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Old 04-10-2002, 07:53 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland
Posts: 62
A trip to Cleveland...and Back!

Two weekends ago I took my recently purchased (in January) 1985 300D on its first roadtrip. I was itchin' to go somewhere with this car and impulsively decided after breakfast to visit my daughter who is in school near Cleveland. So, on a bright but blustery cold day, I checked the tire pressure, oil, etc., and headed up route 270 from the Maryland suburbs of D.C. towards Ohio.

Now, I have to say that I have not driven this car more than 3 exits on the beltway before this trip, and it has been a city-driven car for basically its entire 92,000 mile existence, so I was really curious to see what it could do. As this is my first mercedes as well as my first diesel, I started off a bit conservatively, keeping to the speed limit, constantly checking for low oil pressure, high engine temp, and clouds of smoke trailing behind me. The car was purring along just fine so I relaxed a bit and started pushing the car up the long hills beyond Hagerstown. Now we had it up to 75 mph blasting by the semis limping up the hills in the courtesy lane. By the time I got on the Pennsylvania turnpike at Breezewood, I started feeling very comfortable indeed, that is except for the wind noise from the 30 knot side gusts and the bit of sideways crabbing with each gust. But even though I think the steering could be a bit tighter, I still didn't get that lower-end puckering feeling when things don't feel like they're entirely under one's control.

Speaking of things not under one's control, my ACC is definitely not totally under my control. With the afternoon sun beating down on the dashboard and the temp in the low 30s, I couldn't get any warm air out of the vents even with the dial turned to full heat. Later that week, a George Murphy fix gleaned from a search of led me to the decomposed foam tube connecting the dash sensor vent with the hard plastic tube drawing interior air to the fan area.

But I digress. The rest of the trip proved uneventful. I had a nice dinner that night with my daughter and her friends (This is my dad and his new mercedes. It's a diesel.), and left early the next day pushing the benz even harder. I decided to come back thru West Virginia, a much prettier ride but longer, and with seemingly higher mountain passes to cross. I also had my first run in with a truck diesel spigot. How does this fit into my fill pipe....(?)

Anyway, I made it back in time to see Maryland beat Kansas to make it to the Final Four and discover that the only mechanical mishap on this 800+ mile round trip was that somehow the front passenger exterior door handle's front pivot point came undone. I discovered later after after pulling the door's interior panel that a 1/2 inch pin had fallen out. I pushed it back in, and I hope it stays in.

I also discovered the car tends to have a rough and loping idle after a hiway run. Here's hoping that it's something as relatively simple as motor mounts and/or dirty injectors.

I'm ready for another impulsive road trip soon.

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Old 04-10-2002, 10:23 PM
joegolden's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Dalton, Georgia
Posts: 840
my old 84' 300dt that "dieseldon" now owns used to always rock back and forth side to side after a freeway jaunt. It would always level back out after a few minutes on city streets. I guess running at high RPM for several minutes would get the engine all excited for more hi-speed runs!:p I always ran mine 80-85mph for hours on end with no problems, and mine had 200k on it!

Great car, enjoy for many years to come!
Current stable......
17' rogue SV 10k
16' golf sportwagen 20k
01' e320 203k

previous MB units..
01' e320 171k (regret sale)
91' 300d 2.5t 300k (sold to ecoofidaho)
79' 240d 177k (old yellow my avatar)
87' 300d 169k (junk but fast)
85' 300tdt 261k (RBM parts delivery)
85' 300dt 68k (one owner cream puff)
82' 240d 250k
84' 300dt 198k (sold to diesel don)
91' 190e 2.3 61k
88' 260e 140k
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Old 04-11-2002, 11:37 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,517
Try adjusting the existing rack damper bolt to cure the rough idle. Could be a free fix. These engines like to rock when hot, so get it good & hot, then adjust that sucker until it's smooth. You should be able to find adjustment instructions via the search facility on this site. Probably also some discussion in the mercedes mailing list archives.
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Old 04-11-2002, 04:16 PM
Jim B+
Posts: n/a
Hi...I live in Bethesda and

there are a number who post here who are in "the neighborhood." A diesel get-together in Baltimore may also happen soon.

Sounds like you have a NICE car...I can recommend a terrific Benz-only shop in Kensington that LOVES the 123's.

Thanks for the story.
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Old 04-11-2002, 04:17 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland
Posts: 62
Yes, the rack damper adjustment seems like the logical first step. After reading the various threads on this subject (and it is a common topic), I think I'll check it out this weekend.

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Old 04-11-2002, 04:21 PM
Jim B+
Posts: n/a
By the way...

as to climate control, one characteristic of diesels is that they run colder in cold weather...I think this could be due to the fact that the blocks are bigger/denser, and cabin heat is a function of how warm the engine is. When it's really cold, my 240D never really gets warm.

As this is your first diesel, there are a number of little quirks you'll need to get used to. But change the oil every 3,000 miles religiously and yours could last forever...actually better to run long distances in a diesel than use for short hops around town.
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Old 04-11-2002, 04:30 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland
Posts: 62
Hi Jim B+,
Would you be referring to Mitch Carr's shop in Kensington? If so, I have to say that they have been very good to me in terms of checking out the car pre-purchase and giving me an honest evaluation and cost-effective list of things that needed to be done right away vs. those things that could be put off awhile. They have also been very good about some advice for a couple of my DIY projects. All in all, a pretty good shop.

Honk if you spot a dark blue 123 with East of Maui windsurf pads on Thule racks lumbering around the Bethesda and DC area.

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Old 04-11-2002, 04:41 PM
Jim B+
Posts: n/a

Mitch's gimmick is that his shop does terrific work at VERY reasonable prices, and take GOOD care of customers and their cars. And they LOVE the W123s! Mine went in for a "small service" yesterday that included parts, odds and ends, and labor, and the bill STILL was only just over $100!
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Old 04-11-2002, 10:56 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Knotts Island, NC
Posts: 382
Baltimore/DC party

Keep me posted about a get together in the Baltimore/DC area. I'll be coming from NC and 'Benny' needs a road trip.
1982 240D 313,000 (4 speed)
1984 300CD 172,483
1985 German Shepherd Dog -Lacey- R.I.P.11/04/05

Hood Stars, Wrist Crowns and Obsession Dobs
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