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  #1  
Old 08-19-2012, 08:15 PM
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FIRST diesel mercedes HELP me buy one please

Hello everyone it has been a while since I have owned a Merc.

I am looking to buy a Diesel Mercedes of vintage era and want to know if you guys can "educate" me on the best choice for a daily commuter?

I plan on eventually doing the wvo with it, or biodiesel something, but I am looking for a decent car to do it in?

1. I have considered a 240D 1976 era, automatic

2. Also the 1982 300D

3. Maybe even a 1995 300D

Can you guys give me some advice on what to look for and what years? I hope I can find an older one with working AC? AC is pretty important if I plan on driving the car in Arizona when it hits 115 degrees during the summer.

Thanks for all the info in advance, I appreciate all your help. Also any local diesel clubs in Arizona???
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  #2  
Old 08-19-2012, 08:29 PM
vstech's Avatar
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I could move this thread to the alternative fuels thread for better response! Few on this forum are going to want to see wvo on them. Lemme know if you want me to.

What kind of driving are you going to be doing?
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2012, 08:53 PM
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Hard to give advice based on your post, as you are all over the map in terms of diesel models. Buy what you like.

Any of the ones you mention are excellent vehicles and generally have no chronic problems. Where any diesel is concerned, upkeep is of primary importance. Any car with a documented history is a big plus and you should have any candidate checked over by a competent shop before you purchase.

All could be run on WVO, SVO or biodiesel. However, if planning on the vegoil route the motor must be in good shape, compression-wise, and properly set up (that is, running well) before you try to mess with an alternate fuel.

If you want to go the WVO route, you will need to do extensive research to ensure it's for you. This is a good place to begin: http://voconversionbasics.websitetoolbox.com/?forum=54654

There is a lot of work involved in collecting, filtering and preparing the WVO to ensure it doesn't damage your motor over the medium to long term. Beware people who say "but my car works fine" when talking about their half-baked setups... the Mercedes diesels are so robust they WILL run on unsuitable alternate fuels. Until one day they won't, and you find your motor has become a paperweight.

Also, get a proper kit that works off two tanks and ensures adequate heating of the vegoil prior to combustion, AZ ambient temps or not. As a rule, if the kit (heated vegoil tank, lines, heat exchanger, valves for fuel switching, injector line wraps for final heat) is under the $1000 mark, it's subpar. And avoid the "Frybrid" company.
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Mac
2002 e320 4matic estate│1985 300d│1980 300td
Previous: 1979 & 1982 & 1983 300sd │ 1982 240d

“Let's take a drive into the middle of nowhere with a packet of Marlboro lights and talk about our lives.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Last edited by Zacharias; 08-19-2012 at 09:10 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2012, 12:10 AM
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Posts: 46
sorry for being all over the place?

I actually like all the benz models for the most part. I do not have my heart set on a certain model.

I am concerned with tranmission failures (auto) on 300d and 240D that I have seen advertised, common problem with the older benzs? What should I look for in terms of maintenance on the transmission?

I am looking at a 240D 1976 that does not shut off with the key: I assume it is a vacuum valve issue? Also the ac does not work, have you guys converted to r134, maybe used envirosafe to charge it instead of r12?

Anyone know of a good mercedes shop I could take vintage mercedes to get checked out in Arizona?

Thanks for all the info so far guys
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2012, 04:19 AM
A work in process...
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 985
Remember:
There is NO SUCH THING as a cheap used Mercedes.

Meaning:
You can either buy a $1000 USD car and spend $5000 making it a $3000 car.

OR

You can spend $4000 on the car to start with and just do regular maintenance.

My suggestion:
Get a decent 300D W123 82-84. It's got turbo pep, engine is durable as is chassis, and it's reasonably priced. This forum is very good with support.
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1981 240D ChinaBlue (Got her running with a donor engine.)
1983 300DTurbo w/sunroof.
1984 300TD manual sunroof. (Electrical Gremlins)
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2012, 11:15 AM
Zacharias's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstbenz View Post
I am concerned with tranmission failures (auto) on 300d and 240D that I have seen advertised, common problem with the older benzs? What should I look for in terms of maintenance on the transmission?
Two observations: First, lots of people put old cars up for sale when they can't or won't pay for a major repair. And transmission issues are major repairs for most of us. That doesn't automatically mean the issue is chronic with the car.

Second, I am not sure how much more common transmission failures are on Mercedes, than any other car that is now 25-30 years old. These cars are extremely durable but their components can be damaged through neglect, abuse, etc., just like any other machine. And in my opinion, transmissions are the weakest mechanical component on most or all european cars.

Concerning maintenance: It is preferable that the transmission fluid and screen/filter have been changed during the car's life, just like any other car. Best case, that happens every 2 years, otherwise 4 years at the outside.

However, in the real world, you may find yourself looking at cars that are quite decent but have few or no service records, or spotty records. I have never purchased a car that had a record of a transmission fluid change (and you will see from my sig that I've had a few)... and the only failure I have had was in my TD -- and that was traced to a fault in reassembly during a rebuild paid for by the previous owner.

Ideally you will want the car to shift without slippage and minimal or zero "flare" (slight over-reving when shifting up, in 2-3 or 3-4).

If the fluid on the transmission dipstick is opaque, it's far too old. It should never smell of burn.

If the car hesitates when shifting into drive or reverse from park/neutral (feels like it takes a sec to engage), that is also an indicator of worn transmission components, but cars can go on for years in that state -- it isn't a reliable indicator of an impending failure.
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Mac
2002 e320 4matic estate│1985 300d│1980 300td
Previous: 1979 & 1982 & 1983 300sd │ 1982 240d

“Let's take a drive into the middle of nowhere with a packet of Marlboro lights and talk about our lives.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Last edited by Zacharias; 08-21-2012 at 12:44 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2012, 11:38 AM
anghrist's Avatar
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Location: Lancaster, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codifex Maximus View Post
Remember:
There is NO SUCH THING as a cheap used Mercedes.

Meaning:
You can either buy a $1000 USD car and spend $5000 making it a $3000 car.

OR

You can spend $4000 on the car to start with and just do regular maintenance.

My suggestion:
Get a decent 300D W123 82-84. It's got turbo pep, engine is durable as is chassis, and it's reasonably priced. This forum is very good with support.
What he just said.

Really, the turbo W123s are probably your best bet on maintenance and parts availability and forum advice. Plus the injection system is less finickey than the later model cars. But, be forewarned, you will need to do your homework with WVO, SVO or biodiesel on any car. Fuel system components don't always react the way you might expect to these different fuels.
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2012, 12:57 PM
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Location: Out in the Boonies of Hot, Dry, Dusty, Windy Nevada
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Iam not a wvo/svo type guy so won`t add to that.

I personally like the W123 body 77 - 85. 77 to 81 they used the 617 5 cyl none turbo engine and from 82 to 85 the 617 turbo engine. they all were automatics.

The 77 thru 83 240D used a 616 4 cyl engine either automatic or a 4-spd manual trans. 77 to 79 had 62hp and the used the larger loop GP`s that were wired in series. one burned out, they were all none op.

80 - 83 the HP increased to 67, and the engines were up dated to the small pencil GP`s wired in paraell. 81 was the first yr with the EGR.

77 - 81 the 617 none turbo was 80HP
82 - 85 the 617 Turbo engine was upgraded to 123 HP.

240`s have the type one heat/ac system which is the manual system, and the 300D`s were the more complicated type 2 and type 3 automatic type.

the 616 & 617 engines are all cast iron engines. the W201 and the W124 diesels as well as the W126 diesels 86/87 & 90/91 had the aluminum heads and got more complicated as time went on. the experts can chime on these engines.

A 240D with a automatic trans can be slow on the get up and go compared to the 4-spd manual transmission. the 4-spd will do much better on milage.
On some steeper grades in the mountains, you will be down to 3rd gear and doing 40+ MPH.

There were no 5-spd manual trans offered in the North American market in the W123/W126 chassis.

If you live in Arizona, it would be best to stick with R-12 freon. 134a will work, but will not be as efficient unless you do some upgrade to the system.

R-12 is availabe if you look around, I did a check in the Phoenix CL and found one guy selling a 30lb jug for $375.95, that`s $12.50 a lb. I have seen it a little cheaper, but a better buy than picking up the 12-14oz cans for $20 - $60 ea and saw one guy selling a 134a for $100.
R-12 PURE VIRGIN (NOS) RACON 12 FREON 30LB JUG ALMOST FULL **DEAL**

this guy has a 25lb of Hot Shot a replacement for 12 and 134, for $175, thats $7.00lb. but once you add something that is not what the shops use, they don`t want to contaminate their equipment, then you have to do your own work.

Hot Shot Refrigerant

These are old cars, the oldest 35 yrs old and the newest 123 27 yrs young. they all will have to have somethings done to them to keep them going and to take care of prior neglect. there are beaters out there and nice examples, depends what level of car you are looking for. If you are a DIY type of guy great, but if not then you are at the mercy of the shops. bend over.

Charlie
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there were three HP ratings on the OM616...

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

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ilys/boobs.gif


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

Last edited by charmalu; 08-20-2012 at 01:17 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2012, 02:18 PM
JamesDean's Avatar
Electrical Engineer
 
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Location: NE Ohio
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As for transmissions:

Common Failure is B2 piston on early 722.3 series transmissions. (300SD)
Common Failure is Governor Drive Gears on 722.418 transmission (300D)

I've been through (well almost) both. I'm still fixing the 418.
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Check here for compatibility, diagnostics, and availability!

82 300SD 145k
82 300SD 265k
87 420SEL 230k
89 420SEL 210k
89 560SEL 118k
90 300SE 262k RIP 5/25/2010
90 560SEL 154k
91 300D 2.5 Turbo. 241k
93 190E 3.0 235k
93 300E 195k
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2012, 07:20 PM
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Posts: 46
Thanks!

You guys are great! Based on your info I am looking at a,

1.1979 300sd. Sounds good, no ac and need paint....

2. 1982 240d looks good and ac works(noisy)

3. What do you guys think about the 300CD???1978 2 door?
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  #11  
Old 08-20-2012, 07:27 PM
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The 1979 SD and the 1978 CD both have the earlier Type II climate control. More complicated than the later system, more difficult to troubleshoot and some components are pricy.

The SD is a w116 chassis. Nice car. I used to own one.

The CD is about the same as other w123s, with a few differences. A '78 will be a non-turbo so value/resale is less than a nice turbo version.

Can you be more specific about how the 240d is noisy? All the time, at idle, on the road? A bit more entertainment is to be expected, as you're hauling nearly the same mass around with one less pot and no turbo, compared to a later 300d.

None of these cars has any inherent faults (the Type II AC is a minus but not a fault). When dealing with old cars such as these, each car has to be evaluated as an individual unit, not what model it is.

If you are going to see them... we would love to have pics upon which to comment....
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2002 e320 4matic estate│1985 300d│1980 300td
Previous: 1979 & 1982 & 1983 300sd │ 1982 240d

“Let's take a drive into the middle of nowhere with a packet of Marlboro lights and talk about our lives.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
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  #12  
Old 08-20-2012, 09:31 PM
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Location: Out in the Boonies of Hot, Dry, Dusty, Windy Nevada
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The 79 300SD is the second year with the turbo for the 617engine, and also last yr for turbo engine to not have the EGR.

The Coups are nice, but many parts are Coupe specific. everything from the dash forward are the same as the 123 sedan, and the running gear is the same. front and rear glass, doors, seat and interior components, side glass and weather striping are Coupe specific, and pricier.

As mentioned it is a none turbo and 80HP. nothing wrong with a none turbo, but as with all NA engines. you will loose power at the higher elevations.

Do a search on Evil Servo, and you will get up to speed on the type of heating system the 2 above cars have.

The 240D will be a bit noiser when up to speed. the Differential is a 3:69, so the engine will be wound up at 65mph.
as I mentioned above, the climate control/heat is the simplist of the bunch.

The 78 Coupe will have a 3:46 Diff. as most of the 617 NA engines will have.
not sure with the 79SD, maybe a 3:07.

I agree that is all about the condition of the vehicles, if they were all equal, I would pick the 240D. m

Is the 240 manual or automatic?

Charlie
__________________
there were three HP ratings on the OM616...

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

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ilys/boobs.gif


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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  #13  
Old 08-20-2012, 10:19 PM
Control Freak
 
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Posts: 3,073
I really like my 1983 240D. The epitome of simplicity. Yes it is underpowered or to steal another members line "naturally exasperated". Yes you will think the engine is going to have a heart attack on the expressway and wish you had another gear. Yes you will be spending your weekends fixing and maintaining. But I love driving it.

If I had to do it all over again, I would look for a car that has lived all its life (as verified by CarFax) in the salt-free areas of the country. Rust in hidden places is a real problem with any of these models. For example, there are internal and external rubber coatings on the floor pan that harbor rust so just pulling the mats up is not enough to tell.

I would also try for a manual transmission model if I had to do it again.

There are highly experienced members in your part of the country that can help you evaluate a prospective purchase. At the minimum if you find a car that interests you, post pictures or a link to the sale so we can give you advice before walking into a money pit.

Be sure you have a decent space to work on the car, I live in a subdivision with a terribly undersized garage, and it is difficult to do anything more than minor work. I am lucky I live close enough to Vstech to be able to bring my car to his place for major work.

And my opinion, stick to straight pump fuel. Your car will thank you in the long run. By the same token I would avoid a car that has been converted to run alternate fuels.

These cars are truly classics, I'm trying to keep mine as stock as possible.
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----------
gone but living on
1983 240D (body to greazzer, engine to t walgamuth)

Last edited by jay_bob; 08-20-2012 at 10:22 PM. Reason: Didnt see the op was from AZ based on 1st post
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2012, 10:39 AM
1978 300D, Georga car
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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If you want to drive one of these cars you need to do your own wrench'n or pay up the *** for work half well done.
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  #15  
Old 08-21-2012, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supercub View Post
If you want to drive one of these cars you need to do your own wrench'n or pay up the *** for work half well done.
Yep....I advise people, if they don't do their own work, to budget 20 cents per mile for maintenance and repairs....and hope it doesn't cost quite that much.
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