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Old 12-12-2002, 04:20 PM
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87 300d turbo

Hi all; I am a newbie, as for as the mercedes goes, but trying, I want to purchase a87 300d to start with am looking at one with 140 mi on the clock, fairly clean, price asking 5700, just wondering what you all thought about the car in general?? Good or bad year? I have a dodge diesel now and lov diesels. But my better half, wants a MB sl so I can't spend too much on my 300D as she is looking at a 93 500SL Any help on what to look for in the 87 300D would be greatly appreaciated ? Thanks and when and if I get it I'm sure I'll be posting again. "cowboy'
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Old 12-12-2002, 04:33 PM
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The 1987 300D's are supposed to be good, they are supposed to be one of the faster diesels that MB produced. The miles look low, and the price looks right, just have a pre-purchase inspection done to make sure everything is good.
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Old 12-12-2002, 04:52 PM
jfikentscher's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Wall, New Jersey
Posts: 550

I have a 300d Turbo 1987 with 190,000 miles on it. I bought it two years ago with 136K. I absolutely love it! I would recomend this car to anyone. It is fast as diesels go, gets about 28-30 mpg.
I paid 9000. Before I bought i had the dealer fix a lot of things that were wrong. the trans leaked, the sunroof didn't work, the door locks were inoperative and the cruise was out. They installed a new vacuum pump fixed all the above and delivered a clean car. I have had only minimal problems. The biggest of which is the blower motor. I am currently gathering information on how to replace it. A few lights have burnt out and that's about it. looking to get another 200,00 or more out of this one.
Good luck if you decide to buy one.
1987 300TD 440K - My car
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 107K - Tim's car
2000 - CLK320 100K - Deb's car
1994 C230 150K - Josh's Car
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Old 12-12-2002, 09:11 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150

The only real problem is cracked heads in early production cars. Check the coolant tank for oil -- if there is any in there and the head has NOT been replaced, it will need one pronto. This will set you back $4000 or so, so deduct from the price accordingly.

The W124 chassis is very nice -- but the rear suspension is prone to bad links, making the car "torque steer". If it lurches when you step on the accelerator, deduct about $1000 for new rear suspension links.

Most other problems are minor.

The 87 300D with the 603 isn't just supposed to be the fastest, it is, except for the E300D TDI turbo, and those are SCARCE (about 2000 total sold in the US).

My 300D is almost as fast as the 280 SE 4.5!


The blower motor is under the wiper motor, you will need to remove wiper motor. Otherwise, very easy. Take great care not to break the windshield, they are a bit pricey ($350 plus installation, I know, I put one in a year and a half ago on the 300TE).

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 12-13-2002, 01:40 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: huntington beach
Posts: 105
i would try to get ahold of the W123 82-85( 300DT) since these engines are bullet proof: I have an 84 , i got it at around 117K its now at 266k and I just changed the oil this morning. Still runs like a champ. with this cars all you have to do is change the fluids (oil, tranny etc. following the maintenance schedule) and adjust the valves every 15k and you should be set to go...VROOOMMMM
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Old 12-13-2002, 02:08 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: California
Posts: 2,068
I'd argue that the 603 motor can be just as bulletproof as the 617. No valve adjustments needed, but you have to watch the belt tensioner, and just as on the 617, keep an eye on the vacuum pump.
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Old 12-13-2002, 04:07 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 8,018
The 1987 300D (W124.133) is a fantastic car. I have two and don't plan to sell them. As others mentioned, watch out for the head, but that's about it. Known issues with the belt tensioner and vacuum pump. A/C compressor is expensive if you ever need one, ditto sunroof repair.

I would NOT - repeat NOT - recommend an older 300D W123.133 (1985 and older) with the iron head engine. Yes they are more bulletproof/indestructible, however the price you pay for that is a noisy, less efficient, older-looking, less refined vehicle. I have one of these as well can can't wait to get rid of it (wife's car - would like to get a 190D/W201 replacement). The 124 chassis is WORLDS better, and IMO, much easier to work on for almost any job. Trust me. BT, DT! Many of the flaws of the 123 chassis were fixed on the 124 - improved motor mount design, accessory drive belt design, suspension, cruise control operation, oil cooler lines, turbo drain tube, and transmission control just to name a FEW. The advantage to the W123 is they are cheaper to buy, but not any cheaper to maintain (possibly MORE expensive than a 124 if not well cared for by the PO's!)

Anyway, here is a checklist of items to watch for when buying a 1987 300D/TD:

Last note to Peter: the 1998/99 E300D turbodiesel is indeed the fastest Benz diesel ever imported to the USA. Awesome car. However, it does not have TDI technology! It's simply the same basic OM606 engine design as the 95-97 version, with an intercooled turbo added. It is still mechanical indirect injection. MB has never imported any DI/TDI/CDI cars to the USA, the only one is the CDI engine in the Freightliner Sprinter vans (the funny new slope-nose FedEx trucks). I thought the E300 was CDI myself until someone corrected me a while back!

Dave M.
Boise, ID

1997 E420 - 155kmi (Bugeyes)
1994 E420 - 145kmi (Blondie)
1993 500E - 193kmi (Lollipop)
1992 400E - 189kmi (Stinky Dirty)
Check out my website photos, documents, and movies!
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