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  #1  
Old 09-20-2014, 01:14 PM
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Need a reality check:'87 300sdl -daily driver or Garage queen

Hello Everyone.
I am new to this forum and have recently gotten the Benz bug. I am seriously considering purchasing an '86/'87 300sdl to use as my daily driver for 9 months a year. As I normally do my own maintenance on my vehicles, my expectation is that if I follow a rigorous maintenance schedule, this vehicle should be able to return 300k miles or more in it's service life. I am looking to spend between $10k to $20k to get a vehicle with around 100k miles or less as the starting point.

I have a lot about this w126 300sdl and the om603 diesel engine, so I am familiar with the issues.

What I don't know is the availability of parts(consumables,starters, alternators, vacuum pumps, glow plugs, injector pumps, etc.) to support this endeavor.

My wife thinks I am having another mid-life crisis(lol, thank god for wives!) and thinks I need a reality check.

I would appreciate any insight you can give regarding my 'pipe dream'. Please hurry since I've got the Benz bug bad and have my sights on a few good candidates on bay right now!,
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2014, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvaubry View Post
$10k to $20k to get a vehicle with around 100k miles or less as the starting point.
Overpaying for a 27 year old car isn't going to make it any more reliable or useful as a daily driver than than $2k example. Hoses, bushings, gaskets age no matter how few miles they experienced. I would buy a 200k mile $3000 example with a long list of replacement parts over low mileage, high dollar car.

Parts are readily available both from MB and many online stores. Its a non issue.

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/cto/4676449460.html
https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/cto/4611515509.html
https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/cto/4671872462.html

good luck
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2014, 01:34 PM
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Tjts,

thanks for your reply. I agree with your assessment on the basis of time dependent materials, and I would expect to catch up on replacing those items on a first priority basis. I just think it would be prudent to get as low a mileage vehicle to ensure the drivetrain is as healthy as it could be. Seems to me a 200k miler could be too far down the road to make it viable.
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  #4  
Old 09-20-2014, 01:41 PM
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If you want an MBZ diesel, by all means get one.

If you're not in love with Mercedes and are just looking for a practical daily driver, you're going to be very hard pressed to do better than a 5-10 year old 4 cylinder car by one of the Japanese marques.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2014, 01:42 PM
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I second tjts's thoughts on this issue. I daily drive a 91 350SDL. It's not the miles that I would be concerned with (mine has 322k and gets driven 35k a year). It's all the rubber bushings, hoses, wire connections, electric motors, etc that have issues because of age. I've spent a lot of parts over the past year and I still haven't tackled it all.
But that said, I enjoy driving the car enough to make it worth it to me.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2014, 02:01 PM
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rust & lack of consistant care is what kills these cars. It is worth the extra effort & expense to find a one-owner and/or long documented service history vehicle.

Having a dedicated second car available to drive when repair or maintance tasks take longer than expected will go a long way toward marital harmony.
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2014, 02:10 PM
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I can deliver my 360K miles daily driver from CA to MI for $10K obo . Everything works, original paint, AC, keyless remote, new tires, cruise etc.

The bottom line is that high mileage car can be made into dd. You look after it and it will look after you. I would prefer high mileage cars sometimes as parts that need to be replaced probably had been replaced by PO(s).
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2 x 87 300SDL
1 x 87 300D
1 x 87 300TDT wagon
1 x 83 300D
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2014, 05:21 PM
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They can be daily drivers provided you have the history. I have never been stranded in over 30 years driving similar but also change lots of parts as a precaution. Not a bad idea to have a backup as some parts take a while to get delivered. Your heart has to be into it be certain of that!
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2014, 05:37 PM
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If you're willing to spend $7500 or so you should, if you're patient, be able to find a very nice condition, relatively low miles SDL. Absolutely no need to plan on spending $10-20k.
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06 E320 CDI "Benson", Platinum Blue, 166k mi, DD
91 300D "Otis", Smoke Silver, 121k mi, other DD
98 E300 "Murray", Silver, 116k mi, Stage 2 Rocketchip chip tuned, son's DD

Twelve other MB's owned and sold
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2014, 06:02 PM
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Specific to that engine, it would be ideal to have a later head casting. An original casting can have no crack symptoms during the pre-purchase inspection then suddenly there's pressure in the cooling system overnight even if you never overheat it. You just never know. If replacing a cylinder head is enjoyable to you, the 603 is about as enjoyable as it gets. Everything except turbo attachment is well thought out and DIY friendly. The job costs $1000-4000 in parts depending on whether you buy a used or new head and how many while-you're-in-there's you choose to oblige. The bottom end shouldn't need more attention than crank seals ever. Then there's the transmission. 300K miles is a long life for a 722.3. Sure they can last longer. They can also last half that. Next is the car itself. How do you feel about long distance shopping for rust free examples?

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  #11  
Old 09-20-2014, 10:02 PM
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$10-20K for an SDL? LOL

$5K would get you an incredible example. The regular POS that pass through here sell for $2K, so $5K is ideal. Old lady stories are just awful. A low mileage beauty queen is worthless next to a driven and maintained higher mileage example to serve as a DD.
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  #12  
Old 09-21-2014, 05:34 AM
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Since the OP wants to find an example with 100k miles or less, I don't know that $5,000 is realistic for a specimen in all-round excellent condition.
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06 E320 CDI "Benson", Platinum Blue, 166k mi, DD
91 300D "Otis", Smoke Silver, 121k mi, other DD
98 E300 "Murray", Silver, 116k mi, Stage 2 Rocketchip chip tuned, son's DD

Twelve other MB's owned and sold
2002 Honda Odyssey 222k mi (want to name it "Homer," wife won't let me)
1961 Very Tolerant Wife

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  #13  
Old 09-21-2014, 07:05 AM
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If one is patient there should be the possibility of finding something for less than 10K. Here's a 108K example for $7.5K. Not affiliated.

1987 Mercedes Benz MB 300 SDL Diesel
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  #14  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vollpreuss View Post
If one is patient there should be the possibility of finding something for less than 10K. Here's a 108K example for $7.5K. Not affiliated.

1987 Mercedes Benz MB 300 SDL Diesel
You would have more than the asking price bringing a $1,500 car up to those aesthetics. The issue I have is they are never as good as the pics.
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  #15  
Old 09-21-2014, 11:23 AM
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Thanks for your insight

Thank you for your comments.

My motivation to pursue the MB 300sdl is because of my love for cars, and my desire to have a lifetime relationship with a beautiful car that is Within the realm of DIY(ie minimal electronics) and minimal plastic content(not like the paradigm for all new cars today) . The w126 '87 300sdl appears to have been as close as MB could get to a quality car before they went off the deep end with the w140 and the onset of the Lexus attack on their luxury market.

Based on your comments, though I see a real disconnect between what buyers expect to pay(sub $10k) and sellers expect to get($10k to $20k) for a low mileage well maintained vehicle. The best documented 1 owner vehicles with 50k miles I have seen are closer to $20k. Vehicles with around 100k miles are priced at $10k or better. This comparison on the basis that all other considerations for fit, finish, rust-free, pristine condition are all met.

$10k-$20k 300sdl lol, - maybe! but that seems to be the reality!
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