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  #1  
Old 07-07-2015, 12:39 PM
DieselHead's Avatar
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Save or Scrap this 1983 300D?

Hi,
Looking for a bit of advice here. Long story relatively short, my parents bought a 1983 300D new in 1982 which was in use by us until 2007. At that time, it was given to my brother in law who used it for another three years until it was parked and not used five years ago. I'm feeling a bit of nostalgia for what was my first car and I'm wondering if I should try and recommission it. Here are the issues that I know of:

1) Vacuum leak resulting in non-working locks (and probably other issues)
2) A/C does not work
3) Dented rear door
4) Small rust spots
5) Some transmission delays or slipping reported
6) Rear exhaust rubber hangers cracked and fell off (exhaust was new though)

The biggest concern is that nothing was done before it was left to sit. If I can get it in reasonable condition, I really don't care how it looks and am happy to drive it as is. Except for the dent, it's in good cosmetic condition and the interior is nearly perfect. I'm willing to put in my own labor and spend up to $1,000. Anything above that and it's probably not worth it.

What do you think?

Thanks!!

Alex
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1983 300D (parked for four years)
2012 VW Sportwagen TDI Manual
2001 Miata SE
1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2015, 12:59 PM
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Well the vacuum leaks and transmission issues could very well be related. A\C is not usually a "hard fix per say, just usually expensive.

If the rust doesn't concern you, then it doesn't sound too bad. You have a car and know the entire history of it, that's huge. Honestly, these cars don't mind sitting nearly as much as you would think. The only real issue will be stuck brakes from sitting. The rest is probably fine. I say go for it.

$1000 and your labor will probably fix everything but the A\C and get you a good running car.
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2003 Volvo V70 5 Speed
1997 E290 Turbo Diesel Wagon -traded for above, an amazingly comfortable car to drive, great drivetrain, but the rust, oh my god the rust
1992 BMW 525i -traded in
1990 Silver 300TE -Sold Loved the wagon, hated the M103
1985 Grey 380SE Diesel Conversion, 2.47 rear end, ABS -Sold, really should have kept this one
1979 Silver 300D "The Silver Slug" -Sold
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2015, 01:06 PM
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What you are describing about the car and plus it is what I think is a family hierloom, you better not scrap it!

Bring it back on the road, keep it stored, and/or restore it fully later on are all great options for that particular car. But please don't scrap it!
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  #4  
Old 07-07-2015, 01:46 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Germantown, TN
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Thumbs up ditto

X2 what DeliveryValve said. All the expertise to bring the car back to life and make is safe and reliable is right here on the forum.

The issues you mentioned have all been handled in this forum.
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Current Car --- 05/2012 1984 300D Light Ivory, Red interior
Cluster Needles Paint
New Old Stock (NOS) parts

Past:
3/2008 1986 300SDL "Coda"
04/2010 1965 190D(c) "Ben"
& many more
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:02 PM
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You're all right; it would be a shame to not at least try and rehab it. I'd like to get it road worthy to get it 100 miles from Queens, NY to the end of Long Island, NY where I have a garage. What should I do? It has five year old fuel in the tank. Can I try and fire it up with that or do I need to find a way to drain and refill? Anything to worry about regarding fuel and brake lines that might burst? I know I need to change the battery and replace the missing exhaust hangers.

Thanks in advance
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1983 300D (parked for four years)
2012 VW Sportwagen TDI Manual
2001 Miata SE
1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:09 PM
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1983 was a good year. I had one (sold 2 years ago). It was much less troublesome with electrical issues than the 85 that I currently have. Post up some pics. Depending on how long ago and the environment it was stored in, the engine may or may not just start right up. Where is the car?
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  #7  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:15 PM
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Funola,
The car is currently sitting outside in a locked driveway in Astoria, Queens, NY. The downside is that for about 2 or 3 of the years, it was sitting outside without a cover, then with a cover. A partial upside is that it is only a partially sunny place, but under a tree. I will need to take away a thin layer of the finish to have a hope of getting it shiny. I'll post photos when I can get to the car within a week or so, but for now, see attached for what it looked like before I gave it away. Check out the dent on the rear drivers side door.

To tell the truth, I've held on to it partially because I have a set of original AMG Penta wheels that I've been looking forward to refinishing and installing.

Alex
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Save or Scrap this 1983 300D?-img_0307.jpg  
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1983 300D (parked for four years)
2012 VW Sportwagen TDI Manual
2001 Miata SE
1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside
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  #8  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselHead View Post
Funola,
The car is currently sitting outside in a locked driveway in Astoria, Queens, NY. The downside is that for about 2 or 3 of the years, it was sitting outside without a cover, then with a cover. A partial upside is that it is only a partially sunny place, but under a tree. I will need to take away a thin layer of the finish to have a hope of getting it shiny. I'll post photos when I can get to the car within a week or so, but for now, see attached for what it looked like before I gave it away. Check out the dent on the rear drivers side door.

To tell the truth, I've held on to it partially because I have a set of original AMG Penta wheels that I've been looking forward to refinishing and installing.

Alex
If it currently looks like that, it is definitely worth saving. If the fuel system is tight meaning no air got into the system, chances are good it will start and run. If it was parked with a partial tank (not full) of fuel, it very likely will have algae issues so be prepared to clean tank/strainer as well as change both fuel filters. I started a 300D with a 617.xxx with 30k miles that sat in a sunny driveway in Staten Island for 10 years by just bringing a fresh battery with me. It had a lot of sun damage to the paint, seats and rubbers but it started and smoked a lot. I ended up not bidding on it because of the extensive rubber damage.
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85 300D turbo pristine w 157k when purchased 161K now
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  #9  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:34 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Carlsbad, CA
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AAA Towing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselHead View Post
You're all right; it would be a shame to not at least try and rehab it. I'd like to get it road worthy to get it 100 miles from Queens, NY to the end of Long Island, NY where I have a garage. What should I do? It has five year old fuel in the tank. Can I try and fire it up with that or do I need to find a way to drain and refill? Anything to worry about regarding fuel and brake lines that might burst? I know I need to change the battery and replace the missing exhaust hangers.

Thanks in advance
You may just want to purchase an AAA premium membership for around $150 that can be used to tow the vehicle to Long Island.

The Premium Membership gives you up to 250 miles (I think) per tow at no charge.

I have the coverage just cause I have an old benz lol. Used it once when driving back from another state and the belt tensioner snapped. Had it towed about 140 miles to my home garage.

May save you getting stuck half way trying to get there with out the chance of doing a little systems refresh first i.e. new fuel, etc.
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:38 PM
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Fix it up for sure.
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  #11  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:48 PM
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Exhaust hanger rubber rings are ~$2 ea. Change before your muffler drags and $$$ damage.

Tranny shifting is via vacuum, so fix that and it may shift fine. Vacuum pump rebuild kit is ~$100 if you have the later 1-tube type, ~$12 for the earlier 2-tube type. It is easy to rebuild (after you clean away all the gunk), you pop out outlet valves and replace the plastic piston ring (or rubber diaphragm in early pumps). You might even forget that an install a $50 used electric vac pump from a newish VW diesel.

AC - try actuating the clutch manually by applying 12 V via a 2" jumper wire. Remove the relay and jump terminals 30 to 87. If the inner part of the compressor turns, it is likely OK. May just be low on refrigerant.

Rust is trickier. What looks like a small surface spot may actually have rusted thru from behind and turn out much more extensive once you start picking at it. Not true with these cars here, but I saw that a lot when I lived in the east. A cheap repair is to cut to sound metal and cover the hole w/ fiberglass-epoxy then Bondo.
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2015, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
It has five year old fuel in the tank.
Probably not a concern, diesel doesn't go off the way gasoline does. I would however recommend bringing a set of fuel filters and the tools to change them with you when you go to drive it home.


P.S. from the one picture, that's a pretty nice looking 300D
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2003 Volvo V70 5 Speed
1997 E290 Turbo Diesel Wagon -traded for above, an amazingly comfortable car to drive, great drivetrain, but the rust, oh my god the rust
1992 BMW 525i -traded in
1990 Silver 300TE -Sold Loved the wagon, hated the M103
1985 Grey 380SE Diesel Conversion, 2.47 rear end, ABS -Sold, really should have kept this one
1979 Silver 300D "The Silver Slug" -Sold
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2015, 09:32 PM
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Unless the car has seriously rusted in the past 4 years I would fix it.
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1993 MB 400E 212K - New Project
2014 Honda CR-V 85K - Wife's DD
2018 Ford F150 5.slow 15K - My DD

1979 MB 280E 90K - Sold
1983 MB 240D 238K - Scrapped
1984 MB 300D 347K? - Sold
1984 MB 300TD Wagon - 188k - Sold
1987 MB 300E 5 speed 258K - Scrapped
1991 MB 300TE 5 speed 276K - Sold
1993 MB 400E 130K - Sold
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2015, 09:34 PM
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The transmission issues might just be that the bowden cable needs adjustment. Possible free fix there. As far as fuel, it's possible to run the car from a fuel canister under the hood. The fuel pump is sort of built into the injection pump and it sucks it all the way from the fuel tank at the back of the car to the injection pump, so it's no problem from a can under the hood. Just buy some fuel hose and run it from can to prefilter, then run the return line into the can also. Oh, make sure your trans and oil cooler lines aren't leaking so the engine or trans don't get killed. Also check coolant hoses for mushyness. You'll kill the car fast if you pop a hose and don't shut down almost immediately.

Sent from my MB865 using Tapatalk
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1982 300sd from craigslist $800 greased on one tank with NO CONVERSION in the Hot Texas Sun. (currently dead & awaiting engine damage investigation and/or longblock swap)
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  #15  
Old 07-08-2015, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for all of the follow up and encouragement. I had just assumed that the vacuum leaks were caused by lines or rubber connectors that had aged and cracked. I'll look into refurbishing the pump by running a search on this forum. I have also adjusted the bowden cable in the past (as well as the vacuum actuator?) so it may not be that. It's all conjecture until I try and fire it up, which I will next week. I'll report back, will also take some photos.
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2012 VW Sportwagen TDI Manual
2001 Miata SE
1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside
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