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  #1  
Old 09-15-2013, 04:55 PM
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Which Diesel???

I'm still learning about MB Diesels. I had a W123 300D years back, and HATED that car, haha. I don't blame MB though, I bought a cheap, crappy car. BUT, it was slower than death.

My question is 2-fold. If I were looking for a slightly older, maybe W124 or W210 era diesel equipped car, is there a particular engine to be looking at? I know there were model-year changes made to some engines, but I can't find much of a comprehensive list of what to look at. I'd prefer turbo diesel for obvious reasons. What are the differences, and what should I be looking at?

Reason I ask, is because at some point, I'll be looking for a car for myself, and for my mother. I want something for my mother thats able to be reconditioned, serviced (mostly) by myself and able to be taken to the local indy for things I either don't have the tools for, or simply don't want to work on. Will stay mostly stock, except for light mods that will help serviceability and long life, like EGR-delete type stuff. She doens't drive much, and I'd like to get something we can put another couple hundred thousand miles on reliably. For myself, I'm looking for much the same thing, except I may be a bit more willing to go for power mods. I'm young, what do you expect? For reference, my current project is a '95 Volvo 960 wagon with an LS swap, that I'm planning to take to One Lap of America in 2015. Thanks for reading, hope this is coherent enough to make sense.

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  #2  
Old 09-15-2013, 05:13 PM
sixto's Avatar
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US W124 Diesels:

1987 300D (sedan) and 300TD (wagon) with 6 cylinder 2 valve turbodiesel
1990-1993 300D 2.5 turbo (sedan) with 5 cylinder 2 valve turbodiesel
1995 E300 (sedan) with 6 cylinder 4 valve naturally aspirated Diesel

US W210 Diesels:

1996-1997 E300 (sedan) with 6 cylinder 4 valve naturally aspirated Diesel
1998-1999 E300 (sedan) with 6 cylinder 4 valve turbodiesel

Compared with the turbodiesels, the naturally aspirated engines need to be wound to perform. They'll keep up with modern traffic under 4,000 feet elevation. Any late model minivan gets to 60 mph more quickly than these Diesels except for the 98-99 E300. The rest have to be in top shape to get to 60 mph in 12 seconds. You might beat that Yaris with a good reaction time.

IMO, not ideal for occasional use, not ideal for an occasional driver. That's what Accords and Camrys are for.

IMO, not ideal for performance mods unless you go full bore like they do in Finland. Nothing you do within a reasonable budget will make it perform better than a similar vintage E320, let alone an E420/E430. Comparable V8 gassers are typically cheap, plentiful, better equipped and are available with low miles. As Bill Fisher said about the 1200cc VW engine, fabulous engine when left alone. Disable EGR, ARV, etc., don't even bother with so called free flow air filter.

Sixto
87 300D

Last edited by sixto; 09-15-2013 at 05:26 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2013, 05:15 PM
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Your 123 must have been an NA. Not to be compared to a turbo version.
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2013, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
US W124 Diesels:

1987 300D (sedan) and 300TD (wagon) with 6 cylinder 2 valve turbodiesel
1990-1993 300D 2.5 turbo (sedan) with 5 cylinder 2 valve turbodiesel
1995 E300 (sedan) with 6 cylinder 4 valve naturally aspirated Diesel

US W210 Diesels:

1996-1997 E300 (sedan) with 6 cylinder 4 valve naturally aspirated Diesel
1998-1999 E300 (sedan) with 6 cylinder 4 valve turbodiesel

IMO, not ideal for occasional use, not ideal for an occasional driver. That's what Accords and Camrys are for.

IMO, not ideal for performance mods unless you go full bore like they do in Finland. Nothing you do within a reasonable budget will make it perform better than a similar vintage E320, let alone an E420/E430. Comparable V8 gassers are typically cheap, plentiful, better equipped and are available with low miles.

Sixto
87 300D

Thanks! Thats a start. Any other engines or cars to look at? I wasn't specifying JUST those chassis, I just meant from that era of design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Your 123 must have been an NA. Not to be compared to a turbo version.


No, my W123 was definitely a turbo, haha.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2013, 05:33 PM
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1986-1987 300SDL with 6 cylinder 2 valve turbodiesel

You probably don't want a 1990-1991 350SD/L (sedan) or 1992-1995 300SD/S350 (sedan) for their risk of bending rods. You can find a cheap one that billows smoke then swap in a 3-liter block but with the 92-95 you're facing the teething problems common to early W140s.

Basically you're looking at a single engine family from 86-99. It's basically the same block under a SOHC or DOHC head.

How about a 2005 Passat TDI?

Sixto
87 300D
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2013, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
1986-1987 300SDL with 6 cylinder 2 valve turbodiesel

You probably don't want a 1990-1991 350SD/L (sedan) or 1992-1995 300SD/S350 (sedan) for their risk of bending rods. You can find a cheap one that billows smoke then swap in a 3-liter block but with the 92-95 you're facing the teething problems common to early W140s.

Basically you're looking at a single engine family from 86-99. It's basically the same block under a SOHC or DOHC head.

How about a 2005 Passat TDI?

Sixto
87 300D


Refuse to own VW/Audi products I mean, truthfully - I'm a BMW guy at heart. If they had brought over any deisels here in the 90's, thats probably what I would put her into, as I'm very comfortable and have a LOT of experience working on and building BMW's.


And yes, I've heard many, many stories of the 3.5l 'rod bender'. Was part of the research I did years ago when I had my 300. So there's not much difference then? Was there no 88-89 W124 diesel? Seems odd for a 1-year 6 cylinder diesel, doens't it? Any fuel economy differences between the turbo and non-turbo engines? I can imagine the turbo would probably get better mileage, right??

Last edited by kendogg; 09-15-2013 at 05:52 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2013, 06:21 PM
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There's also the 190D. From my little bit of research is looks like it was only in the U.S. market in 1987, but grey market cars from other years might be available.

Edit: I mean the turbo was only in '87. We got the non turbos for the entire ten or so year run.
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Last edited by Skippy; 09-15-2013 at 08:27 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2013, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendogg View Post
I'm still learning about MB Diesels. I had a W123 300D years back, and HATED that car, haha. I don't blame MB though, I bought a cheap, crappy car. BUT, it was slower than death.

My question is 2-fold. If I were looking for a slightly older, maybe W124 or W210 era diesel equipped car, is there a particular engine to be looking at? I know there were model-year changes made to some engines, but I can't find much of a comprehensive list of what to look at. I'd prefer turbo diesel for obvious reasons. What are the differences, and what should I be looking at?

Reason I ask, is because at some point, I'll be looking for a car for myself, and for my mother. I want something for my mother thats able to be reconditioned, serviced (mostly) by myself and able to be taken to the local indy for things I either don't have the tools for, or simply don't want to work on. Will stay mostly stock, except for light mods that will help serviceability and long life, like EGR-delete type stuff. She doens't drive much, and I'd like to get something we can put another couple hundred thousand miles on reliably. For myself, I'm looking for much the same thing, except I may be a bit more willing to go for power mods. I'm young, what do you expect? For reference, my current project is a '95 Volvo 960 wagon with an LS swap, that I'm planning to take to One Lap of America in 2015. Thanks for reading, hope this is coherent enough to make sense.
Either will do.

The better the car's overall condition, the better the car.

To "put another couple hundred thousand miles on reliably," you will probably need to find something with 100K miles OR less on it.....
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  #9  
Old 09-15-2013, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
Either will do.

The better the condition, the better the car.

To "put another couple hundred thousand miles on reliably," you will probably need to find something with 100K miles OR less on it.....


Really? Is the era of 400-500k mile old Benz diesels over?? If it's only going to last 300k, I'll just put her into a BMW 5 series wagon. Will be a hell of a lot cheaper too.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:32 PM
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With a little effort you can scope out a gently used, well maintained 98 or 99 E300DT for the $6-8k range.

That car is a rocket compared to a N/A 123. Night and day difference in handling, power, and refinement.

Still has a mechanical injection pump, and not too much in the electronics department compared to 2000s cars.
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  #11  
Old 09-15-2013, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
1986-1987 300SDL with 6 cylinder 2 valve turbodiesel

You probably don't want a 1990-1991 350SD/L (sedan) or 1992-1995 300SD/S350 (sedan) for their risk of bending rods. You can find a cheap one that billows smoke then swap in a 3-liter block but with the 92-95 you're facing the teething problems common to early W140s.

Basically you're looking at a single engine family from 86-99. It's basically the same block under a SOHC or DOHC head.

How about a 2005 Passat TDI?

Sixto
87 300D
Guy wants a; "W124/W210 diesel......"

I would hold out for those, rather than get into the W126/w140 diesels. 0.02.....
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by kendogg View Post
Really? Is the era of 400-500k mile old Benz diesels over?? If it's only going to last 300k, I'll just put her into a BMW 5 series wagon. Will be a hell of a lot cheaper too.
You asked for; "reliably." You didn't state needing an overhaul along the way to your "another couple hundred of thousands of miles."

If you can get "400- 500k" out of one, be my guest and go for it. IMO, few if any ever own them that long to report those miles, or put the repair dollars necessary into them to get to those miles.
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  #13  
Old 09-15-2013, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendogg View Post
Refuse to own VW/Audi products I mean, truthfully - I'm a BMW guy at heart. If they had brought over any deisels here in the 90's, thats probably what I would put her into, as I'm very comfortable and have a LOT of experience working on and building BMW's.


And yes, I've heard many, many stories of the 3.5l 'rod bender'. Was part of the research I did years ago when I had my 300. So there's not much difference then? Was there no 88-89 W124 diesel? Seems odd for a 1-year 6 cylinder diesel, doens't it? Any fuel economy differences between the turbo and non-turbo engines? I can imagine the turbo would probably get better mileage, right??
I'd sooner buy a Honda or Toyota over either one of those.......

BMW? No comment.....
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  #14  
Old 09-15-2013, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
You asked for; "reliably." You didn't state needing an overhaul along the way to your "another couple hundred of thousands of miles."

If you can get "400- 500k" out of one, be my guest and go for it. IMO, few if any ever own them that long to report those miles.

No I don't want to do an overhaul. I did ask for 'reliable', old diesel benzes have always been rumored to be able to last forever. Hell, my 325e's odometer stopped working at like 340k before I bought it. This is going to be a vehicle that my mom will own for a VERY long time, possibly 15 year sor more. She's had her POS jeep for 11 years now, and the biggest reason we're starting to research replacing it is because it's a rust bucket from NY. She's living in Atlanta, GA now near me, so rust isn't a factor anymore. If 300k is the 'reliable' limit, like I said - I'll just stick to a BMW, I know they'll reliably go past 300k.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_bob View Post
With a little effort you can scope out a gently used, well maintained 98 or 99 E300DT for the $6-8k range.

That car is a rocket compared to a N/A 123. Night and day difference in handling, power, and refinement.

Still has a mechanical injection pump, and not too much in the electronics department compared to 2000s cars.
That would be my target range too, to get one not too shop worn / trashed out that is.

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