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Old 06-05-2002, 07:56 AM
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Starting a 300D

I am trying to get a 76 300D to start. It has been sitting in my friends backyard for about 2 years. The car ran fine. The transmission shifted well. He went thru a divorce so the car was tied up in court, so that is why it sat for 2 years. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The car spins over good just can't get it to start.

Last edited by locked5; 06-05-2002 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 06-05-2002, 03:19 PM
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TXBill is right, if you cannot roll the engine over faily quickly, if the engine rolls over and over - it won't ever start. a diesel engine needs o be rolled over quickly, like a snappy! roll over.

And he's right when it comes to making sure fuel is getting to the combustion chambers.

If you want, you can use gasoline on a rag and stick up to the intake of the snorkel tube - Never use ether! That is bad business for a diesel engine.

Gasoline fumes are a lot safer! Don't put gas in the system, just let the system breathe the fumes from the gasoline soaked rag.

Also, if the tank is about empty, go get about 5 gallons of Premium Diesel fuel and put that into the tank.

My 1974 W115 240D sat for over a year and it took quite a few roll overs before she finally fired up. May want to give it about 1/4 to 1/2 throttle too. (kinda have to play with the pedal some)

Also, once you have it running okay, a Very Wise Choice would be to change that oil!

If it ran before it'll run again! Even a gas engine takes quite a bit to get it going after setting for some time.

If you have a large enough battery in VERY Good Condition, even two connected together for a fast snap roll over it is possible to fire without the glow plugs. Even if two glow plugs work, it should be enough to make it fire up - it is just going to take quite a bit that first time after setting.
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Old 06-05-2002, 03:59 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: France (Brittany)
Posts: 95
One more thing you can check is if the throtle move easily and is not jammed.
I say that because one time, when I wanted to start my 300D after 3 month of non use, the throtle was jammed.
And as I needed to put the throtle wide open to start it (the weather was cold and the engine as low compression), just after the engine sarted, I removed my feet from the throtle but the pedal didn't move and remained stick on the floor. So the engine run at the max speed (maybe at 5200 rpm which is the maximum speed allowed by the mechanical regulator). Not very good for a cold engine which didn't turn since 3 months !!
And the worst appeared when I removed the key in order to shut down the engine, nothing hapened (because of a leak in the vacuum line). Only 15 or 20s later, the engine shut down.
in France : 240D 1981 380 000 km
240D 1984 252 000 km
300D 1978 325 000 km
in the US : Ford Tempo 1993 70K
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Old 06-05-2002, 07:06 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,877
I would remove the injectors and put a little ATF in the cylinders and let it sit overnight. The next day, with the injectors out and no one standing in the way of the injector hole crank it over and blow the remaining ATF out. If the rings are stuck this should free them up.
I suspect that you have a fuel related issue with the car having sat for a couple years.
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Old 06-05-2002, 08:24 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
Mostl likely you need to re-prime and put a new battery in -- get a good one, proper size -- they are huge. If you aren't getting white smoke, you are short fuel.

Pump the primer at least fifty times -- it may be on the pump (plunger type) or on the fuel filter (palm type) -- pump until you hear the fuel hiss through the pressure valve in the fuel filter housing. Takes forever if there is air in there.

Next, loosen all the injector lines at the injectors about 3/4 turn, then crank with the throttle wide open until no more air comes out, then retighten. You may also want to bleed the IP -- there is a bleed screw somewhere on it, but I don't know where. You can also loosen the return line and check for air, too, but usually just cranking until the lines are free of air will do it.

Plan on recharging the battery once or twice before it lights.

It will start as soon as you get fuel to the injectors. Pause and re-glow once in a while, too.

If it has been sitting without having the battery charged, I also suspect you need to at least charge it, if not replace it.

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 06-05-2002, 11:23 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: eastern ND
Posts: 657
This may sound a bit unconventional, but we tow stubborn tractors that have sat all winter. Stubborn because they weren't put to bed properly. If your car has sat that long in warm weather then the fuel is probably a bit nasty. Try draining the sludge plug on main filter if you have one, pump it up by hand, plug it in for an hour or so if you have a block heater, pump it up again, then take it for a tow in high gear. Watch the oil pressure - if it doesn't come up then shut down and change the oil before trying again. Expect fuel filter plugging until you get fresh fuel through the system. I top off fuel filter with ATF when changing - document in maintenance log and keep jug in trunk as "red" fuel is farm fuel that is illegal for highway use.
daBenz - 1970 220D
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Old 06-06-2002, 12:08 AM
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ATF I have heard is not a good thing to use in MB's. Although Catapillar reccomends use in their engines. (500k warranty)

Marvel Mystery Oil is Much Nicer to the gas/diesel engines. It doesn't put bad carbon deposits in the engine's combustion chambers, it is great lubricant for just about anything on any engine. Also is good for all your Air Tools too. :-)

On a gas engine, if you have lazy lifters, Marvel Mystery to the rescue, pour down the carb - it'll help those lazy non-pumping lifters to work again - and watch all that smoke! out the hind side

You can put Marvel in your fuel tank or squirt into the intake to lube everything up insides

For those of you that still have Carburators and want to clean out that gasoline engine, try dumping a 16 oz glass of water down the carb - have to pour slowly and hold throttle about 1/3 open. Must do when engine is fully warmed up. Should see a lot of black smoke! No smoke means already clean.

It also works on our lovely diesel engines. Where ever air goes, that is where the water goes, it Steam cleans every part!

Let us all know how well that engine runs. We are all dying to know that yet another Mercedes Lives On Forever!!!!

psfred - I think you have the ticket to the engine running. Even sounds logical
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Old 06-06-2002, 01:41 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Decatur, Alabama
Posts: 382
Psfred is just don't appreciate how long you have to grind on a diesel to get the fuel restored once lost, if your background is gasoline engines. He coached me through this last winter....listen to him!

My $.02 worth.
1998 C280
1982 240D Manual - Sold
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Old 06-06-2002, 05:05 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: st paul, mn
Posts: 284
I second the towing idea. I don't know about your car, but the directions for tow-starting it are in the manual. You put it in low or second, check the manual, and pull it at at least 23mph for at least 1/2 mile, then turn the key on. works like a charm. check the manual for the specifics. new oil, desludging, etc. also sounds like an exellent idea.
andy t
'78 300d
'95 volvo 850, wagon
'86 300sdl - engine out, maybe I'll have it rolling by June

whole bunch o' bicycles
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Old 06-06-2002, 08:23 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 1,004
Just an FYI cause I must have done it wrong but anyway,

I pulled the glow plugs and put a piece of rubber tubing on the end of an oil can. Squirted in about 1/4 cup of 15-40 into each cylinder. Let it sit overnight while I charged the battery up really good.
In the morning turned it over a couple of times then put a couple more shots of oil into the cylinders to help the compression. Put the glow plugs back into the car. Plugged in the motor to the block heater for a couple of hours.

When things were as ready as they were gonna get (in my mind) I turned it over with a friend firing very small bursts of ether into the intake. After three tries the car fired off with about half throttle (back off immediately) and has run great ever since. It had sat for almost 4 months prior to my picking it up so there was no oil left in the cylinders for lubrication and compression.

Just my way, and according to most probably not the best way, but it worked for me this time.
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Old 06-06-2002, 09:07 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
Please don't ever use ether on an MB diesel again -- you run a serious risk of detonation and ring land damage. Prechamber engines like MB uses will fire on ether much too early!

You did the right thing (I've actually built a fire under my 220D in the dead of winter to get it started!) -- get the engine and oil warm and crank. If you have compression and fuel, it will start!

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 06-06-2002, 10:39 PM
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I have tried Block Heaters, In radiator line heaters and then the Oil Pan heater.
Oil Pan is the best - it'll fire up like it was 60+ degrees out side when it is below zero!

My brother-n-law owns 2 Case backhoes and in the dead of winter (works super for clearing driveways) he's had to use one of them large propane torches along with a oil pan heater. He too found out block heaters don't work well!
The oil needs to be warm! I don't care how hot that water is, if that oil is cold it is like 90 weight! And roll overs in winter are hard on any diesel engine.
Infact the Worst thing you can do to a diesel is start it up!

My W115 240 1974 sat for over a year. Within 20-30 roll overs it fired up and died, and then refired and stayed running. The first die was my fault, I let off to quickly on the throttle.

Wanna know what can happen when using "Ether"? My brother-n-law shortly after buying his first 580C Case backhoe, one morning it wouldn't start, it was setting in a large Barn.
It wouldn't start so he shot it with ether, then again and once more and too much - POW! The Head blew off the block, tore off the sheet metal hood and kept going up, it hit the roof and then came back down landing in the hay mow!
My father-n-law, a good one for using lots of either. Blew the heads off a 3 cylinder snowmobile! He locked up a 230 Cummins so bad that even when pulled the rear tandems skidded.
Cummins have a release bolt for just that reason and it still took over a day to clear the ether from the intake and heads. Had to also relieve pressure from all 6 injectors!

Ever wonder what would happen if you filled a tank with gasoline that should have #2 diesel? Trust me, it ain't a pretty sight!
Brand New D3 Catapillar, the oil company filled the dozer with premium gasoline!
Jack didn't know it, he fired it up (winter) and let it warm up, while he did so, he sat in his warm Chevy pickup several yards away.
KahBlooie! There was only one piston and rod still in that 4 cylinder diesel engine when it was all done! Destroyed the engine, the hood, the radiator, part of the dash, most of the wiring.
The oil company had to buy a lot of very expensive new Catapillar parts!

If you ever run out of fuel Never try to restart it, the more times you do the worse it gets, yeah I found out the hard way!

A MB diesel engine will run on straight K1 kerosene. It will also run on JP4 (Jet Fuel) which is a highly filtered and refined Kerosene.
MB shows in their manual tells that you can reduce/cut the #2 with kerosene by up to 50% for harsh winter conditions. You can cut it with gasoline, but you had better know what you're doing when you use gasoline.

My brother filled up his Peogot diesel with kerosene, said it lacked power, but ran okay and smoked a bit more than normal. Said the mileage dropped some too. He was in a part of Maine where they'd ran out of #2 diesel and only had kerosene, so filled up and drove home.
I would imagine the Cetane rating of kerosene is pretty low. Maybe it is too high, don't know, anyone have a guess?
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Old 07-08-2002, 12:15 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Jonesboro Ar
Posts: 14
Re: Starting a 300D

I had trouble starting 240d when I got. Engine would turn over and over but wouldnt start. No fuel. Pulled vacuum line off of fuel shut of switch and removed the switch. The switch was stuck. moved it by hand put back together and car started right up.
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