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Old 05-02-2003, 08:52 PM
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Location: Vernon, CT
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Looking at a '87 TD turbo, 603A eng. "rod bender"?

My wife and I are going to test drive a 1987 300TD Turbo tomorrow morning. Is this 603 engine, the same one they put in the SDLs and was prone to engine failures and rod bending? I have a MB production numbers book and it list the engine for this TD as being a OM603A. Whereas the engine for the 300/350SDLs were labeled as OM603. Is there indeed a difference. Are there any problem areas with this particular engine, other than it not liking to be overheated? Also, where is the glowplug relay, so that I can check out the glowplugs with a meter.

1999 MB SL500 (110,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (220,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (136,000 mi)
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Old 05-02-2003, 08:55 PM
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This is the 3.0L engine, it does not bend rods but is a bit sensitive to overheating.. just keep the cooling system healthy. My head is original @ 316k miles. The 3.5L engines are known to have trouble with thier rods. the 87 300TD, 300D and 300SDL all have the great 3.0L engine. The '91+ 350SDL, 350SD, S350, 300SD have trouble with the rods.
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Old 05-02-2003, 09:13 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: TX between Dallas and OK
Posts: 1,793

If Im getting this nomenclature thing right... the "A" only indicates it is a turbo engine. hence 603A for the one you speak of..
"If anyone knows other lessons I need to learn, please tell me. I'm tired of learning them the hard way".
by JerryBro

The Glow Plug Wait: This waiting period is a moment of silence to pay honor to Rudolph Diesel. The longer you own your diesel the more honor you will give him". by SD Blue

My normal daily life; either SNAFUed- Situation Normal... All Fouled Up, or FUBARed- Fouled Up Beyond All Repair

62 UNIMOG Camper w/617 Turbo, 85 300SD daily driver- both powered by blended UCO fuels
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Old 05-03-2003, 10:27 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440

If I ever spent that much money repairing or maintaining a car, I would consider it the worst lemon I ever had.

I sure hope my '87 300SDL isn't like yours.

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Old 05-03-2003, 02:17 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,800
P E H, I've had bigger money pits than the SDL so it doesn't qualify as the worst lemon I've ever had

coachgeo, all 603s in the US are turbodiesels. It's more descriptive to distinguish them as 3.0 and 3.5 or 603.96x and 603.97x.

91 300SE
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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Old 05-03-2003, 02:32 PM
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Hey PEH, what is his cost per mile? What did he pay for the car? What is the value to an owner of maintaining a beautiful classic in excellent condition as a driver? Chances are, if you don't want to make the commitment, that your SDL won't be as nice or last as long - so, no need to fear, it won't be like his.
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Old 05-04-2003, 05:05 AM
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PEH.. the one who cleans his annual replacement $6 and $1.50 fuel filters with compressed air..

I don't mind a bit spending $1,500 to $2,000 per year on the car to keep it in top mechanical shape. I drive the car 50,000 miles per year, that would take the average driver 4 years to do. I can't stand to have things not working or less than perfect in my car. I see alot of jalopy MB diesels on the road with stuff falling off them or rigged together, I suspect your 300SDL will be one of them.

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