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  #1  
Old 03-13-2002, 10:19 AM
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Location: Apex, NC USA
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Short trips with 240 or 300D

I'm considering a 240D or a 300D to drive to work which is only 15 miles away. I average 1000 miles per month on the truck it would replace. Will this short trip routine be harmful to a diesel?

I save the tank for the long trips.

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1991 350 SDL
183,000 miles

1982 240D
130,000 miles
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2002, 11:39 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Dallas, TX
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That should be ok, just barely.
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1982 300D - Silver/Blue "Ralph" -For Sale:
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2002, 11:39 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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Chris Haney,

The real potential for harming an internal combustion engine from subjectin it to only short drives comes from spending most of its actual operating time at temperatures where oil flow is likely to be its poorest, and from collecting combustion by-products like water in the oil and not giving it a chance to evaporate and leave the crankcase via the vent to the intake manifold.

The first issue is pretty well addressed if you use a good synthetic oil rated for Diesel engines, like Mobil Delvac 1, or, as other contributors on the forum have recommended, Amsoil, Shell and RedLine products.

The other issue, building up water in the oil from condensation of combustion by-product blow by, is usually handled by running the engine long enough to reach a temperature over 212 degrees F, and letting the water boil away. If you never reach this temp, or approach it, the water will not be driven off, and every time the engine is shut down, more vapor will be condensed. The answer to this is again, use a good synthetic oil and drive the car once or twice a week for long enough to reach normal operating temperature for the engine. I think you can drive most of the week's accumulation of water away in a half hour of running at temperature and do no real harm to the engine. If your drive lasts half an hour every day, you are probably getting close enough to normal operating temp for long enough that you are not going to collect unusually high quantities of water in the oil anyway.

All this presumes the engine runs reasonably close to how it was designed to run. If you already have some problems, like excessive blow by, it is possible you would be best advised to change oil more frequently than you normally would. Again, I would use a good synthetic oil formulated for Diesel engines. In any case, I think an MB Diesel will do as well under these conditions as any car, if not better. Good Luck, Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #4  
Old 03-13-2002, 12:07 PM
Randall Kress
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This has been getting a lot of attention, and to some degree, I think its silly. If you take reasonable care of your car, change the oil and such, there is no reason why a small trip of a mile or two will destroy the motor. I mean, some of the postulates are down right sill, like "atleast 17 miles...." I mean, lets get real, these are cars, Mercedes Benzes, engineered to endure much worse than a quick jaunt to the 7-11. We are dealing with heavy-duty, small truck engines to some degree, overengineered to give long lasting performance.

If you drive your car short distances, make sure your oil pressure drops enough to warrent shutting it off. This means the oil is good and hot (for the most part) and your motor is pretty much warm. Now, change your oil regularly, drive the car accordingly, I don't see a problem.

I drive to and fro a station during the week, on weekends, I take 300 mi trips, or more... We have to realize, we own the cars, not the other way around. They are here to be enjoyed and to serve us! Not give us mental complexes on changing our lifestyles to cater to the long trip requirments of diesel motors.

If it bothers you, keep an extra key, and keep it running while you do your business....

My 300 cents on the matter.
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2002, 01:28 PM
dweller
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I have both a 240D and 300CD. I really prefer the 240D (manny tranny) for my daily commute (about 15 miles each way). The commute is some stop-and-go and mostly driving 35-45-50 zones. I can wrap the engine up to speed in 3rd or 4th gear to clean out the cobwebs.

My 300CD is a much better long-distance car and immensely better and quieter than the 240D at 75 mph. But on the commute, I never seem to get the engine really going (even though I often put the auto transmission in 3rd and keep it there). The 300CD would be a fine commuter, but it doesn't seem like it was really made for that type of driving.

If I were looking for another commute car, I'd be looking for another 240D manny tranny (or maybe a 300D euro with manny tranny).
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2002, 01:49 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
I tend to agree with Randall Kress's assessment, depending on where you live. When I lived in Alaska, it was not uncommon for VW's aircooled engines to last less than 10,000 miles if they were not equipped with an oil pan mounted oil heater. Most commuters in those days lived within 10 miles of the place they worked, and there were no real traffic issues, so the rides were short. The ambient temperatures in the winters spent weeks below zero Fahrenheit, and those conditions caused VW's a considerable amount of stress. Synthetic oils were relatively new, and most VW drivers were not about to use them anyway, thinking they bought an economy car they were not inclined to spend money on expensive oils or increased maintenance.

While early engine damage due to short trips was especially apparent on aircooled engines in very cold climates, and probably is not applicable to a North Carolina climate, it was clearly a problem with regular cars too. The Anchorage used car market was full of cars with 40K to 60K on them with smoking engines in the early '70s.

With the added influx of inexperienced cold weather drivers that arrived as the work on the pipeline grew, the damaged car population grew quickly. This issue was eventually addressed with the near universal installation of electrical heaters in the cars that heated the coolant or oil, operated on timers or typical light switches inside the apartment/house at the front door that allowed people to preheat their cars for specified times before leaving for work or whatever. Timed plug ins were even installed in municpal parking lots to keep your engine warm for a few quarters while you shopped or worked.

So, the use of good oils, frequent oil changes and the weekly run to normal operating temps should suffice for most of us in the "Lower 48." If you live in an extreme climate though, it can be a problem but no more so for a Mercedes than other vehicles. Hope this helps, Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2002, 10:39 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 49
You can't go wrong with a 240D, particularly with the 4-speed. Just keep your foot in it to keep the engine exercised.

I consider my 220D the "always works" driving option of my 3 cars.
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Torrance, California
1972 220D 138k miles (sold)
1982 300SD 263k miles
1989 BMW 750iL 183k miles
1993 Dodge D250 Cummins 5.9 202k Miles
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2002, 01:05 AM
The Warden's Avatar
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Location: Pacifica (SF Bay Area), CA
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Question

Just wondering, what kinda RPM's are the 240D's turning at freeway speeds (65 to 70mph)? Any idea what the final drive ratio is? (i.e. rear end gears, is 4th direct or OD, etc.)

Thanks in advance!
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2001 VW Jetta TDI, 5 speed, daily driver
1991 Ford F-350, work in progress
1984 Ford F-250 4x4, 6.9l turbo diesel, 5 speed manual
Previous oilburners: 1980 IH Scout, 1984 E-350, 1985 M-B 300D, 1979 M-B 300SD, 1983 M-B 300D
Spark-free since 1999
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2002, 01:53 AM
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Location: Charlotte nc
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I'd like to know too, Warden. My 240 is screaming like a stuck pig at 70 mph. I get worried about him coming apart when I go any faster. He is an old man after all.
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  #10  
Old 03-14-2002, 02:16 AM
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Location: Pacifica (SF Bay Area), CA
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jaclson
I'd like to know too, Warden. My 240 is screaming like a stuck pig at 70 mph. I get worried about him coming apart when I go any faster. He is an old man after all.
Oh joy...my pickup's got a 6.9l diesel that governs out at about 3300 RPM's, 4.10 rear end gears, no overdrive, and 31" or so tires. At 65, the engine sounds like it's about to fly apart and it won't really go past 75 before the governor keeps the engine from revving any higher...

Darned if it doesn't pull wonderfully, though. A new truck would be great someday, and I do want a commuter car that gets about 30mpg and runs on #2; hence I'm here, but this truck was an inheritance and has a lot of personal value so it's not going anywhere...

Just wondering, with the engine screaming, what kinda fuel mileage do you see out of the 240D? With the kinda driving I do, I think I just about need a turbo engine, and I also wanna station wagon if I can find one...but that doesn't mean I'm keeping anything out of consideration
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2001 VW Jetta TDI, 5 speed, daily driver
1991 Ford F-350, work in progress
1984 Ford F-250 4x4, 6.9l turbo diesel, 5 speed manual
Previous oilburners: 1980 IH Scout, 1984 E-350, 1985 M-B 300D, 1979 M-B 300SD, 1983 M-B 300D
Spark-free since 1999
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2002, 11:08 AM
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Location: Charlotte nc
Posts: 41
The 240 gets 27.5 mpg overall. The turbo boost would be wonderful and I would wait for one if I were doing it again. But, "the Dumpling" is a part of our family now and we are hanging on to him. He runs great, looks great, and so far, thanks to this website, is the cheapest car I have owned. They are out there, hope you find a jewel!
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2002, 11:18 AM
dweller
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jaclson
I'd like to know too, Warden. My 240 is screaming like a stuck pig at 70 mph. I get worried about him coming apart when I go any faster. He is an old man after all.
I've got no tach, but the 240D is definitely winding high at 70 or 75 mph. I wouldn't worry about it coming apart--the diesels are designed to run at the high end. I just got back from Florida, about 1000 miles, running at 69 (in the 65mph states) and 74 (in the 70mph states). The car is noisy at those speeds, but the engine isn't being hurt. I t hink the highest I took it was about 80-81 while trying to get around a semi going downhill in Tennessee.

This is my 4th MB. I've slowly learned to drive them at high rpms. The engines are not getting hurt at the high ends; in fact, they seem to like it--the old "Italian tune-up" idea.
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  #13  
Old 03-15-2002, 10:03 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Apex, NC USA
Posts: 176
Thanks all!

As for the oil and condensation I would definitely install a block heater for the cold winter mornings. I already leave the 350 SDL running when making a quick stop any time of year.

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1991 350 SDL
183,000 miles

1982 240D
130,000 miles
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