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  #1  
Old 01-19-2013, 03:39 PM
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1990 350SDL Siren Call

Yes, the Siren is calling me concerning a 350SDL I found. It apparently had the reengineered Mercedes fix (stronger rods?). Did this resolve the problem, or did these self destruct as well?

It has about 130,000 miles on it.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2013, 05:21 PM
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Does it have an MB rebuilt engine? They seem to have the best reputation for this troubled engine. There were a few updated rods designs, but to my knowledge there are no guarantees on any of the 350 engines.

Anecdotally, MB rebuilts do well, and engines that have already accrued higher mileages are said to be the "good ones". I don't know of any way to predict the future of one of these, but a compression test before you buy would be a very good thing to do.

Not all of these engines failed, but again, anecdotally it seems that 25 - 35% did, a ridiculous failure rate.
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1991 350SD
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2013, 05:30 PM
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350SDL Siren Call

I put in a call to a local MB dealer with whom I've done business, and asked them to do a VIN search to see what was done. Saturday's a short day, though, so...

Yes, I recall that the engine rebuild was more desirable.

I made a mistake in my earlier post. The mileage is under 120,000. I do get the reasoning about why high mileage might be a good idea in that the car would have gotten beyond the failure "hump."
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  #4  
Old 01-19-2013, 07:39 PM
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The 90 and 91 350 is a very nice car. Hope it works out!
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1991 350SD
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  #5  
Old 01-19-2013, 08:15 PM
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350 SDL Siren Call

Years ago I drove an SD. Loved it, but it didn't have a remanufactured engine, so I took a pass.

More torque less horsepower than my 300 SDL.
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  #6  
Old 01-19-2013, 08:25 PM
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I would love an SDL. For now I have my SEL. Never sure if I will make the switch to diesel unless its very much worth it economy wise. SDLs are very rare in my area.
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1992 750il / 17k miles - project car
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2013, 09:02 PM
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I've own a 1990 350 SDL with a factory rod, head gasket campaign done @ 75,000 miles in 1997. It currently has 180,000 miles and runs like a dream
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1990 350 SDL
Currently: 180,000 miles
Factory rebuilt bottom end rods, bearings and head gasket @ 75,000 in 1997
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2013, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJEMD View Post
I've own a 1990 350 SDL with a factory rod, head gasket campaign done @ 75,000 miles in 1997. It currently has 180,000 miles and runs like a dream
Glad to hear it!

" ...a factory rod, head gasket campaign." Is that what the fix was called, informally? Was there a service code for this fix, so I can ask MB?

Is this sometimes referred to as remanufacturing the engine in some MB 350 circles?

I recall from my SD drive that the interior was nicer than the 300SDL. Did yours come with an Alpine Stereo? The 91 apparently was Bose. (Ridiculous, I know, compared to the engine issue.)
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  #9  
Old 01-20-2013, 09:25 PM
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Siren with a frog in her throat

Well, the Siren had a bit of a frog in her throat.

From a few feet away I could see that both driver' s side doors had been repainted, and not to the caliber of the rest of the car. It lacked the gloss and sheen of your original paint. Then I noticed that the drivers door was lighter in weight than the passenger side front door. Coming from a 1987 300 D, and a 1987 300 SDL, I'm used to the heavy solid thunk of the door. All that struck me as a bit strange, and I concluded that both driver's side doors had sustained damaged. Is it possible that someone is making an aftermarket door, given the difference in weight?

Then I expected the 350 SDL to be brisker than my 300 SDL, both from the higher torque, and from my memory of driving a 350 SD, albeit a lighter car. The 350 may have been a tad quicker but less than my memory of the SD. Also my SDL fields more solid, more coherent, more one thing. The 350 didn't have that feeling of onenes.

I like the upgraded interior, but for $7500, and given the potential issues with the engine, I really wanted a pristine car.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2013, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter4 View Post
Glad to hear it!

" ...a factory rod, head gasket campaign." Is that what the fix was called, informally? Was there a service code for this fix, so I can ask MB?

Is this sometimes referred to as remanufacturing the engine in some MB 350 circles?

I recall from my SD drive that the interior was nicer than the 300SDL. Did yours come with an Alpine Stereo? The 91 apparently was Bose. (Ridiculous, I know, compared to the engine issue.)
Apparently the head gaskets were redesigned at some point.
The late Marshall Booth stated the factory campaign made these engines "bullet proof". He felt Indy overhauls accounted for most 2nd failures. The 350 White Paper coauthered by Marshall to Mercedes is the definitive discussion on this matter
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1990 350 SDL
Currently: 180,000 miles
Factory rebuilt bottom end rods, bearings and head gasket @ 75,000 in 1997
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2013, 10:43 AM
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Siren Call

Thank you for your response.

I'm glad to hear that Marshall's paper was the definitive one. Of particular interest to me was your mentioning independent rebuilds versus factory rebuilds. That may explain why my neighbor, who used to run a diesel taxi company in Los Angeles, experienced failures with all of his 350s. I'll bet he did not have rebuilds done by Mercedes.

Driving the car yesterday made me want to find a pristine one. Maybe I didn't put it clearly on the thread, but it seems to me if both doors were re-sprayed, that damage was done not only to both doors, but potentially the center pillar. The fact that the seller didn't openly reveal that lessened my confidence. And in driving it I just subliminally sensed a certain fragility, or a lack of unity. It didn't feel as robust as my 300 SDL. I'm sure you have certain intuitions about your vehicles and their "state of health."

Also, I didn't like the fact that both drivers side doors (where the likely damage was done) felt lighter than the passenger side doors. Are there such things as aftermarket doors? Given the cheap paint job, I wouldn't put it past the previous owner to use cheap doors.
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  #12  
Old 01-21-2013, 05:30 PM
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Let me say "pristine" describes mine. But these cars require steady ongoing attention. Mine right now has issues. The cruise is temper mental and soon to need an amp. I'm on the original water pump and alternator. I don't think you will solve your fix-it fatigue with a 350. These cars are the pejorative red headed step child on this forum. The bottom end issues have been unkind to many owners. I've driven a 87 300 SDL extensively. I can say to all those that only have opinions but no driving experience with the torque and other amenities of 350, when they're right they're Magnificent
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1990 350 SDL
Currently: 180,000 miles
Factory rebuilt bottom end rods, bearings and head gasket @ 75,000 in 1997
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  #13  
Old 01-21-2013, 08:26 PM
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Siren's Call a Dud

So properly taken care of the 350 should be noticeably quicker and just as solid as my 300SDL? The car I drove yesterday was marginally quicker, and didn't feel balanced or as solid.

Listen. My 300SDL wants to be repaired as well, from time to time, possibly more than a 350. I also was thinking of a 2005-2006 320cdi, but not only are they pricier, the interior is so small contained to the SDL!
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  #14  
Old 01-22-2013, 07:41 AM
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A CDI rapidly gets beyond the DIY hobby.
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1990 350 SDL
Currently: 180,000 miles
Factory rebuilt bottom end rods, bearings and head gasket @ 75,000 in 1997
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  #15  
Old 01-22-2013, 12:17 PM
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No Siren After All

Quote:
Originally Posted by GJEMD View Post
A CDI rapidly gets beyond the DIY hobby.
That's true, but is that deserving of the extreme measure of the Eek emoticon?

Well, I'm not a DIYer, truthfully...just a diesel nut.

I'm attracted (though money us tight right now) to the 320cdi because of the power, but the interior is like a budget Amtrak compartment...tight!

But I also the 300 (and 350) SDLs.

So, what about my fascinating , earlier question??

(So properly taken care of the 350 should be noticeably quicker and just as solid as my 300SDL? The car I drove yesterday was marginally quicker, and didn't feel balanced or as solid.)
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