Stage 1 tune
06 E320 CDI "Rutherford", Black, 150k mi
91 300D "Otis", Smoke Silver, 132k mi

19 Honda CR-V EX 9k mi
Thirteen other MB's owned and sold
1961 Very Tolerant Wife
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:49 AM
Posting since Jan 2000
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,157
If you drive this car regularly and do at least the preventive maintenance and preferably the corrective yourself, then you should know the answer to your question. If everything is known to be in good reliable order then you should have no problems. All that said, there are NEVER guarantees.

I drove my first W123 car 280,000 miles and my second went over 500,000 miles. The second one I drove about 60 to 70 thousand miles a year. Several times a week, I cranked it up in the morning and drove 300 to 600 miles before shutting it off for anything other than a fuel/coffee stop. In all this driving I broke a belt once on the road, but had tools with me, stopped bought a belt and put it on in the auto supply parking lot. I wasn't even late for my meeting that was still 150 miles or so away.

What you have going for you is the repuatation for reliability. That said, no matter how reliable the DESIGN, if it's not properly maintained and things watched properly, it still will not be reliable.

Hope this helps,
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:52 AM
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Location: Monteagle, TN
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Just returned Saturday from a 1500 mile road trip in our 300TD. It rolled over 338K on the trip, and will likely be over 340k by the time we do our Christmas road trip of 2000 miles. If you hang out on this site much you know the wear items and warning signs of failure. I take along a toolbox, but rarely need it for other than trivial annoyances that build up on those long trips.
These cars really shine on the highway.
1985 300 TD 448K
1984 300 TD 278K

1983 240D euro 240k
1994 f-250 idi turbo 330K
1986 f-350 IDI
1987 F-350 IDI

1985 JD 1050 4wd
1965 IH 3660
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:40 AM
RML RML is offline
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I agree with the sentiments expressed above above. I would be sure to take a few primary fuel filters and the simple tools to change one if you get some bad fuel. Other than that, good tires, proper tire pressure, oil level checked, coolant checked, tranny fluid checked, brake fluid checked, power steering fluid checked, clean air filter and you should be OK. These are things you would want to have in order anyway.

I was just on a 1,000 mile road trip this past weekend with my family (went to a wedding in NYC) and although we needed to take our van because of the number of people, along the way we saw several cars pulled over for various reasons. Flat tire, overheating, who knows. What is to say that if you took your Jeep you would not have a problem? It does not have any guarantees. I would venture to say that a good working MB is less likely to break down for an unexpected reason than a good working Chrysler product, only because the components are more hefty and durable.

Good luck on the trip, whichever car you take.

85 300D 72K Anthracite Grey (Rutherford) 0-60 in 13 seconds
84 300D 331K Black (Rufus) 0-60 in 14 seconds (adjusted the ALDA)
00 Toyota Sienna 208K (Sold)
15 Subaru Outback 22K
98 Ford Taurus 62K (Gertie - Was Grandma's - drove it to church and shopping - really) Daughter's car now.
30 Model A Ford 2 Door Sedan (Sold) 0-60 in . . . Never reached 60
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:25 AM
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Posts: 58
I have driven my 80 300d on several 800 mile trips with no problems. The car was given to me by my uncle who was the original owner. It had not been driven in 2 years, it was in like new condition, with only 160K miles. Changed the filters, oils, belts, coolant and tires. All had been done back before it was parked, except tires, they were 15 years old with 10K miles. But just wanted a baseline. Car ran great, no problems. Would not hesitate to drive it anywhere. The car actually runs better, now that it has been driven. I also drive a Land Rover with 170K miles all across the country. If you have been taken care of it and been maintaining it, you should not have any problems.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:28 AM
JB3 JB3 is offline
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Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
Not much difference between a 1,000 mile trip, and 20 local trips of 50 miles. Actually, the 1,000 mile trip probably requires fewer starts.

Unless you know of any chronic issues, such as a slow leak in a tire, or a battery that needs to be jump-started every few days, you should be good to go.

Take enough money to cover fuel, food and beverage.

Highway use is easier on the vehicle than around town. If the car consistently makes it 50+ miles without overheating or otherwise breaking, I characterize that as a reliable vehicle that will probably make it 500+ miles without breaking.

Taking it out on the highway and cruising at 70 will be good for the car. You don't do it any favors by trying to protect it from use, and a perfect example here is that you clearly don't really trust the car, or you wouldn't ask this question.
I say do it, and if something goes wrong, address the problem and be prepared, but its unlikely you will have a problem.

Personally I prefer to do stupid road trips in untested vehicles. Makes life more interesting, makes a trip into a journey. just drove my 74 240 400+ miles on a failing alternator, and loved the drive. Previous use of the car had been a grand total of 65 miles over a year.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,061
everything said here is correct; no car is 100% reliable all of the time. I like the idea of packing spare parts and tools for a long road trip, you might need them. FYI: carefully inspect the rear axle joint boots to make sure they aren't cracked and leaking. I had one go 500 miles from home and the only resource was the stealership: they quoted me $2500 to repair! I took a chance and drove the car home (500 miles, the car made it!) to my indy who fixed it for $500.

Concerning the aforementioned rear axle joint boots, get some 303 protectant spray (available from Marine or boat stores) and spray them THOROUGHLY (front and back) once a month...they will last a LOT longer that way......

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