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Old 06-07-2018, 10:19 AM
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Daily Driver 280TE vs 300TD (Turbo version)

I know I'm not going it get an unbiased opinion but..... I'm having trouble deciding if I want a 300TD Turbo wagon or a 280TE wagon. What do you guys think? It seems challenging searching online for information on the 280TE since they are mostly euro cars. I had originally wanted a diesel but the increased HP of the 280 seems like it would make a better daily driver. What are the thoughts on longevity, maintenence, and performace differences between the diesel and the petrol version? Lastly, from a resale standpoint, would the rarity of a 280TE make it easier to sell should I decide to one day? Any options, thoughts or direction would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:34 AM
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The following are just my thoughts and opinions:

If you want something special get the 280TE. That said, the TD will get better fuel economy, similar performance, easier to get a hold of parts, simpler to maintain, more reliable, and still just as desirable in the second-hand market.

The M110 is not known for good fuel economy and being a K-jet system, you need to be familiar with the system to keep it running optimally. Since it is a Euro car, none of the electronic adjustments or "duty cycle" tweaks will get you anywhere so you need to understand the basic mechanical system to do any diagnosis.

If you're looking for a "daily driver" that you can run and forget about, the TD wins hands down. Keep the valves adjusted, change the oil on time, treat the tank with biocide and you can pretty well just drive it.
'11 Honda Accord EX - "The Daily" 64K
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:33 PM
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Thank you! Super helpful input. A fellow Texan here as well from Austin but living in NC.
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:41 PM
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Location: Austin, TX
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There was a guy up in the pacnw who restored a 280TE. Ducatipaso was his handle. Beautiful car and it sounded great.

There's a 280TE for sale down in San Antonio that I've thought about, but as stated, parts are much easier to come by for the om617. Except for the damn bowden cable and other nla parts.

Hopefully I get my 300td back today with a Sun Valley rebuilt trans in it.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:16 PM
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Thanks Andrew! I reached out to him. Yes I saw the one in San Antonio too but its a little far away. Also, I'm hesitant to buy something that doesn't run.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:48 PM
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I own 4 Mercedes with the M110 engines & have travelled ~ 400,000 miles with them. The CIS system has rock solid & rarely needs adjustment. Incredible cars with a 5 speed trans & I get ~ 27 mpg with plenty of power for another older design car. Engine parts aren't an issue or expensive. I recently rebuilt an engine using factory Mercedes Bearings/ pistons etc. I've never owned a diesel anything & don't have any desire, but that's just my preference. Just the same as some people like diesel trucks.A stock M110 running well is a sweet sounding engine. Same CIS system used as in my 73 911 with no issues after owning for the past 29 years.
80 280TE- 5 spd, 15" BBS, W126 brakes,16mm rear sway etc
83 280TE- 5 spd
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Old 06-09-2018, 12:02 AM
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A good running euro 280 pulls like a sbc and is smooth as silk. It likes gas though and takes premium. As durable as the venerable 617 too.
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual. It still needs upholstery redone...I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 06-09-2018, 01:35 AM
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I love both the gas and diesel Mercedes, but I've been driving a 300td for the past three years and its been great. To me, its been easier to maintain and easier on the wallet than my 380sl. It is definitely not as fast off the line, but once you get a good 300td going, they will definitely hold their own on the road. To me, the diesel is a better option as that it is easier to maintain and enjoy. Once you get past the clatter and the slower start off, they are like a overbuilt tank! If you are looking for a wagon, my brother has a 82,000, one owner 1985 300tdt that he will be selling soon. While not a 100 point car, it is in nice shape. The previous owner, a 92 year old lady,bought it new here in Memphis and while not perfect, it would be a good example to own. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about it. After owning both gas and diesels, I must admit that I find the diesel to be a better way to go. I am actually considering selling my 85 380sl because I rarely drive it due to finding myself driving the 300td daily.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:02 PM
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Hi CaspiMerc, I appreciate your response. I'm looking for more of a fixer upper and an 1985 with only 82k would be a dream car but probably outside of my budget. Would still be interested in seeing the listing once he decides to sell!
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:33 PM
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That M110 engine runs out strongly but I seriously doubt one ever exceeded 25MPG and certainly not in the heavier wagon .

They're good but you must take good care of them, not failing to change the fuel filters regularly and always use premium fuels, most of these are sidelined by failed fuel distributors caused by dirty fuel, clogged filters and so on .

Those who love these, really do love then but they have very low resale value so remember that .

I know the one or two M110 enthusiasts who wear blinders will go crazy now but the facts are the facts .

Choose wisely ~ any older German car is going to requite a lot more looking after than others .
1982 240D creampuff 370,000 miles
1978 300CD back from the dead&1980 300CD ~ SOLD
1984 300CD KEEPER ! 430,XXX miles
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:04 PM
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Over the years, I've owned a 79 280TE, 85 280SL and a 81 280E, all euro versions.

Since your question is specifically for the 280TE, here in the US, the only way to find one is with the euro specification. Which is good, as the euro M110 has 185 hp vice a much more anemic USA version with somewhere around 125hp. The M110 engine is a nice runner, pulls well as the revs rise. It does have it's own set of problems and maintenance issues, as do most engines, what I remember most is cams flattening out and you need to shim the valves to adjust. But.... no glow plugs to break off! One nice feature of the 280TE is that they can be found with manual transmissions.

I currently have a 1985 300TD that has had a manual transmission fitted. Arguably, the rarest combination, since they were not offered as a factory option. Whilst a five speed would be nice, the 85 with the lower numeric rear end doesn't really need the extra gear, and the diesel works better with some revs at speed, so with what a good 5 speed costs, I'm pretty satisfied with having a 4 speed. I've also owned an 83 300D, an 81 240D, and a 81 300D non turbo.

Given the age of these cars, and the scarcity now, the M110 engined cars will be far harder to find than the diesel versions. Also, most of these cars are going to have some pretty high mileage, with the attendant needs that the common chassis and driveline will require.

The most likely car to run across will be the 300TD, and it will have a turbo from 1981 on. The 85s are the most desirable because they have a different torque converter (higher stall speed) and rear end ratio (numerically lower, lower revs on the highway), but any of these turbos are nice cars. I really enjoyed my 83 300D sedan, and had driven that car across country twice. The non turbo versions are also nice, but significantly more leisurely. I'd also suggest that the automatic transmission is more suited to the turbo. Each time you change gears, and let off the throttle, you lose your boost. Not so with an automatic, you keep your foot on the pedal and the boost stays up.

I think I'd favor the diesel over the gas, but the overriding factor should be condition. Either one in good condition would be a winner in my book. Although, if I ever run across another 280TE with a factory five speed.......
Might be a hard sell to Linda, she's mighty partial to diesels and she loves the 85 300TD, manual transmission and all.

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