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Old 05-08-2003, 04:37 PM
Posts: n/a
looking at an '83 300td

I need a new work car. My 93civic has 250k on the original motor.
My mechanic says it has about 10k max left on it. To drop in one of those used motors with 50k on it, new clutch and some other needed items I am looking at almost $2000.
This guy has a 1983 300td for sale. Looks like it is in really good shape. Exterior has no dents or scratches, interior looks clean when I look through the windows.
I called the guy and he said he is the 3rd owner. The car has 200k
miles on it. He has had it 2 years and has put about $6k into it.
New bilsteins,new tires,new injectors,head work and I foget what
else.I am thinking about test driving it and having a mechanic look at it and do a compression check. I can get about $1200 for my honda and he is asking $3500 for it. I know I can get him to come down a least a little, so for about the same as fixing my honda I can get into it.
I drive 75 easy freeway miles each way to work,every other week(carpool).
I keep hearing how these 300 diesels are die hards.
If any body wants to pass on any tips or talk me into buying it or talk me out of it, I am all ears.
TRV, Southern Cal.
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Old 05-08-2003, 06:36 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,997
Try to go over there sometime and open the coolant reservoir cap after it has been sitting overnight. There should be no pressure. Drive the car on the freeway for about 10 miles and then pull off the freeway and let the car idle. It should be pretty doggone smooth but will not be as smooth as the Honda when it was healthy. Start the car cold sometime and make sure it starts without having to give it any fuel and it idles out smooth immediately. It could require a valve adj if it does not do all of the above BUT if there is pressure in the reservoir when it is cold then there are some head/head gasket issues.
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Old 05-08-2003, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

If you are serious about this opportunity, you need to get some facts together about the car and pass them along for a decent chance to get any meaningful advice or comments. First, have an independent MB-Diesel-knowledgeable mechanic check the compression, and go over the engine/transmission to look for typical issues at this age and mileage, and give you a recommendation. If you have some questions with his advice, post some of the data here and ask for second opinions.

I would figure by your Southern California location rust will not be an issue, and you have examined the body to determine it is straight. The rear suspension is a self levelling system that can become troublesome when it gets old, and new parts can be costly. But they last a long time, and there is no known aftermarket solution for this issue. So the rear end should not drag, leak fluids, etc. when there are three people and some stuff in the back seat/cargo area. This system has been a recent topic of discussion here too.

The need for any real head work (such as requires the head to come off the block), other than valve seals and other "consumables" is not really routine on these cars if they are well maintained (valve adjustments, oil changes, filter changes, etc.). I would get a full description of what was done to the head and why. You might do that and post the information here and ask for opinions about that before taking this any further.

Any other specific information you can post and ask about I am sure will get you good answers you can act on or look into further before making a decision. These are very solid, long lived cars. They are made of high quality materials by mechanics with superior skills. But they are not impervious to aging, poor maintenance or the laws of nature. They will be returned to disorder at some point in time. If the car has been cared for, that point could be very far off in time and you could be very pleased with the car. But take your time and check it out carefully. Good luck, Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 05-08-2003, 09:03 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the quick replies. I am definitely going to research the car further. I just wanted to get any info. up front about any issues that need attention and just get a consensus if a well maintained example of a 300td would be a strong runner.
By the looking at this board, it seems that it may be worth a closer look. I am going to set up a test drive in a few days. If it seems to start and drive ok I will then give it a thorough look through inside and out. I will then look over the service records and see if it looks like the car has been properly cared for. If I have any questions or concerns I will post them here. If after all that I still have a warm fuzzy feeling about it, we will get her to the mechanic for an inspection.
Thanks again
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Old 05-09-2003, 11:08 AM
Eddie Lawrence
Posts: n/a
I've been searching for a geniune 300d for over a year. They are few and far between in Australia. The last one I inspected had been clocked and was in very poor shape. It sold for the equivalent of $5000 U.S. How I envy those who can purchase a sound car for a few grand.
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